For how long should you register a domain name?

You face a confusing conundrum whether you are managing a huge
portfolio of domain names or just registering one vanity domain to
showcase pics of your cat. How long of a registration period should
you choose? Should you register a new domain or renew an existing
domain for the minimum of one year or go up to 10 years? Or opt for
something in-between?

The Importance of Domain Management
The most important factor in making this decision relates to domain
management. If you have a domain you intend to keep for a long period,
will the lengthier registration make it more likely you’ll remember to
renew it? Or will 10 years out of sight and out of mind make it
actually less likely?

The worst case scenario is that a renewal is missed. For many people,
that would argue for a longer registration period. It’s one less thing
to worry about and remember, after all.

However, if you are actively managing a portfolio of domain names, a
long registration may be unnecessary. It also may be a wasteful use of
resources; why use up capital now when you can spread it over 10
years?

SEO Considerations
Some SEO practitioners recommend a longer domain name registration.
They think that Google and other search engines might give greater
trust to domain names that are registered for longer periods of time.
After all, a spammer isn’t likely to register a domain name, which he
think will soon be banned from the search engines, for more than one
year.

It’s impossible to know how much, if any, weight domain name
registration has in search engine results. It would seem quite unfair
for search engines to penalize a site for registering its domain name
year-by-year. So this probably isn’t the greatest concern. Even if you
want to take this into account, surely a 2 or 3 year registration
would be enough; registering for 10 years isn’t likely to indicate any
more quality than a 2 to 3 year registration.

This issue is of most concern for a new domain name registration. For
a domain that has been registered for awhile already, it’s very
unlikely it would be penalized for short-term registration.

Marketing Considerations
If you are looking to sell a domain name, would having it registered
for a long time matter? It might in some cases. Having a long
registration will signal to any hopeful buyer that their only option
would be to purchase it from you; it shows you have no intention of
letting the domain name lapse. It also shows a commitment from you to
the domain name, which might help you to extract a higher price.

Of course, if you are managing a large domain name portfolio, keeping
all of the domains registered for many years in advance simply isn’t
practical. However, if you have a few prized domains, it might make
sense to register them for longer, just to send the right signals to
potential buyers.

Sum It Up
The decision for how long to register a domain name is a tricky one.
In most cases it probably doesn’t matter, but if you are cautious, you
might want to extend it out a few years for your most valuable domain
name properties.

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