In the article Aliases and Domain Names: what's the difference, we looked at what these are and some of their advantages and disadvantages. In this article we cover some of the practical details and especially what's involved in switching from one to the other.
Aliases cost nothing. They don't need renewal, either. If your admin leaves and you need to set up a new one, FTH is set up to make the update process fairly straightforward.
Aliases are easy to set up. You just enter the term you've chosen in the Alias box in the admin console and save. You can change your alias any time you like, but if you do this it will take Google and other search engines a while to catch up.
- It may be a good idea to use the club number version i.e. http://nnnnnnn.toastmastersclubs.org in places such as TI Find-a-Club because this never changes.
- Keep aliases short. Bear in mind that an alias is used with "toastmastersclubs.org". Therefore you don't need something such as "clubnametoastmasters" as an alias. It's not fun to type, especially on a mobile device. "clubname", or even an abbreviation, is better.
A domain name is not something that you buy outright and is then yours forever. Domain names need to be renewed, often annually, and if they aren't, they stop working and someone else can grab them.
The domain name registrar has a contract with one person and getting the company to deal with someone else may be a challenge. To minimise problems of this kind, choose a contact email address that will be accessible for a long time, such as a club-number version of an officer address.
Getting domain names to work can be tricky. Getting the email to work properly can also be tricky. Configuring DNS settings for a Custom Website Domain gives some instructions on how to do this. If you need to, you can ask for help on the forums.
Changing from alias to domain name
If you change from alias to domain name, you can continue to use the alias until you've made sure that domain name is set up properly, and that your members know what it is, including the new email addresses to use.
Changing from a domain name to an alias
Changing from a domain name is technically very easy. All you need to do is to remove the domain name from the box in the admin panel, and put your alias into the alias box. From that point on, the domain name will cease to operate.
Informing your members and the rest of the world may be a little more challenging. If the domain name hasn't expired yet, you may be able to set up a redirect to the alias version for a little while.
You can also run an alias and a domain name in parallel for a while, until your members and the search engines catch up with the change.
If you use Google or Bing webmaster tools, you can register the new name with them, which will reduce the time needed for search engines to update their results.
If you don't use Webmaster tools and the domain name has already expired, it may take Google and friends a few weeks to catch up.
Moving from a domain name to using the club number version (i.e. no alias) uses a similar process. In this case, though, you'll leave the alias box empty.
Update your listings
Whichever way you change, make sure that you update your club listing on other sites. Having these up to date also makes it quicker and easier for Google to incorporate your new details in its listings — and for visitors to find your site while the search engines are still updating.
Check and update your website address on:
- TI Club Central
- District/Division websites
- Local community sites with club listings
- Social Media Websites
- Google +
- and others if you use them
- Personal browser bookmarks/favourites
You'll need to educate your members regarding the email address format to use. You may find a "cheat sheet" useful for this.