Hopefully that time will never come of you have got the right domain name and the things are moving as expected. But life is not a bed of roses. You may have to, and should change your domain name under certain circumstances.
Here are the principal indicators to change your domain name:
1. It is difficult to spell by hearing:
Domain names are not phonetic. If your domain name cannot be correctly spelled by speaking it, it is time to change it. If your business has grown, you have to tell it to customers over telephone. Asking them to write down letter by letter is annoying for both you and your customer. Choose a domain name which can be easily spelt by hearing it. This help communicate the domain name over telephone and voicemail.
2. It cannot be easily pronounced
Spelling and pronunciation should be in agreement with each other, otherwise it is time to change your domain name. SumoMe.com owner bought sumo.com at a whopping amount for this reason. People were speaking it in many funny ways. Make sure your domain name is pronounced in only in one clear and crisp way.
3. It is a Slur
We all had fun with them. One of my B School classmate was Managing Director of a company called indextb, which meant innocently industrial extension bureau. But in the world of domains it can well be understood as indexTB, a company which keeps track of Tibio Culosis Patients. Well not so offensive and this domain name is not yet changed, but consider expertsexchange.com. Half the people understand it as expert sex change and only half experts exchange. No wonder they had to change it to experts-exchange.com. Afterall there is a difference between an exchange for it experts and highly specialized doctors.
4. You have diversified beyond your domain name
I have a friend who had an ice cream making-selling company and its domain name was icecream.com. The family name was small, easy to remember and had a brand value established for generations. All was well till they started backward integration and started manufacturing and selling refrigeration gases. They had to buy the premium domain name .com, and bring all of their businesses under a common umbrella.
5. People get confused with other companies
UberOps received hundreds of messages daily for taxis and related matters meant for Uber. While you cannot ask other companies to take your name, you can definitely be careful while deciding your business name. Search for similar domain names and even trademarks. You do not want a problem later on.
6. Size matters, but small size only matters for domain name
If your domain name is long and your business has grown, there is enough reason now to shift to a smaller domain name. Many companies have done it, so can you. Texas Instruments is a nice wellknown name. But ti.com is shorter and better.
There may be situations other than those mentioned above, where you will have to change the domain name. If it helps your business, change the domain name without hesitation.