A few years back we set up a website for a real estate related business. We had not heard from them for some time, did a search and found that they had let their hosting account and domain name lapse.
The name now belonged to a much larger company who are probably thrilled to have this particular name and the Google value associated with it.
Another client with a brick and mortar business recently advised me that they were giving up their retail business and would like to terminate their website.
Here is my abridged reply:
“The fact that you had a ‘real’ store gives you a definite marketing edge and is a valuable thing if you take advantage of it correctly. You have a business that you can continue to market in the future, even though your ‘real’ store is now closed.
You have a style and look preserved in photographs, such as in the current site.
You can put a positive spin on the store closing, by making it a forward move into online retailing, while keeping the ‘personal’ aspect through a functional and attractive shopping website, and good customer service.
You have Google ranking for the site content that will be lost if you delete the site. Google rank is a valuable commodity.
I think you should at least continue to keep your domain name active, since someone else could purchase the name if you let it expire, and do exactly what I have outlined here.
There is a learning curve in shifting from a brick & mortar store to running an online only enterprise, but it can work. “