Getting a domain name for your website is a crucial step that requires a great deal of consideration.
Maybe this is your first time buying a domain name, and you're not sure what you should look for or how much you should spend.
We've all been there!
Luckily, we've prepared this extensive post that neatly contains all the answers you're looking for when it comes to buying a domain name in 2021.
Let's dive in!
Business owners tend to put too much time into picking a website domain name. And with a good reason!
The truth is that the right domain name is critical for your branding, credibility, and getting more customers.
This brings us to the point:
There's a lot of value in investing in a strong, branded domain name.
Let's see why in more detail
You're looking to hire a new employee. There's one candidate that looks like he would be a perfect fit for your company—at least on paper.
However, when you take a second look at his resume, you see his email address:
Would you proceed further, or will you turn a blind eye?
Similarly, if you go with a domain name that looks unprofessional and hard to pronounce or spell, chances are a lot of customers will hesitate to purchase from your brand.
Here are some interesting examples of domain names going wrong:
Choosespain.com (Choose Spain)
Bigbustycoons.com (Big Bud Tycoons)
Bendover.com (Ben Dover)
Itscrap.com (IT Scrap)
Potsofart.com (Pots of Art)
Oldmanshaven.com (Old Man's Haven)
Ladrape.com (La Drape International Limited)
You get the point!
You're probably wondering whether keywords in the domain name will give you a boost in online rankings.
Unfortunately, with the Google EMD update in 2012, website owners were advised to focus on their brand in search engine optimization (SEO) and domain name instead of just putting a keyword in the domain name.
The good news is that your domain name still serves as a relevancy signal.
Our point is this:
If you can include a keyword that helps make it obvious what your business does while keeping your domain name simple, catchy, and unique, go for it!
Another good idea is to go with a common top-level domain (TLD) such as .com, .net, or .co.
Avoid low-quality TLDs like .biz, .info, or .ws—these TLDs receive less traffic as they're more commonly associated with spammy behavior.
According to one study by the Growth Badger:
.com domains are 33% more memorable than URLs with other TLDs.
.com is the most trusted TLD, while .co in a close second place.
When people try to remember a URL, they're 3.8 times more likely to assume it ends in .com.
If you're operating in a highly competitive industry, consider purchasing a few more common TLDs to ensure someone doesn't register a similar domain name with your brand name.
The bottom line is that you want to go with something people will remember easily and something that will make you stand out from the crowd.
The short answer is that your domain name:
should be short
should be easy to remember
should be brandable
does not contain numbers or hyphens
does not contain a general keyword or phrase
is not trademarked
Now let's discuss each point in more detail!
When the Daily Blog Tips ran an Alexa report, they came to a surprising conclusion:
More than 70% of websites had domain names that contained eight characters or less.
Just think about it!
And the list goes on.
Although you don't have to be strict with the number of characters in your domain name, keep in mind that shorter is always better.
A tip: Never exceed 20 characters.
If your domain name is short and sweet, it will automatically be easy to remember.
You want your customers to memorize your domain name so they can type it whenever they want to visit your site.
Think about it:
Names that don’t push a person into thinking too hard are the easiest to remember. What's more, they're also more likely to inspire positive associations.
Let's take a look at an example.
Imagine the domain name of your site isgecwr.com.
Yes, it's short but not easy to remember. It's difficult to spell and difficult to pronounce.
For instance, if a customer has to spell it over the phone, you've lost.
Not to mention you're risking plenty of visitors mistyping your URL and landing on an entirely different site.
You've probably heard this a million times, but here it goes:
Your domain name is the face of your company.
Therefore, it's essential that you make it sound like a brand.
A brandable name is short, unique, memorable, and easily pronounceable.
Let's take Uber.com as an example. That domain name is way better than options like “Uber-cab.com” or "Call-Uber-now.com."
Here's one website that contains a hyphen:
The problem with this domain name is that the words people will remember are "vegan" and "world." But the majority of them will probably forget there's a hyphen in between.
Consequently, they'll try to access your site by typing: VeganWorld.com and end up in a completely different place.
A similar thing happens when you have a number in your name.
For instance, let's say you registered District5.com.
The issue with this domain name is that people will often mix it with DistrictFive.com—if they remember your name at all.
Coming back to what we discussed earlier, Google no longer considers generic keywords a ranking factor.
In fact, using generic keywords and phrases in your domain name can do more damage than good.
Let's look at two domain names:
Which one sounds more trustworthy and professional?
That's right, it's the first one.
Here's the point:
Avoid using generic keywords and phrases in your domain name. They're hard to remember, look sketchy, and don't help you rank higher in Google.
Instead, you may want to make your name intuitive. In other words, your domain name should make it easy for potential customers to guess what they'll find at the site.
There's nothing worse than launching a website only to get hit with a lawsuit right when the business starts to take off.
If your domain name infringes on a trademark, you can be sued and forced to give up the domain name.
For that reason, you should always check to see if your name is similar to another site or brand.
If you're located in the US, you can do so by checking US trademarks on the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) website.
If you're operating from a different country, you can find this information through that country's local equivalent of the USPTO.
Tip: Before deciding on a name, do a thorough Google search to see if anything comes up.
Answering this question is somewhat tricky.
It's similar to asking, "How much does a house cost?"
There's no one universal price tag. The price of a house depends on a range of factors such as home size, neighborhood, location, condition, and the local market.
Similarly, the price of a domain name varies, depending on several factors, including:
The domain extension.
Whether you're buying a new domain or resale domain.
The add-ons you select.
Generally speaking, domain registration costs can range anywhere from $2 to $20 per year.
Your domain extension can greatly impact the cost of the domain name.
For instance, domain extensions like .com and .co tend to cost more just because they're considered premium domains.
These extensions may rank higher in search results and generate more good and organic traffic.
If you're buying a new domain, then we have some good news.
New domain names tend to cost less than resale ones.
The major reason for this is because sometimes people put up domains they own for sale. They purchase domain names they know will be in demand and resell them at a higher price.
Annoying, isn't it?
If someone owns the domain name you want to purchase, then the price for the domain is determined by the owner and not the registrar. The registrars act as an intermediary.
If you want to avoid the high cost, go for a new domain.
When you buy a domain name, you have to consider the extra domain costs.
For example, some registrars need the first and second years of a plan to be paid at once. If you choose to pay multiple years in advance, you can expect to pay less.
Keep in mind that the price of a domain name tends to increase after the first year. For example, the price of a .com domain with HostGator increases from $12.95 to $17.99 after the first year. Similarly, the price of a .me domain at GoDaddy increases from $3.49 to $19.99 after the first year.
Moreover, another popular add-on is privacy protection. Many people opt to get this add-on as it ensures that your private information doesn't show when someone looks up your domain name.
Although these extra add-ons don't cost a fortune, it's good to keep them in mind.
Here's something interesting:
The cost of a domain can range from $2 to millions of dollars.
Think we're exaggerating? We're not!
For instance, some of the most sought-after domains likebusiness.comandhotels.comhave sold for a couple of million dollars.
But guess what?
Million-dollar domain names are not the norm. In fact, you can expect to pay no more than $20 per year.
However, the domain name fees can depend on several factors. New domains tend to cost less, while pre-registered domains are more expensive.
The price also depends on the extension. The most common types of extensions are top-level domains (TLD) and country-code top-level domains (ccTLD). TLDs are the extensions such as .com, .co, and .net. ccTLDs are country-specific extensions, such as .us, .uk, or .rs.
Both types of extensions are well-known and trustworthy.
TLDs and ccTLDs tend to cost the same, although the price can vary depending on the registrar you opt for.
Here's a rough overview of how much you can expect to pay for some of the most common extensions with different registrars:
Word to the wise:
Every price you see in the chart will increase after the first year.
In case the domain name you want is unavailable, our tip is to brainstorm for a different name.
Don't let the search for the perfect domain name distract you from your main goal: to sell your service or product.
Of course, you want your website to look trustworthy and professional, but remember that putting money in your pocket should be your primary focus.
For instance, when Mark Zuckerberg first created his well-known social network, the domain name he wanted,Facebook.com, was unavailable. So, he opted for a variation of that domain name and hosted his site onwww.thefacebook.com. Eventually, he purchased the current domain in 2005 for a whopping $200,000.
Companies that sell domain names are known as domain registrars.
There's a wide range of registrars out there, so choosing the best one for you may be time-consuming.
We made the job easier for you by putting together a list of the top 4 things you should look for in a domain registrar.
Let's dive in!
Pricing is an important factor when choosing a domain registrar. As we've said earlier, the most important thing to focus on at the beginning is selling your product or service.
In other words, look for an affordable registrar that doesn't charge much for add-on features like WHOIS privacy
Security should be another thing you look for when choosing a domain name registrar.
Some registrars offer good security features, while others make it easy for domain thieves to hack into your registrar account.
You don't know how important customer support is until you actually need it.
How would you feel if you need urgent assistance and they take several days to get back to you?
You'll probably feel agitated and disappointed.
To check if a domain registrar comes with a good customer support service, try sending a quick question to the company before making a purchase to see how long they take to respond. Or, you can always read the company's online reviews.
Imagine this scenario:
You get caught up in everyday business tasks, and it slips your mind that renewing your domain name is due. You fail to make the renewal on time, and your domain name is now back on the market.
This might have terrible consequences for your business. For example, someone might purchase the domain name and then try to resell it to you for a substantial amount of cash.
To prevent this scenario from happening, look for domain registrars that offer auto-renewals. This means that your domain name will be automatically renewed without any manual input from your side.
In addition to domain registrars, another way of purchasing a domain name is through a website builder.
For those of you who don't know, website builders are platforms that help you create professional-looking websites without any technical experience.
With most website builders, you get free domain vouchers for 1 year. After the expiration of the first year, you must renew your domain.
Website builders are an excellent option if you're a newbie to the online world and not particularly tech-savvy.
Although it might have taken you a while to finish reading this post, there are a few crucial things to remember.
Compare prices on different registrars or website builders and go with the one that fits your budget.
Don't forget to check for WHOIS protection and great customer service.
Don't go overboard with the cost of the domain name. Focus on generating revenue, even if that means getting a cheaper domain name.
Once you build a successful business, you can invest in a better domain name.
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