Step 1: Brainstorm ideas for your domain name.
Before you buy a domain name, you should put in the proper amount of research to make sure it is the right one. After all, your domain name is the very first thing that your visitors notice. Below are some important things to remember when buying a domain name for your website, blog, landing page, or application.
I like to start my domain name search by researching my niche, potential customers, and existing competitors. It is important to understand your brand positioning. Your domain name, and ultimately your brand, should tell the story of what you offer, who you are targeting, and why they should trust you. A great brand starts with a great domain name.
Want to know more about finding a great domain name? Click here: How to find the perfect domain name?
Make it catchy and easy to remember
Make it catchy and easy to remember. Do not go for something that is long, hard to spell, hard to say or contains dashes between words. Imagine that you have to speak your domain name to someone out loud. Could they type it into a search engine later? Would they remember it? If not, you may want to consider other domain name options.
Why .com domain names are the best?
Next, I personally prefer the .com domain name. Currently, .com is the most recognized and popular domain name extension. Therefore, it should be your top choice when purchasing your domain name. Your visitors, users, and customers will remember it over other domain name extensions such as .net, .biz, .co, and .io. Although, more and more tech startups are using .io as it means Input/Output (I/O) in the digital world.
Don’t buy a domain name that infringes on trademarks
Watch out for domain names that infringe on trademarks. Buying a domain name that has trademark infringement can cause legal issues such as cease and assist, lawsuits, and confiscation. The trademark owner can literally make you transfer your domain name to them without compensation.
Avoid special characters and numbers if possible
As mentioned earlier, it is best to avoid numbers and hyphens. While these options may allow you to purchase the domain name you want, it can be more work than they are worth. For example, your users could confuse the number zero (0) with the letter (o) or the amount (two) to get a word (2). Therefore, avoid numbers and hyphens is a good idea in most cases. They are often seen as less trustworthy.
Take your time, make it a long term investment
Buying a domain name should be a long-term investment so make sure to put some thought and time into it. Visualize your domain name as a brand with a logo. What would it look like? Do not be afraid to think outside of the box when coming up with your domain name. Although possible, you do not want to change your domain name down the road as this can impact your brand, website traffic, domain name authority, SEO, and search engine rankings.
Step 2: Checking domain name availability,
To buy a domain name, you first have to look up if it is available or taken. You can do this by going to an ICANN accredited registrar such as GoDaddy, Name.com, NameCheap, and others. You can also use name checking websites like NameChk.com, NameChecker.com and others to search for available domain names and social media handles.
If it is available, you are free to buy and use the domain name for your website or blog. We will get more into the steps of what is involved with buying a domain name after you found the right one in the next steps. Feel free to skip ahead.
Is your domain name available on social media?
Is your domain name available on social media? This is another important step in selecting the right domain name for your business. The best way to do this is to use a name-checking website that can search for your domain and social media handle availability all at once. This includes popular social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Facebook.
What if your domain name is taken?
If your domain name is taken, this means that someone already owns it. They may or may not be using it. In some cases, you may be able to find out who owns it with a Whois lookup. You may also be able to search the secondary market of premium domains – where people hold and list their domains for sale. Premium domain names can range in price from a one-time purchase fee of $20 to millions of dollars.
You can also look at domain name extensions such as .net, .biz, .co, .us, .io and. guru. There are many different domain name extensions for nearly every business idea and industry. Another option is a variant to your name such as simple word like “the”, “my”, “a” and other comparable words.
Step 3: Buying your domain name
You are going to need an ICANN accredited registrar to buy a domain name from. What is a domain name registrar? A domain name registrar is a company that processes the reservation of domain names as well as the assignment of IP addresses for those domain names. As mentioned previously, it includes domain name companies like GoDaddy, Name.com, NameCheap, and others.
The price of a domain name varies between $.99 a year with special promotions to $92.99 a year. Many domain name registrars offer special promo pricing for the first year or discounts when you reserve a domain name for multiple years. You should expect to pay around $12-$15 per year for a domain name without any special domain name promo codes.
Once you’ve located a domain name, you will want to checkout to buy it. Here you will find a total for your purchase along with additional “add-ons” plus tax. You will see the term for your domain name purchase as well. You can usually select from one year, two year, three year or five year term. We will get into this more in the next step.
Step 4: Selecting term, add-ons and promo codes
As mentioned in Step 3, you need to select a term for your domain name purchase. I typically recommend a one year term for new ideas or something that you are considering starting. This allows you to reserve it and decide later if it is still a good idea.
If you are serious about the idea and have a definite plan for building out your website, blog or application, I would recommend at least a two or three year term depending on the discount available.
There is a common myth that Google and other search engines look at the age of the domain name as well as how long it is registered for. This is FALSE. When asked about domain registration length, Google’s Matt Cutts said, “To the best of my knowledge, no search engine has ever confirmed that they use length of registration as a factor in scoring.
Adding privacy to your domain name
Should you add privacy to your domain name? Domain name privacy helps protect your contact information from companies looking to spam you with their services – website design, search engine optimization (SEO), lead appointment setters, virtual assistants.
Domain name privacy works by hiding your business or personal contact information. In order to buy a domain name, you need to provide your contact information to the domain name registrar. Your contact information goes into the global database of domain name owners. Companies use newly registered domain name contact information to target you for selling their services.
So, is it worth it to buy domain name privacy? Yes and no. I would recommend it if you are concerned about spammers trying to contact you. I would use it if you do not want anyone to know that you own a domain name. It all depends on the situation. By the way, the cost for domain name privacy is anywhere between $9.99 to $19.99 per month.
Add-on services to consider with your domain
Most domain name registrars and web hosting companies offer bundled packages that include a domain name, web hosting and an email address. These are sometime offered with huge discounts. You may even get a free domain name with the purchase of hosting. Keep in mind that this is usually a teaser price and the pricing at renewal will be much higher. This is one of the biggest gotchas when buying a domain.
Domain name promo codes
If you have purchased a domain name in the past, you are probably familiar with promo codes. If you do a Google search for domain name promo codes, you will find hundreds of sites offering special offers, pricing, and discounts on domain name purchases from registrars. I personally try to use these each time I buy a domain name. However, it can be a little tricky, and many times the first couple of promo codes do not work. They will look something like this:
What are the savings like and is it worth it? You can literally save 90% on your new domain name purchase with a promo code. It is much harder to find promo codes or coupons for renewals of existing domains. They want to hook you in and keep you paying for your domain names for years to come.
Step 5: Confirming you own your domain name
You have made it to the last step which is confirming ownership of your domain. Buying a domain name should be instantaneous with most domain name registrars. As soon as you checkout, make your payment, and click purchase, it should be a done deal. However, it makes sense to check to confirm that your newly purchased domain name is in your account. Keep in mind, it can take a while for some domain name registrars to place it in your account.
For premium domain names, the process takes a little longer because it involves you paying an escrow account and then confirmation of the transfer of the domain name. Typically, this is a two to three day process.