Author’s Note: Purchase A Domain Name is part of the first chapter of my free ebook, “Create Your Business Website With WordPress.” Each day I will release a chapter from the book onto my site.
If the reader doesn’t know what a domain name is or how to buy one, don’t worry as I’m going to explain it in easy-to-understand terms. This step can take a considerable amount of time because choosing a domain name requires planning and flexibility. A good domain name is easy to remember and isn’t too long. As for the web hosting company, again this will take some time due to comparing companies, their plans, their prices, and their customer service options.
How To Purchase A Domain Name
What Is A Domain Name?
According to Wikipedia: “A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are used in various networking contexts and for application-specific naming and addressing purposes. In general, a domain name identifies a network domain, or it represents an Internet Protocol (IP) resource, such as a personal computer used to access the Internet, a server computer hosting a web site, or the web site itself or any other service communicated via the Internet.”
In simpler terms a domain name is a phrase that allows people to access websites easier, as the other way requires people tying in the IP address into their browser. Now, that way works but people remember words easier than numbers.
Here are some examples of domain names:
Create An Original Name
For the business website owners should create an original domain name. A problem I see some business owners have is creating a domain name too similar of another company. This is a mistake to avoid because it causes confusion. And that can dilute the business’ brand.
Unoriginal domain names can lead to legal trouble. Let’s say an individual has a new business called Goog. And that person registers the domain name goog.com. This name is too similar to google.com. And this name could confuse some of Google’s customers to think that person’s website is related to Google’s products and services. Because of this Google decides to send their Legal team after that individual because people are infringing on their trademark.
This sounds far-fetch, right? Nope. Google has done exactly that in the past as Google sued the owner(s) behind oogle.com in 2012.
If people think that domain names can’t get a trademark Nolo discusses how these can. To learn more about this so a business doesn’t infringe on another company’s trademark, Donut has a great FAQ section about this topic. Also, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has a page devoted to this too. ICANN coordinates the domain names, among other things, of the Internet.
There are a couple ways to create an original domain name. Using the name of one’s business is a good option. Other use the name of their business and the business’ industry. Both options work well if the individual sell services. Let’s say a person’s name is Robert Johnson and Robert runs a HVAC company. He could create a domain name like “johnsonhvac.com” or rjohnsonhvac.com” or johnsonheatingandair.com.”
However, if another person (let’s call her Sharon) operates a business selling goods then Sharon may want to create an original name along whatever goods she’s selling. Let’s say Sharon sells health and beauty products using organic coconut oil. She could create a domain name based around her product line name.
Use Business Name Generator
A different option to create an original domain name for the business is to use a business name generator. These websites generate a list of business names after the user enters words or phrases about their business or industry.
Using BusinessNameGenerator here are the domain names I got for the following industries:
Food & Drink
- Smack Burgers
Before the business owner searches to see if a potential domain name is available, that person first must decide which generic top-level domain (TLD) to use. Here’s a short list of generic TLDs currently available from various domain registrars:
Most people choose the .com TLD because it’s the most popular. Due to that, sometimes it’s difficult to use a specific name for a website because it’s already taken. If that happens, and if a person really wants the name, it could be for sale. One way to check to see if a “Make Offer” or something similar button. This will start the process of offering to purchase the domain name but be warned: The current owner may want an exorbitant amount.
Purchasing Multiple TLDs
Once an individual buys their domain name, next comes the question of whether that person should buy the other TLDs available for that domain name.
Let’s use example.com for this scenario. The domain registrar shows various other TLDs available for example.com:
- So on …
The person thinks: “Should I buy those other names? Why would I buy them? What’s the reasoning behind that?”
One reason to purchase the other TLDs is to protect the trademark for their business, or protect the company’s brand.
Google, and other major companies, do so. Because if they waited to purchase the other TLDs someone else could buy that TLD. People do this because they’re hoping those businesses will want to purchase it later. This is called Cybersquatting (also called Domain Squatting), and there are laws about this in America and in some countries.
Finally, I highly suggest owners don’t buy some non-popular TLDs like example.golf or recently launched TLDs. Mostly because they don’t have the name recognition like a .com or a .net.
I suggest purchasing the business’ domain name ahead of creating the website. Because building the website will incorporate the domain name into its branding. So it’s best to have that settled before the website development happens.
I understand there’s the possibility a business owner changes their business name after purchasing the domain name. Thus, that individual won’t use the previously-purchased domain name and is out some money. However, domain names aren’t expensive (unless a person purchase a Premium Domain Name, which I will discuss later in this chapter). Most domain names range in price from $8 to $50, depending on the registrar and the Top Level Domain (TLD) chosen.
When it’s time to purchase a domain name the registrar will offer a length to own said domain name. The default length one year. However, many domain registrars allow individuals to add years for an additional cost.
The benefit of this is to:
- Save money
- Don’t forget to renew the name
Yep, owners have to renew their domain names every year. I used to only purchase one-year terms for my domain names but I’ve recently switched to multi-year terms because the cost savings are better. Yet, it’s perfectly fine to accept the standard one-year length.
Finally, I have my domain names set to auto-renew and keep a valid credit card on file. I highly suggest others do the same. This is to avoid the possibility of missing the email from the domain registrar prompting the individual to renew their domain name. If the person forgets to renew their website stops working. Then the domain name moves back into the pool of availability for others to purchase. And if someone else buys it then then the original owner will have to buy it from new owner (if that’s possible).
During the search the reader is bound to come across a Premium domain name. What are those? According to Namecheap Premium domain names “are short domains, often made up of just one word or 3-5 letters. They are also known as ‘aftermarket’ or ‘pre-registered’ domains.” Good examples of these types of names:
These names are catchy and short, which is gold when it comes to marketing. That’s why I suggest users consider one if they can::
- Afford the cost
- It advertises the company’s brand well.
Namecheap wrote a blog post about several companies spending $10,000+ for their premium domain names. While this price tag is expensive for many individuals or small businesses, some look at the investment as part of building their company’s brand.
The Domain Registrar I Recommend
When it comes to purchasing a domain name I only use Namecheap. I’ve used them for 16 years now, and always get great support from them.
Namecheap has great prices for domain name registration. They usually sell a .com TLD for $8.88 a year! In addition, the company runs sales regularly, and I’ve seen .com TLD as low as $5 a year.