A domain name is akin to an address in the virtual space of the Internet. Most people are familiar with the popular domains of google.com or youtube.com, and in addition users are also familiar to the top-level domains such as .com, .org, or .net. Furthermore, if you pay close enough attention, users can see various sub domains such as mail.google.com, www.google.com, or mail.google.com. Each part of the domain name is important in its own right. If you are looking to learn the answer to the question “how do you buy a domain name?”, you have arrived at the right place. In this article I am going to go over everything you need to know about purchasing a domain name.
What does having a domain name entail?
A domain name allows users to create a reputation. No matter how your site is hosted, be it from your garage to a server room in Silicon Valley, users can plug that domain name into their browsers and be directed to your content. This is because a domain name is registered with Domain Name Registrars. These sites allow you to purchase a domain and have it point to a server. So in reality you own a site such as example.com and have example.com point to the IP address of your server. Therefore, when a user types in example.com, it knows to load information from the server to which you pointed.
Domain names also give credibility. You can use a domain name to show that you are professional because if you are selling tables and your email is email@example.com, then customers will laugh at you. Rather firstname.lastname@example.org will look much better to potential customers as it seems more trustworthy.
To register a website you must purchase a domain from a Domain Name Registrar and pay a fee to the almighty ICANN; ICANN is an organization that regulates domain names and creates new top-level domains. Websites can range from $1 specials depending on the top-level domains to around $35 dollars. Some domains have a high cost because they are short or represent popular ideas.
Once you have bought a domain name, you haven’t actually purchased that space, it is more appropriate to say that you have leased the name or are renting the space. You have to pay the amount you purchased the domain name for on a yearly basis. Thus if you paid $10 for your domain you must pay $10 to renew your site. Careful though because if you forget someone can snatch up from underneath you. Most registrars do allow users to have auto renewal on or purchase many years at the same time, and sometimes for discounted prices.
The two things in choosing a domain name are:
1. Choosing the name for your site. This is the bread and butter of creating your domain. This is the middle part of every website be it www.google.com or www.youtube.com, this is how people will remember your site.
Note: There are people called “squatters” who sit on domain names waiting to sell them to people for large sums of money. These people purchase sites such as Batman3.com in hopes that a 3rd Batman movie comes out. It is usually recommended that you rethink your domain name unless you must have it then you can contact the person who owns that domain and make an offer for it.
2. Top-level domains – this is the .com, .org .website, .net, .xyz, and a whole lot more. Most people like to stick to the .com or .net if they can, but top-level domains allow users to share their domain name, and thus the internet can have batman.com, batman.net, and batman.xyz all owned by 3 people and be 3 unique sites.
Domain Name Registrars:
The big picture of owning a domain name is to host some sort of server or website. Each company that usually sells domains sells packages to host those sites.
Now if you happen to have already purchased a domain name on another site, it is always possible to transfer the domain name to another site. For example, if I had purchased example.com with hostgator.com and wanted to transfer it to namecheap.com because of a better deal or it is easy to manage, then you can release a lock on your domain at hostgator.com and ask namecheap.com to transfer it. Most sites will then give you a discounted rate after you transferred it as an incentive to continue your patronage with your new service.
World’s Largest Registrar – GoDaddy.com: This site is very popular and had ads running on television to promote it. Most people have heard of GoDaddy.com when it comes to hosting websites. GoDaddy offers .com top-levels for $9.99/year. Included there is an online interface which allows users to create free web starter page, a free parked page, and private registration for their domain.
Namecheap.com: $10.69/year .com top-level domains. Namecheap also sells a WhoisGuard on their domain names which is free for the first year with any domain. The purpose of this subscription is to keep the identity of the owner of any domain name a secret. This allows users to have a sense of security because you don’t want someone finding out where you live solely based on owning a domain name. In addition to WhoisGuard, Namecheap offers one of the largest selections of top-level domain names.
HostGator.com: $12.95/year for .com top-level domains. HostGator has a limited selection of top-level domain names. With a domain purchase users get free domain locking to prevent unauthorized changes or domain hijackings, free automated domain renewal, and easily manageable domains.
Purchasing a domain name is not just for businesses or corporations. Many individuals purchase them to create online presences or portfolios to advertise to employers. In addition, a website can be a complete joke that you and your friends have. It can also be a jump start for a new idea or tool you want to create for people to see and possible use. It can be a new source of income with ads on your site as you add content to your blog or whatever you make of it. The most important part of domain names though, is to never wait because you never know when someone will grab the perfect name before you.
Buying A Domain Name – 4 Things To Consider
When gauging the potential success of a website, one of the first factors that is considered is the overall strength of its domain name. A website’s domain name can impact SEO and branding, both of which are very important factors in establishing legitimacy within your niche.
It is for that reason that it is strongly recommended that you do not choose just any domain for your website. Instead, you should consider several important characteristics in order to identify the domain name that offers the most potential for your online success.
Deciding between a keyword-rich domain, and one that is highly “brandable” might just be one of the most difficult dilemmas that you will face in establishing your website. While having a keyword-rich domain will certainly provide a nice instant boost to your website, a domain that is “brandable” is often easier to remember and will set you apart from your competition.
While there are many valid arguments for both sides, many website owners fail to realize that it is possible to get the best of both worlds. Unless you have already trademarked your business name, you most certainly would benefit from brainstorming various business or brand names that incorporate at least one of your targeted keywords. Your end-result most likely will not be an exact match for your desired keywords, though if it includes at least one, you have added serious potential to your domain name. See this post by NichePursuits.com for more information about exact match and partial domain names.
Although incorporating your desired keywords into your domain can be beneficial in terms of SEO, the benefits are often negated if the domain is too long. In general, it is recommended that domains contain three words or less. If the desired keyword is quite long, a domain featuring just two words may be an even better option.
While a domain with four short words may work out in exceptional circumstances, there is far greater potential in domains with three words or less. The reasoning behind that logic is certainly understandable. The fewer the number of words, the easier it is for the average person to remember the domain name. As such, advertising will be far more effective for a shorter domain than it would be for a longer one.
My domain name tbwhs.com is great because it’s short and sweet. However, it really isn’t descriptive at all, and most people don’t know what it’s about when they first hear it.
There has been quite a bit of discussion as to how hyphens in a domain name are perceived by the search engines. While there are convincing arguments both for and against hyphens, it is generally recommended to avoid them when looking for a domain with the most potential. Using hyphens in a domain name severely limits the success of word of mouth advertising, and in general, makes a domain seem less credible.
I actually made this mistake a number of years ago. When I started my hosting review site I bought tbwhs.com. You know how long it takes to tell someone my domain name over the phone or in person? Forever! Try to stay away from hyphens if you can. One is alright, but really try not use any if you can. Here is a good article at moz.org which explains some about hyphens and domain names and some best practices for SEO.
A lot of the information on domain names can be a little overwhelming for a lot of new webmasters. This is why I felt the need to a add a “more resources” list for anyone that’s looking for more information which is not addressed in this article.
Understanding How Domain Names Work This article that was published by the University of Texas at Austin shows exactly how domain names work. You will learn how domain names are essential for creating a websites and how it works with a network.
What’s in a (Domain) name? This is an article that shows you the vital parts to a domain name. The focal point seems to be on the marketing side. This is an excellent resource for those webmasters that are running an eCommerce site.
Beginner’s Guide To Domain Names ICANN has released a PDF that teaches webmasters everything from A to Z about domain names. It’s a great read for webmasters that are completely lost with the term “Domain Names”.
Fact Sheets Domain Names and the Internet The International Trademark Association published an article that shows you the types of domain names that are available for purchasing online.
Flippa is the leading marketplace for selling and buying websites and blogs. More than 25 million websites have been sold through this company. Flippa can help you find many potential buyers to your website. The listing fee is $19 or you can post in their classified section for free. What makes it stand out from its competition is its verification features which includes verified Google Analytics statistics and phone number verification. Flippa also helps increase the average selling price of your website. Most serious website buyers who are willing to pay great prices for great websites visit this site. I have sold a number of sites with Flippa.
Digital Point Forum
This is the largest webmaster forum there is and a hot spot for selling websites. I believe they changed it to paid only. Not sure on that as I don’t participate there really. I have seen other webmaster buy and sell domain there though. Although certain conditions must apply: you must be a member for at least 14 days and must have a minimum of 25 posts on their board.
WebsiteBroker.com is an awesome website. This is a great website which has been around since 1997. They have a premiere and regular directory to choose from. This is a great place to sell established websites which is neatly arranged by different categories. I do like the fact that you can see statistics about your sites your selling. So for instance, if you’re selling a website that has 150 unique visitors per day with an income of $200 per month you can easily specify, so people can see it.