Tips for Buying a Domain Name

At this stage of the game, you’re going to have to be pretty creative to come up with an original and unclaimed domain name. All of the low-hanging fruit was harvested long ago. You’re going to have either reach higher into the tree or be willing to pay someone who picked the name you need before you arrived. With those thoughts in mind, these tips for buying a domain name will help you find and secure the best one for your needs. 


Research Pays

Yes, we know we said all of the easy choices are likely to be claimed. However, it’s always a good idea to go digging around to see what might turn up just the same. Doing a bit of keyword research around your area of concern could help you find something that is both a bit catchy and available. Again though, don’t be dissuaded if the ones you like are already in use, keep trying, you’ll find something that fits. 

You’ll also want to make sure the domain name you choose is available to be claimed on the major social media platforms. You Tube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter have become valuable sources of traffic. However, if a competitor has taken the name you’re considering on those platforms, leads will go to them rather than you.


Keep it Simple

Remember, in some cases users will be entering your domain name into a URL window by hand, rather than clicking a link. You want that process to be as trouble-free as possible so they won’t get error messages and give up. You also want to go with a word people can pronounce — this will make remembering it and spelling it easier.


Dot Com is Preferred

While a number of name extensions have arisen over the past couple of decades, .com is still the one to which most people gravitate. Its popularity is unrivalled, which of course also makes it one of the difficult to secure. Still, it’s worthwhile to try going that route with domain sellers first.


Avoid Numbers and Hyphens

While those characters will enable you to take advantage of a wider range of variations, they could also confuse potential customers. The number zero and the letter “O” can be conflated and send a potential visitor somewhere other than where you want them to go. Similarly, the number four can be misconstrued as the word “for” when you’re reciting the URL aloud.


Avoid Potential Litigation

Some people out there sue and settle like a business model. For this reason, it’s a good idea to stay away from permutations of the names of well-known brands in your area of endeavor. They will come after you if you get too close. Trademark information can be searched at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Allow For Mistakes

Registering misspellings of your domain name and setting them up to forward a user to your actual site is good idea. As an example, Amazon also owns Amzon and Facebook registered, just in case.


Trending is Good: Trendy — Not So Much

That “massively awesome” catchphrase that is seemingly on everyone’s lips today is going to make you seem dated and out of touch when it falls out of favor. With that said, you’re golden with one of those if you’re doing a flash site, or a flash sale. However, if you’re thinking long-term usability, you’re better off going with something more on the conventional side and staying away from pop culture.


Pay Attention to the Terms of Service

You can’t believe your eyes, the exact domain name you want is available — and at a rock bottom price. Excited to scoop it up before somene else claims it, you click “Buy Now”. Three months later, a bill for $10,000 shows up. Along with it is a note that says the 90-day trial period has ended. To keep the name, you’ll have to pay for a raft of extraneous domain endings you’ll never need, two years renewal in advance, a premium for personalized email accounts and transfer fees for changing ownership of the name from them to you.

Or, let’s say at some point in the future you decide to move your domain to another registry. In many cases, unscrupulous firms have been known to impose huge transfer-out fees in an effort to squeeze one last chunk of cash from a customer’s account before they walk out the door. Some will even make the transfer process so difficult you’ll just give up and stay put. 

Think these tactics are far-fetched? They could turn out to be more real than you’ve ever dreamed if youfail to read the “Terms of Service” carefully — and especially the fine print.


Make Sure You Understand the Privacy Policy

Data is big business these days. More than a few domain name registrars will sell your personal data to the highest bidder if you have no agreement in place to prevent them from doing so. Privacy protection and services should be built into the package. Beware of anyone who tries to levy addiitonal charges to protect your data. Similarly, walk away from any registrar whose policy does not include an agreement to never sell, rent or loan your personal data in any way whatsoever.


Who Owns The Name?

Crafty registrars will file their company details when they register the name instead of yours. In some cases, they might even offer to do so as a special favor intended to “protect your privacy”. Don’t fall for it, this gives them clandestine ownership of ypour domain. In an extreme case it could allow them to pull it from you and sell it to someone who comes along in the future with a better offer. 

These tips for buying a domain name will help you find one that fits your business, can be protected and will stand the test of time. One more thing, there’s always the possibility of buying someone out if they’re sitting on the ideal name for your business. 

Make an offer; it might go well for you.