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Every Business Should Know These 6 Things About Buying Domains

Updated on December 31, 2019
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Buying the domain name for your business is a key step to being available to your customers. The process, however, has some potential pitfalls that you should know about in advance. Take a look at the vital factors you need to know about buying your domain name.


1. Not All Domain Brokers Are the Same

It's always tempting to go with the domain broker, or registrar, that offers the lowest rates. But read the fine print. That low rate could be a promotional price that locks you into an unacceptably higher rate when it expires. Your contract could also require you to pay all sorts of hidden costs, accept bundles of services you'll never use, or tack add-ons (such as domain extensions no one uses) for extra fees.

And what happens if you want to transfer your domain name to another registrar sometime in the future? Some domain brokers make it exceptionally difficult to do so, and some even charge fees (a no-no among those following standard protocol).

Also check to make sure your domain registrar isn't charging you to edit your domain name in the RDAP and WHOIS directories, which are public and allow free editing.


2. The .com Extension Is the Only One You Really Need

When you head to a website you've never visited before, what do you assume the extension is? Your answer is ".com," right?

If you're trying to protect your trademark or fend off a competitor, you can buy .net, .org, and .co extensions if you want to feel a sense of insurance, and then redirect visitors back to your .com home page. But for the most part, the only extension that counts is .com. Which means that's really the only one you have to buy.


3. You Might Be Able to Get the Domain Name You Want, Even If Someone Already Owns It

If you do your research and discover that someone already owns the domain name that you want, don't despair. You may be able to buy it anyway.

Do a little research to find out if the entity that owns "your" domain name is actually using it. In some cases, individuals buy up domain names as investments, ready to make a deal when someone comes along wanting that name. When you do your research, check to see how many domain names that person owns. If the number runs into the hundreds or even thousands, you're probably dealing with someone happy to make a deal.

A little extra research will show you what price was paid for similar domain names in the recent past. That'll let you know what kind of offer to make. Email the domain name owner, and see if you can make a deal. Of course, if the domain name is owned by a major company, you may need to start thinking about new names.


4. Your Domain Broker Should Be Transparent About, Well, Everything

Got a question about pricing? Your domain broker should answer it without any hemming and hawing. You should be able to find out the process for canceling your domain registration or transferring it to another registrar easily. All the terms of service should be clear, including your renewal rates. If you feel you're not getting the answers you want, move on.


5. It's Possible to Buy Your Domain Name for Multiple Years at a Time — and it's a Good Idea

A lot of people think of domain name renewal as something to take care of once a year, just like their business license or their taxes. But the penalty for missing the renewal of your domain name registration could be far worse than paying a penalty and interest.

If you let your domain name lapse and someone else buys it, you could lose your entire mailing list, your ability to conduct online sales, and more. To avoid this predicament, consider buying several years of registration up front, or set up automatic payment to make sure you never miss a renewal (just make sure your credit card doesn't expire).


6. The Right Domain Name Is Worth the Price

If someone already owns the domain name you wait, it's tempting to try to manufacture a name that's close. For example, say you want to buy the domain name FarmToTable.com, but you find that someone owns it. You might toy with the idea of going with Farm-to-Table.com or Farm2table.com. Avoid the temptation!

Internet users don't like hyphens in domain names, and you're likely to lose potential customers if you have a number in your name. Instead, negotiate for the name you really want.

Making smart decisions about your domain name can boost your business to the next level. Use these tips to guide you when buying your domain name.

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