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How to Buy a Domain Name (do’s and don’ts)

How to Buy a Domain Name (do’s and don’ts)

This video will help to explain what sort of options there are when deciding on a domain name, what makes a good domain name and some of the pitfalls to watch out for.

This page contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission if you purchase something using one of my links. I recommend NameCheap for domain names, and I use and recommend SiteGround for website hosting.  

Hello, I’m Lynda from Scullywag Services and I want to help you get your small business online

So you’ve decided to create a website, that’s fantastic.

Now you need to decide on your domain name. What’s a domain name? How do you decided on what makes a good domain name? What are the pitfalls? Stick around, I’ll tell you all about it.  

So, a domain name is just your website address, also known as a URL. For example, mine is scullywag.com. Someone types in scullywag.com – bang – it goes to my website. 

So what’s your domain name going to be?

If you have a business registered, or you know what you want to call your (website or) domain name, it makes sense to go with that. Otherwise there’s a few other options.

Try to keep it short and sweet. For this reason they often recommend that you don’t use hyphens or numbers if possible.

Some people decide to use their own name, to make it a personal brand. This works particularly well for people who are offering a very personal service or product, particularly artists, writers, musicians.

Another option is to try to include keywords in your domain name. For example if you’re a butcher you might try to get the word butcher into that domain name. Or if you’re servicing a certain area, so let’s say you’re servicing the greater Brisbane area, you might try to get Brisbane into that domain name.

And then there’s country domain names. Usually if you’re using a country domain name you need to have a business registered in that country. For example dot.com.au is the australian one. So if I chose to, I could have dot.com.au for mine. However I find that most of my business is from people overseas, so I’ve decided to stick with just dot.com. That’s not to say that I couldn’t have bought the dot.com.au domain as well. Some people choose to buy both, and that’s fine, it’s a personal decision.

Which brings me to another point. Sometimes you’ll be lucky enough; you’ll snag that dot.com that you wanted, but the hosts, the domain registrar will try to get you to buy the dot.net., dot.org and maybe a few other options as well.

If you want them – go for them, but don’t feel like you have to. The majority of the time your first choice and perhaps your country domain should be enough.

One thing you do need to watch out for when you do register a domain name, is that you do do it through a reputable company. It’s not very common anymore, I don’t believe, but there are companies out there, you put in your domain name (and find that it is available), you go to buy it and (suddenly) it’s been purchased.

Now you could be extremely unlucky and somebody else just happened to do it (purchase it), but what’s more likely, is that company has actually registered it. They can’t sell it to you for another 60 days because of the rules that ICAAN, the organization that looks after domain names, has set in place. They can’t resell it for 60 days, but the point is once it’s theirs, it’s theirs, and they can resell it for what they want.

So instead of paying maybe $17 American for that domain name, you might be up for a couple of hundred. Personally, if that was me, I’d be just like “no thanks!”.  I’d be going elsewhere and buying another version of that domain name.

Then we have free domain names. 98% of the time this is going to be completely aboveboard. It’s a website hosting company or website designer who’s offering a free domain name. It’s not actually free, it’s built into the cost, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But what you do want to do, is make sure that it’s your name that’s going down as the owner of the domain name.

There’s several different options that you have there. You might want to have them down as a contact – the admin contact or the technical contact, but you should be down as the owner. There have been cases when people have been given a free domain name and then when they’ve gone to move their services or their website they’ve run into problems because it’s not registered in their name. Whoever gave them the free domain name has registered it in their name and again they have you over a barrel and they can charge you whatever they like to transfer that over to you.

So just a couple of things to be aware of and that’s about it. So I hope you found that informative. If you did, please feel free to like, share or subscribe, and I look forward to talking to you next time when we discuss website hosting.

If you do not already have a domain name, you will need to purchase one. A domain name is your website address, or URL (Uniform Resource Locator). For example, mine is www.scullywag.com.

Some things to consider when deciding on a domain name:

  • Short and memorable works best.
  • Numbers and hyphens can make it confusing for people to remember.
  • If you have a business name already, it makes sense to use that or a variation of it.
  • Some use their own name, and craft a personal brand that way.
  • Some incorporate their business or industry keywords into a domain name.
  • Some come up with a brand name unique to them.
  • Be careful of infringing on other brands, copyrights and trademarks.

What type of domain names are available:

  • Top level domain names like, .com, .net and .org are very popular
  • There are many other variations such as .info, .biz, .photo,.nyc, .sydney
  • There are also country specific domain names (.com.au, .co.uk etc)
  • You may need to have a business registered in the relevant country for some country specific domain names.
  • In most cases you will not need to buy up a whole group of domain names. Unless you are worried about a competitor buying domain names similar to yours, your first choice and perhaps your country specific domain name should be enough.

Things to be aware of when purchasing a domain name:

  • ICAAN requires you to verify your email address that you used to purchase the domain name within two weeks, or they will suspend the domain name. You can ask for another verification email to be sent if you forget and it will remove the suspension.
  • Be careful where you search for domain name availability. Some unscrupulous domain name resellers have been said to automatically register a domain name after you search for it. The idea is that you will then be prepared to pay them a substantial amount to have them sell it to you.
  • This is less likely to occur these days as the organization in charge of domain name, ICAAN, has ruled that a domain name cannot be transferred for 60 days after it is initially registered or transferred.
  • Sometimes companies will offer you a free domain name when you sign up for other services. You need to make sure that your name is listed as the registrant ( you may wish to have them listed as the admin or technical contact). If you are not listed as the registrant, you have no proof that the domain belongs to you.

Domain are relatively inexpensive, and you can expect to pay about $17 a year for a .com domain name. When you first register a domain name, it may be a bit cheaper, but you are likely to pay closer to $17 when you renew.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me to discuss this further.

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