The number one piece of the puzzle when building an online business is, of course, starting the website itself. Within this puzzle piece there are many moving parts, such as hosting the domain, creating landing pages and squeeze pages, creating each page of content… the list seems never ending.
But one incredibly important part of the puzzle is finding and purchasing the domain name. During the brand creation process, you probably brainstormed some ideas as to what you’d like to call your products, and what you’d like to name the overall brand. Now you have to translate that into a memorable website domain.
What’s In a Domain Name?
Ideally, every online business owner would be able to easily register their website a “the-name-of-their-star-product.com” or at least “the-name-of-our-LLC.com”. However, there are many, many savvy prospective business owners out there, and someone may have beaten you to the punch.
If you can’t choose the most obvious domain name, then what should you choose?
The good news is that you don’t have to be a creative mastermind to work out this unfortunate kink in the process. If you are out of ideas, you can use the NameCheap domain registration tool, designed to help you pick out and purchase the perfect domain for your website.
Researching the best Domain for your site
The steps to get you from “I have a great idea for a website” to “I just purchased my own domain” are pretty simple and easy to follow. We’ll start at NameCheap’s Advanced Domain Name Search page.
Here, you’ll find a handy search feature, known as Beast Mode.
The first step is to enter as many keywords as you feel appropriately describe your business. You’ll want to make sure that these are keywords that you will be using within the site to describe your business, product, and services, and not merely adjacent words that seem to fit the theme.
Remember, this is your website you are creating. Your empire depends on you choosing the right phrases to stand for your business today and for the rest of forever!
You’ll also enter your desired price range. NameCheap deals in both new and reselling domain names, so while the search may turn up available domain names, they may be on the resale market for a premium (in case the domain you search are already taken).
Setting your budget ensures you don’t blow your entire start up capital on a domain name.
Refining your domain search parameters
The good news is that Beast Mode includes a button that will hide Premium domain names (1) to eliminate this temptation. There’s also a button to hide names that are taken (2), to help you avoid heartache or battle.
There’s also the option to allow for variations on your domain name. Domain Hacks (3) will splice words and phrases together to piece together a shorter domain name. An example of this would be “Inter.net” or “rom.com”. Drop Last Vowel (4) removes the last vowel from a prospective domain name, so if you were looking for a website for your candle business, you might see candl.net as an option.
The TLDs are listed at the right of the screen (5). You may be adamant about having a .com domain, so be sure to click on that option. You may want an international TLD, which can be chosen here, as well.
The most common TLDs, .com, .net, .org, .dev, .app, .co, .co.uk, .ai, and .ca are all base priced at different levels, so you might want to shop around the options. You can click on as many of these as you wish, or choose “Select All”.
As Beast Mode pulls up the options based on your search parameters, you may see a few options that tempt you.
You might even feel compelled to snatch up several domain names that are very close to your preferred option in order to keep them from the competition. The good news is that NameCheap will allow you to register up to 50 domain names at a time, so if your budget permits, shop away!
The Next Steps
Once you’ve entered all of the search parameters, NameCheap’s Beast Mode will pull together a list of potential options. We recommend taking a look at all of the options provided, then refining your search.
As you read the list, you may realize that some of the potential domain names have nothing to do with your business, so take the time to change your keywords.
It’s best to not be in a rush when working through this process, because you are building your brand, after all. You want to make sure that you choose a domain name that people will be able to remember, that people will be able to spell, and that doesn’t oversell or undersell your business. It’s also a great idea to choose something that can be turned into a logo!
As you look at the options provided by Beast Mode, you’ll notice some flags next to them, as well as the prices. If there’s an “Add to Cart” button, that means the domain name is available, and you can swipe it up immediately.
Other flags include “Special”, which means the pricing on that name is currently part of a promotion, and “Premium”, which indicates it’s a high value or resale domain. Another flag will say “Taken”, unless you have turned off that search option. Some “Taken” names will have a “Make Offer” button next to them, which means the owner is willing to entertain negotiations on the name.
Purchasing the Domain Name
The process of choosing your domain name is as simple as clicking “Add to Cart”. There will be a few steps to follow after this to finalize the purchase. You’ll need to create a NameCheap account, which you’ll be guided through step by step.
First, bear in mind that ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, charges a mandatory annual fee for the registration, transfer, or renewal of certain TLD domain names. This is currently around 18 cents (American currency). And a typical new domain name can cost around $8-$15 (American currency).
Additionally, WhoisGuard is included free with many of the available domains on NameCheap. You’ll be asked to walk through the registration process, which is a simple process to add privacy protection to your new domain with your contact information.
Gearing up for starting your online business is always an exciting and sometimes stressful process; however, sites like NameCheap make the process of buying a domain name as straightforward as possible.
While we definitely recommend taking your time and carefully choosing a domain name, NameCheap’s Beast Mode makes it simple to narrow down and refine your potential business website name into the perfect .com, .net, or .org for you!
How to Resell a Domain Name
There are plenty of reasons to buy a domain name, and just as many reasons to sell a domain name you might currently have registered.
You may have snatched up as many potential domain names as you could gather in the early stages of planning your business: after all, many of them can be had at a bargain rate.
As your business plan progresses, perhaps you find that none of these domains have nothing to do with your goals, and it makes less and less sense to hold onto them.
On the other hand, perhaps you’re interested in the business of buying and selling domains (yes, it’s a thing!). Regardless of your intentions or motivations, you’re going to need to be careful when reselling a domain name to ensure you get the best value!
The process of reselling a Domain
The process of listing a domain for sale can be as simple as a few clicks of the mouse, if you choose to use a site like NameCheap to manage all of your domain names.
With NameCheap, the process is as simple as logging into your account and following a few prompts. You’ll select the domain name from your list, and click “Manage”.
From here, you’ll have the option to “Sell Domain”. You’ll be asked to enter the price you’d like for the name, as well as the number of days you’d like it to appear on the marketplace.
NameCheap does charge a 10% commission for the sales transaction, but the process is very straightforward, friendly, and requires minimum interaction from you as the seller. You can contact customer service for a bulk sale, or change the asking price at any time.
The other option, of course, is to do it all yourself. In this case, you’ll need to come up with a price, and market your domain the same way you market your own business.
Many experts even recommend coming up with a landing page for your domain, so that prospective buyers can see how it might look. This process is very much like staging a house for sale, and requires time, energy, and money. For many business owners, the idea of staging and marketing a landing page for an unused domain at the same time as working their own brand is a daunting and relentless task, making the third party vendor seem much more attractive.
You may also wish to offer your domain for sale through various sites. NameCheap is just one example of a reputable marketplace; you may also wish to list your domain name on sites like Afternic, BrandBucket, Godaddy, and Sedo, just to name a few.
What Is My Domain Worth?
Great question, and the answer is: it’s hard to tell. There are actually sites, such as NameBio, that can help you appraise your domain name. Professional domain appraisers are extremely familiar with the website market, and will be able to quantitatively evaluate the fair market value of your domain.
At this point, you may be thinking back to when you bought the domain. Perhaps it cost a few dollars. Do domain names appreciate? The short answer is yes, they can.
The first thing to bear in mind is what TLD, or Top Level Domain, your name has. .com domains are highly desireable, as they’re easier to remember, and frequently, we type “.com” without thinking. Other TLDs, such as .net may be less expensive, while others, like .security, can be very pricey. As previously written, a typical new domain name can cost around $8-$15 (American currency), but there are reasons why some might fetch an even higher dollar value.
Factors determining the Domain Name pricing
One factor that impacts domain value is the length and keywords. As you can imagine, a very simple domain name, such as “socks.com” would be highly coveted, while “blackandgreyargylesockswithalittleyellowstripearoundthetoe.com” would be memorable only because of its ridiculousness and the many errors users make while trying to type in all of the words (with all due respect to socks that match this description!).
Having a domain name that includes popular keywords and has high brandability is also going to impact the value. Names that are descriptive, yet unique, clever, yet credible, and brief, yet memorable, are going to perform well on the market.
Of course, that depends on your niche. Before you send your domain name to the market, you may want to step back and do some research.
Is Anyone Going to Buy My Domain Name?
This is the moment of truth, so to speak. You can have a truly fantastic domain name, but it might not sell if no one is doing business in that niche at the moment. We realize we just told you that unique and specific domain names are highly attractive to buyers, but let’s stop back a moment to examine the world of retail.
There is such thing as too specific. If the domain name describes a single object in every possible way, it may not work for any other business. Additionally, if the domain name you’re selling is very, very close to another highly popular domain, some business owners may avoid it. Can you still list it for sale? Absolutely!
If you’re selling a domain name, it’s important to be patient throughout the process. While listing a domain name for sale via a service like NameCheap can be an incredibly easy process, you may have to wait awhile for someone to want to buy it.
Some considerations about selling Domains
There are individuals out there who make a living out of buying and selling domain names; however, these are clearly very motivated individuals with a detailed knowledge of the marketplace.
For the average person who happens to have a spare domain or two on their hands, it may be much easier to let the professionals do the hard work and list it on a marketplace like the one NameCheap is offering.
Before you get started, have your domain name appraised, to ensure you get the right price for your site. Be patient with your timeline, and try not to fret if the awaiting public doesn’t immediate snatch up the available site.
After all, it does take awhile to build a successful business!