Before you press “Buy Now” on that domain name, you should take some time to do a bit of research to save yourself (or your business) a lot of money and time. In the article below, I outline 14 things you must know before you buy a domain name – only fourteen items. If you were going to buy a brick-and-mortar retail shop, you would go through hundreds of checks. You would most likely hire a real estate agent, your bank would hire attorneys to draw up the documents, and hire a title company to do their due diligence to verify the property was free and clear. There would be inspections and paperwork – and when it was all done, you probably would own a good piece of property that you paid market value for. Better, you could resale that property at some point in the future for the same or an increased amount. Thankfully, buying a domain name is much less combersome, but there are 14 things you must know before you buy a domain name. Failure to do these 14 things could result in litigation, loss of your newly purchased domain name, or damage to your reputation and brand. If you’re not familiar with terminology associated with a domain name and its full URL, you can brush up on your terminology on this in-depth analysis of understanding URLs here.
Be certain whoever you’re buying the domain name from is the person who owns it. It’s not an uncommon practice for someone to hijack a domain name and attempt to sale it. Domain names can be stolen and resold if buyers don’t do their due diligence. If you purchase a stolen domain name, you may lose your domain name and find yourself or business involved in litigation. It’s best practice to contact the current owner to verify they’re aware their domain is for sale. If something seems too good to be true, remember that it usually is.
Spammers will sometimes utilize domains to send their spam emails. if they have used yourDomainName.com in the past, that domain maybe blacklisted, which could result in email sent from your brand new website from being rejected or marked as spam.
You and your employees will tell your customers to visit your website, then there ‘s the repetition of giving out your email address, which of course contains your domain name. The best domain names don’t require special instructions; yourDomainName.com is great, urDomainName3.com means you’ll have to spell it every. single. time. This will become a real headache, and you will be reminded of a failure to think about this multiple times a day, and will long for the day you can buy your perfect domain name.
historical website information
If you’re buying a domain name that has ever had a website on it, you may want to consider previous uses and how that could impact your business. For example, if the domain name you really want for your business has been an adult website in the past, you may find yourself attracting the wrong type of customers to your website. Likewise, if the previous website hosted Malware or contained content that may have been blocked by some website blocking software, then your website may very well be blocked as well. Think in context to your (intended) customers – if you’re going to host a website that is going to be used in schools – schools have expensive content blocking software installed – so your website could be blocked from your potential customers or users.
Examine all combinations of upper & lower case letters
What does your domain name look like in all lowercase, all uppercase, and a mixture of upper and lower case? There’s the case of the psychologist who thought she scored the perfect domain name, therapist.com. To her dismay, she realized that once she paid a hefty sum for the domain name, it could also be TheRapist.com. Examine all combination of upper/lower case for your domain name carefully.
Other Top level domains
Examine all available TLDs available for registration or purchase, and TLDs that are already registered/owned that may have websites already on them. There are over 2,000 Top Level Domains – the most common and well-known happen to be .com, .net, and .org, but there are some new trending TLDs like .io or .club that are finding niches. If you have a tech start-up, you probably would not want to purchase yourDomainName.com only to discover a competitor already has an established presence at yourDomainName.io.
similar domain names
YourDomainName.com may be a great domain name – and you need to consider existing domains that are existing websites or may become websites in the future. Consider examining your domain name with prefixes and suffixes or other words before or after your domain name of choice. Examples could be TheYourDomainName.com and aYourDomainName.com and YourDomainNamex.com
Typo domain names
Consider common misspellings of keywords in yourDomainName.com. Common examples include transposing letters in any part of your domain name, a prime example is yourDomianName.com – often typos are just two letters interchanged. Once you’ve identified common typo-domain-names, search and determine if these domain names are registered, and if they are, are there websites already present? If the domain name is for sale, you may want to consider purchasing this domain to prevent someone from harvesting your users. By doing this, you can redirect users to your website seamlessly.
Singular and plural versions
Consider the singular and plural version of your domain name, for example yourDomainNames.com, yourDomainedName.com, or yourDomainNamed.com. Once again, search and determine if these domain names are registered, and if they are, are there websites already present? If the domain name is for sale, you may want to consider purchasing this domain to prevent someone from harvesting your users.
Transposing Key Words
Extract the keywords for your domain name, in the example we’ve been providing
yourDomainName.com – the keywords are
your domain and
name. Consider all of the possible combinations and determine if there are active websites or perhaps future websites out there. DomainNameYour.com, NameYourDomain.com, DomainYourName.com are all examples. Again, search and determine if these domain names are registered, and if they are, are there websites already present? If the domain name is for sale, you may want to consider purchasing this domain to prevent someone from harvesting your users.
internet search results for your full domain name
This is a simple test that many simply forget – it takes less than five minutes and can prevent some headaches. Go to google.com and enter your entire domain name, including TLD
yourDomainName.com. You may learn something about your domain name you haven’t even considered. BobsTires.com maybe synonymous with great brand name tires at a fair price in your town, but BobbTires.com might be a popular online game which already dominates google search results. This could mean it will be a tougher battle to get your domain listed high in the search listings. You may also consider searching other search engines, such as Yahoo! and Bing for their results.
internet search results for keywords
Go to google.com and search for
yourDomainName – exclude the TLD. You can expand this search by spacing out the key words, such as
Your Domain Name. You could learn something else about your domain name you haven’t even considered. Bob’s Tires may be synonymous with great brand name tires at a fair price in your town, but Bob Tyres may be a famous Raggae singer who has worldwide appeal. Again, this could hinder your ability to have your website return results high on the first page of Google. You may also consider searching other search engines, such as Yahoo! and Bing for their results.
Social Media availability
Whatever the nature of your business, social media marketing will likely play a large role – and at a minimum, your customers will search for your brand on social media. List all social media platforms you’re interested in utilizing now and in the future to determine if the name is available. In the example we’ve been using, this would be
Website traffic statistics if available
The benefit to buying a domain that people are already searching for include saving you time, money and effort. If people are typing in your domain name, this means they’re looking for a specific product or service they associate with this domain already. This especially applies if your domain name is related to the nature of your business – for example, TirePros.com may already have users searching to buy tires for their vehicles – if you own a tire shop, you already have customers waiting for you at your new website.
The great news is that doing your due diligence by going through each step of the 14 things you must know about domain names, you will discover more questions. After a diligent search, you can rest assured the domain name of your dreams becomes just that. Good luck in your hunt for that perfect domain name, and feel free to reach out to me with any questions. You can view an example of our domain analysis offered at Jason Of Florida.
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