Domains for startups archives – domain name wire
Here’s a quick guide to selecting a domain name for your new business.
In 2007, I presented to a Bootstrap Austin group about choosing a domain for their business. Much has changed since then. (I recommended people to use Moniker back then!)
Here’s an updated cheat sheet for startups selecting a domain when starting a business.
Rules to follow when selecting a domain
- Never use a hyphen
- Never misspell a word or omit vowels
- If your domain includes a number, try to acquire spelled versions as well (and vice versa)
- If you choose a domain extension other than .com, understand the compromise you are making. There will be some confusion that you will have to overcome.
Word of mouth is still important for most websites. If someone hears your domain name, will they know how to spell it and be able to remember it?
Buy a domain taken
Just because a domain name is already registered doesn’t mean you can’t acquire it. Many domain names are offered for sale and sometimes domains that are not can be acquired.
You’ve probably heard of domains being sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars. Don’t let that deter you. These sales are the exception and not the rule. Many domains that could be good for your business sell for between $ 1,000 and $ 5,000. It’s not a lot of money for your digital presence. Think of it as a marketing cost that is amortized over the life of your business. (Some domain sellers will even let you pay for the domain over time.)
To find out if a domain is for sale, type it into your browser to see if there is a “for sale” message or search for the domain at whois.DomainTools.com. DomainTools will show you if it is listed on a major market.
If the domain is not for sale, it can be difficult to know who owns it. Ownership information was previously public in the Whois database, but most registrars now block this information. However, registrars should provide you with a way to contact a domain owner, usually through a form on their website. So find out where the domain is registered using Whois and find the Whois contact form on the registrar’s website.
If you’re not buying the domain through a marketplace, consider using a service like Escrow.com to protect the transaction.
If the domain you want will expire soon, don’t think you’ll be able to register it after it expires. Almost all expiring domains are now offered for auction on GoDaddy or NameJet (depending on where they are registered). If the domain is good, someone else will buy it. You must participate in these auctions if you want to obtain the domain.
Where to register domains
I register my domains with GoDaddy, but they offer bundled discounts to bundled domain owners like me. If you’re just registering a domain or two, I generally recommend PorkBun or Dynadot. PorkBun has a simple pricing structure of around a dollar (plus credit card fees) compared to a domain’s wholesale price, so you don’t have to research the price. Dynadot also offers good prices.
Be careful. Once you have registered a domain name, beware of the domain rating scam and the Chinese brand scam.
Resources for finding and buying domains / learn more
NameBio.com – see how many domains have been sold
Afternic.com – marketplace
Sedo.com – marketplace
HowMuchIsADomainNameWorth.com – quick overview of domain values
LeanDomainSearch.com – name spinner to find available domains. He is not always reliable about availability but makes good suggestions.