You know you need a domain name/URL (Uniform Resource Locator); they are the same thing. But like with everything else, it’s more complicated than it looks. Your URL is the key to online business success, but there are a few secrets to getting the domain/URL you need.
Business Name & URL Match
You need the .com URL that matches your business name. The only time to consider a country level domain such as .us or .co.uk is when your customers are only from one country. Forget any other domain extension.
Don’t buy a URL with a hyphen (-), underscore (_) or number (1, 2, 3, or one, two, three, etc.).
Try to include one keyword in your business name and URL. If you sell kangaroos, then ensure the word ‘kangaroos’ is in your domain name. This article on Hook Agency gives help in choosing suitable keywords.
Outwit the Domain Thieves
Some domain selling companies have public URL searches. When you search for a domain, others can see your search and can buy the domain you wanted unless you act quickly and complete the purchase.
This happens even with unlikely URLs such as JoeMcKrackenofKaterlossGrocers.com. The buyer has done nothing illegal; he doesn’t want the domain except to sell on at a higher price. The original price might have been $10, but he will only sell it to you for $200.
There are three ways to outwit the ‘thieves;’ use a reputable domain seller, come back in 6 days’ time or complete your purchase immediately after your first search.
Reputable sellers keep your domain search private.
The ‘thieves’ buy the domain from a company that offers a five-day return policy. If they fail in their ‘blackmail’ attempts, they return the domain to the seller and get their money back, hence the logic behind trying again in six days.
Reputable Domain Seller
When you buy a domain, you need a trustworthy domain seller. That way you avoid the scams, tricks, and unexpected extra costs.
LCN (see screenshot above) is one of the most respected domain name sellers, and you get a lot of extras like domain name privacy included for free. The free email with every domain you buy is another unusual feature and makes it simple to send messages from a business email address.
LCN has excellent anti-abuse and privacy policies that guarantee the privacy of your URL search, so nobody knows you are looking for that domain, meaning you are not going to be blackmailed into paying ten times the original price for the web address you want.
Misspelled Domain Names
Check, recheck and get someone else to check the spelling of any domain name you search for, before paying. It is too easy to add an extra ‘s’ to a word with a double ‘ss’ and not notice it.
Domain Name Unavailable
Many times the domain name you first search for has been registered by someone else. That person often has no website and is ‘sitting on’ the domain in the hope of selling it for thousands of dollars.
You have two solutions:
- Negotiate with the domain sitter
- Choose another domain name
Most people view domain sitters as parasites on the system and refuse to reward their behavior. There are always alternative names available, even though they may be less than perfect.
Occasionally you will be able to pick up a domain at an auction site such as Flippa.com, but beware paying more than the domain is worth because many bids will be from people who intend to sit on the address for a few years and then to auction it off again.
The Short Version
You can get the URL you want or something very similar to it for $10 or the equivalent in your own currency. You must use a domain seller that uses a private search facility to prevent would-be domain sitters attempting to blackmail you into paying twenty times the original price.
Watch out for hidden extras such as domain name privacy that withholds your information from public databases, but most of all look at the reputation of your chosen domain seller.