There are many variables to consider when purchasing your domain name. Here isÂ the list that will help you make some solid choices out of the gate:
- Of course you want to purchase your company name. You want to use this domain name on your business cards, profiles, signatures and other collateral to build your brand. Depending on the products and/or services you offer, you will want the extension to make sense for your company.
.com is for commercial sites
.org is for non profit companies
.net if for technology companies
.edu is for schools
.gov is only available for government agencies
.us is forÂ entities in the United States
.uk is forÂ entities in the United Kingdom
.aus is for entities in Australia
There are some extensions that have been introduced more recently:
.biz, .co, .guru, .online, .life, .today, .solutions, .io, .work, .company, .center, .tips, .directory, .marketing, etc.
The good news is that these top level domains create more options for you, if the .com is not available, but the bad news is they are not recognized by many organizations yet, so if you purchase them, be prepared to repeat yourself and to use an alternate email address if ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ isn’t accepted.
- If you have a group of people you can ask about your domain names, it is always a good idea to get suggestions, especially if they are employees, investors or stakeholders.
Once you have purchased your company name you will also want to purchase a couple domain names that the search engines will pick up faster, for those people who are searching for your products or services, who do not know your name.Â
- 80% of Google searches are hyper local searches for the products and services people need everyday. Don’t miss out on these searches. It’s similar to the strategies many companies used to get more attention in the yellow pages. Do you remember “AAA Plumbing?”
Domain names areÂ fairly inexpensive, so purchasing a couple is an excellent strategy. Here is the low down on pricing for domain names:
- They are usually less than $20/year
- It is recommended to buy them for more than one year because the search engines take in to account how long you own the domain name in their algorithms. For your brand and your tried-and-true services, you may want to buy the names for two, fiveÂ or up to ten years. For your experimental domains or domains that are purchased for short campaigns, you can purchase them for 1 or 2 years. You can buy more years later if you think those trends will last longer.
- When you purchase a domain, your name and contact information is made public as the owner of that domain. Some of my clients have noticed they get calls from solicitors selling web design and other web-related services, so if you want your information to be private, you will have to pay $8-12.
- Sometimes,Â domain namesÂ have been purchased by another entity and are for sale by that entity. If you are set on purchasing that domain, it could cost $50 or more. If the keywords in these domains are very good keywords, it might be worth it to buy them. Most of the time, the price of these domains goes back down to less than $20/year after the first year.
- You will likely only need email addresses associated with one of your domain names, most likely your brand name. It used to be that one email address was free (from most hosting companies), but now, email addresses are about $5 per month per email address. You can get them for as little as $4/address, if you purchase the whole year verses paying month-by-month. This price fluctuates from host to host. Some hosts don’t provide email at all. If you need to consider security like HIPAA, you will likely pay even more. MDofficemail (www.mdofficemail.com) provides this service for a very reasonable price. In my limited experience, they also provide solid customer service and technical support.
- If you need an SSL certificate, this will also add to the cost of your domain names. The search engines definitely give more consideration to sites that have SSL certification. SSL stands for secure sockets layer.Â If you are planning on taking contact information on your site or payments for your products/services on your site, you definitely should purchase it, not only for the search engine clout, but also for your visitors’ peace of mind. SSL certificates are usually around $60/year. You can’t buy themÂ for shorter periods of time. The good news about SSL is that you only need to purchase it for the main website. It doesn’t need to be purchased for any domains that will be forwarded to the main site. If you are using an e-commerce platform like Shopify, they should include the SSL with your package, but ask to make sure.
- You also have the option of purchasing all the top level domains that include your brand, i.e. yourbrand.com, yourbrand.co, yourbrand.biz, yourbrand.io, yourbrand.us, yourbrand.org (if you are a non-profit), yourbrand.net. Some businesses choose to do this to protect their brand. We don’t recommend this at all cost, but if our clients want to do this, it’s not a bad idea as long as they want to continue paying for these domains and all associated costs. Sometimes there is a package deal for several related domain names.
As your industry changes, it’s an excellent idea to purchase trending keyword domains. You could have a website for 5 years and buy a new domain that you forward to a new page on your site. Be listening to your customers and your partners and vendors for trends. If you catch a trend at it’s infancy, the search engines will find you to be an authority on that trend and you will ride that wave through out the life cycle of the trend. Sometimes trends are so close to you that you don’t see that they are highly searched terms, so think about what your customers are asking and capitalize on your knowledge of those subjects. I use Google Keyword Planner to find out what is trending, because my own guesses aren’t usually accurate.
- If you would like to talk through any of this, reach out to us. We can arrange a domain strategy session: email@example.com.
My suggestion for your minimal investment isÂ $176: Two domain names for two yearsÂ at $40 per domain name, one email address at $36/yearÂ and one SSL certificate at $60.
Chris GiarratanaDecember 12, 2017
Great information about the power of buying domains. I buy domains for my clients as both a defensive and offensive strategy. We just finished a large purchase, and it was spendy… but it is a great way to corner a market.
Also, as you buy domains you prevent your competition from gaining that property, but you also gain opportunity to rank microsites. That way, clients can have their primary site ranking, and then keyword-specific microsites using niche domains that can also increase SERP ranking. This further drives competition down on SERPs. Great read!
terilc94April 8, 2018
Thank you for sharing some of your domain strategies! You are right about keeping the competition from buying them. Once they are taken it’s close to impossible to purchase them from another buyer. For small business owners, the domain name purchase decision can make a big difference!
Keep up the great work for your clients!