December 5, 2020

Domain Names

Learn about domain names, what are domain names, where to buy domain names and more.

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Introduction to Domain Names

In this lesson, you will learn everything you need to know about domain names. This includes an in-depth lesson on what a domain name is, how to choose the right domain name, where to buy domain names, and even how to sell domain names for a profit.

Table of Contents

What is a Domain Name

Domain names are easy to remember names such a webdesignworld.com that are more user friendly than the internet protocol (IP) address for example 146.197.184.71 which is the IP address for Nike. It is much easier to remember Nike than that random set of numbers.
 
Every computer on the internet is assigned an IP address. Think of these addresses like street addresses, they allow search engines the ability to find your web pages located on your website hosting server.
 
There is a system called the domain name system (DNS) that matches the easy to remember domain name you purchased to the appropriate IP address, which makes it so much easier for your website visitor to find your website. The DNS works like your phone, most of do not remember phone numbers to our contacts, we create a contact name on our phone. When you press on that contact name, the phone number is automatically dialed. Domain names work the same way, the DNS maintains a list of domain names associate with an IP address and automatically routes website visitors to the correct place on the internet when the domain name is entered into the web browser.
 
The DNS is managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN is made up of thousands of volunteers to help ensure the DNS is up to date.
 
Top-level domains (TLD) are domain names with a .com, .org., .net and so many more. There are over 1,000 TLDs on the market today.
 
Country specific domains are .uk, .nz, domains that specifically point to a country.
 
Categorical specific domains are becoming more and more popular. These are domains like .photography, .website, .flowers. These are still top-level domains, but the .com is still the most popular TLD you can get. These types of TLDs are still new and website visitors have not grown accustomed to them yet and will most likely enter a .com versus the new TLD you may purchase.

How to Choose a Domain Name

The domain name you choose will become part of your brand. It’s important that you choose a domain name that’s easy to remember and brandable.

Brandable

Your domain name should be brandable in a way that when your website grows and becomes more popular, your brand is easy to remember. WebDesignWorld is pretty brandable, maybe some other examples could be webplanet, webthinkers, or weblearners.

Spelling

Make sure it is an easy to spell domain name. Do not buy a domain name this is something like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, it was great in Mary Poppins, but not as a domain name. A lot of the great domain names are gone, so you have to get creative, but let’s not overdo it.

Do not use hyphens in your domain name, avoid numbers if you can unless it makes sense. This is a no-no. Hyphens are hard to remember for website visitors and they may leave it out and end up on the wrong website. You do not want to let someone else get your hard-earned traffic, so make sure someone can’t make a mistake and type in the wrong address.

Short and Sweet

Choose a domain name that is as short as possible without losing the intent of the brand. The max amount of characters in a domain name is 63 characters left of the .com or whatever TLD you chose. You can have up to 255 characters in a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), an example of this is hosting.seo.webdesignworld.com. SEO would be the subdomain, hosting would be the hostname.

The better idea is to make your domain as short as you can, so webdesign would be a great solution if it were available. I chose webdesignworld, but you can choose something for your brand that would be even shorter than that.

Currently, a .com is the best TLD to get if you can find the right one. When you do decide on a domain name, consider buying the .net and .org to protect your brand. This helps prevent people from swooping in and taking over what you worked hard to create.

Avoid getting a domain name with a protected brand in the name that has been copyrighted or trademarked. For example, do not get something like nikeshoes.com when you know this infringes upon a protected brand. In the web design industry, I see a lot of people buy domain names like wpdeveloper which is related to WordPress. I’m not a lawyer, but a domain name like that is probably ok. Speaking of lawyers, feel free to have your domain idea reviewed by a lawyer for possible copyright or trademark violations.

Keyword-rich domain names do not work as they used to and search engines are going deeper than the domain name for relevance. So, do not think you need to by a keyword-rich domain name to be successful. Buy a domain name that represents your brand and focus on SEO and SEM to get your visitors to the website. Amazon and Google are not names associated to a keyword, but they are awesome websites. They are branded, and that’s what you have to do.

Final thoughts, do not put too much effort into your domain name beyond the tips I’ve provided. You could get stuck trying to find the perfect domain for a really long time. Find a domain that works for your brand and go with it. With the exception of paid advertising, most of your visitors will be finding you in the search engines like everyone else and will click on your link. You want things to be easy for return visitors, they will probably save your website in their favorites if they plan to return. You got this!

If would like our opinion, simply contact us and we will respond with what we think and some other possible names.

Where to Buy Domain Names

There are hundreds of domain registrars out there where you can buy a domain name from. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, you will see some of the ones we like the best. We will also show where to go and buy a domain someone is selling privately, this is usually referred to as “domain squatting” which we will discuss more later.

Below is a list of domain registrars with their current pricing information as of this article. They are listed in the order of my preference with a reason why, but you can make your own choice. They are all reputable and trustworthy domain resources. I prefer to buy my domains and host somewhere else just in case I change hosting accounts, I find it just makes it easier.

Domain Registrars

Google Domains is first up, they are a little more expensive than a couple of the other ones on this list, but they are a very large company and a lot of the webmaster tools automatically validate ownership because you register your domain name through them. 

Cost = $12/year; Free Privacy Protection = Yes

Google Domains 5.0
5/5

NameCheap is another great domain registrar. It includes privacy protection for free which keeps your personal contact information private.

Cost = $8.88/year; Free Privacy Protection = Yes

NameCheap 4.8
4.8/5

DynaDot is 3rd on our list based on research. It is still an awesome domain registrar that includes privacy protection for free.

Cost = $8.99/year; Free Privacy Protection = Yes

DynaDot 4.6
4.6/5

GoDaddy is 4th on our list. GoDaddy is the only domain registrar we would make an exception to both host a website with and register a domain name with because of their size and reputation. They are 4th on the list because they cost more than the other domain registrars and do not offer free privacy protection.

Cost = $11.99/year; Free Privacy Protection = No, costs $9.99

GoDaddy 4.4
4.4/5

Domain.com is the last registrar on our list. Domain.com is not as popular as GoDaddy, so they rank one lower. If you only have one domain name, this price may be ok, but for more than that it can get expensive.

Cost = $9.99/year; Free Privacy Protection = No, costs $8.99

Domain.com 4.2
4.2/5

Premium Domain Resellers

The list below is some places where you can find premium domains. These are the domains someone buys for the purpose of reselling at a higher price. I myself have bought premium domains for my purposes and you may find yourself in the same position. Keep in mind, if you look hard enough, you can find a domain name that works for your business without paying the extra costs. You have to decide for yourself if it’s worth it.

Domain value is really based on your need, not what a 3rd party says it’s worth. If you’d like to get a ballpark estimate of the domain value, GoDaddy offers a free domain value tool.

A popular website for finding both domain names and existing websites is Flippa. WebDesignWorld was actually bought on Flippa. I’ve purchased several websites from Flippa that had established traffic and were making money through Google Adsense, Amazon, YouTube, and Facebook followers. You have to do your due diligence when you make a purchase. AHRefs is a great tool to check backlinks of an existing website with content if you go that route. If you are looking for just a domain name, use the Flippa filters to help you find the right domain name. You can bargain with the domain sellers and offer a buy it now price, sometimes they will agree and you can get a great deal.

SEDO has a large number of premium domains for sale. Buying from SEDO has been hit or miss for me. I’ve purchased a couple of domains from SEDO only to have the money refunded because the seller had already sold the domain and the listing wasn’t properly updated. It’s frustrating and they definitely need to do better with updating their listings. This is still a great resource for looking for affordable premium domains.

GoDaddy is the largest domain registrar there is and they have a very large GoDaddy Domain Auction website. There are thousands of domains available on their website.

Expired Domains is a great website with many filter options to find an expired domain or a domain name for sale. Many domain registrars place their listings on this website. What I like about the website is that you can sort the results based on Alexa rankings and current backlinks pointing to the website.

How to Sell Domain Names

You have a domain name you purchased and no longer need, maybe it was a great domain name that has some value or you build a branded website with your domain name. This is the place where you learn how to put your domain name or website on the market.

How Much is my Domain Name Worth

For domain name values, you can use the GoDaddy domain name evaluation tool. A domain or website is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. A common rule of thumb for domain names with established websites is 24x to 36x the annual revenue. So if I made $100 per year, then I could charge $2,400 to $3,600. You must keep in mind the social media presence and any other assets that would be transferred with the sale.

Domain Reseller Websites

My favorite place to sell a domain name is Flippa, they are little on the high priced side, but they get results and have an effective online system. On Flippa you can list your domain name or your domain name with content which means your entire website. Make sure you utilize the escrow services available through Flippa and Escrow.com to make sure you receive what you paid for before the funds are released.

Another place or places to sell your domain name is through the various auction platforms through the domain registrars. This includes GoDaddy, SEDO, AfterNic, and others. Just do a quick search and you will find many available, I highly suggest you use popular websites or do your due diligence. You can always ask here for my opinion. Make sure you utilize escrow.com whenever someone agrees to buy your domain, they act as a 3rd party that allows the buyer to deposit funds and once they confirm receipt of the domain, the funds are released.

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