Purchasing a domain name for a new business is a big and exciting step. There are several factors to keep in mind before buying a domain to promote the business. The first is to consider purchasing from a reputable registrar and reflect how a suggested URL will affect your business or project. Does it accurately reflect the business and what it does? Will customers understand the product or services you're providing? Before deciding on moving forward on the domain name, have a plan of action in case the domain name you need is unavailable.
The following suggested tips will help business owners successfully navigate buying a domain name.
Find a Reputable Registrar
Research the registrar.
There are dozens of domain registrars to choose from. Carefully research their reputation before choosing one and pay attention to customer reviews. Consider the following: Have past customers been satisfied with their services and customer support? Are there any reports of shady or dishonest business practices in customer reviews or online articles?
Review the fees.
Some registrars offer very low prices on domain names but hide additional fees in their contracts. Others try to upsell potential customers with extras and add-ons that aren't needed. Don’t give in to pressure to purchase unnecessary services. Check the company’s “Terms of Service” for hidden fees, fees for services that are normally free, and overpriced renewal fees before finalizing a purchase. One red flag includes registrars that charging to edit the business information in the public WHOIS directories. Also, some registrars charge “transfer-out” fees for moving the web domain to a different registrar if customers decide to do so later on. Neither of these services should add on a cost.
Protect your privacy and data.
Since domain names are a matter of public record in the WHOIS directories, business owners may want to keep personal information private. If name, address, and other details appear in these directories, that information could be mined by scammers. Look for a registrar that offers privacy protection for free, but beware of registrars who offer to put their information in place of your own “to protect your privacy.” Doing so would give legal ownership to the registrar instead of the domain owner, the business owner. In addition, review the “Terms of Services” to make sure the registrar won’t misuse or sell personal information for marketing purposes.
Ask about customer support.
Many domain registrars have sales teams trained to take your phone call, but not all of them have good customer service team. Read reviews about customer support services and give the customer support line a call before commiting to making a purchase. Customer service representatives should be professional and courteous, without constantly trying to sell add-ons.
Choose a Name that Will Benefit Your Business
Whether your website is for a business, blog, or campaign, having a good domain name can make a big impact on the success of your endeavor. Take some time to brainstorm, thinking about the business or campaign name as well as other related terms and concepts. Write a list of any good ideas you come up with. This will come in handy when you begin a search for an available domain name. For a more professional looking domain name, keep it short, memorable, and avoid using hyphens.
Now that you have a few ideas, and a reputable registrar in mind, visit the domain registry website and type in the name you want. If the name is available, meaning it isn’t already currently registered, buy your name and get started on your website. Otherwise, you may need to come up with a Plan B.
When Your Desired Domain Name is Unavailable
Make an offer.
If the ideal domain name is already registered by a person or company, it is possible to reach out them and make an offer to purchase their domain name. Keep in mind that domain names can be costly when purchased this way. Some companies pay thousands of dollars to gain ownership to the right domain. That said, if a less popular domain is available, it might be possible to negotiate a reasonable price.
Get a broker.
If the owner of a domain name is unavailable or is privacy protected, and you’d like to purchase it, this is the time to seek help from a broker. Domain brokers can find out who owns a domain and negotiate a price. Understand that if you are able to purchase a domain name with the help of a broker, they will expect payment for their services.
Consider alternative domain names.
If you can’t afford to buy the domain name from the owner or if the owner refuses to sell, consider modifying the domain name slightly. For example, adding a verb like “get” or “try” to the business name or turn the project into an acronym. Consider using an alternative domain ending (TLD), such as .net. As a last resort, if you haven’t launched your business or project yet, you could consider coming up with a new name – one that is available for registry.
Avoid Domain Registry Scams
Look out for cybersquatting cons.
Cybersquatting is registering, selling or using a domain name with the intent of profiting from someone else's trademark. Scammers may register a domain very close to that of your business and use it in scams such as these
. In other versions, scammers send emails threatening to take over your company’s domain name because it conflicts with a trademark the sender allegedly owns. Learn more about cybersquatting scams
Be wary of unsolicited sales pitches.
If you receive an unsolicited message claiming someone else is about to buy a domain name very similar to yours, this could be a scam. Con artists might tell you they have blocked the purchase of the similar domain name to prevent confusion that could negatively impact your business. Then, they give you the option to buy it first – at an exorbitant price.
Don’t fall for a renewal scam.
Some fraudulent companies send out emails that state the expiration date of your domain name and urge you to renew. However, if you follow through and pay the fees, your domain name may be transferred to a different, less trustworthy registrar. In a worst case scenario, nothing happens at all and the scammer will get away with your money and personal information. Remember, domain name renewals can only happen through the company you purchased your domain name from, unless you choose to transfer to another registrar. Keep track of the name of the domain registrar you use and when your domain names expire. Having this information on hand can keep your from falling for a scam.
Watch out for directory scams.
Another common domain scam is to offer domain name owners registry in “directories” that will supposedly give you miraculous SEO improvement and boost your web traffic by leaps and bounds. The service can be costly and being in a directory won’t necessarily have any effect at all on your SEO or web traffic. Read more about directory scams
The post "Buying a Domain Name" appeared first on https://www.bbb.org