Guide for Buying a Brandable Domain Name
If you have ever looked into creating a website, you’ve likely run into the term “domain name.” Domain names are crucial elements of any website – especially domains that are highly brandable. When searching for a brandable domain name, there are many different paths to finding the perfect name for your business or brand. The key is knowing where to look and what keywords to prioritize within your domain. In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about buying brandable domain names. Keep reading to learn all about:
- What domain names are and why you need one
- What brandable domain names are
- Advantages and disadvantages to brandable domains
- The domain name basics
- How domain names work
- The different types of domain names
- How to buy a domain name online
- Buying a domain through the domain aftermarket
- Tips for buying a memorable and brandable domain name
- Remembering your domain basics
- Researching your competition
- Watching out for hidden fees
- Protecting your personal data
- Which domain names are the most expensive in the world
- Becoming a domain investor
What are Domain Names and Why Do I Need One?
A domain name is the part of a web address that follows “http://www”. This string of text and words helps to identify a website to web users, as well as providing a unique address held only by one specific website. While website owners can choose any available domain they want, there are a few key elements that a strong domain name should have:
- Memorability: It is crucially important to make the domain name you choose memorable – especially if your web address is the main way in which people will reach your site.
- Simplicity: To make a memorable domain, it is essential to embrace simplicity. Avoid long or hard to spell words and phrases.
- Specificity: When choosing your simple words or phrases for your domain, select ones that are specific to the purpose of your website. For instance, a pet store located in Miami may want to choose a domain similar to “miamipetsupplies.” This offers specific information about both the website’s purpose and the store’s location
It is important to understand that while you can come up with any name you want, whether or not you can obtain this name will depend on what domains are currently available. As of the third quarter of 2021, there are more than 360 million domain names registered across the web. The number of available domains is constantly shifting, as people buy, sell, and trade domains over time. Luckily, even if a domain name you want is already registered, you may still have the chance to purchase it. The key is to know where to look to find the perfect domain for your site.
What is a Brandable Domain Name?
We will cover all the different types of domain names in a moment, but for now, let’s focus on the type of domain this article is all about – brandable domain names. A brandable domain name refers to a name without keywords or phrases. Instead, this type of domain will use the name of a brand as the primary focus of the name. Well-known examples of this include Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Using brandable domain names can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, obtaining your exact business or brand name as your domain can be highly useful once your brand has gained greater public recognition. Rather than having to remember a string of keywords, web visitors simply have to type in your brand name to reach your site. On the other hand, if your business or brand is not well known, getting people onto your website without some heavy-duty marketing tactics can be extremely difficult.
With this in mind, let’s briefly discuss some of the key advantages to using a brandable domain name:
- Highly Unique: A brandable domain name will often be highly unique, making it much more likely that you can obtain such a domain with ease on various domain marketplaces. The more unique the domain you choose is, the greater chance you have to register the domain yourself, rather than relying on purchasing pre-registered domains.
- Emotion Evoking: Once your brand name has enough recognition, using it as your domain can help to evoke specific emotional responses from web visitors. This is especially helpful if you are selling products or services, as you want to establish the right mindset for purchasing goods in your customers as soon as possible.
- Professional Flexibility: When you use domains with keywords or phrases, this can often lock your brand into a specific niched. When using a brandable domain, by contrast, you can generally maintain a higher level of flexibility in terms of what your business offers. This also allows you to reimagine your business in the future without having to change brand or domain names.
Downsides to Brandable Domain Names
Almost every type of domain has a downside or disadvantage that prevents it from being an ideal choice for everyone. For brandable domain names, the main disadvantage is that you need the time, resources, and energy to build up your brand’s recognition. Using a brand name as your domain name is only as effective as the rest of your business-building strategy. If you do not plan on developing your brand in this way, a brandable domain name can prove largely ineffective for boosting your online business and web visits.
To build greater name recognition for your brandable domain name, you must:
- Invest in Marketing: A strong marketing strategy is a pillar to creating a brand that is widely recognizable with a loyal audience. From a domain name standpoint, content marketing can be a great way to get eyes on your site without relying on these visitors knowing your brand’s name. Instead, you will produce content within a relevant niche that will draw more people to your site.
- Connect with Your Audiences: When you have a relatively new or unknown brand, one of the best ways to begin attracting the right attention is by seeking out your desired audience online. Social media is incredibly helpful in this department, as it gives you access to a wide range of customers that span across many niches and demographics.
- Focus on SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process of optimizing a website so that it appears on the first page of results for a search engine query. Brandable domain names do not contribute as much to SEO as domains with specific keywords – thus, it is important to focus on the other aspects of SEO to make sure your website has all the elements it needs to rank high and get discovered on popular search engines.
Domain Name Basics: Everything You Need to Know
Understanding what a domain is and how it works is crucial for knowing how and where to find the best ones for your website. In this section, we will cover everything your need to know about domain names – from how they work to all of the different types to choose between. After covering the basics, we will move into how to actually find and purchase a domain for your own website.
How Domain Names Work
To understand how a domain name works, it is important to differentiate it from the other parts of a web address. Web addresses – or URLs – contain 5 key elements:
- Protocol: The protocol refers to the very beginning part of a URL that names the language used to communicate with the computer, network, and server. In most cases, this language is Hypertext Transfer Protocol, abbreviated as “HTTP.”
- World Wide Web: The next part of a URL is the prefix “www” which stands for World Wide Web, also called W3. Many websites have done aways with W3 prefix, as it is not necessary to access most sites. However, it can be used to indicate that a website uses the HTTP language.
- Domain Name: The bread and butter of a URL and the subject of this guide is the domain name. As we have covered, a domain name is a string of words, keywords, or phrases to create a unique web address specifically for your website. The domain name helps identify the specific website and digital location a web visitor is trying to reach.
- Domain Extension: The domain extension is the part of the URL that follows the domain name and includes extensions such as .com, .org, and .net. This part of the URL is important, as it not only indicates what type of website a URL leads to but also helps to build credibility.
- Sub-Domain: A sub-domain is an added part to the domain name that takes the visitor to a specific page or location on the website. For instance, a website with a blog might choose a sub-domain that looks similarly to “blog.website.com,” placing the sub-domain before the actual domain name.
When all of these elements are put together, they create a web address that is capable of communicating with a computer system and server, allowing the URL to take web visitors to their intended location. This further highlights the drastic importance of choosing a simple and memorable domain name. If a web visitor types in the wrong domain, they can end up on the wrong website without even realizing it.
The Different Types of Domain Names
We have already covered what a brandable domain name is – but did you know there are actually many different types of domains to choose between? The first key distinction to make is the difference between brandable and descriptive domain names. As we have discussed, a brandable domain will use the exact name of a business or brand to create a unique domain. The alternative, known as a descriptive domain name, will instead rely on keywords and specific phrases, rather than an actual brand name.
For instance, “google.com” is an example of a brandable domain name, while “runningshoes.com” is an example of a descriptive domain name. Domain names can be further divided according to specific elements, such as the type of domain extension they contain. Here is a quick breakdown of the 3 main types of domains:
- Top-Level Domains: Top-Level Domains (TLD) refer specifically to the domain extension, or the part of the address the follows the “dot.” Certain extensions, like .com, are valued more highly than others. Additionally, the TLD helps to classify the purpose, owner, and origin of a website. For instance, a .edu TLD indicates a website is owned by an academic institution.
- Generic Top-Level Domains: A Generic Top-Level Domain, or gTLD, refers to the common domain extensions with three or more letters that include .com, .org, .net, and more. These are the most easily recognized TLDs.
- Country Code Top-Level Domains: Country Code Top-Level Domains, or ccTLDs, are top-level domains that help define the specific country or geographical region a domain name owner resides in. A popular example of this in the U.S. is the domain extension “.uk” which indicates that a site is owned by a user in the United Kingdom.
- Second-Level Domains: The second-level domain name is the actual “name” portion. This is where you will choose either a brandable or descriptive string of words that become attached to your TLD, or domain extension. While not as important as a TLD, a second-level domain still has an important role to play in helping online visitors identify and recognize your site.
- Third-Level Domains: The third-level domain is the part of the domain that becomes a sub-domain, helping to direct web visitors to specific pages or locations on a website. Third-level domains should be as specific as possible to help with navigation – for instance, a page specifically for listing products might use a web address similar to “products.website.com,” with the “products” part being the third-level domain.
How to Buy a Domain Name Online
So – you’ve learned all about domain names and have picked out a selection of names that would work great for your website. The next step is buying and registering this domain. To find a domain available for registration and purchase online, the first thing you must do is choose a reliable domain registrar. Domain registrars are companies that manage the reservation and registration of specific domain names. Using an accredited domain registrar is crucial, as this will help keep your digital data and cyber security safe as you search for your ideal domain name. It is also through a domain registrar that you can safely access the domain aftermarket, which is where the real fun begins.
Buying a Domain Through the Domain Aftermarket
The domain aftermarket is a secondary marketplace for purchasing already registered domain names. Though domains were once easier to obtain without going through the aftermarket, these days most of the highly valuable and profitable domains have been collected by domain investors who re-sell these names, generally for higher price points. If you can manage to find and register a domain that has not yet made it to the aftermarket, then you are one of the lucky ones. Otherwise, the aftermarket is generally one of your best options for finding the domain name you want.
Of course, there are downsides to the aftermarket as well – namely that domain names can get quite expensive quickly through these marketplaces. As such, it is important to always do thorough research on your different marketplace and registrar options before committing to any big purchases. Also, keep in mind that domain names must be renewed once a year, which may accrue additional costs down the line.
Tips for Buying a Memorable & Brandable Domain Name
Now that you’ve learned what a brandable domain name is how to go about buying one, let’s discuss a few tips to follow before making any purchases. Here are 4 key tips for choosing the best domain name for your startup or business:
- Remember Your Domain Basics: Looking for a domain name that is both affordable and profitable can be frustrating – but you must remember and prioritize your domain basics. This includes memorability, simplicity, and specificity. You do not want to select a domain simply because it is the only vaguely relevant one available. If you cannot find a domain that is similar enough to the one you have thought up, it may be time to return to the drawing board and come up with a new one.
- Research the Competition: Before making any major brandable domain purchases, you need to complete thorough competitor research. If there is a business, brand, or website out there with a name that is highly similar to your own, you may want to consider a name change. This is especially true if the competitor is more established than your brand, as using a name similar to theirs can be confusing and misleading for web visitors.
- Watch Out for Hidden Fees: The domain aftermarket can be a tricky thing to navigate, particularly if you opt for a less-reliable registrar or domain seller. You may find the perfect domain that is incredibly affordable, only to find out later that there were tons of hidden fees waiting for you just around the corner. Thus, it is critical to always pay attention not just to the initial cost of the domain, but also recurring costs such as billing and renewal fees.
- Protect Your Personal Data: Registering a domain requires you to enter specific information regarding the ownership of the domain. This information is then listed on WHOIS, an online and public database for locating contact information for specific website owners. Since WHOIS is a public platform, including too much personal information puts your data at risk of a security breach. This can often tie back into the registrar you select, as many will offer privacy and protection services to keep your data safe once your domain is registered.
What are the Most Expensive Domain Names in the World?
There is another type of domain name beyond the brandable and descriptive ones, known as the premium domain name. A premium domain name is a domain that is deemed highly valuable and profitable. These domain names are the most likely to be collected by domain investors, individuals who buy and sell domain names for profit. Generally, premium domain names tend to be the most expensive options to choose from on the domain aftermarket. This is largely in thanks to the seller being able to set whatever price they deem fit for a specific domain name. This cost only continues to rise if the domain name has been registered for many years, as older domains are typically more valuable than newer ones.
Becoming a Domain Investor
Buying and selling domain names can be an extremely profitable income stream that is relatively hands-off after you complete the process of finding and purchasing your domain name investments. The key to becoming a domain investor nowadays is to complete thorough research in the industry of your choice to find underrepresented niches. From here, you can create and register many similar domain names that you believe will become profitable in the future. In the early days of beginning a business, investing in domains can also prove to be a reliable side hustle to earn extra income while you establish your brand.
Final Thoughts: Choose The Best Domain Name For Your Startup
Creating a beautiful website for your brand or business is essential in this digital era – and the first step to doing so is finding your ideal domain name. To choose the best domain name for your startup, it is crucial to consider everything discussed in this article. From the memorability of your domain to the cost of purchasing and registering it, many factors contribute to the process of obtaining a domain.
By opting for a brandable domain name, you will effectively reserve your business name online – even if your brand or business is not yet widely recognized. This can be especially helpful for building brand recognition and creating a sense of unity between your website and other marketing materials. Plus, brandable domains can be easier and cheaper to obtain, as they are not often selected to become premium domain names by investors!
Ultimately, the perfect domain for you will come down to your budget, purpose, and needs. Once you have identified these, then it is finally time to make your way to a registrar and buy the perfect brandable domain for your startup.
Happy domain hunting!