What Is A Domain Name? How Much Do They cost and Where Should You Buy One From?
So you want to get online and you’ve got an idea for your website and you’ve got an idea for a domain name…
… But you’re not quite sure of the next steps?
You’re not sure what a Domain name actually is, you have pretty much no idea what a domain name costs and you definitely don’t know where you should buy one from…
Don’t worry, if what I’ve just described sounds like you, I was there once myself.
The first website I ever put online was an affiliate website for a job interview training course.
I had a few ideas for a domain name, but I didn’t have the faintest clue what the next steps were.
Fast forward to TODAY, I’ve been online for nearly 9 years and I currently have over a dozen websites.
I also have well over 150 Domain names in my portfolio, so I can definitely help you take the next steps.
And really, it’s not that hard or difficult to do.
So first things first…
What exactly is a domain name and why do you need one?…
Think of a domain name as your home address.
How does the mail man or a company like Amazon, for example, know where to deliver your letter or package?
The only way your delivery finds its way to you and YOUR house, is by the way of the address on it.
Your domain name is exactly the same.
Simply put, a domain name is the web address where your website lives.
There are lot of technical functions of a domain name but that is way out of the general scope of this blog post.
So that’s a very simplistic overview of what a domain name is..
The next question is now: why do you need a domain name?
People will find your website by typing in your domain.
Now, just to point something out here…
A domain name and a web host is not the same thing.
Sure, a lot of Domain companies offer webhosting aswell, but webhosting and domain names are not the same thing.
A Web host, is where your website is housed, but the domain name is how people find it.
One other thing I’d like to point out to you here, is that you don’t actually NEED to buy a domain name in order to have a website.
There are lots of solutions out there that will host your website on their domain name, known as a subdomain.
To name but a few of them:
- Blogger (by Google)
Think of these companies like a great big house that rents out multiple rooms in the house and all they’re doing is renting you ONE of them.
You don’t own the domain, you don’t even own the website, they’re just renting you the space and they can turn it on or off at will, also, god forbid, your website gets hacked, you’re relying on these companies to sort it out.
That means, your website is at their mercy until they do.
So I don’t recommend you go down that route.
I’m not saying any of those companies are necessarily bad companies.
My point is this:
You should always have full control over your website and Domain name.
After all, it’s your business and it’s a bad mix to put your business in the hands of another platform that you have no control over.
It might be cheaper, but in the long run it just isn’t worth it.
What Are The Best Domain Extensions To Buy For SEO?
If SEO, Search engine Optimisation is going to be part of your gameplan, then the domain name extension you choose is going to be critical.
Wherever possible, always try to register the .com version.
If the .com isn’t available, go for a .net.
However, as a general rule, if the domain name is for your brand and if the .com isn’t available, I’d choose an alternative name altogether.
For 3 reasons:
- Most people type in the .com first.
- Avoid running into issues with whoever has the .com version.
- Search engine optimisation benefits.
However, if your business is based in a certain country and most of your visitors are local (in that same country) then go for the country specific domain extension.
Eg: if your business is in the UK and your business targets Brits, then go for the .co.uk extension.
On the subject of brand building, the shorter and easier to remember, the better.
You want a domain name that’s super easy to remember, you want repeat visitors to your website, and also, a short domain that’s easy to remember, means it’s easy for people to share it, especially via word of mouth.
Think Amazon, Tesco, Walmart, Yahoo, Microsoft.
All those brands are easy to remember and those companies were grown through both product quality and word of mouth.
For any basic affiliate site, any version of .com, .net is fine.
Always try to stick with those 2 extensions where possible.
Another TLD (Top level domain) you could choose is .org.
But .org domains tend to not work too well, unless you are actually an organisation or a charity.
There are SEO (Search engine optimisation) benefits of .com & .net that you don’t get with a .org domain extension.
I’ve found that whenever I’ve used the .com domain, from an SEO perspective, it ranks a lot better than a .net.
And I’ve also found, search engines don’t show a great deal of SEO ‘love’ to the .org extension.
I’ve found .org domain extensions damn near impossible to rank in the search engines, I’m not particularly sure why that is, but just be aware, that if you’re going to rely on Google search traffic for your website a .org extension is probably the wrong Domain extension to choose.
I’m not saying you CAN’T rank .org domain extensions in Search Engines like Google, I’m just saying that in my experience, I’ve found it very difficult to do.
So in order of preference, this would how I would approach it.
- The .com. always try to get this.
- .net. it’s not the .com version, but it’s the next best thing.
- .org I would only select this if all else fails or I was an organisation or charity.
So How Much Do domain Names Cost and Where Can You Buy Them?
Buying domains are fairly inexpensive.
Different companies have different pricing structure’s.
Generally, .com, .net, .co.uk cost around $10/year.
Smaller domain companies, sell them for as much as $20/year.
When buying domain names, pricing is similar to what you see in real life.
For example, buying a loaf of bread in Wal-Mart might cost you $1.
Buying that same loaf of bread in your local convenience store, might cost you $1.50.
Wal-Mart are a BIG mammoth company, they buy in bulk and they sell in bulk too, so they can lower their prices.
Your local convenience store is the opposite, they’re usually owned & run by 1 individual and doesn’t sell anywhere near the numbers Wal-Mart do, so they have to sell higher to make a profit.
The same goes for domain names.
Buying your domain name from a bigger company, usually means you’re going to pay less for it.
The companies I mention below are domain name companies that I personally use right now, or have used in the past.
One thing I’d like to point out here, is that you don’t have to purchase your domain name from any of the companies I recommend, you’re welcome to do your own research.
Just simply do a Google search for “Buy Domain name” or “where to buy domain name” and you’ll see dozens and dozens of domain name companies to buy from.
However, the ones I’m listing here are probably unbeatable in price and are also strong reputable companies that have been selling domain names for years.
You’ll see Domain Companies referred to as Domain name registrars.
A Domain Name Registrar and a Domain Name Company is the same thing.
Both terms mean the same thing, a company you use to register your domain name.
With that being said, let’s jump straight in.
Namecheap have been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth and they are my #1 place I go to to buy domain names.
I’ve got well over 100 domains that I’ve purchased directly from Namecheap.
Anybody can purchase an available domain name from Namecheap, all you need to do is create a free account and search for your ideal domain name.
Namecheap will tell you straight away if it’s available or not like this:
If it’s available, you can register it.
All you need to do is follow the steps outlined here.
Namecheap Domain Prices: Typically around $9 per year.
Dynadot, like Namecheap, have also been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth, I have several domain names registered with Dynadot and their pricing is similar to Namecheap’s.
To buy an available domain name from Dynadot will cost you about $8-$9 bucks a year.
Like Namecheap, just simply create a free account and away you go.
Crazy Domains are usefull for country specific domain names.
I buy all my .UK domain names from Crazy domains.
Simply because, for .UK domains, they’ll let you register it for 2 years for almost the same price as 1 year. So it’s a massive win.
However, for regualr domains like .com they’re a bit more expensice than the other companies I’ve already mentioned.
A .com domain name from CrazyDomains is about $12 bucks a year.
One to AVOID…
There is one company I recommend that you avoid, at all costs.
I need to be careful what I say here. (as I don’t fancy being lawsuited).
I have heard nightmare stories from people who have used 1&1 domains, who now call themselves Ionos.
(in my experience, when a company has a poor reputation and they change names that’s never a good sign).
Anyhow, I’ve heard reports of several people having real issues moving their domains from them.
1&1 domains do a LOT of advertising on TV and other media outlets and they boast of being able to register a domain for less than $5 bucks, which is TRUE by the way..
BUT there seems to be a massive ‘gotcha’.
Once you buy one of their cheap domains, they’ll ‘hard sell’ you on all their other services (allegedly) and once you have your domain with them, it’s almost impossible to control what you do with it.
As your business grows, you might want to move your domain, I’ve heard people having real trouble when trying to do this with 1&1.
Also, buy 1&1 effectively “locking your domain” they’re forcing you to constantly pay their renewal fee’s, unless you cancel your own domain.
So be careful.
This may well have changed by now, so I may well be well wide of the mark here, I’m basing this entirely on what I’ve been told by people who have used them and the issues they faced.
So to quickly recap what we’ve discovered in this blog post, you now have a good understand of what a domain name is, why you need a domain name, the best extensions for search Engine Optimization (SEO).
I also gave you 3 places to buy domain names from.
Here they are again (in order of preference):
Don’t forget to grab my free Affiliate Marketing Mini-Course that teaches step by step how to start an affiliate marketing business for extra income, click here.