How Much Should I Spend On A Domain?
When asking yourself, “how much should I spend on a domain?” it might seem easy to assume that you can pick up a cheap domain and go from there. However, your domain name isn’t just a way for customers to get to your website — it’s one of your first chances to make a great first impression. A clunky domain name could drive away customers, defeating the purpose of buying a domain altogether. In other words, be prepared to spend a little money when you purchase your domain.
What Makes The Right Domain Name So Important?
Some domain names cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to own each year. Even a domain name that costs $50 a year might be too expensive when you factor in the rest of your business costs. For this reason, many people assume that they can settle for a cheap domain name like “cool-candles-in-ohio.net.” If you’re giving customers a business card with your URL on it, they’ll remember your domain name anyway. Why spend extra money when you can own a URL for two dollars or less per month?
Well, there’s a reason why domains like “cats.com” are practically impossible to buy and others like “cats. online” cost thousands of dollars. The shortest and most memorable domains get the most traffic. Many people stumble upon these websites just by aimlessly typing URLs in the search box. Longer domain names might be more affordable, but they’re also less memorable, which can turn off customers right away. How can someone visit your website if they don’t remember the domain name?
You probably won’t be able to score a domain like “candles.com,” but you can purchase a simple yet memorable domain that customers remember offhand. This increases your traffic and makes it easier for people around the web to find your website. As a result, you’ll enjoy increased sales and conversions that give you a return on your investment.
Here’s a few other reasons why you should go with a premium domain:
- Clear URLs look much more professional and show visitors that you take your business seriously. While a domain like “cathysgifts566.websitebuilder.com” suggests that you only launched a website to get it over with, a crisp domain like “cathysgifts.com” makes a stellar first impression.
- If you don’t buy the domain that you want now, someone else could snatch it up later. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a domain that you might not use, but you don’t want to start with “ohiocandles456.com” and not be able to buy “ohiocandles.com” when you’re ready for a clearer domain name.
- Short URLs are easier to promote than long, clunky ones. You can easily print the domain on business cards, letters, envelopes, stationery, and other promotional items without worrying that it won’t fit on the page.
- Visitors are more likely to share your website with others if they can send their friends and family members a clean, memorable domain. A clunky domain is easier to forget or misspell.
- To an extent, your domain name could help you rank higher in the search engine results. Including a popular keyword in the domain — as well as other parts of the website — might boost your website’s relevancy.
- A clean URL boosts your business’s credibility. People might be reluctant to buy a product or service from your website if the URL looks shady. Illegitimate businesses often have strange URLs with misspellings, hyphens or numbers attached to the end.
- An increasing number of people browse the web through their smartphones or tablets instead of desktop computers. You might be able to type a complicated URL with a physical keyboard, but it’s much harder to type with a touchscreen keyboard, especially if the URL has special characters or symbols. This turns off visitors who prefer mobile shopping.
Overall, the right domain name can drive a large percentage of traffic to your website. Many people click on websites just because the domain looks credible.
How Do I Choose A Domain?
When you select your domain, try to make it as simple as possible. If possible, use your business name as the URL. You could also try a basic word or phrase, but these domains are usually off the market or sell for thousands of dollars per year. You might not be able to buy “flowers.com,” but you could secure a similar URL like “cathysflowers.com.”
Even if it reduces the price of your URL, never add special characters like hyphens. The majority of websites don’t include them. If your domain has strange characters in the URL, your website will stand out–and not in a good way. People might question whether your business is legitimate because you didn’t buy a “regular” URL. These domains are also harder to type, especially on smartphone keyboards. Stick with letters, and include numbers only if absolutely necessary.
You should also consider the top-level domain (TLD) that you want for your website. The TLD is the tag that appears at the end of the URL, like .com or .org. Since .com is the most popular and recognizable URL in the world, you might want to search for affordable .com URLs. Regardless of your actual TLD, many people will type in “cathysflowers.com” anyway because that’s what they’re familiar with.
However, using a different TLD won’t necessarily drive people away from your website. If the .com domain is too expensive, you could buy the same domain with a different TLD for a fraction of the cost. Many modern TLDs like .tech and .services actually tell the visitor a little about the business before they visit the website. While .com domain names might be ideal, other TLDs are usually a single word or acronym that doesn’t make the domain too hard to remember.
Essentially, remember these tips before you start searching for a domain name:
- Keep it simple.
- Use your name or business name.
- Look for .com domain names, but don’t assume that they’re your only option.
- Stick to letters only.
Finally, don’t assume that your journey is over if you can’t find the domain that you’re looking for. Try different words and phrases that still convey the same meaning. Many people have to try a few different domain names before they find a simple name that they can afford.
Additional Tips To Spend On A Domain
As well as the basic guidelines, keep these tips in mind when you choose a domain:
- Make sure that you don’t buy a domain with a name that’s already legally trademarked. Otherwise, the owner could sue you for copyright infringement.
- Don’t include slang in your domain. Slang that might be popular today could be irrelevant in a few months, making your business look dated and out-of-touch.
- Check out competitors’ websites, and see what makes their domain names effective. You might also get ideas for keywords or terms that you could include in your domain.
- Use free online tools to view the history of your domain. While the domain might be for sale now, that doesn’t mean that someone else didn’t own it at some point. Check out the history to make sure that you’re not buying a domain with a bad reputation.
- Don’t be afraid to check out different sellers. You might find the same URLs on multiple websites, but that doesn’t mean that they have the same price or offer the same features. Some sellers even offer website builders along with their domains.
- Make sure your domain is also available on social media websites like Twitter and Instagram. If you can afford it, your domain and social media handles should be the same for customer convenience. Having different handles makes your social media harder to find.
So, How Much Should I Pay For A Domain Name?
At the end of the day, your budget determines how much to pay for a domain name. If you can spare a few hundred dollars, a high-end domain name could give your business an extra boost of professionalism. This increases your traffic, encourages positive word-of-mouth and gives you an edge over the competition. You could easily recoup your investment and make more profits that take your business even higher.
However, if you’re working on a budget, an affordable domain name allows you to launch your business as soon as possible and start gaining a customer base. You can upgrade to a better domain name later if someone else doesn’t claim it. You don’t want to settle for a cheap, clunky URL, but you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars just to say that you own a popular domain. Focus on more practical business expenses, like hiring a web designer and getting your products ready.
Overall, be prepared to spend a little more than you bargained for. When you settle for the cheapest domain on the market, you’re also settling for a domain that’s challenging to find and remember. You don’t need to blow your entire budget on the domain, but don’t underestimate how much the URL alone drives business.
What About Multiple Domains?
It might seem hard to believe after you’ve just bought your first domain, but you might want to invest in multiple domain names. In fact, you might want to buy misspellings of your domain name. Some people could mistype your URL and end up on a different site altogether. They might also see an error page, leading them to assume that your website isn’t active.
You can’t account for every possible misspelling, but you could buy some of the most common domains and redirect them to your website. For example, if a customer accidentally types “cathiesgifts.com,” the domain will redirect them to “cathysgifts.com”–your original website. You could also buy different TLDs like “cathysgifts.net” and “cathysgifts.biz.”
You might also want to buy multiple domains just to protect your branding. If someone else buys the domain “cathysgifts.biz” and opens a completely new business, people might get the two businesses confused. This could affect your reputation if the other business has a history of disappointing its customers. Buying multiple domains could protect your company and prevent any future conflicts.
Can I Invest In Domain Names?
Some people take a completely different approach when they buy domains. Instead of launching a business, they buy domains that might be popular in the future, then plan to sell them for a profit. Domain names like lasvegas.com and carinsurance.com have sold for millions of dollars, making people wonder if they should invest in a domain that might be popular later.
Unfortunately, most of the obvious domain names are taken. Some lead to an actual website, while others are simply a placeholder that someone snatched in the early days of the Internet. You could try to make an offer if you have a million dollars sitting around, but if you have that much money in the bank, you’re probably not buying domain names.
However, you could invest in a cheaper domain name that might be popular later. Some modern TLDs like .service and .app come with single-word domains that you could buy and potentially sell for a profit. There’s no guarantee that you’ll make money on your investment, but if the domain name costs less than $50 a year, you might decide to buy the domain just to see what happens.
The Final Verdict
Be prepared to spend a little more for your domain name — but don’t force yourself to go overboard. The cheapest domain names are often so hard to remember that they’re barely worth registering. Make some room in your budget for a memorable domain name, but don’t blow your entire budget. We recommend 50% of your annual marketing budget as a good starting point for a one-time domain purchase.
The domain name might not seem important, but it’s the first thing that customers see when they type it into the URL box. Your business needs a crisp, professional domain that lets them know that they’re in for a great user experience. You might not be able to snag your first choice, but experiment with words, names and TLDs until you find a domain that works for your business.
Ultimately, a good domain name is worth the investment. Customers will take your website more seriously, which leads to more sales in return.
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