This post was originally published on Aug. 22, 2017, and was updated on July 8, 2019.
If you’re looking to start an online venture, securing a domain name is ground zero. Whether or not you already have an established business, you can’t make a stand on the internet without a domain. But how much does a domain name cost? How much time should you spend looking for one? What are your options? Fortunately, we’ve got some answers to help steer you in the right direction.
Related: What is a domain name?
How much does a domain name cost?
The price of a domain name varies depending on a number of factors:
- The domain extension (i.e., .com vs. .shop)
- Where you purchase the domain name from (i.e., a reputable registrar, an aftermarket service, a private seller, etc.)
- The term length or add-ons you select (i.e., registering for multiple years, electing to include domain privacy, etc.)
Generally speaking, a domain name can cost you anywhere from $2 to $20 per year, depending on specials or discounts. Newer domain extensions, such as .app, might be on the higher-end of that scale (or above it), as they’ve only recently gone on the market.
There are no definitive prices for domain names in these avenues. The business of buying and selling domains means that prices vary widely. The only way to know is to visit sites like Afternic or GoDaddy Auctions to get a feel for the cost.
Pro tip: If you’re looking to purchase a domain that someone else already owns, check out GoDaddy’s Domain Broker Service. Let the brokers handle the nitty-gritty of negotiating so you can own the domain your business deserves.
How do I pick a domain name?
When it comes to choosing a domain name, there are a few things to consider:
What’s your business about? Are you selling T-shirts online or do you make handmade jewelry? Maybe you sell services instead of goods — that’s OK, too. You might try something like:
Avoid hyphens or odd spellings
How often do you use punctuation when searching for something online? My guess is rarely. The last thing you want is a domain name that requires extra effort from your visitors. Using something like, the-best-shirts-youll-ever-wear.com — no matter how compelling — won’t do you any favors.
When possible, avoid using uncommon spellings or numbers. Is that a 4 or a four? What about 2, to, two or too? You catch my drift. If anyone ever shares your domain via word-of-mouth, your name could get lost in translation.
Make it memorable
There are nearly 1.7 billion websites live on the internet right now. How are you going to make yours stand out?
For starters, you’ll need a domain name that’s memorable. Use something that speaks to your brand or the services and products you offer. Make sure it rolls off the tongue nicely, and definitely run your ideas by friends and family.
Do I need more than one domain?
Short answer, yes. Even if you only plan to launch one website, the answer is still yes. Let me tell you why — brand protection.
Remember the odd spelling examples we mentioned above? Even if you decided to opt with an easier version of your name, the true domain could still get misinterpreted. If you secure common errors, you can cover all your bases and still point each domain name to the primary site. Now, traffic that wants to find you will actually make it to your site, regardless of errant typos.
And, perhaps on a grander scheme, owning multiple domain names protects your business from mooching competitors. If you own BestCookies.com and are widely known for your grandmother’s chocolate chip recipe, you might find competitors eager to snag BestChocolateCookies.com. Now, when foodies everywhere take to the internet in search of your goods, they could end up on someone else’s site.
If you have it in the budget, consider purchasing domain names pertinent to your brand (even if they’re not immediately recognizable as your business’s name) to keep competitors off your traffic.
Are you asking the right questions?
Instead of asking yourself, “how much does a domain name cost,” you should be asking, “how much would it cost my business not to have a domain that matches my brand?”
It isn’t always easy to find an available domain name that aligns with your company. But the cost of sacrificing immediate recognition, traffic and sales could easily outweigh the price of a domain. Whether you’ve found an extension that fits or you’re in need of a broker, don’t wait to register your domain.