Trying to find a domain name for your new website? Awesome! You may not realize it, but securing the domain name for your new website/business should be your first step. It may not be the most exciting part of the process but it’s something you need to have in place before you can start playing with things like logos, branding, design, and message.
Your domain name, and in turn, your business name is where the adventure begins.
How to find an available domain name
There are several ways to see if the domain name you want to use is available or already being used by someone. The easiest place to start is with a Google search. Type in the domain name you want to use in the search bar and see what comes up.
In the example above I searched for the farm name we wanted to use for our new property, but as you can see it’s already being used by another farmer. You can see that the domain name is being used by a farm in Australia, as well as several social media handles by the same name.
Because this domain name is already in use, as well as the same name “Little Valley Farm” being used on several social media platforms, it’s not going to be a good domain name (or farm name) choice for us.
You should repeat this process until you find a domain name that does not come up with several active results in Google. Once you find one (or a few options) it’s time to move on to the next step!
What to do if the domain name you want is being used by someone else
The answer to this question will depend on your definition of “being used” by someone. If you fall in love with a user name, but you find an active and live website that seems to be up to date and actively used, multiple social media handles, etc., you probably aren’t going to get them to sell you the name. So you are most likely out of luck with that domain name.
Now, if you find a domain name that has been purchased by someone but ISN’T being used on an active website then you might be able to purchase it from the owner of it. Some people purchase great domain names to turn around and sell them when a buyer comes along. Think of this as flipping domain names. Similar to finding furniture on the curb, rehabbing it, and selling it for a profit.
If you come across this you should be able to see the ability to purchase the domain name on the platform you’re using to search available domain names.
Sometimes, however, they aren’t willing to sell and you need another option. For this situation, I say, try to come up with a variation of the name you love. For example, I’ve seen clients add “the” to the beginning of their chosen domain name, or add “llc” or something similar to the end.
Where to purchase a domain name
There are several online marketplaces to buy domain names, but one of the easiest to use and most commonly known is Go Daddy.
Easy to navigate and utilize, Go Daddy is a great option when you’re looking to find a great domain name for your website. If you are a serial entrepreneur it’s easy to own several domain names with the same Go Daddy account. I own about four, myself!
How much is this going to cost?
The cost of a new domain name can vary wildly based on several different things. The length of the domain name, keywords used, and ease of memorization will all play a part in the cost of the domain name you choose.
On average, however, a basic domain name will usually cost you anywhere from $14-$30 a year. Just don’t be blown away if you see a domain name with a drastically higher price tag attached, it’s more common than you would imagine. The decision you have to make at that point is, do you want to pay the higher price? This decision is completely personal and does not make a difference in the process of building your website.
The question you will need to ask yourself is, “How attached am I to this domain name/business name?”
What else should I consider when buying my domain?
There will be several “addons” to consider when you are purchasing your domain name. Some of these are not necessary but there are a few I HIGHLY recommend.
- Domain Privacy & Protection
This option usually costs about $10/year and is designed to protect you from someone stealing your website out from under you. It happens! It also protects you from losing ownership of your domain name if your account lapses due to an expired credit card number.
- Email attached to your website
You’ve seen something like this without even realizing it. For example, if you email me you would email firstname.lastname@example.org, not my personal Gmail email account. This is what you are purchasing if you choose to add an email account attached to your website. The first part of this new email address can be whatever you choose. For example, “hello”, “your name”, “support”, etc. The last part of your new email address will match your domain name.
So, our new farm website email address could be email@example.com
What do I do next?
Now, it’s time to get excited. You’ve purchased your domain name and it’s almost time to build your website! Time for a happy dance.