When setting up your online business, you typically get just one domain name on which your entire business is built. Your website acts as the virtual face of your business online. And your audience will use your domain address to find your business and products.

So, when you buy a domain address, you have to get it right the very first time. It helps to do your research and watch out for hidden factors so that you make this one-time action the right one at the start of your business growth.

In this post, you’ll learn about the top things you should know before buying a domain.

Check for domain availability

Many people get their hearts set on a business name without checking whether it’s available as a domain address. There are millions of websites in existence today and there’s a strong chance that your website name is already taken.

Always make sure that you’ve brainstormed a handful of names that work for your business. You can work with a name generator tool to come up with good business names. The best part is that you can also check whether the domain address for a name is available at the same time.

You’ll save a lot of time and effort and can also save money by finding a domain address that hasn’t been used before. Staying open to different domain names and working with domain registrar or name generator tools will make the process of picking the right domain name much easier.

Look for free options

Before buying a domain, compare different platforms to get the best offer. You can get freebies from domain registrars or hosting platforms if you do your research.

You should know that it isn’t enough to buy a domain name to create a website. The content you create has to ‘live’ somewhere. That is, your website files have to be stored on a server so that visitors from any part of the world can see the content you put up on your site. To do that, you need to subscribe to a hosting service.

Many domain registrars have hosting services as part of their offerings. And you’ll also find hosting companies that allow you to buy domain names.

While doing your research, look for the following:

  • Can you get a free domain name if you take up a hosting service?
  • A free SSL certificate
  • 24/7 customer support from the domain registrar and hosting company
  • Free WHOIS privacy fees

Some hosting platforms and domain registers even help you make your website by offering free site builders that will help you make your website look good.

Check for social media handles

When you choose a domain name, you automatically choose your social media handles. For example, my company’s name OptinMonster is in the domain name, and the handles used to find it on social media.

If your social media handles aren’t the same or extremely close to your website address, it’ll become difficult for customers to find you on social media. It also makes for better SEO when your handles and domain name are the same.

When you set up your domain, make sure that you do some research to see if your handles are available for your social media accounts. If they aren’t, it’s worthwhile thinking up new names instead of trying to hyphenate or add numbers to get a handle that’s close to your business domain address.

Look up your domain history

Sometimes, you may buy a domain name that was previously used by other businesses. In such cases, it’s possible that activities around this formerly used domain address can impact your business today.

For example, a domain name that’s associated with bad PR, poor backlinking strategies, or other issues can come back to haunt your business when you get your new website up and running.

To make sure that this isn’t the case for you, insert the domain name you’re thinking about into the Internet Archive website. You’ll be able to find historical snapshots of the website the domain is associated with. You can check whether it’s suitable for you to pick this name or if you should go for another one.

Also, use a good SEO tool that can track backlinks to see what websites link to this domain. If you find that there are spammy websites linking to it, you’ll have to disavow them or just pick another domain name.

Check for other fees

Some domain registrars promote their domain names by promising you low fees at the beginning. You want to clearly read all the details and look at fees including taxes, addons, renewal fees, transfer fees, and more.

When buying a domain name at a discount, make sure that you understand what you’ll be paying the following year when the discount no longer applies.

A huge hike in your domain fees plus hidden costs to transfer a domain from another registrar can become cost-prohibitive quickly.

It’s especially damaging for small businesses and individuals to deal with a price hike. This is why you should check for pricing with a great deal of attention.

Over to you

With the information covered in this post, you’ll be in a great position to pick a domain name that sticks.

Follow the guidelines given here, do your research, and don’t get attached to a name until you get the domain address for it. But once you do get the domain name you want, make sure you buy it right away before it gets snatched up by someone else.

Once you’ve picked your domain name, you’re well on your way to making your business goals come true.