Studies show that domain names ending with .com dominate top-level domain (TLD) distributions with a share of more than 80%.
If anything, these are the domains used by most businesses. And since domain names are the World Wide Web’s foundation stones, this percentage confirms that internet is still an extremely lucrative platform for businesses.
In fact, an excellent domain name can offer a great entry point for your start-up’s brand. Meaning that the best skill you can learn right now is how to buy a domain name from someone without losing out.
So check out the foolproof guide below.
If you’ve just launched your business and you don’t have enough capital, it’s not advisable to spend over $10000 on a domain.
As you start out, it’s better to focus more energy and resources on customers than brand presence. You can even start with a $15 URL and then upgrade to a better domain name when your sales grow and there’s more money to spend.
Check out this beginner’s guide on domain name costs to learn more.
It’s crucial that you do your homework before conducting any domain name purchase.
Start your research by browsing available domains by either domain name or keywords using one of the many freely available domain name search tools.
Once you find the preferred domain name for your business, ensure to check out its competitors as well as when it was last sold, the selling price, and the web hosting broker.
Here are a few tips to land the best domain name for your entity:
It’s imperative to get a domain name that visitors can easily say, type and remember.
Therefore, avoid domain names with numbers, odd spellings of words, multiple hyphens, and so forth. Anyone hearing your business name should be able to recite it without having things like “dash-dash” and “the number 4.”
Also, steer clear domain name words that have more than one meaning or spelling. This is because people are likely to get confused and mistype the business name.
Most importantly, don’t go for domain names that feature slang terms. It’s vital to invest in a domain name that can stick around for over ten years as well as one that understandable even by non-native speakers in international markets.
If you find a domain name that’s a bit cryptic, chances are people will have a hard time remembering it. Though, the domain name you choose matters a lot.
Long domains names are usually difficult to remember, on top of being easily misspelled.
If you can’t find any single-word domain name to buy, stick to those that sound creative. Remember that your domain name becomes part of your brand and so it’s vital to choose one that best represents your business.
Trademark terms will quickly attract legal challenges and complaints.
To be safe, make sure that the domain you’re considering isn’t a trademark by searching it on U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) site.
Once you pick out a domain name, find out if the phrase or word is available on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube.
This is important when it comes to the future of your business, especially when you get to the point where you’ll want to expand your reach to social media sites.
One fact is that finding the right domain name is merely one part. Dealing with the owners is where things can get quite challenging.
In terms of seller personas, you’re likely to meet four kinds of people as you buy a domain name:
These are arguably the worst kind of sellers to deal with.
Squatters are those people who still own premium, unused websites after buying them ages ago in the hope of becoming rich. Thus, these sellers have unlimited leverage and an obsession for valuations, meaning that it’s quite difficult to convince them you’re the buyer they’ve been waiting for.
In other words, you’ll have to pay heavily to get a domain name from a squatter.
Slightly less loathsome than squatters, holdouts are people (or entities) who want to use a domain name but don’t have any specific plans for it at that point in time.
In as much as holdouts won’t play games like squatters, they get quickly disinterested with all kinds of offers. And if you’re lucky enough to find one who does open negotiations, he or she will most likely ask for a percentage of the website post-transfer or that your pay extra the ‘pre-work’ done.
This is because holdouts have a strong attachment to their domains.
They are potentially the best sellers you’ll encounter when negotiating domain names.
Has-beens are guys who own domains they have previously used and shut down maybe because the product rebranded or got acquired. As such, has-beens have no intention of using their domain names in the future and so won’t mind flipping them.
One good thing with brokers is that they encourage their clients to sell.
Why? That’s the only way they get paid.
Thus, it can be helpful to work with a broker because his or her interests concur with your major interest, which is to find and buy the best domains for your business.
Regardless of the seller persona you’ll encounter, here are tips on how to close the deal:
If a seller fears that someone better than you may come along with a bigger offer, he or she is unlikely to sell.
To appear as the most sensible deal, it’s important to invest in intellectual property. This may mean applying for things like copyrights and trademarks for your business name.
That way, a seller will assume that you’re the most serious player and close the deal.
Just like with all other negotiations, approaching a domain owner with your final offer is plain bad negotiating.
Instead, come up with a price that you can easily counter so that you don’t get a flat no or even a non-response. When you make a serious offer and the seller shows signs of interest, ensure to follow up after several days.
In the follow-up, don’t disclose that you’re willing to pay more than your initial offer. Simply hold firm until the domain owner asks for it. If the seller’s counter is way beyond your budget range, counter it with the absolute highest bid you can afford.
At this point, it’s important to be open with the seller by letting him or her know that you can’t afford to offer money. This may include informing the seller that your bootstrapped or that your team, investors, or wife won’t let you pay more.
Whatever you say, be genuine. The IP viability strategy coupled with this kind of transparency is an excellent dose of reality for most domain sellers.
While it’s definitely not advisable to pressure potential sellers, you can make them feel the urgency of selling by demonstrating that you’ve got nothing to lose.
Unfortunately, this can only be believable if you already run a successful company with a less preferable URL. Showing that you’re thriving and surviving on a less admirable domain is a sobering message even for squatters.
After agreeing on a price with your seller, the next step is to write up a contract.
There are three ways to structure a domain deal:
Cash over time and all cash up front are intuitive deal structures that need no introduction.
However, domain leasing is quite complicated considering that it can work in various ways:
In this arrangement, you agree with the seller to receive all the traffic in an alternative domain as you finish paying up for your desired URL.
One disadvantage of forwarding traffic is that it’s worthless unless Google still considers that domain name as an authority in terms of the keywords.
This is where a seller points his or her domain’s name-servers to your preferred Domain Name System (DNS) manager as you finish off paying the amount due.
Managing a domains DNS allows you to control SSL certificate, the routing, and many more.
Once you finish paying, the seller simply provides his or her register logins and you assume full ownership of the domain. On the other hand, if you fail to pay up, the seller can swap name-servers, leading to the domain’s revocation.
The best thing about this arrangement is that long term payouts owed to the seller get protected, while the buyer can focus on building their brand without coughing up serious money.
Before you start searching, master the negotiation skills above and learn how to identify and deal with the different market players. That’s how to buy a domain name from someone, hassle-free.
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