5 Questions Small Business Owners Ask
About Buying A Domain Name

I know how exciting it can be to embark on setting up a new website and how quickly that excitement can change into "Uh-Oh" in a matter of seconds. That's because buying a domain name appears to be more complicated than it really is.

To help eliminate the confusion, I will answer some of the most common questions I've been asked, to inform you on the basics of buying a domain name.

1. How much is a domain name?

The cost of a new domain name differs from a pre-owned domain name.

  • A new domain name, one that you have to register, can be as cheap as $3.99 the first year, but it can be as much as $15. It all depends on the service provider you choose. You shouldn't have to pay more than $20 tops, unless someone is doing it for you.

  • A pre-owned domain name, one that you purchase from a individual or company that sells previously owned domains, will vary greatly in price (from $100-$1,000+). Pre-owned domains tend to be more expensive than newly registered ones because they've already been established and the older domains get, the more valuable they become.

Once you make the initial purchase, a domain name has to be renewed annually. About $12-$15/year is a reasonable price to pay to renew a domain.

2. Does it matter how it's spelled?

A few people have asked me does it make a difference whether you spell or type out a domain name a certain way. It all depends on what you mean.

Here are a few common scenarios, I'll use my business URL www.graphicallyinnovativedesigns.com as an example:

  • Capitalizations don't make a difference. People basically use capitalizations in domain names to make it easier for customers to read on print collateral such as business cards, and flyers.

    Example: "www.graphicallyinnovativedesigns.com" is the same as typing "www.GraphicallyInnovativeDesigns.com".

  • Dashes do make a difference.

    Example: "www.graphicallyinnovativedesigns.com" is different than typing "www.graphically-innovative-designs.com".

  • Extensions do make a difference. Extensions are the words you see on the end of a domain name like .com, .net, or .org (a.k.a. in the technical world Top-Level Domains).

    Example: "www.graphicallyinnovativedesigns.com" is different than typing "www.graphicallyinnovativedesigns.net".

  • Spellings do make a difference. The littlest change in a letter can take you to a totally different website.

    Example: "www.graphicallyinnovativedesigns.com" is different than typing "www.innovativedesigns.com".

3. Is buying a domain name the same as hosting?

No, hosting a website is a totally different fee from domain name registration. Although, some hosting companies will waive the domain name registration for the first year as an incentive. That's why a lot of people get the two mixed up.

4. How can I find out if the domain I want is available?

There are two ways: (1) you can type in the URL of the desired domain name to see if a website comes up, or an even easier way is (2) go to whois.domaintools.com to do a quick and easy search of available domains for free.

5. Where can I get a domain name registered?

There are a lot of places online where you can register a domain name. Just search "register a domain" and you will find many providers to choose from, just be careful who you choose by first reading their terms before purchasing anything.

If you would like to register a domain name today but don't want to do it yourself, I can do it for you. Just contact me to find out more!

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