Acquire a name that is already registered from the person or company that owns it. Your domain name is going to be used for something. And you probably already have some ideas around what it’ll be called, so you’ve already started the process. Start by listing all the names that you like. I find that my best domain names are generally ones that are for sale (as opposed to unregistered). If I wanted to take the starter domain approach, I could have gone with the name Good Life Media, and acquired GoodLifeMedia.com which is for sale for $24,500. Acquire And/Or Register Your Domain Name At this point you should have a narrowed down list of viable options for your domain name. You’ll find out for sure if that is an option or not once you type it into the search bar on NameCheap. What to Do If the Domain Name Seems Acquirable If the domain name seems acquirable, but it isn’t clear — you have two options. Googling the domain name and seeing if it is tied to any social media profiles or other websites is also a good approach.
Your domain name is very important. It would be a mistake to gloss over the process of coming up with a name. If you take your project seriously, then you need to start off on the right foot with your name. After all, it’s going to be with you for the lifetime of whatever business or project you intend to use the domain for.
Many of the guides on how to buy a domain name or how to build a website tend to gloss over this process as well. It is often assumed that the best approach is to just register whatever domain name is available and call it a day. I think this is a big mistake.
There’s nothing wrong with registering a domain name that is available, as long as you’ve thought it through and are intentional about it. In fact, I would encourage that. The issue is that in many cases, people don’t even realize that there are other options. Getting your hands on the optimal name is more doable than you might think.
In this guide, I want to walk you through my process for buying a domain name, starting with how I go about coming up with a name in the first place.
Understand the Cost of a Domain Name
First and foremost, I suggest that you do put some budget behind your domain name — especially if it’s for your business. If your budget is tight, then you’ll be more limited in what you can do.
There are two options when it comes to getting your domain name
- Register a name that isn’t already currently registered.
- Acquire a name that is already registered from the person or company that owns it.
Regardless of which option you go with, you’ll still need to pay the annual registration fee of $7–$15/year on average.
The cost of acquiring a domain name will vary widely: You can easily spend 4–5 figures on a name. In some cases you can find a good one for hundreds of dollars. Some domain names aren’t for sale at all, while others have sold for millions of dollars.
Brainstorm Concepts and Ideas
Before you even think about buying a domain name, you’ll need to do some ground work.
Get creative, because it’s time to do some brainstorming.
Your domain name is going to be used for something. Maybe a business, or a campaign, or maybe just a blog. And you probably already have some ideas around what it’ll be called, so you’ve already started the process.
Create a Concept List
I like to call this a concept list. It’s the list before your final name list. It isn’t necessarily names, but for now, just concepts.
Take your project and write down of all the words, descriptors, phrases, ideas, mantras, etc. that come to mind. Come up with as many words as possible. Use a thesaurus to help.
I personally find a mind map useful for this process.
Create a List of Potential Names
Once you have a thorough concept list, you can develop a more refined list of potential names. Start by listing all the names that you like. Since you might not have an unlimited budget, make sure you dig deep here. You can’t be too picky yet, because that will end up limiting your options. Write everything down that you think might work.
Narrow Down The List According to Viability
You can narrow your list down quickly just by typing in the .com for each name that you like. Type it into your browser and see what is there.
- If there is an established website built on the domain name, cross that off your list. It is very unlikely to be a viable option.
- If nothing comes up at all, then keep it on your list. That could mean that the domain name isn’t registered yet, which is great!
- If a landing page with ads comes up, that means the domain name is parked. It is owned by someone already, but might be an acquisition target. Keep this on your list.
- If the domain name is for sale, then that is the best case scenario. That’s exactly what we are looking for. Keep it on your list, and take note of the listed price if there is a listed price.
I find that my best domain names are generally ones that are for sale (as opposed to unregistered). I recommend browsing through the following websites to get more ideas. You might get lucky and find something you like just by browsing. If you do, add those to your list as well.
BrandBucket — They put together more creative, brandable domain names and then sell them. I’ve found a lot of names here that I would not have thought of on my own.
BuyDomains.com — They have a huge selection of domain names for sale. They have transparent pricing and offer a seamless experience. This is always my starting point, and preferred approach to acquiring a domain name.
Sedo.com — Probably the biggest selection of domain names and the most well known place to acquire a name.
BuyDomains.com and Uniregistry are the biggest players in selling domains. More times than not, if a domain name is for sale when I type it into my browser, it is one of those two companies that is behind the sale. I find them to be the most reasonable. HugeDomains.com is another one that I have bought from.
Once you have the narrowed down list. The next step is to dig even deeper to determine what your final options will be.