It may surprise you to know that one of the most popular questions I get asked by newcomers to internet marketing is related to buying a domain name.
Now I know if you’ve been around a little while you’re probably thinking “Buying a domain name! How hard is that? Just choose your name, click and buy!” But actually, on reflection, it can be a bit of a minefield out there…
From the minute you arrive at your preferred domain seller you’re bombarded with choices, processes and options that are designed to get you spend a deal more than, say, the $4.99 you Originally thought your shiny new domain name was going to cost you.
I decided to pop along to my local domain shop (read click on a bookmark and login) and take a look at exactly what’s on offer and whether all these add-ons and extras are totally essential.
1) OK, so the first thing I see before I even type in the domain name I want to buy is that there’s a “Sale” on certain suffixes like .com .net .org
2) I type in my domain name – domain-name-confusion.com – and click the ‘next’ button and ‘fantastic’, it’s available, but hang on… I can also buy domain-name-confusion.US .NAME .BIZ etc and many more. I can also choose from MYdomain-name-confusion, EASYdomain-name-confusion, domain-name-confusionONLINE, domain-name-confusionSTORE and myriad other combinations
3) I decide that no, I’m just going to stick to my original choice of domain-name-confusion.com and so I don’t check any of the other boxes. I proceed on to what I think is the checkout but OH NO… again I’m being asked to STOP!
Why don’t I protect my brand and increase my traffic by buying the .org .net and .info – and I’m even offered a really amazing “special price” to buy the job lot! And what’s more there’s a special box with a list of compelling reasons why I really should do this
4) No thanks, I still want to stick to my original domain-name-confusion.com so I click on the checkout button, AGAIN!
Great! We’re onto the summary page where I’m told what I’m ordering.
But WAIT! Do I want my domain name certified for an extra $2.99? Do I want email adding to my domain for an extra $1.99? Is that Complete or Deluxe, Madam? How about Hosting, Sitebuilder, a blog or even some traffic driving software? Is that Standard, Deluxe or Protected, Madam?
5) No, honestly, you’re too kind, but I simply want to buy the domain name! Click on the checkout button, AGAIN!
Phew, the checkout at last! But wait, do I want to add protection to my domain name and make it ‘private’? Do I want to add another domain name? Am I sure I don’t want the .NET OR .INFO?
Quite a marathon, huh? And, of course, when you are all wrapped up in the dream of having your own website and wanting to make it perfect from the outset, you are vulnerable to emotional suggestions. PROTECT, INCREASE, EXPAND, ATTRACT…
So let’s take a look to see if you need all these unfamiliar, but reasonable-sounding options?
Do You Need Extra Domain Suffixes?
You can register a .com domain name with several very reputable registrars for, say, $6.99/yr to $9.99/yr. Fees for registering the other possibilities, .info, .co.uk, .net, .org, .biz, .tv can range from $0.99 per year to whatever the registering company wants to charge.
But is it going to be worth it? And where do you stop with the combinations? .com, .co.uk, .info and then there’s the ‘do I add a dash ( – ) just-to-be-on-the-safe-side.com, .org, .biz’ ? I would say, probably not. The .com brand is so widely known that most people will automatically type in a .com extension on any website they are trying to find.
This option will keep your private details, name, physical address and email address unavailable to anyone checking the ownership of your domain on “Whois”. Internet law requires that all information about domain registration be publicly available and “Whois” maintains the databases that hold this information.
If you buy a private registration, your details will not be available to just anyone who wants to check your domain for specific ownership. There are many domain owners who don’t think this is necessary but, on the other hand, private registration can help you avoid spam, crank emails and unwanted phone calls.
It is worth bearing in mind that any emails you send from the US that are commercial in nature, like:
i) Promoting a product or affiliation
ii) Suggesting that the reader visit your sales page
iii) Offering a discount for purchasing some product
are required, by the US Can-Spam Act, to have your correct, physical mailing address visible to your email recipients and the correct email address you sent the advertisement from, so this kind of defeats the object of private registration in some ways.
This form of domain registration protects you from inadvertent expiration of your domain registration, including credit card expiration, failed billing or outdated contact information. It also makes it more difficult to accomplish most malicious domain transfers by Internet predators. Effectively, your domain would be held for you until you renewed the registration.
It can cost more than $25 a year for this service, depending on who you are using for this protection. If you are a small marketing venture, selling a piece of software, an affiliate product or an ebook on a niche product, you may not need this upsell. However, if later your domain starts making lots of money, and you decide that you do need it, you can easily add it.
This level of domain registration keeps need-to-know information about your business in the Whois database. That information can include a map to your store, website photo, business description, phone number and links to vital pages of your website.
The vital information your customers might need to facilitate business deals with your business is visible to millions of searchers in the Whois domain name database.
Do you need it? That would depend on the nature and size of your business and your budget. This would be more of a marketing/budget decision. A small, start-up website selling one ebook would probably not need this additional service.
How Many Years Do You Need?
Every time you register a domain name, regardless of the service you choose to use for the registration, you will be offered a multi-year registration at a discount. It is up to you whether you consider this offer to be a good deal, but you might want to consider something before you do it.
Are you positive that you will still want to own the domain name after the first year? Will you still be in business in a year? Will you have graduated to a bigger, much different online business or another business entirely?
If you take a multi-year package, the registrar will get all the money up front and you will not get a refund if you change your business or drop out entirely.
Hosting On The Domain Registry Site
This is a likely time-saving upsell you will be offered when you register your domain name. It seems like it would be an easy, time-saving option to buy. Your domain and website would be in the same place.
Most Internet Marketers, if asked, would advise against doing this. Putting all your eggs in one basket means your entire business disappears if the domain registrar quits doing registrations or generally just goes out of business.
A better choice would be to find another hosting company that provides the options you need to make your website what you want it to be.
The multitude of domain registrars on the internet will guarantee that there will be more offers to upgrade or to buy packages with various multiple options that sound fantastic on the surface. Since it’s your money at stake, it might be wise to carefully consider what you actually need right now…not a year down the line. By then your needs could be far different than anticipated originally.
Paula Brett is a writer and internet marketer in several niches. She also runs the successful hosting company D9 Hosting, which specializes in hosting for beginners to Internet Marketing. You can find out more about her by visiting her blog at www.paula-brett.com/blog/