Small money, small football, big money, big football. (Ferenc Puskas)
This quote by the greatest Hungarian football player comes to my mind when I would like to explain how to choose a domain name for your business. While the number of domains not yet registered is unlimited, there is a reason why they are available for registration: no one thought it is worth $10 or so. If you are dreaming about something big, it is not the best choice to start on a worthless domain. So I’ve separated my tips to 2 parts: one for small players and one for big players. As an example case, let’s say I would like to start a moving company in New York city.
If your budget is limited (up to $100)
This limit will allow the following things:
Hand-register (register) a new domain
Hand-registering is just the opposite phrasing of buying an already registered domain.
You have 2 choices here: be descriptive or go for a brandable name. Additionally, there are 2 choices for the extension, an old, reputable but saturated extension (.com, .net, .org) or a new extension (for the example: .company, .services, .nyc).
1. Check possible options for the descriptive one. Even with limited budget, try to find what would be the best, and set that as a starting point. It is really easy to find the best one: what is the Google search you are looking for? Of course there are some variations for the best possible keywords. You can check the search volumes either in Google Adwords keyword planning tool or in Semrush. In our case the best possible phrase is movers nyc, so the dream domain is moversnyc.com. Of course it is not available and you will not get it from your budget. I don’t recommend anything else than .com as an extension if you prefer traditional extensions, since .net, .info, .biz etc. are out of fashion. So you have to derive something from moving nyc, e.g. adding your name or company name or something appealing. So e.g. mymoversnyc.com can be a great choice than. Don’t cheat yourself though, you will not get any serious search traffic for these keywords, unless you spend ten thousands on marketing campaigns.
Check our possibilities for new extension. We have some options: movers.nyc, moving.nyc, movingnyc.company, movingnyc.services. The latter ones sounds odd, the first ones are nice but too late. Maybe something like movingservice.nyc is not that bad, isn’t it?
A problem with these keyword rich, descriptive domains is that those keywords are somewhat useless if you don’t get search traffic. Since the value of the domain is one of the most important ranking factor, there is no chance of free traffic here.
2. So maybe you can simply go ahead and choose a so-called brandable domain. Brandable means that it is short and memorable but not descriptive. A good brandable domain tries to give back the feel of your business. What do I mean a brandable here? Maybe something like movonyc.com. Be as short as possible and as catchy as possible. Brandable is only for .com. New extensions were made in order to have descriptive extensions, it is very odd to have a meaningless name and an exact description. Movonyc.nyc sounds really bad (movo.nyc is not much better)! For registering brandable domains, you can try a domain name suggestion tool which makes the process faster.
Buy a not that great domain in auction
If we are under $100, not that great means something very far from being great. Your option here is practically limited to GoDaddy auctions, since they have lower starting fees or backorder Namejet and Snapnames expiring domains and other pending delete domains. After a short lookup, the best choice today is to backorder mindthemove.com in Snapnames. It will cost $69 if no one else interested. Why it is better than movonyc.com? Because it was registered in 2003, has some backlinks around the web – so it is easier to get search traffic for this domain.
Higher budget domain acquisitions ($1000-several million USD)
If you read this tutorial carefully, you may recognize that I left out the region $100-$1000. The thing is that this region is practically limited to Namejet and Snapnames backorder auctions, GoDaddy domain auctions and Flippa domain auctions in such cases where there are several interested bidders but not too many. You cannot expect too much from a domain in this region: a bit better name than the free registration, a bit stronger backlinks but nothing special. So let’s call this $100-$1000 a twilight region of domain sales, these domains are not worthless but not premium either. So let’s move to the domains above $1000, where the value of the domains start being recognizable by non-experts, too. As for the extension, .com is the first to consider. Forget .net, .org (except you are an organization) and .info. In special cases, new extensions can be an alternative of .com, if the domain name and extension is a perfect combination (like wine.club, movies.online, horoscope.today or domain.tips). In our example, moving.nyc, mover.nyc, movers.nyc or move.nyc with the new .nyc extension could be considered but all of them are reserved by the Registry. So go ahead and find a premium .com domain.
There are the following options to buy a domain in this price region.
More or less search is limited here to keyword. If we search for moving or mover, these are the best names coming up at the moment: movingpros.com for $26,000, movingman.com for $24,000, movingfast.com for $20,000, moverservice.com for $30,000, cheapmover.com for $28,000. My “choice” is movingpros.com, because it is brandable and has keyword at the same time. I am sure you feel the difference between these domains and those that can be registered for basic fee. Since there are not many buyers out there who are ready to spend on a specialized domain ten thousands of dollars right away, these domains are usually listed for months or years. Since the very best domains can earn money while holding it, sellers are not really forced to decrease their listing price even if there are no offers on the domain.
While prices on Sedo are somewhat controlled in the region above $10,000, there is no regulation on Flippa. So prices can be ridiculous sometimes. Several sellers will list their domains everywhere, so you will find cheapmover.com for the same $28,000 here. There are somewhat less domains on Flippa than on Sedo, but there are still many good ones. What about fastmove.com for $25,000?
Sellers can list their high end domains as Premium listings. These domains can be simply found when someone tries to search for a domain name during registration. There is again some overlap with Sedo, e.g. movingfast.com for $20,000 and we can also find a very specific domain for “our business”: newyorkmovingcompany.com for $25,000. The best domains not just have a great name but also has history. This is the case for authorizedmovers.com which can be bought for $50,000. The domain hosted a serious website in this field, so you can expect much better rankings in search engines as soon as your website is live. And of course free search engine traffic is something that can make a difference.
I think I have to mention the most popular portal of brandable domains here. Honestly, “brandable” tag is often used to overprice domains in my experience. Maybe the best choice among the current listings for a moving service company is movomo.com for $2.895 but is it really so better than the free movonyc.com?
A special type of brandability comes for shortness, thus 2 and 3 letter .com domains are really brandable. 2 letter .coms are starting in the 6 figure range, while 3 letters cost minimum $10,000. Maybe this type of brandability is not perfect for moving services (mny.com is weird, isn’t it?) but they are very common for multinational companies.
While theoretically it is possible to find a premium domain among pending delete domains and Namejet and Snapnames auctions, I am sure you cannot wait months or years while a name that is related to your business appears. So those are not really options here.
A premium domain makes a difference
Ask yourself: if you read this tutorial on a domain like bestdomain-tips.com would you think that they are really domain experts and you should follow their hints? Am I right that the name domain.tips itself suggests that we are domain experts? We are authentic because we were able to secure such a premium domain for our portal.
I like the story of malls.com. Some guys had the business idea to build a searchable portal that collects malls arount the World. So just imagine it if you have this idea with a crappy name or malls.com and than call the management of different malls. What do you think what will happen? Of course the domain name malls.com is large part of being successful. The domain name malls.com was bought for $320,000 and as the buyer told in an interview, the domain name opened the doors everywhere and they earn this money back in 2 years. It is a serious investment – and a serious business. And there are so many examples like this out there.
Of course there are opposite examples. Why would anyone buy a super premium domain name for a hobby group or a personal homepage? There are many bad examples but I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings showcasing a domain as a bad example. Premium domain and poor website is not a good fit either.
Set your goals and choose a domain that are same ambitious as your goals. Free domain for your family photos, premium domain for an international business.