There are some things you should never buy cheap: jet fuel, legal advice, and drastic haircuts, for example. But what about domain names? Registering your domain name is the first step towards having a website, and some domains sell for a shocking amount of money. (We’re talking millions, here.) So, does that mean cheap domain names aren’t any good?
Should you buy cheap domain names?
In a word: Yes.
Sometimes, cheap domain names really are bad news, and, in this guide, we’ll tell you what to look out for. But there are times when cheap domain names end up being the best investment decision you could make for your website. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on your domain for it to be a good investment. Besides, there’s no guarantee that a domain will perform better just because it’s more expensive.
So, if you can get a domain name for a low price and it doesn’t raise any of the red flags in this guide, go ahead and grab it!
But first, where are people finding these cheap domain names?
Where can you buy cheap domain names?
The domain registration business is pretty competitive, so most domain registrars offer at least a few cheap domain names. The catch is that these cheap domain names usually don’t come with all the bells and whistles of their regular domains. We don’t sacrifice quality just for the sake of lowering our prices, but we don’t overcharge you either.
Our domain names are always competitively priced to give you the best value for money. On our platform, you can buy a domain for under $10/yr, and, with some plans, you can even get a free domain!
Everybody likes saving money.
But here are some things to look out for to make sure that those cheap domain names don’t end up costing you. Here’s our top seven things to consider when buying domain names.
Checklist for buying cheap domain names
1. Where are you going to host it?
Some cheap domain names don’t come with web hosting, but it’s pointless to get a domain without being able to host it somewhere. (A website needs to be stored on a server. Web hosting companies rent server space to you, so you have somewhere to store your website.)
It’s easier to get web hosting at the same place where you bought your domain, which is why on our platform, we offer domains and web hosting. But if you bought your domain somewhere else and want to host with us, we can walk you through the process of pointing your domain to our servers.
2. Choose a “.com” extension
There are over 100 possible domain name extensions, but “.com” is still the most popular. If you see domain names at suspiciously low prices, check to make sure you’re not buying some obscure extension nobody will ever be able to find.
3. Once you have the “.com”, buy the most common alternative extensions
Once you’ve bagged the “.com” extension, feel free to buy some other extensions, since you’re getting the name for cheap. Why?
Getting alternative domain extensions protects your domain in several ways:
- Nefarious people won’t be able to buy alternative extensions to impersonate you
- Nor will they be able to buy alternative domains then sell them to you at ridiculous prices
- Preventing people from buying alternative extensions keeps your visitors from being confused
- Buying alternative extensions keeps your brand safe
Speaking of branding…
4. Choose a brandable name
It’s good to have a domain that’s stuffed with keywords, but as a trendy alternative, try going for a brandable domain name. “Google”, “Twitter”, “Pinterest” and “Facebook” are great examples of brandable domain names. Instead of trying to be too on-the-nose about the service you’re offering, try to come up with words (or non-words) that are evocative of the service you’re offering.
For instance, “Google” is derived from the word “googol”, which is a very large number. It’s meant to represent the sheer volume of information that will be at your fingertips if you use Google as your search engine. “Twitter” sounds like quick, pleasant chatter, which is what the website offers. On Pinterest, you can “pin” pictures you’re interested in.
These are great, memorable, brandable domain names. You can have one, too, with a couple hours of solid brainstorming.
(Just because your domain name is cheap doesn’t mean it should sound like it! Learn how to pick the ideal domain here.)
5. Make sure they’re compatible with SSL certificates
Some registrars dazzle you with rock-bottom prices for domain names that turn out to be incompatible with SSL certificates. In the moment, you might be so caught up in the great deal you’re supposedly getting that you ignore the fact that you’ll never be able to install an SSL certificate on your website.
This would be a very bad idea.
SSL certificates encrypt data that passes between your website’s server and your visitors’ browsers. This includes sensitive data like credit card information. (This is why the Payment Card Industry won’t let you collect credit card information on your eCommerce website if your site isn’t protected by an SSL certificate.)
SSL certificates also give your website a boost in other ways:
- They make your visitors feel more secure
- Your website look more legitimate
- They increase your search engine ranking (which helps your website get more visitors)
- They keep your visitors’ anti-virus software from telling them how suspicious your website looks
So, avoid cheap domain names that you can’t protect with an SSL certificate.
6. Buy up cheap domain names with common misspellings of your domain name
Remember how we said you should buy up alternative domain extensions, so your visitors don’t get confused? For the same reason, you’re also going to want to buy up common misspellings of your domain name.
In a perfect world, you’d have lucked into a domain name that couldn’t possibly be misspelled, but sometimes that can’t be avoided. For instance, your domain name may be based on the name of your established business, which means you can’t risk changing it. So, if you know of common misspellings of your domain name, go ahead and buy them up!
Sometimes, a cheap domain name is a bargain, and sometimes, it’s bad news. To tell the difference, trust your gut and be sure to follow this handy guide!