Ever been ripped off? It doesn’t feel good, but it happens to the best of us.
So how do you buy a domain name without getting ripped off? In other words, how do you buy one wihout paying more than necessary?
To be fair, unless you’ve been totally deceived, in other words, scammed, you can prevent feeling ripped off, purely by doing your due diligence at the time you make the purchase.
Here are some useful tips to remember when buying a domain name:
Choose Where to Make Your Purchase
Obviously you must find a domain name that’s suitable and available before you can buy it.
If you’re still at the stage of needing to know how to choose a domain name, then you might find this article useful – How to Choose a Name for Your Blog That You Love
My current favorite is NameMesh but that’s where it stops. I don’t buy my domains from this site. I only use it to help me find them.
Don’t just buy your domain name from the first site you use to find one, unelss of course they give you the best deal.
Let’s assume you’ve found a domain that’s short, snappy and perfect for your website. Chances are that the website you’ve used to help you find the name will also pitch you for the sale but does NOT mean you have to buy it there.
If the domain is available you can buy it from any Internet domain name registrar.
Don’t be taken in by clever marketing. For example, the cost of a domain is ongoing. Usually you will be able to choose between paying for it annually or alternatively for a few years upfront.
You don’t want to fall for getting a good first year deal and then end up having to pay a lot more than necessary when your domain comes up for renewal.
The price offered may look good but since there are many suppliers, you must do some research and find the best deal for your needs.
This brings me to the next question – what are your needs?
9 Important Domain Name Shopping List Considerations
Assuming you’re buying a domain name to use for a blog or website and your intention is to do so for the foreseeable future, I recommend considering the following criteria to help with your decision.
1. Is There an Option to Purchase the Domain for More Than One Year?
You may be able to get a better deal if you register the domain for five or ten years. I would only do this if you are quite certain you’ll want the domain for a longer period.
2. Is the Renewable Rate Reasonable?
The domain name industry is competitive, so suppliers frequently offer big discounts on your first year’s registration. It’s fine to consider a special offer but what will the cost be after the first year? Always check the renewable terms to see how much the domain will cost in the second and following years.
3. Will the Domain Be Registered in Your Name?
Make sure the supplier will register you as the domain’s owner. If its registered in their name, they could take control of the domain at any time which could place you in a difficult position.
4. Is the Supplier Flexible?
When you start out it’s impossible to predict how your business will change, so it’s important to find a flexible supplier.
For example, if the supplier also offers hosting make sure you can change all DNS settings, as this will allow you to use the domain with services like hosting or email from other vendors.
5. Can the Domain Be Renewed Automatically?
Despite receiving reminders, it’s still easy to forget to renew a domain. If this happens your website and emails will stop functioning.
There is usually a short grace period where you can get it renewed should this happen but why even risk an interruption like this if you don’t have to? Make sure the supplier will renew your domain automatically.
6. Does the Supplier Offer Support?
If you don’t have much experience using domain names, then I suggest you make sure the supplier offers enough support in case you run into problems.
7. Are Email Addresses Included?
Sometimes suppliers make you pay more for email addresses or they limit these to one per domain. Decide how many you require and that they are full email accounts for the purchase price.
8. Will You Get Full Privacy and Domain Protection?
You want to make sure that your personal details are protected from spammers, scammers, solicitors and your competitors. This will make sure your domains are always safe.
9. Is an SSL Certifcate Included? SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificates create a secure link between your website and a visitor’s browser.
You’ll know a site has this certificate if you see a padlock, the word ‘Secure” and https rather than http in front of the domain name.
This means all data passing between the two sites remains private and secure, preventing hackers from stealing private information such as credit card numbers, names and addresses.
This is especially important if you intend selling products or services on your website and accept credit cards online.
But even if you don’t, having an SSL certificate adds credibility to your website and it’s widely believed that search engines favor sites with SSL certificates.
How to Find the Best Deal
OK, so you have a shopping list using the above criteria and now you can compare apples with apples.
Check out as many domain name registrars as you like, comparing the costs to get everything on your shopping list.
To do this you will more than likely have to go through the process as if you were going to buy the domain. Most will not offer you a flat rate for everything since the price would probably scare you off.
It’s far more attractive to offer you a basic domain for $9.99 than the actual price for everything. It’s a bit like buying a ticket from a budget airline. You only ever see the final price when its time to get your credit card out.
By that time they have presented you with numerous upsells, some of which might be quite essential for you to include. In the same way, a domain that seemed cheap to start with may end up costing you a lot more than the advertised price.
Those features that most often attract an additional charge will be the privacy protection, SSL certificate and having more than one email account.
I recently looked at what it would cost to get everything on my recommended shopping list at a very popular domain registrar. The basic domain was advertised as $12.99 per year but by the time I added on everything else, the price had jumped to a whopping $108.96 per year.
Personally I buy my domains as part of my Wealthy Affiliate membership. This means everything is included for a guaranteed flat rate of $13.99 per year.
Do Your Research to Save
You now know how to buy a domain name without getting ripped off and it’s not that hard.
Do the research as I suggest and even check out online reviews to help you with your decision.
Once you’ve found the best deal go ahead and register it. If it’s a good domain make sure you don’t delay or someone else will get it first!
Do you have a question or something to say about domains? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. If you think other bloggers would benefit from reading my post please share it on your social networks. Thank you.