How Much Does a Domain Cost?

Don’t Pay Lots of Money for a Domain

I wanted to buy a domain today. I found that both the domain I wanted, 123.com let’s call it, and a variation, the123.com, appeared to be available. The former was for sale from a brokerage, the latter through any registrar.

Though I’m perfectly content with the123.com, I contacted the domain brokerage out of curiosity, to see how much it would cost. I was expecting a silly quote, in the $100s, possibly even in the $1000s. Instead, I got this reply:

Hi Riley,

My name is [redacted], and I am a Broker with [redacted].com. I represent the current owner of [example: 123.com].

I was able to speak with the seller and based on many criteria they have determined a value of $95,000.00 USD.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

I laughed out loud – seriously – and nearly fell off my chair.

What did I find so funny?

Well, I was laughing at the idea that anyone in the world – especially an individual but even a large company – would pay 5 figures US (6 figures Canadian!) for a domain name in 2018. Now, I don’t doubt that there are people out there who would do this, but they are foolish.

Why?

Your domain name does not determine your traffic to your website.

Sure, it’s helpful for branding to have a domain name that is exactly-your-brand.com, and there is a very minor SEO benefit, but if your domain isn’t an exact match, it’s hardly the end of the world.

Websites succeed with different urls all the time, and there is now a trend of getting cute with your url, such as the podcast platform tryca.st, to pick but one example.

The point is that your exact url does not matter all that much and so many other things do, so to spend 10s of 1000s of dollars on a url is bonkers.

What is perhaps more bonkers is that this brokerage thought that a random person contacting them could be bilked into spending that much money on a url. It suggests that there are still many people – and companies, no doubt – who are foolish enough, or rich enough, to think that paying US$95,000 for a domain name is a good use of money.

It’s not. Don’t do it.

Buying a Domain

How to Buy a Domain

What is a Domain?

Before you put your site online, you need to purchase a domain. A domain is the url for your website. The domain of this site is http://rileyhaasmarketing.com and I own it (though “rent” is probably a better word for my relationship to the domain name). It’s the thing you type in to get to your website. It’s the name of your site online, in many ways. Your domain name is ideally yourbusinessname.com (or .ca for Canada).

 

Purchasing Your Domain Name

But you shouldn’t get depressed if you cannot get your brand as an exact URL. If your business is Canadian ABC, you should not be upset if someone else already owns canadianabc.com, canadian-abc.com, canadianabc.ca and canadian-abc.ca. That’s because “exact domain match,” (when your business name and your domain are the same) is less important than it used to be. It’s good to be as close as possible, but it’s also not the end of the world. If you do a good job of marketing your business online, your domain name will be insignificant.

In order to purchase your domain, you must do the following:

  1. Pick the name of your url, and be sure to list variations:
    • canadian-abc.ca, canadianabc.ca, canadian-abc.com, canadian-abc.ca, canadianabc.business, etc. (There are now hundreds of different top level domains and you can get clever and try something like canadian.business.)
  2. Go to a trusted Registrar to see if your desired domain is available. There are tons of registrars and many of them are equal while others are not great. I would recommend Go Daddy (yes, seriously) as a good place to start for beginners as they make everything very simple and offer very competitive prices. Here are some things to keep in mind:
    • Your domain is available through the Registrar (.ca domains are not available through American-only registrars, for example)
    • They will not charge you more than USD$15 per year for your domain
    • They let you purchase your domain with out purchasing additional services (such as hosting)
    • They let you upgrade to additional services (such are privacy protection) for a nominal fee (i.e. they do not rip you off for additional services)
    • This may take some time and price comparisons.
  3. If they are reasonable, create an account and purchase your domain. You should purchase your domain for as long as possible.

That’s it! Now that you have a domain, it’s time to purchase hosting.