How To Choose the Best Domain Name Ever
Boldly go where no domain name has gone before. So choose wisely, young padawan. Your domain name, you must. That’s enough trope mixing!
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Choosing a domain name is as important as choosing a company name and you gotta get it right from the start. The future of your entire universe is at stake. You really don’t want to be 12 months into building your business and then start rebranding from Pete’s Petite Poodle Puppies to Mad Pete’s Atlantic Shark Tours.
Can I Afford My Dream Domain Name?
You log onto your bank account and see the current balance is just a little over $30 million, you smile and say, “Nice, I can afford that domain name I’ve always wanted.”
You waddle over to the Domainamatic Wonderhouse Website, open a secure account, and pop in your high-end, prestigious domain to boost your earnings into orbit.
And it’s available.
You click purchase, and the perfect domain is now yours.
The sale price of domain names does say something about Internet trends and the value we humans put on reaching a huge audience with a single small word.
The prices can be a little insane, as you will see later in this article.
Some may even say that websites that sell domains are like malevolent boogeymen who show up to frighten the living daylights out of their bank accounts with all those upsells.
But it’s not all bad; you can still secure a domain for as little as a few dollars, especially if you take advantage of some specials.
What is a Domain Name?
The simplest definition?
A domain name is digital real estate, your own* little piece of the Internet pie, served steaming hot, with cream and sugar, to millions of people.
* You cannot “buy a domain name” per se, technically it’s rented—the domain is yours to keep for as long as you continue to pay your registration fee (the ‘rent’). Registration payment gives you the right to use a domain name for one or more years.
It’s like buying land on the moon.
Mare Tranquillitatis has a small plot of dust for sale at a reasonable price, and you want to pitch your trusty lunar tent, plant ten blue daffodils, circle your daffodil farm with a white picket fence, and finally, thunka down your blue daffodil business flag into the lunar surface.
And like buying land on the moon, there are only a limited number of dust parcels available that are worth looking at. Scarcity is involved—and where there is scarcity, there is money to be made. And brandable domains are no different.
Google spent $1.5 million for 3 letters in 2011.
That’s a whopping $500,000 each for the letter G, C, and O.
If you think back to the early days of the World Wide Web, it seemed silly to buy a domain name, but we can see from above that those once ‘silly’ things became super valuable for companies wanting to reach their customers.
I wonder how much the letters a-p-p-l-e are worth. One Business Evaluation Bot said the estimated worth of this website: is $3,497,500,000. These days, that’s nearly as much as the fuel cost to actually visit the moon.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering what a URL is—a URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, not the Uruguay Rabbi League. This is simply the plot address of your tent on the moon (or on the Internet, if you prefer).
The Technical Definition of Domain Names for Hypersonic Droids
The sonic droids of Yavin II prefer a few more details to help improve their cognition interface:
A domain name is a string of text—a simple word or two.
That text maps to a numeric address—a scary thing called an IP address.
The IP address then takes you to a website hosted by a very clever computer called a server.
Imagine you invited a friend over for afternoon tea on the moon.
“Oh my goodness, what a great view you have here!”
“Yes, I know—thank you—and you should see the morning earthrise!”
“Hey, I really cannot wait to try some of your delicious Daffodil Luna Cakes with Hot Peach Tea—people keep telling me how wonderful they are.”
“Oh really—then what a splendid idea—here, let me serve them to you.”
That is why a computer on the Internet is called a server—
it prepares Daffodil Luna Cakes and Hot Peach Tea it serves up a web page when you request it.
An IP address (e.g. 22.214.171.124) is a complex set of numbers, often compared to the launch codes for the Russian Katyusha rocket launchers built in 1941. But thankfully, human-friendly letters are now used that make even the most tech-ignorant jellyfish quite adept at visiting a website.
Who Looks After All Those Domain Names?
The Great Sacred Jedi Library on Ossus reports there are currently over 300 million registered domain names on earth.
On earth, domain names are all managed by domain registries, who then delegate the reservation of domain names to registrars. Anyone who wants a website can register a domain name with a registrar.
Domain names are a big business. They’re how we find the websites we want to visit and they’re how businesses make sure their customers can find them online.
But who looks after all the domain names?
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit organization that is responsible for keeping the internet organized, accessible, and pretty.
They do this by managing the Domain Name System (DNS), which is a directory of all the domain names and their associated IP addresses.
ICANN (ICANNOT* is another organization altogether) makes sure that every domain name is unique, so you don’t have to worry about someone else accidentally registering the same domain as you.
ICANN also oversees registrars, which are the companies that sell domain names to people like you and me.
* ICANNOT is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers on Tiberium, a small moon mining colony located near Alpha Persei Cluster.
Why Is Your Domain Name So Important
Voice.com was purchased for $30 million in 2019.
360.com was purchased for $17 million in 2015.
NFTs.com was purchased for $15 million in 2022.
Sex.com was purchased for $13 million in 2010.
Fund.com was purchased for $12 million in 2008.
Hotels.com was purchased for $11 million in 2001.
Tesla.com was purchased for $11 million in 2014.
Good grief! And these pivotal moments of online real estate acquisitions continue to thrive in our growing digital economy.
And get this, it is speculated that the most expensive domain ever sold is cars.com. It was reportedly purchased for $872 million USD by the company Gannet Co., Inc.
And here you are, quivering fingers at the keyboard, umming and arring if you can afford the $90/year for moonbubblesocks.com.
Do not despair.
Don’t listen to the haters of Amazon’s The Rings of Power. If Galadriel were a webmaster she would say,
“Ours was no chance meeting. Not fate. Nor destiny. Ours was the work of something greater.”
Something greater is at work when you begin to carve together those little sacred letters you’ve been dreaming about for the past few months—your domain name gives your business instant credibility.
Though it might not be worth $30,000,000 yet, it does put you in the same online marketplace as any of the big names.
Why is your domain name so important?
Demystifying Azkaban, Ewoks, Balrogs & DNS
Every social movement has cryptic words associated with it.
These are the words you need to know, or at least have a slight inkling that you could figure out if you really needed to.
It helps you look mildly intelligent, the potential for winning Scrabble increases, and you can understand geekette culture a whole lot better.
Harry Potter fans know all about Azkaban, Dementors, Muggles, and Quidditch.
Star Wars fans rave about the Ewoks, Jedi, Lightsabers, and the Sith.
Lord of the Rings fans encounter the Balrog, Lothlórien, Nazgûl, and Sauron.
Newbie Blog/Web Designer fans encounter ICANN, IP Address, and DNS.
Everything You Were Afraid To Ask About Domain Names
Here is the all-important glossary that will make you a hero in the office or at home:
The Domain Name System translates IP Addresses (see below) into a fun and friendly name that humans can read. Unless it is the Welsh train station name:
(I hope I did not break your browser)
Like pancakes or houses, but digitally. You can buy a house and flip it for a quick profit. You can also buy a domain name and flip it for a quick profit. Very technical souls can also flip ‘pancakes’ for profit but that involves the occult world of the cryptocurrency CAKE Token.
Internet Protocol (IP) Address:
That unique and complex set of numbers mentioned above that points to a specific computer.
International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN):
The Internet Police, kind of. ICANN coordinates the Internet’s naming system and regulates the entire domain industry. A nice upbeat version of the Galactic Empire with gentle elevator-muzak in their holo lifts.
A technical Yellow & White Pages of the Internet. A web server that stands in as a resource directory, sometimes for another server. If you remember those delicious Daffodil Luna Cakes with Hot Peach Tea then you’ve got the idea.
In Harry Potter, the Nimbus 2000 was a broomstick produced by the Nimbus Racing Broom Company as part of their successful line of racing brooms, and when not in use you had to park it. A domain is also parked, by the owner, who may be selling it or has yet to build a website.
A high-value domain name that has been previously registered. They can be worth millions of dollars, or at least a lot more money than you and I can afford.
Galaxy-class starships, such as the Enterprise, had at least twenty transporter rooms. Away Teams used them to beam down to a planet’s surface and order French Fries. If a domain name is no longer being used but is still registered, the owner can instantly ‘beam’ incoming traffic to another domain.
A company that sells domain registration services to the public. Think of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans in Harry Potter—every flavor imaginable is available; every domain name imaginable is available (maybe).
An organization that controls top-level domains (TLDs – see below). The public generally does not use them, they sell domains through 3rd part registrars like Namecheap.
The Jawa sell refurbished junk to moisture farmers. You need to re-register your domain name for another year or more. Thankfully, most registrars do not hide their faces within the dark folds of a cowl.
Close to magic. “I can make things move without touching them. I can make animals do what I want them to do, without training them. I can make bad things happen to people who annoy me. I can make them hurt if I want to.”— a young Tom Riddle describing his magical skills to Albus Dumbledore.
Successful Search Engine Optimisation is half science, half magic; half wonder, half holy grail—it is the practice of tweaking and optimizing your website to get it to show on page one of Google.
Like young Tom Riddle, some SEO wizards think they can make your website move without touching it and get it to rank in position one of Google.
Search Engine Results Page. When you enter “Best Landspeeder to navigate the Jundland Wastes” hopefully you will get the results returned—there are organic SERP results (the free ones) and paid-for SERP results.
Hold onto your rusty pirate cutlass; things are getting way too complicated here. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) keeps your information safe when you use the Internet. Think of it like a secret code only you and the person you’re sending the information to can understand. Maybe SSL really means Super Secret Language.
In most browsers, a tiny padlock is seen at the front of the URL (the text box where you type a web address or search term—you can see it in the image below). So before you upload those detailed blueprints for your new Quadrathonic Invexilator invention, best to make sure the website has that little SSL padlock:
SSL also helps SEO ranking and shows visitors to your website that you care about them by providing secure access.
A domain name that is located below another domain name, for example, .com.au, with the .com being the second level to the .au domain name.
Too Long Delete, if you had to type the entire Welsh train station domain name into a browser. The TLD (Top Level Domain) is the last part of a domain name or the part that comes after the dot. The TLD for https://www.google.com is .com. Other examples are .co, .net, and .org. New TLDs (and there are well over 1500 of them), like “ninja” and “unicorn,” are cool examples.
Country Code Top-Level Domain–these are the two-letter domain names associated with a specific country, such as .us for the United States or .ca for Canada. I wonder if .mo is for Mordor or Macau, I know what makes more sense.
The Generic Top-Level Domain is the most common domain name, such as .COM, or .NET. The Hostinger blog estimated 53% of the internet use .com domains
A used domain is a domain that has already been registered by someone else and is now for sale. Think of it like a second-hand car, but often these can be very expensive ‘cars’ in the digital real estate game. You can always offer to purchase the name you want from the current owner. Remember though, no one will sell you a domain for peanuts and tinsel.
Just as the Jedi Archives are the galaxy’s greatest repository of knowledge, who.is is an enormous database to publicly search the owner information of a registered domain name, as well as other details such as contact information.
Domain privacy is a thing you need to be aware of—when you register a domain, you must provide and maintain up-to-date contact information for the public Whois database.
There is no Jedi Holocron Vault on the Whois database, but many domain hosting/registrars sell privacy protection. One of the reasons I like Namecheap is that they have free lifetime Whois protection and private domain registration.
You can say no to spam as their service hides your contact details and replaces your real email address with a unique anonymous email address.
Do you understand domain names a little better now?
Of course, you do.
Imagine you are held up at blade point by a mysterious dark assassin who snarls, “What is the ccTLD for Mordor?” Instead of fainting, crying, and name-calling, thinking that such a display will take the place of thoughtfully reasoned debate, you can answer:
“Why, my good fellow, is it dot MO of course.”
And with that sudden and unexpected rational response from uncanny steady lips, the dark assassin smiles and steps aside, disappearing into the night and not a little impressed with your highly educated utterance.
Well, that should just about do it for this brief overview of the curious and bizarre words of the domain name world.
I think you could score well in a quiz called Important Stuff About Domain Names You Never Knew About.
The Best Domain Name: Brainstorming, Tips & Tricks
With literally giga-zillions of domains out there on the Internet, how do you find one that will stand out?
Coming up with an original name can be daunting, much like convincing the trash monster in the Death Star garbage compactor to give you the password to stop the walls from crushing you.
Sometimes a domain name generator can help you come up with the right domain. With these types of tools, you can brainstorm domain name ideas linked with your brand name so that you can get the best URL and SEO benefits.
One such generator I like is found on Namecheap’s website. It’s innovative, uses clever wordplay, and shows you lots of the popular (and unique) domain name extensions—you can even set the price range that you are willing to pay for your chosen domain.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
If you do have an idea for a ‘Rings of Power in the Second Age’ website, think of words related to the central theme
What Do You Want People to Notice about Your Brand?
What is the first thing you want people to notice about your brand?
SEO & Domain Names
SEO is also something to keep in mind so you don’t fall into some easy traps when thinking about your new domain name.
Content is Still King
Content is still king in the world of SEO, despite what some new gurus may be saying. Quality content is the most valuable thing you can publish on a webpage unless it is your 12-word secret master Bitcoin key.
Do you want your new domain to rank?
Of course you do.
Then give your readers something they haven’t seen before—a lot of websites rehash the same content over and over. You can…
Your particular voice is unique.
Your brand is unique.
Your perspective is unique.
Just make sure your content is unique. People want personality, not drabness!
The more quality content you have, the more the Google Gods will shine their ethereal light upon your webserver and light a signal flare.
Whilst AI Writers have their place, don’t use them as a cheap shortcut to content creation—it will only result in boring and dry copy that will turn readers away.
Read my article on what are some of the best AI copywriting programs available today. Will they make you shine as a content writer, author, creative, or marketer?
I am partial towards AI software—like I am towards banana ice cream, but if my diet is solely banana ice cream, it will not be the healthiest lifestyle choice. You want to grow and develop your unique voice, not the lone voice of AI writing software.
Avoid Common Mistakes When Choosing A Domain Name
If Moses wrote the 10 Commandments of Domain Name Do’s and Don’ts it would go something like this:
How to Register a Domain Name
In summary, don’t overthink it.
The best domain name is often the simplest one.
Just pick something that’s easy to remember and type.
If you can, get a .com domain. They’re the most popular and most recognizable. But if you can’t get a .com, don’t worry. There are plenty of other options these days.
Are you a local business and want a country-specific domain extension? Then consider using a ccTLD. These “country code” TLDs help internet users understand where the business behind a website is located. It is part of your business identity. Some people like to use them to create a certain brand aesthetic like anoraksfortrainspotting.com.uk.
If you want to start a blog, this guide can help. Read this detailed 20-point checklist for an overview of all the essentials of creating a blog that makes money.
Once you’ve picked your perfect domain name, it’s time to register it. You can do this through a web hosting company or a domain registrar.
The Web Hosting Company
Namecheap has 20+ years of expertise in providing unmatched service, support, and security to website owners. The firm has millions of users and over 10 million registrations. They’re ready to help with DNS registration, web hosting, or just consultation.
Don’t miss some of the ongoing Namecheap deals. Depending on the TLD chosen, you can sometimes grab a good discount, somewhere between 10% to 80% off. I’ve seen .COMs for as low as $0.98.
The other thing I like about Namecheap is their 21 company values and ethics, such as customer first, being curious, being humble, etc. Some great values for any budding business or entrepreneurial vision—to challenge the status quo, try new things, and listen to others openly.
If you want to use a domain registrar (DNS Registrar), I recommend someone like Hover because they make it super simple (and they have great customer service). I have registered several domains over the years with Hover and found no issues.
Remember, website hosting is separate from domain name registration, so the easiest is to use Namecheap if you want an all-in-one package (hosting + domain name + email + SSL etc.). They are one of the best domain registrars with years of experience.
To register your domain, just pop over to the Hover website and enter your desired domain name into the search bar then click the search icon.
If the domain is available, congrats!
And if you’re feeling overcome by generosity and want to help the universe align on the side of intergalactic peace and harmony, you could buy me a coffee at www.buymeacoffee.com/moonpixel. Your support would greatly help in keeping me motivated and writing articles that you love.
Steve Roberts is a full-time blogger, digital marketer, and freelance designer who also helps young Jedis make informed lightsaber decisions. Join Steve on this incredible journey, learning how to scale your business and entrepreneurial vision. His clients include organizations and businesses from Europe, Asia, Australia, and the USA.