One of the more surprising looks we get is when we explain the cost of a domain name to a new or potential client. It’s still, one of the most often asked questions among new clients so I figured I’d take a few minutes to answer some of the most often asked questions around domain names – most importantly – how much does a website cost?
What’s a Domain Name?
Let’s take a tiny step back. What’s a domain name? A domain name is your home on the web. It can be a personal address, a business address, or something just for fun (Robin Williams Lovers…) but it’s the ADDRESS where your website (and to some extent email) will reside. Us humans are pretty bad at memorizing numbers and other characters, but natural language is far more easy. So many years ago computer scientists decided that we needed a way to translate 18.104.22.168 – into something a little friendlier – http://google.com – hence the domain name was created.
So in a nutshell a domain name is an address on the web – a bunch of characters that, when typed out (and everything behind the scenes is setup correctly) a website appears.
I’ll spare the technical mumbo-jumbo around domain names for Wikipedia (and now you know what I did last weekend during my Thanksgiving downtime).
How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?
I’m not answering that yet! Here’s the deal – domain names are very inexpensive, we’ve bought, sold and transferred thousands over the years, but here are some things to consider about domain names that is perhaps far more important than the cost or price:
- A great domain name is incredibly valuable.
- Your domain (when used with email) provides continual marketing. Every email you send becomes an opportunity for your receiver to learn more about you.
- A domain name can play a critical role in the success of your digital marketing (if you match your domain name to frequently searched terms you can do that much better with search engines).
- Simple is better than complicated – domain names with weird symbols, numbers, or rarely used suffixes (.ly | .gg | .lol) may be hard to remember and may hurt your marketing.
With all of the at said, a domain name ranges in price from approximately $7.99 – $50/year.
Many services also have an additional fee for transfer, private registration, etc.
At Atilus our domain name registration service (as of the time of this blog) are $20/year for public registration which includes us handling ongoing registration for as long as our clients are with us. Our clients appreciate it’s just one less thing they have to worry about and one more thing we can “just take care of” for them.
|New Domain||1 year registration, new domain.||$7.99 – $50 (yearly)|
|Domain Name Transfer||Transfer existing domain name from 1 service to another (or from one account on a service to another). Price varies depending on service providers, and service companies facilitating transfer.||$0 – $200|
|Private Registration||Private registration allows you to mask the ownership details of your domain. The service you select will not publicly display your name or address.||$10 – $50 (yearly)|
|Domain Brokerage||If a domain is registered, you can still buy it – often through a brokerage service. Cost varies wildly.||$10 – $5,000,000+|
How About Buying a Domain Name From a Broker?
Outside of registering a new domain name there’s also a possibility of purchasing domains on a secondary market. GoDaddy has a great marketplace for you to see some of their secondary market domain names. If you’ve ever stumbled upon a site with nothing but ads and a link to “purchase this domain” this is another example of a domain name that is for sale. In this case “domain squatters” as they are often called, thought it would be a good investment to purchase a domain name and wait for it to rise in price – wait for someone with a business idea or concept come along to purchase the domain name at a higher price.
Although some domain brokers have terrible reviews (and it’s important to vet any domain brokerage or escrow service before handing over your money) however, in our experience most services have been completely easy to use and upstanding. The process involves simply contacting the domain owner and making a price offering. After some negotiation – a final amount will be settled on – payment made (often times via paypal) at which time the domain name will then need to be transferred into a service you control (IE your GoDaddy account).
Pricing for domains on a secondary market can range from $50 to the tens of millions. It all depends on what the purchaser is willing to pay, and what the seller believes it is worth.