Have you come up with a great domain name that matches your brand, is concise, contains your important keywords and just rolls off the tongue nicely? And then you found that it’s already registered by somebody else?
Bummer. But don’t fret. You might still be able to get your hands on that domain. If the domain name that you want is parked to a generic landing page at some domain provider, or if there doesn’t appear to be a website at the domain in question, it very well might be available for sale. You just need to track down the owner and ask them if they will sell, and make them an offer. Many good domain names can be had this way with a little bit of persistence.
How do you track down a domain owner? Use a Whois lookup service such as whois.com to find out who owns the domain name and to get their contact info.
If you can find the contact info, make them an offer and be willing to negotiate. Don’t expect people to sell domains for cheap or to just give them away. They will want to get a return on their investment just like somebody who buys/sells real estate. Expect domain sellers to try to get fair market value for the domain.
What is fair market value for domain? To get an idea of domain price, use a service such as Estibot to see what their appraisal might be.
To many people, $10 is the only legitimate price of a domain name, and anything more is not worth it. But that is not a good mentality to hold if you have a marketing budget behind you and good reason to get a strong, recognizable domain name that drives traffic.
What is the real value of a domain name? If a domain name represents your brand perfectly or captures direct traffic it might be worth spending the extra cash, even a lot of cash, to purchase it. It can be worth it to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a domain name that matches your brand or drives targeted traffic by itself.
Compare the cost of domain names to other marketing materials you will invest in. Just about everything you buy for marketing purposes will cost more, and usually a lot more. Billboards, printed marketing materials, signage – it will all cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. A single half page newspaper ad might cost a few hundred bucks or more.
You should look at the cheap yearly cost of domain names as the bare minimum that it takes to keep a domain once you have it, not what all domains should cost up front to get them under your control.
If your marketing budget allows, don’t cut yourself short on your domain name. If a few extra dollars can get you a concise, memorable and brand or keyword matching .com domain name versus picking something with a .biz extension, for example, do it.