1. Create a list of potential names
The first thing you’ll want to do is build a list of potential names for your business. Your list will depend on your industry, and ultimately, your business goals. For example, if you’re a local business, you may include your city or region in your domain name. On the other hand, if you’re national or even international, you’d want to go for a more universal name so as to not box yourself into a particular locality.
Regardless of your business goals, you should include both keyword domains and brandable domains and a mix of both in your list. This will keep your options open in case some names are unavailable or too expensive for your budget.
See below for an example list of domains for a hypothetical national sparkling water brand (note that since this is a preliminary list, some of the names may be registered to existing businesses).
2. Check availability of names
However, if none are available, the purchasing process just got a bit more complicated.
3. Visit the websites
Visit all of the websites from your list of names that are unavailable for registration. This will give you a better understanding of how the domain is currently being used. The websites will either be:
- Active websites for existing businesses. If this is the case, it will be near impossible to purchase the name. It’s probably not worth your time or budget to go after these names.
- “Under construction” pages. These are hit or miss. The owner might not want to sell.
- Dead pages. These are also hit or miss. The owner might not want to sell.
- “For sale” pages. Usually, these will include links that forward to a registrar or brokerage trying to sell the name. These are the best option – the owner is actually trying to sell.
If you’ve found a name you like on a “for sale” page, that’s great news! You can easily purchase the name as it’s already for sale.
4. Contact the owner
The first thing you can do is look around on the website (if it’s active) and see if there is any contact information. If not, you’ll need to go to the WHOIS directory and search for the name. The WHOIS provides some information about the domain owner. The problem that arises here though, is that many domain owners use privacy service that hides their personal information on the WHOIS directory.
5. Make an offer/negotiate
Once you’re in contact with the owner, the negotiation process begins. To best prepare yourself for negotiations, you’ll want to get a good understanding of the value of the domain. This is no simple task. The domain industry, unlike other industries, is quite nebulous and you can’t really count on comparable sales and the domain is usually just worth what the owner thinks it’s worth. That said, there are some tested valuation metrics that are fairly common in the industry, including:
Typically, .com names that are short and memorable are more expensive. However, if you’re looking for an accurate appraisal, consider hiring a professional. With Saw.com appraisal services, you can be assured you won’t pay any more than the domain you are acquiring is worth.