The (Hidden) Costs of Settling for a Subpar Domain

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A saying my grandfather first exposed me to when I was in my early school years and which… well, didn’t seem to make that much sense. At first, that is. “Good work isn’t cheap, and cheap work isn’t good.” 

Later on, life happened. 

What once seemed nonsensical started making sense.

As an entrepreneur, I witnessed it first-hand time and time again that trying to save a buck can backfire. For example, paying a talented, experienced developer who is passionate about their projects gives 110% effort instead of “saving money” by hiring someone who charges 1/10 of that. Yet, later on, finding out that the sub-optimal work provided by the latter cost you far, far more than what the former (rightfully) charged for his expertise. Unfortunately, the same principle is often valid when settling for a bad domain name. 

Subpar Domain Names

What exactly is a subpar domain name, you might ask? Quite simply, it can be several things. Often, it is the actual domain name that a person has wanted, but they put an action word in front of it. So, for example, if Saw.com were your domain of choice, one would use GetSaw, BuySaw, or VisitSaw.com…Or paying close to premium prices for Saw.co, ai or io. 

You don’t simply pick a domain and then move on, never having to worry about it again. Why? Simply because your domain produces effects time and time again throughout the life cycle of the project it is used for.

More specifically:

1. Improve Click Through Rates

According to a Microsoft study, buying a domain that is a great .com (in contrast to anything else, including) improve click-through rates. Click-through rates which frequently enable you to pay less for impressions. In other words, with each marketing campaign you launch, a solid .com domain will end up saving you money. Or “settling” for the sub-par domain makes you lose money, depending on how you choose to look at the issue. 

2.  Instant Credibility

Great domain names provide instant credibility, whereas a subpar domain is to be perceived as somewhat of a consolation prize. This instant credibility tends to open doors that would have remained shut in its absence. They will grant you access to opportunities you wouldn’t have had access to without it. Or at least get you a chance…A seat at the table. Simply put, a good .com domain name can facilitate that much-desired email reply that leads to the deal of a lifetime, whereas its subpar counterpart either doesn’t help or even downright hurts the proverbial cause. What price tag would you put on such an opportunity?

3. SEO

Even when it comes to Search Engine Optimization and the pursuit of quality editorial links, .com domain names open doors that various subpar alternatives cannot. If I have learned anything in terms of SEO over the years, the best links are those that money cannot buy. Links from serious organizations, universities, and other prestigious entities that are editorial by excellence. A great, memorable .com domain name represents a much-needed edge in the pursuit of such links. 

4. Future Selling of the Domain

Are you thinking about how you will exit? That is smart. But do you know what would also be smart? Realizing that selling a great business built on a great domain name as opposed to a great business built on a “consolation prize” one can end up being the difference between booking a solid exit and selling for a life-changing amount

5. Attract Attention

A .com domain name even influences talent acquisition and retention! Especially in a world where employees aren’t just interested in enough compensation to pay the bills. They want exciting career paths, jobs that make them feel proud about their professional lives. It’s one thing to have a business card with an email address and/or URL that commands respect. It is something completely different to avoid eye contact whenever someone asks you to pronounce your domain name out loud. Simply put, yes, great .com domain names can indeed be employee magnets. Whereas sub-optimal ones might even represent a deterrent.

6. Shows Business Success

Last but certainly not least, and I have seen this countless times. When it becomes more than apparent that the original domain is subpar and an upgrade to the perfect domain is necessary, business success or funding has become public knowledge. The entity that owns the ideal domain can see that by conducting a handful of searches. With the success of the business, the price of the domain will rise. Considerably. 

I am going to say the exact quote my grandfather said, but slightly different now, “Good domains aren’t cheap, and cheap domains aren’t good.”  

Advice to You

As an Entrepreneur who has been forced to work with shoestring budgets on multiple occasions, I realized a great Entrepreneur is very resourceful. Before I would walk away from the perfect brand for my business, I would consider emptying all of the tricks out of my hat and attempt some of the following:  

  1. Negotiate payments over 3-5 years with a reasonable down payment. 
  2. Opt into a yearly lease where the payments cannot grow more than a certain percentage per year.  
  3. Consider trading goods, services, and cash. 
  4. If all else fails, find another domain where the price is more reasonable, and revisit 1, 2, and 3. 

Whatever you do, do not go cheap on your domain name. 

Ready to Buy a Domain?

Are you ready to launch your company website? Let us help you find the perfect domain name for you and your brand! 

Our mission is to help businesses large and small be seen online. Our domain brokers are experts in domain acquisition, appraisal, branding, brand protection, portfolio management services and more. We pride ourselves in our transparency and passion to help you reach your goals. Additionally, we handle the nitty-gritty work for you. 

If you are interested in speaking with an expert from our domain brokerage service about buying a domain, please contact us for a free consultation.

Until next time. #GiddyUp!

Jeffrey M. Gabriel 

CEO – Saw.com