5 Ways to Choose a Domain if Your Top Choice is Taken


You’ve analyzed your great idea from top to bottom, worked through your business plan and are finally ready to take the leap and launch your new business.

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Registering a New Domain? Better Research Its History

Thinking of registering a new domain name? One thing that people often forget to do, is to research the history of the domain name. I recently attended SMX West and Duane Forrester from Bing gave an example of a large company that had been complaining, a lot, that Bing was blocking their domain for no reason.

Domain Name Image

Turns out, Bing was blocking their domain, but it wasn’t because of things that the company was doing. The domain was being blocked because what had been done with the domain before the company owned it. The previous owners had been distributing Malware and Bing had, indeed, blocked it.

How can you learn about the history of a domain before you purchase one? There are a few red flags to look for. If you find a domain that seems almost too good to be true, it probably is. If the domain is cheap and a good one, chances are pretty high that it is cheap for a reason. Research is very important when buying a new domain name. You can use the trusty Way Back Machine to see what the domain has looked like in the past few years. You can also use the Domain Tools Whois History to see the ownership history and blacklist history.

The last thing you want when starting a new website is to be excluded from the SERP for reasons uncontrolled by you. Also be sure to follow our 6 tips for choosing the right domain name.

Have you ever registered a domain name only to find out later that it had been used inappropriately before? What did you do to resolve the issue?

Best Practices: The Top 4 Ways to Protect a Domain Name

1. Register Your Domain As Private: When you register your domain name you need to provide valid information that will appear in the Whois database. This is mandatory, but who wants the entire world to know their email address and phone number?  Private Registration sets up a proxy where your domain registrar will handle the annoying calls and spam email and forward you the good stuff.  We offer Private Registration for only $9.95 a year, that’s only 83 cents a month!  My privacy is worth 83 cents, is yours?

2.Register Your Domain Under Your Name When you first decide that you need a website for your company, you will probably hire a web developer.  The web developer often registers the domain name for the site as part of their services.  Sometimes, the web developer will register the site in there own name, which can lead to many problems.  If the site is not registered in your name, the person it is registered under has the ability to take down your entire site with the click of a button.  Also, if the site is registered to someone other than you, they will be the ones receiving notice that the domain is expiring, which brings me to point number three.

3. Renew Your Domain On Time The easiest way to combat this issue is to set up your domain to Auto Renew.  If you don’t want to set up Auto Renew, designate a person in your company that is soley in charge of the domains of your company (this way, you will have someone that you can easily blame when they aren’t renewed in time), or set up an ICal Reminder or some other sort of notification so you are aware when your domain is expiring.  If you let your renewal lapse, your domain name can be bought by someone else (your competitor) and it may potenitally be lost forever, unless you are willing to pay a hefty sum for it. According to The Huffington Post, the most expensive domain ever sold was Sex.com and it sold for the low, low cost of 13 million dollars. If your budget isn’t quite that large, don’t forget to renew on time.

4. Keep Your Contact Information Up To Date Point four builds on point three, remember to keep your contact information up to date with your registrar.  If your registrar is sending you expiration emails, but that email is no longer active, your domain registration could lapse unknowingly. You can check what email is on your domain by using Whois.

Do you know any other tips on how to protect your Domain Name? Share them below!