Your domain name can have a large impact on the success of your web presence. A domain that is easy to remember, enter and search for can increase the amount of traffic to your website. Although you still need to have valuable and relevant content when a visitor makes his or her way to your site, the domain name you purchase is a vital piece of your web strategy. You can think of your domain name as your property, and just as in purchasing a traditional piece of property, you need to take steps to make sure you are not paying too much.
Chances are high that your first domain name ideas are already taken by someone else. There is also a good probability that a domain name that you really like will be up for resale. When searching on one of the top domain selling websites, such as GoDaddy.com, the site will only tell you that that particular domain name is already taken. It will not tell you if the domain is actually for sale.
Do not give up quite yet — there is still a chance that you can get the domain name you really want, and there are tools out there that you can leverage. First, enter the desired domain in your web browser address field and see what comes up. You will either get an existing website (and thus you will know that the domain is already in use by someone) or you will get a parked site. A parked site looks very similar to a search engine results page. Owners of domains that are not currently being used, or may be up for sale, will often park their domains in an attempt to earn money off of them. If the domain name is parked, there is a high likelihood that the domain is actually for sale.
Next, check to see if your desired domain name is for sale is by entering it into the search field at a resale site, such as Sedo.com. Sedo.com specializes in domain reselling and auctioning. It is free to register, which you will need to do in order to see the asking price for your desired domain name. As a registered user, you have the choice of purchasing the domain at the asking price, or presenting an offer of your own. Now is when you will need to do your homework so that you can determine what is a fair selling price for your desired domain. Just as in the process of purchasing real property, you will need an appraisal. The domain appraisal will provide you important information about the domain’s history, as well as the dollar value of the domain name.
The good news is that there are several resources available that provide a domain’s appraisal report, and the reports are instantaneous. Even better news is that several of these resources are free.
A few of the websites that provide free domain appraisals are Estibot.com and Smartpagerank.com. The Estibot.com site only allows you to do up to 50 searches each day at the free account level.
The domain appraisal report will provide you with valuable information about the domain, such as the age of the domain (when it was first registered), traffic history, if the site is registered with any directories, the number of links and indexed pages by the major search engines and the estimated dollar value.
Now that you have appraisal reports, you can determine if the current asking price is reasonable, a bargain, or too high (most likely they start too high). Domain reselling sites and services allow you to make an offer, and then you will go back and forth with the current domain owner until you either come to an agreed upon selling price, or you decide to walk away and go after a different domain name.
Following these few steps can help you make sure you are paying a reasonable price for your domain.
1. Search for the availability of your desired domain name.
2. If your desired domain is listed as unavailable, enter it into your web browser, or enter it in a resale site such as Sedo.com
3. If your desired domain is for sale, determine the asking price.
4. Obtain at least two domain appraisals.
5. Leveraging the appraisal report, determine the price you are comfortable with, and make an offer.