Buying Domain Names – 6 Mistakes to Avoid

By Mark Zeni - 2 minute read

What do you do when you have another brilliant idea? You buy the domain name before anyone else has the same brainwave.

One year later when renewal reminders start coming in, you realise it wasn’t such a good idea in the first place. The cost of your renewals comes to hundreds of pounds a year.

Crazy.

It’s time to take back control.

Mistake 1 – Falling for Every Special Offer

You see an ad for .com domains at £1 each, and you are tempted to buy a few for ideas you have had simmering at the back of your mind for a few months. Then you decide to buy the co.uk or .eu domain to go with the .com one. It is so easy for mission creep to sneak up on you, and the bill at checkout is higher than the £2 you were planning on.

Special Offer Syndrome also leads to Mistake 2.

Mistake 2 – Buying from Different Domain Name Registrars

When you click on promotions from different registrars, it is easy to lose track of your domain name catalogue. If your domains are scattered around the virtual world, you end up with thirty or more addresses without even realising it.

If you buy from one site, you see a list of your current investments every time you log in, so you are reminded of URLs you own already and perhaps think twice before adding any more to the list.

Consider limiting your domain purchases to two registrars. You can then compare prices whenever you need a new web address, and find the best bargain at the time.

Mistake 3 – Extras

Registrars make their money on the extras: This is why you will see Domain Privacy as a default extra with every Address you buy. Uncheck the box and save up to £30 per domain.

Domain privacy is mostly unnecessary for Europeans (even after Brexit) because Whois data is automatically masked, even for domains you bought years ago.
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The screenshot above shows what a Whois search shows for a typical domain name with a British owner. Domain privacy is granted for free post-GDPR to all Europeans.

Other extras include automatic backups, SSL certificate and access to a website builder. Read the small print and consider carefully, whether you need these before clicking on them: They may be free on initial purchase of a new domain but will usually need to be paid for on renewal.

Mistake 4 – Using Foreign Registrars

Use a site that prices domains in your own currency.

It is very tempting for a Briton who sees prices in US dollars, to think of the cost as in ‘Monopoly® money’ and to spend more than you were planning to.

You will also be hit by high currency conversion fees unless you have USD in your PayPal account and pay a dollar-denominated bill using your PayPal dollars.

Mistake 5 – Using a Registrar that Sells Your Search Data
Many registrars sell your search data. If you search for MonkeyFeetSmell.com for your current brainwave on most name reselling sites, those sites will sell the fact that you have made that search to domain sitting parasites who may buy the domain in the hope of gouging you for hundreds of pounds. If they can’t resell the name, they return it as unwanted within two weeks, get a refund and are not out of pocket.

Search for a UK domain name registrar that guarantees your search privacy – Raise a question in the instant chat window most sites use, and you get an unequivocal answer before running any searches.

Mistake 6 – Buying Every Variation of Your Domain
Resist the temptation to buy every domain extension for your chosen site name. You could spend hundreds of pounds and still not cover every angle. If someone wants to set up a site with a similar name, they will find a way to do so.

However, realistically nobody is likely to be remotely interested in you or your new site.
Limit yourself to the .com and the co.uk domains if you are targeting international as well as UK niche groups. Look at .London domain if you are targeting London users, and consider a .eu domain extension if your probable users are based in the EU. Other than those exceptions, keep it simple and save your money.

Long Story Short
Buy from a local name register you can trust, only buy domain names you are likely to use and avoid unnecessary extras. Investing in domain names is a growing business, but you need to be careful about quality if you are thinking of re-selling.

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