If you have your own website, then you probably own a domain name for that website. But you should also consider owning additional, related domain names – especially if your website is for a business. The main reasons are:
- Protection from Competitors. A competitor could purchase a similar domain name and use it to steal potential traffic or slander your brand name.
- Protection from Squatters. A domain name squatter could purchase a similar domain name and try to sell it to you for a large sum of money. This is more common than you think. There are many people out there who do this for a living.
- Traffic Preservation. A potential visitor could mistype your URL in their web browser, get an error page, and never end up at your site.
The .com domain name extension is the most common. However, .net and .org are also fairly common, and .info is often seen as well. Those are the typical extensions for US-based businesses. There are other extensions, such as .us and .biz, but those are rarely used or seen for legitimate websites.
Domain Names to Consider
You should consider variations such as: common misspellings of your domain name, longer or shorter versions of your business name (i.e. with or without “The” at the beginning, with or without “LLC” at the end), and your domain name with hyphens between the words. However, with all the combinations of domain name extensions, misspellings, and hyphenated URLs, you can end up with a long list of domain names to consider registering. But if you have an important brand name you want to protect, the insurance of owning those domain names should greatly outweigh the costs.
You may also want to purchase domain names for future business or website ideas. You should purchase them as soon as possible. You never know if someone else is going to purchase the domain name first, if they are willing to sell it to you, and if so, how much they will ask for. It is not uncommon to see asking prices in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. The last thing you want is to plan a new business for years, only to find out that someone else has already purchased the domain name you wanted.
Purchasing Domain Names
You can typically purchase the common domain names for $10-35/year at various domain registrars. Prices can vary greatly between registrars, and many will offer low first-year prices but significantly increase the price later. International domain names (i.e. .de, .fr, .co.uk) are typically more expensive, and they also require you to have a billing address in that country.