Finding the right domain name for your small business website is a crucial step in building your brand. If possible, you want your domain name to match your brand name.
If someone has already taken your brand name domain, you may need to purchase the domain or brainstorm alternatives.
Buying a domain name that’s already registered will usually cost more than registering a new domain name. However, investing in the best domain name upfront will help you create a more cohesive online presence for your brand.
So, if you find yourself needing to make a domain offer and negotiate a domain sale, keep reading.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
Calculating Your Domain Offer
To calculate domain offers, you first need to figure out the value of the domain you want to buy. Sometimes sellers list domain prices online, which serve as a starting point for the negotiation process.
If there’s no price listed, you’ll have to do research. Domain pricing isn’t an exact science, but there are several factors you can use when calculating a domain’s value.
Here are some things to consider before making your initial offer.
Top-Level Domain (TLD)
The term top-level domain (TLD) refers to the domain extension after the last dot in a web address (URL). For example, .com, .org, and .net are all top-level domains.
Certain TLDs are valued higher because of their perceived trust level. While there’s no best TLD for search engine optimization (SEO), you’re better off using standard options like .com domains.
However, you may encounter problems using popular domain extensions like .com because sought-after domain names tend to be expensive or taken.
For that reason, we recommend you also consider industry-specific TLDs like .io and .tech for software or .edu for educational institutions as alternatives during your research.
Domain Name Length
When it comes to domain name length, it’s best to keep it short. One-word domain names like cars.com or hotels.com are ideal branding choices, but they’re harder to come by and expensive to purchase.
If you don’t want to spend too much on your domain name, you can still find excellent options that use two or three words. We suggest you avoid domain names that have more than three words.
Domain names that use relevant and highly-searched keywords can improve your website’s SEO performance. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that keyword domains tend to have a higher demand, driving up the prices.
Exact-match domains refer to domains where the name matches an exact keyword, whereas partial-match domains include the keyword plus another term. In general, exact-match domains cost more than partial-match domains.
For example, tires.com would cost more than tiresplus.com or tirebuyer.com.
Choosing a niche keyword that fits your brand but has a lower search volume might help you brainstorm more affordable SEO-friendly domain options.
Ideally, find a domain name that’s easy to say, spell, type, and remember.
Choosing a memorable domain name with four or more words might help you save money in the long run, but make sure it aligns with your brand strategy.
Longer domain names are an excellent option for personal blogs, book websites, and niche service providers.
Premium domains are usually short, easy-to-remember domain names with popular extensions like .com. In most cases, premium domain names have a higher purchase price and may sometimes cost more to renew and transfer. However, they also have a higher potential to drive brand recognition and increase SEO performance.
While most domains are valued between $5,000 and $20,000, premium domains can sell for $100,000 or more.
How To Negotiate a Domain Name Sale
Navigating a domain purchase can seem a lot more confusing and time-consuming than choosing an available domain. However, if you do your research and follow these steps, it’s possible to buy your ideal domain at a reasonable price.
1. Look for Alternative Domain Names
There’s no such thing as the perfect domain name. Having several domain name options can help you build a recognizable online presence for your business.
Before you go down the path of negotiating a domain name sale, check out any available domains you like. Sometimes it’s as easy as choosing an alternative domain extension.
You can use a domain name registrar’s search feature to help you brainstorm. Bluehost automatically suggests available domain names when you search for one that isn’t available.
Choosing an available domain saves you time and money. Just make sure it’s a domain you want to stick with long-term; otherwise, you’ll have to go through the trouble of migrating your website to a new domain.
Domain registrars can help you migrate to a new name, but the process could confuse existing customers and cause you to lose SEO progress.
2. Check Social Media Handles
Before making a domain offer, see if your domain name (or an acceptable variation) is available on various social media platforms.
Buying social media handles isn’t as straightforward as buying a pre-owned domain name. So, we recommend claiming social media handles before you start the domain purchase process.
3. Find the Domain Owner/Seller
Once you’ve decided that you want to purchase a domain and created suitable social handles, it’s time to find the current owner.
A domain owner who is actively trying to sell their domain usually lists their contact information on the domain sale page.
If the current domain owner hasn’t created a sale page or used the domain at all, you can use ICANN WHOIS to find the owner’s contact information.
Search for the domain on lookup.icann.org and scroll down to the Contact Information section to find the owner.
Some domain owners choose to protect their privacy and have email addresses and other contact information redacted. If that’s the case, you may be able to contact the organization listed as the registrant, but that means there’s a good chance the domain is not for sale.
4. Make Your Domain Offer
After finding the current owner, you need to contact them and let them know you’re interested in buying the domain.
Ideally, you want the owner to list their price first.
Think about it.
You don’t want to make a domain offer that’s higher than the seller’s asking price.
If the owner has listed a domain price, you can contact them with your initial offer. Otherwise, ask the owner for the selling price before submitting your first domain offer.
Your offer should be lower than your maximum budget but still reflect the value of the domain.
5. Negotiate a Price
In most cases, the domain owner will respond to your initial offer with a counteroffer. Continue negotiations until you reach a price that works for both you and the seller.
6. Finalize Your Purchase
Once you agree on a purchase price, it’s time to initiate the transfer process. It’s common practice to use an escrow service when completing domain name sales.
An escrow service is a third party that holds on to your payment until the domain transfer is complete. Using a third party ensures that you receive your domain and that the seller gets paid.
Tips for Mastering the Domain Offer
Calculating the perfect domain offer involves a lot of factors. Here are some tips to make the valuation and negotiation process easier for you.
Use a Domain Appraisal Tool
If you don’t have a lot of experience buying and selling domain names, you can use an online domain appraisal tool like EstiBot to help calculate the value of a domain.
You can search for the domain name and see its price on appraisal websites. Most tools also explain how they calculated their pricing estimate.
Most domain sellers don’t expect to sell their domain for the listed price. Instead, they pick an initial cost to spark a negotiation. So, don’t hesitate to respond with a counteroffer and negotiate a better price.
Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Away
You have leverage as the buyer. While it’s true that an unused domain might have high potential, it’s not creating value for the owner unless they build a good website or sell the domain.
And let’s face it — building a good website takes time. That’s why the owner is selling the domain. For that reason, choose a maximum price for yourself and walk away if you can’t negotiate something that works for you.
If nobody else is bidding on the domain, the seller may change their mind and get back to you. If that’s not the case, don’t worry. There’ll be other domains out there that work well for your brand.
Final Thoughts: How To Calculate and Make the Perfect Domain Offer
Building a brand is an exciting journey, and you want to start on the right foot if you can. A good domain helps create a sturdy foundation you can use to establish your online presence.
But remember, finding a fitting domain name is only part of the battle. To put your domain to good use, you need to back it with reliable web hosting.
Explore Bluehost’s hosting packages today to find the right fit for your WordPress website or e-commerce store.