We have all been there. Wondering: “Why in the world did I register that name?” This could be the next day, month later, or when renewal comes. Hand registering domain names today is risky if you are new to the business. Many domain investors have made it a point only to buy domains on the aftermarket. However, you can still hand-register domains that can be very valuable in a few years. The more experience you have in selling domains, knowing what sells and what does not, the better you get at hand registering domains. But you still will register names that you will regret later. To reduce the chances of this happening, here are some tips on hand registering domain names:
1/ Unless the domain is an obvious gem (ie. you know it has value and a pool of potential buyers), don’t rush to register it. Take a breath and think about it. Write the domain down on a piece of paper and look at it from an end-user perspective. How does it look in print to you? How does it sound when you say it? Does it have an obvious business use?
2/ If you have an onslaught of domain name ideas that are available to register, the first thing you should do is make a list of the names before you register a single one. Go back to tip 1. Don’t play the numbers game unless you have a big budget and can afford to lose money. The numbers game follows the reasoning: “The more domains I register, the more chance I will have of selling some.” That is like playing the lottery, the more tickets you buy the greater the chance of winning. That has not worked out so well for the vast majority. You may sell more domains, but the renewals will keep you in the red. Focus on the very best names on the list and register those, which should be a small percentage.
3/ The safest extension to hand register is .com, followed by .net or a country-code, if commonly used. Make sure that the domain is short and 1-3 words. Maximum 3 words only if the name warrants it (i.e. [City name]RealEstate.com).
4/ Check past sales data to see what similar domains sold for using tools such as DNPric.es, NameBio.com, and DN Journal.
5/ Do a search for the domain (without the extension). Are there ads in the search results? This indicates competition and is a good sign. If the results come back with a “Did you mean: *********” then it could be a negative as the algorithm is recommending another word.
6/ Study about naming and what makes a good domain (and a bad one).
7/ If you speculate on domain names make sure you have the necessary capital and are prepared to wait for considerable time (i.e. multiple year renewals per name). Speculation refers to registering keywords or extensions that are not currently popular, such as in predicting future trends.
8/ Check the domain history using tools such as Archive.org and DomainTools.com. If the domain used to be a website and/or the domain is registered in other extensions, these are good signs.
9/ Don’t register based on emotion. Emotion is the surest way to blow through a lot of money very quickly. Which brings us to:
10/ Be selective. Be critical. Use the collective of these tips to make good judgement when hand-registering domains. And if you do make registrations that you later regret, learn from these mistakes.