First Off - What Are Domain Names?
Domain names are address on the internet that web designers, businesses and individuals can buy. For example, Johndoefamily.com would be a domain name that the John Doe family might want to buy for themselves. This way, they could have a home on the internet where they could put their own family website to keep friends and distant relatives abreast of their lives. They might want to upload pictures, write blog posts about what's going on, or put a family calendar that shows different events throughout the year. Domain names essentially are the locations online where websites live, and it's the constant obsession of web designers and businesses to find good domain names that properly reflect the content they are trying to put online. Businesses are always trying to get good domain names that have their company name or their type of business inside the address. This is important both for making it easy for customers to remember the site's name, as well as for search engines, which base some of their rankings results on what a domain name itself reflects.
Why Are Good Domain Names Such a Big Deal?
If you're trying to understand why people go so crazy over buying the best domain names, and sometimes paying dozens of thousands of dollars for the right to use a handful of characters, you can think of the internet as a long highway lined with different businesses, all of whom want to achieve the best possible visibility over their competitors by placing huge signs on the side of the road with their name and industry on them. Only, there's one quirk on this particular highway - you're not allowed to duplicate the signs of anyone else. Once someone has Johndoefamily.com, that's it. You won't be able to put out the same sign, even if you're another john doe family that wants their own website!
You can understand how this competition only intensifies from a business perspective. If you have a product or service you're trying to advertise, you want to get a domain name that's better than your competitors', otherwise they'll always be seen first and probably siphon away most of your business.
Further complicating the scramble for good domain names is the fact that there are certain rules to how search engines will treat different domain names. For one thing, you always want to have the keywords you're targeting on your own site directly in your domain name, if at all possible. It wouldn't be prudent to try to launch your lumber planing business on a domain name like skycaptainfungames.com, because there's absolutely no connection to the terms you're trying to be found for and the keywords within the domain name itself. Since domains themselves cannot be duplicated and relevant keywords for each business are limited, you can imagine how quickly the bidding and buying war over good domain names can escalate between two or more mega companies that have perhaps millions of dollars just to spend on creating a web presence.
How Do You Buy a Domain Name?
If you're wondering how you can go about buying your own domain name, you need to first visit a domain registrar. There are many different domain registrars out there, but popular ones include godaddy.com, namecheap.com and bluehost.com. In exchange for a yearly fee, they will register a domain of your choosing and place it in your name. You are now the owner of this domain and you can do as you please with it. Some people buy up new domains because they want to build websites on them, while others craftily hang on to good domain names hoping that somewhere down the road a company or individual will need that very same name. Then it simply becomes a game of name your price! Some people have bought up thousands of domain names they expect will one day be desirable to someone else, so they can sell them in the future for profit. Usually, registering a new domain name should only cost you $4 to $12 per year depending on the registrar you use. Be aware, however, that should the domain you're looking to buy be deemed extremely valuable by the general market conditions, it may be labeled as a premium domain. This means you could be paying anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars if you want to go through with registering it for yourself!