Shopping for a new (or first) domain might seem like a pretty straightforward process. Simply go to any domain provider that pops up on Google, type in your company’s name, realize that it’s taken, type in something similar or choose something else other than .com, and you’re all set! Hold up, it’s a little more complex than that, and taking the extra steps to ensure your domain’s authority, safety, and reliability can benefit your brand greatly in the long run.
And mind you, not all domain providers were created equal, and some are more trustworthy than others. Some will try their best to upsell products and services you don’t need, and others will actually provide you with a positive shopping experience. Here to help you find the best domain and a great provider, all the while staying safe in the online world are the five key things you need to keep in mind while shopping.
Are there any hidden fees?
By and large, you never want to overpay for your domain. Sure, there are some top-level domains with a hefty price tag that is worth every penny, but most of the time a domain shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Given the fact that you’re paying for it on an annual basis, you need to make sure that there aren’t any hidden or undisclosed fees that will kick in once you reach that first-year mark. So, here are the common problems with domain surcharges.
- Firstly, you need to be wary of additional, or subsequent fees. This means that you need to read the fine print on the website and determine the exact renewal fees, while at the same time un-ticking all of the additional purchases that you don’t need – by default, the websites will automatically sign you up for these products.
- Next, don’t fall for the upsell and cross-sell schemes. You’re here for the domain and nothing else. You should be able to change your domain details for free whenever you want as well.
- Lastly, make sure that you’re able to migrate to a different provider without charge.
Transparency of the vendor is paramount
Tying indirectly with our previous point, you need to find a provider that focuses on transparency and honesty across the board. Not only is this important if you’re going to safeguard your site’s domain and data in the long term, but it’s also important in order to stay in the know about fees and surcharges. On a truly transparent domain provider’s website, there should be no fine print or misleading language.
You should be able to read everything clearly and without searching through the website, including the renewal policy as well as the cancelation policy. If you’re unsure whether a provider is trustworthy or not, you can always search for reviews from current and previous clients on Google, and even ask around on reputable forums for honest opinions.
Ensure high domain safety and security
It should go without saying that the registrar (domain provider) you choose should be completely trustworthy, especially when it comes to domain privacy and the way the provider stores and handles your company’s information. It’s therefore absolutely imperative that you research providers that prioritize domain name security in their policies and practices, preferably ones that provide extensive information on the concrete measures they take to ensure top-level security for their clients.
Remember, if the information is not on their site, or if they don’t provide links to their partners and the agencies and institutions they collaborate with, move on to the next prospect. No matter how cheap the domain maybe, it’s not worth getting your information sold to third-party marketing companies, or worse, scammers and hackers.
Test out their customer service
If you really want to assess the trustworthiness of a domain provider, test out their customer support. There is a noticeable difference between sites that say they have a customer support team but actually have a team of sales personnel who will always try to sell you something, and the ones that actually have a professional support team that will help you resolve all of your problems and answer all of your questions. Give them a call or contact them via chat, and see what happens.
Choose providers with free privacy protection
And lastly, always remember that you have a right to keep your company’s information private. But that doesn’t mean that every provider will give you that right, so you need to be careful. There are many scammers out there, and sometimes it will even be the provider that will sell your information to interested parties, so make sure that the registrar can guarantee your privacy, free of charge – avoid “privacy premiums” at all costs.
In the end, shopping for a domain shouldn’t be a stressful experience, rather, it should be an enjoyable and rewarding one. Even though you do need to keep these tips in mind, be sure to keep a positive outlook as well, and you’re bound to find the perfect domain and provider to take your business forward.