Your journey into affiliate marketing begins with domain registration.

It’s this:

The domain is your identity on the Web.

A great domain increases your chances of ranking within search results. Memorable names stick with visitors well after they’ve left the site. It becomes synonymous with industry authority and makes it easier to refer others to the site.

So:

At the center of this are domain registrars.

These are the companies that manage the registration of domain names. There are dozens to choose from when doing a generalized search.

But, which is best?


Best Domain Registration — a TL;DR

  • Look for ones that have great pricing but more importantly: they’re easy to use
  • The best ones we’ve found to be DreamHost, GoDaddy, and NameCheap.
  • Consider bundling domains and save by using coupons
  • It’s worth buying a premium name through auctions if it matches your brand/direction

Here’s what we’d recommend based on ease-of-use, great pricing, and flexible services.

 

What We look for with Domain Registrars

What we're looking for with domain registration

Money plays less of a role with domain registration in the big scheme of things.

We’re talking a few bucks in the difference between most services.

Obviously, this adds up if you have dozens (if not hundreds) of projects in the pipeline but for the first-time affiliate marketer, the biggest factor you should consider is ease-of-use.

Meaning:

  • Quick checkout
  • Good security
  • Easy DNS configuration

Once you have the domain name you’ll rarely log in to the registrar’s backend besides the occasional payment or configuration.

Focus on getting things rolling, basically.

There are other factors that play a role – including:

  • Free services like email hosting & forwarding
  • Domain name transfers
  • Registration privacy protection

Most domain services offer web hosting services which further simplifies the website setup process.

Combining the two will save money but the consensus is to keep domains and web hosting separate.

Why? It’s if in the event you’re not satisfied with the services.

Trying to transfer both domain and files can be a hassle so it just makes it easier keeping them apart.

If you get anything from this section, it’s this: Pick a popular domain service.

As long as it:

  1. Fits your budget
  2. Let’s you choose from a variety of domain extensions
  3. Has decent customer service

Then you’re good to go.

Now, let’s look at your options…

 

The Best Domain Registration Services

You’re bound to come across lists of domain names that will break them all down into things like “for X-type of business” or “Y platform”.

Look:

That’s good and all but they’re mainly comparing them based on the combined hosting which we already mentioned we don’t necessarily want.

With that said (and by no means does the order set rank) here is our selection for the best domain name registrars for affiliate marketing.

 

GoDaddy

Godaddy Domain Registrar

GoDaddy is synonymous with domain name hosting.

They’ve been around since 1999 and despite their occasional mishap on social media, they’re still a great choice when starting your affiliate marketing journey. Mainly because the domains are cheap and service is fast.

GoDaddy is great for those that want tons of extra features like web hosting, email, web security, and marketing services.

If you can forgive them for the up-sells then it’s all good.

  • .com 1st-year cost: $11.99/year
  • Renewal: $14.99/year
  • TLDs: Yes
  • Privacy: $7.99/year per domain
  • Support: 24/7 via chat, email, and phone

Overall, GoDaddy works because of their longevity in the business.

The checkout process is a little clunky but you’re backed by the #1 players in the market. Plus, you’ll have access to a ton of freebies and features like auctions and brokerage for premium domains.

 

NameCheap

Namecheap Domain Registrar

If it’s savings you want then NameCheap is the way to go.

The service has been active since 2001 and for good reasons. Their registration process is dead simple and the unbeatable prices add to value.

You can opt for tons of extra services such as their WHOIS guard, Free/Premium DNS, or find something premium in their marketplace.

They consistently deliver exceptional customer support and security.

  • .com 1st-year cost: $8.88/year
  • Renewal: $10.69/year
  • TLDs: Yes
  • Privacy: 1 year free
  • Support: 24/7 via chat, email, and phone

Overall, NameCheap is the pinnacle of excellent pricing and great services.

We’ll go ahead and say they’re the best for newcomers to affiliate marketing because of their pricing – letting you keep costs as low as possible while you’re in this experimental phase.

 

Hover

Hover Domain Registration

Heard of Hover?

It’s a hip, up-and-coming domain registrar that’s putting change first. They’re dedicated to providing a clean interface and dabbling in being patrons of inspiring projects.

Their pricing puts them competitive with the other major services.

What makes Hover unique and worthwhile is their sole dedication to domains and emails.

That’s it.

Meaning they’re able to provide high-quality customer support + a refreshing lack of up-sells and invasive promotions that make the domain buying experience cumbersome.

  • .com 1st-year cost: $12.99/year
  • Renewal: $14.99/year
  • TLDs: Yes
  • Privacy: Free (on eligible domains)
  • Support: 24/7 via chat, email, and phone

Overall, Hover has something special going for it because it’s using its presence to do good. Something that’s hard to find with other, big registrars.

For the same pricing, you can contribute to making a better Web when purchasing through their service.

 

Domains.Google.com

Google Domains

Google Domains (beta) offers affordable domain names through a slick design.

It’s Google’s attempt to create an all-in-one resource for purchasing domains and creating a website. Though, you’re welcome to use the service specifically for the name.

WHOIS privacy is included at no additional cost along with domain/email forwarding.

Access to the massive DNS nameservers handled by Google and integration of G Suite is a nice, added touch.

  • .com 1st-year cost: $12/year
  • Renewal: $12/year
  • TLDs: Yes
  • Privacy: Included
  • Support: 24/7 via chat, email, and phone

Overall, the barebones offering provided by Google Domains is its main attraction.

It strips the commonly used up-sells and sets a flat-fee for domain pricing.

 

HostGator

Hostgator domain names

HostGator is known for their web hosting but they do offer domain name services by itself.

The offering is comparable to other domain services.

What helps it stick out is the company’s stellar service.

We’ve worked with them before and always had speedy resolutions to our tickets.

Though, that’s a little telling considering we had to contact them at all. But alas, if you want features like domain locking, auto domain renewals, and a nice backend management then give HostGator a try.

  • .com 1st-year cost: $12.99/year
  • Renewal: $10-$15/year
  • TLDs: Some
  • Privacy: Extra
  • Support: 24/7 via chat, email, and phone

Overall, HostGator has gotten clunky over the years but they’re still doing great with the service.

They’re a web hosting company, after all, so don’t expect the moon with them.

 

Gandi

Domain Registrar Gandi

Gandi’s trademark is No Bullshit™ and it telling because of the site simplicity and transparency in their service.

They’ve helped set up over 2 million domains since 1999 and don’t show signs of slowing down anytime yet.

Their services have all the bells & whistles you’d want (extra) like managing email, setting up a site, or linking domains to other services.

Gandi offers over 700+ TLDs and even has an app for buying and managing domains. Each domain comes with two mailboxes which are just icing on the cake at this point.

  • .com 1st-year cost: $15.50/year
  • Renewal: $15.50/year
  • TLDs: Tons
  • Privacy: Free (with authorized registries)
  • Support: 24/7 via chat, email, and phone

Overall, the sleek design and no BS philosophy make Gandi a fantastic choice even if the .com pricing is a tad higher than the others.

The qualified support, free WHOIS privacy, and fast services are a nice addition when compared to other services that rely on clunky backends.

 

What Else to know about Domain Name Registration

Learning

The typical cost of a domain name ranges from $12-$15 a year for a .com though the price drops if you choose others such as .Net or .Org.

You’ll often find deals through:

  • Coupon websites
  • Blog posts
  • Newsletters
  • Social/PPC ads

Otherwise, check search results and you can often bring the cost down by 30% or more.

Some registrars will have promotions for odd-ball ones like .Co or .Xyz. We recommend you stick to .com, .net, or .org because they’re the most widely used.

 

Parking Domains

Sometimes you find a niche and want to prevent competition from stepping in. Other times you may want to protect your brand or simply want to squat on an idea.

This is when you park domains.

Parking a domain name is buying up the TLDs (top level domains like .com, .net, etc), variations of the name, or even misspellings.

Parked domains have value – they’re frequently used to redirect traffic else use as a “test space” for one-off projects that wouldn’t make the main site.

 

Bundle Pricing

Some of the domain registrars include discounts with bundle pricing such as purchasing multiple domain names or with other TLD’s.

Take this as a consideration when you’re starting if you have multiple projects in the works. You’ll save a great deal of money registering them at the same time in combination with a coupon.

 

Buying Premium Domains

Sales

Suppose you came up with an awesome name but to your dismay, it’s taken.

Looks like you’ll have to fold and find a variation or something new, right?

There’s another option: buying from sellers/brokers.

  • Buying directly
  • Buying at auction
  • Buying with brokers

Sometimes you’ll luck out and see a “for sale” blurb when visiting the parked domain.

Shoot them an email to see what they’re asking.

You could always do a WHOIS search to see who purchased the domain and if an email is available to contact if it’s not listed on the parked domain.

Though, your mileage may vary.

The better options are either through an auction or using a broker.

People place domain names up for auction just like you’d find on eBay.

GoDaddy Auction, Sedo, or NameJet are two good platforms for placing these bids.

All that’s needed is to sign up, place your bid, go to war with the other person raising it by a couple cents, and completing the sale.

Brokers, on the other hand, will do the work for you.

You give them money and they’ll contact the owner and broker the deal. Though, this isn’t always guaranteed so you could be out of your money if the sellers say no or the broker is unsuccessful in contacting them.

 

Domain Registration: What We Learned

Information

Quite a bit of information to take in, yeah?

Let’s reiterate:

  1. The price of a domain is generally the same across services
  2. Pick one you can trust, has stellar reviews, and been at it a while
  3. Use coupons to drive down the price
  4. You won’t fiddle with it (often) since it’s best to use separate web hosting
  5. Park it (and variations) until you’re ready
  6. Pony up the money if you really, really want that domain

Affiliate marketing is about finding a good idea and acting on it (fast).

The markets cool down rather quickly so the faster you can get the site up and running the better.

It all starts with a domain.