Google Domains: What To Know Know Before You Buy

Google Domains

During my morning Facebook feed trolling today, I noticed a sponsored ad for Google Domains. Although I typically don’t click on advertisements like these (out of respect for their PPC budgets, if nothing else), seeing this one immediately sparked my interest. Despite being two-years old, this BETA program changed its invitation-only policy last summer to an open access one for those in the U.S.

A little research and digging left me surprised for two reasons. First, despite having a market life of over 24 months, Google Domains remains relatively unknown. Given the many selling points this BETA program has (from cool domain name endings to included Google Apps), I’d expect that it would be much more popular than it is — particularly with entrepreneurs and small businesses. I also figured the marketing push on Google’s behalf would be much more aggressive, especially if they are actually serious about going from BETA to the big leagues.

Second, I was surprised that I wasn’t sold on the platform within the first few minutes of looking at their landing page. There is no denying their value points aren’t bad, but they’re a long ways from great. Despite having a laundry list of features, I’ve concluded that Google Domains is actually not as easy, seamless and flexible as one may think — and here is why.

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    Setting Up Is A Downright Hassle

    As far as websites go, Google Domains only offers domain name registration. After signing up, one still would also have to create an account with a hosting provider such as GoDaddy or BlueHost. Opting for one of the latter options in the first place will make the process smoother and with fewer hoops.

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    Google Domains Is Friendemies With WordPress

    Purchasing a domain name from Google will grant one access to website builders such as Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and Shopify. Sure, these platforms are mind-numbingly user friendly and cheap, but none even come close to the power and scalability of WordPress. Justin from Google Support assured me that one could still use WordPress with Google Domains, but again the process is a major pain in the ass. (Find a more in-depth explanation by reading the forum commentary in the image below. This dude nailed it 100%.)

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    Calling It What It Is: A More Expensive Version of Google Apps)

    When you shed away all the glitz that loosely covers Google Domains, all that is left is a more expensive version of Google Apps for business with a low-level website builder added in. From this perspective, the overall value doesn’t seem to justify the cost (especially considering Google Apps integration starts at $5 per user.)

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    It's Not As Cheap As You Think

    Domain registration starts at only $12 — but that doesn’t include website hosting (which could cost $75 or more, depending on how many years you sign up for) or a super cool domain name ending. Go this direction if you must, but don’t be surprised if the overall cost comes to far more then originally planned.

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    Google Isn't The Only One Offering Cool Domain Name Endings

    Unique domain name endings are all the rage right now — not only are they eye-catching, but great for SEO link diversity. (My friend Caroline’s blog, Style Squad, has a .nyc sending, giving a nod to its home city.) Keep in mind however that Google is far from the only one offering such a deal; comparable options are also found on GoDaddy and others as well.

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    There Is A Lot To Be Said For Having All Hosting & Domain Assets In One Place

    With years of experience helping clients revamp outdated sites (or even build new ones), let me attest: it is ALWAYS easiest when a website’s hosting and domain name are held in the same place. Doing so makes troubleshooting and synchronization seamless, instead of having to go through multiple third-party vendors anytime you want to make a change to either of these important entities.