Knowing how to choose the right domain name for your product or service can make the difference between a successful online business or an unsuccessful one. In this article I’ll look at some factors to consider when you’re choosing a domain name.
Don’t rush in to choosing a domain!
It’s very tempting when you first get interested in blogging or internet marketing to quickly buy a domain name, upload a WordPress blog and begin blogging. Once the initial excitement wears off and you realise that traffic doesn’t magically appear at your web site, you begin to re-evaluate your strategy. It’s at this point that you realise that the domain name you chose may not have been the best choice.
The biggest mistake you can make is rushing in and buying a domain name that sounds good, but isn’t the best one for your niche. Now, it’s ok if you own a business and want to buy the domain name that’s the same as your business name – this makes sense. If you don’t buy it someone else could!
But before you rush into buying a domain name, have a think about these other factors.
What is the point of your blog or website?
Why are you blogging or getting into internet marketing? What are the products and services you want to sell, and do you want the blog to have a personal feel to it, or be more corporatised?
John Chow has built up a very successful blog around his activities as an internet marketer, but it’s all about him. His name is the brand, which will make it difficult for him to sell his blog in the future. Unless you want your blog to be all about you, I’d suggest you stay away from using your name as your domain name.
Find the best keywords for your product or service
Once you’ve decided what you’ll be selling or talking about, it’s time to find the best keywords. Use the Google keyword tool, or download the trial version of Market Samurai and use the keyword research module. Enter in all the keywords that you think are relevant to your niche and see what results Google gives you.
Ideally, you’re looking for keywords that have a reasonable amount of daily searches, and a lower level of competition.
Once you’ve found some keywords that meet your criteria, do a Google search to see what the competition looks like. This is where Market Samurai becomes more useful, because it will do the research for you and show you factors like domain age, backlinks etc.
When you do the Google search you want to look at the top ten results and see what their page rank is and how many backlinks to the page there are. If you can find niches that have some entries in the top ten with low page rank and a low level of backlinks, you have a good chance of rating well.
Find the best domain based on the keyword
Before you read any further, let me through a curve ball. Sometimes it makes sense to have more than one domain.
Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer in Washington. It’s smart to have a web site the has your business name as the domain name i.e. www.FredWeddingPhotography.com. This is ok if people are going to find you direct i.e. you give them a business card or a brochure.
But if you want people to find you when they’re doing a Google search for a wedding photographer in the Washington area, you’ll need to do a lot more work on the SEO of your site to rank well.
This is where a domain based on your niche keywords could be a better option.
I use DomainCondo.com for my domains. Once you’ve got a shortlist of good keywords, go to Domain Condo and start to enter them in as .com domain names to see what is available.
In the example above, see if www.WeddingPhotographerWashington.com is available. Because this domain has all the keywords included in the domain, it’ll probably rate better than www.FredWeddingPhotography.com when people do searches for a wedding photographer in the Washington area.
If www.WeddingPhotographerWashington.com isn’t available, try adding hyphens – www.Wedding-Photographer-Washington.com. Or try adding the word ‘best’ at the start.
Experiment with different words at the start of end of the domain, but don’t overdo it. Ideally you want your domain to have a good level of keyword density. If you start diluting that density with extra words, it’ll affect your ability to rate well.
If a .com domain isn’t available, what about a .net or a .org?
Now I’ve bought the domain, what do I do?
Once you’ve done the hard work and bought your domain, it’s time to start adding relevant content and doing the things you need to do to get Google to notice it. We’ll cover this in another post, but the important thing is to keep the blog focused on your niche and to add articles and content that provide value to your readers.
Strategies for multiple domains
Another strategy to consider involves having one main ‘hub’ web site, and multiple ‘satellite’ sites. The satellite sites could be set up to target specific keywords, but the articles and content links to your main site.
The job of the satellite sites is to drive traffic to the main site.
Have a think about the industry that you’re in and decide whether there are multiple keywords you could target by using separate web sites. I’m starting to do this in the financial planning industry, and finding that some newer, targeted domain names are ranking better for some keywords than my main web site which is a few years old.
What are your thoughts on choosing a domain name? Do you have multiple domains for the niche you’re in, or do you just use one? Have you ever bought a domain name you regretted?
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