It’s something that you’d prefer to get right before you start your blogging journey, but so often a domain name is bought in haste. You think you know how to pick a domain name but by being so eager to get stuck in, you choose a domain that you think sounds cool or will stack up SEO wise, only to change your mind a few weeks later.
I believe that deciding on a website domain name should be thought about, a week or so before you register it. The chances of somebody taking the exact domain you’ve thought of is extremely thin. I doubt it will get picked up in the few days you’re contemplating, but stranger things have happened I suppose.
All the great domains have already gone. The domains that rank for SEO by using good 1 or 2 word keywords have all been snapped up years ago. So, you either have to think outside the square in terms of SEO, go for something completely original and unique or opt for a long tail keyword domain.
To help you decide on choosing a domain name, I’ve jotted down a few things for you to think about.
Here’s a few things I’ll cover:
Buy a Memorable Domain
Having visitors remember your website name is the ideal scenario. You’d like your visitors to have your domain name stuck in their mind, so you’re the first person they come back to for information.
The majority of memorable website domain names are usually one or two words. This can be hard to achieve, as I’ve previously mentioned, they’ve all been snapped up. But you can still get some great 3 word names that stick in one’s mind.
You can also make up a name that may become enshrined in the brain. For instance, come up with an appropriate word that relates to your site and add a prefix or suffix to it.
Perhaps you’re about to create a website in the camping niche. Start with a word like ‘camp’ and add any of these suffixes.
Location Type Suffixes
So in our example, we could come up with ‘campnation’, campzone’ or ‘campcafe’. Some of these may not work for your situation such as ‘campweb’. You want to make sure it rolls of the tongue nicely and makes sense.
Domain Names That Work for SEO
Many years ago, finding a domain name with a search friendly keyword was all the rage as it helped get your domain to the top pages in search engines. With the revised Google algorithms over the years, SEO is now not so big a factor in a domain.
Search engines factor in more brandable influences, so choose a domain that you can build a great brand around. Google will favour this, as a brandable website will create authority, and know precisely what your website is about. This is more beneficial to your SEO than a highly searched keyword.
Having said that, if you are able to achieve both, go for it.
What About Your Extension Type
In years gone past, the .COM was always the ‘go to’ domain name extension. Now there’s so many variations in which to choose. However, the most trusted website domains are still the .COM extension. If you do purchase a .COM domain, it’s advisable to also buy the .NET extension which will protect your brand and stop others using your domain name to cash in.
Following this, you may opt for the country extension in which you live. Here’s some examples of this:
- Canada: .com.ca
- Australia: .com.au
- United Kingdom: .co.uk
- India: .in
- New Zealand: .co.nz
These extensions are great if you only intend for visitors in the desired country, but you may need to be a registered company in some countries to purchase one of these domains.
Apart from other domain extensions for particular circumstances such as .TV for a media website, or .ORG for an organisation, a .COM is universally recognised and a trusted domain.
Can Domain Names Have Symbols
There is only one symbol that can be used as part of a domain name and this is the hyphen. Be aware however, that you cannot start or finish a domain name with a hyphen.
Other rules for domain names include the following:
- Name length must be between 3-63 characters
- Letters, numbers or hyphen can be used
- Multiple hyphens can be used but not consecutively
- No forms of punctuation apart from a hyphen can be used
Whilst you can use hyphens in a domain name, one of the considerations to make is whether it will affect your SEO rankings. Although we can’t be too sure, as Google don’t announce their algorithm intricacies, I’d suggest your SEO won’t be affected.
The fact that hundreds of millions of domain names are already taken, suggest hyphens have become a necessity in some cases. Many SEO experts agree that the use of a hyphen also acts a separator which can be beneficial in some cases.
A longer domain name can sometimes be confusing to read. For instance, the domain financialsexchange.com can be deciphered as ‘financials exchange’ (which it’s supposed to be) or ‘financial sex change’! Which could be a little embarrassing should the wrong type of visitor drop by.
If you can avoid a hyphen in your domain name it’s advisable but I wouldn’t get hung up about it. There’s no evidence that you’ll be penalised by search engines. As long as you write great content and follow all the correct SEO ranking rules, you’ll be fine.
Who Sells Domain Names
Domain registrars have flooded the market with many smaller companies getting in on the act. Many of the bigger companies would also like to host your website so they may bundle a domain in with your hosting at a cheaper price.
The larger and more common sites to purchase a domain name are listed below.
- Google Domains
When it comes to purchasing a domain name, all these companies are going to ask if you want privacy protection on your domain. It’s known as protecting your WHOIS data. This is so that web developers (or spammers) cannot find out who bought the domain.
A quick check at a site like whois.domaintools can show you all the information of a purchaser of a particular domain. That is, unless you purchase WHOIS data protection.
A Great Alternative for Affiliate Marketers
If you are a blogger or intend monetising your website, affiliate marketing is a great way to get reward for your blogging efforts. The best place to learn affiliate marketing is at Wealthy Affiliate, the industry leaders in this field.
What makes this educational platform so great, is the fact you can host your website and purchase domains directly through them. You can start off with a free siterubix domain hosted on their servers to learn the basics. Then when you’re ready, purchase your own domain to start a new website. Oh, and they don’t charge anything for WHOIS privacy.
I’ve created a video to show you how easy it is to find a domain on the Wealthy Affiliate platform.
As you can see, putting a bit of thought into your domain name before committing can be advantageous. There’s a number of considerations to think about with domain length being a major forethought.
Your main takeaway from this article should be to think about how you’ll build a brand around your domain. Your domain will ideally inform visitors what your website is about without them having to search your site to find out.
So, if your intention is to make money from your new website via affiliate marketing, I’d suggest Wealthy Affiliate is a great place to begin. Remember, you can start with a free domain and buy a new one, once you’re satisfied with a new domain name.
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The opinions in this article are solely mine, are are not intended to offend or discriminate. All information in this review has been researched on the public domain of the internet.