So you’ve selected your niche. Now it’s time to choose a domain name.
For those who don’t know, the domain name is the part of the URL before the .com, .net, .org, etc.
When it comes time to create a domain name, the most important thing to consider is that your domain is your brand. It is the first glimpse of who you are and what your site is about. (We’ll discuss how my domain name isn’t the greatest in just a little bit)
Keeping branding in mind, there are three main ways to go about choosing a domain name.
EMD – Exact Match Domain
An exact match domain is a domain that contains the exact keyword that you are trying to rank for in the search engines. We will go deeper into keywords in a later lesson, but for now just think of words someone would search for in your niche.
For example, if your niche is “Best Hiking Boots”, you want people to find you when they search for “best hiking boots” in Google. An EMD would be BestHikingBoots.com. (Note: I do not know if that is an actual site. It’s just an example)
The theory behind choosing an exact match domain is that it will help your page rank in Google for that keyword.
And it can help.
But more important than a keyword in your domain name is quality content. If the content you post to your site is useless garbage, Google won’t care where or how many times your keyword shows up. Even in the domain name.
So, an exact match domain name is great if you can get it, but it is only good if you provide useful, quality content as well.
Branded Domain Name
No, I don’t mean put your favorite brand in your domain!
What I mean by a branded domain name is the brand you want to be known as.
Brands can take many different forms. “Nike” is a brand, and when you hear it you immediately think “quality athletic apparel.”
Well, guess what…
“Quality Athletic Apparel” can also be a brand!
Is your niche “Fashion Accessories”? Your brand, and branded domain name, could be “GorgeousFashionAccessories”.
Is your niche tips and tricks for troubleshooting common computer problems? You could brand yourself as “Easy Computer Fixes”.
If you went to a site called “EasyComputerFixes.com” you’d know you can find information on fixing computer issues.
That is the whole idea behind a brand, and a branded domain. You want to be clear on who you are and what you do. You also want to be memorable.
Branded Keyword Match Domain Name
The third option is a combination of the two.
We’ll go back to our computer troubleshooting niche from the last example.
Your EMD (remember, that’s exact match domain) could be ComputerTroubleshooting.com (if “computer troubleshooting” is the keyword you are trying to rank for).
Your branded domain was EasyComputerFixes.com.
There are a few ways you could combine a brand with your keyword.
It could be EasyComputerTroubleshooting. In this case “Easy” is clearly the branded portion, and “computer troubleshooting” is your keyword match.
Or you can brand yourself instead of what you do.
Is your name Joe? No? Well, pretend it is for a minute. Your domain could be JoesComputerTroubleshooting.com, or ComputerTroubleshootingWithJoe.com. In this case people still know what your site is about, and they will connect you, personally, to their troubleshooting needs.
Three Possibilities, One Important Point
Whichever route you decide to take in choosing a domain name, always remember that it isn’t nearly as important as the content you provide.
Don’t believe me?
Have you ever heard of Amazon.com? It’s all about that huge river in South America, right? No? The rain forest of the same name? No? It’s a shopping site?! What?!
What does Amazon have to do with shopping? Absolutely nothing. But when you think about buying something online, who do you think of? Right… Amazon.
So, is a domain important? Yes. But not nearly as important as what you provide to your site’s visitors.
Things To Avoid
I know I just said that the domain isn’t as important as the content, but there are still some things you don’t want to do when you create a domain name.
What do you want to avoid?
Let’s use an example.
MyOneFriend.com – Good domain name.
No, I’m not lonely. It’s just an easy example. And it’s an easy domain to remember. It’s also easy to tel someone so they can check it out later.
So what happens if we use the things I said to avoid.
My1Friend.com – Not so good
If you say this to someone, and they want to look it up later, do you think they will automatically assume the number 1 instead of “one” spelled out?
You’ll have to specify “my the number one friend dot com” when telling people about your site. Not ideal.
My-One-Friend.com – Still not so good
“My dash one dash friend dot com” is how you will have to tell people about your site. Again, not great.
MyOneFrend.com – Also not really good
“My one friend without the i dot com”
Do you really want to have to say that?
My-1-Frend.com – Just don’t do this!
“My dash the number one dash friend without the i dot com”
It looks foolish. It’s hard to tell people about. And it’s hard to remember.
Why To Avoid These Things
It won’t be the end of the world if you use dashes, numbers or misspellings when you create a domain name. Google will still rank you based on your content, and people will still be able to find you.
The issue is really lost opportunities.
Sticking with MyOneFriend.com as our example, let’s say you couldn’t get it because it was already taken. So you add a dash, or a number, or a misspelling. You get some traffic and make some money.
Now, consider what happens when someone visits your site, likes it, buys something, and tells their friends. Some of these friends end up at your site.
But others end up at the site that is spelled out correctly with no numbers or dashes. And you lost those potential customers because your domain wasn’t easy enough to communicate and remember.
Keep it simple for your visitors, and you’ll do that much better.
What is a domain extension? That’s the “.com” part. It’s kind of like a telephone area code. That’s how there can be multiple sites with the same domain. MyOneFriend.com is not the same as MyOneFriend.net.
And there are a pile of extensions.
You’ve probably seen these:
There are also country-specific extensions:
- .ca – Canada
- .au – Australia
- .nl – The Netherlands
The reason I bring this up is because you have a lot of options when you choose a domain name.
But you might want to limit those options.
Because Google likes .com, .org, and .net the best (in that order).
Can you rank with a .info or .biz extension?
It will just be a little easier with a .com, .org, or .net. So aim for a .com whenever possible.
How To Create A Domain Name
First, you have to choose whether you want to try for an exact match domain, a branded domain, or a combination.
Exact match domains can help give you a little boost in rankings for your keyword, and they tell your visitors what your site is about.
Branded domains may or may not tell people what your site is about, but they SHOULD.
I prefer a branded domain, because it allows for flexibility.
To see how a brand can allow you to be flexible, lets go back to our ComputerTroubleshooting.com example. Clearly, that is a site about troubleshooting computer issues.
So what happens if you want to talk about building a computer? That’s not troubleshooting, and doesn’t really fit.
But, if your branded domain was TheComputerGuy.com, you could start off as a troubleshooting site, and later branch out to computer builds, or upgrades, or accessories.
Remember I said earlier that my domain wasn’t the greatest? That’s because I branded my domain, but went too narrow with the brand. I didn’t leave room for branching out.
When I started this site, my intention was to strictly offer honest reviews of passive income programs (HonestPassiveIncomeReviews.com, get it?)
That was my intent, anyway.
Until I found a program that wasn’t passive income, but could still be used to make money online and work from home. And it was an awesome program. I just HAD to include it.
So my site went through its first divergence from the intent of my brand.
Then I decided that if I was going to review make money online and work from home programs, I should talk a little about the finer details of what goes into making it happen.
Divergence number 2!
Now you’re reading a lesson on starting your own online business. Teaching what I do wasn’t even a distant consideration when I first set out on this site.
Divergence number 3!
So what happened to my brand?
Well, I’m still honest in everything I say here, so that part hasn’t changed at all.
My primary focus is still creating passive income streams, but I talk a little about more active work from home programs, so that part changed a little.
I still review make-money-online, work-from-home, and passive-income programs, but there’s a lot more going on here now. So… Reviews? It still applies, just not to everything that I do.
Learn from my mistake, and plan for the future of your brand!
I still rank well, and people find me (you found me, didn’t you?), but my brand is a little confusing.
Where To Buy Domains
There are a lot of options out there for purchasing domains. Some are super cheap (to start!) and some are too expensive to be worth it.
GoDaddy is one of those super-cheap-to-start domain registrars (registrar is basically a domain merchant – they sell you the name and register is for you). You can buy a domain for just $.99!
But that’s just for the first year.
Domains are paid on a yearly basis for as long as you want to keep them active.
Well, GoDaddy likes to pull you in for a cheap first year, then jack up the price to $20 or more.
There are better options.
A really good one is Namecheap. They offer domains at industry-average prices (about $10-12 per year), and offer live support. I have personally never used them, but I have friends who love them.
I buy all of my domains through Wealthy Affiliate. They offer flat rate fees ranging between $12-16 per year, which, like Namecheap, is about average for the industry. The biggest reason I buy my domains here is convenience. I am a premium member, which costs $30 per month. As a member I can buy my domains and so much more. I also get:
- Hosting ($5-25 a month elsewhere – more on this in the next lesson)
- Website Privacy (WhoIs masking – $5-10 a year with other hosts)
- Website Security-SSL certs (Anywhere from $10-100 a year with other hosts)
- Internet Marketing Training (Far more in-depth than I can provide on this site)
- A community of over a million members willing to help with any issues I run into
If you’re serious about learning internet marketing and how to make money online, you should check them out. You can learn more in my full Wealthy Affiliate Review.
Choose A Domain Name – The Bottom Line
When you create a domain name, the most important thing to remember is… Your domain isn’t the most important thing!
Yes, your domain can be your brand. That tells readers who and what you are. It can also be a keyword that may help you boost rankings. It should be related to your niche…
But it isn’t necessary!
Remember, Amazon.com has nothing to do with the river or the rain forest of the same name!
Choose a domain name that you are happy with, then concentrate on creating quality content. Because, in the end, it is your content that visitors want and Google will rank you for.
In our next lesson we are going to talk about hosting, and your all-important place in the great big internet!
It would be great if you could rate this article, and let me know what you thought in the comments below. Ask questions. Tell me what you would like to see added to the site!
As always, thanks for reading, and the best of luck on your journey to financial independence,
If you ever have any questions, you can contact me here.
P.S. I can offer training on the basics of getting started with your own online business. If you want to get the full picture, and far more training than I can provide, take a look at my Wealthy Affiliate Review. It’s the best training out there, and so much more!