How to Buy a Domain Name: Training Module 2 from The Coach’s Corner
One of the most important considerations for building money making websites is learning how to buy a domain name. In this training guide, you’ll learn what you need to consider before choosing a domain name for your website as well as how to register a domain name.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before you buy a domain name you must decide what type of website you will be building and what you want your website to be about. In other words, you need to pick a niche market for your website. Once you know what your website niche will be, you are ready to register a domain name for your site. See my training post, How to Pick a Niche Market For Your Website before you decide on your domain name.
Your website domain name is your URL—Universal Resource Locater. Your URL/domain name is how people will locate you on the internet. It will look like this: www.yourwebsitename.com
Don’t stress over picking the perfect domain name for your website. If you buy a domain name and then later decide to change your name you can move your content to a new domain name. But it’s better to think through your domain name and not experience the hassle of changing names later.
Because choosing a great domain name is such an important decision in your overall online business strategy, I have come up with a perfect solution for you. If you are at all hesitant to commit to a domain name like I was when I first started I found a place that will help you build and host two websites for zero cost. I’ll tell you more about that at the end of this training.
Most people want to know how to go about choosing a great domain name. Once I know what my website is going to be about (my niche), I start by making a list of a few key words or phrases that describe my site.
Let’s say your website will be about “helping women lose weight”. Start by making a list of five or six main keywords and phrases like: weight loss, lose weight, body fat, fitness, slim down, fat loss for women, lose weight fast, lose belly fat etc.
Once you have your list, brainstorm possible names that aptly describe your site. Start by combining a few words or adding prefixes or adjectives. You might come up with a few names that fit like, SlimDownFast, SlenderYou, LoseBellyFat, or HerWeightLoss. (Note: these are just examples off the top of my head but don’t get too excited… as it turns out all of those names are taken.)
Here’s another example. If you wanted to build a website in the Food and Beverage industry that was about wine, ideally you would want a domain name with wine in it like Wine.com or BestWines.com or AffordableWines.com. The reason for that is because people typically type keywords in the search engines to find what they want.
Keywords can be one single word or a few words in a phrase like “training german shepherd puppies” or “losing belly fat” or “make money online”. The point is, you want people to find your website when they search for keywords to help them locate what they want. (You’ll learn more about keywords in a later training.)
During the big Dot Com surge, millions of simple one and two word domain names like Business.com, Money.com and Travel.com were snapped up. That means you will need to look for a play on the main key word that describes your niche in order to brand your site.
Here’s an example. If GreenSmoothies.com is already taken, you could add an adjective and go with something like YummyGreenSmoothies.com, FantasticGreenSmoothies.com, MyGreenSmoothies.com or use your name, BarbsGreenSmoothies.com or GotoGreenSmoothies.com.
Guidelines for Choosing a Domain Name
While there are no absolute rules for choosing a domain name, there are a few generally recognized or “best practices” guidelines that you should follow.
Every domain name is followed by an extension. Studies have been done about which extensions rank better than others. The order for ranking domain name extensions from top to bottom is:
If at all possible, try to get a .com extension since that is what is most commonly used. Most people just naturally assume .com for a website extension when they search for specific websites.
-2- Make Your Domain Name Easy To Say, Spell and Type
The best domain names are easy to remember, easy to say and easy to type into a search engine. The idea here is to think like a customer and make it easy for them to find your site without confusing them.
That means if at all possible, you should avoid hyphens, numbers, misspellings and names that are hard to spell.
Think about this. “FloralDesignsMadeEasy” is pretty straight forward. But a name like 15EZ-2-MakeFloralDesigns is awkward to spell and a real booger to type correctly. It’s also hard to tell someone how to put the name of the website URL into their browser. (You’d have to say,”Number 15 letter E letter Z dash number 2 dash make floral designs.com” Ugh!).
-3- Shorter is Better
When considering a domain name for your website, shorter is better. The reason for that is obvious. There is less possibility for typing and spelling errors. It’s also easier to remember a short name and it will be easier to lay it out for a good fit on a business card. (JablonskisPlumbingRepairInGreater Manhattan.com is just way too long!)
-4- Make your Domain Name Unique
Ideally, you want to come up with a short, unique domain name that is descriptive of what your website offers. Think of names that are memorable and unique like WebMd.com, BodyBuilder.com, CareerBuilder.com, CarFacts.com and AdvisorSites.com. These names are both unique and descriptive of the information found on the website.
Names like Amazon, Apple, Zappos, and Zillow are indeed unique but they took a good deal of time and money to brand.
-5- Should you go for Exact Match Domain or a Brand Name?
Exact Match Domains
Exact match domains are known as EMD. “BestAffordableLeatherPursesForWomen.com” is an example of an exact match domain. Prior to the Google changes in 2012-2013, website builders went crazy over EMD type of domains. They created a lot of inferior websites just to rank for exact keywords and sell stuff online. After the Google crackdown, a lot of sites lost their ranking and EMDs became less popular.
EMDs still work because people use keywords when they are looking for information online. But, don’t rely solely on your domain name to get a high search engine ranking. With the latest algorithm changes in Google and other search engines, quality content is given more priority.
A brand name is something memorable like Coke, Pepsi, Xerox, Zillow or RotoRooter. Brands can be words that don’t really mean anything but over time become associated with a product or service.
Many exceptional websites have names that are easy to brand. Think of Amazon.com or FoxNews.com or BiggestLoser.com. Other website brands that I love to get information from are SocialSprout.com, SmartPassiveIncome.com, QuickSprout.com, HubPages.com, Moz.com and SearchEngineLand.com.
Notice that some of those successful websites are named with a keyword or keyword phrase that includes terms like, “passive income”, “search engine”, “social”, and “news”. Others, like Amazon, QuickSprout, Zappos, Google, Yahoo, and Bing have no keyword or keyword phrase in them that was known to the internet universe until the online business created its brand.
Many website builders who have a book, information products or have made a name for themselves in their community will use their own name or the name of their book/product to brand their website. Think of people like Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy, Bob Proctor and others.
If you are building a website to launch a book you wrote or a digital product you created, by all means use the name of your book or product in your domain name.
If you are building a website for local marketing purposes, use the name of your city in your domain name. ChicagoCaterers, LondonCabbies, DallasDivorceAttorneys…you get the picture. Using a familiar name will help you to rank better and create a brand in your local market.
Some would argue that it’s easier for a novice website builder to use an EMD name over a brand name. I think there are there are pros and cons with both.
Advantages and Disadvantages of EMD
An EMD will probably give you the advantage of ranking more quickly for your chosen keyword. IF you get a low competition, high traffic keyword in your domain name, this could mean a lot of easy traffic.
Also, people will immediately know what your website is about. Let’s say you are looking for a great deal on ladies golf shoes, and land on DealsOnLadiesGolfShoes.com, it doesn’t take Einstein to figure out that you’re in the right place. Land on Zappos.com, ECCO.com or Overstock.com, and they could have what you’re looking for, but that instant connection with “ladies golf shoes” isn’t there.
On the other hand, if you decide to expand your website into a broader range of products, an EMD could box you in. A domain name like WomensGolfWorld.com would be a better choice than LadiesGolfShoes.com if you want to promote a variety of products related to ladies golf as your site expands.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Brand Name Domains
A brand can be used in many places, and for many things. Basically, it’s a lot more flexible. Because a brand name isn’t associated with only one product or service, you can shape it to anything you want it to be down the road.
If you decide to start off with a sales product in a niche of promoting “ladies winter jackets”, and want to expand to ladies jackets for all occasions, you can do that more easily with a brand name. For example, a name like Zappos.com could offer multiple choices in jackets for all seasons whereas LadiesWinterJackets.com is more restrictive.
Choosing a brand name for your website could give you more authority and name recognition whereas an EMD cannot. I can’t offer absolute proof, but in my opinion, using a brand type of name lets people know that you are a real online business as opposed to a just another “make money online” or “lose fat fast” sales site.
There are a number of components to branding but once you get a custom logo, get your business cards, get all the necessary social media accounts (link), and start actively posting and participating in online communities, you will be known as your brand name, not just a set of products. In my opinion, this is a better strategy if your intention is to build a long-term online business.
The disadvantage of using a brand name for your URL is until you get branded, people might not know what you offer. It’s unlikely that people would know to type in your brand name until you set up your social media profiles and links and add a significant amount of content to your website.
Where to Purchase a Domain Name
There are several domain name registrars. Registrars create your URL and host your domain name until you transfer you domain to your choice of website hosts.
Some registrars, like GoDaddy, HostGator and NameCheap also offer website hosting. I have had issues with all three when it comes to hosting. Please read my next training post, “How to Pick A Good Website Host” before you decide on a host for your website files.
My top pick for domain name registrars is NameCheap. You can get a domain name for as little as $11.00 which includes privacy protection.
Other name registrars offer a cheaper domain name as a lead in but when it comes time to renew, watch out–they may gouge you on the back end. That won’t happen with NameCheap.
In my next post, you will learn more about website building and hosting. For now, choose a few domain names for your website and go to NameCheap to check availability. On the home page you will find a search engine. Put your domain name choices in the search and you will be able to snag your domain name or modify it. You will need a credit card or a PayPal account to secure your domain name.
Having Trouble Deciding On the Perfect Domain Name for Your Site?
Picking a good domain name is a tough choice for a novice website builder. Fortunately, you don’t have to decide right now. You could do some research and take a day or two to let your name settle in. That’s not a bad idea.
But if you’re chomping at the bit to get started learning how to build a money making website, consider getting some experience by using a name that you don’t own and don’t have to register and pay for.
A great way to get some experience without having to put out any cash is to use the free account service provided by Wealthy Affiliate. (Be sure to read my review!) When you sign up for a free account, you’ll get some solid basic training and be able to build two websites for zero cost. Don’t worry, you won’t even need a credit card.
After you get your account set up, you’ll automatically get your own profile page and dashboard. Once you do, just head over to the big green “Getting Started” button on the left hand side and you’ll get 10 free lessons to help you get started on building your own website.
You’ll be using a “siterubix.com” extension instead of a name that you own. Starting with a free account will give you the advantage of “try before you commit to buy” a more permanent domain name. Later on when you decide on the perfect name for your site, you can transfer all of your files with a few simple clicks.
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For Your Success!