Choosing a domain name is one of the most important choices you will face when creating your new website. Your domain name will be the face of your online presence — your online ‘brand.’
So you don’t want to make a hasty decision and pick the wrong name which could come back and haunt you later on if the website becomes successful.
Where to Buy Your Domain Name
There are thousands of companies that sell domains. I’ve personally used only a handful over the years. Now I only use one company because of the horrible experiences I’ve had with the others.
The company I most recommend is Namecheap. They have an outstanding reputation and NO BS. I’ve used them for years for all of my domains and I recommend you do. They are perhaps one or two dollars more expensive than some of the other competitors (like Godaddy.com), but they won’t throw you under a bus, which is the experience I had when I used to use Godaddy.com. I since moved all my own domains from Godaddy to Namecheap.
Cheapest Price for Domain Names
Godaddy.com has discounts with coupons. Stress on the ‘coupon’ part. You have to hunt low and high for these coupons AND when it comes to renewing your domain in a year, you might NOT find a coupon to slash the renewal price and thus pay round 12 or 13 bucks when it costed you about 8. Godaddy also does NOT give you Whois Privacy with domain renewals.
Some web hosts and registrars do have deals on first time registrations, offering deals like $1.99 dollar domains. However, these do not include privacy and when you renew the domain in a year, you will often pay far more than the standard rate.
Again, just go buy your domain with namecheap and make sure you use their monthly discount for new registrations (do a search on google for NAMECHEAP COUPONS — they have a dedicated page with their monthly coupon code.
Make Sure You Get Whois Privacy
Privacy protects your information from spammers and marketers who can access you registration name, phone number and email address.
If you don’t buy privacy with your domain purchase, you will likely get spam emails to your address.
Some domain registrars like Namecheap include privacy as part of their price. Other registrars do NOT include privacy as part of the domain name purchase and charge 4 to 9 dollars per year for it.
What Type of Domain ‘Name’ Should You Pick
When it comes to picking out the name, you have three types of domains you can choose:
- Exact Match Domains (EMD’s)
- Partial Match Domains (PMD’s)
- Brandable Domains
Let’s look at what these mean and which type you should choose.
Exact Match Domain
This is a domain name that has ONLY the exact keywords and nothing else in them. So if your keyword niche is ‘best coffee grinders’ or ‘garden fertilizer’ or ‘running shoe guide’ or ‘running’
…then your domain Exact Match Domain name would be
Now, I encourage you to stay away from Exact Match Domains for the most part.
They used to give you a ranking advantage in google a few years ago (not any longer) and because of that, many internet marketers were registering these exact match domains like crazy and putting crappy low quality websites on the domain.
The long and short of it is that several years have past since this Exact Match Domain rush (which happened between 2005-2012) and many of those domains that were formerly registered have negative penalties attached to them IF they are no longer registered. This is a bad thing for you if you register one as it could mean you might have problems trying to rank your website in Google Search.
However, it’s unlikely you will find any of these EMD’s free anyways, (especially for good keywords) but if you do, I suggest you avoid them for now.
There are STILL some distinct advantages to having an Exact Match Domain still, but for the most part, you can do just as fine with a Partial Match Domain or Brandable Domain without any of the problems an EMD might bring.
Partial Match Domain (PMD)
This is a domain that has your target niche keyword or part of the niche keyword in it AND something else. This is a great sort of domain name to have because people will see exactly that your website is about the niche in question and it may be available to be registered.
Say your niche keyword is ‘coffee grinders’
…examples of a Partial Match Domain names:
Say your niche keyword is ‘running shoes’
If you do a search on google for pretty much ANY niche, you’ll likely see many websites built on a Partial Match Domain name. As such, it’s the best recommendation for niche websites because you are likely to be able to get some of your keywords in your domain name, make it sound catchy and cool, and the domain is probably free to be registered. You have a better chance of getting a .com name as well since there is less chance a Partial Match Domain has already been registered.
Brandable Domain Name
This is basically a domain name where you do NOT have the niche keywords in the name. This works well too, though for niche type sites, especially if your niche is very broad in scope (say you are targeting something like ‘shoes’ or ‘hiking’ or ‘swimming pools’ or ‘climbing’ and not some more specific keyword niche like ‘best running shoes’ or ‘swimming pools for kids’ or ‘durable hiking gear’
Overall though, I suggest the Partial Match Domain name is better for niche sites since potential visitors, who might come from the search engine, will see the NICHE keyword or part of the URL in the domain and know right away what the site is about.
Brandable Domains are often cool sounding, catchy, and associated with big brand names or companies that offer an actual service.
Examples of brandable domains:
However, since you can make anything into a brqandable domain name, you might be able to come up with some creative new domain name that fits your niche. It may take a bit more work on your part to rank your website and associate that domain name (which does not have your keyword in the URL) with the domain name, but it’s not that big of an issue.
So it’s up to you if you want to make a brandable domain name.
Note. Most of MY domain names for my websites are either EMD’s or PMD’s, not brandable domains. I have nothing against them, but I find they are more work to rank. But that’s just my opinion.
8 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Domain Name
Finally, here are some things to keep in mind when trying to choose a domain name or trying to select one.
1. When Possible, Choose .com FIRST (.org or .net as second picks) as the domain extension
You’ll see different domain name extensions: .com, .org, .net, .info, .tv, and a variety of other extensions.
Personally, I prefer .com — and the majority of other website owners prefer .com too. It’s the most established sort of domain extension and it’s been around for years.
For example, when you hear a domain, what do you automatically think of as the extension? I bet it’s .com.
So if my company name is ‘Fairway Gloves’ and I say I have a domain name, most people will assume the website domain will be fairwaygloves.com NOT fairwaygloves.org or fairwaygloves.net or fairwaygloves.tv or fairwaygloves.world.
It’s not necessary to have a .COM domain, but it just ‘looks’ better to have the .com if you can get it.
If you do make a website that becomes successful and you own a domain extension that’s not the .com, you may have some people confuse your website with the .com one, especially if you are trying to ‘brand yourself’ as an authority on a topic and your site is build on say a .org or .net. This can be even worse if there are a number of the same domains out there but built on different extensions.
How confusing if you have a business built on ‘mystudentloanguide.org’ and there are 3 other websites out there in google called ‘mystudentloanguide.com’, ‘mystudentloanguide.org’ and ‘mystudentloanguide.info’? Even worse, people, if they see these websites in the search engine all ranking for the same keyword phrase, will probably assume the .com is the ‘official’ domain.
This is not that big of a deal at the end of the day, but if you can, get a .com, even if it means changing what you choose as a domain name to make it happen.
2. Avoid domains that are NOT .com, .org, or .net
3. Keep your Domain to 2 or 3 words at most
Don’t make your domain too long. At MOST, have only 3 words. 4 word domains are just too wordy and look low quality. Think about websites you commonly go to and trust. How many words are there? Likey one or two words. Maybe three words in some case. As such, try if at all possible to have 2 word domain names. If your niche keyword is two words, then three words.
So if the niche I am targeting is ‘coffee beans’
then something like ‘goodfcoffebeans.com’ or ‘coffeebeangirl.com’ or ‘coffeebeanguide.com’ or ‘mycoffeebeans.com’ is fine.
‘whatcoffeebeansshouldyoubuy.com’ or ‘coffeebeansforyou.com’ or ‘coffeebeanwebsiteguide.org’ would NOT be a good choice.
4. Look for a Catchy Name
Ideally, you want a catchy sounding name that includes your part of all of your keyword niche as part of the domain. Having a catchy name means it’s easier for people to remember your website and it stands out from the pack.
5. Choose a Name that’s Easy to Say and Spell
It goes without saying you don’t want a domain name that’s hard to say or spell. If the domain name has multiple words with the last character of one word the same as the first letter in next word, choose another name. You don’t want any sort of spelling ambiguity.
For example: camperreviews.com
6. Avoid hyphens in your domain name
Never use hyphens. It’s ugly and hard to type.
7. Check to make sure your domain name is free on social media sites.
Twitter, Facebook Page, Pintrest all let you create a page with a custom URL. It’s nice IF the domain name you register is also available on social media sites since this will solidify your brand presences.
For example, if your website is called ‘FarmersCorner.com’, it’s a good thing if you ‘FarmersCorner’ is available on Twitter, Facebook, and Pintrest. This is not a deal killer, but keep it in mind.
8. Make Sure Your Domain is Expandible
It’s a good idea to choose a domain name that does NOT lock you into a single niche too deeply.
For example, if you make a website about ‘fishing lures’ it’s best to keep it something like ‘fishinglurecorner.com’ or ‘thefishingpond.com’ or ‘fishermanscorner.com’ or ‘fishinglurehome.com’ because the domain can now cover many types of fishing lures. If you choose a domain that’s too niche specific like ‘redfishinglures.com’ or ‘troutfishinglures.com’ or ‘oceanfishinglures.net’ then what happens if you want to expand your website to cover a more general type of fishing lure?