April 1st, 2010 Add Your Comments Bookmark and Share

There seems to be plenty of people willing to over complicate the whole business of picking a domain name. To some extent I don’t blame them, it’s really hard to write a lengthy article or interesting sounding chapter in an e-book about something that in reality is actually very simple! In my opinion buying “the right domain” is simple, really really simple.

Brand vs Keywords?

That’s a no brainer for me, I’m not a PR person, I don’t build brands, I’ve found that social media/bookmark traffic does jack all for me. When I buy a domain I want to put a website on it and attract search engine traffic so that I can make money. If I wanted to build a website about gold coloured shoes the very first domain I’d go after would be goldshoes.com NOT magicfeet.com, twinkletoes.com, acefootwear.com or anything similar.

Hyphens Or No Hyphens?

First choice is no hyphens but don’t let that put you off. If you can get what you want with 2 or less hyphens then don’t sweat it. If you can’t then it’s time to start looking at other TLD (top level domains) Keep in mind that if you buy a domain with lots of hyphens and your page URLs have lots of hyphens then that suddenly starts to look like spam to the search engines.

Can My Choice Of TLD Hurt My Website?

In my own personal experience, no. In the same respect there is no automatic bonus by having a certain TLD. The only reason I favour .com is because it’s what most people auto assume when you talk about a domain name. At the end of the day it all comes down to the website you build on the domain and the links that point to it. Where TLD’s like .info get a bad reputation is that people buy them up because they’re cheap and then either build crap or nothing at all on them. A .info is the cheapest way of getting a spam site up. That doesn’t make all .info domains automatically bad for SEO. I’ve seen no proof of a default penalty for .info domains. In fact I know of a couple that make very good money and rank very well 🙂 In the same way the highest earning website I’m personally aware of is neither a .com, .net nor .org

That’s all there is to it as far as I’m concerned. If I’m building a website to target a certain search phrase then the perfect domain for me would be searchphrase.com, failing that search-phrase.com, if that wasn’t available then I would either go thesearchphrase.com or maybe searchphrase.net (depending on what mood I’m in).

The one thing I should emphasise is the significance of having your keyword heavily weighted and as close to the beginning of your domain name. When I first started this website it was called themakeoneyonline.net – as you can tell that’s quite far down my list in terms of finding an available domain name. It worked though and over the period it was called that it captured a decent amount of search traffic for people searching for “make money online” related phrases. Here’s the thing, since I changed to moneyschemes.net that traffic has completely gone. It doesn’t matter that all the old links with anchor text “make money online” are being forwarded on and that even to this day new links with related anchor text are still being created. This site lost it’s ranking for that and related terms within weeks of me changing the domain name.

So picking a domain name = important (but simple).