Choosing a domain name is super important.
Below I explain the 3 GOLDEN RULES you must follow in order to pick a perfect domain name for your website.
I’ve made a bunch of mistakes in choosing domain names over the years, and it’s because I never knew about these 3 important rules.
No matter what type of website you’re building, I know you will find this guide useful.
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For Affiliate Marketers: Do You Have a Solid Niche?
I don't want to sound like an annoying parent or anything, but I need to double check something with you before we start:
Have you chosen a good niche for your new project?
If step 1 is choosing a domain name, then step 0 is choosing a niche.
So if you're uncertain about the niche you're entering, consider reading my guide on how to choose a niche for affiliate marketing.
The 3 Golden Rules When Choosing a Domain Name
Below are some basic rules I would recommend.
But like with many things in business, or especially with building websites, there's always exceptions to the "rules".
There are probably several very successful websites that break some of these guidelines.
That being said, you have a much better chance of picking a great domain name if you try and follow these main guidelines.
- Avoid dashes
- Try and keep it short
- Get your keyword in there
These are especially important for affiliate marketers.
1. Avoid Dashes for Many Reasons
I've been pretty transparent on this site and my YouTube channel, about the fact that I've personally made a lot of mistakes on my journey to becoming successful with affiliate marketing.
This is why I believe I can help so many people. I can tell you a bunch of stuff you shouldn't do, which will save you time and money.
My first two websites had pretty bad domain names.
- My first domain name was: Wealthy-Choices.com
- My second domain name was: Electric-Shaver-Guide.com
Here's the deal:
Don't use dashes.
If you analyze websites on the first page of Google, you won't find a lot of domain names with dashes.
It's not brandable.
It doesn't look that great.
It's just unnecessary.
Think about how hard it is for me to recommend you go visit my electric shaver website: "Hey thanks for watching, you can find more information on my website Electric Dash Shaver Dash Guide dot com. Go check it out"...
Also, I can't prove that it negatively affects your ability to rank your website on Google, however I'm pretty positive it does not help.
Bottom line, avoid dashes.
2. Shorter is Usually Better With Domain Names
When you pick a domain name, shorter is usually better.
The problem is that a lot of good short names are already taken. So you will naturally start to add words to an existing name.
I have a general rule which I think will help with this:
Limit your domain name to 4 words max.
Yes there are successful websites with longer domain names, however I think this is a good safe guideline. You're not going to find a bunch of successful website with 5 words or more in their domain name.
One of my best performing websites has 4 words in its name.
This website has 4 words: www.AffiliateMarketingThatWorks.com
Again, shorter is better, but if you need to start adding words, I would limit it to 4 words max.
3. There's a Big Advantage to Having Your Keyword in Your Domain
This rule is EXTREMELY important for those who want to rank their website on Google.
If you're doing affiliate marketing or building a website for a local business, this is very important.
It is less important if you're just building a company website which may have a brand name that doesn't need to relate to any specific niche or keyword.
But if you're building an affiliate website, a personal blog, or a local business website, and you plan to rank this website on Google, then including your main keyword or a variation in the domain name can be very helpful.
Here's a perfect illustration of this.
Let's pretend I want to build a website about the topic of "blogging".
I plan to create a website where people can learn how to start a blog and find useful tips. To make money, I can promote products related to this topic.
So what would a good domain name look like?
I see so many people start a business under their personal name, and I think it's a big mistake.
For this example, let's look at these two options:
The first option has the word "blogging" in it, while the second option is just my name.
So if I want to build a website about the topic of "blogging", and rank it on Google and other search engines for terms associated with "blogging", such as "how to start a blog", and "blogging tips for beginners", and "best tools for blogging", and so on, which domain name is better?
100% the domain name with the KEYWORD "blogging" in it is WAY better.
Here's the reason why:
When Google and other search engines come and find my website, what is the very first thing they will do?
They will read my domain name.
So INSTANTLY, Google understands what my website is about when it reads www.BloggingWithTyler.com. It's about "blogging"!
When it reads www.TylerStokes.com, it INSTANTLY knows it's about Tyler Stokes, but it needs to look for other factors to determine that the website is about "blogging".
If everything else is equal, then the domain "www.BloggingWithTyler.com" will always outperform the domain "www.TylerStokes.com" for terms associated with "blogging".
You will have a nice big head start if you put your keyword, or a variation of it, in your domain name.
Obviously this is not 100% necessary. All you need to do is head over to Google and do a search and you can prove me wrong by showcasing websites that rank well and don't have any keywords in their domains. However, OVERALL I do believe this will help you, and it's an important ranking factor.
Other Important Factors to Consider
Here I want to discuss some other important things to consider.
The Best Top Level Domains (TLDs)
TLD stands for Top Level Domain.
This refers to the letters that come after your domain name such as .com, .org, .net and so on.
I would recommend that for most situations, choosing a .com domain is ideal.
If your perfect name is not available in the .com version, then consider the .org or .net versions.
Avoid Expired Domains
You want to avoid buying and registering a domain that was used in the past.
Sometimes people buy domains, and even build out a website with a domain, but for whatever reason no longer continue and stop renewing the domain. They essentially let the domain expire.
In this case the domain can actually go back for sale and you might find it.
This is not always a bad thing, especially if the domain was used several years ago, however sometimes domains get penalized by Google. So you don't want to register a domain that was penalized in the past, or has a ton of history on the web.
All you need to do is visit a website called Archive.org and check the history of the domain you plan on buying.
If it has no history, you're good to go.
Tools Which May Help You With Some Ideas
There are many tools which can help you choose a domain name.
Just search in Google and you will find a whole bunch.
One that I found pretty useful is called: Lean Domain Search
All you do is enter a "term" or keyword that you want included in your name, and the tool will provide you with a bunch of different names that are currently available.
Here are some screenshots:
You can do this manually with Thesaurus.com.
You might want to choose a domain which has terms in like "best", "tips", "advice" or something more specific, however sometimes these options might not be available.
Using a thesaurus can help you find related terms which may work well.
Where Can You Buy a Domain?
I would recommend that you purchase your domain name at a reputable Domain Name Registrar.
The most popular ones are GoDaddy and NameCheap.
I personally register most of my domains at NameCheap.com.
There are a lot of tools, such as the one I listed above, which will help you choose a domain, and then funnel you to purchase it at their website. Sometimes this is fine, however you usually won't get the best deal that way.
I always like to register my domains at a proper registrar, and keep them separate from any other services like web hosting.
This allows you to have more control over your property in my opinion. When you purchase your domain at a registrar, you can easily link it up with your web hosting. If you ever need to change or cancel your web hosting in the future, you don't need to worry about your domain name.
I find the prices are the best at NameCheap, and their support is great.
You can buy and register your domain at their official website here: https://www.namecheap.com