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Choose Your Domain Name Carefully

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007...8:31 am

Choose Your Domain Name Carefully


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The worst mistake I’ve made with this blog was not choosing a more appropriate domain name.

These should be the steps when making that decision.

  1. Select a niche or core topic for your site.
  2. Clearly define the purpose and goals of your site.
  3. Choose an appropriate domain name.

As you can see I missed the boat on steps 1 and 2, and as for 3 I went in the complete opposite direction.

When I started this blog I had no idea what I was going to write about and now that I’ve settled on some topics I’m starting to suffer for it.

Your choice of domain name can be the most important decision you make for your site.

I’m #1 on Google’s search results page for “wrong advices”. Surprisingly I’ve actually had a few hits from people looking for wrong advices. I have no idea what they expected to find.

Anyway, the reason I’m #1 for that term is because everyone links to this site with the anchor tag “the wrong advices”, so naturally I’m up there in the rankings. Problem is this isn’t the term I want to rank high with.

The key is choosing a domain that relates specifically to your niche and has your desired keywords in the title. For example if you were going to start a blog about cars, cars-blog.com or blog-about-cars.com would be two I’d consider using. When people link to you the majority of the time the anchor tag they’d use would be “Cars Blog” or “Blog About Cars”. Having people link to you is great, having them link with relevant keywords in the anchor tag is much much better. If your domain name contains keywords relevant to your niche you force people to link to your site with the exact keywords which will help you get a better search engine ranking.

If you’re thinking of buying a new domain first consider your niche and the purpose of your blog, before you even start throwing around ideas for names. Don’t make my mistake and get stuck trying to make the best of a bad situation.

19 Comments

  • I’m a media blogger at Under The News and I am becoming more and more fascinated with search engine issues, not from a commercial standpoint but from a social networking and cultural-artifact perspective.

    I am intrigued at what words (Googled, Yahoo’d or Jeeved) cause paths to cross, and why.

    I blogged about that issue today at Keywords in a Bottle at my site. I welcome more comments on this fascinating subject.

  • Getting a domain that you like to own is not that easy though :-(

  • That was a great post. I saw your blog name and assumed it was a humor blog. I am glad you wrote about it.

    I stumbled (lucked) into my name.

    PeterH
    filmmaker101

  • Glad to view your blog.
    I think I must think more about my domain name and get one quickly.
    On the other hand,I think choose userId carefully is necessary.

  • That’s true Benedict. I’ve been looking for domains for a few sites I’m starting and there isn’t much to choose from these days.

    Cheers Peter, I’m going to have to do something about my name. :) Or maybe I should just make it a humor blog.

    Tom now is the time to get one.

  • Hey Daniel!
    Relax! BoingBoing, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, Lifehacker, Daily KOS, TMZ, Seth’s Blog - I can see the picture!
    Your blog is on it’s way, look at all the comments, you’re doing fine!
    There’s only one thing: “Wrong” is not really a word that is …positive?
    I just checked: “www.bestestadvices.com” is still available - try that?

  • You have a point about those other sites Zep.

    When I get the new theme installed on here I’m going to do a little rebranding. It’s a bit too late to change domains now with all the links I’ve built up but I think I can turn it into a positive by playing on the irony of the title. It might work. :)

  • Dan, That’s why I’m thinking for registering a bunch of domain names before I have a business meaning to it. People started to have Domains as their assets so early investment makes sense :-)

  • if you had your choice, which name would you choose, then? it’s really hard to find domains these days, unless they relate to names, surprisingly. like, “missdanielle.com” was already taken, but msdanielle wasn’t. i also got my mother’s surname domain (as a plural) for my family’s blog a couple months ago… and my cousin got my dad’s surname site (again, plural… like “smiths.com”). besides, i think thewrongadvices is a great name. it’s got sass :D that’s hilarious though that people found you by searching “wrong advices”! LOL i saw that people found me by searching “danielle” but when i searched danielle i didn’t see my site anywhere. so someone out there searched pages and pages on google for the name “danielle”, and then eventually clicked on my site?? weird…!!

  • msdanielle I’ve been buying a few domains for some other projects and I can tell you there are quite a few good domains left, you just have to try different combinations. Not surprisingly my thesaurus has come in really handy.

    If I had a choice of domain now I’d probably go for something with blogging or blog in the title or if not that, something catchy.

    It’s amazing how deep people go into searches results pages. I get some decent traffic even from being 7 or 8 pages deep on some keywords, I can’t imagine the sort of traffic I’d get if I was on the first or second page.

  • Dan, I stumbled into your great blog by clicking on your avatar in MyBlogLog. Then what encouraged me to read on was your blog’s sub-title (i.e., a dot com orphan) and not your main title. I’m an avid student of history so you caught my attention there. As I sampled your posts, I knew that serendipity brought me to your very informative blog. Just the sort of info that a neophyte non-techie blogger like me needed to understand this “business”, if I can call it that. Bottomline, you have a valid point about having the right domain name to begin with, if we were talking about traffic from searches, since anchor words are important. However, as I have attested here, at the end of the day, it’s your content which will spell whether I leave your site even as other files are still being downloaded, or I stay and come back for more.

  • You’re right Sarzi from a business standpoint the domain is important, but as far as an actual blog goes without good content a snappy name isn’t going to help you a great deal.

    A few people have been intrigued by the “dot com orphan” title. There wasn’t much thought put into that either but it looks like it’s getting people curious.

  • Thanks for sharing these useful tips. According to my exp, several points i think are useful: 1. Get .com first even when you can get better domain with other extensions. Dot com should always be first choice; 2. Register other related domains as well, it depends on the money in your pocket how many you wanna register, though. For example, if you register seriouswebstores.com, you might want to register seriouswebstore.com, maybe .net too. This is to protect yourself from being infringed or phished; 3. Find a reliable domain registrar - this is important. Domain hijacking has been prevailing nowadays. A good registrar can make you out of such trouble, or help you out if you are, unfortunately, in such troubles.

  • Tell you what: I had several local clients in investment banking during the dot com period (is this what they call Web 1.0?). These start-ups did not fly, but for reasons which had nothing to do with the technology at that time. This is why I am curious about the dot com period; I would have had some “spiritual” connections with that era had my clients seen through their pet projects. Essentially, my curiosity is on the “what if” aspect. That is, if I was able to successfully help launch those start-ups during that time, would they have survived anyway? Of course, for most bloggers in this Web 2.0 period, they cold probably care less what happened then. As for me, the lessons are the more important ones. Do you intend to blog on this piece of history as well? I’d love to read some, but I’m afraid I’m in the very small minority. Your traffic might go south if you do. lol..

  • Sarzi I’d actually like to write a bit about that period at some point. My perspective would be very different to yours. I was studying at the time and thought I could look forward to a well paying career in the industry but in my final year the dot com crash happened. Trying to get a foot in the door at a time where jobs were being cut back everywhere was difficult. The job market has since picked up here but there are still far too many people competing for the same jobs.

    Now that the tech industry is taking off again I think everyone wants to try and forget what happened back then.

  • Ok, got it. Thanks, Dan,

  • John, for some reason Akismet thought your post was spam and I just found it. I’m happy I did because you make some very good points. I think it’s especially important to use a repectable registrar. People are quick to try to save a few dollars, but are those measly savings worth the risk of losing your domain?

  • How appropos - I just bought a new domain name two days ago because I realized my old one wasn’t catchy enough - plus my old URL name with dot-com and dot-net on the end were already taken, so I had the lame dot-biz! Thanks for the great blog advice.

  • [...] Choose Your Domain Name Carefully: Your choice of domain name can be the most important decision you make for your site. [...]

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