There are several aspects to a ‘good’ domain name. Sometimes, a few months into blogging, you realize that you should have chosen a different name! This could happen when you realize that you are better suited, due to changing circumstances in the world, to target your audience with name B rather than with name A.
You cannot always anticipate changes that are created by external factors, but nothing should deter you from getting a name for your site that is exactly relevant to your niche (unless you go the branded way). Book your domain for only one year, if you have doubts.
Google has clarified that search engines do not take into account the number of years for which a domain is registered, and that makes it easy on your finances to change your domain should you absolutely have to.
Domain name and keywords
Keyword as or in domain name used to be the first step to optimizing a site. This is no longer so, and a study conducted by WebProNews clearly shows the negative impact of Google’s changing algorithms on both exact match and phrase match domains.
Currently, expert opinion is that keyword in domain name is not necessarily a bad thing, provided you have excellent content. In other words, if you opt for such a name, there is a fair chance that you could be under relatively closer scrutiny from Google with regard to your site quality. If you think you can rise to the challenge, go for a keyword or phrase. If not, don’t sweat it – brands are currently in.
The branded domain name
Putting your brand where your blog is used to be a good way to promote yourself even in the days when EMD was a favorite of search engines. This option works best if you have an already flourishing offline business as well, but with the proper SEO and SMM strategy, you can successfully build your reputation even if you don’t.
Add to that the fact that Google now seems to prefer brands because brands are popular with the general populace. There’s a possibility that a brand name which incorporates a keyword without appearing too ‘key-wordy’ could do well.
Putting yourself first
If you are an expert in your chosen field, and if you wish to be known by your name, it makes sense to get a domain name that has your name in it. This approach requires a similar SEO strategy as discussed in the earlier point, to make your blog rank, but it is worth the effort if you decide to promote yourself as an individual.
Making it memorable
If you make the name too complicated to remember, you will lose out on a lot of references because people will keep saying ‘ what was the name of that site?’ and leave it at that. When you print your blog’s name on your visiting card, you’d want it to be short enough to be typed easily. A name like ‘thebestcottonfabricsyourmoneycanbuy.com‘ is confusing at best. You can only get away with outlandish and longish names if you depend solely and exclusively upon organic SEO to build your reputation – but that approach is too limiting, and not really advisable.
One simple trick
If you are selling affiliate products and wish to promote your blog by a name that closely resembles that of the merchant website, adding an irrelevant alphabet at the end of the name is a common trick that actually works. Google, for some reason, seems to ignore the final alphabet and gives credence only to the part that makes sense, and with proper SEO, you can rank higher than the original site. So, if you were selling a product with a merchant website named Lose Belly Fat, you could name your domain losebellyfatt.com.
It is best that you choose from generic top level domains like com, .org, or .net. However, if you are targeting country specific audience, it makes sense to opt for domains like .au, .us, .in or whatever is relevant to your target country. This will limit your international traffic, somewhat, but give you an advantage over even a gTLD (again, with proper SEO) as far as visitors from that country is concerned.
Finally, although this may seem too obvious – domain does not mean sub-domain. yourblog. wordpress.com is a sub-domain, and generally denotes a blog run by an amateur. If you wish to have your ‘own’ blog, do yourself a favor and buy a domain to make it look like yourblog.com – in addition to the numerous utilities that comes with your own hosted domain, you will have taken the first, concrete step at securing for yourself a unique position in the world wide web.[magz_toggle title=”About Guest Author: Jason Smith” state=”open”] Jason Smith is an online manager for Victorpest – Best Rat Repellent. He likes blogging about online strategies that are related to SEO, Content, PPC & Lead generation.[/magz_toggle]