Even though most internet marketers don’t like to admit it, the most important aspect of your website is the domain name. With a niche-specific domain that is easy to remember, you will get all of these benefits:
- Boost on the search engines
- Increased traffic, particularly from repeat visitors
- Instant reputability
- Brand name recognition
There is plenty of advice for picking a good domain name online. Unfortunately, a lot of this advice isn’t practical in the real world. For example, unless you are willing to spend a million or more for a one-word domain name, then you probably aren’t going to get your top pick. You probably aren’t even going to get the multi-word phrases which are associated with your niche. However, there are still limitless possibilities for great domain names, so long as you are creative.
Brainstorming Domain Name Ideas
If you already have a business model in mind (as opposed to first looking for a cheap available domain and building a business around it), then you will have to spend a lot of time brainstorming name ideas and checking their availability. Ask your friends to give their suggestions. Make a contest on Facebook where people can submit their ideas and vote on the best options. While there are many components of a good domain name, such as the psychological impact and niche-specificity, there are two key aspects which you MUST have:
- Memorability: your domain should be short enough to remember and use common language terms that visitors will remember
- Fulfills expectations: When a person reads your domain name for the first time, that person should instantly know what your website is about and get an idea about its content. Think about CareerBuilder.com. It didn’t require any branding whereas a domain like Amazon.com required a lot of branding efforts.
Give yourself plenty of time to find the right domain name. If you rush, you will likely end up with a domain name which doesn’t accurately encompass your website and will ultimately hurt your business.
Setting a Domain Name Budget
Most of the people looking for domain names have low budgets of no more than $100. For this money, you aren’t going to get anything like Scuba.com or WeightlossTips.com. But there are still plenty of great domain names available which cost less than $100. If you are willing to up your budget to about $500, then you will really have a lot of options open up to you.
I repeat: you should take your time when looking for domain names. Make sure you brainstorm a lot of possibilities and ask for people’s opinions of them. Then shop around many different domain name marketplaces and auctions. The most popular are BuyDomains, Sedo, and GoDaddy. But you may also want to check out Aftermarket, BrandBucket, NameDrive, NameJet, Pool, and SnapNames. Only use a domain broker if you are dead set on a domain and it is already owned by someone else.