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February 11, 2010
When you launch a niche blog, having a brandable and / or SEO friendly domain name is important. You want people to get a feel for what you blog is about immediately, and you want something that's going to stay with them.
How do you choose your domain names?
One of my favorite ways to get domain ideas is to visit sites that showcase recently deleted domains. Those are domains that were previously registered but have now come back on the market. While there are plenty of duds on those lists, you can also occasionally find gems (maybe the previous registrant forgot about them or never got around to using them). Find a site that lets you search recently deleted domains and those coming up for deletion, and you can pounce on great names in your niche before others know about them. But note, some of these sites and lists come at a premium price.
Do you have tools or methods of picking domain names that you'd like to share?
I looked at what's out there, but mostly my domain idea came from the mood/attitude I wanted to create. I started with the name of the site -- Risk Notes. It's just that -- notes on risk exposures and risk management topics. Naturally, all the domains with any form of those words in it were gone (except ones I wasn't interested in having). Also, if there's one out there already, I visit it to see what content is being presented. In nearly every case, I didn't like what I saw, so I decided to choose a domain name that reflected my attitude and spoke to the essence of risk management.
The result -- mitigate-me.com.
So far, I've had people tell me they love the domain name because it's a bit sassy. It's memorable, which is what I was after. Risk notes.com would have been forgettable.
From a search engine optimization standpoint, the most advisable way to choose a domain name, as was already mentioned, is to build around the site's theme or purpose. If you can come up with a catchy and relevant domain name centering on your main keyword/phrase, that would be better.
My new blog's purpose, for example, is to encourage people to work online as freelancers. My main keyword phrase is "work freelance online," so I bought the domain http://www.workfreelanceonline.com which was available at the time.
Another example is my latest client's project. He asked me to write a series of articles focusing on the theme "troubled relationships--how to fix them or when to quit." These articles were to be for a new blog he was planning to develop, for which he has no domain name yet.
One of the sub-topics that really stood out while I was researching the niche was "how to catch a cheater." On a whim, I checked whether a domain name with some form of that phrase was available and there was, so that's how my new client got to name his new blog, the domain, and the URL itself "howtocatchacheater," which was VERY relevant to the content he had in mind and his target audience. It's also SEO-centric as that phrase happens to be his main keyword.
Good insights Juliet. One of the biggest challenges is making sure keyword-rich domains are stand brandable and not too spammy in nature (like keywordkeywordkeywordkeyword.info or something too highly specific for a broader site). Thanks for your thoughts.
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