When it comes to choosing a domain name, it is surprising how many people think that you need to be witty.
Instead, you must view your domain name as having a very specific reason for existing and you need to think about it like it is a tool.
If you have a piece of wood and need to cut it, then you use a saw as that is the tool that has been specifically designed for that purpose. The same applies to your domain name.
So what is its purpose?
Quite simply your domain name has to allow your visitor to answer just one single question that is in their mind. “Is this website for me?”
There really is nothing else to it. They look at your domain name to help them initially work out if they are indeed on the correct website. There are five clear benefits to you if you choose the correct domain name and help your visitors determine whether they’re on the right website.
- More traffic
- More subscribers
- More backlinks and shares on social media
- Clear brand messaging
- More successful blog
So, all of this sounds great, but you are probably now sitting there wondering how you choose the correct domain name.
Well, in all honesty, it is easier than you think because all you need to focus on is making sure that your domain name is extremely clear and easy to understand.
Yep, what we are saying is that clarity is the key and no matter what you do when choosing your domain name it always has to come back to whether or not it is clear and if your site is indeed for them.
So, how do you get clarity with a domain name?
Do Short Domain Names Still Work?
The key here is for people to instantly understand what your website is about purely from your domain name.
It has to be straight to the point so that they can answer those questions instantly. They must know that they are in the right place from the outset in order to stop them from closing your site and going elsewhere.
When the Internet was in its infancy this was quite easy to do because there was a whole host of single word domain names available that were directly related to whatever topic you wanted to blog about.
These single word domain names were wonderful as there was no doubting what they were about and the traffic that they generated was outstanding. But how did it work?
To understand that we need to look at how lazy some people are with domain names. Can you imagine how many people just go ahead and type in the main descriptive word for what they are looking for followed by .com?
Think about how many people will type in a single word as opposed to a long, descriptive term and you can see the importance of having the correct domain name that can just be typed in without much thought.
Quite simply, if you have a one-word domain name, then you have hit the big time. Not only does it let people know that they are in the right place, but it is impossible to make it any clearer.
However, there is a problem. Those one-word domains are all gone, so you are stuck. People went mad and snapped them up in just a few years and the result is that you can only get one if you are loaded with cash.
What this means is that things have changed. That is good news for you and it all comes down to the way in which we now look for websites.
Think of it this way, have you ever just typed in a domain name for a new site lately? Of course not because now we find them in a completely different way and there are two main methods.
- You see a link on one of the many social media websites and follow it.
- You see a link on a blog that covers whatever you are interested in and follow that link.
The key here is that you are clicking on a link, so why do you need to place such importance on a shorter domain name? The answer is, you don’t.
After the one-word domain names vanished, people turned their attention to domain names that had keywords in them, but even that is becoming less important today.
The main reason is that Google has changed the way in which they rank websites and they have now placed less importance on keywords in domain names, but it can still be quite useful to have an exact match domain name (i.e., keyword rich domain) in a number of instances.
However, just as with the one-word domain names, many of these exact match keyword domains have also been snapped up. So it is also extremely difficult to get one that is suitable for your website.
To get one, you need to be prepared to spend some cash, so people with blogs and websites need to look at other potential avenues in order to answer those all important questions.
So, how do you do it? How do you actually get that domain name?
Thankfully, there are a number of tools that can help you and they are better than sitting trying to read through the reams of information currently available on selecting a domain because all that will do is confuse you even more. As a result, there are still a lot of website owners that are just choosing wild and crazy names without putting the correct amount of thought into it and that is crazy.
In many cases, they are not even aware of the fact that they are sabotaging their own potential success by choosing a bad domain name. They are choosing the wrong name, essentially cutting their own throat immediately, and then wondering why they can’t build a successful website.
This sounds scary, doesn’t it?
Well, you can change it, but are you making one of these common mistakes when choosing a domain name?
Choosing a Good Domain Name: Avoid Common Mistakes
#1 Mistake: Choosing an Extension That’s Not a .com, .org, or .net
These three domain name extensions are known as the most extensions.
These extensions are what the majority of people will recognize instantly. If you are using anything other than these three extensions, you are seriously limiting your website growth.
The .com extension is still the most recognized of all domain extensions, and for good reason. Over 75% of all websites currently employ the .com extension. Many search engine algorithms are designed to first display the .com extension in search results.
Even websites like WordPress.org and Craigslist.org are world renowned and do not have a .com extension. The growing list of easily recognized powerhouse websites using the .org and .net extension is growing each year.
This might cause you to think that you could start a new trend by using an extension like .tv or .biz., but I don’t recommend that approach. Using these extensions on your domain name could actually hurt your credibility online. Allow me to explain further.
The biggest reason you need to utilize one of the top three domain extensions is that it adds to your credibility instantly. You no longer look amateurish. Using any extension other than the three aforementioned extensions is similar to going to that big job interview wearing your pajamas. No one will take you seriously.
Even the most successful websites who used the .net extension to grow their company, often look back on the decision with regret. That’s because many potential visitors simply search for the .com first, and they lose a huge amount of potential traffic even after years of building a successful website.
If you decide to purchase a .net or .org domain with the hopes of growing the website and then possibly buying the .com from the owner at a later time, good luck!
They will see how successful your website is and charge you a premium to sell it to you, or they can squat on the name for years and play the waiting game with you knowing you are desperate for it.
#2 Mistake: Branding a New Word
Many bloggers think that by creating and branding a new word, they can take the road less traveled and grow an audience more easily.
Each new visitor to your website will have no idea what the domain name means, and here we go again with adding processing time to that tiny window of opportunity you have when someone actually visits your website. Most new visitors decide in less than 5 seconds whether to stay or click away when visiting a new website, and you just wasted those 5 seconds giving them something to process that will most likely encourage them to leave your site.
If you think that you are going to coin the next monster phrase like Yahoo or Google, guess again.
Unless you have millions of dollars sitting in the bank that you can utilize to help bring your new word to the masses, you don’t have a chance. Unless you are so recognized in your industry that your audience will instantly connect with anything you put out there, you are wasting time and resources. When you are getting started as a blogger, you do not have the tools to create a new word and make it popular. Even the industry giants have learned to steer clear with trying to make a run with words that mean nothing to the audience.
Even though there could be a huge amount of gold sitting in that spot near the end of your blogging rainbow for branding a new name, putting all your hopes on a dream could end in a nightmare in this instance. Bloggers underestimate the power they need in order to meet the challenge of branding new words.
If you decide that even after the warning that you want to take the road less traveled, you need to know that you have a long and challenging road ahead of you.
#3 Mistake: Innovation or Complexity: Don’t Over Think It
Being innovative is celebrated in many walks of life. It works great for solving challenging problems.
Trying to be innovative when choosing a domain name can make it appear confusing or complex. Trying a funny play on words or referencing a pun for your domain name can sometimes be too innovative. How can you tell your domain name is too innovative?
Try this simple test. Ask some strangers if they can tell what the domain name means without any additional information. If anyone struggles to quickly identify what your domain name represents, game over! The website will be dead! But why?
When you try to incorporate innovation into your domain name, you increase the processing time for the brain to figure out exactly what this new website is all about. Most people are not willing to give you additional processing time.
Imagine a ticking clock on your website, ticking away each second, the longer they take to figure out what your website is about, they usually will just hit the back button and go elsewhere. Off to the next website they go.
Being too innovative can hurt your traffic because visitors simply do not instantly understand how your website can benefit them.
#4 Mistake: Using a Blogging Platform That Requires a Subdomain
Using a blogging platform that requires a subdomain is almost always a bad idea. This is a mistake that is quite common among new bloggers. They start a blog for free using a blogging platform that requires a subdomain like mydomainname.blogspot.com or mydomainname.wordpress.com. The real problem is that you don’t really own these properties.
When the actual owner of the blog decides to change policies, delete your content (and this has happened to many people in the past) or completely shut down the blogging platform, there is really nothing you can do about it.
One thing that is even more important is that this mistake proves that you’re a beginner. You will instantly lose credibility. Don’t make this mistake.
#5 Mistake: Relying on Abbreviations, Acronyms, or Jargon
Using abbreviations, acronyms, or jargon is your domain name can be very confusing for your visitors. The general rule is very simple. Don’t do it.
It’s worth mentioning in some cases, using an abbreviation or acronym might work if you want your target audience to find you using that term. Although, when you’re just starting out and creating an online audience, it would be foolhardy to eliminate a big chunk of potential readers (often newbies) that they cannot find your website because they’re not familiar with the abbreviation or acronym that choose as your site name.
#6 Mistake: Being a Cheapskate
There is a common phrase that goes: “it takes money to make money”. It holds true in the blogging world as well. Today, choosing to explore only the domain names that are unregistered is a cardinal mistake.
The truth of the matter is that many of the good domains have been registered already. As such, it is very unlikely to find great unregistered domain names. Although you may still find them, it often takes quite a bit of effort.
As you search for the perfect domain name, you should consider exploring premium domain name marketplaces. These marketplaces allow you to purchase domain names from other people. These domains may end up costing you more than the usual for the first year, but if you’re serious about blogging, then it’s completely worth investing a little more now to get the domain name that you really want. You stand to gain so much by having the best possible domain name for your blog.
If someone told you that by having the perfect domain name for $500, you could get over 1000 subscribers in your first year of blogging, then pay $500 (or more) would absolutely be worth it.
#7 Mistake: Hyphenated Domains
There are several reasons why using hyphens (-) in your domain name is not recommended.
For example, let’s assume that you own a blog named Blog Basics. However, you realize that somebody has already taken the domain name blogbasics.com. You are then tempted to use blog-basics.com as your domain name.
This is what will happen next:
- When a user searches for your blog by typing “blog basics” in the search bar, it is blogbasics.com that will show up. You have potentially lost a sale or a reader.
- Very few people will remember to insert the hyphen(s) when they type your domain name. They could even mistakenly use an underscore. You lose in either case.
- The last thing, which is even worse, is that using a hyphen is one of the signs that you are an amateur. My simple advice to you: never use a hyphen in your domain name.
If you have committed the above mistakes, assuming that you’re are not a celebrity and you have not branded the next Google, I strongly advise that you consider changing your domain name. Obviously, it’s not required that you change it. However, you have made things very difficult for yourself.
If you have a blog that is still small (less than 1000 subscribers), switching the domain name right now might not be a bad idea. The good news is that it is not nearly as devastating as some people will have you believe.
Best Domain Names For Blogs
When it comes to choosing a new domain name for bloggers, there are five different categories you should be familiar with. Once you better understand the logic of each of these categories, you will have a head start towards your new exciting journey of reaping all the benefits that come with a great domain name.
If you follow this simple 5 step formula for choosing a domain name, you can easily locate domain names that have big drawing power.
#1: Naming the Benefit
With this type of domain name, you simply cut right to the chase by answering that popular visitor question of, “Is this website for me?” They will get the answer right from the domain name before even reading a single word on your website.
An example of this method for choosing a domain name can be seen at TeachYourChildToRead.com. If the domain name already explains to the visitor the benefits they will receive by staying on the website, the battle is half over. If you want your child to learn how to read and the website domain name says it will teach your child to read, then you’ll instantly want to read more! It works that easily!
# 2: Naming Your Audience
When you choose this type of domain name, you are telling your audience whether or not they qualify for the information you provide on the website. So websites like WeightWatchers.com let you know at the onset exactly who is going to benefit from reading the information posted to the site. There is little guesswork involved, and visitors will instantly recognize if they qualify as your audience.
Within the first two seconds, you already recognize that this website is going to help you with your weight loss efforts. You should understand by now that you have less than five seconds to convince a potential visitor that they should stay on your website. By incorporating this type of domain name, you just increased the likelihood that more visitors will become loyal followers.
# 3: Naming the Topic
For this particular type of domain name, you simply name the topic in which your website falls into. Websites like BlogBasics.com and SmartPassiveIncome.com are perfect examples of naming the topic in the domain name.
Look carefully at the domain name BlogBasics.com for a second, can you tell what you will find on the website immediately? You better believe you can.
You can expect to see basic blogging advice for the newbie. You gathered all that information in the blink of an eye. This domain name helps to answer a question about the topic, but it also helps to serve the needs of newbie bloggers looking for advice.
# 4: Naming Yourself
This type of domain name is really self-explanatory. Here you use your name as the domain name. Some examples of websites that have had great success with this method can be seen at JohnChow.com.
This method can be very successful but understand at the onset that if you want to make a go at this you need to eventually become a world renowned celebrity in order to sustain growth. If you already have a huge following, branding your name into the domain name is a great way to go. Although this can be a very successful method for growing your audience, it does come with some downsides:
1. There is little chance you will ever be able to sell this website and domain name in the future.
2. With this domain name, you basically are stuck with it until the blog dies or you do!
3. Since the audience is connected to you, no one but you can run the website in the future.
There are many bloggers who went on to have success branding their name, only to realize later on that they made a huge mistake. The website can feel like a jail cell at times, with the owner as the only prisoner. Because the branding is focused on one person, you limit the opportunity to bring in guest speakers or editors.
The Upside: Closer bonds with all your audience, gaining more influence as your brand grows.
The Downside: Takes much longer to build your authority as an expert in your niche. Reaching celebrity status could take years if not decades. The harder you work, the domain name does absolutely nothing to help you grow your audience because it is unrecognizable to the uninformed. Without a benefit to a potential visitor, your website never grows organically.
Those downsides, as bad as they sound, are nothing compared to the feeling of being trapped in that name forever. You simply can never escape the domain name, regardless what opportunities open in your future. The domain name can never be a real business because no matter how successful it becomes it can never be sold. If you leave the equation, the name and website are worthless. This type domain name needs to be considered very carefully.
#5: Naming Your Pursuit
This type of domain name is the opposite of what we have been speaking about because it identifies what you are doing rather than what the visitor is seeking or doing.
To explain this further, the blog Man versus Debt is a website dedicated to the blogger’s individual battle with his debt. This story is being told to the audience from the perspective of the blogger, not from the point of view of the reader. You can easily identify what the information on this website will be about in seconds. The pursuit of the blog has already been clearly established.
Domain Name Suggestions
The best way to use these domain name suggestions or templates is to simply insert your blog topic into the (BLANK). For these upcoming examples, let’s assume that I’m building a blog that teaches people how to drive.
Suggestion #1: Describe the Benefit
- Learn How to (BLANK) or LearnHowtoDrive.com (.org) (.net)
- I Am Going To Teach You to (BLANK) or IamGoingToTeachYouToDrive.com (.org) (.net)
Suggestion # 2: Describe the Audience
- (BLANK) Only, like SeriousDriversOnly.com (.org) (.net). By adding the only to the end of the domain you create exclusivity with the audience. This only gives the impression the blog is more like a private community or club.
Suggestion # 3: Describe the Topic
- Daily (BLANK) Tips or DailyDrivingTips.com (.org) (.net)
- (BLANK) Techniques or DrivingTechniques.com (.org) (.net)
Suggestion # 4: Use Your Real Name
- Type is really self-explanatory. You simply use your real name as the domain name like CathyPresland.com.
Suggestion # 5: Naming the Pursuit
- (BLANK) versus (BLANK) or DrivingversusFlying.com. Here you are basically putting two niches against each other like Driving vs. Flying for example.
- (BLANK) the (BLANK). Start with the action and end with the pursuit. FeedingtheChildren.org is a great example.
Registering a Domain Name
Now we arrive at the most important part of this domain guide. You already understand many of the potential pitfalls that come with choosing a great domain name, now you need a unique process to find the perfect domain name for you. This process will work on just about any niche, making it easily universal.
Before we can begin, you will need to gather a few useful tools to aid in the process:
1. To check the availability of each domain name, you need a domain registrar like NameCheap.com to use.
2. Use Thesaurus.com to quickly check for synonyms if a first choice is currently unavailable.
3. Using NameStation.com to quickly brainstorm unique combinations of words that can easily yield a compound domain name that has great staying power. This tool is not mandatory, it will only help you to speed up the process. This tool allows you to create some unique word combinations that you might not even have considered, most of which contain relevant keywords and surprisingly are still available as a .com extension.
Locating Unregistered Domain Names
Start this process by going to NameCheap.com.
Here is the step-by-step process you should be following for both finding and creating the perfect domain name for your website. During this process, you will answer the question that your visitors will have, “Is This Website for Me?”
If you can quickly identify the mission statement of the website in the domain name, you are off to a great start.
- Step 1: Describe the Audience: Who is the blog intended to serve? What name would this person call themselves if they succeeded?
- Step 2: Describe the Benefit or Result: Basically, what is this person going to achieve if they do succeed? This helps to transform your mission statement into a highly relevant domain name.
- Step 3: Describe the Topic: What exactly is this blog about? This answer must be very clear and absolutely concise. You are working in seconds here with a visitor, so consider the answer like it was and 8-second elevator pitch.
So you are interested in starting a new blog in the weight loss niche, and you provide a variety of excellent exercise techniques, weight loss tips, and healthy recipes. You want to create a female audience looking to lose weight. You decide to brand yourself as the “Aerobics Queen”. You even visual yourself teaching an aerobics class full of people in your target audience.
You decided to combine the “describe the topic” technique with “the audience benefit”, and coined the phrase: I Will Show You How to Become an Aerobics Queen!
You are well on the way, but it still needs a little bit of work.
Keeping your target audience in mind, use some of the tools we discussed above to locate domain names that are relevant and still available. Your first choices are most likely going to be already taken, as savvy entrepreneurs already gobbled up these domain names years ago. Here are the steps you will then take to build a strong list of relevant keywords that can turn into a compelling domain name for your new blog.
1. Who is the audience? Answer: Females who want to lose weight.
2. Naming the benefit or result. These women will successfully achieve their weight loss goals.
3. Naming the topic. Excellent tips and secrets techniques for losing weight through aerobics
From here you will begin working on descriptive words that fall in line with all the steps we outlined above. You have the idea, you understand who you want to serve and how you are going to serve them. This is where many new bloggers hit the wall and become frustrated in the process. This is the point at which you need to break out the thesaurus and get to brainstorming.
So, for this example, you want to put the word aerobics in the thesaurus search box and carefully examine the results. Then you do the same with the queen, noting all the unique combinations that appear. Some of the synonyms might not appear to work right on the onset, but with some persistence, you will uncover words that you never even considered before that work perfectly.
You have to be willing to work the process because, in the end, this process is going to reward you with years of targeted traffic to your blog. Play with the words until the domain name answers the questions we discussed, and then switch up the words until you find that diamond in the rough that is still available. Simply rinse and repeat.
Finding Keyword Rich Domain Names
The thesaurus is a great source of ideas. If we take an example of the word queen; interesting synonyms such as a monarch, princess, czarina, and mogul come up when you type it in Thesaurus.com.
These potential titles didn’t cross my mind initially but are intriguing. However, I still prefer the word queen as the ultimate pursuit of our target queen. However, I came across another word, “empress” that I really like too.
One way to use the thesaurus effectively is by typing in some of those new synonyms that you found and liked into the search window. When you do this, you will notice that a lot of other new words will be shown in the results. This can be helpful when looking for new ideas, leading to some interesting domain name combinations.
However, it would be wise to keep in mind that the thesaurus is just one avenue for brainstorming. There are some buzzwords that you may know of that don’t appear in the thesaurus. Some of these words can be really useful depending on the audience you are targeting. Just be sure to remember the mistakes that we discussed earlier around creating domain names and avoid those mistakes.
The next thing you have to do is to take all the word choices you have and combine them into a list of potential domain names. You can easily do this in a simple text editor which allows you to cut and paste your ideas easily. Try not to be conservative when combining names.
Rather, strive to be creative. During the combination process, you will be amazed at what you will come up with, that is if you do it with an open mind. Play around with all the ideas you have until you have a sizable list of at least 50 names.
To help with this process, I use Merge Words. It’s a tool designed to take a list of keywords and produce multiple combinations.
Once your combined list is ready, then you can go to Namecheap.com and start searching for the availability of the name combinations you have.
When entering the domain name, you have two options. You can either enter the names one by one or you can enter several names at once by choosing the “bulk search options.” The bulk option is actually quite beneficial since it saves you a lot of time. This option lets you enter various names at once and it will tell you which ones are available from the names you have typed in.
You also have another option of including extensions or excluding them. I prefer to search for .com, .org, & .net extensions. When you enter the phrases, a list of the available extensions will be shown and you can choose the ones you are interested in.
I came up with a list of potential domain names that followed the rules in our process and would create an immediate visceral response in the minds of my ideal target readers. I then typed them into the bulk search window. I got some very appropriate names which were available. Once you have the list of available names, choose the best one. You can do this by identifying the characteristics of a great domain name and checking off the list as you consider the domain name you want to use. The characteristics of a great domain name include:
- Clarity: This is a key element since you want the name to be easy enough for readers to remember and tell others about.
- Memorable: Your domain name should be easy to pronounce so that it can be easily remembered. It should have a memorable sound. The more the name rolls off your reader’s tongues, the more memorable it will be.
- On Topic: The name should be on topic. There will be some synonyms which are generated by the thesaurus but are completely off topic. Avoid using these names.
Some of the names I got on my list are aerobicsqueen.com (my original domain) and aerobicswife.com. Both are really nice names considering the audience I am targeting. There are also several other really good domain names that I could use in that list. Note that if this approach doesn’t yield results that you really like, keep searching. Don’t settle for a domain name that you don’t really like.
All that is left is choosing a domain name that I really like, then going through the process of registering the domain name with NameCheap and the process is over.
Remember not to get discouraged and quit. Rather, strive to find a domain name that you really like.
Domain Name Marketplaces
Want to buy a domain name that’s already been registered? Then head on over to a domain name marketplace if you want to shop around. These “marketplaces” allow you to browse through registered domain names that are publicly available for sale. Some of the best domains that I’ve bought in the past came from these kinds of sites.
The three biggest domain name marketplaces on the Web today are Sedo, GoDaddy Auctions, and BuyDomains. There are lots of marketplaces to choose from, but it’s often best to go with the biggest one there is. In this case, it’s Sedo.
For sake of example, let’s assume that we want the domain name aerobics.com.
From the example, we can see that our domain name of choice has already been registered. You have two courses of action here: you can either look for another available domain name or you can choose to push on and try purchasing the domain name that you really want. If you chose the second option, simply click on the green “Inquire” button on the right side of the page. Next, we have to decide whether we should hire a broker or not to help facilitate the deal.
Now let’s get started with a little experiment. If you type in www.aerobics.com into your browser’s address bar, here’s what will come up.
It’s pretty clear that is a real website dedicated to the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Seeing content like these can both be a good thing and a bad thing. The content looks professional and there appears to be a legitimate organization behind this domain name. So, you’re not likely to encourage them to sell it to you. So, that’s bad. However, you didn’t lose money hiring a broker to work on it either.
Conversely, if the site doesn’t look legitimate or the domain doesn’t have a site yet, and the owner has simply “parked” the domain name, it might be a sign that the owner doesn’t have much interest in maintaining the site. This means that potential buyers might have an opportunity to snap it up.
Example of a Parked Domain
One of the websites that I own is in the survival niche. While searching for a domain name, I came across the screen below – a parked domain.
Notice that the green bar mentions that the domain may be for sale and provides a contact us link. Let’s click the contact us link and see if the owner is willing to sell the domain. When I click the contact us link, the screen below appears asking for our name, email address, and phone number. Provide this information and hit enter. We’ll be taken to another page.
Since we really don’t want to buy the domain name for real or contact the owner, I won’t go any further. But if we wanted to actually buy it, the next step would be making an offer to the owner.
If you’re unsure on what to do when you make the offer, here’s a handy guide.
Determining the Value of a Domain Name & Making An Offer
How much are you willing to offer and pay for this particular domain name? How will you know what its fair market value is?
It’s important to note that domain names can be considered a commodity. As such, there are a few guidelines that would help us determine what their market value is.
For example, in the blogging industry, blog.com has a higher value than blogbasics.com, which in turn, would be higher and cost more than a domain like howtobeablogger.com. From the aforementioned examples, inferring how domain name values are determined is easy.
Domain name value determination follows one simple rule: size always matters. And most of the time, shorter is better.
Why are short domain names valued more than long ones? That’s easy. Not only are short domain names easier to remember, they are also closer to a dictionary definition. For example, what site would you rather click on: cars.com or buycarsforcheapnow.com?
Chances are, it’s the first one. And for someone typing in the search term “cars” on Google, the cars.com website would probably rank higher on search results.
The shorter the domain name is, the higher its market value as a general rule. It’s best for broad and wide-ranging topics like sports, computers, news, cooking, and business.
But it’s important to note that this rule is not set in stone.
There are some instances where longer domain names might be better. The marketplace value of a domain name might be low (due to its length) but its marketing value might be astronomically high.
We’ve mentioned that short domain names work for websites that cover a wide range of topics and that is true. But if you want to target a particular demographic, then longer, more specific domain names might be more useful for your site. This also works if you want to fix yourself within a certain niche. Your domain name must speak to the market that you’re targeting.
Now, here’s another twist that you might not know about.
For some cases, simply stating that one domain name is better than the other by one having fewer letters is a huge no-no. Take, for example, IncredibleBlogger.com versus theGreatBlogger.com. While the second domain name has fewer characters, the first one has more pizazz to it (and retains far better in a person’s memory).
You need to weigh the pros and cons of each domain name option so that you can accurately determine the right one for your site.
When you’re researching for similar domain names, keep the aforementioned guidelines in your mind.
Once you’ve made an offer, the next step in the domain name purchase process is a negotiation.
Negotiating the Price of Your Domain Name
Don’t prepare to haggle. Instead, prepare yourself to walk away.
The reason for this is simple. Most of the time, owners set ridiculous prices for their domain names. They bank on the chance that someone would be naive enough to pay sky-high amounts just to get a domain name. But here’s the secret, most of them are willing to sell for much less. You just need to shop around for other similar domain names and see their prices for yourself. With research, you can get a gauge of what a particular domain name’s true market value is. You can use this as leverage when negotiating.
For most cases, a particularly desirable and very searchable domain name would not cost more than $2000. Of course, there are other good ones too in the $100 to $300 range.
Domain Name Price Negotiation
It’s pretty normal for domain name owners to be hesitant when asked to sell their domain names. And it’s all because many people view domain names in an unrealistic light that make them assign values to them way above the standard price. Suffice it to say that if the price on the table is way out of the line, simple common sense would tell you to walk away from the negotiation.
I recommend that you have several potential domains under consideration. If you’re actively negotiating with 4 or 5 domain name owners, you’re much more likely to get a domain name at a reasonable price from an owner that really wants to sell it. It will be much easier for you to walk away if you have other options under consideration.
You should always make it clear to the domain owner that you have other options. Don’t reveal the actual domain names, but use the following language, “I have a number of domain names that I could use for my site, but I’d prefer using yours if you’re interested in selling.”
This will convince the seller that you have other options; meaning you’ll have more leverage to swing the deal in your favor.
But what if the domain name you badly want is already being used by a site that has nothing really going on? Well, our third source should help you find a good domain name if that’s the case.
Abandoned or Unused Domain Names That Are Already Registered
Most owners of unused or abandoned domain names will never sell their domain names to anyone since they bought them for a reason. You’ll even be lucky if you email them and get a response. If that’s your case, here’s something to try out:
For starters, if you visit the website and nothing shows up, then it’s obvious that the site is not being used. The owner must have bought it but is yet to use it. Or perhaps they have no intentions of using it; they just bought it for the fun of it. And it’s all true because I have a number of such domain names monkeying around.
Some even regret buying it and would be more than willing to let go if a buyer shows interest.
Ever tried typing a domain name only to find out that the last date the website was updated was two to three years back? Chances are the owner lost motivation along the way, in the wake of which the blog ended up coming to an end. So you show up and name a price, odds are the owner will be more than willing to strike a negotiation.
It’s pretty hard to tell if an owner is really interested in selling. But since it won’t cost you anything to inquire from them, consider writing them something like, “Hey, I recently came across your blog, but apparently it’s been a while since you last updated anything. Would you mind selling the domain name to me?”
There’s a high likelihood you won’t get a response or, worse, be blatantly turned down. Don’t take it personally, the silver lining is that you at least gave it a try.
How to find a Domain Name Owner When the “For Sale Sign” is Missing or Can’t Be Traced.
Presumably, you’ve found the domain name you want and you’re interested in initiating a negotiation. First, head to Whois.com to get the owner’s contact information. For those who’ve never heard of Whois.com, it’s widely used recording listing for internet users, which can as well be used identify the owner of any given domain name, plus their contact information.
Whois will provide their email address and contact number that you can use to either call or email them. But personally, I email them first. If they don’t respond, that’s when I resort to calling.
But then again, Whois allows domain name owners to keep their contact information private. If that’s the case, the only way you can contact them is through a domain name agent. A domain name agent can act as the intermediary between you and the seller. They’ll ask the seller on your behalf if they’re willing to sell, then communicate the feedback to you. If yes, they’ll help you initiate negotiations.
But here’s something very important about the agents; whereas some of them have a standard percentage that they slice off the deal, some operate on a flat fee. More importantly, a domain name agent will only be interested in a behemoth deal—think of $50, 000 on your way up. Otherwise, you’ll be getting little to zero assistance from them. That said, it’s important to make your inquiries first before asking them to initiate a negotiation for you.
However, if you would rather use an agent, they’re pretty easy to find. Just head straight to a domain name marketplace and find an already-registered domain name. Usually, there’s a link next to the name, reading “make an offer” or “inquire.” Click on the link and you’ll be directed straightway to a domain agent.
How Should You Buy a Domain Name?
Every time you make a deal with someone you barely know online, consider using a company like escrow.com. But don’t make a mistake of sending them a wire or writing them a check until you’re certain there’s no way the seller might take off with your money.
Here’s exactly what happens in escrow when you use it to buy any item online:
1. Both you and the seller will be asked to put your domain name and money in escrow.
2. They’ll then transfer the ownership of the name, after which they’ll confirm if it’s as exactly as you ordered. Once everything is confirmed, the escrow service will release the payment to the seller.
That way, no one gets cheated. The seller gets the money and you get the domain name you wanted.
What’s In A Name? A Lot More Than You Thought!
For those of you who have reached this stage after making use of the exercises I’ve shared with you, you’re all probably thinking the same thing:
Choosing a domain name is a lot harder than I expected!
Well, you’re right. Sadly, as great as it would be if I could immediately make your blog a success at the snap of my fingers, I can’t. I’m sorry to break it to you but there is no such thing as overnight success in this field.
At this point, you may have arrived at the question “how important is it really to have a good domain name?” I’m here to answer that.
The truth is it’s a co-dependent kind of thing.
You see, finding a really good domain name isn’t going to magically make you a blogging God (or goddess). There are plenty of other aspects that need to be taken into careful consideration if you really want to make your blog successful.
And here’s the best part.
Changing a possibly current bad domain name to a good one isn’t going to turn everything around and put your blog right up there with the best in the business. The scary truth is that if you really break it down and throw some numbers around, your domain name actually accounts for a mere approximate 10% of your blog’s success or failure.
Just 10%? Are you kidding me?!! After convincing us that the right domain name will be worth all the trouble and time we spend looking for it, you’re now going back on your word to say that all that effort will only have a 10% effect on the blog? That’s it?
That’s exactly what I’m saying. But, hear me out.
The 10% that seems like a really small number, could very well make or break your blog. Are you wondering how?
Let me take a shot in the dark here and guess where you find yourself currently standing in this blogging career of yours.
I’ve already told you that it’s going to take at least a thousand subscribers in order to establish yourself as a blogger and find success. So, right now you’re probably trying everything you possibly can to lure people in and find a loyal reader fan base.
Would it be too bold of me to guess that you are still far from that target?
You know what, that’s okay!
Every blogger has been, or is, where you are. As a new blogger, you try every trick in the book to capture an audience, but after a little while, reality hits and you find yourself discouraged and intimidated by the fact that you’re a small fish in a big, big pond.
To be honest, big is an understatement; there are already about 70 million unsuccessful blogs floating around on the internet. Now the next question you’re going to ask yourself is “what can I do to ensure I’m not going to be one of them?”
I have a question for you.
Will you let an opportunity to gain attention (what you need most) for your blog to make it and provide sustainability, slip through your fingers? Of course, you wouldn’t.
Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest differences. And what it all comes down to is having a little something more to offer; something that makes you stand out from the millions of discouraged bloggers with dormant blogs out there.
A good, catchy domain name CAN make THAT difference. Don’t think for a second that it can’t.
Don’t take the question “What’s in a name?” so lightly anymore. Because that name, could be the key to grabbing the attention of potential customers, and all the effort you put into sustaining it, is what will make your blog a success.
This is why I would like to encourage you to take that extra trouble; put in more hours and do not give up until you’ve found a domain name that just clicks. You’ll know it the instant you read it. It will outshine the hundreds of domain names you’ve gone through by now and intrigue the kind of readers you hope to attract.
If you’re patient and determined enough, your blog could be the next one we refer to as a success story of choosing the perfect domain name.