How to Create a Great Domain Name, Part II

November 24, 2011 by  Filed under: Domain 

In part I of this article series, we discussed how to use keyword research to pick a good domain name. In this part, I’m going to discuss how to go from your list of keyword phrases you created to actually choosing and registering a domain name that Google will like and that humans will remember.

To do that I pull up Yahoo’s domain registration window. Using the most popular keyword phrase I found, I start trying to find domain names that somehow incorporates that keyword phrase. With a little persistence and creativity, I can usually find a name that is not only memorable for humans, but also contains my most popular keyword phrase.

I make a list of a few possibilities. (I actually use Yahoo to tell me if the name is taken or not. I don’t register my names through Yahoo. I use my web host, Bluehost, whom I highly recommend. There’s nothing wrong with Yahoo, if I didn’t use Bluehost, I would probably use them.)

Once I get my few possibilities down, I then go back over these from the “human” point of view. Only when I have real, unreserved possible domain names that relate to my main keyword phrase, do I start thinking about all of the other criteria, such as: does the domain name reflect what I want the site to be about? Is it memorable? That sort of thing.

I try to keep my domain names no longer than three words long. I would say I keep them no longer than two words long, but virtually all of the two word domain names I come up with are already taken.

Three words is not too long.

When I register the name I hyphenate the words in the name. This makes no difference to search engines. They just throw the hyphens away. This does, however, make a real difference to humans who are trying to decide to click on my site’s link or not.

Consider the difference between: www.handmadebaskets.com and www.hand-made-baskets.com.

(FYI, neither of these is a real domain that I own. I’m just using this as an example. I picked that keyword phrase at random.)

Now, have I covered everything you need to know about choosing a domain name? No, I haven’t! I’ve really just started. There are many nuances to all of this that you need to get good at. The most important thing you can do now, though, is to get started.

Take a look at those two tools I mentioned–Google’s external keyword tool and WordTracker’s free tool. Make a list of possible keyword phrases for your site idea, and get to work.

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