One question that comes up again and again with online entrepreneurs is whether it’s worthwhile to register new domain names for different projects, and if it is, how the heck do you find good domain names!?
First off, keyword-relevant domain names can be a nice boost to your relevance and page rank (as discussed in How does Google figure out what pages are more relevant? Pagerank.) because if it includes the key word or phrase you’re using, it further reinforces that your Web site is relevant to that topic. That’s why this Web site is called free-web-money.com not “daves-guide-to-adding-neat-stuff-to-your-site.com” or “spliffo.info” or similar.
Now I’m not saying that these type of names can’t work, but if I am building, say, an online affiliate bookstore about health books, then healthy-bookstore.com is a better name than “maxbook.com”, isn’t it? There are tangential questions that arise here too, I’ll note, including whether to use dashes in domain names (my tip: no more than two dashes and try to register the non-dash version of the name too) and whether the name needs to be “pronounceable” without having to spell it out (my suggestion: not unless you’re planning radio time), but let’s push those aside for now in the interest of talking about the “how” of domain names.
Okay, still with me? You’ve decided that you want a new domain name for your existing or new site, and you just aren’ sure how to proceed. After all, aren’t all the good domain names taken?
Well, yeah. Most of them are, but if you think both from the perspective of trying to have a key word or keyphrase in the domain name and are willing to live with a dash or two, then it’s not quite as bad. Further, there are new top level domains (TLD’s as they’re called) that can help too: if you can’t get a “.com” maybe a “.info” would work instead?
To find domains, I recommend that you go to the Web site of a registrar like mydomain.com or register.com and use their recommendation engine. On mydomain.com, for example, type in a key word like “golf” or “tennis”, indicate that you are only interested in .com domains, and it’ll pop out a list of available matches. Almost all of those will be kinda dopey, but they can certainly inspire you to iterate and find one that does work.
For example, today (Tuesday, May 25th) I entered “affiliate” and indicated I was interested in .com domains. Here’s some of what it listed as possible matches:
Not too bad, and if you’re an entrepreneur like I am, your creative energies should be flowing just from reading that list… Hmm… affiliateheadlines.com… keep up to date on news in the world of affiliate programs and affiliate marketing…hmmmm.
But this strategy might not work, and you might prefer to have a system that searches for expiring domain names automatically so you can just ride the coattails of someone else who has already gone through the oft-laborious process of finding just the right domain name.
Fortunately, there are some really cool programs that let you do just that, and my favorite of them all is Domains Hourly, which searches expiring domains for key phrases as frequently as once per hour, depending on your setup.
As an example of these results, I have a search for “*baby*” running and here are some of the great – available – domains listed in just one of my reports:
Again, your brain is probably racing at the opportunities presented by these domains. Imagine what kind of results you could see when it’s your own keyword being used as the search key.
Oh, and one more reason to like Domains Hourly: they have a generous affiliate program too. 🙂