From the Desk of David O’Toole / copywriter
Domain Names and TLDs? Simply put, your domain name is your website address. For example, the website address for this blog can be found at www.copyglow.com – here are 15 tips and strategies on how to choose a good (or great) one. A friend for life, it may be a personal blog, maybe something digital marketing related, who knows?
Digital Age of Wonder
In this digital age of wonder we live in, ‘anyone can be a star’ (Paddy Mooney – Saints and Sinners). Well folks, if it’s not stardom you’re seeking, how about becoming an internet entrepreneur? There are so many avenues open to all of us here.
One thing is for sure. If you want to do anything worthwhile online, a great domain name will help immensely. It’s an investment in the right hands. It’s a great feeling having your own website and domain name, to do with what you will. It looks professional, it can look just cool too if you want. It could be about anything, it’s your online stage so to speak.
In this article, we have a look at the world of domain names, websites, and blogs.
- Digital Real Estate
- Domain Flipping
- .com is Strong
- Niche & Topics
- The ‘Over the Telephone Technique’
- Thesaurus Time
- Get It Right First Time
- The ‘Scrabble Technique’
- Poodles Anyone?
- Domain Name Generators
- Country Designation TLDs
- The Delicio.us Trick
- The Empty Search-Box Search
- Expired Domains
- Trademark Test
What you need is a domain name that is closely related to your topic of interest (in this case for the keyword ‘copy’), I wanted something short ‘n’ sweet and brandable.
Ok, that seems pretty obvious sure, but getting your hands on a domain name that you want can be a real problem nowadays. Many domain names are gone already, but there are satisfactory ways around the issue. Let’s have a look at a few options here.
Digital Real Estate
Think of your domain name and website as your ‘digital real estate’. Get it right and then move in. You live there, and you don’t need to depend on anyone to run it the way you want to. Hey, you might invite Facebook or Twitter to come and visit you sometime.
Note: While Google mainly concentrates nowadays on social media interaction with your website (e.g. FB likes, clicks, etc), it’s still important to have your main ‘keyword’ in your domain name title. This helps it come up in searches on the search engines. Plus of course, it will make sense to interested people who are searching for related info.
Think like Google, and think like someone who would be searching for the topic in question. Always simultaneously think from both an ‘SEO’ (Search Engine Optimization) angle, and also a ‘human’ angle. SEO helps get your site discovered, and your content is read by people. Both need to be fed.
So if your area of interest is ’60s fashion’ for example, you should have that in your domain name. Something like www.cool60sfashion.com − that’s actually available as I write by the way! But it’s not always that way. Most names that you initially think of will be taken already.
Insurance dotcom ?
For example, the domain name ‘insurance.com’ has been snapped up years ago and could be worth a small fortune. So you can forget the likes of that. But with a little cunning and experimentation, you can still find a great domain name.
‘Domaining’ is a subject unto itself, but for now we just need to know a few techniques and ‘tricks’ to acquire a suitable domain name. But look up ‘Domain Flipping’ if you’re interested in finding out more about buying and selling domains.
One of the biggest flipping platforms online is called flippa.com, it’s a very interesting, and potentially lucrative world.
.com is Strong Luke
One tip to give here is that ‘.com’ is still the most widely recognized and trusted type of site address. Other TLDs (Top-Level Domains/name extensions) are .net, .org, .info, .biz, .co, among many. Always try to get the .com version if you can.
‘.net’ is good for ‘community’ driven websites, ‘.org’ for establishment style, and ‘.info’ an informational site. But a ‘.com’ can be almost any style of website, plus it’s totally global, accepted, and understood everywhere in the world.
There are so many new TLDs at this stage, it’s hard to keep track of them all. There are 494 TLDs currently offered by registrar GoDaddy alone, including:
I love that ‘.space’ one. Hmm maybe someday in the distant future. For now I’m sticking with .com, can’t go wrong.
Niche & Topics:
Let’s say that the topic you want your blog to be about is ‘insurance’, you could first try the following: Insert a short descriptive word/phrase/color before your keyword like:
Or perhaps craftyinsurance.com, validinsurance.com, competititiveinsurance.com, wellpricedinsurance.com
I tried these just now and the results are:
- craftyinsurance.com – Available
- validinsurance.com – Available
- competititiveinsurance.com – Not Available
- wellpricedinsurance.com – Not Available
Website Host Note: You can use letters (abc), numbers (123) and dashes/hyphens (−−−) in the domain name. Spaces are not allowed, and the domain cannot begin or end with a dash. You may use up to maximum of 67 characters for each domain name (inclusive of the TLD, ie. .com part).
Tip: Keep your domain name as short and memorable as possible. For various reasons, it’s best to avoid dashes unless absolutely necessary. For example, ‘think telephone’ (see the following tip) ..
The ‘Over the Telephone Technique’
Imagine that you’re trying to tell somebody your domain name over a phone-call. You don’t want to be blabbering out a long-winded name with dashes-and-dashes in it. For example ‘”Oh yeah my site is at blah-hyphen-blah-hyphen-something-else dotcom”. Just don’t go there my friend.
And remember, that if you use numbers in your domain name, you will have to explain how the number is written. Is it written as “four”, or “4”? If it’s a golf-related site, it might also be written as “fore”. That can totally f ..complicate the matter.
So be wary of using numbers. Keep your domain name as short as possible, preferably one to two words, and keep the ‘over the telephone technique’ in mind. In other words “avoid dashes like the plague”.
Most one-word domain names will be taken already, so use a thesaurus and see if you can come up with an alternative. Try mixing in your main keyword with a related synonym.
You can also try adding your main keyword/s with a word after it of course. In our example below this would be something like: insurancesavers.com, insurancethrift.com and so on. Just for curiosity’s sake, I looked these up to see if they are available. The results were:
insurancesavers.com Not Available
insurancethrift.com Not Available
So you can see that not all ideas will be available to you. But you will find something if you keep trying out different variations like this.
Also note that this particular niche (insurance) is very competitive with big, corporate companies involved in it − there’s a lot of money to be made in the insurance business as we all know. I would suggest that your first website/Blog should be in a less competitive and corporate niche.
Get It Right First Time
Don’t forget that you will be living with your domain name for years to come. So get it right the first time and it will save you a lot of hassle and headaches, OVER time.
Is it really is worth your while spending time researching on this first naming step? Yes, it is a foundation upon which all your work will be built on. It’s almost like naming a baby .. because it will be ‘your baby’ if you get into it and take action on it. Make a plan ..
As mentioned, a useful trick to try if you’re looking for a particular word but it’s not available, is to use a Thesaurus, and find a few synonyms. Many a time this will bring up some excellent alternative words, but can still get the message across. And more importantly, the domain name may be available. Try https://www.thesaurus.com/. Input your main word and check out the alternatives.
The ‘Scrabble Technique’
The idea of the Scrabble Technique is to find useful and useable two-letter words that can go before your main keyword. This keeps the name short. For example, you could try the word “go”. Using our insurance example we get goinsurance.com (which is taken btw), but there are many alternatives. Work from the following list and see what you can come up with. Experimentation is key here, and it’s fun too.
The most common two-letter words are of, to, in, it, is, be, as, at, so, we, he, by, or, on, do, if, me, my, up, an, go, no, us, am.
Here’s a handy list of two-letter suggestions, found at www.lexico.com/en/explore/two-letter-words
Useful two-letter words I like myself are: in, us, so, be, ox, ab (bodybuilding related), om (meditation-related), ka (related to ancient Egypt, historical) … if you can connect the two-letter word with your niche, you’re onto a potential winner. For example, the two-letter word “om” might not make much sense on many domain names, but it would be a perfect match for maybe a meditation or Yoga based blog.
If you can’t find the right two-letter word, move onto three-letter words using the Scrabble Technique. Then four-letter, five-letter, etc. All the while keeping brevity in mind. Of course, you can also go for one letter words if you can get the title to make sense.
I like what SEO Master ‘Brian Dean’ did with his domain name. Simple and pretty ingenious with it. He just added a letter ‘o’ to the heavily targeted SEO related word ‘backlink’. Btw, If you’re into learning how to get traffic to your website, check out www.backlinko.com – the info on it is first class. This trick works on many a domain name, it makes sense, looks great, and is totally brandable. I’ve used that one myself.
Domain Name Generators
A really useful technique to use in domain name hunting is to use an online domain name generator. This can bring up some excellent ideas that you can expand on.
https://www.nameboy.com/ (I have no connections with this site btw)
A handful of suggestions run off the keyword ‘insurance’, came up with a few useful possibilities, including:
- michiganinsurance (if you’re targeting Michigan of course)
Country Designation TLDs
Here’s another option which might be just what you’re looking for, the country designation approach. Each country in the world has its own TLD (name extension). So, for example, Ireland uses the TLD “.ie”.
This has the effect of laser targeting a niche to the country you are operating in and targeting.
So you’d be in with a better chance of getting a domain name such as “insurance.ie”, as opposed to ‘insurance.com’. Or you could try any country you are targeting. Some country designated examples would be:
- Australia .au
- Brazil .br
- Denmark .dk
- European Union .eu
- France .fr
- Germany .de
- Spain .es
- Switzerland .ch
Check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Internet_top-level_domains for more info on this.
Using a Country targeted address can be easier to get ‘up the search results’ in certain country-specific search engines (the most well-known search engine is of course Google). If your website is strongly targeted to one particular country it can be worth your while to get the country-specific TLD address. The best option is to get the country-specific and the ‘.com’ too if it’s available.
Note: Some country domains can only be registered by businesses that operate in those countries, while others are available freely to anyone willing to pay the domain fee (sometimes these specific country fees can be comparatively high compared to an $11 or so a year ‘.com’ domain name).
A good example of an alternative TLD use is the ‘.tv’ one. It’s actually a country TLD, but many television stations have bought domains using it.
The domain name is popular, and thus economically valuable because it is, of course, an abbreviation of the word television.
Actually, the TLD ‘.tv’ actually stands for the islands of Tuvalu which is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia.
The Delicio.us Trick
Sometimes the TLD part can be used as part of the site name itself. One case of this would be the social website ‘www.delicio.us’. They ran with this for a while but nowadays that link redirects you to https://delicious.com/ − yup ‘.com’ is strong Luke.
note: Traditionally there used to be a distinction that .org domains were for non−profits and .net domains were for internet companies. But as there are no regulations, that doesn’t really apply anymore.
These days, anyone can get a .org or .net domain− if the ‘.com’ of the name you want is gone it could be an option worth looking at. But note that domain-flippers always want to buy a dotcom address as opposed to any other. The value is in the dotcom.
Internet Early Days + Search Engines
In the early days of the Internet, a website’s domain name had a strong influence on the mighty Google and other search engines. Today this is not the case quite as much (it is still important from the ‘human’ angle though).
And there are other options to get much-needed website traffic from different sources such as Facebook and Social Media. But for now, we just want to get a good related name which suits our subject matter, looks neat, is SEO (Search Engine Optimised) friendly, and sounds catchy.
So yes, it’s still important though to try and get your main keyword into the domain name, so always do that if possible. It just makes it easier to tell people about it. Especially if it’s a one−to−one ‘real world’ situation like you might have on a mobile phone or in a loud Disco, or even at your friendly local.
States and Counties
I noticed that one of the suggestions above was michiganinsurance.com – this is another way that you can seriously fine-tune your domain-name. Target the area itself that you are aiming for. Ok, it lowers down the number of people that might be interested in your service, but you can’t get much more targeted than using an actual place-name.
Taking into account that the population of Michigan is estimated at 9.996 million (2018), that opens up many possibilities. So don’t be afraid to zone-in on a specific area because of lower numbers. Think in terms of “targeting”, it’s a more finely tuned location-based address.
One option open to domain-name-hunters which can be well worth exploring is ‘expired domains’. As the name suggests, these are domain names where the owner has let the name expire. This can be for various reasons. Try freshdrop dotcom to get ideas on expired domains.
You can choose various settings for making the search such as:
1-100+CHARACTERS (keep character numbers as low as possible)
0-22+AGE (years – the older the better)
0-2000+BACKLINKS (try to get high ranked backlinks from recognized authority sites)
An example I have just seen is ‘ChildrensDentalInsurance.com’. That’s VERY specific if a bit too long. I’d probably start looking at “www.kidsdentalinsurance.com” and search along those lines.
Or what about ‘insurancehereford.com’. Obviously you would need to be targeting ‘Hereford’ for this one to work. But it’s just to give you ideas of what’s possible with this expired domains approach.
Let’s move away from insurance for a moment, and try a completely different niche. This time we’re going to look at the doggie world. This is a huge niche to work in, and it’s got a lot of potential. Do you know anybody that specializes in breeding or taking care of Poodles? Expired domains have got it covered:
Poodles.com is taken since 1997, but mypoodles.com is available at the time of writing. That’s a good example of using the Scrabble technique.
You could take any breed of dog and find a suitable domain name based on it. The more you drill down on the breed, the more available results you will get.
Tip: the most popular purebred dog breed in the U.S., is the Labrador Retriever. Here are two related dropped domains, which could be ideal if you’re in the relevant market.
Of course, these are just examples given here to demonstrate what’s possible. Use your own search criteria and see what’s out there. Domain name hunting is a bit of an adventure, and when you come across one that is perfect and you manage to grab it, it’s a great feeling.
Keeping with our furry friend examples, here’s a few cool-cat names available. We all know how big cats are on the ‘Net, thank you Reddit.
ladyofcats.com (got the teeshirt?)
vampcats.com (just a cool name with many possibilities)
jazzycats.com (great name for a Jazz related music site)
Money Money Money
Of course, the subject of money is an evergreen topic with all of us.
wewinmoney.com [great brandable name for a competition based blog]
The Empty Search-box Search
Another search you can do on freshdrop, is to leave the search box empty, and just choose how many characters you want. Tick off ‘Exclude Hyphen’, ‘Exclude Numbers’, and choose ‘.com’ only. Now the majority of names you see will be useless unpronounceable names, forget them. Instead, look for a name that you can say.
Some of these pronounceable names would make for a great brand name if you have an open mind on it. I just did a 0-16 letter search with no keywords and I spotted ‘usbcube.com’. That could have the potential for a computer-related niche.
A ‘USB’ connects peripheral devices such as digital cameras, mice, keyboards, printers, scanners, media devices, external hard drives, and flash drives, to your PC. So it could have a lot of possibilities, and it’s computer related.
A Gigantic Plus Benefit
A HUGE plus in having the perfect domain name is that your email address will be so professional looking. This is extremely important if you want to do any type of business online. That can’t be overstated enough really. It just gives you that added extra.
- VIP Note: Just make sure that you never actually put your email address online in any way. If you do that, you run the risk of being spammed by fiendish, dastardly robots. They can virtually destroy your mailbox by filling it full of spam and rubbish, that you’ll never even see the mails you want. It can happen overnight.
Make sure to do a trademark test on your super-cool new name. This can be a costly and potentially monumental error if you make it.
Luckily for us, it’s easy to check at:
And here’s the test result you’re looking for:
Trademark Search Results
Your search for trademarks did not match any records
First Impressions Count
Here are a few more reasons for picking a killer domain name.
- It’s Your First Impression
- It Affects SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- It Defines YOUR BRAND!
So you can see that there are a lot of options open to you when you’re looking for a perfect domain name. It takes a bit of time and research, but you will find out that it’s WELL worth the effort. You will have a friend for life if you take the time to do it right.
Thanks for reading hope you picked up something useful. If you do find a perfect domain name using some of these tips and tricks, be sure to let us know. Spread the word around on your new baby!
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