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How to Choose a Memorable Domain Name for an Authority Internet Business

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

After picking a niche, choosing a domain name is the biggest hurdle for most online entrepreneurs.

Often you wonder:

“Should I pick a unique name or should I use a keyword?”

The domain name you select can have a long-term impact on a website – especially if your goal is to build an Authority Internet Business.

In this edition of the AIB case study, we’ll go over how to choose a domain name.  Specifically I’ll talk about the two primary strategies you can use:

Strategy #1 – Choose a “Brandable” Domain Name

The first option is to select a web address that’s short and easy to remember. 

Think of sites like Facebook, Google, and Twitter.  At one point, these were nonsense words that nobody ever used.  Now they’re part of popular conversations and have even become verbs that people regularly use (i.e., “I’ll Facebook you” or “Let me Google it”).

There are a few advantages of picking a branded name:

  • It’s easy to remember:  Some people might not initially be interested in your website.  But they might come back if your content is good and you have an address that sticks out.  This can help generate repeat traffic.
  • It’s great for audio and video content:  A great way to drive traffic to a website is through audio and video content.  The problem is people have to remember your web address.  Use something simple and people can easily find your website.
  • It’s simple to register: Most “keyword-rich” domains have already been registered.  By picking a unique name, you’re more likely to find a site that hasn’t already been taken.

Branding is an important part of building a lasting business.  By picking an easy-to-remember URL, your website will stick out in the minds of potential visitors.

Strategy #2 – Choose a Keyword-Rich Domain Name

An alternative is to pick a domain that emphasizes a high-traffic keyword.

The primary advantage of this strategy is you’ll get more organic traffic.  Since people use specific phrases to find information in search engines, you’ll get extra visitors if your site name ranks well for a specific phrase.  This can be especially lucrative if the keyword gets thousands of exact searches each month.

My Strategy for Choosing a Domain Name

So what should you pick – a branded or a keyword-rich domain name?

My answer is both.

You should choose a name with a high-traffic keyword, which can also be branded.

EXAMPLE:

For DevelopGoodHabits.com, I used a website name that could generate search engine traffic.  But it didn’t have a long, spammy sounding title that readers couldn’t remember.

First, I looked for a two-word phrase that had at least 5,000+ exact searches each month.  So I used Google’s Keyword tool and entered phrases related to habit development – good habits, form habits, develop habits, stop habits, eliminate habits and great habits.

Here is a screen shot of the searches that I did:

There were two results that stood out:

  • Bad habits (8,100 exact searches)
  • Good habits (6,600 exact searches)

While the “bad habits” keyword has more searches each month, I decided that it’s better to focus on the positive aspects of habit development, rather than the negative.  (Frankly, I’d rather create content that focuses on improving your life, instead of talking about all the “bad” things).

From the list of two-word searches, I determined that “good habits” should be in the title.

What I also noticed was the phrase “develop good habits”.  While it only had 46 exact searches, it did have 1,900 broad searches.  Potentially this could lead to a little bit of extra traffic every month.

Seeing this keyword result, I hopped over to Name.com and was surprised that this domain name was still available.

How is DevelopGoodHabits.com a “Branded” Name? 

Now, you could make the argument that DevelopGoodHabits.com is a keyword-rich domain instead of a branded address.

I guess it all comes down to semantics.  Even though it has a keyword-benefit, I love this web address because it’s a specific outcome that I hope my readers will get from the website.

If a person takes consistent action, they could develop many good habits in their life.  I believe that habit development is a lifelong activity, so the URL ties into the mindset that it’s an ongoing process.

Moreover, I consistently use the DGH acronym in the blog posts.  The idea here is I’ll create a brand that’s easy for visitors to remember.

How to Choose Your Domain Name

Picking a domain name is like starting a long-term relationship.  You want to create a great first impression and stand out from everyone else.  That’s why I recommend you spend time finding a name that catches people’s attention.

You can get started with this three-step strategy:

Step #1: Find a Two-Word (or Three-Word) Phrase

Use Google’s Keyword tool to find a phrase that gets at least 5,000 exact phrases per month.  This should fit your target market and be an outcome that is desired by your target audience.

Step #2: Pick an Action Modifier

Think of an additional prefix or suffix that adds a modifier to this two-word phrase. Again, try to find a word that matches the goal of your audience.  You can use different websites like Name Boy, Dotomator and Bustaname to create unique sounding names.

Step 3 – Create a Consistency in Your Brand

Use your web address and initials while communicating with your audience.  Mention it in your blog posts, about page, multimedia content and anywhere else you can.  The key here is to create a consistency in your brand where people can remember this address.

It doesn’t take long to register a domain name.  But it’s a step that will have a lasting impact on the success of your authority business.  So carefully follow these three-steps to choose a keyword-rich name that stands out.

Take Action. Get Results.




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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Furlong

Hi Steve,
As always super, super helpful. I am pretty new at all this so I’m not sure the best approach, but are you going to make your goodhabits site connect with SteveScottsite? Is that a good approach?

Reply

Steve Scott

Good question Mark — I’m doing my best to not cross pollinate the two websites. I’d like to keep this as a “pure” case study, so direct linking to it would give it an unnatural boost. On DGH, I will mention my other business, but that will be more in a passing comment, instead of a direct push to buy my projects. Ultimately, I’d like to turn this information into a realistic blueprint that people can use to build their own site, so I don’t want to “cheat” the system too much by pushing this site on my existing platform.

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Kate Luella

This is a great simple system to use, love it!
thanks Steve

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Steve Scott

Thanks Kate! It took me a while to come up with it – but it seems to work for this website.

Reply

Richard Gutierrez

Steve,
I took your suggestion and searched a two word domain name looking for at least 5000 per month and got 90,500 Global monthly searches and 27,100 local monthly searches. Would this be considered a good domain? I want to learn from you. I am a retired stock broker and a new free lance writer starting 4 ebooks.
Richard Gutierrez

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Steve Scott

That sounds like a great result. Are these numbers for exact or broad search? You want to make sure it’s a specific phrase that people enter without any sort of modifier.

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Amy Hagerup

Thanks, Steve. Great points. You didn’t mention the wisdom of choosing your own name for your blog and branded yourself that way. Perhaps that is another strategy that you will address – or maybe you have already. blessings, Amy

Reply

Steve Scott

Hey Amy — To be honest, I regret the name I picked for this site. It doesn’t describe the content and it doesn’t provide any search engine benefit. The only upside is I’m able to re-brand my site without an over elaborate explanation.

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Robinsh

Now when I have to register a domain name in online advertising business, you wrote another great guide I could use to choose one. But here in my upcoming business seems too dense and hence I’m not getting any keyword rich+brandable domain name easily.

Reply

Steve Scott

Are you having trouble finding the keyword volume? Or locating an unregistered domain name?

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David

Refreshing! I love the way you obtained a 2 word key phrase …and then expanded it into a 3 word phrase. Very helpful Steve. Thanks!

Reply

Steve Scott

Great to hear. Glad it helped!

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Clara Mae Watrous

Great way to go getting a domain name.

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Steve Scott

Thanks Clara!

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Taswir Haider

Well said. For purchasing a brandable domain, I like to prefer aged domains through GoDaddy auction. For my affiliate sites, I like to buy exact match domain that has at least 500 exact search for a specific product.

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Daniel Adetunji

Wow! Great tactics to choosing a domain name.

Thanks

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Steve Scott

Happy to help Daniel.

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Annie André

This is a great post Steve.
I struggled with this a lot in the beginning.
Do I go with a keyword rich domain or use my own name in the domain?
With Chris Guillebeau as an example ( chrisguillebeau.com). I decided to use my name AnnieAndre as my domain but brand my site as Practical Adventurology. I also bought the domain PracticalAdventurology.com but that forwards to my AnnieAndre.com site. It’s worked out well so far since a lot of what I talk about is personal experience. (lucky me) .

Is there a particular reason why you also chose to use your own name in your domain rather than a keyword rich domain?

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Steve Scott

I have mixed feelings about using my name. I actually starting blogging without a clue about what content I’d create. I TOTALLY against the idea of teaching IM stuff – I wanted to do more personal development. But whenever I casually mentioned that I worked from the Internet and traveled a lot, people wanted to learn that stuff. So I just went with it.

I guess my point is I didn’t really “plan” for my website — just went with my name. In retrospect, I wished I picked a keyword. Because while I rank well for “Steve Scott” it doesn’t give me any real benefit.

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Angela McCall

Hi Steve,

This is great post! So “consistency” is the key to your brand. Thank you for showing a CLEAR screenshot example of how to choose your domain name. This really helps a lot. BTW, I signed up for the free PDF on “77 Good Habits.”

I tell ya, I just cannot keep up with you. I am still reading the “Affiliate Marketing Without the BS.” Oh, wait a minute I actually put it in the back burner coz I am taking a Responsive Design course by Rob Cubbon. So many things to catch up here, I am very overwhelmed.

It’s either you are producing so many FREE and/or PAID eBooks or I am just toooooo SLOW on reading them. LOL!!! Anyhoo, thank you very much. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Angela

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Steve Scott

Hey Angela,

I hear you on having too much to go through. The one thing that helps me is to identify that ONE next skill/topic you’d like to learn and only focus on that type of content. This helps because you can immediately implement the information. So if you’re building your website, then Rob’s course would be the material to go through.

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Maggie

I was wondering what you thought of this now Google has changed the rules somewhat with their EMD(Exact Match Domain) penalising & issues?
:)

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Steve Scott

I’ve thought a lot about EMD and that was my major concern with picking this domain name. The way I understand is you won’t get penalized for using a certain keyword phrase, but the algo change reduced the “extra bonus” you got by picking one of these titles. So as long as you’re providing good content, then a keyword-rich title won’t get your site penalized.

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Frank

Hello Steve,

I’ve struggled with this for a awhile. I decided I would do what http://chrisguillebeau.com/ did and that was come up with a branded name but house it on MyName.com. I decided to do this because if I deviate a little or decide to rebrand all together down the road I can do so on a site that has some authority already. Not sure if that makes sense or not but I’m banking on domain age and the fact that some readers will stay with you if you’re providing value instead of starting from scratch just in case I had to.

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Steve Scott

Frank — that’s what I did with SteveScottSite.com, I was able to shift gears when one topic didn’t work. The reason I went with a keyword-rich title for DGH is I’m pretty confident that I’m sticking with this topic, so I might as well try to get some extra traffic along the way :-)

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Malay Markit

Its difficult to know which way to swing on this one. I really think a lot depends on the niche your going after and the length of your commitment to the project.

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Jordan

Hi Steve,

Came across this series yesterday, looking forward to keeping up now!

Question: I am going to get my site to head in the authority direction. Is it possible to have an authority site without a actual person being the face of it, just the brand? Or does part of the authority aspect of the site come from knowing who (me) is producing the content?

cheers

Reply

Steve Scott

Jordan — I’d say you could have someone be the “figurehead,” but you’d get the best long-term results by creating content from your own personal experience. By making someone else the authority, you’re basing a business on someone else’s motivation and ability to explain themselves. That’s a pretty unsure thing to do because you never know what will happen in the future.

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Jordan

Solid advice, has got me thinking and changing my content perspective completely!

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Arwin Adriano

Nice advice Steve. This post will really help newbies identify the difference between Branded Domain and Keyword Rich Domains.

Bring back memories though.

Reply

Steve Scott

Yeah, it was something that I didn’t really understand at first. Frankly, I wish I knew about naming a website when I first got started.

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Quinn

Great Post Steve.
Love what you are doing with your Authority Site in general! I could not agree more with regards to Action Step 2 – “find a word that matches the goal of your audience”
I really think this can make a very big difference to the success of a site especially one where you want the visitor to take a specific action. Look forward to your updates. Quinn

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Steve Scott

Thanks Quinn. Not picking a keyword was a big mistake I’ve made in the past. So I wanted to get it right this time :-)

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Nick

This is absolutely correct Steve! Within this long debate about how to choose a domain name, people always state “keyword friendly” or “brand-able”, but I always wanted a mixture of the two, and hence I chose “Web Traffic Lounge”. You can do this for any topic: Simply add a nice friendly brand-able word onto the end of it and we never have to see these boring domains again!

Reply

Steve Scott

That’s a good one — I like your choice in a domain name. I definitely think you can get some advantage by picking a good keyword and then using some sort of modifier to the phrase. Thanks for stopping by Nick!

Reply

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