Building a Profitable Website – Registering a Domain Name

So far in my series on Building a Profitable Website I have examined how to identify profitable niches, select appropriate long-tail search terms and identify relevant topics and issues relating to those search terms.

You should be well on your way towards having an understanding of some topic areas that you will be used to develop content in the coming days.

Today’s lesson in Building a Profitable Website is a little lighter topic.  It is meant to keep the process moving while you are busy researching issues, identifying blogs and forums and relating things to your long-tail search terms.

This lesson in Building a Profitable Website deals with selecting and registering a domain name for your site.

Owning a domain name is like owning a piece of internet real estate.  It will be used to identify your website and will be how people find you and remember who you are in the online world.

When it comes to selecting an appropriate domain name for your website, there will be many different trains of thought on the matter.  Some people will argue that the domain name that you use will have no influence on how well your site will rank in your particular niche.  Others will encourage obtaining keyword rich domain names that clearly identify the material contained on a website making keyword rich domains more valuable.

It is thought that Google tends to give some weight to keywords contained within a domain name when determining ranking.  If this is true, the value of keyword rich domain names increases.  A whole internet business has formed around buying and selling domain names.  Finding a good domain name for some profitable niches can be practically impossible if not downright expensive!

For my niche on Alzheimer’s, I did a quick check using a random domain name registrar and found that most of the domain names were either taken or out of my price league.

Alzheimer's Domain Name

It doesn’t mean that good domain names that contain my keyword topic are not available.  It just means that I have to work a little harder at finding one.

When selecting a good domain name that will add value to your ranking in the search engines it is important to consider your overall brand, how well you want your site to rank and how easily other websites can link to your site.

Many people just type a word in the address bar with a .com at the end and hope that it brings them to where they want to go.  Having a domain name that contains the exact keyword you are developing your profitable website for would be ideal in this case but in reality, it isn’t likely to be the case.

Most often you will have a domain name that is a multiple keywords such as AlzheimersDisease.com or some variation such as Alzheimers-Disease.net (the actual domain that I have registered).

The fact that I have used a hyphen will concern some experts.  These types of domains are seen to have little or no branding value and that a domain name is one way of distinguishing yourself from the competition.  Experts argue that people will not remember your website address if it contains a hyphen and are less likely to return.

This may be true but I am not overly concerned with the branding value of my domain name.  I am more concerned with having it rank well in the search engines and have people find my site via search.

If the content is intriguing, relevant and deals with the issues I’ve identified as being topics of concern in my niche, I’m confident will recognize the value of the site, bookmark it and return at a later date.

Plus, I am not using a long string of keywords separated by hyphens.  The combination I’ve chosen while not perfect it is acceptable.  It will allow me to provide valuable information to the Alzheimer’s community and provide some value towards improving ranking in the search engines.

When deciding on the domain name that you want to use for your new website, take advantage of how search engines utilize domain names as part of their algorithm for ranking sites in search results.  The domain name does have some influence on ranking and if the exact keyword is already taken you will have to look for alternatives.  Using combinations of keywords is a good approach.

Use one of your chosen keywords and combine it with another word to form the domain name.  You will probably recognize this method as it is used by many different websites such as CarFax and Travelocity.

Also keep in mind your regional preferences as this may offer you some unique advantages in your niche.  Domains targeted toward regional domain names such as .us, .ca and .eu will tend to rank better for visitors from those areas.

Search engines detect and redirect you automatically to your regional search engine and will return results more relevant to your location.  Thus it is possible for a website to rank number one with a .ca extension for Canadian visitors searching using google.ca and not rank well for visitors using google.com as their search engine.

I have one site that ranks #6 with Google.ca and #43 with google.com for my keyword topic simply because the domain name contains a .ca extension.  However, looking at some of the long-tail search terms that I’ve selected for my website the rankings the rankings are consistently in the top five places for my search terms whether using google.ca or google.com.

Proper search engine optimization and linking strategies (to be covered later in this series) will result in keyword rich content in ranking well for a series of keywords, regardless of the domain name.

Homework

Carefully examine your long-tail search terms and select an appropriate domain name that will be used in building your profitable website.  Select an appropriate domain name to be used for your niche and check its availability using your domain registrar of choice.

Register the domain name.

Next Lesson

Building a Profitable Website – Creating Keyword Rich Content

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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