Posted by Chloe Spencer
Have a site idea but don't know what domain name to register? Are all your first choices for domain names taken? Thinking about going with a .net, .biz or .co because you feel like you have no other choice? In this article, I'll walk you through a step-by-step process for your choosing a great SEO-friendly domain for your website.The first step to coming up with a good domain name for your website is to sit down and make a list of all the keywords that you feel are relevant to your site. Include your business name if it makes sense to do so. Write down all the synonyms you can think of as well. This may be a very big list. After you have your list put together, go online to a keyword research tool, I suggest the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, and compare and contrast all your keywords.
Determine which keywords are the most popular SEO-wise, and write all of those ones down in a new list; this will be your primary keywords list. Then create a second list of all the second-most popular keywords; this will be your secondary keywords list. Now it's time to get creative. Using your primary keywords list, come up with as many combinations of those keywords as you can. Feel free to add in a word or change around the order of the words to make the name sound better. Add articles and conjunctions to your liking, etc. These combinations are going to be best for SEO–having popular keywords in your domain name means more traffic. Then do the same thing with your secondary keywords; come up with different combinations of keywords as potential domain names.
After you have all these ideas written out, go to a registrar, such as Dotster.com and find out which names are available. If all your name ideas from your primary keyword list are taken, try your ideas from your secondary keyword list. You're bound to find at least a few that are available. If not, you can always go with a different top level domain (TLD) such as .biz if the .com versions are taken, but I wouldn't recommend that. The most popular TLD is .com, the industry standard, and even though there are many different extensions and new ones pop up frequently, ".com is still the Rodeo Drive of the Web" (CNNMoney.com).
If SEO is important to you (which it should be!), then you definitely want to try and find a .com. This is because .com is king, and outranks other similar domains with a different TLD. People see .com's as more official and authoritative, and search engines will almost always give preference to a .com over a .net. At this point your domain name search is hopefully over, and you have found a domain that fits your website, suits your needs, and is user- and SEO-friendly.
Next step: domain registration. If you have a hosting service, it's usually easiest to register your domain through them, instead of having a bunch of domain names with different registrars and hosted in different places. Buy your domain, and set it up on your host. Then, get busy creating your website!