How important is a domain name?
How should you pick one?
Is the “.com” better than the others?
Are hyphens okay in the domain? What about numbers? Characters? Trademarks?
And do you need an exact match domain?
Truth is, I get asked basic questions a lot. For all the “advanced” courses people buy, I can only guess you are not learning the basics… and success usually comes down to the basics; the fundamentals.
Not to worry.
This is where your good ole’ pal, Buck A. Roo, comes in.
I pledge this post to be so valuable… your love for me will increase ten fold. In fact, if you don’t want to pet my backend by the time I’m finished, I’ll consider this a failure.
My goal is to answer all the questions you need to know to pick a domain that will (one) earn both respect and ranking, and (two) will be liked, used, and remembered by all who hear it.
Before we begin, I must warn you
Some of what you read here will be directly opposite from what you’ve learned before.
Do you want to know why?
You say you do? Great. I thought you would.
But when you learn the truth… maybe you’ll wish you hadn’t asked.
Because the reason is… people have lied to you.
Usually so they can sell you a product. So they invent a “reason why” you must do something a certain way… or they simply regurgitate what they were taught without knowing if it’s correct. However, I have done no such thing here…
I have checked and re-checked my facts…
…and here they are in glistening glory:
The first thing you need to know is… don’t put the cart before the horse. Technically, you buy a domain in what I would consider “Step Three” — so you should have a niche and target keyword in mind before you begin to pick a domain.
Now that we’ve put domain picking in it’s place, I have twelve ideas you should follow as closely as possible.
Bucky’s Twelve Suggestions For An Almost Perfect Domain
#1 — Stick with “.com” ONLY
I figure, if I’m going to hit you upside the head, I should do it right from the beginning. But I’m very serious with this “rule”…
In my research, this advice was given from at least three reputable sources.
For a business, you should not use any other domain extension for your website than a “.com”; I know you’ve heard .net, .org, and all the other dots are good enough, but truth is…
Why settle for second best?
Do not settle for “good enough”…
I’ve met many women who settled for a “good enough” kangaroo and they always regret it and wish they stayed with Bucky.
Plus… What legitimate authority website can you name that does not have a “.com” domain? — and don’t you dare say Wikipedia. I wouldn’t use Wikipedia print-outs for toilet paper. So don’t use them for anything except a good laugh.
The only exception to the “.com only” rule is if your business is outside the United States and/or you want to target a specific country. For example, if you wanted to geo-target the United Kingdom, you would use the “.co.uk” extension.
#2 — Buy the “.com” and the other extensions
If you buy site.com, you should buy all the other available extensions too.
So, if available, you’d want to buy site.net, site.org, site.biz, etc…
And yes, you want them all.
Then, you redirect all the other extensions to your site.com website; do this for two reasons…
First, the searcher cannot go wrong. If a person looking for you happens to type site.net into the address bar, she will still land on your site.
Second, you seal off future competition which, in the long run, will put money in your pocket. It can also spare you a lot of frustration, anxiety, headaches, and just makes you feel smart.
#3 — Only dopes use dashes
Do not use hyphens (a.k.a. dashes) in your domain name. While they may not hurt you, there are many drawbacks to putting the “-” symbol in your domain.
What if the searcher forgets to use them? If that happens, you’re giving free traffic and attention to someone who is probably your competitor.
If they don’t forget, what if the searcher puts the dash in the wrong place? Again, you’re just asking for him to go to a competitor.
A domain with dashes is, at best, a cheap substitute for a good domain.
They should be avoided at all costs.
#4 — Have one possible spelling
Let’s face it, most people are not good spellers. And a lack of spelling fortitude is multiplied when you get behind a keyboard. It jut too e-z to miss a key or hit one twicee.
In a classic case of cleverness triumphs common sense, people will buy a domain like:
Don’t do that.
If you don’t understand why that’s a bad idea, then keep reading…
#5 — Yo, avoid slang dawg
Please spell like you have a brain… or as Agatha Christie’s famouse detective, Hercule Poirot says, use your “little grey cells.”
Do u kno whut I meen?
Don’t use slang. Don’t use “u” for “you” or anything else you’d do in a text message. This directly relates to…
#6 — Be easily understood
To read or hear your domain, it should instantly convey what your site is about. This “rule” is NOT iron-clad because certain sites have not applied it and still made it big.
Consider Amazon.com, Monster.com, GoDaddy.com, and Zillow.com… at first glance, you can’t tell what the site is about. But remember… They also required a LOT of high dollar marketing to brand their names.
Sites like Hotmail.com, CareerBuilder.com, AutoTrader.com, and WebMD.com did not require high powered marketing.
The website name CREATES EXPECTATIONS, and the content fulfills them. That’s a big hint. I hope you’re taking notes.
#7 — Don’t be a dick
In 2000, John Zuccarini got the worst news of his life.
He registered hundreds of domains with misspellings of celebrity names, famous brands, company names, television shows, and movies. Shortly thereafter, he was sued under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
He probably deserved it. But imagine how he felt when the judge said, “I find that justice in this case requires that damages be assessed against Mr. Zuccarini in the amount of $100,000 per infringing domain name, for a total of $500,000.”
But that’s not all folks.
He also had to pay attorney fees and costs of more than $60,000.
But that’s what happens when you make enemies with, “Dow Jones & Company, Nicole Kidman, Microsoft, Encyclopedia Britannica, Yahoo, Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, Budget Rent a Car Corporation, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Saks & Company, American Airlines, FAO Schwarz, Musicmatch, WebMD Corporation, L.L. Bean, and America Online.”
Don’t use trademarked names even if you misspell or abreviate them.
Take thirty seconds before you buy a domain and do a trademark search with this site (it’s free):
#8 — Avoid numbers and characters
Similar to slang, you should never use “4″ in place of “for” or “2″ for “to”.
The exceptions are cases like 9/11 and the host of sites created for that day… or perhaps your business actually has a number in the name like, Studio 54.
In general, stay away from numbers or characters because when you say them to a person, how can they possibly know whether you mean the word itself or something else?
#9 — Singular or plural?
Should you buy bestsportscar.com or bestsportscars.com?
Let the question “Which sounds better?” decide.
Many people will naturally add an “s” onto the end of certain words. Say BOTH of the above domains out-loud and you’ll see what I mean. The plural form is more comfortable.
Then, the best thing to do is buy both and redirect the worst-sounding domain to the best-sounding domain.
#10 — Exact-match domains are not required
Most people don’t know this.
Google has devalued the exact match domain.
You can blame it on mini-sites; when Google noticed the rise of low quality sites at the top of their search engine, they found the cause to be a mistake in their algorithm.
The mistake was giving so much power to an exact match domain.
If you think about it… what legitmate authority site uses an exact-match keyword as a domain? It’s not getmedicaladvice.com — it’s WebMD. It’s not searchtheinternet.com — it’s Google. It’s not buybooks.com — it’s Amazon.
When Google realized this, they devalued the exact match domain.
It’s really a good thing. It’s still good to have your target keyword in the domain. But now your site’s judged by quality, not a technicality.
11# — Does size really matter?
This may surprise you, but studies from SEO companies have shown shorter domains tend to rank higher. Obviously, if you search for “brownie recipes” and find TheBestBrownieReceipiesInTheWholeWorld.com as an option… you may choose GrandmasBrownieRecipies.com instead.
Shorter names are easier to remember, type, and say.
#12 — Buy it now
If you’ve been in this business long enough, then you’ve made the mistake of not buying a domain when it was available. You wait a day or two, come back, and — surprise! — it’s been taken. Domains are being snatched up faster than chocolate brownies at a Weight Watchers convention. If you see one you want, grab it now. Many people have put it off at their peril.
Well, my friend…
Do you not love Bucky more than ever?
Granted. You may not like everything you heard — but you can now print this post and use my twelve ideas as guides or flagposts the next time you seek to buy a domain.
Stick to them and I can promise you will have a domain that works on your behalf, instead of against you. Internet marketing can be difficult… so why add to the hassle by going against the grain and not following these instructions?
Those who heed this advice will stack the odds of success in their favor.
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Talk to you in the comments section…