Choosing a domain – Pre-website planning

February 16th, 2009 by Barry

Getting a quality domain name relating to your chosen field is becoming increasingly difficult. Getting a single dictionary word domain is now almost impossible for any TLD and all the good two and three word domains are generally taken too.

This isn’t an impossible obstacle to overcome in terms of SEO but having a good keyword rich domain is generally an advantage. Unless this is a larger budget project you’ll want to steer clear of the after-registry market and find a new unique and cheap domain. Registering old and second hand domains is something that I’ll go into more detail about later.

Now that you have your keywords you’ll want to try and include them into your domain if possible. The more competitive the word is the more likely it is to be taken. In this instance getting isn’t likely possible (and indeed it isn’t).

This leaves you with a few options.

  • Add a word as a prefix or suffix to your most popular keyword such as or (both already exist so don’t bother). Trial and error is the only real way to find something that’s available.
  • Try adding random “webisms” to words (keyword-ster being popular), (sounds a bit kinky, but it’s already in use), (bought but not in use). This option requires some knowledge of the web, maybe get a web-savvy friend or family member involved if you’re unsure. The thing here is to remember that is has to be memorable.
  • Use keywords in the domain that are vaguely related. is a popular poker term and thinking about getting into poker affiliates without some knowledge could be deemed going all in blind to marketing (clever, eh?)
  • The last option is to make up a word or a sound-a-like word, Google being the best example of this or perhaps for poker.

Ultimately this is going to come down to what domain names you think you can build a brand around.

Hyphens in URLs

Hyphens in URLs used to be regarded as a potential spam site. With the explosion of people buying domain names this is no longer the case. Sometimes a hyphen can be an advantage as it indicates a space to search engines. is a better match for the term “poker affiliate” than, though there’s not much in it.

The primary disadvantage of a hyphen is that people often forget to put it in when typing into address bars and end up at, what is probably, your main competitor. This can also reduce your type in (direct) traffic.

Buying a domain

Now that you know roughly what domain name you want and what to do if it’s unavailable you need to actually purchase the domain.

Probably the most popular domain registrar in the world is and I have over 50 domains bought through them and never had a problem. Domains cost about $8 and if you search around (Fatwallet) you can probably find some discount codes.

Unfortunately GoDaddy cannot sell all domain extensions (.fi, .pt, etc) so you’ll need to find other registrars. I don’t have any specific recommendations for finding country domain registrars (use a search engine) and you should be aware that many governments require you to be a citizen to buy a country specific domain.

In future posts I’ll go into private registrations and add ons for domains, expired domains and the resale market.

Posted in Web Page Optimization

One Response

  1. Nerdizen

    I was doing a random search on Google and happen to see the site name Affiliatester being used as an example. I chose the name Affiliatester because I wanted to put up a site that dealt with affiliate marketing and tips, so I used the word, affiliate and added the “ster,” which means pertaining to in English. It wasn’t an obvious choice in the beginning, but I’m pleased that the name was available when it came time to register it.

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