The first step in creating an authority website is to find the perfect domain name for your site. Unlike niche sites, where this can be quite difficult (trying to find a short name that includes your keywords), in creating an authority website this will be extremely easy.
My Recommendation – use your name. If your name isn’t available, simply add one more word to your name – as was done right here on BenHolmesOnline.com – use your imagination to pick a good word – such as ‘blog’, ‘site’, ‘live’, ‘home’, ‘101’, ‘advice’, ‘tutorials’, ‘plan’… you might try NameTumbler, or simply search Google for interesting possibilities.
With niche sites – every single small detail matters – because it’s not easy to rank with just a dozen or so pages … so you need keywords in the name. This isn’t going to be true for your new authority site – since it will eventually rank for hundreds of long-tail keywords, simply due to the detailed and unique posts that you’ll be making.
Com Net Org – As to the ending – I don’t recommend anything other than a dot com. Forget using Net, Org, or any other TLD’s (Top Level Domains). The only one worth considering is the dot com. When someone tells you to visit a website – it’s the first one you’ll type in. And while some people recommend buying all three major TLD’s for your site (Com, Net, Org) – I think it’s just a waste of money.
Short or Long? – There’s long been argument about whether a domain name should be long or short – I fall down on the short end of the stick. If my name were Benjamin (and it’s not) – I’d still use BenHolmesOnline.com – simply because it’s shorter. Unless, of course, I were so famous that everyone knew me by the longer name…
But you should keep length in mind as you select your domain name – if your name isn’t available – then adding a short word to the beginning or end of your name makes the best sense. Keep in mind that if you do use an additional word – as I have – you must constantly brand the entire phrase… I don’t use just “Ben Holmes” on the site – I’m constantly saying “Ben Holmes Online” – in order to keep the website name in your memory.
Hyphenated? – Some people will find that when your FirstnameLastname.com isn’t available, you can get Firstname-Lastname.com (note the hyphen). I don’t recommend this – because people will remember your name, and try to go back to your website, and will invariably forget to put in the hyphen. This means that they’ll end up on the wrong site.
Tools – There are a number of good tools to help you come up with a good domain name – I’ve long used Nameboy – but Impossibility or NameTumbler are other excellent tools. These will give you ideas for when your name by itself isn’t available.
Specificity – If you decide to go with keyword phrases rather than your name – be sure to keep the site name more generalized than specific. For example – it would be a bad idea to choose the domain name “TrainingYourLabradorDog.com” – because now you’ve limited yourself quite a bit. Something like “DogTraining.com” would be the better choice – because now you can have a ‘Silo’ website setup – where you have different dog breeds – and thus attract a wider audience. Note that by using your name – you lose the benefit of a keyword phrase in the domain name – yet gain the ability to blog about anything at all – and to be able to rank your site for any topic you blog about.
Don’t Waste Time – When it comes to creating a brandable authority website – the domain name simply isn’t going to be particularly important, as long as it’s relatively short, and not impossible to remember. So don’t waste a lot of time trying to find the perfect name – when you should be spending time writing unique and worthwhile posts for your new site!
Where To Buy – With the proviso that you actually purchase your domain name from a domain name company, and not a hosting company – you can choose just about anyone. I’ve noted in the past that some companies (I’ve spotted Godaddy doing this) will buy a name if you show interest in it – so if you don’t purchase it right away – you’ll end up paying a premium price to get it later. Namecheap has never done this to me, and they have good prices… so if you need a recommendation – you can’t go wrong here.
Another trick to keep in mind – do an online search for coupons – you can sometimes get your first year domain name purchase for a dollar or so. Doesn’t hurt to look for a coupon, and takes but a few minutes. For example, just type in “Godaddy coupon” into Google – and see what comes up.
Many hosting companies will offer to provide you with a ‘free’ domain name – I don’t recommend this. By putting all your eggs in a single basket, your hosting company has too much power over your website. If Hostgator were to stop providing great service, I could move this site very quickly to another hosting provider.
Just keep in mind – Hosting Companies are designed to provide great hosting, Domain Name Companies are designed to service your domain name needs – neither company is good at both. Godaddy, for example, is quite infamous for how poor their hosting services are – they aren’t standard, and cannot do what any Hostgator hosting package can do.
Just Do It! – You know your name – don’t spend too much time on picking your domain name – it’s not nearly as important as the content. While some guidelines are vaguely important (such as a shorter name, and using a dot com) – nothing will diminish your future income faster than not getting started. So stop reading, and go see if your name is available to buy.
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