Finding a cheap domain doesn’t have to be a chore.
Cheap domain selection is actually a fairly simple process. You begin by gathering a list of keywords related to your niche, choose your cheap web hosting company, use their services to verify that a suitable domain is available, then register with the web hosting company.
Note, this article is part of a series intended to get you started in the world of cheap and easy websites. If you haven’t already, please read the following articles:
Before we begin that though, we first need to look at what makes a suitable domain name for your cheap and easy website.
The cheap domain you want:
If you are a small business owner with a physical location, then it is essential that you get a domain name that contains your business type.
The reason for this is that small, local businesses have much less competition when someone puts in a search term such as “Oakland Plumber”, but the search engines give preference to businesses with their business type in the domain name.
Additionally, there are other ways to get your business noticed on the web, such as the Google Maps page.
For the rest of us, finding a high quality cheap domain name may be a bit more complicated. What you want is a domain name that’s memorable, simple, search engine friendly, and available.
Most of us will have to make a choice here. Names like Mashable.com and Amazon.com are simple, but not search engine friendly or even memorable without a large marketing and branding budget. The web is littered with the bodies of blogs and online businesses that have cool sounding names, but nothing that tells you what they’re actually about.
Conversely a cheap domain name like ThePrettySeashellHouseByTheGalvestonBay.com, while descriptive, is long, kludgey, difficult to spell, and very hard to remember.
Your cheap domain must keep to these rules:
- Don’t use hyphens in the domain name: Hyphens make it difficult to pronounce your domain name in the real world. Additionally, your customers are more likely to go over to the other guy’s website when they forget to include your hyphens. Finally, spammers are well known for using lots of hyphens in their domain names, and more than a few will make your site look spammy to the search engines.
- Stick to one or two core keywords: The search engines either penalize or get confused when your cheap domain name is nothing but a mess of related keywords. Example: CheapCarCarsRideTruck.com. It’s better to have something understandable with just one or two keywords like…CheapAndEasyWebsite.com
- Don’t use copyrighted names anywhere in the domain: Using a domain name like VISAMaster.com may sound cool until the lawyers come knocking with a Cease and Desist order.
- Only use a maximum of 25 characters in the name: i.e: [Up to 25 characters].com (Some of the listing services do not accept domain names over 25 characters long.)
- Don’t use numbers unless they’re part of your business name: Some of the cheap domain registration services will automatically suggest that you just add a number to the end of a domain if the one you want isn’t available. Don’t do this, or you’ll have everyone going to your competitor’s page when they forget to include the number. Also, a lot of shady multi-level “income at home” groups use this tactic, which could also make your website look shady if you use it.
- Don’t Miss-spell words: Google now has a spelling corrector for searches, so your LeetCarz.com domain may just be left in the corner.
- Get the .com domain name: It’s tempting to get a .net, .biz, or .org domain name when the .com isn’t available, but you’ll again have the problem of sending customers to your competitor’s site instead of yours. Also, the search engines seem to like the .com names better.
Used domains are expensive domains, new domains are cheap domains:
Used domains will usually cost a minimum of $250, with a mid range of $25,000, and a high range in the millions, so it’s not really within the scope of Cheap and Easy Website. If you’re interested in buying a used website, then I’d recommend that you read the following articles prior to buying a used website.
Used domains have the advantage (disadvantage?) of being known by the search engines, which means that they don’t go through the 2-6 month process of gaining trust that happens with a newly purchased cheap domain. However, if the used domain is known for abuses that the search engines don’t like, then that domain could be on one or more search engine ban lists, which would be a disaster for the new owner, and excessively difficult to recover from. It’s for this reason that I always prefer a newly purchased cheap domain over an expensive used one.
In Part II of Easy and Cheap Domain Name Selection, we’ll cover selecting a domain registrar, picking the domain name, and whether to couple it with a webhosting package when you buy it.
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