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11 Steps For Buying Great Domain Names

By: Gabe Meierotto

Online ventures can vary a great deal. They can be for commerce, charity, social networking, advertising, information, or even just plain fun. But regardless of the purpose, there are some basic things to consider before buying a great domain name. The following is a list of 11 steps for buying a great domain name.

1. Keyword research:
Does the domain use popular and focused keywords? Make sure the domain and its associated URLs will be conducive to search engine visibility. Check it on tools like Google Keyword Tool, WordTracker, and Keyword Discovery.
2. Linkability:
Does the domain have appeal to bloggers and Webmasters who might consider linking to you? Links are crucial to your site’s SEO. For example, NeopetsFanatic.com has link appeal, whereas free-neopets-cheats-hints-tips.info does not.
3. Top-level domain :
Choose the proper top-level domain, e.g. com, org, info, net, etc… If your business is in the United States, then you should use com as your TLD. While there is nothing wrong with net or org as a TLD, in the US com is still seen as the most professional and is certainly the one people assume a business would use. Top-level domains like info and biz are often associated, rightly or wrongly, with spammers.
4. Used URLs:
Check to see if anything is still indexed under a used domain name. Use query operators to check your site even if you are not buying it from a secondary source (DomainName.com), or simply use a domain index checker like URL Check.
5. Site age:
Run the URL through The Wayback Machine to make sure there are not any undesirable associations with the domain name. Undesirable associations can be anything you do not wish your domain to be associated with, but especially pornography, hate-related material, violence, or anything illegal.
6. Backlinks:
Make sure a previously used URL doesn’t have negative links (as defined above) coming into it. Use the query operators DomainName.com to check for any.
7. Blacklists check:
See if the URL or its associated IP address has been blacklisted. You can use a site like Moensted.dk.
8. Relevancy:
Make sure your domain name is relevant to your business. Don’t buy a URL simply because it sounds cool or has personal appeal. Buy it because it has direct and focused keyword relevance to your business.
9. URL length:
While your domain name should be direct and focused, avoid being too specific. Do not get too long and detailed at the top. You can always get more specific as you go deeper into subdomains. Shorter domain names are also easier to remember, and easier to type.
10. Potential for legal conflict:
Be aware of trademarks and copyrights belonging to other entities. While a URL like www.amazonbooks.com might be accurate for your bookstore in Amazon, Canada, as a domain name it conflicts with an existing business. Use search engines to research the keywords contained in your URL. If something comes up that seems like a conflict, check into it.
11. Double meanings:
Does your keyword-rich URL have another meanings? For instance, let us say you are starting a web site that helps people to locate psychologists in their area. You come up with the domain name www.therapistfinder.com. But look more closely. Is there another meaning in the URL? When joining words together, take a step back and look for other meanings just to be safe.
 

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