Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Forum Moderators: buckworks & webwork

Message Too Old, No Replies

How do I choose a domain name for a website in a competitive niche?

Focus on brand? Insert niche keyword into domain? Use hyphenated version?



12:14 am on Jan 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm considering a new domain to add to a site which I'm working on.

The problem is I've found that the topic which the site is based in is reasonably covered in terms of domains (for example widgets.com and widgets.net have gone).

I've found a few choices regarding a new domain if I get one.

I can either attempt to keep the topic in the domain name, but tack on some extra text (such as widget-info.net). This is a bit cumbersome though as, even though the domain would only consist of two words it's fairly open to typos.

Or I could attempt to brand the page using some unique wording from the topic area that would hopefully provide a shorter domain (e.g. blueraysonezi.org).

Finally I could attempt to force the topic into the title by hypaneting to split up the topic name (e.g. wid-gets.info). This seems to provide a fairly on topic domain but perhaps it looks a little spammish?

I'm not fantastic at picking domains, nor greatly aware of some of the usuability issues (in terms of visitors to a site) that may come into play regarding domain names.

Of the three methods briefly outlined above which would you say is the best one to utlise?


12:34 am on Jan 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

What's your advertising and marketing plan? Are you relying solely on search engine traffic? Any other source of traffic?

Will you ever have to repeat the URL on the phone or use it in correspondence?

How important is your "image" or "presentation"? That is, your website name as identity?

Is it an ecommerce site, an info site, a community site, a blog, etc.?

The questions tie into the importance of the domain name and associated naming conventions and concerns.


4:26 am on Jan 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thinking about branding first, IMO. Stick to something unique that will distance you from the hyphen crowd, and just focus on good SEO if you're concerned about search engine traffic.


10:40 am on Jan 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I suppose it will be more like a community site, but it's going to be closer to a hobby fan site.

Search engine traffic is going to be important as, on the whole, this is where most traffic will come from (though further down the line I would perhaps hope for word of mouth traffic and inbound links).

It's not a business site, nor will it ever really be, so the domain name is purely to help visitors get to the site easily and help them remember the site address (plus I suppose to help encourage the Search Engines to favour my site in results as it grows).

On the hypenated domains, as I metioned they may be well less looked upon, but the few existing domains that I own contain hyphens in them (since I assumed when I got them that the hyphen helped provide easier recognition). This would mean another hyphenated domain wouldn't look out of place in my set, though I'm not sure if that matters.

Not sure whether this plays a part in choosing the style but the domain extension will be a fairly low on (probably a .co.uk rather than a .com).


4:28 pm on Jan 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Given your description I'd lean towards using a single hyphen keyword domain. There may be some traffic bleed to the non-hyphenated version but since it's going to be a fan (=loyalty) site the occassional typo typist will find their way back home and thereafter bookmark your site.

If the non-hyphenated version isn't developed the best time to make an offer is before you build. Also, be certain your exposure to trading off type claims is minimal.

IF your crowd is fairly youthful you might go with a catchy made up name. In that scenario you couild make a minisite at the other domain and route traffic to the fan/hobby site with the unique name. Heck, in this scenario the age of your traffic need not be decisive.


5:24 pm on Jan 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

So you're suggesting a domain with the topic upon which the site is based (so widget-info.com or widget-sale.com)?

I'd be keen to hear opinions on splitting the topic title in half as the domain name (wid-get.com). Would this be a sensible way to do things. The topic in question is only two syllabels long so it's possible to split in a similar as the example. Would the site suffer in terms of search engine placings if this method was adopted (for example if all the links contain this style of domain it may not be as targetted if the whole word was present in a domain like widget-info.com).

As a rule I would only order one version of a domain name (so not the hyphenated and non-hyphenated version of the same name nor a .co.uk and a .com), but that is more for cost reasons and the fact that non of the sites are particuarily big. It is possible that a domain may be snatched if the site grows but so far anything that is similar to any site I've run have just been parked rather than developed.


5:35 pm on Jan 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It really depends on your long term goal for the site. Is this something you want to be running for 10-20+ years? Is this "hobby" a flash in the pan that will be burned out in 5 years or less?

If option 1, go with branding. If option 2 go with keywords.



Featured Threads

Hot Threads This Week

Hot Threads This Month