Picking A Domain Name

Picking A Freesite Domain

Decision to start a freesite
We will assume that the decision to make a freesite has been made and that the specific niche has been decided.  It is a good idea at this point to simply surf the existing sites in the niche you are interested in and determine what subniches appeal to you and which seem to have the least competition.  While you can build a site in the teen niche and not choose any subniche it is not advisable, as the competition alone will make your life very hard.  While this method is good it can create problems so it is best to also check into why that subniche is underserved, hopefully it is simply because webmasters have ignored it but if there are no paysites to promote or ways to make money with advertising then that subniche is not what you want to invest in at this time.  Choosing a subniche that both appeals to you and seems underserved also runs the risk of not being large enough to support your site, either because there isn’t enough traffic or there aren’t many other freesites to trade with which can be a major problem if you plan to rely on trades for traffic.  While surfing also be aware of the domains you run across and see which sites seem to be the largest and if the domain might have anything to do with that.

The Heron approach: I always do this step when building new sites.  However when I started my network there were very few nn freesites so any subniche sites I built basically had no competition and I had to be careful to keep the theme more generalized to be able to send traffic to paysites and convert.  As time has progressed I have become even more aware that having other sites in the subniche to trade with is a valuable asset.  For instance my site teenswithbraces.com for many years only sent traffic to general teen sites because there were not any paysites that specialized however now there are more paysites opening up with teens that have braces so my site has suddenly become more in demand.  I was able to keep that site though for so many years because I had the financing to carry it, if you are running on a small budget it is advisable to pick a subniche with existing paysites to promote.
Researching domains
Once you have determined a subniche you are interested in it is a good idea to do more research on the amount of traffic the existing sites get and where it comes from.  If most traffic seems to come from search engines then you should be sure to buy a domain that is search engine friendly.  There are a number of tools offered on websites that can be used to determine how many searches are done for a particular term, one such is: overture.  Those tools should only be used as an indicator and not an absolute.  Also when researching domains it is a good idea to ask any paysite programs you might be interested in promoting if they have any banned words that you should be sure to exclude from your domain.  Also while you can buy a .net, .org, etc extension you should be aware that a .com is going to be the domain that gets typed in by surfers so if you spend a lot of money branding a name that isn’t the .com you may be losing traffic.  While the .com is still the best using a .net or other extension can be useful if you plan to get search engine traffic and the .com is simply unavailable, though be aware of possible legal problems if you buy a domain that is similar or has a different extension than another existing website.

The Heron approach: I always check existing websites to find what domains seem to be the best and if any similar domains are still available.  Generally though I find that simply using the search engine tool to see how many searches are done for specific terms helps me to determine the best domains though they might not be the easiest to remember or very short to type in.  My approach has always been to buy domains that are good for search engines and descriptive of the type of content on the site.
Registering domains
To register a domain you have to use a registrar.  Be sure to choose a registrar that is ICANN accredited and also remember that cheaper is not always better.  There are many companies that offer domains, I suggest using Directnic even though it is not the cheapest it is very easy to use and has great support.  You can create a free account and then check to make sure the domains you are interested in are still available to register.  If you get confused check the faq as most registrar sites are built to be very simple to use.  When you register a domain make sure you check the spelling!  Also you may want to buy more than just the .com of your domain to be sure other people don’t buy them if you plan to create a brand around your site.  You can register a domain in 1 year increments, and then setup to renew it as needed but be sure that you don’t forget to renew or someone else might get your domain.  You do want to do some research before choosing a registrar as some have been known to do shady practices such as dropping domains and charging more than they said they would, etc.  Also be sure that the registrar is not registering the domain in their own name and just letting you use it because if down the road you want to change registrars or something happens you won’t have control of the domain.

The Heron approach: I have used Directnic for years and never had any problem, they were started by people who had run adult sites so it is safer than using other registrars that might not understand.  While they cost a bit more than some I stand by them as being the best overall.

This text is intended for individual use only. Any other use or reproduction, digital or conventional, without the expressed written consent of The Heron, is strictly prohibited.

Reader Comments: (1 posts)

Lilian says:
I love reading these atrciles because they're short but informative.
December 10th, 2011
at 2:24am EST
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