In the continuing series on building a profitable niche website, we are now at a point where we are ready to choose a domain so we can begin building the website.
If you are just starting out, and don’t want to invest at all, you could always use a free platform, such as Blogger, WordPress.com, or Weebly.
However, if you are planning on monetizing your niche site, I highly recommend you purchase some hosting and your own domain, and build your website on WordPress.
By now, you have a target keyword, and have written 8-10 articles based around your keyword and related keywords.
The bulk of the ‘thinking’ part is now done. Between now and when your website goes live, it will be more of a mechanical set of steps to follow.
First, let’s find a domain.
Choosing A Domain
Exact match domains are great, although they do not carry as much weight as they used to. In any case, you do want a domain name that reflects your niche, and preferably your keyword.
For a domain extension, stick to .com, .net or .org. Having said, I have successfully ranked an .info domain before I knew that .info domains are associated with shady sites.
If your site is country-specific, you could also consider a country extension, such as .co.uk.
There are a number of tools you can use to find a domain.
Another method I use is to copy all the keywords, remove the spaces in between the word and paste them into GoDaddy’s bulk search tool. You can enter up to 500 names to get checked.
If you can’t be bothered to remove the spaces, I’ve discovered this tool from Orange Tree Web that lets you paste in the keywords as they are, straight from your spreadsheet or Google Keyword Tool. You then choose the domain extensions, and run the search.
A domain name should not be too long. Even if your keyword is long tail at four words, try to stick to no more than three words in the domain, and keep it to 15 characters or less for best ranking results.
Hyphens are ok, but tend to look a bit spammy, so try to avoid them if you can.
Once you have settled on a domain name you like, is keyword rich, 15 characters or less, and is available, head on over to a domain registrar to purchase.
I have domains with both GoDaddy and NameCheap, but recommend NameCheap because I can’t bear the constant upsells and marketing noise from GoDaddy!
Before you purchase, make sure you look for any possible discount codes or coupons. I’ve had good success with this site for getting current coupon codes.
There are several hosting options, and like many others in the blogosphere, I recommend HostGator. The baby plan is affordable, and the hosting service is top notch, as is customer service and ease of use.
As with the domain purchase, google HostGator Coupon just before you purchase to see if there’s some coupon available to make the deal even sweeter.
Pointing Your Domain To Your Name Servers
Once you purchase hosting, you will receive a welcome email from HostGator which will give you your account credentials and the name servers you will need to use to re-direct your domain to your newly purchased hosting.
Make a note of the name servers. Go back to Namecheap or wherever you purchased your domain from, navigate to Manage Domains, and enter the name servers in the appropriate fields.
You can find several YouTube videos for changing name servers for your domain registrar and hosting services. Go to YouTube, and in the search box, enter:
DomainRegistrar HostingService name servers
replacing the terms in italics with your specific services. For example,
NameCheap HostGator name servers
Follow the instructions in the many available tutorials.
It will take anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours for the name servers change to take effect, so don’t panic if you don’t see the change immediately.
In the next post of the series, we start with the WordPress install and the must-have plugins.