Godaddy is arguably the most highly visible domain registrar in the world. Ask your Grandad where you can buy a domain name and it’s much more likely he’ll say Godaddy before Network Solutions, Namecheap, Dotster … or hosting companies Bluehost and Hostgator.

Godaddy, with revenue estimates of more than $600 million per year, has democratized domain purchasing in the United States and beyond. But while they’re made the transaction of buying a domain name easy, the challenge for affiliates is to buy the right domain – one that will bring traffic, and sales, to your affiliate site.

Because the name of your site will so greatly impact the success of your site, you want to get it right.

Here’s how to go about selecting a great domain name.


1. Use your keywords

Brainstorming your domain name can be the hardest part of setting up your business. Once you know your keywords, you can test out a few ideas at Domain Tools. (Even if you’re buying your domain from another registrar, you can still use this service.)

Come up with a list of 5-7 potential domains that contain your primary keyword and share your list with family and friends. Ask them what’s memorable. Ask them which domain they’d be more likely to click on.


2. Stick with the dot-com, almost always

If you’re building a retail (shopping portal) or business-focused site, you should always stick with the dot com. But some affiliate business models, such as review sites or blogs, might find it appropriate to use a dot net or even a dot info.

The challenge with selecting a non-dot com domain is that you could, and likely will, find yourself in competition with the dot com site. When your business is doing great, you might find that all of a sudden, the owner of the dot com domain comes up and launches a new site that directly competes with yours!


3. Keep it as short as possible

If you’re expecting people to remember your URL and type it into their browser, select the shortest domain possible. But if you’re more focused on referrals from search engines than direct traffic, you might find it’s appropriate to choose a domain with all three words of your target keyword.


4. Don’t use trademarks

While it might seem like a great keyword strategy to use the trademarked name of the product you’re selling, this can be a violation of your affiliate agreement. Be sure to check the terms closely, and speak with your affiliate manager, before proceeding with this strategy.


5. Don’t use hyphens

While there are many who will disagree with me on this one, I stand firm in recommending that you avoid using hyphens in your domain.

Hyphens make it hard to block out someone who’s competing with your keywords who might own the non-hyphenated version of your domain. They also make it hard to tell others about your site. It’s just easier to say “german shepherd dog training dot com” than “german dash shepherd dash dog dash training dot com”.

There are a few other quick tips to remember, such as not to use misspellings, register your domain for at least two years, and avoid buying the expensive domain markups at some registrars.


Action Items

Here’s what you need to do to cross this step off your list:

  1. Take your primary keyword and search for suggestions at Domain Tools
  2. Make a list of finalists for your domain, then get some feedback
  3. Buy your domain, and register it for at least two years.

If you can afford it, block your competition by buying the dot com, dot net and hyphenated versions of your domain.

Are you facing challenges with finding and buying a great domain? Let us know in the comments!