After someone finds a great keyword with low competition, they are then faced with the task of finding a great domain name. As I explained in my previous post about exact match domains, there are a lot of options. Of course its always best if you can get the exact match domain of your keyword and the .com is certainly preferred! However, for most of us that don't have money to buy premium domains or are simply not lucky enough to find keywords that have exact match domains available, we need to resort to other options.
One of those potential options is looking at alternative domain extensions; such as .info, .co, .us, etc. I have had tremendous success with the 3 primary domain extensions of .com, .net, and .org – so I recommend using one of these if they are available. But today I want to dig a little deeper on the domain extension discussion.
A Keyword Example
To make this point a little more realistic, I am going to pick a random keyword to give a real life example. Lets say for example that I have decided to target the keyword “Pictures of Birds”. Now to clarify, this keyword does NOT meet my criteria – its doesn't pay enough, and I haven't looked at the competition, but I would suspect that its too high. So, just for a hypothetical example, lets say I want to target “Pictures of Birds”. If you go to GoDaddy.com, you will see that the .com, .net, and .org are taken. So, now I have the choice of getting the exact match keyword with these extensions:
Or, I can just add a prefix or a suffix and get a .com. So, what do I do? What would you do?
I Stick with the .Com, .Net, and .Org
Well, for all of my niche websites I only register a .com, .net, or .org. I never register any other domain extensions, even if the exact match is available in .info, .co, .us, etc. Why do I do that? Well, I don't have any solid evidence that shows that other domains extensions don't work, this is just what I have always done. I have built a couple of niche websites with a .info, but they didn't do very well – but I can't definitely pin this down on the domain name. So, my advice is that you can certainly experiment with other domain extensions if you would like to – they might be just fine!
However, for me personally, I have found success sticking with the .com, .net, and .org – so I don't plan on changing that. So, in this example I would simply add a suffix or prefix and go with that. Perhaps I would buy the domain “bestpicturesofbirds.com” or “picturesofbirdsgallery.com” or something similar. I want to keep the keyword density in the domain high, but it doesn't always have to be the exact match.
What About Dashes?
The final question that comes up with domain names is whether or not to use dashes ( – ). So, in this case pictures-of-birds.com. I don't do this. I have tried a couple of times with dashes, but never had great results. But again, I can't pin the failure of those couple of niche sites on the dashes in the domain – it could have been other factors. So, please feel free to do your own testing to see if dashes in the domains works for you. It might work fine! However, for me I have found a formula that works, so I am sticking with it. And that formula does not include using dashes in the domain. But who knows, maybe I a missing out here.
So, that in a nutshell is my experience and recommendations with alternative domain extensions. I would prefer registering the domain “picturesofbirdsgallery.com” over “picturesofbirdsgallery.us” – even though the .us extension is an exact match domain. Call me crazy, but that's just what I do.
So, what are your thoughts on the subject? How do you feel about my recommendation to not try domain extensions outside of the .com, .net, and .org? If you have any experiences that you would like to share in regards to this subject, I would love to hear them!