I’m kicking off niche selection with how to choose the right domain because the right domain is really, really important. Please read this short, but helpful section. I’ve learned what not to do the hard way. You can avoid my mistakes.
When choosing a niche, you need to assess just how broad or narrow you want to go.
I can tell you from personal experience that trying to publish a Huffpost.com site covering many very different niches difficult to pull off. It didn’t work for little ole me.
Your best bet is to pick a niche and not try to take on too much.
That said, don’t pigeonhole yourself into something too narrow.
There’s a middle ground.
The simple solution: Choose the right domain name
You can solve all problems by choosing the right domain name. The domain name you choose should give you flexibility within the niche but at the same time communicate what your site is about.
For example, if you’re into footwear, choosing the domain name basketballshoes.com is too narrow. That pigeonholes you into only covering basketball shoes. Instead, choose shoebaron.com or footwearfanatic.com.
You could go up one more level to something fashion/apparel/style oriented.
Or, you could the basketball sports niche route where you publish about basketball shoes.
Once you’ve chosen and registered a good domain name that both identifies your niche but doesn’t pigeonhole it, you can publish about anything within the broader niche.
If you register at footwearfanatic.com, you could test some articles on clogs, sandals, basketball shoes, etc. See what sticks. See what you enjoy writing about. When something starts working, cover that type of footwear in more depth.
I can’t stand sites that have boring, keyword-oriented domains like basketballshoes.com. It’s not brandable. It’s boring.
Instead, spend time coming up with something that indicates the general niche but is also brandable. Cyclebaron.com is a great example. You know it’s about cycling but it’s distinctive.
bawodublog.com is also good IMHO. It’s distinctive. You don’t necessarily know it’s about blogging but when you find out what it’s about. it makes sense. I really should buy bawodu.com. Adding the “blog’ portion wasn’t my only choice. It’s not ideal. Avoid having to do that if necessary.
And yes, I’ve registered terrible domains so I say the above from personal experience. Unfortunately, we tend to learn the most from mistakes haha.
IMPORTANT: If you wish to be properly diligent, you will do a trademark search to see if that domain is currently trademarked. If so. avoid it. You can hire an attorney or visit a trademark search website. I am in the process of trademarking one of my domains (biggest niche site). I typically don’t trademark every domain but if you wish to fully protect your domain and website name, that’s the best thing to do. Unfortunately, it was expensive.
Additional domain registration considerations
- One word is best but that’s hard to find. If you can find a good one-word domain, bravo!!
- Two words are probably the best you’ll get.
No numbers: I don’t like domains with numbers in them.
- Avoid dashes in your domain. It looks amateurish (IMO).
- com only: I only build niche sites on .com sites. If I owned a small business in Canada. I’d go with .ca but since my niche sites are global in nature, it’s only .com.
IMPORTANT: Check your prospective domain in Wayback Machine BEFORE registering it.
Twice I’ve registered domains that appeared to be new registrations but ended up being sites in a prior life. That’s not necessarily a problem in itself, but it’s a HUGE problem if those prior sites were penalized by Google for spammy link building. The problem is millions of domains were penalized by Google from previous updates starting with Penguin in 2012.
Now, if you know how to do proper due diligence on a domain, you can investigate to ensure it has not been penalized by Google. I don’t know this process. Most folks don’t. So my practice now is to check every single domain in Wayback Machine. If it was a website once upon a time, I do NOT register it. It’s unfortunate because I’ve had to skip some great domains but if you register and build a site on a punished domain, you will have a difficult, if not impossible time ranking that site. I know from personal experience – it’s happened twice to me.