Niche Site at Night – Selecting and Spam-Checking My Domain

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Selecting and spam-checking my domainSelecting a domain for a new niche site is more important than you think. It is also one of the more overlooked and less talked about aspects in the overall process of building a niche site. I’ve come to understand just how important it really is – and for this reason I’ve dedicated an entire video and post on the topic. Choosing the right or wrong domain can literally make or break your site.

I had to learn one lesson the hard way when I built out a brand new niche site on a bad domain. That experience has led me to this entire process that I now use to spam-check domains before I purchase them. That’s right – even if it’s a brand new domain name that I dream up and think is totally original – I always check every single domain now before I register them. You just never know. It really doesn’t take very long and it can save you a lot of time and heartache if you are able to find that a domain you were considering is actually no good.

I thought this video was going to be shorter – but I wanted to explain each step of this process as best as I could and in as much detail as possible. I still don’t think my videos are super-awesome, but hopefully you’re picking something up and learning a thing or two from them.

Niche Site at Night Video

Selecting and Spam-Checking My Domain

Or you can watch the video directly on YouTube here – http://youtu.be/xoDEpRN4b2A

Tools Used in the Video:



Dumb Passive Income pages mentioned in video:

Types of Domains to Consider

  • Exact Match Domains – say you are targeting one main keyword for your niche site (example: best charcoal grille). An exact match domain (EMD) would be bestcharcoalgrille.com. These types of domains no longer get a huge boost in the search engines like they did a few years back – but they don’t hurt you either. Plenty of EMD niche sites still rank on the first page of Google and surely are making tons of money.
  • Partial Match Domains – again, for sites targeting one main keyword (primarily), your domain in this case would contain just part of that keyword. An example would be charcoalgrilleguy.com or charcoalgrilleguide.com. Tons of these types of sites still rank highly in Google too. Not a bad option if you can find the right word combination.
  • Brandable Domains – These types of sites may or may not target just one main keyword. You won’t be able to tell by the domain name. This type of domain is usually something catchy or memorable and fits with the overall theme and purpose of the site. An example might be something like meatcookingmaniac.com or cookoverblack.com (<— pretty good one I just made up!). These sites don’t care about their keywords being in the domain and are more or less trying to build a brand for themselves.
  • Expired Domains – These are domains that were previously owned by somebody and possibly used in some fashion and at some point. You have to know what you are doing if you plan to use an expired domain. Possible benefits are relevant and/or powerful backlinks that are already pointing to the domain and the domain showing some age for having been registered some time in the past. Might be a way around the recent Google sandbox phenomenon. Possible disadvantages could include bad links pointing to domain or unknown penalties against the domain based on what previous owners did with it.
  • Brand New Original Domain – This is a domain name that you or I cleverly dream up and register for the first time ever. Nobody else has ever registered this particular domain. It’s a clean slate. An open book just waiting for somebody to create something on.

My Domain Choice Explained

The domain I chose actually shares 3 of the traits described above. It is an expired domain. I would consider it to also be a brandable domain. And it is kind of a partial match domain. I say “kind of,” because I am not targeting one main keyword with this site. The domain I chose is coffeebeanworkshop.com. Expired domain – yes. Only one backlink pointing to it at time of purchase. Domain is a couple of years old with some okay authority stats – PA 19 DA 13. Brandable domain – I think so. I will be building a site about home coffee roasting. Calling it the Coffee Bean Workshop is genius I think – totally brandable and memorable. Partial match domain – well, some of my articles will certainly be targeted around coffee beans, so it is kind of a partial match domain as well.

I’m actually pretty excited about this domain. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get around the Google sandbox phenomenon or not with this domain. I’m really eager to find out though. But then again, I frankly don’t really care whether it ranks quickly or not. This is going to be a long term project and it’s going to take me longer than normal to build out anyway. This due to the fact that I am spending just as much or more time on these case study videos and posts! If I don’t rank in Google for 4 to 6 months, that will be fine with me. Sooner will be better though. Besides, there will be plenty of potential to market this site in ways other than SEO.

Hosting for Niche Sites

Also explained in detail towards the end of the video – why I purchase new hosting now for many of my new niche sites rather than put them all on the same hosting account. Two main reasons: 1. I don’t want sneaky internet geeks finding all of my niche sites and 2. I want to point links from my PBN sites to my money sites, without making it obvious that my PBN sites are pointing to sites owned by the same person.

I have experience now with several different hosting companies. My current favorite is Bluehost for several reasons. Mostly for ease of use and a really nice user interface. But also for fantastic customer service, communication and overall experience. Especially for somebody who is just starting out – I highly recommend Bluehost. Oh! I almost forgot to mention that you get your domain registered for free when you sign up for hosting at Bluehost! Can’t beat that if you are building your very first niche site.


Final Thoughts

As mentioned at the very top of this post – I don’t think the topic of domain selection is talked about enough. I hope this post along with the embedded video is helpful for you as you consider purchasing a domain for your niche site. In my quest to create the best and most comprehensive niche site case study on the internet, I wanted to make sure I spent a good deal of time on this topic.

I look forward to reading your thoughts and answering your questions in the comments section below.

 

  • Hey, Matt!

    Thanks for sharing the information with us, now I definitely know how to search for expired domains and which stats exactly to track. By the way, are you planning to stop the search engine bots during the development process of the website or you will leave them to scan and index the site?

    • Yeah Velin – I guess I kind of shared a beginner crash course on how to find expired domains. Ones that can be used for money sites or for PBN sites. And this is just one simple method. There are many other ways and variations you could add to what I shared.

      I will not be stopping the search engine bots. That would kind of defeat the purpose of using the expired domain to see if I can get around the sandbox. No – I want the search engines crawling and indexing any content on my site asap.

  • Hey matt –
    Thanks for this, great tools on how to find a good, brandable domain with some OK metrics to see if you can skate around the google sandbox. I’ll be interested to see how that fares. One note on the hosting – I think that you did a wise thing to protect your other sites, but I did want to point out that I’ve been moving my niche sites to siteground. They are fairly cheap ($3.95/mo) and much faster than any shared host I’ve been on. The only downside that I’ve found is that they’ll only let you have 1 domain on your account (unless you pay more). This is one of the reasons they can keep it so fast. The support is pretty great too.
    Just wanted to throw that out there for others to look at. If you’re interested in developing another money site, then something that you can install multiple WPs for multiple domains is not a bad Idea. I do it for all of my “new” niche sites, then once they start brining in OK money, I Move them to site ground for the speed upgrade.

    • Thanks for the input Jeff. I have not tried siteground yet. I actually wanted to give Bluehost a try somewhat recently because SO many people recommend it and use it – so I opened an account with them a few months ago for a couple of new sites. I was very impressed and am very comfortable recommending them as my preferred host – especially for newbies.

      One thing I forgot to mention – I pay a little extra (about $40/year) to get a dedicated IP address when I sign up. This way my new niche site isn’t thrown onto a shared server that has 697 other sites on the same IP address! My site load times have been excellent – the ones that I have so far on Bluehost.

  • Rushin Shah

    Hey what are you gonna do for link building other than PBN for link diversity. Are you gonna use HOTH or are there some other packages we can try out?

    • Planning on doing lots of things for link building. Yes, I’m sure I’ll use The Hoth and SocialADR, as well as some pure white hat stuff like blog commenting and good old-fashioned outreach.

  • Matt, awesome to see you sticking with this strategy. Looking forward to seeing the results.

    • Yeah – cool Jon. Looking forward to the results myself!

  • Hey Matt, did you intentionally drop the “e” from “income” on your site header?

    • Mike – no! I didn’t know what you were talking about, so I messed around with it. I discovered that if I make the window smaller, it cuts off the right side of my header graphic in the header bar for some reason (causing the E to disappear). It shouldn’t – but it does. Try maximizing your window and tell me if you’re still seeing the same thing.

      • Yeah, on my iMac it is fine. On an 11″ Macbook, it is cut off, no matter how I resize. I thought maybe you were getting edgy… like .com instead of come… heh.

  • OnSynergy

    Good lessons here Matt. I got burned once buying an expired
    domain because I skipped these steps. The domain had a dodgy history, and in
    spite of good figures from MajesticSEO, Google completely ignored the site. An
    expensive but good lesson. Wish I had seen this video first, before I bought
    the domain!

    • You’re not alone. I made the mistake too, except that I didn’t even know mine was an expired domain. It happened to be an EMD that was available. I was baffled as to why I wasn’t ranking for anything after a few months, which led me to research and come up with this process of always checking domains before buying them.

  • Steven

    Hey Matthew, I’ve learned a ton from all your posts thanks and keep it up 🙂 BTW when’s your next update?

    – I’ve found some keywords for my adsense site these are not related to amazon, eBay eCommerce type keywords etc…all my keywords are generic & have upwards of $5.00 cpc mark + High Adwords competition (Good for adsense :p) & around the 200+ monthly visitors mark for each keyword, however all my keywords are extremely related eg:
    shoes in texas
    shoes in dallas
    shoes in miami
    All have Avg KC’s of less than 25, most of em are way less around KC 16 to 20’s.. So thing I’m worried about is how can someone write articles about : shoes in texas, shoes in dallas, shoes in miami etc..as its good from my point of view as they are extremely related hence its nice & tightly themed for an adsense site, in turn more money for me…however it’s making me think how can an outsourcer write different content based on all these “almost similar keywords”, I mean wont all the content be almost identical apart from words like : texas,dalls,miami on each individual page, since all are separate keywords ?
    – Also is it wise to use multiple low KC score keywords on 1 single page ?
    – How long should one article be 400 words or a 1000+ ?

    Thanks.

    • Next update coming soon. For your related keywords, you could consider writing one massive informational article using the separate keywords as sub-headings and each having their own separate section within that massive article. Lots of studies have shown that Google loves longer content and it would not be unwise to include multiple low KC keywords within the same article.

      700 is my absolute minimum word count that I use these days. More words is better. I shoot for 1500 to 2500 for main articles.

  • Steven

    I checked your domain “www.coffeebeanworkshop.com” it shows nothing for trust flow & citation flow is 10, so is it okay to select this as your starting domain as according to Majesticseo it does not have any trust even tho the site is old ?

    • Good question Steven. My intent with finding and using an expired domain in this case was simply to find an aged domain with a domain name that made sense for my site. I was not looking for awesome backlink metrics or high authority stats (although if I found one with good stats that made sense, I would have jumped all over it). So yes – it’s okay to use this. Think of it as starting a site on an almost brand new domain, except that this one has a history of being registered for a couple of years.

      • Steven

        Sweet, awesome stuff- eagerly awaiting your next update in this case study 🙂

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