How to Select an Awesome Domain Name For Your Blog

Having an awesome domain name is a vital component of your branding and essential for creating a positive online presence for your blog. Once you decided to launch a brand new blog, you should come up with a great domain name for it.

You need to think about the name that you want to call your online baby. You should pick a proper domain name because it can influence your site’s future success or failure. Well, perhaps not that drastic, but it’ll have a great deal of impact on your website for sure. As a matter of fact, it used to matter a bit more before the Google EMD algorithm update, but picking the right name can still either help your blog or keep you back from success. I’m going to list a few crucial factors that you need to keep in mind while selecting a domain name for your new blog.

Domain Name with .com TLDPicking an Awesome Domain Name

Got a .com Domain Name

In the first place, you need to make sure that your future site has a .com TLD. In case you’re not in the know, TLD stands for Top Level Domain. Though having .net or .org TLDs is still OK, you really need to do your best and get the .com one, because – like it or not – the audience is just used to the fact that a site should have the .com in the end.

That holds true even more if you want to run a really reputable site. How many non-.com sites can you give me right off the top of your head?

I’m personally having a hard time with coming up with at least one example. And that’s for a reason. For starters, bad habits die hard. And secondly, that’s just how things are on the Web nowadays.

Got a non-.com Domain Name

In case you were not that lucky to get a .com domain name, you need to emphasize that fact whenever possible so that your prospects or just visitors go to your site rather than to someone else’s. And that brings me to another point, which you need to keep in mind. If you could not obtain the .com version of your domain name, you need to really make sure that the site that got that .com TLD is not your direct competitor.

That’s because you don’t want your potential clients to go to your competitor’s site every time they misspell your site domain name (typing .com instead of your non-.com domain name). Plus you’ll have to compete with them even in your company name rankings in Google’s search engine pages. And chances are, the score will most likely be not in your favor if you are not a .com site. I’m not saying that it’ll happen for sure, but you just give another reason to Google for it to happen. What you really want is get your site easy to find so that you can drive traffic to it.

Easy Name

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Another idea to be aware of is that your domain name should be really easy to type for the user. If it’s the case, you’ll get less mistypings and consequently less customers that went to a different site just because you did not take the time to come up with a more user friendly domain name.

There’s even a science that studies keyboard keys that are the easiest to type with. Plus we all like everything easy because it means that we won’t have to waste our time on a steep learning curve. Even if it’s a really small one.

Easy to Recall

That’s similar to the previous point but it’s more about the ease of keeping your website address aka domain name in your mind. While thinking what name to use for your site, you should also consider how easy or hard it’ll be to actually memorize your domain name. Long story short, you need to use usual letter-combinations or words that are easy for pronouncing and typing. The words that are easy to pronounce are usually easy to remember.

As Short as Possible

It’s not enough if you just know how to make a website in terms of web design and content marketing. You should take the time to make using it a breeze. Since we all are usually in a hurry, respecting your visitor’s time is a priority. In the ideal situation, your visitor should be able to type in just a few letters and hit the Enter key before he sees your site. Plus a short domain name is easier to memorize and recall. Truth is, it’s pretty hard nowadays to find a short .com domain name, though hard does not mean impossible. That’s one of the cases where your vivid imagination can come into play.

Easy-to-Guess Spelling

It goes without saying that you can always spell your domain name, but it’s really cool if you or rather your customers can enjoy a domain name with easy spelling. Firstly, it’ll ensure that your domain name won’t be misspelled every other time. Secondly, you won’t have to waste your time – especially in a radio ad or the like – for spelling out your domain name like 3-4 times just to make sure that the listener knows where he’s supposed to go next if he decides to actually give you a chance to sell him some services or products.

No Hyphens and No Numbers

You may be really tempted – taking into account my previous tips – to use hyphens or numbers to make your domain name shorter, easy to memorize and type. Although all the above-mentioned tips still hold true, you don’t really need to go too far with them. Both hyphens and numbers can confuse your potential audience. So, it’s a total no-no. For example, you may call your site mysitename4you.com or mysitenameforyou.com, and if the actual name is the first option, chances are you may land in hot water and pretty fast. How will the visitor know how exactly he’s supposed to spell your domain name? Don’t take it for granted that they will just know. Your visitors are clever people, but most likely they are not fortune tellers.

Look and Sound Good

Since you’re about to run (or already running) an online business, you also should keep in mind the idea that your domain name should have commercial appeal. That translates into being perceived by the target audience in a positive way. Let me break it down for you with the help of an example. Say, you want to launch a site in Mexico and call it “nova.com”. The problem is that “no va” means “no go” in Spanish. So, you can get a problem like that, seemingly out of nowhere. Other than that, you need to remember that different colors, words and objects have a wide variety of meanings in different cultures.

No Slang

In most cases, you need to avoid using slang words in your domain name, although it’s still an option if you’re sure that your target audience will just absolutely get and love it. The first example that jumps into my mind is digg.com. It’s both short, easy to memorize, easy to type, though slang is definitely in use.

The thing is that digg.com was founded by Kevin Rose like 10 years ago or so. Those were the times when it was really easy to register a domain name like that. And it’s a bit different in our day and age. So, stick with standard English words. :)

Exact Match (or Discoverable) Domain Name

Like I said in the very beginning of the post, it used to be pretty beneficial to have an exact match (aka discoverable) domain name, because it helped you to rank better for your target keywords. Though using such a domain name won’t hurt you, it won’t help you a great deal either. What I’m trying to say here is that you should not dwell too much on coming up with a domain name that has your keyword in it. Having such a domain name won’t give you a huge advantage any more. So, better invest your valuable time in taking into account the other factors that really have an impact. And make sure to focus foremost on the quality of your site, both in terms of content and design.

Brainstorm it

In case you really want to use relevant words (keywords) in your blog’s domain name, just think about the ones that describe what your site is going to be about. Try to use synonyms and your keywords to come up with something that looks and sounds both good for the user and the major search engines.

I really want to mention that Ms. Ileane did a really great job with her BasicBlogTips.com, because the name says it all in this particular case. I mean it’s enough to just see the domain name and you can say right off the top of your head what Ms. Ileane’s blog is all about. Kudos to you, Ms. Ileane. That’s an amazing example of the idea that I’m trying to convey here.

One of a Kind

You need to do your best to use a really unique name in your website address. Don’t just use a plural form or a misspelling of a reputable site. It’s dirty pool in the first place. And you just won’t be able to build a rock solid and high profile online business with such naming conventions. :) Just make your domain name really unique. It is supposed to be so exclusive that people just won’t be able to take it for something else.

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In Conclusion

It all boils down to the idea that you need to make your domain name convenient and memorable for the end user. Once all those conditions are satisfied, you can think about SEO. And definitely not the other way around, because doing so won’t give you any advantages. You don’t need to create a site for robots or aliens. Your target audience is people with their emotions and habits. Plus chasing the Google algo is a bad idea because the only thing that is not changing in it is change itself.

What about you? How did you decide on the domain name for your blog?

About 

I love all things web development and web design. Plus I'm doing content management for small businesses. Other than that, I've been running my own blog for a while now.

152 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Domain selecting is not as hard as many make it seem.

    I always go by “what works for you” and “what you like”…

    Make your domain name relevant to what you are going to provide through your website.

    Samuel from Internet Dreams

  2. Aasma

    Hey Kenneth,

    Agreed with your points, you should try to get .com domain for your website. Second focus on having a domain name which is easy to recall and can easily tell you what your site is about.

    • Thanks, Asma.

      It’s good to hear that you agree because I’ve investigated thing issue really in-depth. And it would be really disappointing to find out that I just wasted my time. :)

    • You got it. If you want to promote a local business, it’s really crucial to get a domain name that is standard for that particular location because it (along with a whole lot of citations) will help you or your customer to get ranked high both in Google and Bing.

      • Thanks for the reply, that’s exactly what it did. I had around 22 mini sites all for various towns/cities across the country. They drove traffic back to the client’s main money site.

        It allowed me to rank for *keyword* Liverpool, *keyword* London, *keyword* sheffield etc… I agree, cruical for local business marketing. Makes your life a lot easier.

  3. Smart tips here Kenneth!

    Take great care in selecting your domain name to drive more targeted traffic to your website.

    This is a quick and easy way to boost your ranking in search engines too.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. in my opinion .com domain is always best. .com is a must have because it is the default everyone tries first if they don’t know the extension.

  5. Good post on choosing a domain name. I think things have changed very dramatically and domains have to be chosen very carefully. No more exact match domains, perhaps it will still work provided that it is very good. Brand-able names is now going to be the future.

    • Thanks for your input, Shalu. Yes, they still work if your site is of really cool quality. One of the site’s I’m doing SEO for has suffered really hard after the EMD update from Google. So, I’m saying that from real life experience. :)

  6. Great post, you’ve listed everything there is to it when it comes to choosing a good domain name. I would also suggest people to be creative when coming up with domain names, especially when the ones they might’ve wanted have been taken. Twitter, for instance, is a good example of being creative when it comes to domain names.
    Try coming up with a word of your own!

  7. I’m glad you mentioned the EMD status. Gone are the days (thank goodness) that you can just buy up ‘keyword’ domains and attempt to rank with poor quality content. I’ve seen some ridiculous spam domains that just don’t read well in the results page.

    • Thanks for the comment, Michael. I actually have mixed feelings about the update. One one hand, it really fixed the issue with too much advantage to exact match domains. On the other hand, I worked with a site that had a legit EMD domain. And it suffered as well. :)

  8. That was really a wonderful post. I just read about EMD(Exact Match Domain) and how they are losing in google ranks after Panda update. Thank you for nice suggestions.

  9. Using these tips i have just booked two domain names. but a domain name checker website is now showing that my loved one domain is not so Good, but i love the name very much it contains all the feature i was looking for. Another name is very good according to this tool but does not meet my niche. with whom i should go. Kindly guide me

  10. Everyone always talks about having your main keyword in your domain, but I’ve seen websites with ridiculous domain names ranking very well. So domain name isn’t as important as everyone makes it out to be. In my opinion at least. But as always, great article. Thanks

  11. Good post. One of my rules of thumb for any domain name is the radio test.

    I imagine the domain name is being said aloud in a radio commercial.

    Will people remember it even if they only heard it once?

    PS:

    Have you ever bought domain names with lousy names? I once bought one and fatfingered the name. Long story.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jacko. It’s a good tip. I’ll try to use it next time I have to come up with a domain name.

      Yeah, before I started working as an SEO, I did buy a few stupid domains. The problem is that I understood it after 4 years. :)

  12. These are definitely some great tips and I wish I picked a different domain name that really says what I am about, without giving me the option to change that.

    The fact that I used my own name as the domain name is posing a problem because sometimes my views slightly change, as does the focus of my website. The overall topic is consistent, but the way I present it can change over time.

    A more specific domain and site name I feel would allow me to maintain more focus, but maybe that’s just my thoughts.

    Keeping not using numbers or hyphens was a smart move on my part though!

    Thanks for the great post,
    -Gabe Johansson

    • Thanks a lot, Gabe. I see what you’re saying because one of my sites (my private one) has the same issue. As a matter of fact, I don’t think it’s a problem for a personal site, but on the other hand I’m jumping from one niche to another with that site. In the beginning, I was just creating video tutorials for web master beginners, then I focused on PHP. And now I’m more about SEO.

      On the other hand, if you use your name as domain, it means that you have a brandable domain name and you can develop both your site and yourself as a brand. It’ll help you to find great job opportunities down the line. It happened to me once. People will just start judging you by the quality of your blog.

  13. what a Nice post kenneth, but i may have to disagree on a particular statement. because you don’t have a dot com extension doesn’t put you on a bench, i can name many websites and blogs that doesn’t have a dot com extension and they are very popular and reputable. having a good domain name is what is necessary. but a dot com extension is more popular but all are very best. thank you

    • I see what you saying, babanature. Please let me know which domain name you’d buy if both were available: mysite.com or mysite.net (mysite.org, mysite.tv)? I don’t know about you, but I’d definitely go for .com

  14. I have been interested in the .co domain names as well as .com. This extension has received global recognition and ranks in Google just as well as .com does. However, it’s $30 a year to renew a .co and only about $12 a year to renew a .com.

    I recently started a blog on the domain mydr.co and I’m waiting to see my success with it. Short, four letter domain that means “My Doctor”. The .com version of this would sell for at least $1,000.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Ian. Yeah, I was thinking about buying a .co one as well. I actually wanted to buy it for my personal site but then I just decided not to create a private site because I was not sure how to monetize it.

      It’s a good point that you can get a nice domain with a .co TLD, but (just like you pointed out) it makes sense only if you know it’s worth investing in it.

  15. Nice post. Of course everyone should prefer a .com domain. Keep the domain name simple and tidy. Another tip would be to select the domain name such that it reflect the niche of your site.

  16. Selecting right domain name plays vital role in branding business. Short domain names are easy to remember and easy to brand. But when you`re suggested many to take keyword rich domain problem comes here.
    So you need to decided you need keyword domain or brandable domain name.
    ~@khajamoin1

  17. Hi,
    Getting a good domain name for your site is not an easy thing to do after all. I like the tips that you have suggested. Great ones!! Thanks for the share!!

  18. I remember really that was hard time for me When I choose my domain name. Things was very difficult what to choose, how to choose and so on. Although its tricky but good points also you make it quite understandable this post. Thank you Kenneth for shared.

  19. All great advice, I already followed some of these rules and you’ve given me a couple more, thanks. And most definitely on the .com domain name.

  20. Yeah always selected TLD’s domain names because it’s most authentic in search engines and one thing more always use one keyword in your domain name which you target in future, hyphens, slashes, dashes don’t used simple and easy domain name selected because every one can understand easily as well !

  21. Cool one Kenneth. Believe it will help the newbies buying their domains. I prefer to buy domains from Godaddy auctions. The reason why I like it is I can buy old and valuable expired domain names from there, even sometimes there are few PR domains listed there for sale.

    • I appreciate your comment and the tip you shared, Taswir Haider. It sounds that I’ll try to do it next time as well. Hopefully it works better than their hosting cPanel that I had quite an experience with. :)

      • Thanks for your appreciation Kenneth. Actually I also do not like Godaddy Hosting as I prefer to use Hostgator. But their auction is really awesome to find some good aged domains and since I am involved in domain business too besides blogging, I got success in purchasing old/expired domains from them.

  22. I think that the most important piece is making sure that it has the keywords that you are focusing on. Above all else Google loves keywords in your domain name. So I’d say that all the above is true for repeat visitors, but getting it to appear under the proper keywords in Google it is important to plan for it when choosing your domain name.

  23. Hi!

    Choosing the right domain name is very crusial for any kind of website, especially for those which are for monetization! I believe that an excellent domain name have to include a non competitive keyword, easy to recall and really targeted!

    Thank you,
    Zouras

  24. These are great tips in choosing a domain name. Also, one can use websites such as snapnames.com and domainr.com to help them in suggesting cool domain names.

  25. Hi Kenneth
    I wish I had registered for a .com domain when I started my blog. Not that it is too late, but it would just have been easier to get it right from the start. I think that the hard part about finding the right name is that all the good .com domains seems to already been taken. You might have to be creative because everyone wants a .com domain on less of cause it is a domestic website only.

    • Thanks for your comment, Thomas. You can either get really create and come up with a really exclusive brandable name or use your keywords in your domain and get yourself a .net, .org domain name. As a matter of fact, I would not recommend to focus too much on a domain name. The quality of your content, products or services is the uppermost factor. Plus it’s future-proof unless Google goes really crazy. :)

  26. Very true! Funny story: I was racking my brain for days on what to call my new website, which is for submitting literature, when I asked my Dad what he thought would be a good name, he said (almost without hesitation, by the way) “How about ‘Lit Submit?” I was stunned, it was perfect. Of course, when I got home I had my doubts that it would be available, it has been my experience that if its too good to be true it usually is, but to my surprise nobody had taken the name! Needless to say I was floored. And it just goes to show you, sometimes Dad knows best….

    • Great story, Andy. Your dad is a wise guy (even if he does not know that) :) I guess it worked because he also was thinking out of the box. It happens to me as well when I investigate some issue too closely, I can’t really be too creative. It helps if I take a rest though.

  27. Hey Kenneth,

    Years ago when I first got started it was much easier to get a domain name you liked or wanted. Of course that was when you could only get them from one place at thirty five dollars per year and a minimum 2 years. Basically at that time it was seventy dollars just to get a domain name, but I could have got some really great domains. At any rate there are still some decent dot com’s out there. It just takes a little more research.

  28. great tips.
    choosing a simple,neat and clean domain name is the best way to attract visitors. and having a .com extension is adding more value to it. one should not go for domain names with hyphen or numbers. it makes the domain tough to remember.thanks for this post

  29. Before taking a new domain name, i also checked if the same name domain with another extension is not on the three first spot on google. Otherwise it will be too hard to get forward them…

  30. You have given some good tips on how choose a domain name. I agree that domain name should be as short as possible because people will be able to remember our domain. It also good to buy other TLDs such .net and .org and redirect them to our .com site, so that our competition don’t buy those TLDs.

  31. Hi Kenneth
    That’s interesting. A popular blogger reviewed my site and also said the same thing that I should not worry about it. I would like more opinions on this actually from other bloggers and would love to know what they think about using my own name as domain name for blogging.

    • Thanks for the question, Nisha. You know what? It’s cool if you want to develop your name as a brand. Some people do it to gain positive reputation and then get better jobs because of that. :)

  32. Great Post Kenneth,
    Choosing a domain name is not an easy tack, i was recently contemplating about domain names with Ms. Ileane and all i can say is that it is not easy.
    What I look for in domains now is easy pronunciation, ryhme and relevance, once a domain has these 3, i guess its good to go.

  33. great article Kenneth.., nicely written.., chosing the perfect domain name is the hardest work in the blogging., you always have to compramise in this.., it always happens that the name you selected for your next blog is already taken..,

  34. Where I 100% agree with you is when you mention build your product/website and THEN pick a domain. Far too many people will pick a domain and then build a blog, or website around that domain. This is backwards, but true, it actually used to work in prior versions of google, but now having simply a stellar domain isn’t the ticket to traffic.

    You’ve gained a new reader, thanks for the post.

  35. i am absolutely agree about tips above. Beside that, if you want to choose domain make sure that your domain name contain your keyword. It will help you web ranking in search engine..thanks kenneth for great tips

  36. I want to ask a question about domain name from you people that if i have a website and i want to add a blog within website then what should i do, i have two options for it blog.example.com or example.com/blog. Which will be more effective and helpful for good ranking position?.

    • Thanks for your question, Jessica. Unfortunately, I’ve not tested it myself, but judging from what smashingmagazine.com is doing (for instance “coding.smashingmagazine.com/” , you need to go for blog.example.com where the “blog” word should be replace with the keyword that you’ll be targeting.

  37. hi,
    one should come up with something that looks and sounds both good for the user and the major search engines.
    its better invest your valuable time in taking into account the other factors that really have an impact.
    thanks:)

    • Thanks for your comment. The best way would be to invest one’s time to researching an topic so that you can create an amazing post either for your own site or just offer it as a guest post. :)

  38. This is a great article. Choosing the right domain could be very hard and time consuming. Another tip would be to select the domain name that reflects the niche of your site. I notice that trying to find a two-word domain that makes sense is almost impossible, perhaps that could be the reason why you see many strange sounding domains today :)

    • Thanks for your comment, Daniela. As a matter of fact, I totally agree with you. The niche aspect was just called a bit different (exact match domain) in the post. Well, I do understand it’s not exactly the same, but your niche is pretty often the keyword you want to target.

  39. Excellent posting with regard to the domain name. Have learned from many folks in the past that when it comes to making a website, one of the crucial things to take into consideration is giving the domain a name that will stand out and be relative to the business at hand.

  40. exact match domains are still useful but not for long run purpose. You can just run a micro niche blog on EMD’s. if you have plan to make your domain primary one then think of a brand able domain name. it will be beneficial for you and also easily remember able for visiters

  41. Hi Kenneth, definitely gotta be unique when getting a domain name. Types of domain like hyphens between each word and number can be really confuse to other.

    Once they chose it as their domain name and still getting well known to the crowd, that is amazing. Site like Digital-photography-school, 2Createa Website…. are amazing. They got hyphens and number.

    However, it’s great to choose domain name without them.

    Thank y0u – Ferb

  42. Hey Kenneth, Nice post and I really enjoyed it while reading it. I am totally agree with you and in my point of view the most toughest part of getting a domain is the, choosing a good domain name for the blog and the most disappointment came when the domain name which we select for our domain is already exists.

  43. I spend a lot of time brainstorming a new domain before I actually take the plunge on a new project. Almost every time I have immediately bought a domain related new idea, I end up not liking it and pick a new one. Your domain is your brand and you will invest a lot of time into it. Make it a good one.

  44. I have many websites and have faced disappointment several times when the domain is already taken. Sometimes, the domain is too good to let go so I had words like the, an, a ,etc in the beginning or add a small numeric in the end. This way the domain is also obtained and also easy to remember.

  45. There is one thing about the TLD.
    Maybe if your are blogging for your an audience in the united states or an international audience then it’s indeed needed to have a .com domain.
    If you are blogging for a local audience, like the uk, germany, netherlands, etc. you better use a local extension instead.
    like: co.uk, .de, .nl

  46. Hey,
    Domain name is really important because it reflects your business and brand name. Popular domain name TLD such as .com is easy to remember and mostly used by every one and the additional information share by you about domain name is really good and help to choose perfect domain name. Thank you for the post.

  47. From my point of view, the domain name is like a business card. If we want to develop a successful site on the long run, we should take into account all these preliminary steps and plan everything to the littlest detail.

  48. Very interesting list of tips on how to get an awesome domain name. I wish I knew some of these things when I was getting the domain name for my blog. Thank you so much for sharing your tips. I will definitely use them next time when I start another site!

  49. You are right. EMDs are not in fashion anymore. But for an EMD or non-EMD you need to work equally hard to get rankings! I am not sure about your TLD part. I have seen many high PR websites with .org (and I am not biased).

  50. A unique yet easy domain name can work wonders. However, yes that will need a lot of brainstorming. I agree to all the points you have stated in your post. A short and not a very complicated domain name will be easy for the readers to remember and they can keep coming back again and again to the website.

  51. The problem I suffer with when launching a new site or product is coming up with a good name for it, I have actually walked away from a couple of opportunities because I just could no come up with a name that I thought was good and connected with my product.

    Would outsourcing this be something to consider?

    • Well, first off, thanks for your comment, Dean Saliba. Sure thing, you can outsource in terms of asking people to provide with some ideas but you need to be the person who makes the decision because it’ll be your business and you’re in charge of major decisions.

  52. After Google latest update its important to choose a good and specific name of domain and if you choose a good name for your website with related and which domain people could understand easily about your website that is helpful to search your website in Google.

  53. A domain should be something that is brandable and easy to remember. As once more and more people know about your brand , people will start remembering the domain

  54. i agree .com are hard to find but easy to remember
    and getting short name is next to impossible
    but still we can try and use word combination to get one

  55. The domain name is the 1st key of success for a website. Thank for discussing about domain name selection in your blog. I think you are the great blog poster who all time try to suggest people to a right point. I seem anyone can get a proper domain name by using these tips.

  56. Sai Kumar

    Hi Kenneth, Selecting the Good Domain name is most important and the hardest task for the bloggers and business owners. Really shared a great tips bro by which we can choose the good domain name easily. Thanks for Sharing this great tips :)

  57. I blog about photoshop. So “photoshop” is my targeted keyword . But problem is I can’t use photoshop in my domain name because It’s trademark of photoshop . So I choose name that contains word ” Image” :(

  58. I spent a LOOONG time coming up with Graywolfsurvival. I actually settled on a different name that had better keywords in it related to prepping but it was difficult to come up with a good them and brand for it so I just went back to using my name in the title because it was easy to just use wolves as a theme. They match the overall thought of the outdoors etc. Keywords are important, and survival is a big one but I chose to veer from what looked good in the search.

  59. When i was about to start a blog, i thought that i would be easily getting a domain name of my choice. But that simply was not the case.
    Anyways, after a lot of brainstorming i came up with a short a sweet name : Ednol
    From the next time onward i will be using up your tips. Thanks for writing this up. :)

  60. Good point about exact match domain names.. I have to say that I have had more success with exact match domain names. I believe it still helps. Like if it used to help by 10%… it now helps by 3%. This is just my experience. The EMD “penalty” was definitely painful for existing EMD websites though. If you’re new, you’re just not going to get as much benefit as before. Probably not enough to contort a weird EMD blog name.

  61. i wanted to create a site that’s why i was searching this type of site because i have to choose domain first. sometime i see that site having no keyword in domain has also good visitor only that domain is short.but in full url there is good density of keyword. is this way good?