How to avoid losing traffic from a poorly chosen domain name

By Kim Ross
How to avoid losing traffic from a poorly chosen domain name


How much thought do you put into choosing a domain name?

Surely it's the easy part of setting up a website, right?

You could be missing out on well-deserved traffic and not even know it if you haven't been savvy about choosing your domain name.  

So what can you do to make sure you're not sending your hard-earned traffic to someone else's website?

You need to put yourself in your customers' shoes. Say your fancied domain name out loud and see how many interpretations you can get out of it (you don't want more than one!).

If I said "Hey, check out my website called See Too", this could lead to numerous interpretations. Following are just a few examples:


And my actual address might be

Of course it's not always possible to get a domain name that has only one interpretation (and even less likely you will get one ending in .com). In this case you need to take extra care to market your website as close to your domain name as you can. You might also buy the domain names for the other interpretations and set up redirects to your site.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • While it's not as important as it once was, using a keyword or phrase that you are trying to rank highly for in your domain name can be helpful. This goes hand in hand with the necessity of choosing a domain name that is related to the topic of your website, seeing as you will use this as the name of your website.
  • Make sure the phrasing of your domain name makes sense, for example ‘' is a lot better than ‘'. You want your domain name to be memorable, so keeping it short is also a good idea.
  • Check if the term you want to use is trademarked. No-one wants the sting of receiving a cease and desist notice after they've put in the hard yards building backlinks for the domain and got it working as a good money earner. Contact your local Government Intellectual Property or Trademarks Office to check this out first.
  • You will also want to check a domain name for penalties (for example penalties given to the previous domain owner for aggressive link building campaigns and so forth). You can do this by pointing a link to the domain from a trusted site, and waiting to see if Google will index it.
  • .com's are the best. It's the default suffix for type-in traffic, and search engines will tend to return results for the .com equivalents first. However, if you're after local traffic then a local suffix, such as, will actually work in your favor for search results.
  • Don't use product names (unless it's your product). This isn't allowed, and would make it difficult for you to promote other products on your site.
  • Use hyphens, numerals and words that are difficult to spell with caution.
  • Don't place words that end and start with the same characters together (for example, It's confusing and can be prone to typos.
  • Be careful with words that are spelt one way in US English, and another in UK English (for example, ‘favour'). Try to use real words too (and avoid text language).*
  • And finally, check your spelling before clicking buy! It's not just our website visitors that can make typing errors and I'm sure you don't want to end up with a misspelled domain name.

Are there any other tips you have that would be useful for those at the stage of choosing a domain name? Share your thoughts below.

*This is a general rule of thumb of course. ‘Affilorama' is not a real word, and once upon a time you wouldn't have heard of Facebook, eBay or Google either. Maybe you could invent a word, brand it well and be the next big thing too...

Neville Easley 14 years ago
Great information I always learn something new here

Affilorma you guys are what they call cutting edge.

Thank you,
Justin From Affiliate Freedom 14 years ago
Wow this was a great post. It's funny most of this information has always been something that was floating around in my head but to have it all in one post like this is really great. Thanks!
rainto rainbow 14 years ago
Don't want to loosing traffic from a poor domain name. Above post is really helpfull tips. But there are a lot more to do to choose a domain name. Thanks.
Neo Kanobi 14 years ago

As always a great post. Thanks for going over the domain name how to's tips

Take care

Neo Kanobi 14 years ago

Great Post as usual, I appreciate the Finding a Domain name tips.

Looking forward to your next post.


Christopher Jacques 14 years ago
Hi Kim

Excellent post on "How to avoid losing traffic from a poorly chosen domain name" with sound advise.

I especially like the last paragraph "This is a general rule of thumb of course. ‘Affilorama' is not a real word, and once upon a time you wouldn't have heard of Facebook, eBay or Google either. Maybe you could invent a word, brand it well and be the next big thing too..." which triggers the imagination.

Gabriel 14 years ago
I like using a keyword type domain name due to the fact it will rank quicker in the search engines especially if you did your keyword research and content homework. Very helpful post , thanks!
Stephen @ The Blogging Academy 14 years ago
Your last point, about spellchecking a domain name before buying, is vital. I know a few people who have not done this and ended up with a useless domain name.

When choosing a domain for a "serious" site (as opposed to a testing or affiliate site), I would always suggest that you live with the domain for a few days. What sounds like a good name today may not sound quite as good after a while.

Gary Jeffers 14 years ago
Some good points there, but when I choose on a domain name I don't rely on type in traffic. I only worry about search results.

As I try and get a domain name with my keyword as in my experience it has helped me rank in Yahoo very well. Its well known that they rank better in yahoo which can account for 15%-20% of your search engine traffic.

To not worry about yahoo is a bit like marketing a new product in North America and not worrying about California and Canada.

It costs the same amount to register or So why not register the name that will get you more FREE traffic.

.com may be good for type in traffic but when it comes to Google, they themselves have stated that they give more credit to .org in the search engines. A little known fact from them not me!

Noor Azlin @ 14 years ago
Hi Kim,
It is hard to find good domain name nowadays. Especially when the niches are famous and overly crowded. I agree with the point on Branding our own domain name. It is hard, but in a long run, worth more than SEO tuned domain names.
Edwin Lange 14 years ago
Greetings Kim,
More on hyphenated domain names would be helpful. I tend to think that they read easier, also are easier to obtain in key areas. Feedback will be appreciated.
Secondly, being a new member (affilojetpack) I must compliment Mark and the Affilorama team for the excellent training provided to date. Concise, detailed and to the point, even for an elderly dummy like me.
Lastly, Great Rugby All Blacks, and this compliment coming from a South African!!!!!
All the very best, Ed lange
James Pruitt 14 years ago
I like choosing a non keyword domain myself. IMRelations for example is not keyword optimized but is memorable and most people involved in the IM niche instantly see it as relevant. Same with your domain here at Affilorama
doryharvey 14 years ago
Hi guys
Great post about domain names, as a newbie I need all the help I can get. Keep up the good work!!

Abizer Nalwala 14 years ago
Hi Kim

This is a really helpful post. Could not be a better time to read it as I am building my first Niche website from AffiloJetPack.

Some of the things I wasn't aware of at all ... like knowing if it was a banned domain or a trademark. The other thing that clicked was to have a logical name rather more meaningful name (where you have given the dog barking example). This is common sense but as they say "common sense is not so common" - no offense to anyone as it applies to me :-)

Reevo Anders 14 years ago
Thanks for th article; what is the meaning of a domain name that is "trademarked" and how does one check it at the Government Intellectual Property or Trademarks Office, as you say above?
Thanks very much!
Kim Ross 14 years ago
Hi Ed,

You're quite right about hyphenated domain names - as GaryJJ said, if SEO is your primary motivation and anticipated source of traffic, then adding hyphens to get the relevant keyword domain name you're after is a great option.

A true compliment for our rugby indeed coming from a South African! Bring on the World Cup next year to see who really is the best ;)
Ken Pringle 14 years ago
Excellent information, I will be checking back here often.
Thank you keep up the good work, success will follow.
Tim Losee 14 years ago
Great tips everyone. Especially about the hyphenated domain names.

I'd love to hear how people feel about .net, .org, etc. sites. Does having a .com REALLY make that big of a difference.

Great article Kim!
Tess QIU 14 years ago
Any comments on .info domain names? Thanks
abbyyy 14 years ago
Really very Helpful And Important aspect which determined by Search engines for Keyword analyzing.
Vicky Moriah 14 years ago
By Vmoriah

Thank you very much for all this teaching. As a newbie it is invalueable to give me the confidence i need to get started.
Maree Lowe 14 years ago
Being a newbie there is always something to learn that seems difficult.
I chose a Domain name (that I thought was silly & no one would use) what a surprise to find others have it as well.
So do I change it & if so how.
The other question I have is how do you know when your web page is on the web?
I typed in my address & mine was not there.
ryanda jones 14 years ago
a half of your explanation is great and new knowledge for me thanks mark goodbless you
14 years ago
Hi Kim, me being a newbie this information was very helpful to me. I have yet to build my first website. I'm going to try to build one today and see how it goes. Again, THANK YOU, for the information. I'm learning a lot from Affilorama. Keep up the good work.
Ben Neki 14 years ago
Thanks for the tips on selecting a good domain name now I know what to avoid in creating my own domain name. cheers.
Truong 14 years ago
thank you for sharing these with us, excellent information
Ian Garratt 14 years ago
I seem to remember Mark saying the domain name is not as important as other priorities on site creation and development, but I suppose every small advantage is a good model to follow.
Richard Smith 14 years ago
Thanks for the great info Kim. Any more information on the new .co domains? And does it help with SEO and traffic generation if I buy the same domain name in com, .net and .org and then just redirect the traffic? Thank you very much.
William Pearse 14 years ago
So many times I've bought domain names and looked back on them and thought "why did I do that!?". It really pays to get domain names that make sense...
Thank great, its make me stay in myway with aff to makemoney now and in the future
14 years ago
i am so new to this domain stuff. but after reading ur article it is so useful. i will do a new domain and put more thoughts into it.
Mark Ward 14 years ago
Thank you for ALL your information! Your site not only informs it also educates.
That's why I'm glad I found your site.
14 years ago
Thankyou all for your help
Aanmelden zoekmachine 14 years ago
I think keeping it a short as possible and not using signs in the name will help a lot!
14 years ago
can you teach me how to drive traffic to our websites. i mean free traffic. from where do we get free traffic. tq god bless you mark. by the way i am from malaysia and a 'very' newbie to internet and computers.
Richard Oneil Long 14 years ago
I am also a newbe, and I am looking at ideas on domain names. I consider everyone out there a possible source of good information. Keep up the good work.
Theo 14 years ago
Great insights, Thanks
Personally i try for exact match domain names first, i have found that i need to do much less SEO work to rank high in google if i have an exact match .com .net .org (in that order)
If i can't find exact match i will add a prefix (best,top etc). But definitely keywords in domain name do help a lot.
My example: Best SEO
Michelle Reynolds 14 years ago
Thank you for pointing out trademarks. This is not an obstacle that I would like to come up against in the future.

2u4 13 years ago
So my website,, would be a bad choice? :-)
Andrew Pupols 13 years ago
Great tips on getting domain names, never thought about interpretations before.
Peter 13 years ago
How you should chose domain name really depends on what your're selling and most importantly how you're making money. You sell affiliate products or you use adsense as you main money making model then you should include main keyword you're trying to rank for.

Branding is also important and if you're setting up new company then you should choose something that is different and easily memorable and easy to type. Including keywords in this case is also a good idea
Nida Sea 13 years ago
I had a hard time finding the right domain name for my site and others I own. There were some I had chosen that simply had no luck at all. One I did have for a long time actually received sales. This was before I knew about keywords and SEO. The things we learn I suppose.

- Nida
Akhar ali 12 years ago
i always thought in niche marketing that having the keyword in the domain is a must i am hearing it not important.

i am getting mixed messages here. Please help me as I got many domains on keywords
Cecille Loorluis 12 years ago
Hi g1akhtar,

I quote from the above article:

"While it's not as important as it once was, using a keyword or phrase that you are trying to rank highly for in your domain name can be helpful. This goes hand in hand with the necessity of choosing a domain name that is related to the topic of your website, seeing as you will use this as the name of your website."

As mentioned in the above paragraph, it is no longer critical to have your keyword in your domain name. This does not mean that it is not important. If you can have your keyword in the domain, then that is great. But you do not have to get stuck at choosing domain names because you can't get a domain with your target keyword in there.

Hope that helps. Have a good day!
mackenzie 12 years ago
Great post. I was thinking about starting a blog but I don't know where to start. I do know that there is a few do's and don'ts when it comes to domain name registration. I heard that choose to register a domain name with a Qatar domain is better because there are more possibilities for finding your desired domain name available versus US domains. What do you think? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Rodolfo De Leon 9 years ago
Once more. Can my domain name be in general(for lack of better word)as in: for use on my niche now or is it better to focus on specific
target better?
Plz help!!
Melissa Johnson 9 years ago
Hi, Rodolfo --

I'm afraid I don't understand the question. The biggest issue is to make sure you avoid using specific product names or anything else someone might hold the copyright too.

If you want more help with domain names, you can always contact our support team ( or talk with other affiliates on the forum! (