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Authority Journey Episode 2: Buying a Domain in 2018

I am assuming you already read the first announcement and episode 1. I will not be boring you with the same statements over and over again. Instead of that, let’s get  into today’s topic. Today is December 27th btw and it is post-christmas here in Bangladesh. Christmas is not really celebrated here so it is a regular day. I am watching all my international friends having fun on my newsfeed and getting jealous.

Back to reality.

As you can remember, we already selected our topic of interest for the website in episode 1. Our topic was to build a site targeting students in Ireland. Today is time to get a domain for our venture.

I know most of you have bought domains in life. It is not rocket science. I prefer Namecheap when it comes to domain and I prefer Siteground for hosting. Before we get into the details on how to buy a domain, let’s talk about important stuff that you should know in 2018.

Buying a domain post 2017 is slightly different than buying one like before. There are a few things that we need to keep in mind if we want SEO benefits from our domains later on. What do I mean?

Things You Need to Know When Buying a Domain in 2018

Let’s prepare a list of things that you must know (or act accordingly) if you are buying a domain in 2018. There’s no exceptions to these and I have tested almost all of the points myself in last couple of years. Let’s begin.

ssl certificate

SSL Certificate (HTTPS) is a Must: There has been talks about whether you actually need a SSL certificate or this is just for those who process payments on their website. It is now clear that Google will not rank your website if you don’t have a SSL certificate. Yes, websites that are already ranked might not get de-ranked for not having SSL but if you are starting a new site and if you don’t get a SSL certificate, you will never get ranked. I have tested it with different sites and the result has always been the same.

So yes, SSL certificate is a must.

Register Domain For More Than a Year: This seems a bit confusing but it looks like Google is preferring domains that are registered for more than a year when it comes to ranking. It is logical if you think about it. Google doesn’t want to manipulate their search results every year and buying a domain for more than a year gives a signal that the person is serious with the domain. I highly recommend that you buy your domain for at least 3 years to give a strong signal to Google.

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.com Rules: 2017 saw a boom in .xyz domains. Many went ahead and registered this TLD, primarily because it was cheap. Google doesn’t like it when you play with cheap domains. You won’t have to take my words to figure out that .com is still ruling the game. Do any Google search and you will see the .com to other TLD ratio on the results. Whatever type of website you are creating, be it a organization or a review site, .com should be your first preference.

Don’t Buy From GoDaddy: When I am saying GoDaddy, I actually am meaning domain providers who sell you domains for cheap on the first year and then makes up the profit on the second year onwards. For example, GoDaddy will offer you domains even for $1 for the first year but from 2nd year onwards, it becomes $15/year. There are other domain sellers out there who do the same. Try to stay away from these scams.

I have always preferred Namecheap for their consistent pricing and a great customer support. I might be a bit biased towards them with my affiliate link too.

Short-Sweet Name Wins: I go against this rule all the time but that’s not a wise thing to do. If you can stick to a short and sweet name, that will help you in the long run. If you have to have long domain name, make sure that it is at least meaningful.

EMD Still Gets an Edge: In case if you don’t know what an EMD is, EMD stands for exact match domain. To simplify, suppose the topic of your website is dog food and the name of your domain is dogfood.com, that’s an EMD. EMDs still receive better rankings from Google but the effect is on the decline. If you are playing the long game like I am, you should not focus on EMD at all.

Why?

They are terrible for branding and branding always wins at the end of the day.

Always Check History: Big Big mistake if you are not checking the history of a domain. Checking a domain’s history is fairly simple. Go to archive.org and put the domain name that you want to check the history for. If the domain was used before, you will find the history here. In general, I will avoid anything that has a history whether it is positive or negative.

No Dash or Numbers In Between: What is easy to remember and type? Khalidfarhan.com or Khalid-Farhan or Khalid22Farhan.com? You get the idea, right? Try to keep it simple. Do not go for a dash or numbers in between your domain name.

No Bad SEO History: When we talked about checking the old look of a particular domain, I told you to avoid domains that were previously used by someone else. What if you really like the name and it is now available? You can still take it if the SEO history looks decent.

How to check that?

Head over to Moz’s Open Site Explorer & put your domain on the search bar. Check the SEO history both with http and https versions of the domain. Once you hit the search, you will start seeing details such as authority, backlinks and SPAM score. If the SPAM score is even 1, avoid that domain.

Now that we know all of these, what’s the domain name that we will be selecting for our Authority Journey?

StudentsinDublin.com

Believe it or not, the name is available and yes, I just registered it for 3 years. Yay!

Lucky me!

Anyway, I bought it from Namecheap and the next step would be buying hosting from SiteGround. More on that on our next update.

A bit more about my current scenario. I am still in Bangladesh and will be here till 18th of January. I have become a complete potato couch. The only difference is that I am working from my couch (that goes against the core definition of potato couch, I think).

Never mind.

See you in the next update.

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