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Start a website – How to choose domain name

Over the last couple of weeks, I have noticed a couple of arcade blog / arcade collecting themed websites pop up. I have also had a couple of questions about starting / revising an existing arcade game website so I thought it might be appropriate to give some tips on choosing a name for your website / domain name / web address and what tools are available to do just that.

The website name decision – Name vs. Brand

If you are starting a website, the first decision you need to make it what to call your place to share your information. In the example of arcade games the first decision you need to make is, do I want to choose a web address that uses terms that are commonly searched, or do I want to push a memorably brand.

While I think brand has it’s place, this tutorial will concentrate on the value in choosing a domain name based on highly searched terms to leverage your search engine optimization. I think most arcade game collectors don’t really have the time to truly push, position, and create brand equity. Lots of planning is involved in that and this is supposed to be a fun thing, maintaining a website. Right? Well, you want it to be fun but you also want to be noticed, and hopefully I can help with that.

Use search trend websites for potential website names

There are a handful of websites that will show you what people are searching for and whether the trend is that those searches are going up, or going down. For all of these examples we’ll be using ‘Arcade Game’ as the term to search for.

Wordtracker

The first tool for gauging a website name is the keyword suggestion tool at Wordtracker.com. This website will show you a daily volume of search terms that are similar to the term you input. Typically 200 plus searches a day are is a good base to start with.

Wordtracker Keyword Suggestion Website Screenshot

Enter ‘Arcade Game’ and you will see that a number of listings come up with over 2,000 searches a day. Many people are searching for flash arcade games, and not classic arcade cabinet collecting information. (But that isn’t to say they wouldn’t be interested in your website and buying a couple of machines if how to information presented itself ;))

Remember the focus here, find a search that will capitalize on what people already search for. Try a couple of searches with different terms if you don’t want to have ‘arcade game’ in your URL but shoot for that 200 daily searches range. A word of caution. I hear a lot from new collectors that they can’t remember all the ‘arcade’ named website. Arcadeshop, Quarter Arcade, Arcade Controls (BYOAC), Mike’s Arcade etc. etc. They all start to blend together, so even though this tutorial focuses on choosing a name with ‘arcade game’ in the address, you will still need to develop a truly unique visual brand to stand out to other gamers to be remembered accurately.

Google Adwords

The second tool for gauging a website name is the Adwords keyword tool at Google. This tool will give you a relational idea for the terms that people bid on for paid listings.

Google Adwords Keyword Suggestion Website Screenshot

The volumes here should be used as a relational comparison. The greater the green bar, the more advertisers are bidding on that term which generally validates its search quantity. Focus more with this tool if you plan on trying to leverage advertising on your website.

Google Trends

The third tool for gauging a website name is the Google Trends website. This tool shows you how a search term has faired over time, and will give you an idea if more people are searching for that name now or if less searches will be performed for those terms in the future.

Google Trends Keyword Suggestion Website Screenshot

I will say that for Google Trends, most general searches I have done will show some decline over time. Most of the time, unless you are talking about a super hot subject, the trends for search terms I have found are fairly flat. Arcade games will be one of those subjects, just try not to choose a search combo that is losing significant volumes of searches.

Final notes on choosing a website name

Whether you entered ‘Arcade Game’ or some other similar term into the search fields of these websites or not, you will commonly find a search is 2-4 terms. You want your website name to be;

  • Short
  • Easy to remember
  • Easy to spell
  • Clarity – No confusion in letters or brands
  • Semantic meaning – Don’t choose terms that already have some other meaning that isn’t related to arcade games. Example – Someone told me they were thinking about calling their website weblink.com (if available) for a website about fundraising. ‘Web’ and ‘Link’ both have meanings, and they have nothing to do with fundraising. This is an example of a bad name.

So, if you use ‘arcade game’ in your address, you will add a third word modifier for your name. Once you have an idea of what that third word might be head over to Network Solutions, or any other domain reseller website and do a search for availability. Shoot to find a .com, your life will be so much easier. With ‘arcade game’ you will probably have to search for a while for an open .com, but trust me, it is so worth the work. I thought maybe ‘arcadegamehub.com’, or ‘arcadegamesource.com’, but both of those were taken.

Suggestions? Questions?

Not to be biased, but I think the best web address that I have seen come up in the last 6 months is Chris’ site at Tokensonly.com. The search terms won’t be organic, but his website has a fairly strong branded look. There are many ways to choose a website name, and this is one of them. Just make sure to be consistent when you use the name and when you refer to yourself. This is the key to being remembered.

Are there other tools people have used to choose their website name? Any other suggestions people have to choose a website / domain based on keywords? Add a website address if you know of additional tools that I may have forgotten.

Here are some similar arcade posts

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Comments
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I just recently started writing a blog myself, and I found it very difficult to find a word (for the URL) not used by anyone else at Blogspot.
I ended up with SlowCade, short for Slow Arcade (Restorations). Not very catchy, and certainly not a high ranking search word in Google.
Anyway.. It’s at http://slowcade.blogspot.com/

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Hey Mads,

Cool site. I linked to you (thanks for the link, btw). You are now an official member of the Hall of Coolness:
http://www.noiselandarcade.net/
🙂

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@Mads:

You don’t need to mark up your email for spam, it isn’t even displayed. Email addresses in comments are only used for communication back and forth for comments on topics.

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A major factor in naming should be your intentions for the site. If you are starting a blog, personality and identity are huge, so you’ll got a lot more room to play around. For a business, you may want to work with keywords, but there’s also a lot to be said about occupying your own unique space, too. therealbobroberts.net is probably the first site that comes to mind whenever I think of arcade part retailers, and his site follows none of the above rules (but please, don’t follow his lead when it comes to the actual design!).

While generic keywords do play a role in search engine placement, your content will be the biggest deciding factor, along with trustworthy incoming links, etc. With that said, all of Jeff’s final notes are spot on.

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Jamie: Thanks! Your blog is very interesting, so please keep posting!

Jeff: I understand. It won’t happen again, I’m just paranoid.

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On a somewhat related note… I enjoy http://instantdomainsearch.com for checking for domain availability. It provides live results without page refreshes. So it is very quick to check lots of ideas. 🙂

http://www.bustaname.com/ has a tool which gives you suggestions based on keywords you provide.

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@Chris A

The nice thing with Bob Roberts is that good will spreads like wildfire. Every single person that has purchased a part from him speaks highly of him and tells their friends. He is a brand unto himself, whether he planned it that way or not. Plus, he has the advantage of a unique name entering a saturated market of store names that have ‘arcade’ and ‘parts’ somewhere in the title.

@Brian
At the time I wrote this, I was out of time for the night to look at my domain bookmarks. Now I can’t find them. I know I have been to Bust A Name before for domain name generation, but I hadn’t been to instantdomain. That is a fun one, automatically returning results as you type. Thanks for including.

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