How to Select a Domain and Install WordPress for Your Niche Site
Note: This post of part of a series that we are doing that is following the creation of our first niche site. If you are just joining us, be sure to check out the previous posts as well.
Announcing Our First Niche Site – The introduction post explaining why we are doing this and what a niche site is.
How to Select a Niche for Your Niche Site – An overview of the process we used for selecting our niche as well as the criteria that we used.
Selecting a Domain Name
So if you read the last post, you will know that the niche that we selected was around which agile certification people should get. Agile is an umbrella term for a bunch of different methodologies for developing products, primarily focused on software development. As a result of the changing world and increased demand for people with agile experience, a variety of companies and certifications have popped up. For someone looking to get a certification to learn and enhance their resume, it can be difficult to determine which certification they should get.
The difficult part of selecting a domain name is that many of the good ones are taken. This part of the process involves gathering a list of potential domain names that are available and selecting one (or more) domains to use.
*Note: We are not experts in this arena. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a field that is complicated and constantly changing. Companies like Google constantly change their algorithms for how they search and rank sites. Instead of getting caught up in the latest strategies, we are going to rely on common sense and creating great content to bring people to our website. While we may employ some of the latest SEO strategies, we will not be digging deep into this topic. If you have specific questions on SEO, either leave a comment below or search Google.
Step 1 – Gather a List of Keywords
For this step, we will again go back to our Post It notes and markers. Taking 10 minutes, we made a list of any related words that went along with agile certification. Each word was written on a separate note. After 10 minutes, we had a variety of potential keywords for the site.
<insert picture of post it notes>
To get some additional help and some insights to how popular the keywords were, we jumped over to a free online keyword research tool that we found through a Google search. We entered our main topic and received a list of other potential keywords and their relative popularity.
Given this search, we research this list of keywords. Some of these keywords we had and we added some new ones to our list.
Armed with this list, we can now go ahead and see what domain names (websites) are actually available for us to choose from.
Step 2 – Search for Domain Names with These Keywords
Armed with your keywords, you can now find potential domain names. We use and highly recommend BlueHost. We use them for not only searching and registering all of our domain names, we also use them for hosting and easy WordPress install (which we will get to later in this post).
A few quick benefits of BlueHost:
- Free domain name for the first year
- Low monthly hosting fee (starting @ $3.49)
- 1 click WordPress install
- Great uptime and support
If you want to use BlueHost, below is a walkthrough video and a few guided steps. If you choose to use another provider, the steps are probably similar and you can skip these steps.
Navigate to BlueHost and press the “Get Started Now” button.
BlueHost offers a few plans. If you are just going to have your singe niche site, then the $3.49/month plan will work fine. If you are planning to have more than 1 website, then opt for the $5.95/month plan and you can have as many websites as you want. This is the plan we use and have all of our business websites with while only paying $5.95/month.
Once you select your plan, you have the option of searching for a domain name.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search:
- If you can get your keywords in your domain name, that is a good thing.
- If you can get the .com extension, that is preferred.
- Length of the domain name is not critical. With traditional websites, you want a short and memorable name. But given that most people will find your niche site online, longer names are OK.
Given the following, we actually went with the first domain that we search for, which was WhichAgileCertification.com. We selected this name for a few reasons.
- It contains our keywords of agile and certification.
- If I were to search for this topic, my natural search term would be “which agile certification …”. Therefore, this domain name may match search terms.
- The name says what the site is for, determining which agile certification someone should choose.
Registering the Domain Name
Once you decide on a name, simply fill out the account information, select your package information and enter your billing information.
In the next section you will have the ability to select information about your plan. To get the cheapest monthly plan ($3.49/month), select the 36 month plan. If you want to select a shorter plan, you can do a 24 month plan for $3.95/month or a 12 months plan for $4.95/month).
There are several other add-on options available that you can purchase. We typically do not purchase any of them, but you may want to consider some of them depending on your business. One that applies to everyone may be the Site Backup Pro. It is very important to backup your website so that you do not lose all of your information if it ever crashes. One easy way is to purchase Site Backup Pro for $1.67/month. Otherwise, there are plugins that you can install and configure to backup your website. Either way, we highly recommend making sure your website is backed up.
In the final section, enter your payment details and click the next button. You will now be the owner of a brand new domain name for your niche site. Congratulations!
One of the things that we love about BlueHost is how easy it is to install WordPress. Once you have your account, login and select the “Install WordPress” icon.
Then click “Install” on the following WordPress page.
On the following page, select your domain name and press “Check Domain”.
This will check to make sure that WordPress is not already installed. Assuming it is not installed, you can select the “advanced options” and enter your website name and create a username and password. When you are done, press the “Install Now” button.
And with that, you now have your very own website and have WordPress installed.
In the next post, we will walk through some of the setup to do on your website to enter the “pre-launch” phase. This phase allows you setup many of the background configurations and setups that are needed in order to get people to your website and prepare for a successful launch.
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