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Choosing the best domain. I really need serious advice.

Choosing the best domain. I really need serious advice.

Postby kanaloa » Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:41 am

I feel like I beat this dead horse more often than not. But I can't help but ask one last time. I really want to pick the best domain to be my primary for HSO. I need something with a keyword in it and that's easy enough to remember.

'HawaiianStyle' as a name sounds great I think. But it seems to be hard to spell for many people and I've taken that to heart. Let me recap quickly by year so you can get an idea of how roller coaster this has been domain name wise.

2002 - mauipictures.net is born
2003- mauiguide.net is born. I also bought the rest of the "islandname".net domains. onehawaii.org charity is born. Eventually hawaii-guide.com is the primary site. Many folks from PRO helped build it.
2004 - hawaiianstyletravel.com is created and launched as a joint project of my future wife and I. hawaiianstylephotos.com and hawaiianstylemedia.com follow.
2005 - hawaiianstyle.org becomes the corporate identity and company name. The mile by mile book series launches.
2006 - hawaiianstyletravel.com remains flagship site and the media/photos sites are side-kick sites. hawaiianstyle.org just gives info on company. All mile by mile book domains are purchased.
2007 - hawaiianstyletravel.com starts to transition to hawaiianstyle.org. hawaiianstyle.org website is relaunched as all inclusive site to include the travel/media/photo site in a single site.
2008 - hawaiianstyle.org work stopped to convert to Expression Engine (80% completed now)

Ultimately I need to choose the best domain for our site. I can keep hawaiianstyle.org or I can pick one of these. What do you all honestly think considering the history and options moving forward? What's the easiest to remember and using the best keywords? Our site is about travel advice and centers around our mile by mile series books and photography. I am ruling out the hawaiianstyle(photos/media/travel).com domains bc they are too long and involve the word "hawaiian" which seemingly is hard for folks to spell. So which of these?

hawaiianstyle.org - current
hawaiimilebymile.com - currently points to our books mainpage
onehawaii.org - currently points to our charity site (which is dead)
pronetworks.org - juuuust kidding

Or I could buy:
hawaiimbm.com

Suggest any others you like too (check to see if they're available please). No "-" please in the name.

I own another 30 hawaii domains, but many are ".net" domains and are just to make sure no one grabs them. I still also own all the early domains.

Thanks for any opinions and comments. I just want to make sure before I launch the new site we have the best domain in play. It's important I think we get this right.
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Postby Absolute-Zero » Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:12 pm

John, just a few of points to consider. I've worked for a web development and hosting company for about four years now and, in my experience, a lot of people tend to put a certain amount of "trust" in the Top Level Domain (TLD) extension (the bit after the dot) when it comes to domain names, .com being the one that seems to be most "trusted". People tend to see it and think "company", which is really what it was intended to portray. Company tends to conjure up images of large(ish) corporations, especially when the site is professionally presented. Believe it or not, the average Joe can tend to see through small companies using .com domains when the web site is poorly presented and of average quality.

hawaiianstyletravel and hawaiimilebymile are, I see, the two .com domains you've got registered but they're a bit "wordy" for most people. Joe tends to like simple things that are easy to remember and quick to type. Doesn't help, really, as the longer the domain, the more keywords you can fit into it.

onehawaii is good. It's short, catchy, easy to remember and would encompass a main, front-end site by virtue of it's "one" title. The main problem with that particular name is the .org TLD. For whatever reason, we don't register a large number of .org domains, they're mainly .coms or .co.uks (for obvious reasons). And, certainly, if you're guessing at a domain name, the first thing you tend to type in a search is whateverdomain.com

I know I'm not helping the cause but I thought these few points might prove useful in the decision making process?
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Postby kanaloa » Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:56 pm

Absolutely, I appreciate the post. It's so hard to find "good" domains anymore because ever ad squatter on earth has tried to eat them up. I recently inquired about discoverhawaii.com and was quoted, get this, $45K for the domain. LOL, riiight.
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Postby augie » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:40 pm

EDIT: I'll PM it to you instead. ;), that's available right now. Well, I get a 'server not found' error message if that's what you mean.
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Postby Absolute-Zero » Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:02 pm

Use www.dnsstuff.com and do a whois lookup to check whether it/they've been registered or not, Augie.
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Postby augie » Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:11 pm

Happy Hammer wrote:Use www.dnsstuff.com and do a whois lookup to check whether it/they've been registered or not, Augie.


Thanks Dan as my suggestion for John was already taken. :oops: If one jumps into the fire, one should expect to be burned! OUCH! :lol:
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Postby kanaloa » Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:47 pm

One can quickly see why most folks hate domain squatters or folks who park them for the sake of owning them.

Ultimately we may just go with hawaiimilebymile.com, even though it's 16 characters - it has the keywords we need and is a .com

I also think folks will remember it.
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Postby kanaloa » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:28 pm

After reading these:
http://www.active-domain.com/resources/ ... better.htm
http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=670539
http://www.cyberindian.com/domain-regis ... cle_id=113

It makes me wonder if it's better to use a "-" or not afterall. The dash is better for search engines apparently, but worse when considering direct links. Maybe that's why PRO ranked better with the "-" in it's name too.

Accordingly Google Analytics for HSO:
37.66% Direct Traffic (a good bit is probably Tash and I)
9.45% Referring Sites
52.86% Search Engines

Or a better idea is to look at HST (which I no longer visit):
17.59% Direct Traffic
36.88% Referring Sites
45.43% Search Engines

So the bulk of those are by far and large Search Engines and Referrals. HSO is just too new to get many referrals at the moment (we only launched it last Fall).

So it begs the question of looking at the "-" more seriously.

Maybe that old "hawaii-guide.com" domain is my best bet after all.
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Postby imnuts » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:04 pm

Why not get two domains, one with the dash and one without. Then redirect the one without the dash to the one with the dash. Then you have the main site being the search engine friendly url, and people don't have to worry about typing the dash if you give out the link. Granted, you'll get charged more with 2 domains, but it could be worth it if you get more search traffic.
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Postby kanaloa » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:01 pm

It's hard to find any given domain with and without the dash anymore. And since I already own close to 30 domains for just HSO, I'm not overly keen on adding unless it's really good.

For now I plan to go back with hawaii-guide.com

It has two good keywords, is short, is a .com and I think will work well for us.
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