One of the first things a work at home business owner will deliberate is their domain name or blog url. There is a lot of advice online and even in books about what to consider, what to avoid, whether you choose your own name or a keyword rich one. The list goes on when it comes to rules of picking of a domain name. Ultimately, people will go with what they like and feels works for their niche and site.
I have several blogs, and thus I've had to play the domain name game several times. But for one blog, I made a grave mistake that hurt my business badly.
Despite all the advice, no one mentioned this one particular one: research to find out if your new domain name is similar to a banned site or once belonged to one.
I did what most people do--I chose a name, checked to see if it was available, and then set up my blog with it. At first it seemed fine. My blog was getting good traffic, my ad revenue was up and things were well with my work at home business. At one point, to do some market research, I checked to see if there were urls similar to mine and there was. It belonged to a porn site. I was a little worried, but my site seemed to be doing ok. When I did more research, I learned the site was banned from google and felt relieved. I had no idea that my site was going to punished as well.
It didn't happen right away. At first, I noticed my site's new visitor demographic had changed. My blog catered to fashionable christian girls between 18-30. So when I noticed older men were now coming to my site I was a little puzzled. Next, I noticed that my bounce increased. Finally, I saw that the referral links were coming from spammy sites and sites completely unrelated to mine.
Worried, I then did some investigation. In doing this, I found out that google had dropped my site's pages from it's search engine. I was shocked! I knew my page rank had gone down but to learn I wasn't even on the search engine after all the work I put into creating a good blog.
I found my way to a blogging forum and saw other people complaining about similar issues of having their site dropped. I connected to one woman whose story seemed similar to mine, her site url was similar to one that was shaddy.
Shouldn't the content matter? Google does take into consideration the content of a site so why were we being punished simply for our domain name. Mine wasn't even shaddy by any means.
One man explained that people set up similar sites with tweaked urls if their site is shut down. Thus, my girly sweet site's url was a little too similar to the site that was promoting underage pornography.
Google may not have deleted my blog, but they kept it from being accessed and that really hurt my online business.
When deciding on a domain, try to find out if there are similar urls that google has either banned or have low ranking. You don't want to be grouped among them as it could hurt your business significantly.