Let me begin by saying that I'm not an expert affiliate marketer, I'm just starting out, but I wanted to share what I'd learned so far with the hopes that a) some experts might chime in and hit me with the clue stick and b) I could help someone else who is just starting out like me.
So, I've written up a little checklist for myself to follow, every time I add a new website. And I'm going to work through that over the coming weeks.
The first step is "Think of a domain name, dummy". One thing that I often do if I'm drawing a blank is use the Google Adwords Keywords Tool. For this example, let's assume that I want to make a niche store for doorknobs. So, I might type in "doorknobs" or "buy doorknobs" and leave "use synonyms" checked. Then I sort the results by "Local Search Volume". For the "doorknobs" keyword, there were something like 300,000 searches in September alone. You are never going to be able to crack that one. But, hay, look at "antique door knobs", there are 14,800 searches in September for that keyword. That seems like something we might be able to work with. So, then I try to incorporate those keywords into my domain name.
Once you have the domain name you want, you need a domain registrar. I used to use Dotster for this and I have no problems with them at all. They've been very easy to work with, but I needed to find the cheapest registrar out there if I was going to be registering dozens of domain names. That lead me to the World's Largest Registrar - GoDaddy.com.
Go ahead, search to see if your domain is available:
If the domain you wanted was taken, you always have the option to Backorder Domains but that hasn't ever really worked out for me. I'd just look for another good domain name and keep moving forward. You don't have time to wait and you should be trying to spend as little as possible.
Speaking of spending as little as possible. If you think you are going to get pretty gung-ho on affiliate marketing, then you should consider using Go Daddy Bulk Domain Registration or the GoDaddy.com Discount Domain Club both of them can save you money if you are doing a handful of domains. I think the Discount Domain club costs about $81-89/year (depending on your commitment) but the domains are deeply discounted. I did some quick looking at it looks like it would take something like 23 .com domains to see the break-even point. So, keep that in mind.
Ok. So, now you have your domain name. In Step Two, we'll talk about your hosting options.