Lean Domain Search Passes 50K Searches One Month After Its HackerNews Launch

On Monday, January 16, I launched Lean Domain Search, a new domain search tool, on HackerNews.

I’m happy to announce that yesterday evening, just a few hours shy of its four week anniversary, Lean Domain Search passed 50,000 total searches:

You can see the sharp spike right after the launch thanks to the traffic surge from the initial launch on HackerNews and a second spike midway through thanks to my Two Weeks After HackerNews Launch follow-up post.

The traffic source distribution over this time period is telling:

  • 66% of the traffic was from referral links: those two HackerNews posts, a FeeFighters blog post about finding a domain name for your startup, social media, a few misc blog posts, and a few mentions on marketing forums.
  • 29% of the traffic was direct traffic which indicates that a lot people are hearing about Lean Domain Search from word of mouth.
  • Right now search traffic makes up a very small percentage of the overall traffic (almost all of which is for searches of “lean domain search” and variations thereof), which makes sense: I don’t have much content on the site and “domain search” is difficult to rank for so I wouldn’t expect a lot of people to find the site via search engines right now.
  • The 370 visits under the “Campaigns” heading are from HackerNews feeds, not from any outbound advertising on my part.

Site updates

Traffic numbers make good headlines, but customers could care less. With that in mind, here are a few of the major improvements I’ve made to Lean Domain Search since my last update two weeks ago:

Improved registration dialog box

The registration dialog box has gone through several iterations over the past month.

When Lean Domain Search launched:

Two weeks into it:


The change from version 1 to version 2 was intended to offer more registration options and since all the logos wouldn’t fit well, I went with a list instead. The change from version 2 to version 3 is to improve the call to action button with GoDaddy being the default (like it or not, GoDaddy is still by far the most popular registrar).

Search results now include your unmodified search query

One frequent request has been to include the availability of the unmodified search query in the results.

As of this weekend, it now is:

Most searches won’t have an available .com domain, but you still probably want to know for sure just in case it is.

+= 100 search results per week

Every Sunday I’ve been adding 100 new prefixes/suffixes to the search results.

When the site launched in January, your search would return 1,000 results. With yesterday’s release, you’ll now get 1,300.

I also added a news page that list the recently added prefixes and suffixes:

And the search results now show a small “new” tag on the results that were part of the last batch added:

Some breathing room

I’ve been running an A/B test to test the impact of including spacers in the search results.

Here are the two versions side by side (click to zoom):

The test was inconclusive (the results were too close to be statistically significant), but I think the spacers make the results a lot more readable so I’ve implemented it for all users.

Beyond vanity metrics

Traffic figures — aka vanity metrics — make nice headlines but they can often paint a misleading picture about how a site is doing.

Happily, some of Lean Domain Search’s key metrics are also steadily improving, indicating that these changes are helping.

The average number of searches per user is up to around 5:

And the average search duration is about half of what it was when the site launched thanks to a number of caching strategies I’ve put in place:

What’s next: Internationalization (नमस्ते!)

My big project for the next few weeks is adding internationalization support to Lean Domain Search.

Down the road, international visitors will be able to choose which language they want the site and the results to be in. First up is Hindi. I’ve already started working with a translator on oDesk and expect to have it fully implemented within a month or so. After that, I’m leaning towards Spanish, but if any of your have a strong preference for your native language (and translations can use the English alphabet), please drop me a note: matt@leandomainsearch.com.

All in all it’s coming along very well and I’m excited to see what the future holds.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, check out LeanDomainSearch.com and then follow me on Twitter at @mhmazur for updates.

Thanks for reading.


7 thoughts on “Lean Domain Search Passes 50K Searches One Month After Its HackerNews Launch

  1. Rory, India is a huge, underserved market that existing domain search tools don’t adequately target.

    Shane, yes I do make money via affiliate links, but it’s very high variance so it’s too early to draw any long term conclusions.

    Ram, no worries, I took a while to get back to your original email so take your time. Thanks for checking out Lean Domain Search.

  2. Matt, congrats on your success so far. This is a really useful tool. I’ve tried it a couple of times and will be sure to buy a domain through it for one of my weekend projects.

    Please share IDS on my new site http://swym.me so that more people can find it.

  3. It seems like you’re going backwards on registration box. You’ve completely removed the option to add to favorites from the box (In fact after a 5 second glance of your site I can’t figure out how to do it at all). I use a ‘save temporarily’ feature like this whenever I am in the process of registering a domain. You’ve got GoDaddy as your default, even though one of your main audiences is HN people specifically and hackers in general, who will likely still not be fond of GoDaddy and want to use a different registrar, at least for the near future until SOPA is a bit less fresh.

    If it was up to me, I’d go back to a mix between 1-2. Put the favorites button back, add a non-GD registrar in the first interaction, and bring the logos back (perhaps a bit smaller with a bit less spacing). The domain name heading and sentence below it look good though.

    All in all, You have a nice, very usable site. I looked into doing a domain site and the process of keeping current with registration data was a nightmare.

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