7 Tips + 5 Steps to Getting a Domain Name for Your Blog
Simply put, a domain name is your company name. Inconsistency in both names can cause confusion. Even if you are a solopreneur, your brand is something the visitors will keep in mind.
At a point, when you want to start a self-hosted blog, you will struggle with domain name problem. If you’ve ever tried registering for a new domain, it is as if all the good names were taken. Nowadays, you can’t find a domain name which word is in an English dictionary anymore. Single-word domain names are gone. You should also find it very hard to get good domain name from two common words.
The Myth about Keyword-Rich Domain Name
I mean, many website owners want to stuff main keywords into their domain names. With all the best words taken, you have certainly seen long domains such as “rose-gardening-tips-tricks-and-tools.com.” (This is just an imaginary domain that I quickly come up with but you get what I mean.)
Many people insist on such long and hard-to-remember names. They think that will benefit their search engine rankings. While they are true to certain extent, — see these Google Ranking Factors Checklist — it is by no means the only key factor. There are many other factors that contribute to search engine positions.
Contrarily, many people think that such long domains are nothing but spammy. Search engines have limited space to display title, description and URL. If your domain is too long, searchers may not be able to see the full URL or other words after the domain, which might contain the keyword itself.
Moreover, such domain names are impossible to remember. There’s no way you can use it in your business card or tell others in business networking or via the phone. (Hint: Start thinking about your marketing and promotion strategy.)
7 Tips on Choosing a Good Domain Name
- Relatively short and easy to remember. It is important for several reasons. A short name fits into logos, limited space ads (like Google AdWords) and easy to remember. Try to spell out your domain name to others. You may need to give away your domain name in front of a group during a seminar, or if you’re getting interviewed in local radio or teleseminar.
- Use brand name, then keyword-rich name. Think Google. You don’t need keyword-rich domain to rank well on search engines. It may be beneficial that it explains the topic of your site to the audience immediately but brand name can be useful later when you want the visitors to remember your name.
- Get a .com. You may get other TLDs (Top Leve Domains) such as .net or .org but also get .com. When people think of a website, they think of .com. Sometimes people will type domain names onto the browser out of their mind and you don’t want to lose visitors that way.
- Plurals and singulars. People may not remember if your domain name is plural or singular. This is true if you use keyword rich domain name. For the exact same reason as above, you should also get domain names that are plural or singular forms of your domain, if exist.
- Avoid trademarked names. You may have heard stories about people buying cheap domain names and resell them to others who want it and make a fortune. The thing is, nowadays people prefer to call their lawyers. Avoid the headache unless you are in this business.
- Clean, with no hyphens and numbers. Hyphens and numbers make the domain hard to pronounce. They are more prone to errors too. An exception is for numbers. You can have numbers if they are common like 101 (one o one) or something obvious.
- Know your budget. If you get really creative, you can often register a new domain for less than $10 per year. On the other hand, if you really like a domain name, you can consider shelling out some cash to secure it from a domain name broker.
On to the Process to Nail Down Your Domain Name
With so many things to consider, and the fact that as of this writing, more than 162 million domain names have been registered (and about half of them are .com), it can be hard to choose a domain name for your blog.
As I said earlier, get creative. Don’t be discouraged.
The following are the steps to take when choosing a keyword-rich domain name:
- Brainstorm relevant words for your domain.
- Make different combinations and keep in mind the tips above.
- Start checking the names in domain name registrar like namecheap. If all of them are taken…
- Add short words to make it unique. For example, add the word “my” in front of the domain name if appropriate.
- Get help from services like Nameboy or DNBuy for combinations.
If you’d prefer a brand name, try MakeWords.com. It is a good name generator.
You will never know when you will get good ideas for domain names. It helps if you start thinking about it at least one week before you register the domain. Domain names can communicate your brand and it is important that you do it right.
Finally, many web hosting companies offer free domain name for the first year (or even lifetime) if you sign up with their service. I never use it because you may have troubles migrating it to other hosting later for one or other reasons.
I use Namecheap.com for all domain registrations. It may not be the cheapest around but I have used it since I got started. It provides me with single dashboard to manage all my domains. Expired domains are part of the past and I can manage my inventory easier that way. I don’t know about you, but that is very helpful for me.
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