How to Pick a Domain Name for Brand and Visibility

Choosing a Domain NameIt is no secret that people have very different standpoint when it comes to naming their blog.

Some bloggers are willing to spend a good amount, even go as far as hiring a consultant to help them come up with a name. These people realize the value of branding.

Others pick a name unscrupulously thinking that no one is going to type the domain right into the address bar.

The latter is quite shortsighted, I’d say. Before I get those hate emails, let me explain.

Domain Name and Your Web Presence

In short, your web site or blog is your web presence. It is how you represent yourself or your company to the world.

Just because people will find you mainly through search engines and click through without having to type in your name doesn’t mean it is not important.

A domain name has a role much like your name. It is your identity.

Unless you are creating junk pages for search engines, you want a good name so your readers can remember it. It has to be easy to spell and communicate verbally.

Companies spend from less than $10 to millions to acquire a domain name. If you read news stories, there were disputes in the past that had to be settled in the court.

As your purpose here is to start a business with a blog, let’s do it the right way.

Montreal Underground

The Value of Domain Name

Domain name industry is huge. The last time I checked, it is a close to 2 billion dollar business.

But beyond monetary value, a more important factor to consider is the impact it may bring to your business.

You may have a great idea for your blog. You may be excited about getting started, but without a good domain name, you have an uphill battle trying to get the site known.

Domain Name Selection Strategy

Many businesses register a generic domain name for their web site or blog and supplement it with other domain names related to the business.

With domain mapping and redirection, it is possible to get people to the right place. I’m not going toward that direction in this discussion, but here are a few suggestions when picking your domain name for your blog.

  • Get .com, as people automatically think of it when they think a domain or site.
  • Short is better than long.
  • Memorable. Not all short domain name is memorable. Initials may be good but unless it is widely known, it may not be easy to recall. Make your domain more visible. Rhythm plays a big role here.
  • Easy to spell. Chances are you need to tell others about your domain name. Imagine how much you lose when you tell others your domain name in a teleconference but most people misspell it.
  • Pay attention to plural and singular forms. Register both if possible. If you are a service professional, you may lose a business because a prospect emails an RFP to the wrong domain. Happened quite frequently, believe me.
  • Be relevant to your business. If your business is teaching others how to grow roses, it helps if you have the word rose or petal or something relevant in the domain name. But don’t sweat it, if you can’t find one. See the next bullet point.
  • Don’t be afraid to use brand name. Think Yahoo and Google. The contribution of a keyword in your domain name to search rankings is small at best. Aim for the long term.
  • Avoid hyphens. They simply look spammy if you use more than one.
  • Use a reputable registrar like NameCheap. It is NOT worth it to save a few bucks but risk losing it due to one reason or another. This registrar becomes more important if you have more than a handful of domain names. It helps you centralize your domain name registration.
  • Avoid trademarks. You may get into trouble. Many companies prefer to send their lawyers rather than buying a domain name from you for a hefty amount of money. Your mileage may vary though.

Important tips: Don’t forget to check web.archive.org to make sure that no one has been using your domain name for spam in the past. It may get you into trouble in search rankings, email delivery and reputation.

Reviews

Domain name is something many bloggers overlook. I was in the same shoes when I got started. I inclined to hustle through this process, just to regret it once I gained some traffic.

It could be hard to grow a business and blog if you don’t have an elegant name. Suddenly a name can be more of a hindrance.

It is a shame that I have to learn this the hard way throughout the years. You don’t have to make the same mistake if you follow the simple guidelines above.

Take all the time you need. Find a name that you can be proud of is necessary. Remember that migrating to a new domain causes more hassle in the future.

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