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How to Choose a Domain Name

How to Choose a Domain Name

how to choose a domain name

Last week I talked about 4 Easy Ways to Find Your Blogging Niche and hopefully you were able to select a niche that is right for you. This week, I would like to discuss ways to choose a domain name.

For some, it is a no-brainer. They simply purchased their name as the domain and just add subdomains for every business website or blog that they run. For others, they would prefer to have their domain name represent the niche that they will be writing about or the company that they will be running.

Any way you look at it, you still need to figure out the best domain name for you based on the type of website/blog that your will be running. A few things to keep in mind; whatever you choose for your domain name, you will be trapped with it for the life of your website/blog. Okay, trapped is a pretty harsh word, but it is true. Whatever you select now will be with your blog domain forever because changing the name would mean starting over from scratch, reestablishing everything including traffic and rebuilding your brand.

Before I move on, I need to have a teaching moment. When I purchased my domain name, I didn’t have a full picture in mind as to what I wanted to do with my site. My first impression was just to blog about my dream of becoming a writer (hence the domain name pursuing my dream). I really wasn’t thinking about the future and eventually wanting to teach others ways to pursue their dreams nor about possibly doing some monetizing on the website. Since I already had traffic attached along with Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. under my domain name, it didn’t seem wise for me to change it. Because of the error of my ways, I have a hard time getting ranked and have to jump through a lot of hoops to get traffic and followers. This is why I decided to make a post about domain names in hopes that others would learn from my mistakes.

How to Pick a Domain Name

  • Using keywords

Many say to think about SEO right from the start and select a domain name that uses keywords to help with ranking and also with finding your site before others. A really good domain name will describe what your site is all about. You want your visitors to be able to know what they are going to see before the first click. For example, if your site is about designer handbags then try to get a domain name like “designerhandbags.com” or “designerbags.com”

  • Stick with dot com

The .com extension is the most popular top-level domain extension available. It is the most widely used extension and comes to mind when people are thinking about a website.

  • Think short and sweet

While you can have a domain name up to 67 characters long, it is generally accepted that the shorter the name the better. It is because it is easier to remember and there is less room for making mistakes when typing. Some other things to consider are that a short name is better for marketing and visually appealing when creating a logo or other business materials.

  • Spell it like it is

It may seem cute to call your blog “cozandeffect.com”, but are people going to remember how to spell it when they try to pull up your site. The rule of thumb is short, catchy, and easy to pronounce and spell.

  • Make it brandable

If you plan on selling a product or service, having a strong brand is important. Keep in mind the bigger picture though as today you might be selling one product, but in the future expand to a full product line. Calling your website “paperclips.com” is limiting while “officesupplies.com” makes it limitless.

  • Add a location

If you have a local business and are creating a website to go along with it, think of creating a domain name with the location or region in it. For example, you are a crafting store in a popular tourist area, so “LakeGenevaCrafts.com” might be a better domain name than just “crafts.com” if your customer base is local.

  • Use a hyphen

This is something that I wish I thought about when I was creating my domain name. I really wanted to be called “pursueyourdream.com” but it was already taken. I didn’t even consider trying the domain “pursue-your-dream.com”.  There is a debate on whether hyphens should or shouldn’t be used, but those who do say that it helps them with SEO ranking and it improves the readability of the domain name.

  • Use your name

Earlier I mentioned that there are bloggers who believe in using their name as a domain name instead of something trendy or part of a niche. The main reasons are that in the future, they want their name (and the branding of their name) to become a household name. This works great if you sell a service that you provide (coaching for example), if you are the service (guest speaker for example), or are (or will be) a published writer.

  • Is it available

When picking a domain name, don’t forget to also check other social media sites to make sure it is available. You want (for branding purposes) to be able to use your domain name as your handle on Twitter, Facebook, etc. A great source is knowem.com which allows you to check for the use of your brand, product, and personal (user) name on over 500 popular and social media websites.

  • Ask a friend

Before you buy your domain name, consider running the name by a few good friends. Since you are so focused on finding just the right name, your judgement could become clouded. Running it by a few friends allows you to see how well receive the name is, how easy it is for them to remember it, and get other useful insight.

Once you have decided on a domain name, you will need to see if the name is available and then register it. You can go to one of the many domain registrars (GoDaddy, Namecheap, DreamhHost) directly to purchase your domain name or if you already have a web hosting service (SiteGround for example), you can purchase the domain through them.

I hope that you have found this article helpful and would love to hear about your domain name choices. Stay tuned for next week when I discuss how to easily start a blog.


Book Review: Blog by Number

Book Review: Blog by Number

Book Review: Blog by Number
Book Review: Blog by Number

When the ebook Blog by Number from the author Suzi Whitford was first presented to me I thought, why would I (a childless woman) want to read a blogging book tailored to stay at home moms? I had countless people say, just read it and you will understand.

So there I sat one Saturday afternoon propped up in my comfy couch corner with my Kindle in hand ready to read, but thinking “this is going to be a waste of a good Saturday afternoon”. Now I am not normally skeptical, but first and foremost my Saturdays are sacred time as I have little free time. If I am going to spend it reading, then it better be a cozy mystery or a book that is going to really help me with my website.

Page 8 on the ebook caught my immediate attention. Author Suzi Whitford laid out the basic plan; we were to look at this ebook as a “paint by number” for blogging instead of an in-depth analysis of art. In other words, this was not going to be a book with technical jargon and way too advanced blogging concepts. Then she hit me with the warning… beware of shiny object syndrome in blogging. What the what? I thought.

Shiny object syndrome is when you are reading/researching and every article you run across has you doing tons of action steps for your blog. They will have you in a frenzy trying to learn about monetization, going after traffic, collecting email addresses, and creating sellable materials. Before you know it you are pulled into a tangent of social media marketing and how to manage your posts and scheduling your social media. This is all shiny items waved in front of your face pulling you away from your initial task (creating a blog), causing loss of focus, the feeling of being overwhelmed, and burn out.

This book does include information on social media, Pinterest, getting traffic, and making money, but in an organized fashion and with helpful hints/tips so that you are not jumping in too fast and without a life jacket.  Okay, Suzi Whitford, you got my undivided attention! I am ready to just sit back, read, and absorb without the distraction of all the next steps in my journey.

Blog by Number Roadmap
Blog by Number Roadmap

The Review

The ebook slowly but confidently takes you through the full cycle of setting up a blog. The first few chapters begin with setting your goals, finding a niche, picking a domain, and then hosting your blog. You move into setting up your website starting with a good theme and pleasant color palettes (with lots of examples).  So far so good! There is nothing overwhelming and a lot of great information.

Did I mention she breaks down things by days so that you aren’t trying to do everything in one weekend (unless you choose to)? There is a whole chapter on content (with resources) for brainstorming your posts, working with templates, using checklists, developing headlines, and creating a variety (25 types) of posts. This is the section that I grabbed my notebook and started really taking notes.

Blog by Number templates and workbook pages
Blog by Number templates and workbook pages

Now that you have your blog set up and assistance with content (via checklists and templates), it is time to go at it and write.  This is when Suzi introduces the reader to the shiny object which I like to call bling. The bling consists of dozens of chapters on Pinterest such as creating pins, templates, boards, resources and generating traffic. Suzi also includes money making strategies via ads, affiliates, sponsored posts, blog networking, and product creation (products or services). But she doesn’t stop there! As some great added bonuses, she includes time-saving tips, her favorite resources, and a number of great website tools.

Blog by Number Pinterest Boards
Blog by Number Pinterest Boards

Recommendation

I can’t say enough about how much I thoroughly enjoyed Suzi’s book Blog by Number. To be honest, I even forget that this book was initially geared towards stay at home moms as so much of her book was about setting up a fantastic blog on a reasonable time frame. While I have a running blog, her book made me take a second look at it. I discovered superior ways to create better content, Pinterest pins, and interest in my blog. This book gets a two thumbs up in my book and is definitely one that I will be referencing constantly during my blogging career.

Author Information

Author Suzi Whitford studied Industrial Engineering and working for several Fortune 100 companies before becoming a mom and starting her blog StartAMomBlog.com. She finds blogging a very rewarding and extremely flexible activity with the potential to grow into something amazing.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review on Blog by Number. If you have read the ebook, I would love to hear your thoughts. Are there any ideas or strategies that Suzi mentioned that you are currently using on your blog?

*** DISCLOSURE: I may be an affiliate for products that I recommend. If you purchase those items through my links I may earn a commission or free items. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. In fact, I oftentimes am able to negotiate a lower rate (or bonuses) not available elsewhere.  Plus, when you order through my link, it helps me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff. :)  Thank you, in advance for your support!


4 Easy Ways to Find Your Blogging Niche

4 Easy Ways to Find Your Blogging Niche

4 Easy Ways to Find Your Blogging Niche
4 Easy Ways to Find Your Blogging Niche

Before you can start a blog or purchase a domain name (unless the domain name is your name), you want to discover your niche. You don’t want to dive head first into a niche and then later on down the line discover that it isn’t what you were looking for.

Four Ways to Find Your Niche

What are Your Areas of Interest (Choose Something That You Know)

You don’t want to start a blog on topics that have no interest to you. This is an easy way to run out of ideas, lose interest very easily, and probably cause you to stop blogging. I know there are many bloggers out there that say to blog only on topics that are moneymakers and this will bring in tons of money if you monetize your blog. I don’t believe in that principle. Your fans are not stupid and they will soon realize that if you are writing about something that your heart is not into, then you are just out to make a quick buck. They will soon stop reading your blog and won’t follow you or any of your social media links.

Others say to write about your passion, but that has drawbacks too. If your passion is red bugs, this topic might lead you to very few posts and even fewer followers.

Instead, choose an area that inspires you and shows your passion, but is also a topic of interest to others. Remember that you are blogging to share your interest and enthusiasm with others and maybe down the line might want to offer products/services to others that will pay money. Even if you don’t monetize your blog, you still want to have a following of like readers.

When you find a topic that brings out your passion, you are more likely to put the time and effort into your blog. Since it is a topic that inspires you, you are less likely to run out of ideas since you probably have studied the topic endlessly. One of my passions is writing and therefore I have books on writing, am part of writing groups, have pinned and saved links about writing, and follow other writers blogs and on social media. A really good blogging niche for me might be discussing ways to become a writer.

When you have passion for a particular topic, it shows through what you are writing. Your readers can feel that passion and become engaged. In the long run, it is this passion for your topic that will lead to a larger blog following.

Discover Your Passion

I enjoy cozy mysteries and like to spend my downtime sitting in my comfy spot on the couch getting engrossed in a good clean mystery. While I love reading these types of books, this is not one of my personal writing niches. The reason is that I can come up with a great book title and characters, but I can’t formulate a good story. So I leave that up to other writers and instead enjoy taking the time to read and review their books (which would be a great blog niche).

What I am trying to say is that some of your passions may not make a good blog niche, so you might want to take out a pen and paper to jot down a few things of interest to mull over.

  • What are your personal hobbies?
    • DIY
    • Collecting
    • Gardening
  • Are there any topics that you like to talk about?
    • Books
    • Sports
    • Travel
  • Do you have any expertise that family and friends ask your advice about all the time?
    • Parenting
    • Gardening
  • If you had free time, how would you spend it?
    • Exercising
    • Playing Sports
    • Baking
  • If you had a dream job (regardless of salary), what would it be?
    • Writer
    • Baker
    • Teacher

What Blogs Do You Follow

Take a few minutes and look at the blogs that you follow. Are you interested in any particular niche that strikes your passion? Why are you reading these blogs? Is there anything that draws you and keeps you coming back? This is the type of blog that you want to emulate. Notice I say emulate and not copy. There are way too many copycat blogs out there and originality is what brings in the readers.

Now start asking yourself these questions:

  • What are some of the things that my favorite blogs are not doing that I wish they would? Capture this market on your own blog. Earlier I mentioned my passion for cozy mysteries, many of the blogs out there are either author pages or review of the books themselves. I often hear fellow readers comment how they wish there was a place to discuss the books themselves. Well now, there you have a perfect niche to tap into; book discussions about style, characters, themes, and even locations.
  • Are there any areas that you notice people asking advice over and over again about? These are the topics that you want to tackle on your own blog. Perhaps baking is your passion and you follow numerous baking blog where you see comments from readers that are stumped by terminology or technique. These blogs might be focused on sharing food and recipes, whereas your blog could tap into that plus discuss terminology and show technique via pictures or links with YouTube.
  • Is the niche part of a saturated market? What can you bring to your blog that is new or different? I noticed that there are a number of blogs that target their market to the novice or the majorly advanced, but haven’t tapped into the middle ground. Going back to the food blog example from earlier, perhaps your market is the baker who mastered making cookies, but is not ready to create three-tiered ganache wedding cakes. What is the middle ground? Not everyone wants to be a master baker, but instead would like to wow their family with a special occasion cake or signature dessert.

Storyboard Your Posts

Yes, you heard me right! You have discovered your passion, found a possible niche to market, and know what holes to fill in the market that others haven’t tapped. Now is the time to storyboard or brainstorm a list of blog posts.

Could you only come up with less than a dozen? You might want to rethink your niche. Did you come with a few dozen topics and ideas that can be branched off into subtopics? There you go! I think you found your blogging niche.

Now that you found your niche, are you now ready to start blogging? Please post a comment as I would love to hear what topics you have chosen and how you decided on your niche.

Don’t forget to stop on by again! My next blog article will be on discovering your domain name.

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