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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.


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