This post is part of the Starting a Blog series.
Part 3: Choosing a domain name
For me, this is the fun part of starting a blog, for even if you are totally new to the internet you can find a name that suites your personality or what you want to achieve.
Naturally, Part 3 only applies if you are not going with a free host, because free hosts don’t allow you to have your own domain name. If you have decided to go free, skip to Part 4.
There are two schools of thought in regards to the structure of your domain name: practical or colorful. Practical domain names involve at least one key word that states the topic of your blog, but ideally more, for example Cooking Gadgets is a blog about Cooking Gadgets. Blogs such as Kotaku, Gawker and Wonkette have colorful names that don’t describe what they are about.
Personally I’ve always gone with atleast a part practical domain name, because for search engine optimisation it helps in getting listed in the search engines.
Your name is your brand
I’ll hark back to my studies in marketing on this point, because your domain name is your brand, and what ever you choose you need to remember that it needs to be marketable. Practical or catchy are the two considerations. Some of the best known blogs in the blogosphere have catchy names that don’t relate to the topic, so don’t be afraid to try something different, but remember to check Google (unlike Pajama’s/ Open Source Media) to make sure no one else is already using the name.
One of the most popular tools for searching for a domain name is whois.sc. The service is limited without registration but I do recommend it when you are experimenting with various names for your blog, and also to see who is using other names as well
I’ve used a lot of domain name registrars over the years but at the moment I’m using Namecheap. Nice interface and free privacy protection (at the moment should you wish to use it). GoDaddy is also popular. Alternatively you may wish to use the domain registration service of your web host. A word of warning, anything over $10 USD is a rip off. A lot of so-called registration services out there are really just affiliate fronts for enom.com, so I’d seriously recommend namecheap or godaddy, because at least you know you are dealing with a source provider.