Choosing a domain name is probably one of the hardest tasks for any new blog. It is an art that requires a great deal of thought. Not only should you choose a catchy domain name, but it also has to be unique enough to make sure nothing else on the world wide web is named in a similar manner. Mind you, confusing between two very similar (and poorly selected) domain names can prove challenging for your blog’s performance.
If you have a great idea for a website, you’re first going to need to purchase a domain name. If you’re new to blogging, you have to realize that a domain is quite different than a web hosting plan (which is a term you encounter often). A domain name is the URL of the site – the “address” where people can find you – while the web host is where all the data in your blog is stored.
Here are 7 tips for choosing the perfect domain name for your blog
Consider SEO Impact when you choose the right domain name
We may not consider it, but your blog’s domain name plays an important role in its ranking in SERPs. A lot of times, choosing a domain name with keywords in it can boost a blog’s performance tenfold. This is where keyword intent comes in quite handy. If a domain name contains keywords, then it instantly tells potential readers browsing the SERP that your blog will provide what they are searching for. The intent is to tell your readers that not only do you have the information they are searching for, but you also specialize in it.
For example, the website Backyard Gardener ranks first for keywords “backyard gardening websites”. This tells readers that this blog contains information about backyard gardening. Thus, clicking through the website is likely to satisfy their search. Because of this, the potential to rake in a huge chunk of search engine traffic about backyard gardening is high.
In relation to this, it might be a good idea to choose a domain that conveys meaning. When a reader visits your website, what do you want them to associate your website with? It could be a feeling, a place, or even a purpose. For instance, using the word “experts” can convey your specialization on the subject matter, or using the word “hangout” can convey that your website is a forum.
For example, the website www.namecheap.com conveys that it is a website that offers affordable domain name registration fees.
Take your time and weigh it out
It’s a huge mistake to seek out a domain name and rush into purchasing one. You need to carefully plan out your purchase.
The first ideas for a domain name are usually not the best. Don’t get set on one idea. Instead, try to come up with some ideas that are drastically different than other ideas. You should come up with a list of 20 to 30 domain names you want for your online business. Then, sit on the idea for a couple of days. You may end up thinking of something better while driving to work, in the shower, or right before you go to sleep.
One very cool website I came across is Lean Domain Search This website helps you brainstorm for good domain name ideas.
When you arrive at leandomainsearch.com you’re going to see a search bar where you can enter different keywords that you might want to use for your domain.
In this case, I used “photography”. Look at the results that showed up. There are over 1,000 domains available that use the word “photography” in the URL.
Another website I came across is Panabee, which also helps you brainstorm for a good domain name.
When you arrive at Panabee.com, you’re going to see a search bar where you type in some keywords that you might want to use for your website. I used the keyword “essential oils”, and you can see a variety of different keywords that Panabee suggested.
Prices Are Not Always The Same
Different registrars will charge different fees for domain names. Consider outright prices and annual costs. For instance, you can pay $100 outright, no more annual payments, and you plan to hold on to that domain name for 5 years. Or, you find another registrar that offers the same domain name for only $30 dollars out-of-pocket but you have to pay additional $15 per year (costing you $105 in total after 5 years).
Sometimes, cost savings don’t just come from annual payments. It may also depend on what your registrar offers you and what you need from them. If you are thinking of a registrar with hosting services go for Bluehost and Hostgator. If you are looking for a website that offers coupon codes and discounts, the Domain website is a good choice. Choose whichever saves you more money in the end.
A good website I have found for comparing domain name prices is DomComp. They compare 1900+ domain extensions and you can see which registrar has the best prices.
Don’t waste your money with premium domain names in the beginning. Premium domain names are going to cost you several thousands of dollars to register each year.
Auction Websites or Sites For Sale
There is one major advantage to purchasing a domain name through an auction. It will probably have some kind of brand recognition or SEO value to it.
These domain names will come with an extra price tag. The extra price may be worth spending the extra money, though. You can purchase a domain name from an auction site like GoDaddy, Sedo, NameCheap Marketplace, Flippa, Snapnames, Namejet, etc.
You can always backorder domain names if you have an idea and would prefer waiting it out to see if the domain name becomes available at a later date in time.
Be Careful With Trademarks
Sometimes people purchase domain names accidentally and it violates trademark laws. Never purchase a domain name that has words that are trademarked. For instance, you can’t own a domain name with the words “Nike” in it. Your domain name could be legally taken from you if it has violated any trademarks. Not to mention, you don’t want to end up getting sued by a big corporation, because you violated their trademark.
Simple Is Always Better
Long domain names do not work. The standard rule of thumb is to not exceed three keywords for every domain name. Why? The longer your domain name the harder it is to remember.
Do not purchase a domain name from a word that is commonly misspelled. Simple words that a 6th grader can spell are the best because you will minimize the chances of people misspelling your domain name. I have to repeat that the ideal domain name needs to be short and sweet.
Try to avoid using hyphens in your domain name. This not only lengthens your domain name, but it also reduces the credibility of your website. You could risk getting your website de-indexed, at which point the website is as good as gone.
Check social media handles
Nowadays, social media presence proves to be a great tool in boosting a blog’s traffic. The problem is, if your main website and your social media handle don’t match, it might not click with loyal readers. Before officially registering your chosen domain name, make sure that you can also use it as a handle on social media platforms. This will surely strengthen your brand.
For instance, blogherald.com has a Twitter handle of the same name. Followers can immediately associate two and two together. They may choose to follow your content online, and you may translate social media clicks to instant blog traffic.
Hopefully, this article has shed some light on how to choose the right domain name.
First published in 2016; updated February 2022