The first thing that comes to my mind when setting up a blog is getting a good domain name. In this article, I have described why I think it is important to choose a good domain name upfront. I have also explained how you can pick a good domain name for your blog or website followed by some domain name picking tips and general outlines (“dos” and “don’t s”).
Why pick a good domain name for your blog
Apart from many other reasons, you want to pick a good domain name for your blog/site from the start, because most likely you will be stuck with that domain name for the rest of the blog’s life. You may change the domain hosting provider from time to time depending on how reliable your current domain hosting provider is but the domain name will remain the same.
The reason I say that you will be stuck with that name is mainly because changing the domain name is kind of like starting all over again from the start and you don’t want to do that once your site is established and getting regular traffic and you have built up a brand. You will start with ‘0’ Google Page rank and will have to work your way up again if you do change the domain name in the middle. The Alexa rank and other ranking metrics will drop too because all these rankings are associated with the domain name. So the bottom line is that you want to pick a good domain name that you can live with from the start. Now, the question is how?
How to pick a good domain name for your blog
I don’t think that there are any hard rules as to how a domain name should be picked, so use the following points as a guideline for choosing your domain name:
- Use Keywords: Use keywords in the domain name that describe your site (if it makes sense). The domain name should suggest the nature of your product or service. A good domain name describes exactly what the site is about. It is important for a visitor to get an idea of what the website is about just by looking at the domain name. For example, if your site is about antiques and collectibles then try to get a domain name like “www.antiques.com” or “www.collectibles”.com not “www.foobar.com”.
- Easy to remember: A domain name should be easy to remember becuase your visitors will want to type in the domain name in the web browser for revisits and if they can’t remember the domain name then you run the risk of losing potential traffic. It is also easier to spread the word of mouth when the domain name is easy to remember.
- Keep the domain name short: A domain name should be short with less than 10 characters. It also helps the “Easy to remember” point when the name is short. Although, these days it’s incredibly hard to get domain names that are short. Basically you don’t want to end up with a super long domain name like “www.thisisareallybadexampleofdomainname.com”. When the name gets too long it gets confusing and the name can be easily mistyped in the browser.
- Use hyphens if needed: Use hyphen (-) in between the words if needed for your domain name. If “www.domainname.com” is taken then you can try “www.domain-name.com”. Using hyphen(s) in between the words sometimes help to improve readability. It can also help in the Search engine rankings.
- Make it easy to type: Try to get a domain name that is easy to type (if you can). Easy to type domain names are good for branding.
- Think Local: If your business is local then think about adding your region, city or state in the domain name (example: VegasAccounting.com). Only do it if it makes sense though.
- Domain name extension: Try to get the “.com” Top Level Domain (TLD) extension as it is the most popular. It is also the most widely accepted domain name extension. When people think about an website, their mind automatically pictures “domain-name.com” as the address. You can also use the “.net” and “.org” extensions if you cannot find a “.com” extension.
Should You Use YourName.com or YourBusinessName.com?
If the main commodity of your business is YOU then use yourname.com as your domain name. This works out good if you are an author, speaker, coach etc.
If your business is based around a product or a service then use yourbusinessname.com or your productname.com.
Some General things to be aware of
- Legal conflicts: Spend a bit of time searching around to make sure you are not choosing a domain name that is similar to an already established rival. You don’t want to spend time building your blog only to find out that someone else has a similar website and wants to sue you.
- Avoid Copyright Issues: Make sure the name you are going to use is not copyrighted.
- Be aware of the scammers: There are a lot of scammers around, so try to make sure you buy your domain name from a registrar who is in the ICANN’s (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) accredited registrar’s list.
Go Daddy offers cheap domain name registration. Try not to buy hosting from them though… read the following article before you signup for a hosting account. Name.com also offers cheap domain name registration.
Getting a cheap and reliable web hosting solution
As I have mentioned earlier that these rules are not set in stone. Don’t be afraid to add your own flavor. Use common knowledge and be sensible. Try your best and get creative. What is your best tip in choosing a good domain name? Feel free to leave your suggestions or comments below.
Comments (55 responses)
Hi, i m glad i found this site. Can you please help me to understand: I choose domain with ending e.g. ‘name. wordpress.com’ because its free. Is it possible later to change it to only name.com without loosing ranks etc? Thank u
@Rishi, Your domain likely hasn’t been indexed yet. Give it some time (a few days) to see if it gets indexed. You can also signup for Google Search Console (Previously Google Webmaster Tools) and submit your site. I am not 100% sure if they allow you to submit a hosted domain name though (I always use my own domain name for my sites).
In wordpress and blogspot they offer name.wordpress.com which is not showing in google what should i do
Many people get confused that if they go for online business then how to name their business as business name effects a lot.
You have shared really very useful information.
@Lourdes, Yes you can registration your domain from any domain registrar. Once you choose your hosting, you just point your domain to your host (you do this by editing the DNS record of your domain). This process is pretty simple (all the web hosts will tell you what values to use). You can buy the domain name from the hosting provider also. If you don’t host your website then you can’t start using your domain name. You usually pay an annual fee (not monthly) for the domain name. This fee is usually in the $10-$15 range.
Hi I enjoyed your article. I am really really new to this stuff. I want to make sure I understand. To register your domain I can use anywhere, then I choose a host and transfer my domain to them? Do all Host Companies charge the 1 year/ per month fee upfront? And what does it mean I pay monthly for a Domain Name. If I get a domain say through GoDaddy but I do not host with them, but I set up a WordPress.org account, can I start building my site until I find a host? Thank You So much
I appreciate this article and the posted comments, especially those from Pete, March 16, 2012, 10:36 pm, and Vishwanath, Aug 20, 2014, 2:14 pm. I understand what Pete said about keywords not being mandatory, especially if one takes advantage of social media to help create one’s brand. The challenge is to use social media wisely (it is easy to get on a social media site and spend too much time there), narrow down my interests so that I can do what Vishwanath suggested, get a domain name that is brandable, memorable, and understandable. And, finally, I am working on developing a site that helps others, which has always been my desire. Thank you to the author(s) of this article. Much success to everyone. Namaste.
So, in the business world, you have to be able to speak your mind in as little words as possible but still get the same point across as if you were to say a whole section of a speech.
when thinking about a good domain name, think about your product and try to describe or think of it in two to three words and see if it fits all of the criteria that is said in the above article.
I have found this very useful in more situations than just finding a good domain name.
You should be able to export all the content from WordPress.com and import it into the WordPress.org install. As long as you keep your URL structure the same, you won’t lose any viewer. I think WordPress.com offers a service to do the migration also (if you want that option).
Great article. My blog is 7 days old today. I really wish I would found this article before. I created it on WordPress.com. I need to change my domain. I want to post some variety, without having to only post about my product’s name. I can transfer the domain within Word Press.com. But, I recently learned about plug-in features. These are only offered on WordPress.org. In one week, I have 223 followers and 800+ views. I really don’t want to start over. Any helpful tips for making the turnover process easier, so I don’t lose all my viewers. I am glad I discovered your article sooner, than later! Thanks! Sherry
Great Post!!! Thanks for sharing such an informative post. The tips mentioned here are a sure help while choosing a domain name for a business.
A good article, once again! Kudos. But I would like to share some thing about the exact match domains here. As we all know with Google’s new updates exact match domains have most certainly lost their edge. So anymore it is not a must to choose the domain name with your primary keyword in it. Just make sure that your domain name is brandable,easy to remember and makes sense.
You are good to go…..
@Christian, I don’t think its too long. These days it is common to have a slightly longer domain name.
Thanks for your tips…very useful! I’ve found a domain name for my blog…It would be perfect but it’s 22 characters, do you think it’s too long?
The article above was amazing. Really good for beginners.
Hi Arch, yeah thats totally okay.
Is it ok to have a site that is of no particular market. Just random thoughts that i want to explore?
Just what I needed to learn. Thank you so much for this post!
In my opinion .com domain is always best. .com is a must have because it is the default everyone tries first if they don’t know the extension!!
Just getting started w/content research for blog. Will keep you posted. Thank you.
I dont have one yet but i wanted to get one started about relationships.
a Good Guide for newbies.Thanks a lot.
Very greate keep it up Bro,GOD bless you
@Pete, agreed 🙂
Good article. I do however disagree with keywords in the domain name being mandatory to success. For SEO yes an exact match domain name is great but that only gives so much. Branding is powerful and not all that hard with so many tools at your disposal such as Facebook. An EMD domain is great for some but think about your business in 5 years. Example Zappos.com does not tell me it is about shoes and clothes, they do however have one of the most popular shopping sites in the world now thanks to the power of social media and brand awareness.
Very useful information. Another tip is to choose keywords centered around your blog by analyzing them with Google’s keyword tool. This will show what term people search for the most.
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Very good information in this blog. You covered just about everything. Another tip I believe is to pick website names with low competition but high traffic.
One another thing to remember while registering for domain name is not to use words which ends and starts with same character like “jokessms” because it gives a bad impression to the user while looking to your domain.
Helpful article for me..thanks
If you wish to make money with your blog.
I will said that is a “must” to get a domain name for your blog.
– U need to build own brand name with the domain name . Is better u can create a logo for your blog as well.
– Use a keyword domain name which will help in your SEO and allow google and your reader know what your blog is all about .
– I have a different opinion is don’t use hyphen while it may look like u spamming keywords. And it hard to get direct traffic which most people will search without placing the hyphen in the domain name.
Yes there should realize the opportunity to RSS commentary, quite simply, CMS is another on the blog.
Registering for a domain is one of the most basic aspects of developing a site, yet at the same time, it can be vital to a site’s success. If ranking high on search engines such as Google is of high priority, then it would be advisable to register an “exact match domain”.
Great post and some excellent tips. In response to the last comment from John I just recently heard that hyphens in domain names will get slightly penalized by Google. They stated that non-hyphenated domains will gain priority over hyphenated ones.
So, for instance, if there are two domains looking to dominate the keyword domain name, and one is domainname.com and the other is domain-name.com, the first will have slightly more influence when it comes to ranking.
Of course, this is before any on and off site SEO work. Still, it is something to consider.
I don’t think that should really make too much of a difference when choosing a domain, but again, it is something to consider.
Thanks for the post!
Nice tips. Just for the record though, it’s an unspoken rule in domain flipping communities not to put hyphens in the URL, which greatly diminishes the value of the domain. for example, getting face-book.com would be just as bad as getting facebook.net instead of facebook.com. It’s considered “taboo”
Excellent Free Information
Thanks so much for this site – it is inspiring.
Cheers .. thanks mate. I wanted to get a forex currency trading blog together and was worried about using a hyphen as well for my intended domain name but feel more comfortable now after reading this.
I appreciate the work that you have put in this page. Really good, Thanks for sharing information.
Excellent post, I will be sure to save this post in my Reddit account. Have a awesome day.
Using proper keywords in your domain name is also a great idea for Google optimization of your site. I’ve noticed that having the main keyword in your domain name can really impact your natural search engine results.
Great blog. Getting the right domain is so important, some great tips to keep in mind!
This can be the most helpful article I’ve scan all year. GREAT stuff, thank you!
Wow, this is great stuff and I’m glad I ran across your blog. Keep it coming!
I’m neck deep in this stuff full time. I couldn’t agree more! Very insiteful! Great post.
Thanks for the information, bookmarked your page for updates 🙂
Thanks for the info – don’t forget to post about the Australian domain name industry – it’s really starting to take off… Thanks again
Interesting post, just signed up to your RSS feed, hope to find some more great content here 🙂
Solid info, Will definitely come back soon.
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