A domain name is your blog or website web address. It is what your visitors type into their browsers to access your site. One of the first steps in starting a blog is choosing and registering a domain name. You may be asking “Why do I need a domain name?”. The answer is simple. Having your own domain name makes your blog stand out and look more professional compared to the masses of blogs that are hosted on free sites like Tumblr and Blogger. It brands and represents your blog, it gives it legitimacy. Having a domain name sends a message to your visitors: you are taking your blog seriously and so should they.
Think long term when choosing a domain name
Your domain name is an important factor in the success of your blog. Naming your blog correctly is vital. A good domain name can be as simple as your full name. Many bloggers are fine with branding their sites with their personal names. Some go by a pseudonym.
When choosing a domain name think long term. Beware that many ideas and fields inevitably evolve, especially in the online world where everything moves quickly. Because of this try and avoid picking a domain name that is too specific, instead think of a more expansive name. The last thing you want is make a decision, start a site and after some time want to change the domain name. This could negatively affect what you have built in terms of search engine optimization and branding.
Characteristics of a good domain name
The domain name should be short, easy enough to remember and easy to spell. Imagine that you told the domain name to a person you met at a conference, will he or she be able to recall and correctly remember the domain name the day after? It’s important to make your domain memorable so do take your time to decide as it could be hard and confusing to change it later on. Characteristics of a good domain name are:
- Easy to remember
- Easy to spell
- No numbers
- No hyphens
What domain extension should I choose?
The .com domain name extension is the most popular and most recognizable extension. Most people regard that as the default extension and would automatically type .com after the name. Because of this always try and get the .com domain name, it is especially important if you are writing to a global audience.
If you are writing a blog in a language other than English then it should not be much of a problem to use a domain extension of your country. It is actually positive to have a local extension as visitors will understand that the site is targeted to their territory and search engines might send you more visitors from searches from that country.
Sometimes your blog domain name just comes to you instantly, sometimes you need to spend some time thinking and brainstorming the options. Spend some time researching the possibilities to choose the name that fits your project. Here are the three main methods for selecting a domain name:
Method 1: Use keywords in the domain name
A great name is descriptive and tells the visitors or at least hints at what the site is about and what they can expect. Descriptive keywords make your domain relevant to the topic and content of your blog. Keywords help express what the blog is about, and spell out benefits to the potential visitor.
Traditionally having keywords in the domain name helped the domain rank and get traffic from search engines. Recently Google has been working on algorithm changes regarding domains with keywords. The trend is that keywords will be less of a ranking help. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pick keywords in your domain, it just means that having keywords no longer gives you an advantage over domains without keywords.
Method 2: Use a branded domain name
The second method for choosing a domain name is to think about brandability and do a brainstorm to find some creative names that can become your brand. When thinking of brand names think of Google, Yahoo, Instagram, Twitter and similar. Something unique, catchy and short. Get your creative juices flowing and make up some interesting names. It can take a while to find the right name but can be really powerful way of starting something big. The negative side of this option is that in most cases the name will not be descriptive enough to tell the potential visitors what the blog is about.
Method 3: YourName.com
You can also brand your site by your own full name. It is a nice way of having a more personal and warm blog presence while also building a name and a brand for yourself. Many bloggers have built their names in their areas which has allowed them to start selling teaching courses, doing conference talks and even publishing books. This option is not for everyone as some people will not be too comfortable putting themselves into the spotlight that much.