Whenever you decide that you want to start your blog or a website the first thing you will want is a good domain name.
You want to choose that name for your blog which will help it to stand out from the crowd.
To come up with that unique name is never easy and whenever you think that you have come up with a good, cool name, unfortunately, most of the times you’ll find that that name is already taken.
When I was starting out I also decided onto few names that I thought were really very cool and nice and catchy only to find out, to my disappointment, that they were taken.
I actually prepared a list of domain names for my blog which had over 20 names. And eventually “theblogstream” was selected.
In this post, I will tell you exactly what steps I took to choose a nice little domain name for my blog.
How to Choose a Domain Name
Before you choose a domain name for your blog, you must consider the impact your domain name will have on its readers, on you and on its branding.
Below are all steps that I took for choosing a domain name for my blog.
These are very helpful and are about all the immediate steps that you can take to decide a name for your blog.
1. Using TLD in your domain name extension
TLD stands for Top Level Domain like .com, .net & .org.
Secure a domain with “.Com” as the domain extension. It’s a top level domain name extension and it is very popular.
Since .com is very popular, people will assume that your domain extension is .com.
If you can’t find your desired domain name with .com then you can go with .net. I do not recommend .org as it is used by companies and organizations.
If you are starting a blog on behalf of your company or if you are a company then .org is most suitable. But if you are an individual like me then I’d suggest going with .com or with .net.
But the best option is having .com as your domain extension.
I have already told you that it’s a very popular domain extension as many big brands use .com in their domain extension.
For example Amazon and AirAsia. AirAsia have switched their brand name to AirAsia.com
As more and more brands use .com in their domain extension, it gains more popularity and gains more value.
Another example, when Problogger was started by Darren Rowse, he used problogger.net as a domain and lost a good amount of traffic to problogger.com. So in order to save his brand, he had to buy problogger.com.
So do whatever you must but choose .com as your domain name extension.
2. No Hyphens or Numbers
Never name your blog or your website as “domain-name.com or .net” because this will confuse people.
Including hyphen in the domain name will also result in typos and visitors coming to your site may go to your competitor.
Look below to know why I don’t recommend hyphens
I am not saying that you must not use a hyphen in your domain name but it adds to the confusion
There are few blogs like SEO-hacker which make use if hyphen but there are many which would recommend otherwise.
Another point that I want to make is that avoid using a number or a set of numbers in your domain name.
Image: Search Engine Journal
3. Using Your Name
I feel that it is a good idea to use your name as the domain name for your blog.
Like suppose your name is John Dune then you can try johndune.com or johndune.net or something like that.
One thing that I think about this is if you are starting for the first time and you name your blog as “yourname.com” then people who will come across your domain name will not get any specific idea about the topic of your blog.
Also, when you’re just starting and you used your name in the domain then you’d have to face a lot of competition for your target keywords before you get noticed.
But that’s what I think. Keep in mind that original & good quality content will always beat the competition.
One good thing about using your name as the domain name is that you get a fair chance to expand.
Meaning, I have used “theblogstream” as my domain name, so I have to write about all the things that are related to blogging only.
Whereas, John here (from the example above) who has “johndune” as the domain name can talk about more than one topic in his blog.
Another advantage of using your name is that later on in your blogging journey if you want to talk about other trending stuff in a different niche you can do that.
These are some of the blogs having the person’s name as the domain name.
But then again, these are already very established blogs and they have a fair number of loyal readers. They already had some following, to begin with, which has resulted in their branding.
If you are starting your blog for the first time and you think that using your name as the domain name will be a good idea then, by all means, do so.
But then you will face quite a lot of competition and quite a lot of hard work to turn your name into a brand.
Note – Competition does depend on the niche in which you have started your blog. If you have started in a low competition niche then it can be easier for you to rank sooner in the Google SERPs.
4. Using Keywords in the Domain Name
Adding keywords in your domain name will help search engines to understand about your topic by simply going through your domain URL.
Also, it is helpful for people to understand what a blog or a website is about when they come across their domain names.
For example – my domain name is “theblogstream” which has the keyword blog in it. So when people come across my domain name they will get an idea what my blog is about.
Keyword plays an important role in your domain name and is also one of the ranking factors in Google SERP.
For example – you want to start a blog in the niche of health and fitness, health and fitness being the keywords, you can choose “health&fitness” as your domain name.
It has keywords engraved in it and also gives a very good idea to the people and to the search engines what your blog is about.
5. Catchy and easy to remember
Make your domain name easy to remember and catchy for people.
By catchy I mean, making it “brandable”.
Sites having an easy to remember domain name are more frequently visited and also have better Google ranking.
Suppose, you’re blogging in the niche of food and recipe where you vividly talk about pasta and you want a domain name in which you want to use the word “pasta”.
In such a case, you can use pastarecipe.com as a domain name.
Below is an image from MOZ which will tell you precisely what I mean to say.
So keep this in mind that you can use whatever name for your domain but always try to make it as brandable as possible.
Especially when you are beginning always try to use easy to remember words in your domain.
Think from your viewer’s perspective and then name your site, be it a blog or a website.
Make it as much relatable and nice sounding as possible.
6. Must not be a copyright
When you are starting, make sure the name that you have chosen for your blog is not already taken.
The best way to make sure of that is to do a simple Google search.
How? You may ask. Look at the example below.
I did a simple Google search for two terms, “blogstream” and “theblogstream”. The results were as follows:
When searched for “blogstream”
The image above shows that only one result has the word “blogstream” and that also has Blogspot attached to it. This will not affect my domain ranking at all.
Though this is just an image of a part of the search result for the term “blogstream”, I made sure before using that term in my domain name that it was not used or already taken.
When searched for “theblogstream”
I can say that I completely own this word as all the results for the term “theblogstream” target traffic to my blog.
Again above image is just a part of the entire SERP, but it gives the idea.
I used the two images just to show you how impactful doing a Google search is. By doing this you will get a clear idea how to name your blog/website.
Note – Whenever you buy a domain name from a domain registrar like GoDaddy or NameCheap, you will always be notified of a domain name about whether it is available or not.
7. Using your niche in your domain
I have already talked about it in the 3rd point when I traced the example of “theblogstream.com” and “johndune.com”.
When you use your niche’s name in your domain then you will not be able to talk about many other things which you find interesting.
Like, I like to travel and talk about it a lot with my friends and family but I can’t blog about it in theblogstream, can I?
If I start writing about some travel experience of mine on my blog then that will neither relate to my blog nor to my readers.
You don’t want to go to a blog where you find “how to travel to Honolulu” when you wanted information about “starting a blog“. Do you?
If you use your niche word in your domain then you’d be, literally cornered by it and have to talk and write exclusively about that niche only.
If later you want to shift to some other niche then you will have to buy a new domain name and start over.
That’s the only one demerit of using a niche word in your domain name other than that there is no downfall of it at all.
Because highly targeted blogs (niche blogs) gets very high conversion rates.
Also, when you use your niche’s name in your domain name, you are actually using the keywords in your domain name as well.
For example – theblogstream has the niche “blog/blogging, money making through blogging” and it also includes the keyword “blog”.
In my suggestion, when you are starting your blog for the first time go for the target keywords/your desired niche in your domain name because it will give signals to search engines and to the people about the topic of your blog.
Also, read this article by Chris Lee on “choosing a domain name for your blog“.
8. Easy to spell
Never name your blog which confuses people and also try not to use hyphens in the domain name either.
As in the image above, when I look at the first name it immediately occurs to me whether it is an “o” or a “0” after h2. Isn’t it confusing?
After that, I looked at the second name. It is, in fact, quite even tough to get out. Really, raviolibertine? Is that even a name?
Never overcomplicate things than they already are. Always try to use simple and easy words to name your site like in the third example from the image.
Now, “Land of Noodles”, it is catchy and brandable and also very simple and easy to remember.
Go after such names that are simply memorable.
Also, be careful when combining more than one words to form a domain name.
9. Keep Domain Name Well Within 15 Characters
Can you remember a domain name which has too many texts and words in it?
Like from the example above when I said “raviolibertine”. It’s tough to remember, hard to spell and every other thing that is an example of a bad domain name.
“Raviolibertine” has 15 characters, which is not a good example as well.
Also, you do not want to use a “too long” name for your site. If your domain name exceeds that parameter high chances are that people will mistype the name and may go someplace else.
Thisisabadexampleofdomainame.com and definitely this-is-a-bad-domain-name.com.
Here is a video from MOZ by Rand Fishkin. He talks about 8 important parameters that you must think of before “choosing domain name” for your blog.
Here are few important links that you can refer to if you want to understand more about how to choose a domain name.
I have purchased my domain from NameCheap. NameCheap, as the name suggests is actually very cheap compared to other domain registrars like GoDaddy. Click here to purchase a domain from NameCheap.
Also, you can check out this article here to see a review on NameCheap vs GoDaddy.
Now let’s talk about some of the tools that you can use to generate domain names for your blog.
Tools to use for domain name generation
Lean Domain Name
Lean Domain Name is a good tool for domain name generation. You can just start by typing a single word that you want to use in your domain. This tool will create hundreds of suggestions using that word.
You can filter the words that you want to use by –
– Filtering alphabetically
– Filtering by length; or
– Filtering by popularity.
This is a good tool will generate a lot of suggestions out of which you can select anyone.
Shopify Business Name Generator
Shopify’s Business Name Generator is specifically used for generating business names. It rather gives a more corporate touch to a domain name. But still, it is a very good tool to use for generating domain name suggestions.
All the names that will be generated will have .com as domain extensions.
Domain Puzzler is a very simple and easy to use. Start by clicking on “easy” tab and type in the keywords that you want to use.
This tool will generate a whole lot of suggestions using the words that you want in your domain.
If you want more advanced or complex type of domain suggestion then you can easily click on the advanced or magic tab.
Name Mesh works best when you already have few keywords selected that you want to use in your domain.
Once you have decided what all keywords you want to use then you can use Name Mesh to generate domain suggestions.
This tool will generate suggestions based on categories like –
Name Mesh will suggest other keywords that you can use in your domain. I prefer Name Mesh because it generates a lot of good suggestions that you will want to use in your domain name.
Name Station good domain name generation tool. You can use this tool by signing up for free either by using your email or by logging in through FaceBook.
With this tool, you can easily –
– Check domain name availability.
– Generate domain names.
– Generate Keyword Suggestions.
– Start a naming contest.
This tool has also been featured in TechCrunch, Mashable and SEOMoz.
Instant Domain Search
Instant Domain Search is a tool that works well if you already have a domain name in mind.
Start by typing in your idea, and this tool will tell you if it’s taken or not. If it is, they’ll suggest alternatives that are currently available. They’ll also let you know which ones are up for auction.
They use a direct link straight to GoDaddy to complete your purchase. If the domain is taken, you can follow links to either look up who owns it or to hire an agent who will help you in making an offer to purchase that domain.
Dot-O-Mator the one to look up to when you have no keyword to use for your domain. Just start by typing a beginning and an ending of the keyword that you want to use or any phrase that matches your query.
You can also type in some words or phrases to get started. There is also a scratch box available that you can use to get a rough idea what you are looking for.
Once that happens you can combine both the results to start getting suggestions that you can use in the domain name.
Here are some few links which will tell you about other domain name generator tools that you can use.
Finding that correct domain name is never an easy task. Whenever you look for a name that you earlier thought would be the one, for sure you are going to find out that that name is taken.
But that is the thing, you have to be persistent with that creative spark. And with a persistent effort, I’m pretty sure that you will find that desirable name for your blog or website which you want.
Again, I will point out that always try to think of a name that is brandable, easy and relatable. Because a good domain name helps in winning half of battle ( well, I’ll say only a 1/4th, but that still counts as a win, doesn’t it?)
So Things to Keep in Mind before Choosing a Domain Name are –
- Use a Top Level Domain extension. Dot Com is the best.
- No numbers or hyphens. Hyphens lead to typos. One is OK but try to avoid them at all cost.
- If you want you can use your name in the domain, won’t recommend it to beginners, though.
- Use keywords in the domain name. Do it especially if you’re a beginner.
- Make it catchy, memorable and brandable.
- Make sure it is not a copyright. Google search the term without and domain extension to get an idea.
- Use niche’s name in your domain name if you think that is better.
- Make it easy to spell.
- Keep the domain name within 15 characters.
And that’s all about choosing a domain name for your new blog or website……
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Also, if you want to give any suggestions or make any comments, do it with your hearts open.