Planning to start a blog?
Wondering how to choose the right domain name for your blog?
If so, we have got the perfect guide for you. In this post, we will discuss in detail the things you must know and the aspects you must consider while choosing the name.
What you will learn in this guide:
- What is a domain name?
- The structure of a domain URL
- Choosing the Website Name
- Choosing the Domain Extension
- Things to consider while choosing the domain name
One of the most crucial factors that could play a significant role in your online success is your domain name. Having the right domain could help achieve brand recognition faster and make ranking your website on search engines much more effortless.
And having to switch domain names in between is one of the worst hassles you could come across. It really hurts your search engine rankings and brand awareness. The best move is to take your time and decide on the best possible domain name at the beginning itself.
That being said, if you ask, “Couldn’t I succeed without a good domain name?”, our answer would be, “Of course you could with the right attitude and hard work”. But that doesn’t mean you should go ahead with any name. Having the right name could make your job (in terms of achieving domain recognition as well as search engine rankings) significantly easier.
It might be hard to come up with a catchy and interesting domain name when you are starting out. In this guide, we will show you some cool tips and tricks to help you simplify the process of selecting the domain names.
Let’s get started by understanding what a domain is and the URL structure of a domain.
What is a Domain?
A domain is the digital equivalent of your physical address (like your home address or business address). It’s how people can discover your digital presence.
Suppose you want to visit a particular website. Let’s assume Financial Folks for this example. If you wish to visit Financial Folks, the step you most usually follow is to go to a search engine (like Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, etc) and search for the name of the website.
In this case, you would be searching for the term “Financial Folks“. The issue here is that you are searching for a specific term, that is, the name of the website you wish to reach.
Google will throw every result associated with the term financial folks. Not just about the website financial folks, but numerous other results regarding the words “financial” and “folks”.
If the website you have searched for has a high SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking, it will show up at the top of the results. If not, it will come up on the results much later. In short, it’s a long method for reaching a particular digital destination.
You have to go to a search engine, search for the website name, find the website from the results, and then visit the website.
This is where the domain names come into play. A domain name is the digital address of a website. Once you know the domain, you can eliminate the intermediate step of having to use a search engine and go directly to the location instead.
The domain name of Financial Folks is “financialfolks.com”
If you know the domain name of a website, you could simply go to a browser of your choice, enter the domain name, and you will be taken directly to that website.
In short, “financialfolks.com” is the digital address of this website. Rather than searching for the website name on Google, you could directly use the digital address (ie, financialfolks.com) to visit the desired location.
Wondering, “Hey, I know all these. Everyone knows these things. Tell me something more useful!”?
This guide was created with people who are just getting started on blogging in mind. That’s why we are simplifying each and every concept. If you are a moderate to advanced learner, please do feel free to skip the concepts that you might already be aware of.
The Structure of a Domain URL
Now that you know what a domain name is, let us try to understand what a URL is and the structure of a domain name.
URL or Uniform Resource Locator is the location of a resource on the internet. In short, it is the place where the resource we are looking for (in this case, your blog is the resource) can be found.
A domain URL mostly consists of three parts:
- Brand Name
- Domain Extension
Let us go back to the example of Financial Folks itself.
The domain name of Financial Folks is: “www.financialfolks.com“
The three parts in this example are www (World Wide Web), financialfolks (the brand name), and .com (the domain extension).
WWW or the “World Wide Web” is an information system in which the resources are identified using URLs (Uniform Resource Locators).
The term www is mostly followed by the company name. In our example, it was “Financial Folks”.
And the company name is followed by the domain extension.
A domain extension is used for designating a category or country code to a website.
For example, “.com” for commercial websites, “.blog” for blogs, “.uk” for the country the United Kingdom, “.in” for the country India, etc.
In short, you have to do two things in order to choose the domain name for your blog:
- Choose the company name
- Choose the domain extension.
While buying the domain name, you can decide whether to keep the term “www” in the extension or not. Irrespective of whether you keep it or not while buying, your website will always be available at the location:
Now that you understand the structure of a domain URL, let us learn more about the aspects to consider while choosing the domain name.
Choosing the Website Name
As we already discussed, there are two major steps in choosing a domain name. First, choosing the name of the website and then choosing the domain extension.
Let us first see in detail about choosing the website name.
When it comes to website names, there are majorly two types of names that you must know about. They are:
- Brand name
- Keyword-oriented name
The first step in choosing a domain name is identifying whether you want to choose a brand name or a keyword-based name.
Brand names are names that are representative of a brand. For example, domains like Apple.com, Google.com, Amazon.com, etc.
Keyword-oriented names are made of relevant keywords. Few popular examples include theculturetrip.com, theminimalists.com, zenhabits.net, etc.
Which is Better: Brand Name vs Keyword-Oriented Name?
You must now be probably wondering, “Aren’t brand names always better?”, “Do people remember keyword-based names?” etc.
If so, we should tell you that keyword-based names also as powerful as brand names.
In general, keyword-based names are better for achieving fast SERP ranking and quicker traffic to your blog. And brand names are better if you have big expansion plans and a grand vision for your blog. However, please note that we are talking in a general sense. There are no hard and fast rules or standards that apply when it comes to choosing domain names.
It’s a good SEO practice to add keywords to your domain name.
Let’s take an example to better understand whether to brand or not.
Let us assume that your aim is to build a blog that makes $10K every month and achieve financial freedom. You would like to start earning this passive income (somewhere between $5K and $20K) fast and as early as possible. You would rather live happily, traveling the world, spending time with your family, and doing things you love than pursue an MBA or try to build the next big company.
If you feel that you could resonate with the above paragraph, it means that your aim (at least your temporary aim) is to grow a source of passive income fast. In such cases, keyword-based names tend to be better.
Let’s see why. Suppose we have two blogs that provide content on the same topic: the topic of managing personal finances.
One is named Financial Folks, and the other is named Example.com (or any particular brand name not related to the topic of your blog).
Both Financial Folks and Example.com provide nearly the same content.
Which website do you think Google would prefer while showing the search results?
And which website would you click and open given the same title and same content from the search page?
The answer to both the above questions would be Financial Folks, right!
Because the name itself suggests that the blog is about finances and the chance that readers would discover topics related to personal finance are higher on Financial Folks than on Example.com.
This is the advantage of having a keyword-based name. It is easier to improve your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings. And better the search rankings, the more traffic you receive.
You must now understand when it is best to use a keyword-oriented domain name.
But what about brand names?
Does it mean that brand names perform poorly compared to keyword-based names?
No, absolutely not.
Like we already said, you should go with a brand name if you have a bigger vision and plan to build your own brand. You might not have the keyword advantage with a brand name, but you will be able to build higher brand retention and awareness.
For example, it would be easier to remember a brand name like Amazon, Apple, Google, etc as compared to keyword-based names like Financial Folks, Nomadic Matt, etc.
Both names have their own advantages and disadvantages. Depending upon your plans and vision for the blog, you will have to decide whether to go with a brand name or a keyword-based name.
Once you have decided that, the next step is to determine the domain extension for your blog.
Choosing the Domain Extension
Now that you have identified whether to choose a keyword-oriented name or a brand-based name, the next step is to decide the domain extension.
As we have already discussed, a domain extension is used for designating a category or country code to a website.
A few of the most popular domain extensions include:
There are many other category extensions like “.info“, “.tech“, “.blog“, etc.
And country-specific extensions like “.uk” (United Kingdom), “.us” (United States), “.in” (India), “.de” (Germany), “.cn” (China), etc.
".com" Name Is Always Better
“.com” has always been the most preferred top-level domain over the years. And to be honest, it has become fairly hard to find a good “.com” domain name due to its sheer popularity and demand.
But still, you should go for a “.com” domain whenever possible.
Over the years, the “.com” extension has become synonymous with “trust.” So which website would you click to: financialfolks.com or financialfolks.xyz?
Our brains have associated “.com” domains with “trust” subconsciously. Therefore, you are much more likely to visit a “.com” domain compared to its counterparts.
There are plenty of new domain name extensions that are available. For example, “.blog”, “.shop”, “.photography” are all new and niche extensions. And these are good from the SEO standpoint if you are running a niche website.
But as a regular internet user scrolling through the search results, we would always prefer a website with a “.com” extension.
This specifically applies if you are a blogger. Always try to use a “.com” domain whenever possible. Moreover, “.com” extensions are more memorable, and people tend to search for them by default.
Please note that this does not mean we are against other domain extensions or that you cannot succeed without a “.com” extension.
There are millions of websites with other extensions that are performing well. However, the main reason we suggest going with the “.com” extension is due to the sheer popularity and the inherent trust associated with “.com” domains.
To summarize till now, there are two major steps in choosing the domain name for your digital business. They are:
- Deciding whether to choose a brand name or a keyword-oriented name
- Deciding the domain extension (“.com” domains are preferred generally)
Now that you understand the key steps in choosing a domain name, let us move to the most important part of this guide. That is, the important things to consider while choosing the domain name.
Tips To Choose The Best Domain Name
When you are new to starting a digital business, choosing a domain name could become stressful. The following tips will help you choose the right niche for your business.
1. Keep It Short
The shorter your domain name is, the better. Short names are easy to remember.
Keep your domain name length under 15-20 characters. Anything more would be a pretty long name and might be hard for your audience to remember.
Moreover, as your domain name get’s longer, the chances of your audience making typos while searching also goes up. It’s best to keep the domain names short.
2. Make the Name Catchy and Memorable
The more catchy and memorable the domain name is, the more brand retention you will receive.
For example, how amazing ad memorable are names like “smashingmagazine.com“, “rottentomatoes.com“, “boredpanda.com“, etc. Once heard, the chances of people forgetting such names are much smaller. Moreover, their popularity speaks for the point we are trying to make.
3. Make Sure That the Domain Name is Easy to Spell
The easiness to spell is just as important as having a short and memorable name. The harder it is to spell, the harder it will be to remember the name.
Moreover, the word-of-mouth promotion would be lower when the name is harder to spell.
4. Build a Personal Brand
Sometimes, it is better to use your name as the domain name and build a personal brand.
The major advantages of using your own name as a domain name are:
- You will be able to build a reputation as an industry expert while growing your blog on the side.
- You will not be limited by niche keywords. Unlike the case of using a keyword-based domain name, you could change your focus topic any time you need.
- This will help eliminate any confusion you have regarding whether to choose a brand name or a keyword-based name.
5. Stick to English or Your Native Language
It’s best to stick to English as the default language for your blog. This will help target a global audience. Irrespective of which country you are from, you will be able to target English-speaking audiences all over the world.
You could also use your local language. But remember that your target audience will be limited if you choose a local language.
6. Try to Avoid Numbers and Special Characters
You should try to avoid using numbers and special characters in your domain name. They make your domain seem less legible.
Which domain name would you visit from amongst the below:
The name without special characters or numbers right. It’s best to eliminate their use if possible.
7. Think Long Term
In the post on niche selection, we have discussed that you should choose a niche that is neither too narrow nor too broad while starting a blog.
The same goes for choosing the domain name as well.
It’s an excellent practice to add relevant keywords in your domain name, but make sure that these keywords will not limit you from expanding in the future.
For example, let’s assume you plan to start a fitness blog and you have good expertise in strength training. If you pick the domain name as strengthtraining.com, you would now be restricted to that particular sub-niche alone.
If you had chosen a name like fitnessbasics.com, it wouldn’t limit you from writing more on sister topics to strength training or any other relevant topics under fitness.
Think long-term, identify what your future plans are, your vision for expansion, and then choose a domain name accordingly. It’s better not to choose a domain name that is too narrow.
Some other important points to consider while choosing a domain name:
- Take ideas from the names of your competitor blogs
- Choose a name that will match the tone and style of your blog
- Alliteration and assonance are good
- Make sure that the name is not trade-marked by others
- Make sure that social media usernames are also available for the domain name you chose.
If you need help coming with words, you can use a thesaurus to find similar and related words. You can use this tool: Thesaurus.com
You can come up with a list of 5-10 potential names for your blog. You can then decide the best ones amongst these after checking for domain availability.
Also, make sure that the name you have chosen is not already taken by someone else. Make sure of the domain availability at the beginning itself.
Enter your domain name in the tool below to check the availability of the name you have chosen.
Moreover, make sure that the name is not trademarked already. Try to avoid names that relate to already existing brands as well.
In short, make sure that you won’t fall in legal trouble later due to the blog name. Because if you have to change your blog name after establishing it, you will miss out on a lot of SEO once you move to a new name. Make sure that you pick the right name at the beginning itself.
Let us quickly summarize what we have learned before we conclude the post.
- A domain is the digital equivalent of your physical address (like your home address or business address). It’s how people can discover your digital presence.
- The two most important steps in choosing the domain name are: identifying the website name and choosing the domain extension.
- You have to decide whether to choose a brand-based name or keyword-based name first.
- In general, always try to use the “.com” domain extension. It is the most popular extension, and people tend to trust “.com” domains more than others.
- Keep the domain names short, catchy, memorable, and easy to spell.
- Use your name as the domain name and try to build a personal brand.
- Try to use English names and eliminate the use of numbers and special characters in domain names.
- Think long-term and choose a name that is not too narrow.
- Make sure that the names you chose are not trademarked by others, and you do not fall into legal trouble in the future.
The most important thing is to take your time and pick the right domain name. Understand that this is a decision you cannot change later (of course you can, but it’s a lot of hassle if you decide to do so).
It’s best to take some time and come up with the right name. It’s okay if it takes you a few days or a couple of weeks to come up with a name. What’s more important is to choose the right name. That way, you will not have to regret your decision later.