Choosing a Domain Name That Fits

According to Wikipedia, “A domain name is an identification label that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control on the internet, based on the Domain Name System (DNS).”

Well, that was certainly useful :)  How about if we ditch the geek-speak and go straight into some information that will actually help us?

Basically, a domain name is the address of your blog. It helps people find your blog, and it’s a big part of how they’re going to remember and talk about your blog. Granted, there’s a lot more to it than that, but we’ll save those conversations for another day.

Not all bloggers need to create and register a domain name. If you want to make money with your blog, however, the odds are good you’ll end up going that route rather than relying on a URL provided by a company like Blogspot.com or WordPress.com.  Free sites are great for casual blogging and for some business blog purposes too, but for the most part, but they lack the flexibility, options, and tools most bloggers need to build their brands and make money.

I’ll cover the advantages and disadvantages of various blog platforms and hosting options down the road, but for now, let’s run with the notion that you’re going to need a domain name that fits and enhances your overall brand.

Just like everything else with blogging, there’s no one right or wrong way of doing things when it comes to choosing a domain name. There are, however, a few general guidelines that seem to work well more often than not:

  • Be clear on your brand – What sort of image are you trying to convey? Aim for a domain name using words and a tone that plays up your brand.
  • Know your target audience – What words would your average reader use to search about your topic? Include one or two of these if possible.
  • Keep it simple – Shorter names without hyphens or numbers are easier to remember and easier to type accurately into search engines.
  • Go with a .com extension if possible – .com has an established, solid feel to it, and people are comfortable with it.
  • Consider shelf-life – Consider what you plan to do with your blog and how long you plan to do it before putting pop-culture words in a domain name.
  • Allow room for growth – Will your name let you expand on your topic in the future?
  • Avoid using your own name – Unless you’re a celebrity or highly visible in your topic area, your personal name won’t help readers find or remember your blog.
  • Stay legal – Skip any trademarked names or names that seem likely to have you consulting with an attorney.

In the long run, your domain name is just one component of your overall branding strategy, so don’t get too nuts about finding a name that’s perfect in every way. Just take your time, think it through, and have some fun with it.

You can check the availability of your favorite names with the free search functions offered by domain name registration sites like GoDaddy or hosting companies like the one I use and am an affiliate for, bluehost.

I’ll cover registration and hosting options in future posts, but if you find a name you love, there’s no need to wait before registering it. It’s a simple and inexpensive process so take the leap whenever you feel ready.

Got any of your own tips or questions on choosing a domain name? Tell us about it in the comment section.

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4 Responses to Choosing a Domain Name That Fits

  1. Vince June 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    Hi Jean,
    I have spent some time on your blog now. It is very useful for me thank you. I have found the domain name aspect of all this one of the more taxing questions.
    This is a little like naming one of your kids ( I was really bad at that also… my youngest did'nt have a name for 2 weeks after he was born) I have thought of a few more to call him now he has grown up , but that is another story :)
    I am on the Marketing With Alex 3.0 course.. in it Alex says to use your own name for a domain. You mention that this is not a good idea.
    I think you are right as who the hell has heard of vince audritt, I have gone along with the own name thing as that is what was suggested but I am not comfortable with it. I have also registered marketingmissive.com. I am new to this and am not sure which way to go
    Thanks again for all the help
    Vince

  2. virginbloggernotes June 11, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    Hi Vince,

    Glad you're finding your way around on here! I've been trying to organize content, add related posts, etc., but I've got a way to go on that yet . . .

    Yes, choosing that domain name is like naming a baby (2 weeks-holy cow!!!). You see the power and potential in your blog and want a name that's worthy of your brainchild.

    The thing with using your own name is it doesn't give people anything to relate too unless you're a well known person in your niche. I like the sound of Marketing Missive, by the way. It tells me right away that there's something for me to learn about marketing there and I'd better go check it out.

    Glad to help out anytime and feel free to shoot me questions at jnjsarauer@gmail.com too.

  3. Joelle December 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    I would love some insight on my blog! I am really wanting to vamp up the authenticity and appeal before investing in my own domain name. Also, I am having trouble finding something that fits. I’ve tried a few and they seem to sound pretentious. I want to present the idea that my blog is a place for intellectual discussion and humorous takes on society, culture, and science.
    Some of the names I’ve tried:
    GeoJoelle
    Life of an Earth Tamer
    Modern Bluestocking
    (current, see http://geojoelle.wordpress.com/)

    I definitely am struggling to think of a good, catchy name. Any thoughts?
    Joelle recently posted..Denver or Me Bust

  4. Namesbeyond November 5, 2012 at 6:18 am #

    Domain name will be useful for online identity. The domain names will be of any extensions. If it is Dot com it favours large market shares. It will be visible to all people in the world. If you are targeting single country means then go for cctld domains which will be useful.

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