How To Chose a Domain Name for a Blog

domain name illustration

Choosing a domain name for your blog might seem an easy task from the start but once you dig in and start experimenting you soon realize it’s not that easy and can even lead to a mental block.

It certainly happened to me when I was looking for a name for my blog and at one point became like a barrier, preventing me to start blogging.

What is a domain name?

Simply put a domain name is the name that leads to your website.

It is a unique identifier that points to a certain place on the internet and is part of a system called Domain Name System (DNS). This system is responsible for taking the domain name and translating it to a corresponding IP address.

On the surface, your domain name can be superslimjims.com but under the hood, the address might look something like 192.10.33.2.

Domain names are registered through mediators that are called Domain Registrars. They are usually certified organizations that are responsible for storing and managing domain names.

Once you register your domain name it will become unique (with the chosen domain extension like .com or .net) and no one else will be able to register the same domain name unless they win a legal battle proving that they have the rights to the brand name.

So if you register “halfburntcandles.com” no one will be able to register the same name but on the other hand, will be able to register “halfburntcandles.org”.

This is the reason that I usually recommend that if you will be establishing yourself as a brand you should buy any other popular domain extensions as well.

Your domain name will be one of the first things that will play a role in the creation of your blog and brand.

Understand your blog’s purpose and audience

To choose a domain name for a blog you need to take your brand, niche, your audience, and preferences into consideration. Your domain name will be the face of your business and should be as relevant to your niche as possible.

If you’re going by a generic name my advice to you would be to incorporate words or phrases from your niche. Take a look at my domain name blogicent.com and how it’s structured. From the beginning, I chose to write about building and monetizing blogs so I came up with a combination of two words blog + cent, and came up with blogicent.

I chose this domain name because if you take a look at it you will immediately come to the conclusion that this website has something to do with blogging or with a bit more intuition about making money with blogging.

Of course, I would never choose this domain name if I was starting a blog about maintaining aquariums because it has nothing to do with this niche. In fact, it would be confusing.

If my blog was about clothes for pregnant women I would go with a more feminine name that women would be able to associate with.

Brainstorm and generate ideas

So let’s say that you are starting an outdoor blog.

It might be easier to start with a list of keywords for that specific niche and see if there is a way to combine them into a domain name. First start with what you’re most passionate about this topic. Let’s say that you love mountaineering. Take the word mountain. Now how do you enjoy your mountaineering? Taking it easy? Extreme? Summer? Winter? If you like the first option you might go with “easymountains” or “laidbackmountaineering”.

It’s a matter of trying to find different keywords and combine them into one.

If you will be writing from your personal point of view, then why don’t you try incorporating your name into your domain name?

Let’s say that your name is Jim and you love SEO. Then you can be “seojim” or “jimseo”.

What you should be doing when choosing a domain name is trying to use simple, short, and memorable words.

Use a name generator to choose a domain name

There are many tools easily available online that can help you brainstorm ideas. Actually, they put brainstorming on steroids. It’s also how I came up with the idea for blogicent.

You can try BrandCrowd’s business name generator. Not only it will give you different names based on a few keywords you provide it with but also give you a lot of logo options.

You can even choose one of the logos, edit them and download them to use on your website. I’d say this is one of AI’s good usages. Imagine how much money you can save from a tool like that. A logo designer can sometimes charge upwards of 1000 dollars for a logo.

Of course, once you choose a domain name you must do your availability research which I’ve described further down the blog post.

Keep it short and simple

A domain name can be as long as 63 characters which is an entire sentence. But using such a long domain name is a bad idea because no one will be able to memorize it and people would get lost trying to type it into the address bar.

It’s a good practice for a domain name to consist of 2 or 3 phrases. If you take a look at the most popular websites in any niche you will notice that they have kept it as short as possible

A short domain name is more memorable and easily recognizable as a reputable brand

So a rule of thumb for domain name length is to keep it around the 10-character limit.

Also, try not to use any hyphens or numbers in your domain name. This will only lead to confusion and irritation in people who try to search for you. Also, it looks quite unprofessional.

To someone who has been in the industry for a while, it would actually look like the easier domain name was already taken and you have made a compromise just to get the name you want.

Consider using your name as a brand

Anonymity versus getting yourself out there and being your own brand have their own benefits and negatives. Running an anonymous website makes it easier to sell and keeps your identity hidden and protected.

Being your own personal brand on the other hand comes with a lot of benefits. You are much more recognizable than a generic name, your website looks like it’s run by an actual human and people tend to trust other humans more than corporations.

Being the face of your operation is especially good for affiliate marketers. People often seek opinions from other people when making a purchase decision so you leveraging your personality in this case might be quite beneficial.

You can not only apply this strategy when choosing a domain name but you can take advantage of “you as your own brand” should you decide to start a social media account or an youtube channel. People much rather see a talking normal person in front of them rather than an automated PowerPoint presentation.

Check for availability and trademark issues

A very important rule I learned from the start is that when you choose a domain name it should be as unique as it can be. Not similar not even close to other names.

At this point, you should make a thorough research which doesn’t really take that long. The problem is that once you start coming up with different ideas and start checking for domain availability online you might spiral into indecisiveness and confusion.

Make sure that you don’t infringe on any other brand’s name.

I would recommend not going for a domain name even if it sound relatively close to another brand. Not only you might find yourself with legal issues but honestly, you would look just like another copycat. And that doesn’t bring authority and legitimacy.

This is the reason I seriously dislike any brand that starts with a lowercase i. The iPhone is the iPhone. It’s stupid to name yourself iCar or iFish. Don’t copy other brands!

How to check if a domain name is available

The easiest way to check if a domain name is available is to go to a domain reseller website and search for it. You can either search for the brand name only or for a specific domain extension.

Let’s go to Namecheap to do some digging.

The front page of Namecheap.com

You are now greeted by a search bar which we will use to try out our domain name.

First I will look for a domain name that is taken and another which is not.

In the search bar, you can either write the domain name only or the one with the particular extension you want.

Let’s try with “apple”

I chose an extreme example on purpose to show you that first off an easy domain name will most probably be taken already and second, Apple is a brand and they have made sure that every single domain containing their brand name will be purchased so that no one will have the chance to do any scams on their behalf or simply infringe on its copyrighted name.

When we try to search for “silentjim.com” we see that the extension we want is already taken but .org, .net, and the rest are available. As I mentioned above taking a domain name that already exists and slapping it on top of a different extension is not a good practice.

What domain name extension to choose

Even though Google says that they don’t take the domain name extension into consideration when ranking pages on the search result page, it’s made an impression that the domain extensions that rank the most are the “.com” ones.

The most popular domain extensions on the internet are:

  1. COM: the .com extension stands for commercial which is great for companies or people who are doing business through their websites
  2. NET: the .net extension was initially created to accommodate companies with are in the networking and network infrastructure technologies but since .com has become so overcrowded, new companies often prefer this option.
  3. ORG: same as the .net extension, the .org one had a different purpose from the start. It was meant for non-profit organizations but with the growth of the internet, it has become a popular choice for other businesses as well.
  4. US, CO.UK, AU, DE: these are the regional or local domain extensions. If you will be running a blog strictly dedicated to your local market or even want it to be in your local language, this is a very good choice. Have in mind that some local domain extensions require extra steps and documentation when purchasing.

I encourage you to always use a dot com extension unless you fall into one of the categories above. Dotcom is universal, cheap, and easily rememberable.

What characters can a domain name include?

There are a few limitations in terms of what your domain name can contain and if you try to register a domain name that breaks one of those rules you will be prompted by the search page where you’re trying to register it.

The allowed characters from a domain name are all the letters from A to Z, all the numbers from 0 to 9, and hyphens (-). While you can have letters and numbers in any order you can’t have a hyphen at the beginning or the end of your domain name.

Case-sensitivity most often is not a problem and if you search for Google.com you will find yourself to google.com. Most systems don’t discriminate on case sensitivity but some can so be thoughtful on that and always go with lowercase naming.

Depending on the registrar most ofter special symbols and ASCI characters are not allowed. Things like apostrophes and letter accents are also a no-go. But as with case-sensitive domain names, this sometimes can be an exception as well depending on the registrar’s rules.

Conclusion

On a funnier note choosing a domain name for your blog is like naming your child. Depending on how you name it you either give it a fair start or make it so that other kids will make fun of it.

Choosing a domain name for your blog is one of the very first steps of starting a blog. I have a detailed blog post on how to make a blog and if you’re interested in the whole process you can go over and take a look at it.

Not only having a good related to your niche domain name is important for your brand but also for SEO purposes. Choosing it carefully and at par with conventions is important but I urge you not to spend too much time thinking about it. After all, I chose mine with an online name generator and I love it.

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