Starting a new blog can be exciting. Rushing to purchase a new domain name is the first thing a person thinks about when starting a blog.
Although the process to purchase a domain name can take only a few minutes, I strongly suggest taking a moment to think about some important factors.
Remember, a domain name can be any combination of letters or numbers and must have a minimum of 3 letters and a maximum of 63. The only special character that can be used is the hyphen.
Ok, here we go…
1. Choose Your Niche
Before you head out to get that domain name, make sure you know what your niche will be. In other words, what is the main topic of discussion for your blog? This is a very important step. If you don’t get a handle on this easy step, you may find yourself working very hard at building posts, only to find out that you need to start all over! Read this article to learn more about how to choose your niche if you don’t know what a niche is or you have not chosen one yet.
2. Easy to Spell and Pronounce
Make sure the domain name is easy to pronounce, spell or type. It should pass the “radio” test. In other words, if someone was to hear it on the radio, would they know how to spell it out and find it online? You also do not want words that can be pronounced in several different ways.
3. Keep it Short
You do not want your domain to be too long. Short domains are easier to remember, type, recognize and brand. You should keep the domain name between 1 – 3 words. Shorter domain names are also a better fit on social networks, print media and many forms of offline marketing.
4. Get a .Com if Possible
Of course, you easily find out if a domain is available by visiting a registrar and typing the name in. I strongly suggest a .com or .co extension if possible. However, many successful blogs have .net and .org as well. But if you do decide on a .net, make sure your competitor is not at the .com. You will come across as “late to the game” and not as good.
Now, if the current .com website is terrible or not related, by all means, grab the .net. But I have also noticed that the .co is the up-and-coming domain for bloggers and widely accepted. You could also take a chance like we did and contact the owners of the domain you want and see if they would sell to you. If it is in your price range, you might get lucky. Our domain, BlogGeek.com, was being sold for $2,500. I contacted the owner and had bought it for $250. Now, that might be a lot of money up front, but I considered this as a business and was willing to take a risk.
5. Is the Name or Domain Trademarked?
This is important. Can you imagine working for months or even years to build your blog to then receive a cease-and-desist letter? Or worse, a lawsuit followed by a fine? You can get a free trademark search over at TrademarkEngine.Com.
6. Is the Domain Unique?
Your domain is part of your brand. You want to make sure that it does not resemble another well-known brand, as it can lead to confusion. You want a domain that is unique, not a knock-off.
7. Research the Historical Use of the Domain
You should check your domain names historical use the WayBackMachine by visiting Archive.org. You can also review screenshots of the website from previous use here.
8. Has the domain been blacklisted?
It is important to know whether a previous owner of your domain name had improperly used it with regards to email and subsequently getting it blacklisted from major email vendors. You can check here to make sure that your domain is not blacklisted. If it is, it might be hard to contact your list if your emails are being sent to the spam inbox.
9. Consider using your name
Okay, this one is tough. If you are going to be the brand itself, then it would make sense to purchase your name as the domain name. However, keep in mind that should your website become big and sellable, it might make it harder being that it is in your name. Regardless, you should purchase your own name domain in the.com form even though you do not plan on using it anytime soon. You never know, you could become a famous household name one day!
10. Make it Expandable
Keep in mind that your business may grow. You do not want a domain name that boxes you in. For example, BaseballBats.com would be a great domain name if that remained the topic. But what would happen if you decided to sell baseball jerseys or baseball gloves at a later date?
Remember, think ahead when choosing that domain name. You will want to keep your options open should you decide to expand in the future!
11. Is the name available on other social media sites?
Although not a critical factor, you may want to review if the name is available on other social media accounts as well. Using the same name across all social media accounts does add a to your credibility. One way to overcome this is to simply use the domain name with the extension as part of the name. For instance, if your domain was BaseballBats.com, you could use BaseballBats as a username. But if it is taken, you simply use your extension in the name to make it unique. Since you cannot use BaseballBats, use BaseballBats_com for the username. My favorite tools to check usernames across all networks at once is Namechk or knowem.
12. Avoid Hyphens & Numbers
Hyphens and numbers get in the way. Imagine telling someone, “Have you seen the new site, Home hyphen Depot.Com? There’s a hyphen between home and depot.” Or better yet, imagine a radio or podcast plug where they mention the domain…they would have to explain the hyphen. The same goes for numbers. Imagine using the number 2. You would have to say, “the number 2, not too or to” Keep it simple, letters only.
13. It’s a Marriage
Your domain is your lifeline to all your hard work. It defines your business and your brand. You do not want to work hard on building this entity to only change the name later on. Now, don’t get me wrong, some companies have successfully changed their name. Did you know that Google used to be called, “Backrub”? Now, although they were successful in making the change, it is not always a smooth transition. You could risk losing your user confidence and it could cost you a lot of money, branding and SEO rankings. So, when you choose that domain name, say, “I do!”
14. Use the Right Domain Name Extension
When choosing a domain name, everyone wants to make sure they can get the .com version. And for a very good reason. It’s easy to remember and it is what everyone defaults in typing when trying to find a site. Don’t get me wrong, there are many successful websites out there without a .com. Some have the .net, .org, .co, .io,etc. The .com is always the safer bet, but not always necessary. If the .com is taken, try for .net or .org. If those are unavailable, the latest trend has show people getting the .co domain. However, I find that confusing and if I had read that, I would have thought someone forgot the “m” and probably type it in ending up on a competitors site. Try to avoid these weird extensions such as .house, .space, and so on.
Ok, so now that you have read the post, are you ready?
Well, if you are ready to lock down that domain, I would recommend Namecheap as the registrar for your domain. It is very easy to get started and search for your domain. Just enter in your desired domain and click, “Search” to get started.
After you acquire your domain name, the next step is to find it a home. You will need to find a hosting company to store the pages of the website. You can read more here about how to start this part of the process.