As a prospective blogger, choosing the perfect domain name for your blog or website is like selecting the best name for your newborn baby. It’s a critical decision that can shape your blog’s identity and can affect your success for years to come.
Believe me. I’ve made the mistake of not giving the domain name choice enough importance and it hindered me, as I had to go through a long and painful process of changing one of my domain names, 2 years after launching my blog. It’s not a fun experience.
It’s not just my experience, however. I have seen my clients making the same mistake. That’s why I’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you choose a great domain name for your blog.
Here’s what you will find on this page:
Why Your Domain Name Matters
First Impressions Count
Your domain name is often the first thing people see when they come across your website online. Be it through organic search, or direct through referrals, or social media.
A memorable, catchy, and easy-to-spell name will help you make a strong first impression and ensure that people can easily remember it. This is important because people are more likely to return to your blog if they can easily recall your domain name.
A great domain name reflects your brand identity and can communicate your brand’s values, mission, and personality. It’s an essential part of your overall branding strategy.
For example, if your blog is about sustainability, a domain name that incorporates the word “green” or “eco” could communicate that message to potential readers. Another example would be if your blog is focused on adventure and exploration. In this case, a domain name that includes words like “adventurer” or “wanderlust” could help to convey that sense of excitement.
Remember also that your domain name is an essential part of your overall branding strategy. It’s something that you’ll use consistently across all of your marketing channels, including social media, and other promotional materials.
Your domain name can also impact your search engine rankings.
Choosing a domain name that includes relevant keywords can improve your search engine rankings, and consequently drive more organic traffic to your website.
For the sake of clarity; search engine rankings, means when your blog ranks in search engines like Google for certain words or phrases that a user is searching online. The only important ranking positions are those on page 1 of search engines, so positions 1 to 10.
When you manage to get features on this page of Google, you are guaranteed a few clicks from organic searches that will land on your blog. A relevant domain name can help with this, although it’s not a main ranking factor for SEO.
The Domain Name Selection Process
Define Your Brand
Start by having a crystal clear idea of your brand’s identity, values, and target audience. What do you want to communicate with your domain name? What kind of image do you want to project?
Make a list of the keywords that you will be targeting with your content. What type of searches do you want to rank for?
Answering these questions will help you pinpoint the right keywords and concepts to include in your domain name.
Next, generate a list of potential domain names. Aim for a mix of keywords and brand-related terms. Try and be creative and think outside the box in this step. You never know which combination might click.
The brainstorming process should be both fun and strategic, as it plays a significant role in determining your blog’s domain name.
Here are some tips to help you brainstorm effectively:
Use mind maps: Mind mapping is a powerful technique that allows you to visually organize your thoughts and ideas. I personally like using mindmeister for this exercise.
Start by identifying your primary keyword or the niche you are targeting with your blog. Write this down in the center. Then, branch out and jot down related terms, phrases, or ideas that come to mind.
This exercise will help you uncover unique combinations for potential domain name ideas.
Combine words: Experiment with combining different words or phrases to create something unique. This is where your creativity comes into play. Don’t be afraid to merge seemingly unrelated terms, as they can often result in memorable domain names.
For example, if your blog is about travel and photography, you might combine “wanderlust” and “lens” to create “Wanderlens.com.”
Use domain name generators: If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, domain name generators can be a great source of inspiration. These tools automatically generate domain name suggestions based on your keywords or phrases.
My go-to domain name generator is this one powered by Namecheap.com. This generator covers a variety of blog domain names, and it’s directly linked to the domain name database.
This means that as soon as you find the right name for your blog, you can immediately see if the domain name is also available, and buy it directly from there.
Play with word variations: Experiment with different word variations, such as synonyms, plurals, or even misspellings. Sometimes, a small tweak to a word can make all the difference in creating a unique domain name.
For instance, if you’re creating a blog about photography and you tried to get PhotographyTips.com, but found that it is already taken, then, try other variations, such as PhotoHacks.com or FotoTricks.com.
Consider adding modifiers: If your desired domain name is already taken, try adding a modifier to make it unique. By ‘modifiers’, I mean, adjectives, adverbs, or even short phrases that can enhance your main keyword. For example, if TravelBlog.com is unavailable, you could try adding a modifier to come up with alternative blog domain names such as EpicTravelBlog.com or TheUltimateTravelBlog.com.
Seek input from others: Sometimes, it helps to get an outside perspective on your blog name ideas. Share your list of potential domain names with friends, family, or colleagues, and ask for their feedback. They may offer suggestions, or point out potential issues that you may have overlooked.
Remember, the brainstorming process can take time and may require several attempts before you find the perfect domain name. Don’t rush the process, and give yourself the space to explore various ideas and let your creativity flow. I promise you that the time you invest in this process is well worth the effort in the long run.
Once you have your short-list of potential domain names, the next step is to check their availability. Let me tell you one thing in advance. This process can be heartbreaking. You will fall in love with one or two domain names, only to find out that they are already taken. It happened to me more often than I care to admit.
In this section, I will guide you through the process of checking domain name availability using Namecheap.com, a popular domain registrar that is both very reliable and also competitively priced.
So your first step is to go to the Namecheap.com website.
On the Namecheap homepage, you’ll find a prominent search bar where you can enter your desired domain name.
Type in one of the potential domain names from your short-list and hit the orange “Search” button.
The Namecheap program will then display the availability status of your searched domain name, and give you other alternative suggestions. These will be either using the same domain name but with a different extension, such as .net or .org. Or else it will suggest slight alterations to your original inputted domain with a common .com extension that is available.
Review the search results provided by the system, and if your desired domain name is available, you’ll see a green checkmark next to it, along with the price it will cost you to register that domain name.
If it’s unavailable, you’ll see a red “X” symbol and a message indicating that the domain is already taken. In some cases, Namecheap may also show premium domain names for sale, which are domain names with a higher price tag. These are domains that have already been registered by someone else, but which are still available for purchase. In other words, the original person who registered the domain has not built a website and is making the domain name available for sale.
If the original domain name you chose is not available, then explore alternative domain extensions. As mentioned, Namecheap will automatically suggest alternative domain extensions.
In addition to the more familiar extensions like .com, .net, and .org, there are many other popular domain extensions that cater to specific industries, interests, or locations.
These options may be worth considering if you’re set on your chosen domain name but can’t secure the .com version. Keep in mind, however, that a .com extension is generally more popular and easier for users to remember. Some also believe that a .com domain is preferred by search engines like Google, however Google themselves have denied this and say that the domain extension does not affect search engine rankings in any way.
Personally I prefer to play it safe and always go with a .com, unless I am targeting a specific country. In that case the country’s top-level domain extension, such as .co.uk would be a good alternative, if not preferred.
Repeat the above search process for each of the domain names on your short-list. This way you can see which of your potential domain names are available for registration, exactly as you have intended them to be written.
If you find multiple available domain names that you like, you should also consider purchasing these additional domains also. Given the cheap price tag of registering a domain name, this can be a good security measure.
Why? you say.
Well, because this can help protect your brand and prevent others from using a similar domain name. This does not necessarily mean that you need to create multiple websites. You can always 301 redirect the additional domain names to your primary website.
After you’ve made your decision, follow Namecheap’s registration process to secure your chosen domain name. Make sure to keep your domain registration information up to date and renew your domain every year to avoid losing your online presence.
If you are confident that this blog will be a long term commitment, I would actually suggest you register the domain for more than 1 year from the get-go. This will keep your mind at rest that your domain is yours for the long term.
Don’t worry about the expiration date too much though. Namecheap will send you various reminders when it’s time to renew the domain. Just make sure that you have your primary email set up with them. The email that you check regularly, so that you won’t miss their reminders when they send them.
With your domain name secured, you’re one step closer to launching your online blog and sharing your knowledge and ideas with the world.
Tips for Choosing the Perfect Domain Name
Avoid Trademark Infringement
In your quest to find the perfect domain name, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re not infringing on any existing trademarks or copyrights. Accidentally using a name that’s the same, or too similar to another company or brand could lead to legal issues and potential financial penalties.
In this section, we’ll provide a step-by-step process to help you avoid trademark infringement when choosing a domain name for your blog.
Familiarize yourself with trademark basics: A trademark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression that identifies a specific product or service and distinguishes it from others. In the context of domain names, trademarks protect brand names and logos, preventing others from using similar names that could cause confusion.
Conduct a preliminary search: Start by performing a simple Google search for your desired domain name or keywords. This can help you identify any existing businesses or brands that use similar names, giving you an idea of whether your domain name could cause confusion or potential infringement issues.
Search the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database: If you’re targeting a U.S. audience, visit the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). Their website allows you to search for registered trademarks and pending trademark applications, which can help you identify any potentially conflicting trademarks with the domain name you are thinking of using.
If your target audience is outside the U.S., you should consult the trademark databases of the relevant countries.
When using TESS, search for your desired domain name and any variations, including different spellings or similar-sounding names. You are checking for live trademarks, which are currently in use. Dead trademarks, on the other hand, are no longer active and should not pose a problem.
If anything comes up in the USPTO search results, then see if there are any trademarks that could conflict with your domain name. Look for trademarks in the same industry or niche that your blog will be about. Even if your domain name isn’t an exact match, it could still infringe on a trademark if it’s too similar or likely to cause confusion.
Now if you’ve got your heart set on a particular domain name for your blog but you’re unsure about potential trademark infringement, then you might want to consult with an intellectual property attorney.
There are directories like this one that help you look for IP attorneys in your area. These specialized attorneys can help you navigate the complexities of trademark law and provide guidance on whether your blog’s domain name is likely to infringe on an existing trademark.
If your research indicates that your domain name could infringe on an existing trademark, I strongly suggest you reevaluate your domain name options. Try adjusting your domain name to one that is less likely to cause legal issues.
Your blog domain name is a long-term commitment, and choosing the right one is crucial for your blog’s future. Now, while it’s important to select a domain name that reflects your blog’s focus, it’s equally important to ensure it remains relevant with the times.
Here are some tips to help you choose a domain name that can withstand the test of time.
Avoid niche-specific limitations: Selecting a domain name that is too focused on a section of a specific niche may limit your growth potential if you decide to expand or pivot in the future.
For example, if you start with HealthyDessertRecipes.com, it might be challenging to transition into a broader food blog later on. Instead, choose a name that allows for growth, such as HealthyEatsAndTreats.com.
Steer clear of trends and fads: Trends and fads come and go, so it’s best not to base your domain name on what’s popular today. A domain name that appears trendy or fashionable now may become outdated or irrelevant in a few years. Opt for a timeless name that will remain appealing and relevant for years to come.
Consider future offerings: Think about the possible directions your blog might take in the future. Do you plan to expand into new niches? Choose a domain name that can accommodate these potential changes without sounding out of place.
Leave room for geographic expansion: If your current focus is on a specific location, but you have plans to expand your content to be applicable for new regions or even global, avoid including a specific city or region in your domain name.
For example, LAFitnessTips.com is not an ideal domain name unless you definitely intend to cover only LA based fitness places. You might think this is the case now, but what if your blog becomes hugely successful and you hit a wall with your growth because of your domain name?
This domain name limits the blog to covering fitness tips specific to Los Angeles. If you decide to expand your content to cover other cities or regions, the domain name will no longer be relevant or effective.
On the other hand, FitLifeHQ.com is a very good domain name since it’s not location-specific and allows you to cover fitness tips for anyone, anywhere. If you do decide to expand your coverage to other regions or even globally, the domain name will still be relevant and effective.
At the end of the day, while changing domain names later on is possible, it can be a daunting exercise that can also damage your blog’s search engine rankings. So you want to reduce the likelihood of needing to change your domain name down the road.
Real-Life Examples of Great Domain Names
To help you visualize what makes a great domain name, let’s look at ten real-life examples of successful blog domain names. These examples showcase the best practices we’ve discussed above, and will help you visualize how to create a memorable and effective domain name for various types of blogs.
TechCrunch.com: This technology news website combines two relevant keywords, ‘tech’ and ‘crunch’ to create a catchy and memorable name. The name is easy to spell, concise, and clearly conveys the blog’s focus on technology news.
SmartPassiveIncome.com: Pat Flynn’s blog focuses on teaching readers how to generate passive income through various online ventures. The domain name is easy to understand, memorable, and immediately communicates the blog’s primary purpose.
MinimalistBaker.com: This is a food blog specializing in simple, minimalist recipes containing only ten ingredients or less. The name cleverly combines the concepts of minimalism and baking, creating a memorable and descriptive domain that appeals to its target audience.
NomadicMatt.com: A popular travel blog run by Matt Kepnes, who shares budget travel tips and advice. The domain name combines his first name with the word ‘nomadic’, creating a personal and memorable brand that also conveys the blog’s focus on travel.
ProBlogger.com: this is Darren Rowse’s blog on blogging tips and best practices. The domain name is short, memorable, and clearly communicates to its target audience, who are professional and aspiring bloggers looking to improve their skills.
NerdFitness.com: This is one of my favorites. It’s a fitness blog targeting people who identify as ‘nerds’ and want to improve their health and fitness. The name is both catchy and descriptive, appealing to its niche focus. Apart from the domain name itself, I love how the content is structured in a way to really appeal to the nerdy type of reader.
TheSartorialist.com: this is a fashion blog that showcases street styles from around the world. The domain name cleverly uses the word ‘sartorialist’ which refers to someone interested in handwork and detail in clothes.
ZenHabits.net: A personal development blog by Leo Babauta, focusing on minimalism, mindfulness, and productivity. The domain name effectively captures the essence of the blog, combining zen with habits to create a memorable and descriptive title.
TheEverygirl.com: A lifestyle blog targeting women, covering topics like career, fashion, and wellness. The domain name is inclusive and empowering, suggesting that the content is relevant to every girl and successfully capturing its target audience.
DigitalPhotographySchool.com: I don;t need to even say what this blog is about right? The domain name is descriptive, easy to remember, and effectively communicates the blog’s focus on digital photography education.
Now it’s your turn. See if you manage to come up with a domain name for your blog that you can see being used as a great example for future bloggers.
Choosing the right domain name for your blog or website is a crucial step in building a successful online presence. By following this guide and tips, I hope you will manage to select a domain name that helps your blog stand out in this crowded online landscape.
Good luck, and happy blogging.
For more knowledge articles check out our domain names hub.