One of the most important first steps in setting up your blog is to choose a name. This is one area that a lot of bloggers end up making a mistake in because they choose something that doesn’t make sense, is hard to remember or is just plain too long.
Choosing A Name For Your Site
There are two main types of names for a blog.
- Brandable name: A brandable name is about creating a name for your blog that is memorable, and that can be used to help build an identity for your site. Examples of brandable names include sites like Boing Boing, DoshDosh and Dooce.com. Note: Brandable names can also be keyword rich depending upon the name you choose. For example a site like Engadget has a name that is brandable, but it also includes the word “gadget”. Double duty name!
- Keyword rich name: A keyword rich name will include keywords in the title that can give cues as to what your blog is about. This can be great for search engine traffic as search engines will often look to your url to determine whether your search results are relevant to a given topic. Try brainstorming names for your blog by choosing a list of relevant keywords, putting them together in different ways, and seeing what you come up with. You may also want to try and do some keyword research to find some popular but not over-saturated keywords that you can use for your site.
Personally I prefer keyword rich names because of the SEO boost they give you, and because they help you identify what your site is about before the visitor even comes to your blog. Either way, make sure you do some careful research before deciding on a name. Coming up with some blanks for good keywords? Get out a thesaurus or research top search keywords for other sites in your niche. Be creative!
Choosing A Domain Name And URL
If you’re going to be trying to come up with keyword rich name like I did, a fantastic site to check out is NameBoy.com. The site will allow you to enter in a couple of keywords you are considering, and then it will come up with a list of possible domain names and tell you which ones are already taken.
When choosing a domain name you’ll have the choice of a variety of different domain extensions. Some of the most popular ones include .com, .net, .info, .me, .us. I would recommend only using a .com or .net domain name as they are the gold standard, and most users will trust a site with these extensions more.
Once you find a couple of names that you like you’ll want to run it by a few people to make sure it doesn’t sound funny, or conjure up things that you didn’t intend. (Have you ever heard f the site www.expertsexchange.com? No, it isn’t a site about sex changes) Remember, once you choose a name, you’re probably going to be stuck with it for a while, so choose wisely.
Register Your Domain Name
The next step is to register your domain name. Some of the places I would recommend to
register a domain name include:
- Godaddy.com: This is where I have my 5 domains. Works well for me, and there are usually coupon codes available.
- Enom.com: Another popular domain registrars that a lot of bloggers use.
- NameCheap.com: Most people I’ve talked to lately seem to use this one.
These are just three registrars, but there are thousands of places that you can register your domain. My advice is to go with one of the big reliable domain registrars like godaddy or namecheap because managing the domains on their backends is easy and hassle free.
A Few Things To Remember When Buying Your Domain Name
There are a few things you should try to remember when buying your domain name:
- Try to register your domain name separately from your website host or other provider: Some website hosts will give you a free domain name when you sign up for hosting with their service. The problem is that often they still own the domain name, or it is tied to your account. That often makes it troublesome to switch hosts in the future if your traffic has grown or if you aren’t satisfied with a certain host. By registering your domain name separately you can guarantee that you’ll always have control over your domain.
- Try registering your domain with a company that will keep your information private: When registering your domain you will have the option to register your domain name privately, or to have your name and contact info available to all who look up your site’s “WHOIS” information. If you can, register your domain name privately to avoid having everyone know your name/address/phone.
- Make sure your domain name is easy to spell: If your name is hard to spell or if people are unsure of it’s meaning, it can be tough to get people to remember it.
- Choose a domain name with only words, no dashes: When picking your domain try to stay away from names like money-with-a-blog.com or the like. They can work, but they’re harder for people to remember, and are longer. Just leave the dashes out.
- Consider buying both the .com and .net version of the name: If you plan on being in it for the long haul, buying both domain names may be a good idea to protect your brand.
- Keep the domain name as short as possible: Having a shorter domain name makes it easier to remember.
Do you have any advice for folks picking a site name or domain? What sites did you buy your domains at?