Names matter because they are the first impression your blog has with potential readers. The wrong name is easy to forget and can cause your audience to lose interest right away. Choosing the right domain name, on the other hand, requires careful consideration.
Therefore, picking the right domain name is one of the most important decisions you can make to ensure your website’s future success. Yet, it’s something a lot of people rush into, leaving everything to chance by picking their domain on a whim. While a domain name isn’t everything, you’re going to pay for it anyways so you might as well choose a great one from the get-go.
In this article, I’ll tell you more about the importance of domain names. Then, I’ll walk you through the three steps I use when choosing a new blog domain name. Let’s get started!
The Importance of a Domain Name
Every time you launch a new blog, you’ll need two things: a domain name and a web hosting plan. The former is what enables people to access your website through their browsers, and it’s the first impression they’ll get of things to come. For example, our domain name is Leaving Work Behind:
However, our hosting plan is what enables us to run the website itself. Think about it as renting space on a computer that’s always online and which other people can access at any time. That’s hosting in a nutshell. You can use the same platform to handle both your domain and hosting needs, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
When it comes to domain names, you can pick any URL you want as long as it’s not already in use. For example, here’s what you’d see if you tried to register our domain name:
The good news is there are a nearly infinite number of domain name combinations to choose from. However, yours should always be as memorable as possible. Here a few quick tips to help you get there:
- Keep it short since longer domain names can be difficult to remember.
- Make sure it has to do with your blog’s niche if possible.
- Whenever it’s available, opt for the .com version of the domain you want.
- Check to make sure your domain name isn’t too similar to any of your competitors.
Keep in mind – you can always change your domain name later. However, doing so can confuse your visitors and have a negative impact on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so we only recommend it as a last resort. With that in mind, let me break down how I choose my blog domain names.
How to Choose the Perfect Blog Domain Name (In 3 Steps)
Sometimes, you’ll have an epiphany about the best possible domain name for your blog. More often, you’ll need to sit down and brainstorm for a while until you land on the right choice. Here’s how I do it.
Step #1: Use a Domain Name Spinner
Domain name spinners are services that enable you to feed them a few keywords and see what they come up with. Usually, most of the results you get won’t be perfect, and sometimes they won’t even make sense. However, these tools can still be of great help if you don’t have any clue as to what you want your domain name to be.
My favorite domain spinner is the Shopify Domain Generator because it has a nice interface and its results aren’t as terrible as most others. For this example, I’m going to type in “best running shoes” as my keyword and see what it comes up with:
Now you wait a couple of seconds while the generator does its thing and voilà:
Keep in mind – those are just a few of the options I got. In total, the spinner gave me 104 results, which brings us to step number two. Before we get to that, let me just say I don’t recommend using Shopify to register your domain unless you are going to use the platform. In most cases, we recommend using Bluehost instead, where you can register any domain you want and get one for free if you sign up for one of their hosting plans.
Step #2: Narrow Down Your Options
At this point, you should have a list of at least ten domain name ideas courtesy of the domain spinner you used and your imagination. Here are some of the best ones I got from my test:
If your first round of keywords didn’t give you too many hot results, try again using different words related to your niche. Keep doing so until you have a full list of strong contenders, and then you can start to narrow things down.
First off, I would shorten any overly long domain names. As a rule of thumb, you should set a three-word maximum, so premiumrunningshoes.com is OK, but not mypremiumrunningshoes.com. Then, I’d move on to discarding any domain names with homonyms or words that are easy to misspell. In most cases, I’d also stay away from numbers unless they are part of your brand. You should end up with a shortlist of strong contenders.
Step #3: Pick a TLD for Your Domain
Top-Level-Domains (TLDs) are the suffixes at the end of each URL. Com and net, for example, are two of the most popular options around but there are hundreds of TLDs to choose from.
These days, it’s not so much of a sin to use TLDs that aren’t .com but to be honest, that’s still the best option whenever available. Technically, there’s no difference between a .com and a .blog domain, for example, but people trust the former option more. However, there a handful of scenarios where it makes sense to use other TLDs over it:
- .org is well-trusted for nonprofits.
- .io is the new darling of tech startups.
- .net is basically .com’s less popular brother.
As a rule of thumb, if I have multiple domain names on my shortlist, I’ll go with whichever one has a .com TLD available. It’s a safe choice that people trust, and as long as your blog domain name is solid, you can’t go wrong with it.
Once you’re done registering the domain, it’s time to get to the real work. Starting a blog is often harder than people think. If you need guidance, you should look into our Beginner Blogging course, which has all the information you need to hit the ground running.
Choosing a blog domain name isn’t something to be done on a whim. If everything goes well, you’ll happily run with the same name for years to come. Renaming is an option, sure, but it can be tricky to pull off correctly. By finding the right name from the get-go, you’ll make life a lot easier on yourself.
Before we part ways, let’s recap our simple three-step guide to help you choose the right domain name for your next blog:
- First, use a domain name spinner to generate relevant ideas.
- Next, narrow down your options by considering best practices.
- Finally, pick the winning TLD to be your domain.
Do you have any questions about how to choose the perfect blog domain name? Ask away in the comments section below!
Image credit: Startup Stock Photos.