A domain name is more than an address. It is your blog, your business, and your very online identity. Make it recognizable, easy to remember, and a proud representation of you and your brand. A good domain name is one of the many important factors of running a successful website. So, how do you know what domain name to choose for your new WordPress blog? That’s why this post is about choosing the best possible domain name for your blog even before you get started blogging.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is how your website will be known online, no matter what type of website you’ll have. It is the unique address of your site on the internet and it will be yours as long as you continue paying the annual fee ($10 – $15 for .com domain). Users who know your domain technically referred to as a URL (uniform resource locator) can simply type it in their browser’s address bar, and be taken there. Others will be able to discover your blog through search engines such as Google and Bing.
Domain name structure
Tips for choosing a domain name
1. Choose a unique name
If you are marketing yourself, ideally you’ll be able to use your first and last names (johnsmith.com or janesmith.com). Even if you aren’t marketing yourself, it’s not a bad idea to register your name as a domain now, in case you want to use it in the future. If you are marketing your business, you should see if your business name (yourbusiness.com) is available.
Using a search engine like Google, search for your proposed blog or website name. Does your search show any sites with similar domain names? If it does, try a different name. Giving your website a name that’s similar to other existing sites is the first step to failure. Also, don’t choose names that are plural or misspelled versions of existing sites.
2. Use a .com Name if Available
Think of any popular website out there. Do they use the .com domain name extension, correct? Although there are many different domain name extensions out there – not all of them are the best. More often than not, anybody trying to reach you will use your WordPress blog name and then add a .com at the end of it.
Up to 75% of all websites are “.com” domains. It is still the preferred extension and the easiest to remember. If your number one name choice isn’t available, then try your second choice before accepting other TLDs. Remember that some browsers accept address-only entries in their address bar. If you type just the domain name (and who knows how many of your users will just do that?) they will return, by default, to the “.com” site.
3. Make it easy to type
If you have to spell out your domain name more than once for it to be understood, then it won’t work. Keep the name simple to remember and easy to enter in an address bar or search field.
Why is simplicity important? Because you don’t want your future visitors to incorrectly type in your name and be directed to a different site. A classic example is the popular social media site, Flickr.com, introduced in 2005. Four years later, the company had to acquire Flicker.com for a large sum of money in order to redirect the many visitors who misspelled their name. If you’re determined to have that oddly spelled name, make sure common misspellings are also available so you can register them and redirect visitors to the main domain.
4. Shorter is always better
As we’ve been saying, shorter is better. If you can’t get your domain name down to one memorable word (almost impossible to come by these days), then consider adding one or maximum two more words. Combinations of two words work great for the memorable names like LifeHacker.com. Also, don’t use an acronym. People will never remember the letters unless it’s a highly catchy name.
5. Use Keywords if Possible
You might not always be able to to work a keyword into your domain name – but if you can, then do it. Not only does it help explain what your WordPress blog is about, it also helps when it comes to search engine optimization. Here is an example situation. You lock yourself out of your car, pull out your phone and see two results for people willing to help you out. One of these is lockedoutofcar.com and the other is johnsmith.com. The first one sounds a lot more appealing to your current situation, correct? Keywords not only help for search engine optimization reasons – they also help people use common sense to see you should be the best source of information they are looking for.
6. Avoid Hyphens and Numbers in a Domain
Numbers and hyphens (especially hyphens) cause confusion. Stay away from them at all costs. Even something as clever as the number1website.com will cause confusion. Make the name speak for itself.
7. Beware of trends
Anything that deals with something trendy will, like the trend, fade away. Stick with a classic name that will span the generations and not be tied down to a trend or fad. Deciding whether something is a trend or here to stay, is a matter of personal judgment, but it’s usually not too hard to tell.
You have to act fast when it comes to registering a domain name. Do not wait a week or even a few days to pick it up, especially if it is a good one. Chances are it might be gone soon. I hope these domain name tips help you when you go out searching for your next one. Let us know, do you have any domain name tips to share?