Choosing and buying a domain name is one of the most important steps in setting up your new website! Before you can start building your website you will need to register your domain name, which is where your website will live on the internet (www.yourwebsite.com). This is a very important decision, so be sure to give it a lot of thought. Here are some important points to keep in mind when brainstorming and buying your domain name:
Try to Get a .com Domain
Getting your first choice of a domain name can be tricky, because it will seem like most of the good domains ending with “.com” are already taken. Virtually all one word domain names were snapped up a long, long time ago. However, it’s worth the effort to try and find a .com domain name you like.
When browsing the Internet and looking for reliable information, are you most likely to trust a website ending in .com or some new domain like .blog or .shopping? Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable entering my credit card or buying an expensive product from some sketchy domain! There are some exceptions, with some tech startups opting for new domains like .io or .co, but don’t get too fancy here. Pick a .com and go with it!
How To Find An Available Domain Name
As mentioned, almost every common one word .com domain will have been taken, and if a one word domain is available there is probably a reason why (hint: it’s not very good). However, there are still plenty of great domain names out there as long as you are willing to be a little creative. There are several websites that help you search for available domains and also can generate domain names based on ones that are available.
One of my favorite site name generators is NameMesh.com, where you can enter multiple words to find available related domain names. For example, if you were writing a blog about Vegetarian Recipes, you could simply type in “Vegetarian Recipes” to NameMesh and look at their recommendations. Try to focus on domain names ending with .com that are easy to spell, so look at the “Similar” and “SEO” categories in Name Mesh first.
Other recommended Domain Name Generator tools include:
These tools can help you come up with creative multiple word domains and check availability at the same time.
What To Consider When Picking A Domain Name
Besides looking for a domain ending in .com, here are a few more tips to keep in mind:
- Keep your domain name as simple as possible. Shorter names are easier to remember, especially when you tell people the name in person or over the phone.
- Don’t use weird spelling variations. A good rule of thumb is someone should be able to correctly type in you name in a maximum of 3 tries, obviously aiming to get it correct on the first try. It might look cute to change the “i” to a “y” in “TheBycycleBlog.com”, but no one will be able to find it!
- Similarly, don’t use overly complicated or hard to spell words. Domain names are not the time to show off your college English degree. It’s completely ok to be “TheHappyCook.com” and not “TheExuberantCulinarian.com”
- Try to avoid dashes in the URL. It can be tempting to go for a URL with a dash separating two words you really want, but it is more difficult to say and people will accidentally go to the version of the site without the dash.
Even when you find the perfect domain name, you want to be sure you can get it across other social channels as well! In particular, you want to register the same name on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest. A great tool to check if your desired name is available across all the major social media platforms is NameCheckr.com. Type your name in and NameCheckr will automatically search all the major social networks and show if the name is available for registration or not. Don’t be too discouraged if your ideal name is taken in 1-2 places because you can always do a slight variation of it for that particular platform, like adding an underscore in the middle or at the end.
Using Your Given Name As Your Domain Name
Remember back in the day when you were supposed to remain anonymous online and use a secret screen name or email to protect your identity? Yea, throw that out because social media has completely changed the online landscape. Today, your name is your most valuable branding tool, so use it! Many people, myself included, simply use their names as their domain and then build a website around that.
Obviously if you are building a website for a business or a community you probably don’t want to use your personal name, and are better off with coming up with a creative name as discussed above. However, if you are building a personal brand and blog, using your name as the domain name could be a great answer.
There are several benefits to using your own name as your domain and your brand. First, your audience will begin to identify with you personally, which builds trust and recognition. In turn, this makes your audience much more likely to keep coming back to your website, sign up for your email list or buy products that you recommend.
Second, it gives you the freedom to take your website any direction you want since the main focus is you and not a niche. Targeting a niche name like “TheHappyCook” is great if you know you want to focus on that niche forever, but what if one day you want to focus on travel or fashion? Then your catchy domain doesn’t really fit anymore, but if you branded under your name you can take your focus in any direction you want.
Finally, YourName.com is probably available if you have a somewhat unique name! Even if it’s not, you can easily throw in your middle name or initial and find an available .com domain with your name. This way you get a readily available .com domain name, begin to brand yourself and start building a loyal following!
Where To Buy Your Domain?
You’ve done your research, come up with a great domain name and made sure it’s available both for your website and your social channels. Next, it’s time to buy it! You have two options here that I will dive deeper into another blog post, but for now it’s enough to know you can either buy it separately from your hosting, or buy it at the same time as your hosting. I prefer to buy both my domain name and hosting all at once through Siteground, but it’s perfectly legitimate to buy it through a simple domain registrar like Namecheap. If you have no idea what hosting is or are tempted to get hosting with that TV commercial you saw (spoiler: do NOT use GoDaddy!), then read my Ultimate Website Hosting Guide.
I hope this article helped and was a gentle introduction into the technology world of blogging. Buying a domain name sounds like something you might need a computer science degree for, but in reality it’s really easy and the creative process of coming up with a good name can actually be fun! I dive much deeper into everything surrounding building your own blog as a business in my Blogger Course, so be sure to sign up below to be notified of updates.
Thanks for reading! I hope this article has helped you to understand more about where to start when you step into the world of creating a website and a blog! If you have any questions please leave them in the comments.
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