How to choose a domain name? This is one of the frequently asked questions by bloggers. If you are running a blog, a website or an online business, a domain name is your online identity. It does not matter what type of website you are having, a domain name is how your website will be known online.
Just like your residential address, a domain name is your unique online address and will be yours till you continue paying the annual fees to your domain registrar. Users will come to your blog by typing in the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) in the address bar of a web browser, like Google Chrome. And users who are not aware of your URL, may be able to come across it through search engines like Google and Bing.
Let’s talk about the structure of a domain name.
To understand the domain name structure in a better way, look at the illustration below.
A domain name can be divided into four parts. Let’s see what the meaning of each one is.
Prefix – This is the standard internet protocol. It will either be HTTP or HTTPS depending if you have a security certificate.
Subdomain – A few sites might have a WWW subdomain while the others won’t. This is the third level domain of your website. If you would like not to display the subdomain in the Google search results, you may change the setting under your webmaster’s tools.
Name – This is the second level domain of your website which you get to choose and is unique to a website or blog.
Extension – Also called TLD or Top Level Domain. You get a lot of choices for this like, .com, org, .net etc. We will discuss more on how to pick a TLD next.
Domain Name Extension
As discussed earlier, you get tons of choices to choose a domain extension or a Top Level Domain (TLD). Here’ a general overview of what’s on offer.
A few popular top-level domains (TLDs) are .com, .net, .gov, .edu, .org, .int, .mil. Out of these, only a few can be used by general public. Others are specifically for government and educational institutions. A .com is the most popular TLD for the general public.
There are also country specific TLD’s, also called country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). A few examples include .in (India), .uk (United Kingdom), .au (Australia) etc.
In recent days, generic TLDs (gTLDs) are becoming popular. These are specific to a business that you are running and helps in easy identification. A few examples are .tech, .business, .social, .digital etc.
Now for the important part. How to choose a domain name? Considering the points that we have discussed above, I have come up with a few tips for you.
Tips for choosing a domain name
1. Focus on branding
You domain name in itself can be used as a powerful branding tool. So, before choosing a domain name, think of it as a marketing tool along with the amount of buzz it can create. A branded domain name brings you credibility, meaning you can get easy links.
A branded domain also assists in a word-of-mouth marketing since people generally tend to talk about it as it’s easy to remember. So, focus on picking up a domain name with meaningful words that can be turned into a brand.
You should also register your own name to create a personal brand. For example: http://arpitroy.com.
Even if you have not decided what to do with it, you should still get it before someone else does.
2. Make it easy to spell
Before buying a domain, always spell it aloud a few times (you should probably do it when you are alone) and see if it’s easy to pronounce. Reason being that almost 20-50% of purchases made by consumers are because of word of mouth marketing. And if you domain name is easy to spell, it can easily be passed along.
Moreover, out of the millions of domains registered till date, only about 5-7% appeal to people.
Because they are easy enough to spell.
3. Make it easy to remember
Along with an easy pronunciation, your domain name should be easy to remember. We talked about word of mouth marketing, remember?
So, if someone likes what you offer on your blog, they will share it with friends and family. But for that, they should be able to remember the domain name. Get the point?
4. Keep it short and sweet
Having a short domain name compliments the above two points. It is easy to type, spell and remember. Also, having a short domain gives you an advantage. You can have more characters in the URL in SERPs. They also are good for marketing, social media and print media.
5. Be unique and creative
Try to choose a unique name for you domain and always refrain from choosing something that resembles a popular website or blog as this may lead to a disaster.
A unique domain name also gives you a brand identity and differentiates you from everyone else. It is a good idea to write down 5 keywords that are relevant to your niche and play around with them until you come up with something catchy and unique. You can always add prefixes and suffixes to make it even more appealing.
Since, most of the single name domains have already been taken, you need to be creative.
6. Getting a .com extension should be your top priority
As discussed earlier, TLDs are valuable than the other domain extensions. Generally, people who have heard about your business, will search you online with a .com extension as most of them assume that a .com is all that’s out there. So, choosing a .com extension is ideal.
If you are planning to target a specific country, it is better to go for country specific domains like .in (India), .au (Australia) etc. For everything else, you should stick to a .com domain. This will help you in building a successful blog in the long run.
7. Don’t use hyphens
Hyphenated domain names should strictly be avoided. These names are not good from an SEO perspective and may act as spam indicators. They also have very little or no branding and lack credibility, thereby making it difficult to gain links. Also, since these names are difficult to spell and remember, the word of mouth marketing is non-existent.
8. Try to incorporate your primary keyword
From an SEO perspective, it is a good idea to include your primary keyword in the domain name. For example if your keyword is “Blogging”, you can choose something like BloggingBuider.com or BloggingValue.com. Both of them contain your keywords, are not very long and easy to spell and remember.
Like the above domain name? You can go to bluehost to check if these domain are still available!
9. Check username availability on social media platforms
It Is always a good idea to keep the same name across various social media platforms as it helps in easy discoverability and creating a brand image. So, before you choose a domain, use this tool called KnowEm to check for the username availability. Enter you domain, hit search and the tool will display the availability on various social media websites.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are the most popular social media platforms, so you should definitely check if your domain name is available to be registered on these websites.
10. Try to meet expectations
You should try to focus on a domain name that easily gives away your business, niche or services, as people will relate to the name with what you have on your blog.
For example, Hotmail.com and Gmail.com can easily be related with email services.
Amazon.com and Monster.com don’t really tell you much about the business/services and you need to spend considerable time on investing in brand marketing.
However, if you are already planning on investing in creating a brand for a unique and fictional name, you should be good.
How do I register a domain name?
So, now when you know all about domain name and how to choose a good one for yourself, check out if it’s available here and register it right away.
If you would like to create a blog, read this post to learn everything about starting a blog, right from buying a domain to getting a hosting and installing WordPress.