NOTE: download the mindmap for this post HERE.
A domain name for your blog is one of the least expensive but most important investments you’ll make in your business.
Take the time to make sure your investment pays off!
Why is your blog’s “Internet” name important?
The domain name of your blog:
- Is the foundation for your content
- Sets your reader’s expectations
- Is your “brand”
- Sets the stage for your future growth
It really is the best (or worst) $10 you’ll ever spend.
So what are the keys to a great “internet name” for your blog?
- Relevant - probably obvious but the name should be relevant to the people who you are targeting to read your blog. It should reflect your chosen area of expertise both now and into the future.
- Memorable – Can your reader’s remember the name? Can they spell it? Even more important, can they SHARE it with others who share the same interests?
- Aligned – With the Solution Continuum you are targeting for the readers of your blog – does the name reflect the journey? Does it tie-back to the “evergreen” content you are planning to develop to support your Solution Continuum? Is the name aligned to the planned growth of your blog?
- “Find-able” – Does your domain name lend itself to being an SEO asset? Does it contain a keyword to help you in the search engine rankings? Can it be found in directories and via social media?
Are all of the “best names” gone?
The short answer is no – but you’ll have to be creative to get a great domain name and that’s what the rest of this post is about – helping along that creativity.
The “high-level” domains are likely taken, but great “long-tail” solution-specific names can be yours if you are willing to work at it.
First – do the research
Let’s start by taking a broad look at potential names – and that involves some research on your part.
Go to Google and take a look at some “high-level” domains based on your topic area. Search, for example; “blogging”, “fitness”, “cars”, “SEO”. You’ll see a variety of domain names that rank highly on these terms – all with a variation on the “high-level” domain. Type “blogging.com” into your address bar and you’ll see a site that isn’t too impressive – and it’s owned by “marketing.com” – type in “fitness.com” and you’ll see a more substantial site. Anyway – doing some research on “high-level” domains will give you some great background information.
Next – get a bit more “granular” and enter some “long-tail” names into Google. For example “blogmarketing.com” or “fitnessforwomen.com” . Again you’ll see other variations on these names. Make note of those that rank well. You should see some match between the top-ranking domain names.
Now that you have some basic background research, take a further look and start putting together the elements that you find in the top domain names. Do they reference a “journey” or “stages”? Do you see a match between the domain name and results a reader might expect (i.e. milliondollarbloggoing.com)? You will use this information a bit later on in the process.
Finally, get an idea of the top keywords for your blogging topic. You can do this two ways – one is to use the Google Keyword Tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal) to do this and it’s free. Enter ….. The second way is to use an SEO tool such as Market Samurai to provide keyword suggestions. The information you gather here can be used to create powerful domain names so it’s great research in which you should invest some time.
One note, some SEO tools allow you to find available domain names – you are not at this stage yet so hold-off until a bit later in the process.
Next – build some great domain name candidates
This is where you will put your research to use – you want to construct several domain name candidates for your blog. To do this take your research findings and create three “buckets” -
- “Broad Topic”
The “Broad Topic” is the high-level domains that you initially researched – for example:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The “Qualifier” is the sub-topic or functional area for your blog – for example:
The “Driver” helps give your domain name a unique positioning helping to drive readers for their initial visit – for example:
To construct your initial blog domain names take a Broad Topic + a Qualifier + a Driver – for example:
- ExpertBlogMarketing.com (Driver = “Expert”, Broad Topic = “Blog”, Qualifier = “Marketing”)
Once you’ve developed a list of domain name candidates you can see if they meet the four keys to great Internet domain names listed above:
Now let’s register your great domain name
A. Get your list of candidates together – it’s time to check to see what is available and possibly get some even better ideas for your great domain name.
B. Pick a domain name registrar – You’ll use a registrar to “purchase” your domain name. Domain registrars we have used include -
C. Use the domain registrar’s tools to check the availability of your domain name candidates -
- Enter your domain name candidates with a dot com extension “BeginningFitnessTips.com”
- The domain name tool will show you whether the domain is available – and if not will provide you with some options
- Continue working through your candidates until you either find one that matches or one that provides an option that you like
- Add the domain name (or names) you wish to purchase to the registrar’s shopping cart
- Establish an account and enter the details required by the registrar – NOTE: you will have the option to “guard” your details (for example NameCheap.com offers “WhoIs Guard” that will hide your personal details when someone does a “WhoIs” search on your domain name – this is recommended to prevent e-mail and snail mail spam
- Pay for the domain
- Enter DNS information if you have it (you get DNS – Domain Name Server – addresses from your Internet Hosting Provider) – if you don’t have your DNS information you can enter it later
D. You also can use a tool such as Market Samurai to search for available domain names based on the candidates you’ve created.
E. That’s it! You should be ready to go with a brand new domain name for your blog!
A few guidelines to consider
“Things to do” include:
- Get a “dot com” domain name if possible – if not, then a “dot net” domain name.
- If both “dot com” and “dot net” names are available consider purchasing both to prevent someone else from leveraging your brand and effort
- Consider purchasing domain names that include common misspellings – for example if you type “amzon.com” into your browser you’ll still go to “amazon.com”
- Use “auto-renewals” on domain names you are sure you are keeping if the registrar offers the service
- Sign-up for more than one year – you’ll often get a deal – and it possibly will make a difference from an SEO standpoint
A few “things to avoid” include:
- Don’t include trademarked terms in your domain name – for example “AdvancediPodTips.com” includes the “iPod” registered and trademarked brand name. You will likely get a “cease and desist” e-mail from Apple instructing you to stop using the domain once you start building traffic. Don’t let your work go to waste – don’t use trademarked names or terms.
- Don’t be too “cute” – unless that is part of your business plan – “cute” often is temporary and may not be relevant in six months to a year. Also, “cute” doesn’t always translate well in other parts of the world.
- Try not to use hyphens since they make your domain less memorable and shareable.
- Avoid “reallyreallyreallyreallylongdomainnames.com” because this again makes the name less memorable and shareable and also reduces the SEO value of the name
Can you go to a domain registrar and start typing in domain names until you find one that is available and register is?
Of course – and many businesses do just that.
But ask yourself – if you are going to invest your money and your time into building an Internet business is this the best way to get a really great domain name?
Isn’t it worth spending some time researching then developing candidates that are Relevant, Memorable, Aligned, and “Findable”?
Remember, your domain name can be the best (or worst) $10 you ever spent.
Take the time to make it the first great investment in your business.