Learning how to start a blog continues with this third segment in the series. As you may have already discovered, it's not as simple as many may lead you to believe with all of the considerations that are associated with blogging itself. Nevertheless, with that said, simple or not, the next topic of discussion is going to be focused on the domain.
As I mentioned in Part I of this blog series, some would argue that coming up with your blog name is where you need to start. I disagreed in that post and my position hasn't changed on the matter. Why do I take such a strong stance on this ? Honestly, there are other foundational elements that matter more and the name isn't the top priority. As I discussed in part 2 with our focus on keywords, this is an element of our strategy. An element that is very important so be sure that you have read that segment in detail.
Okay, so moving on now.. Ummm isn't choosing the name pretty easy ? How can there be a real conversation about something so simple ?
Ohhh contrare my friend... Oh contrare.
There are some pretty hmmm... "interesting" domain names that exist online and that's saying it delicately, but hey, to each his or her own right ? Well, be that as it may.. there truly are some real considerations that go into choosing a domain name that's right for you and your blog. Of those considerations, lets start with the following:
Domain Name Recommendation #1
You want it to be something that's easy to remember.
There are billions of websites online and choosing a blog name that's going to be "easy to remember" can be overwhelming, frustrating, daunting and just plain.. not that easy. So as you're thinking of something that people will easily recall, consider the theme of your website. What words are associated with your website ? Consult the old fashioned thesaurus and make a list of these words. Think of synonyms.. what words are "related" to your blog and it's content ? A list of anywhere from 20-50 should do quite nicely. In this process, what you're hoping for is to find something that jumps out at you that is going to be a great fit for the name of your domain.
Domain Name Recommendation #2
You want the name to be short.
This is best practice and the best advice that anyone on this topic would give anyway. Who's going to remember a website with a domain name that looks like a full blown sentence. If your domain is longer than 15 letters I'd strongly recommend choosing something else. Even at 15 you're pushing it. If the domain name gets into the "long zone", the unfortunate reality is that many people don't spell well.. I'm just saying it like it is folks.. so keeping it short lessens the risk of someone misspelling your domain name. The shorter the name is increases the likelihood that when someone types your domain name they are going to reach their destination (e.g. to your website) successfully. Additionally, shorter names are more memorable than longer counterparts.
Domain Name Recommendation #3
To hyphen or NOT to hyphen ?
You may have found the perfect domain name (e.g. http://perfectdomain.com), but realize that it's already been taken. Bummer right ? So you come up with a fabulous idea and decided to see if (e.g. http://perfect-domain.com) is available. You find out that the name with the hyphen (-) is still available. Thus the question becomes... do I act on this and buy it ?
Hyphenated names may look like a great idea, but the overall gist on this is that they aren't worth it. Many of your potential visitors aren't going to remember to put the hyphen in the domain name when they are typing it in and what will inevitably happen is that you'll be sending traffic to the version of the name "without" the hyphen which benefits your competitor... the person that owns (e.g. http://perfectdomain.com) and not you.
So with that said, yes, you will more than likely find hyphenated versions available, but I wouldn't recommend buying them. It may still end up in you getting a "version" of the domain name that you want, but in the long run, it will do more harm than good for you and end up helping your competitor more than you. Trust me on this one.
Domain Name Recommendation #4
You want the DOT COM.
The dot com (.com) was the first TLD (top level domain) on the scene before the other's (e.g. "org, .net, .gov, .edu, .us, .in etc) showed up. The dot com is the strongest and most widely recognized domain extension and even more importantly is given more weight through and through by Google as a trusted domain extension. Now that's not to say that Google doesn't trust other extensions, but more trust is given to (.com) than any other extension that you can buy. I know that some may make a case that (.gov and .edu) and stronger. Yes, they would be right, but in this case, I'm referring to domains that are getting bought up and sold daily on a large scale and those are "not" .gov's and .edu websites. They are the more common extensions such as the "others" that I listed above in this segment and of those extensions, the .com's are the ones that are highly favored by Google. So all in all, when you are choosing your domain name, the best recommendation is to choose a name with a domain extension of .com because of the well documented recognition that is given to those domain extensions by Google.
Additionally, while many navigate to Godaddy for their domain name research purposes, I would have to confirm that this is certainly the strongest and best option online that I am aware of. I would certainly invite responses about other options and suggestions in the comments section below that are just as exhaustive and comprehensive as Godaddy that would be a beneficial contribution to this blog post.
Domain Name Recommendation #4
Avoid those tricky trademarks.
This is simple, but is often times overlooked. It cannot be overstated enough that being interested in a domain name such as (e.g. http://saveatwalmart) "Save At Walmart" seeming like a great name and a good idea since you'll be blogging about tips to help people save money at this retail giant.. does indeed infringe on copyright and trademarks. This is a costly mistake that you don't want to make. Any domain name that you choose "must not" include a name that has already been trademarked or possibly infringes on someone's copyright. So do your research before confirming the purchase on your new blog name. I personally performed a search for my own website to make sure that I would not be infringing on copyrights and upon a successful search, proceeded to purchase the domain that this blog sits on today. You can do the same thing for your own domain name research. Visit the Copyright Office and proceed to "search records" and search from the corresponding page.
As you can see, there's a lot to think about when choosing your domain name. These considerations are meant to make you more informed before selecting your new blog name. Re-read this segment and choose wisely and carefully. Make it memorable, keep it short and related to your niche and theme of your blog. This is your business and this is your passion.. Stay tuned for the next section in this blog post series.
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