Just so we're straight:
- Domain = bloggingwithamy.com
- URL = http://bloggingwithamy.com
You definitely want to put some thought into choosing a domain name. The goal of the tips below is not to meet every criteria (that would be impossible), but to give you some guidelines to follow in the process. Be sure to read tip #12.
1. Go with .com
The vast majority of the time, internet users assume .com when browsing. Having a .net, .info, .tv or any other extension just puts another potential roadblock in the process of finding you. Having said that, there are plenty of successful sites that use a .net extension (or something else), but a .com is ideal.
2. Short and sweet
The shorter the better. Enough said.
3. Easy to say and spell
The goal is for your domain name to be passed along easily, by you and by others. This is more likely to happen if people don't have to stop and think about how to say or spell it.
4. No hyphens
This is closely related to #2. It's not very smooth or punchy to always have to specify a hyphen. ("Hi my name is Jane and my domain is fly hyphen fishing dot com.")
5. Use keywords
Remember the recent post Understand Keywords: Increase the Odds of Getting Found? Your domain is one of the best places to use a keyword or two. And the more compact and closer to the beginning of your domain, the better. For example, if "fly fishing" is your keyword, FlyFishingAdventures.com is better than AdventuresInFlyFishing.com.
6. Consider using your real name (or a nickname)
Remember our discussion about building your personal brand? Well, registering your own name is a great way to do this. In fact, I highly recommend registering your name as a domain even if you have no plans to do anything but park it. Why? Because you never know if you just might become a household name in the future. And then you'll be glad you have it.
If you plan on using your blog to sell a service you provide or if you hope to speak or become a published writer, your name might be the perfect domain to use.
If you have a really difficult name to say or spell, consider using just your first and middle like my friend Sarah Mae (her last name isn't hard to say or spell, but her first and middle keep things nice and short).
7. Make it expandable
You never know how your business might expand, so avoid names that box you in. For example, FlyFishingLures.com is nice, but what happens if you want to sell fishing poles down the line too (ha! punny)? You get the picture.
I also recommend avoiding life-stage-specific names. AllAboutMyWildAndCrazyToddlers.com is good now, but they won't be toddlers forever!
8. Avoid strings of words
If you have a wide range of interests and you also want to incorporate keywords in your domain, you might be tempted to string them all together and be done with it. I recommend against this simply because it's confusing. LuresRodsLinesPoles.com is a recipe for major confusion when a visitor is trying to remember the correct order.
9. Avoid obscure terms
If you are trying to appeal to a wide audience, avoid using niche-specific terms in your domain that someone outside your niche would be unfamiliar with.
10. But all the good names are taken!
Be creative. It's very possible (and perhaps probable) that you'll come up with the perfect domain…only to find it's already taken when you try to register it. Get creative. Don't be afraid to go back to the drawing board. Try looking up similar words in the thesaurus. Ask others for ideas. Mix words up or around. Use a tagline, a nickname or a phrase you say all the time.
11. Make sure the name is available on other social media sites
When picking your domain, check other social media sites to make sure it's available on those sites too. If you use the same name on your blog and on Twitter, Facebook, etc., it solidifies your brand and makes it more memorable. Kikolani alerted me to this cool tool that helps you do just that: knowem?
12. Don't overthink it
I hear from a lot of people who get stuck at this point because they're afraid of making the wrong choice. The most common problem is that they can't find an available .com (see #10 above). If this is you, just make your best guess and move on. A not-quite-perfect domain name is better than no domain name at all. Just do your best and own it!
Other posts in this series
- How to Start a Blog or Website: Intro & FAQ
- How to Start a Blog or Website: Cheat Sheet
- How to Find (or Refind) Your Passion
- How to Decide What to Blog About: What Works for Readers?
- How to Decide What to Blog About: What Works for You?
- Understand Branding: 4 Tips
- Understand Keywords: Increase the Odds of Getting Found
- Writing Great Content: 3 Tips
- How to Write a Killer About Page
- 12 Blog Organization Tips
- How to Choose a Domain Name: 12 Tips
- How to Register a Domain Name
- How to Set Up Hosting and WordPress
- How to Change Your Nameservers
- How to Add a New User in WordPress
- How to Optimize Your WordPress Settings
- How to Install a Plugin
- My Favorite Plugins
- How to Get & Optimize a Feedburner Feed
- How to Choose a WordPress Theme
- How to Install a WordPress Theme
- Elegant Themes for WordPress
- How to Install Google Analytics
- How to Use WordPress: Tips & Tricks
- How to Start a Blog or Website: 10 Tips for New Bloggers