If you have decided to start a blog/online business, it is a good decision, according to me.
When you start thinking about your new website, that you are going to create, you will come across some doubts. One among them is,
How will people access my website?
That’s a good question, I will answer it.
Every website will have its unique URL to access.
To be more accurate, every website will have its own domain name.
For example, right now, you are reading this post at this URL: https://blogheist.com/how-to-choose-a-domain-name/
Here blogheist.com is the domain name.
Suppose, you are interested in checking out our coupons, you will have to visit, (Just an example. The actual URL no longer exists)
Here deals is the subdomain name.
If you notice, in both these URLs, I used .com. We call it a domain extension.
I will explain this domain extension in detail in the later part of this post.
So, now, I guess you have understood, what is domain name and subdomain name.
Why is a domain name important for your blog?
As I already mentioned, you can access your blog through your unique domain name. It has got some importance.
The first impression is the best impression:
I know, this is a cliche, but that’s true.
Suppose you visit a website example.com and you found something useful there.
You wish to visit the site, sometime later. How will you find this same website and visit again?
You will look at the top address bar, and you find a simple name, example.com.
So, you will most probably remember this name and visit this website again.
(I do know, you can bookmark that page, But in this case, we are considering only how does a human being think in a particular situation)
What if the domain name is example1997kumarwebsite.com? Can you remember this?
I don’t think so.
Majority of us don’t realize we remember only simple and striking names.
Plays an opening strike for your SEO:
Just like cricket, where a good start is essential, the domain name can give you a good boost to your SEO.
When you choose your domain name with a keyword, you get an extra advantage.
For searches related to that keyword, your website will be listed.
Looks cool, right?
You have some restrictions on choosing the domain name with a keyword. I will explain to you as you go through this post.
It’s your Brand:
A domain name is just not a URL to access your blog. It’s your Bussiness’s identity.
It’s your Brand name.
Promoting your brand name is equivalent to promoting your domain name.
When you have your domain name and Business / Brand name to be the same, the more you promote your Business, the more people will be familiar with your domain name.
So, they will easily remember your domain name and access your website.
But, can you choose anything as your domain name?
You need to choose the right one for your website.
If not, it will turn out to be a nightmare.
So, I have got some tips for choosing your domain name.
Tips for choosing a domain name:
I will be explaining to you a lot of tips for choosing the domain name. These tips will be varied and so you have to follow the ones which suit your business/brand.
1) Make sure your domain name is easy to type:
Having a complex domain name will be tough to type for visitors.
How are we able to easily type the name Google?
Because it is very simple to type.
What makes you remember the name Youtube?
It is made up of two simple words “You” and “Tube”. That makes the user remember the name and type it easily.
2) Keep your domain name short:
Keeping your domain name short as possible is very much important. When your domain name is large, the visitor will find it difficult to remember.
Sometimes, the visitor may even find lazy to type such a long domain name and avoid visiting your website.
Suppose, you have a website name,
Do you think your reader is going to remember this name?
Most of them don’t!
A research made by Gaebler shows that your domain name impacts the popularity of your website.
The top 50 websites have their average domain length to be 6 characters.
Overall 1 million popular websites have an average domain length to be 10 characters.
So, it is recommended that you don’t choose a very big domain name.
3) Try to use keywords:
Like I already mentioned, it is good that you use a keyword in your domain name.
For example, consider,
Problogger.com – It is a website that offers blog tips and helps you make money online.
As I google for professional Blogger.
I could find ProBlogger’s Homepage listed on the first page of search results. Look at the SERP carefully. The Keyword Professional Blogger was not used both in meta title and description. But, still, the page is able to rank on the first page outranking millions of competitors.
Looks interesting, right? But how does this happen?
It is obvious that websites get a lot of natural links to their homepage. These natural links will usually have their domain name / Business name as their anchor text. In our context, the word ProBlogger is actually an LSI Keyword for Professional Blogger. (LSI keywords are nothing but relevant words used for the same term. Just like for the term car, we can use words like automobile, wagon, vehicle, etc)
Whenever someone links to their homepage, their HTML would look like,
<a href=”https://problogger.com/”> Visit Problogger </a>
These links with anchor text are positive signals for Google. Since many Trustable websites are linking to this page for the term, ProBlogger, Google will think it is a vital resource on ProBlogger (LSI Keyword for Professional Blogger). That made this page rank on the first page for this particular keyword.
So, using a keyword, on your domain name is an added advantage. But that said, you should not take it for granted. I will tell you how you should not use Keywords in your domain name in #9.
Q: How to brainstorm good domain names with keywords?
A: There are some tools to suggest good domain names with the keyword you want. I will list those tools and explain to you, as you keep reading.
4) Target your area:
When you say your domain name, people should be able to relate your website to some category.
Like when I say,
Chennairestaurants.com, it should be something related to restaurants and not to electronics.
So, before you start you must decide what niche you are going to target and choose domain name depending on it.
5) Avoid numbers, hyphens, and plurals in your domain name:
I will not recommend you to pick a domain name with numbers or hyphens or plurals. Because it will make users finding your domain to be difficult.
When your friend asks, what’s your website name?, you spell it as (30 minutes pizza dot com), but your friend will be typing,
What will happen?
Your friend will not find your website, and you got your visitor abandoned. Another classic example of this type is,
That’s why I say, avoid using numbers, hyphens, and plurals in your domain name.
6) Keep your domain name memorable:
Make sure that your domain name is memorable. Don’t choose a domain with too many letters, like I already mentioned.
Similarly, try to choose a domain name with words.
Don’t choose anything like,
I can never remember the name of such kind of websites, and obviously, I will look for the alternate site.
So, before you choose, your domain name, say it to your friends, and get to know, if they could remember or not?
If they couldn’t, it is better you choose another domain name.
7) Use Appropriate Domain Name extension:
You could have noticed domain names ending up with something like .com, .in, .net, etc. These are called domain name extensions or Top Level Domain (TLD). These Top Level Domains have some importance and meaning. They have some classifications which we need to understand.
Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD):
.com – Mainly used for commercial entities. It is an open TLD and any person or entity is permitted to register a domain name with this extension.
.org – Refers to an organization. This is also an open TLD.
.net – It refers to the network. Mostly used by websites acting as a portal. It is also an open TLD.
.info – It refers to an informational website with full of information and resources.
Though there are different Generic TLDs available, it is wise to go with .com. Because it is a human tendency to assume the website to have a .com domain extension. It will also affect your link building process.
For example, In a link analysis made by SEO Expert Peter Kent, it is identified that many webmasters have the tendency to link to .com extensions.
examplegadget.net – 90% of links
examplegadget.com – 10% of links
The original website actually had a .net extension. Only 90% of the webmasters were properly linking to the .net websites. It was found 10% of the links were made to .com extension, making the hard-earned backlinks go on in vain. So, who is interested in losing all the backlinking efforts? That’s why it is preferred to go with a .com domain.
Q: Apart from the linking problems, what are the other problems associated with not choosing a .com extension?
A: The other problems you will come across is losing your customers and potential readers. You might be aware of Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger (You just came across this site in an example). Initially, he had his site at problogger.net. But, he realized that he is losing a lot of visitors because his visitors were searching for problogger.com. So, he had to move his domain to problogger.com
Generic Restricted Top-Level Domains:
.biz – Restricted for Business
.name – These extensions are reserved for individuals
Sponsored Top Level Domain (sTLD) :
.gov – Used for government websites. It is reserved exclusively for the United States Government.
.edu – This extension is widely used by educational institutions. The usage is restricted.
Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLD) :
.in – Refers to Indian websites
.us – Refers to websites from the United States
.uk – These websites are from the United Kingdom
.jp – Refers to websites from Japan
Q: Which is the advantage of using Country Code Top-Level Domains?
A: Let us say you get a domain name cafetoday.in. On seeing your domain what Search Engines will understand is that you have a Cafe Business in India. So, when a person from India is browsing for Cafe related keywords, this website will be shown more often than websites with .com or .net or any other country level domain extensions.
Q: What is the disadvantage of using Country Code Top-Level Domains?
A: With your website having .in domain extension your audience is restricted only to India. You cannot think about your website being shown in Search Result for a user in the United States. If you don’t want to restrict your business, then you must get a Generic Top Level Domain (.com or .net domain).
I have just mentioned some of the commonly used domain extensions. You have a lot more. If you are interested in knowing them all them, you can find out from this post.
If you are starting a website to earn money out of it at any time, I would recommend you to choose a .com domain.
Q: I am just starting a website now. I will go with some .org or .in TLD right now. Later on, if my business becomes successful, can I change it to .com TLD?
A: Yes, you will be able to change it. But, only if your domain name with .com TLD is still available. If a business starts to see some success, then many people register the same domain name with different extensions just to confuse the audience and get benefit out of it. These websites with different domain extensions can even become your potential competitors.
8) Protect and Build your Brand:
Do you know?
You might be aware of Facebook is also popularly called as FB.
Hence, Facebook purchased that domain name too.
Just like Facebook clearly built their brand name by purchasing relevant domain names, you should also buy relevant domain names and build your brand, as time goes on.
Apart from relevant domain names, you should consider purchasing Domain names with relevant domain extensions too.
Suppose, your domain name is www.yourdomain.com, the most relevant domain names you will have to register are:
You will have to register these domain names and redirect them to the original site.
Why should you do that?
There are instances where the .com and .org extension can represent different business. One classic example is,
WordPress.org and WordPress.com
They both have the same domain name WordPress but vary with their TLDs. And they are two different businesses too.
Can a domain name with a different extension affect my business?
Over a period of time, many .net businesses have died while .com businesses have survived while both having the same name. A classic example,
Rent.com – Still in Business
Rent.net – No Longer Exist
So, it is always essential to register your business names with other domain extensions too. Only then, you can avoid unnecessary competitors. Apart from that, you must also consider registering your relevant domain names with dashes, similar spellings and plurals.
9) Don’t pick an exact match domain:
Earlier, I mentioned you about the advantage your business can get by using a keyword in your domain name. But, let’s talk about the negative side.
Many people tried to misuse this method. They purchased domain names with long tail keywords, posted some relevant content on it, and ranked higher.
Google noticed this trick, which created many low-quality websites and then they released an update, “Exact Match Domain Update” to take care of this.
How can we use Keywords in domain names without getting penalized?
This update clearly tells about two terms,
Exact Match Domain (EMD) – If your domain name is exactly matching the long tail keyword it is called Exact Match Domain.
For example, let’s say “Apple iPhones 2019” to be long tail keyword we are considering,
Then www.appleiphones2019.com is an exact match domain.
Partial Match Domain (PMD) – If you have only a part of this keyword at your domain name, then it is called Partial Match Domain.
Considering the same example, www.iphonesguru.com is a Partial Match Domain. It still has a part of that keyword considered.
Google’s Exact Match Domain update penalizes only Exact Match Domains and not the Partial Match Domains.
Till now, I have explained some important factors to be considered while choosing a domain name.
Next, I will help you come up with unique domain names by using some tools. But, before that,
How a Brand’s domain name should be?
Your domain name will affect your branding and Business a lot. To understand how this affects, let see a classification of Business names.
Types of Business Names:
Fanciful Business names are just made of words. They don’t have any meaning. These words are created just to represent the business. Some examples are Starbucks, Kodak, Udemy, eBay, etc The word Udemy does not have a meaning. But, the company made its own branding to make a powerful online learning platform.
These are real words but used in an unrelated context. For example, McDonald’s, Subway, Apple and Amazon. The word Apple denotes a fruit. But, Steve Jobs has made us remember Mac and iPhone for the Brand Apple. Similarly, Amazon would be referring to the Amazon Forest. But, Jeff Bezos made us remember for the eCommerce platform.
These are not direct words and but they are used very close to the meaning. For example, Burger Barn, Travelocity, Home Depot, etc.
These Business names actually denote what the Business does. For example, First Bank, Auction Web, etc. Just by hearing the name Auction Web, you could say that it is an online platform to Auction products.
These are exact names describing what the business is about. Some examples include Rent.com, Books.com, Realtor.com, etc. Most of these generic names have already been taken. And it is not recommended to go with those names.
Forbes Most Popular Brands:
Having said the different types of Business names, let’s have a look at the list of Forbes Most Valuable Brands 2018.
Look at the list of Top 15 Brand names. Most of them are Fanciful and Arbitrary Brand names. So, when you are going to choose your Business name, it is recommended that you choose a Fanciful, Arbitrary or Suggestive Brand names. It is not recommended to go on with a Descriptive or Generic Names.
If you already have a Descriptive Business name and feel it affects your branding, then consider rebranding. Rebranding works if you have the right strategies.
In 2013, Rand Fishkin made a clever decision for Rebranding SEOmoz.org to Moz.com and has succeeded in it. But, remember the difficulty in rebranding an established business.
But, why make a mistake today and correct it in the future? It involves a lot of costs and effort.
So, choose the right Name for your Business while registering your domain name itself!
Tools to Choose Domain Name:
If you browse Google, you will get so many tools to find unique domain names. I will list some useful ones.
DomainTyper is an interesting tool. If you enter the domain name you want, it will check all possible extensions.
It will let you know, which extensions are taken and which ones are free.
I entered “neilpatel” and got the following search result.
It does not stop with that. It will make some modifications to the name you entered and suggests you with more names.
Today social media is so powerful. So, it is essential that your business needs to have social media accounts.
Social media accounts are so easy to create and it is completely free.
Many people start their business straightway at social media platforms without getting a domain.
Now, you are going to buy a domain name. After you purchase the domain name, when you plan to create social media accounts for that domain, what if you find someone else is already using that name.
You will land up with disappointment, right?
So, before you purchase a domain, you must check if the username is available on social networks.
But, how to do that?
This tool will take care of that work too.
Continuing with the same “neilpatel” search, you could see in which platforms this username has been taken.
That’s why I told you, this tool is a very useful one.
WordTracker tool will help you find long tail keywords.
Long tail keywords are the ones with less competition. They are easier to rank and also, it gets some traffic.
I searched for the keyword, “affiliate marketing” and got the following result.
The column “volume” indicates, how many searches this keyword gets every month.
And the column “Competition” indicates, how difficult it is to rank for that keyword. The greater the value, the more difficult it is to rank.
By making use of this tool, you can get some low competition keywords, try to make it as a Partial Match Domain name and check for availability.
Just a reminder: Don’t get overexcited. Keep the domain length in mind and choose a good length.
If you are looking for an alternative to this tool, go with Semrush.
Just enter the keywords you want to have in the domain name and this Domain Name Generator tool at Namestation will come up with hundreds of name suggestions.
I used the same keyword “affiliate marketing”.
And this tool generated 4872 domain names. Out of, them 2627 domain names are discarded as they are taken already.
The specialty of this tool is, it will give you as much as Partial Match Domain names. So, you don’t need to worry much about Google’s Exact Match Domain Update.
By making use of these tools, I guess you will choose a good domain name for your business. Also, check these tips before registering a domain name.
Now, you will have to register this domain name with a domain registrar.
Recommended Domain Registrars:
Domain registration is one business, that you can start with low investment. That’s why you can find so many domain registrars online.
But, I recommend you to go with the best one at a reasonable price.
I will recommend you to register your domain name with either one of the two services.
GoDaddy is the world’s largest domain name registrar. They have more than 17 million customers. They even allow bulk domain purchase (500 domain names at a time).
This shows how reputed the company is.
To register a domain name at GoDaddy, you can refer to this tutorial.
- GoDaddy is one of the world's largest and trusted domain registrar
- Web Hosting starts for as low as $5.99/mo
- Offer valid only for today
Namecheap is a popular and leading domain name registrar, accredited by ICANN.
Recently, Namecheap announced that the company has 8 million domains under management.
So, it is a trusted and very good company, where you can register your domain.
- Namecheap is the most popular Domain Registrar
- Free WHOIS privacy protection + Free 2 months Email Hosting when you register a domain name
- Register your Domain at Namecheap for as low as $1.37
- Up to 80% off on Shared Domain and Hosting Bundle
I would like to summarize this entire post in a few lines.
A domain name is very important for your business because it helps you with branding and Search Engine Optimization.
When you choose your domain name, make sure it is attractive, short, user-friendly and targeting your niche.
Choose a partial Match Domain name with a keyword for SEO advantage.
Make sure you choose the domain name with the right extension.
If you couldn’t come up with domain names, make use of tools to generate domain names and check the username availability in social media.
And at last, register your domain name for a cheap price with a good domain registrar.
I have covered up all basics, tricks, and tips, you need to know when you choose your domain name.