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How to Choose a Domain Name

by Matt Banner | 4 COMMENTS Add yours here | Last Updated on

When you hear the word “domain” you think of power, but more than that you think of something that is yours.

Or, you just think of GoDaddy and those Danica Patrick commercials.

When you hear the term domain, the mere sound of it communicates power and ownership.

It’s no wonder that we decided to use the same name to describe a web address or URL. A domain is a unique web address that can be owned by an individual, a company, or anyone in between.

They aren’t too expensive, but there are a lot of them. No two domains are alike either, so you’ve got to get really creative with your blog names.

Domain

A domain is an area of territory or space owned by a ruler.

Your website is your domain and it’s owned by you! (the ruler).

When the time comes to create your blog, you’ve got a big decision ahead of you in the form of choosing a perfect domain name and your hosting service. We’ve talked about this, and yes, you can use a free blogging site, but just as I’ve said before, it’s far more beneficial in the long run to self-host a blog on your own domain.

Once you finished here, you can check out my guide on how to make a website. Before you get there however, you first need to decide on a domain name that (hopefully) hasn’t been purchased already.

How Many Different Domain Names Can there Possibly Be?

As of 2013, there were 252 million registered domain names around the world. The majority of them were registered under a .com or a .net name, but man, that’s a lot of names that are already taken. Now, normally a domain name isn’t very expensive.

You pay yearly for them and it usually costs you between $10 and $15 per year. Nothing crazy, but it’s annoying to finally get a URL only to find out that it doesn’t resonate with your audience or your followers. That’s why preparation is crucial, and don’t worry, we’ll get to that in just a moment.

I thought you would like to know what some of the most expensive domain names in the world are. These are websites whose mere name was the subject of a multi-million dollar sale. Check out some of these extremely expensive sales:

  • Hotels.com – sold in 2001 for roughly $11 million. Apparently, the guy who bought it couldn’t remember how much he spent. That makes my blood boil.
  • Fb.com – this was purchased by Facebook for obvious reasons in 2010 for $8.5 million. They don’t plan on doing anything with it, but like a spoiled child, they would rather have it and keep it from everyone else rather than share it.
  • VacationRentals.com – In 2007, this website sold for an impressive $35 million. The guy who bought it, Brian Sharples, only did so because he didn’t want Expedia to have it. Wow.

So, I’m assuming you’re not planning on spending millions of dollars on a domain just to keep someone else from getting it. That being said OnBlastBlog to infinity has been registered under .com and .net just in case you thought you could pull a fast one.

I’m kidding, if I did that I wouldn’t have time to bring you the best blogging advice the internet has to offer, and that’s just not fair for anyone.

How to Purchase Your Domain Name

I imagine you’re surrounded by crumpled papers containing lists of ideas for your domain name, and you’ve read through my tips enough times to make your eyes bleed. Good, now it’s time to purchase your domain name.

As I said, you can use many sites to purchase your domain, but I wouldn’t recommend the outrageous prices they charge for hosting services. Instead, I have traveled to the edge of the internet and back to find you the best deal possible. The way this works, you get the whole package.

Here’s a few places you can go that have great customer service and a ton of good blog names:

 

From domain purchasing to hosting, it’s all here, and it’s all way cheaper than the competition. Why, you ask? Well, let’s just say I put them on blast and they gave me an offer for our readers that I simply could not refuse in good conscience.

Step One: Simon Says, Click Here

Don’t bother clicking there, Simon lies to you. I, Matt Banner, have a true link for you in the form of a direct line to Web Hosting Hub where you can have your cake and eat for less than anyone else will charge you. To ensure that you’ve clicked the proper link and you haven’t wandered off into some corner of the internet, this is the page you should see:

web hosting hub discount

Ah, so beautiful, so magnificent, so simple and easy to use. Yes with this little deal we’ve swung for you, the price of hosting your blog is just $3.99 a month after you’ve purchased the domain name, which is also very cheap. Once you’re on the site and ready to get started, click that big old orange button and you’ll be taken to the next step.

 Step Two: Time to See How Creative You Really Are

The next page is going to show you the point where you select your domain name. There are two choices here: one is to enter the custom name you’ve created and hope to all the realms of the universe that it hasn’t been taken, or you can enter a domain you’ve already registered if you’re just that far ahead of the game and couldn’t wait five more minutes.

Seriously though, good on you for being proactive.

So, here’s what you’ll see:

Choose Domain Name

Step Three: Did it Work?

So, did you get it? Of course you did, because you followed my steps. Now that you’re cleared for the greatest domain name in existence, you can finish up the final portion of the process by filling out your personal information and plugging in your choice of hosting service.

The concept of buying a domain can seem like a scary idea to some people, but in reality, with our help, it’s quite easy.

If you need help setting up your blog, I have a fantastic step-by-step guide on how to build a blog that you can check out. It runs through this process and all others that you need in a fun-filled environment that makes Disney World look like a boring museum.

But hey, don’t take my word for it, now that you have your blog name, check it out by clicking the link above. Thanks as always for reading and while you’re waiting for the next article, I’ll keep putting the competition on blast. After all, it’s in our name and at On Blast Blog, it’s what we do.

Tips for Choosing the Best Blog Names

With so many names already taken (including “On Blast Blog”) you need to bring out the heavy weapons and really get the creative juices flowing. A domain title needs a lot of things, but most importantly, it needs to resonate.

Don’t worry, we’ve got some top level tips here for you, taught to me by the ancient blogging monks of southeastern Tibet.

Online blogging is a crowded space, but we can help you by standing out with a unique domain name. Here are some great tips that will help you get some ideas for your blog setup and more importantly, your domain name.

  1. Make your domain name unique

I know, I know, easier said than done. The best way to start out this crucial step is to come up with popular websites that you know people visit constantly. Check up on the names of other blogs in your niche as well and see what’s popular.

Now, this is usually the part where I say, do what they’re doing, but that’s not how this works. Choose a domain name that stands out. You don’t want people to get it confused with another site. See what names are really drawing traffic and create one that cannot possibly be confused with the other one.

  1. Make a list of your top keywords

Similar to the first tip, this is a method of coming up with words that people will associate with your topic. Let’s say you’re blogging about video games, maybe you’re reviewing them. You could start by listing out popular keywords like “Console wars” “PlayStation” “Xbox” “Reviews” “Previews” and go from there.

Try to find a cool way to combine a few keywords into your domain, things that people will search for.

If you need help finding keywords, trying searching your niche topic on Google and look for the words that appear in bold throughout the search results. Those are the words that are most associated with your niche. Yeah, a secret of the internet, just because I like you.

  1. Make your name short and sweet

A little vague, I know, but I always explain myself and my crazy antics. So for this tip, we’re looking to keep your name small. We don’t want anything with too many words holding it down, and we don’t want something so complicated that no one is going to remember it without setting an alarm on their smartphone.

Try a useful tool like Panabee to help you come up with domain name ideas based on a couple words you have in mind.

Go ahead and type in a couple words that describe what you’re going to blog about.

Panabee Homepage Screenshot

Then click “search” and see what ideas Panabee has come up for you.

Panabee Auto Ideas

I typed in “nifty blogging” and Panabee gave me a number of minor adjustments to those two words by swapping the 1st letter, merging vowels and even spelling it backwards.

Scroll further down the page for even more ideas using related words and synonyms.

Panabee Ideas

No matter what you end up choosing, try making it catchy and easy to remember. Using these principles are a great way to keep it on the forefront of people’s minds.

You want them to share it with their friends, you want to emblazon it on business cards, and you want people to type it as naturally as they breathe.

There are people who say that you can make the name easier to type by avoiding keys that aren’t very often used. I think there’s some truth to that. I would say, focus on the center of the keyboard. Leave out letters like X, Q, C, P, and definitely don’t use any special characters like numbers or dashes if you can help it. If you have to use numbers make it something that is easy to recall.

  1. Create an impression, then deliver on it

Your domain when you create a blog, should be a name that instantly describes what the blog is trying to accomplish. You don’t want a name that doesn’t match the package. When you see a website like Hotels.com, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

For example, the blog of my dreams, if I had any free time, would be SuspiciousCats.com. See how that name instantly triggers an idea in your mind that says “hey, cats are kinda suspicious, what are they up to?” I know, right? Your domain should trigger an idea, maybe start a mental discussion or pique someone’s interest.

If your blog is a business, well, you would ideally want to use the name of your company, but there’s some obstacles with doing that. Keep reading, all shall be revealed.

  1. Beware of Copyrights

This doesn’t happen much at all, but it can. If you have a domain name that really pops or a name that makes your company stand out, you need to make sure someone hasn’t registered a copyright for it. You don’t want a nasty infringement lawsuit on your doorstep right after your site takes off.

You can visit a website called copyright.gov before hand to ensure that you’re not stepping on anyone’s toes.

  1.  Don’t be afraid to use .net or .org domains

While .com is the most widely used extension for URL addresses, others like .net or .org have begun to increase in popularity. If your blog is for an organization, choosing a .org domain can make it easier for you to choose something that isn’t currently in use, and the association is natural.

If you have a name that you really want to use, but all variations of it with a .com extension have been taken, this is a great way to see if you can still have your cake, and eat it too.

Granted, the .com registration for domains is the highest level and the most popular option, but it also has the most registered domains attached to it, so the odds of finding something that hasn’t been used is lower.

In the past, people seemed to be afraid of using anything but the .com extension, but now that creating a blog is so simple and popular, many people are branching out with other extensions and doing fine with it. If your perfect idea won’t work as a .com, don’t sacrifice it, see if that same option is available first in their other domains.

  1. Create a brand for yourself

There’s something to be said about making yourself stand out. Let’s take Amazon for example, one of the largest companies there is. If I decided to start a company and I made the URL something like rainforest.com, no one would know what it is or what I do. Maybe they think I’m an environmental agency, who knows?

That name alone doesn’t say anything, but if I build a brand, like the company I previously mentioned, suddenly the name doesn’t matter. Suddenly, the name takes on its own meaning, one that is more powerful than any matter-of-fact title could ever be.

This is branding in a nutshell: creating an expectation for your product by building a concept around your image or name. I don’t know how Amazon relates to anything they sell, but they have such a huge brand going that it doesn’t matter, people will always show up anyway.

  1. Decide how you want to host before you buy

Buying a domain name without also purchasing a hosting service is like buying a house and not filling it with furniture. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You can use free blogging sites that will host for you, but as I’ve said before, this isn’t the best idea. You’re extremely limited unless you decide to self-host, in which case your choice of blogging platform and hosting service is entirely up to you.

If you would prefer to purchase only the domain name, Godaddy.com is a cheap method of buying your URL, but their hosting prices are through the roof. Not to worry though, now that you have some domain name ideas swirling through your head, I will show you how to find purchase your domain name and your hosting service in the same place, because I’m awesome like that.

  1. Have a clear mindset of what you want your blog to do

Your domain name doesn’t have to directly reflect the purpose or motivation of your blog, but it can grow from that concept. For example, if you want your blog to be about your business, then you should try to include your business’ name or a keyword associated with it inside of your URL.

If you’d rather have the focus of the blog be on you, then consider a personal domain with your name in it.

As odd as it sounds, there are cases where your name may be taken. I know, it’s a little weird, but there’s probably someone else out there named Matt Banner and he may have started a blog before me, so I wouldn’t know until I tried to purchase that domain. If he did purchase it, then I need to find him, and see if maybe we’re long lost brothers, or maybe clones of each other.

Anyway, having your blog become personal like that does put you in the spotlight, more so than some people would like. You may feel the need to censor yourself since it’s your name plastered on the header.

If you feel uncomfortable about your name being thrown on everything, that’s understandable, but you need to consider things like this before you ultimately decide on your URL, because while it can be changed, you want it to work as well as it can the first time.

Tell Me Your Secrets!

If you have an amazing blog name, I want to know how you came up with it! Meditation, video game marathon, overdose of chocolate, whatever it was, I want to hear your story! Tell me about your blog, your ideas, and what you thought of the article in the comments section below!

Additionally, if you need any help setting up your blog or domain, feel free to send me an e-mail to and I’ll be more than happy to assist you in anyway!

Comments

  1. be@me.com'brett

    It’s unfortunate how many domain names are already taken. I’ve been looking for 30 minutes and all of the ones I like aren’t available under .com. I guess I have to go with .net, but does Google favor .com more in the search engines?

    Reply
    1. Matt Banner Post author

      Hey Brett,

      I agree! Too bad it’s not 10-15 years ago when the majority of .com domains were still available 🙂

      I wouldn’t necessarily say that Google favors one over the other (.com over .net or .org), I believe people are just more familiar with .com than a .net. If you really like a domain that ends in .net, then go for it and don’t look back. Google will rank your website in the search engines based on the quality of your content and following best SEO guidelines. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.

      Reply
  2. WesleySaysNo@Gmail.com'Wesley

    Another great post! Extremely helpful for novice to advanced bloggers.

    I’m quickly becoming a huge fan of yours.

    Reply

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