Blogging is a long journey. There are many bloggers who do not persist and they stop blogging because they do not see results immediately. But if you persist, then there are huge rewards waiting for you after these initial hurdles.
If your blog has 1,000 genuine followers who look forward to new posts, then you should consider yourself a blogging success.
If you reach that position, your blogging journey will become unstoppable. You will find yourself on a positive spiral, and your blog’s value will go up exponentially as the months and years pass by.
On this blogging journey, you can change your blog’s design, hire new writers, add premium plugins, and change the focus of your blog. But there is one thing you can never change – your domain name.
Your domain name is your brand and changing a brand name is not a straightforward process.
Your domain name will also define what you can do with your brand.
Generic Domain Names vs. Keyword Domain Names
When you are choosing a domain name for your blog, you have the option to go with a brandable domain name or a keyword domain name.
A generic brand name like AidTheStudent doesn’t mean anything specific, and it can launch anything and do anything.
However, let’s say you have a domain name such as BloggingInNig.com. This name will restrict you to talk about blogging in Nigeria. A reader from outside of Nigeria will not follow this blog because they will immediately recognize that this blog is only for Nigerian readers.
Focusing is good, but if you want to expand your reach, the domain name should not be a road-block.
For example, if Google started with a name like SearchEngine.com, they could not expand their brand beyond being an online search engine.
- Brandable names are always better than keyword focused specific names when you want to build a valuable brand.
However, if you are just looking to build a small niche blog and work on it as a side project, keyword-based domain names are OK.
Is It Possible To Change Your Domain Name Later?
You may think that you can get started with some name now, and later change the brand and domain name if you want to change focus. But you cannot change your domain name later because the domain name has become your brand. Your backlinks, popularity, and search traffic are all linked to your domain name.
Very few people have successfully changed their domain name without getting hurt.
SeoMoz.org changed to Moz.com successfully. But I wouldn’t take a risk like that unless I have the branding, marketing, and SEO expertise like the guys at Moz do.
It is very important to start a blog with a good domain name. Some bloggers who do not start with a good domain name always feel bad about the choice they made years earlier.
Some bloggers get stuck with bad domain names which are difficult to remember and are prone to type-in mistakes when someone is looking for their site.
For example, Yaro Stark is a well-known blogger, but his blog is built on the domain name Entrepreneurs-Journey.com. He has expressed several times during his private coaching program that he should have started with a better name.
If he got 10% more branding, reach, and traffic with a better domain name, how much do you think it would be worth?
If his website is worth one million dollars today, 10% of it would be $100,000. This means that if he had the money to invest, he could buy a very good domain name for $100,000 and he would still profit.
Of course, everyone cannot predict the future success of a blogging project, and most of us do not have big money to start with. However, that doesn’t mean that you can settle for a mediocre domain name – especially if you are very serious about blogging.
Another example is Darren Rowse from ProBlogger.net. It is a nice name, but he started losing a lot of traffic to the .com version. When people think about websites, they think about .com. He was losing so much traffic to the .com domain name that even without a proper website in place, the Alexa traffic rank of ProBlogger.com started going up dramatically! He had to purchase ProBlogger.com later just to protect his brand.
So if you haven’t chosen a domain name yet, here are some tips to help you choose the right domain name for your blog. Having a good domain name will take you places, and it will end up becoming a valuable brand of its own.
How to Choose Domain name in 5 steps:
1. Go for a .com… Always!
I am a big fan of .com names. Even after there have been so many domain name extensions launched in recent years, .com doesn’t seem to lose its value.
Every time a company brands itself with a .com, the value of .com goes up.
AirAsia did a rebranding of all of their airline graphics. Earlier it was just written as “AirAsia” on their flights, and it has now changed to “AirAsia.com”.
Such branding activities increase the value of .com!
Usually, many people prefer to go for a .net or .org if they don’t find the .com version available. But in the long run, they will end up losing traffic to the .com version (like ProBlogger.net).
People remember brand names more than the extensions, and they will instinctively just type in brandname.com.
When I was running my blog BikeAdvice.in, many people used to refer my website as BikeAdvice.com. I tried to get in touch with the owner of BikeAdvice.com, but he was asking for $25,000. The price of the .com version went up only because my .in blog became well-known.
If you don’t want to go for a premium domain name, you can also try your luck at LeanDomainSearch where you will find plenty of .com names available with different combinations of words.
For example, if you are going to start a blog about cars, you can find .com names with a prefix or suffix to the word ‘Car’. I just found out that the domain name CarSigma.com is available. Not a bad name for a blog about cars, if someone wants to take it up…
2. Consider a premium .com domain name.
Now that I have convinced you that you should go with a .com, the next question that you probably have is:
What can I do when all of the good .com domain names are already taken?
Yes, it is a fact that most of the good .com names are already taken, but that shouldn’t prevent you from getting a good .com name. Many .com names are being resold. You will be able to find good .com domain names from a premium domain name marketplace.
Here’s are some places where you can find a premium .com name:
Such premium domain name marketplaces sell domain names from $50 to $100,000. I am not sure what you’re looking for specifically, but if you’re planning on building a professional business, investing $1,000 on a high-quality domain name is not a bad idea.
3. The domain should pass the “Phone Test”.
The phone test is a simple test for gauging the value of a domain name
This is the most basic requirement for choosing a domain name. If a domain doesn’t pass the phone test, I would think twice before building a blog or a brand around it.
If I tell you my domain name on the phone, you should be able to type it out without asking me how to spell it.
So if I say “Visit DigitalDeepak.com” on the phone to you, you will likely be able to type it out without asking me to spell it. Both the words Digital and Deepak are common enough and “.com” is very clear.
“Visit AidTheStudent.com” – again there are no chances of spelling mistakes happening here if I tell it to you over the phone.
Whenever I invest money in domain names, I make sure that they pass the phone test. Even if the domain name is 3 words, it’s OK, but it must pass this test.
4. Avoid Copyright infringement!
Before you choose a new domain, make sure you are not violating any existing brand copyright policies. For example, WordPress doesn’t allow you to have a domain name with “WordPress” in it. If you do, get ready for an official letter. (Although they will let you use a name including “WP” instead of “WordPress”.)
5. Avoid hyphens!
If you are creating a niche blog and are looking to grab a keyword rich domain, it is best to stay away from domain names with hyphens in them.
Several years back it was easy to rank with a hyphenated domain name, but this is no longer the case. If you were to look at the current ranking system, you would see clearly that it is a better idea to look for alternative domains rather than using a name that includes a hyphen.
Sometimes people suggest that you should choose your domain name according to your blog’s niche. But this is not great advice for bloggers who are looking for domain names with words like “tech” and “blog” in them, for example:
Techtip, techblog, blogger tips and so on. There are thousands of blogs and websites already on the Internet using similar names. For this reason, alone, it is a better idea to choose a name which can become part of a distinctive brand for you in the future.
Where To Register and Hold Your Domain Names
If you have found a .com name available for registration, you can register domain name via NameSilo or Namecheap. The price for the first year of registration in these registrars is extremely cheap – mostly around $2-$12.
Transferring your domain names is possible after two months of registration. When you transfer your domain names to a new registrar, they will give you a one-year renewal for free, which is usually cheaper than their normal renewal charges.
So go forth and find the best domain name you can!
Any questions about choosing the right domain name? Leave a comment below.