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How To Pick The Right Domain Name For Your Blog

Written by George Manty  · May 21, 2007

For the second post in my Blog Traffic Series I’ll discuss how to choose your domain name. After choosing the right niche for your blog, you need to choose the right domain name for your blog.

SEO vs. Branding


You can choose a domain name for SEO purposes, for branding purposes, or both. This isn’t always an easy decision. Most experts these days recommend you choose a domain name for branding purposes. However, some experts disagree and think you should focus on SEO when choosing your domain name. Ideally, you would choose a domain name for both branding and SEO purposes (we will discuss this later in the post).

For now, let’s start with branding…

How To Choose A Domain Name For Branding Purposes


If you decide that you want to choose a domain name for branding purposes you should brainstorm as many names as you can. When choosing the name you should:

1. Make sure the name is catchy
You want your name to be memorable. Try finding a name that is catchy. Once you find one you like, then ask your friends if it sounds catchy BEFORE registering it.

2. Make sure the name is easy to spell when you hear it spoken
When you hear some domain names spoken it is hard to figure out how the domain name is spelled. If you do choose a domain name that might easily be mispelled, then buy the mispelled domain name as well. For instance, when you say Know Homeschooling, some people might think you are saying No Homeschooling. That is why we bought both domain names, knowhomeschooling.com and nohomeschooling.com.

3. Make sure the name doesn’t have hyphens or underlines
Domain names with hyphens and underlines tend to look less professional. Also, people are more likely to mistype your domain name when it includes hyphens and underlines.

When choosing a name for branding purposes, the key is to find a name that is memorable. Google, Ebay, Yahoo, are all easy to remember names.

How To Choose A Domain Name For SEO Purposes

At the moment, the keywords in your domain name are used by the Search Engines to help determine the rank of your website. You should keep this in mind when choosing a domain name and when naming the pages of your website.

The first step in choosing your domain name is to determine the main keywords you want to target. I wrote some posts on this in my inactive (retired) website promotion blog (see the choosing keywords category). You can also find lots of other good articles on choosing keywords by searching the web. Here are some of the ones I wrote:

Intro to Choosing Keywords
Methods of Choosing Keywords
Choosing Keywords – The Truth about KEI
Some more thoughts on Keyword Research
More Notes on Choosing Good Keywords
How do I research Keywords?
Researching Keywords for Blogs vs. traditional websites
How do the experts research keywords?

The next step is to choose your domain name. Often times the domain name you want is already taken. For example, say that you want to choose the domain name bigwidgets.com because you have chosen to target big widgets. But bigwidgets.com is already taken. That is not a big problem. Maybe big-widgets.com is available. What if big-widgets.com is not available? There are many other names you could come up with that still contain your keywords. For instance, these are just a few:

mybigwidgets.com
my-big-widgets.com
the-big-widgets.com
bigwidgetsforyou.com
buybigwidgets.com
A1bigwidgets.com
1bigwidgets.com
widgetsbig.com
getbigwidgets.com
canigetbigwidgets.com
...

As you can see there really is an almost endless possibility of names you can choose that contain your keyword.

Don’t use the same keyword more than once in your URL (definitely not more than twice). Some Search Engines will consider that SPAM and will devalue your site for that.

Search Engines have to give a good amount of weight to domain names. Whenever Search Engines drop the amount of weight given to domain names, then people can’t find sites by searching for the website’s official name. This process may lead to some spam getting through, but it’s better than people not being able to find a site by searching for it’s official name.

Another reason that it helps to have a domain name with your keywords in it is that people will use those keywords in the link text they use to link to your site. This also helps your Search Engine rankings.

One Other factor to Consider

There is one more factor that you may want to consider when coming up with your domain name. Many directories and links pages place websites in alphabetical order. Let’s take another look at the example above and place each site in alphabetical order:

1bigwidgets.com
A1bigwidgets.com
bigwidgetsforyou.com
buybigwidgets.com
canigetbigwidgets.com
getbidwidgets.com
mybigwidgets.com
my-big-widgets.com
the-big-widgets.com
widgetsbig.com

Where you will be listed in a directory is important to consider because the higher your site is on the page, the more visitors you will get from that page. One way to get listed higher is by placing the number 1 at the front of your domain name because valid numbers get placed ahead of the letter A by most programs that generate an alphabetical list because domain names use the ASCII character set, which assigns numbers a lower value than letters.

Note: even though the number zero (0) appears ahead of the number 1, not many people will want to start their domain name with the number 0 because of the negative connotation associated with zero. It’s better to use “1”, “1st”, “123”, “A1” or something similar.

You may notice that I have not used numbers , etc. at the front of my domain names. That is because I don’t ever worry about being first in a list on a directory. While it can be nice, it’s only marginally important from a long term traffic standpoint.

Choose A Name For Both SEO and Branding

Ideally, you can find a good brand name that includes the keywords you are targeting in the name. I think this blog and my onourtv blog are examples of that. Another example of that is Aaron Wall’s SEOBook.

There are various opinions on which way is the best way to choose your domain name. Ultimately, you will have to decide which method is best for your blog.


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Comments

6 Responses to “How To Pick The Right Domain Name For Your Blog”

  1. Amanda on May 22nd, 2007 7:51 am

    you might also goto nameboy.com and have them make multiple versions of the domain too incase the one you want is taken they also do domain appraisals!

  2. George Manty on May 22nd, 2007 8:09 am

    Thanks Amanda.

  3. abasits on October 20th, 2007 10:35 am

    what about my website name ?? what is your opinion ??
    and btw, its good informatory article …,
    thxx for the post…

    abs

  4. George Manty on October 20th, 2007 6:43 pm

    abasits,

    It is a very interesting domain name.

  5. Profit Lance on February 20th, 2008 1:12 am

    Very good advice. I always choose my domain name with my main keywords in it. I find it really helps when it comes to SEO.

  6. James on October 13th, 2011 9:56 pm

    Good points on seo vs branding. It’s a difficult decision and very dependent on the situation. It makes it a lot easier if you can find a name that does both.





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