A good domain name can make your break your blog (and your online presence as a whole).
First of all, you want your domain name to be short and snappy so that your visitors won’t easily forget it.
Second, you want it to be distinct and recognizable so that your blog stands out from its competitors in Google’s search results, and creates the impression of a reliable and trustworthy source of information.
The problem—and, I bet, the very reason why you’re reading this post in the first place—is that most of the good .com domain names on the Internet are already taken. In many niches, finding one that’s free can feel like Mission: Impossible nowadays.
This poses you with an executive dilemma, especially if you already have a name for your blog in mind. Do you:
- Try to come up with a new name for your blog, one for which the .com domain name isn’t already taken?
- Append “blog” or “-blog” to the end of the name, and end up with a domain name like “johnsblog.com” or “johns-blog.com?”
- Forget about .com and register a domain with the .blog extension instead, since the name you’ve been thinking about is probably available for that extension?
As with many things blogging and online business related, there is no right and wrong answer here.
Old-school bloggers—myself included—will advise you to keep coming up with ideas for a .com domain name where you don’t have to append the word “blog,” or any variations of it to the end, nor have to look for alternative extensions like .blog or anything else.
Let’s talk about why.
Internet users have for one reason or another grown accustomed to trusting websites with .com domain names more than those with alternative TLDs.
I don’t have any statistically significant studies to prove this to you, and there’s only anecdotal evidence of this in the website owner and search engine optimizer (SEO) communities.
So you’ll have to take my word for it (or dare to prove me and conventional wisdom wrong, hehe). Personally, I attribute this to the thousands of fraudulent websites that sprang up when cheaper domain names like .info first appeared in the good ol’ Web 2.0 days.
To prove my point, though: When was the last time you saw—and trusted—a website with a .info domain name in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)?
I’m not saying that you will get a lower Click-Through Rate (CTR) with a .blog (or any other alternative domain name) in the SERPs.
But I’m not saying that you won’t, if you catch my drift.
There’s also the fact that alternative TLDs are not regulated, and, in my honest opinion, they are unnecessarily expensive to renew. Yes, you can buy one for less than ten bucks, but the renewal price can be anywhere from $20 to $50/year, depending on your registrar.
In contrast, .com domain names renew for $14-17/year. Not that the price difference is so big, especially if you end up growing and monetizing your blog to thousands of dollars of monthly revenue, but the cost-to-benefit ratio for owning a .blog domain name, at least in my book, doesn’t add up.
Last but not least, if one day you decide to sell your blog—or ditch the blog altogether and sell the domain itself—you can get a much higher price if it was built on a good .com domain name.
It goes back to the self-fulfilling prophecy of economics. Scarce assets are hard to find because they are in high demand. This, in turn, drives up their prices, which attracts more buyers and makes them even scarcer.
If you see your blog as an investment, which you should, a .com is like buying property in a really good part of town with a 99.9% guarantee for price appreciation. A .blog is an industrial zone with only one or two developers that may or may not trend over time.
You don’t want to pick up a domain name with an extension that never really gets picked up—and have your blog be one of the last remnants of it in the SERPs. And the thing about extensions like .blog is that you just can’t tell if they will trend or not.
My two cents, then?
Keep on trying till you find a good, available .com domain name.
My two favorite tools to help you in that process are Instant Domain Search, which will save you A TON of time from checking what’s free and what’s not, and Namelix, arguably the best AI-powered name generator for when you’re stuck or in need of a new direction.