So you understand what blogging is and how it works enough to want to turn it into your occupation?
It’s time to create a blog of your own. As long as you’ve selected a niche—a broad topic to focus your blog and your writing on—the next step is to find yourself a domain.
Since you’re here, I will assume that that’s where you’re at and that, now, you’re wondering what the best domain for a blog is.
All domains have two components to them: the domain name, or what comes before the dot, and the domain extension, or what comes after it. When selecting a domain for your blog, look for a brandable name on a trustworthy extension (like .com, .net, or .org).
In this post, I will give you my best tips for picking a great domain name for your blog. I’ll also tell you what common pitfalls, which first-time bloggers aren’t necessarily aware of, to avoid.
Let’s start with the domain extension, as your choice of extension determines whether or not the name itself is available (for example, MyCompany.com may be taken, whereas MyCompany.net may still be free for registration).
When selecting an extension for your domain, you can choose from hundreds of options, from the old-school .net and .org to the recent .blog and .me. And yet, there’s no replacement for a good .com domain and the trustworthiness it adds to your online presence.
There’s a caveat to the .com domain extension, though.
It’s been around since the dawn of the World Wide Web as we know it, and—unless you’ve come up with an idea for a unique name that no one else has thought of before you—available .com domains are kind of hard to come by.
That’s not to say you can’t—or shouldn’t—register a .me, .net, or .blog domain name and build your website on it.
Just avoid the extensions that spammers and scammers tend to use, say .info and .biz, or you’re going to have a hard time getting first-time visitors to trust you (even if your business is totally legit).
When in doubt, use a business name generator and try to find one that allows you to snag a domain name with a .com extension. I use Namelix to come up with ideas for names and Instant Domain Search to check for availability.
Beware: hunting for domain names is addictive. Sometimes, I fool around with these tools and come across names so good, I feel compelled to buy them!
Most domain extensions cost $9.99/year. Depending on which registrar or host you buy your domain from, what time of the year it is, and how good you are at finding coupons, in some cases, you can find a domain for as little as a few bucks.
My best advice is never to select your domain name’s extension based on price (which, when it comes to your brand and online presence, should be one of the last factors). Yes, you can save money by buying a cheap .info domain, but it will come at the opportunity cost of your blog looking suspicious. So don’t.
I buy new domains from Namecheap, where I also have a Stellar Business hosting account in the cloud. Every now and then, I’ll buy an expired domain from GoDaddy Auctions if I come across a good catch.
Say that you’ve decided on a few extensions. Now, you want to come up with a good list of 10, 20—why not 50—ideas that you can then check for availability. Spoiler alert: the best ones are usually taken, which is why hunting for good ones takes time.
Don’t buy a domain name that’s focused on a specific product or product category, like BestWindshieldWipers.com. Doing so will limit your ability to expand into new niches when you’ve written everything there is to write about on your initial topic. (Sooner or later, you’ll get there. And, if you make this mistake, it will be frustrating.)
When selecting a domain for your blog, look for a brandable name with a trustworthy extension that your target audience can easily relate to.
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but MakersAid.com is a good example of what I mean. It’s a blog for people who make stuff online. It’s no the best name on earth, that’s for sure, but it was recognizable and memorable enough for me to build this blog on it.
Had I bought BloggingCentral.com, I would have restricted the topic of my blog to blogging, putting a cap on its potential for future growth. Instead, I want to be able to expand into content creation, then freelancing, then other topics effortlessly.
Yes, that’s a broad niche. Yes, it will probably take me years to cover the nits and grits of each of these topics. But figuring out how to grow a blog with a brandable name faster is a better problem to have than wondering how to expand the topic of a blog with a limiting name.
I advise you to do the same. Grab a pen and a piece of paper or open up whatever note-taking app it is that you use, and start writing down whatever ideas for names come to your head, right now.
When you come across a dozen or so names you really like, check them for availability and run them through my checklist of things to do before registering a domain. (This checklist, by the way, can save you a lot of nerves and money, and you won’t even know it!)
The Bottom Line
The best domain for a blog is a branded name on the classic, .com extension. The second-based domain for a blog is a branded name on a different extension, like .net or .org, as long as it’s not one of those shady ones that spam and scam sites use.
When in doubt, the best thing to do is to go broad with the name and targeted with the categories and content.