Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Finding the Perfect Domain Name for Your Blog

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Dmitry Davydov. Dmitry has been naming domains since 2003, which is an important part of branding a blog. You can connect with him via email.
Perfect Domain Name

Photo credit: Natalie Maynor (Creative Commons)

If you’re going to start a new blog, the first question is this: What do you name it?

Finding the right domain name is the very first step in naming your blog.

You want the name and the URL to match; this is all part of creating a memorable experience for your readers.

And quite frankly, most bloggers don’t spend enough time thinking about the brand of their blog.

There is an art form to choosing the right domain. The name has to be short, easy to remember and describe exactly what the site is about.

Finding the right one may seem downright impossible.

But it’s not.

Here are a few simple tips that will help you find that name and it won’t cost you much, if anything.

1. Use someone else’s name

Reduce, reuse, recycle. You’ve heard that before, haven’t you?

Thousands of domains aren’t just registered daily; thousands are dropped every day, as well. These are called “expired” (creative, right?).

There are a number of reasons why people chose not to renew these domains, but some just plain forgot, which is a great opportunity for you to snatch up that URL you’ve been wanting.

What you need to know is that there are sites like StuckDomains.com that list all expired domains searchable via keyword.

A word of warning, though: when you acquire an expired domain, you also get all bans this domain may have received. And there is no way to check.

It’s not necessarily a strategy that everyone will benefit from, but it’s an option, nonetheless.

2. Use robots

Automatic suggestion services are another venue you may want to consider. Nameboy.Com is probably the best one (there are others, too).

Essentially, sites like this are pieces of software written by programmers that rely on keyword algorithms to automatically create domain names and then check for availability.

What does all that mean? It means that, like on The Jetsons, the robot does all the grunt work.

They can be helpful, but you get an awful lot of unusable suggestions, as well. So use this option sparingly.

What did you expect? It’s a robot (and much less polite than Rosie).

3. Crowd-source

If you can’t think of a domain name, others can. That’s called crowd-sourcing.

PickyDomains.com is the oldest player in this niche (started in 2007, 1500+ domains), but what makes it unique is a risk-free model. If you like domain suggestions, you pay $50. If you don’t like any suggestions, you don’t pay anything.

You aren’t risking anything (Picky also does names and slogans). And if you are good at naming things, you are welcome to join the crowd, you’ll get 40%-60% of the fee for each picked suggestion.

4. Learn a foreign language

Well, not really.

Even though modern dictionaries list 500,000 words, all obvious combinations are already registered. So use Google Translate for ideas.

How about cliste, which is “smart” in Irish?

Or haraka, which is “fast” in Swahili?

Google Translate can also save you major embarrassment. To you, DuraLabs sounds cool and you probably are thinking “durable,” but dura means “fool” in a number of Slavic languages.

So if you plan to do business with Russians, this is a questionable choice.

5. Check trademarks

Finally, it’s worth noting, that you may lose your domain as quickly as it takes to register one.

All because of trademark laws. So go to USPTO.Gov and make sure that your domain isn’t already registered as TM and doesn’t infringe on intellectual property of others.

You can use the same site to file for trademark registration in US directly, saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars that a trademark lawyer would charge for the same job.

Jeff here, again. One quick note about branding your blog: take the time to do it right.

The “secret” formula to finding a unique domain that isn’t super-long and hard to remember is this: choose two words that are descriptive and interesting. This can be as subtle as your name, if it’s a personal blog, or a mashup of two words that relate to your content, if it’s more of a topical blog (e.g. Copyblogger, Problogger, etc.).

Now, let’s have some fun with this. Here are two questions:

  • If you have a domain that you’re proud of, how’d you come up with it?
  • If you’re trying to name a blog, what’re you thinking? (Maybe we can help each other out — no stealing!)

Let’s discuss in the comments.

What’s an example of a great blog domain? What questions do you have about choosing your own? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I am the best-selling author of five books, including the national bestsellers The Art of Work and Real Artists Don't Starve. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on writing, publishing, and helping your creative work succeed.

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