Finding the Right Domain Name For Your Blog or Website

“All the good .coms are already taken.”

.com domain nameI hear this all the time. Not true at all.

It might be tough to find a good short domain name with 6 characters or less but there are still a lot of good dot com domains to be had.

The trick is knowing how to find them and what to look for.

In this blog post, I’m going to show you why it’s important to find a good domain name and how you can find great dot coms for your websites.

The Importance of Finding a Good Domain Name

Owning a website is like owning a piece of real estate. I like to call it virtual real estate.

When you want to build a house, you have to find a good piece of land and the value of that land depends on certain factors. On the web, your website is the house and the domain name is the land that it’s built on and similarly, the domain name is worth more depending on certain factors.

Domains, like real estate, get more valuable with age – a domain name that has been online since 2002 would significantly be worth more than a domain name bought last year. When you buy a domain name today and develop it, it is going to be worth a lot more than the initial $10 you paid for it. It’s going to be even more valuable if you take the time to select a great dot com domain name.

Finding a great domain name can afford you some cool benefits and these should be the reasons to do so:

  • Search engine rankings – exact match keyword domains can give you a nice boost in the search engines. For example, let’s say I want to rank for “retro hand held games” then my ideal domain name would be retrohandheldgames.com.
  • Branding – What does Amazon have to do with books? What does eBay have to do with auctions? Google with web searches? All these companies were more interested in branding themselves and until the word ‘google’ is now synonymous with searching the web.
  • Memorable – You want people to remember your domain name if they can. Most people won’t write down a domain name so you can’t rely on that. Funny or Die, for example is a comedy website.

Guidelines To Finding Great Domain Names

When you want to find a great domain name, keep these little guidelines in mind so you don’t end up regretting your purchase. These are ideal conditions so it doesn’t mean that you cannot be equally successful with a domain name if a condition doesn’t fit.

  1. Dot com – You can have a .net or .info or .org or any of the other options available but your best option is a .com domain. All of my domains are .coms and I recommend getting the same. Of course, if you’re in Canada for example,  and your site is only for Canadians then you can go with a .ca.
  2. No numbers or dashes – numbers and dashes devalue your domains, making them harder to type and harder to remember. Domains with these extra characters are worth less than domain names without.
  3. Should be as short as possible – The less characters the better. Try to keep it under 20 characters if possible. If you’re going for an exact phrase domain and it’s over 20 characters then go for it but you really don’t want a domain name like “retrohandheldgamesforkidswholikegames.com”. That’s just nasty.
  4. Avoid copyrighted brand names – You can get into trouble or even lose your domain if it includes the copyrighted name of someone else’s brand name. For example, you don’t want to get into trouble with Sony by purchasing SonyNewDvds.com.
  5. Avoid making it personal – Depending on the purpose of your website, you should avoid making your domain name too personal. Registering your birth name is ok for a personal blog. Your aim is to create valuable virtual real estate so unless another Jay is going to buy a website from me called JaysBookReviews, then I’d stay away from these types of domain names.

The Process for Finding and Registering Your Domain

Before you register a domain name, the first thing you need to do is to determine your niche market and find the best keywords for your website. The keyword you choose as your domain name should describe what your site is about.

When you have an idea for your domain name ready, you’ll need to find somewhere to register the domain name. I use Godaddy for registering all my domains but there are other places like NameCheap and 1&1.

I can’t say this enough – never register your domain name where you’re going to host your website. If something should happen to the web host or you decide not to do business with them anymore, you’ll have a much tougher time transferring your domain name. When you register at a domain registrar all you would need to do when you change hosts is to update your domain information through Godaddy or whichever registrar you used.

When searching for the domain name you’ve decided you want, you may find that it’s unavailable. This shouldn’t stop you from trying one of your other keywords or adding a word to help deal with availability.

Don’t just throw in any word though.

For example, if I was looking for a domain such as ebookreaders.com – most likely that is already taken.

I would then try any of the following:

  • ebookReaderOptions.com
  • TopEbookReaders.com
  • EbookReaderReviews.com (only if my site is going to have reviews on each reader).
  • EbookReadersCompared.com

Try to avoid extra words that would change the meaning of what your site is going to be about or do not add anything to your domain name. Some obvious examples would be:

  • EbookReadersNow.com
  • EbookReadersStore.com (if you’re not going to be building a store, don’t get the name just because it’s available).
  • EbookReadersShop.com (ShopEbookReaders.com is a much better choice because it conveys a different meaning and gives your users a certain type of expectation).

If you’re having trouble finding a domain name, hop over to my gig on Fiverr.com and tell me what you’re looking for and I’ll find some for you. When you’re ready to register your domain name, I recommend Godaddy’s $1.99 special (discounted price) and as usual your comments and questions are welcomed in the discussion area below.

Oct 7th, 2013 Edit: I am no longer supporting Godaddy.com. I’m moving my domain names to NameSilo.com and recommend them instead. This post will explain why.

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