When starting a blog, choosing the right domain name is extremely important because it becomes your online identity. Let’s talk about how to get it right.
I’ve written about why you should own your own domain in the past, but this post will talk more about the process of choosing the right one.
The first thing you need to know is what a domain actually is. Your domain name is your online identity – it’s the address people type in when they want to visit your blog. So the domain for this blog is
Things to avoid when choosing the right domain name
The main thing to avoid is obscurity. Obscurity is a domain owner’s arch nemesis, because you need your domain name to be easy to remember and easy to share.
Let’s take an obscure example –
my4w3s0mebl0g.com. Now, reading that domain name on screen isn’t too bad, right? It’s clearly an obfuscated version of
Things are all well and good until your visitors try to remember your domain name so they can come back and read more of your content.
Was it M-Y-A-W or M-Y-4-W? Was there one zero or two?Visitors everywhere
Now consider you’re having a conversation with someone at a party. They ask you what you do, and you mention your blog. Your friend, obviously interested in checking out your incredible online memoires, asks for the web address.
The website address is “myawesomeblog.com”, that’s M-Y-4-W-3-S-0-M…The obscure domain owner
Do you really think this person will be able to remember your blog’s domain name the next morning? I seriously doubt it, especially if they have had one too many glasses of vino the night before!
See how obscure domains can make it difficult for people to remember how to get to your blog? That’s why choosing the right domain name is so important. That cool domain may sound good at first, but it can become a seriously uncool very quickly.
If you decide to call your blog My Awesome Blog, but
myawesomeblog.com isn’t available, try alternative top level domains (TLDs), like
.org or even
If you’re desperate to have a particular TLD, try putting a hyphen in your domain name. While not ideal, they’re much easier to communicate than the obfuscated jargon above.
My website address is MY *dash* AWESOME *dash* BLOG *dot* com.The lesser obscure domain owner
Hyphens should be a last ditched attempt though. If a number of top level domains aren’t available for the name you want, maybe you should think about another name for your blog, as it may be too generic.
Keep your domain name on brand
Once you have decided on a name for your new blog, make sure the domain you pick matches your blog’s name. There’s no point in having a blog called My Awesome Blog that points to
It will confuse your readers and drive them away.
Registering your domain name
So it’s all well good me talking about choosing the right domain name, but it’s completely useless if you don’t know how to check domain name availability. To do this you need a domain registrar.
My personal recommendation is Namecheap. As the name suggests, their domain registration fees are relatively cheap, and they offer free WhoIs privacy by default.
Side note: WhoIs is a database that contains the registration details of a domain’s owner. This database contains contact information, including your address, and anyone can search it for free. So WhoIs privacy is very important.
How much do domain names cost?
Domain names are actually very cheap to buy. The minimum you can register a domain name for is 1 year, but you can pay to register them for multiple years if you wish.
You can find a full list of Namecheap’s domain pricing on their website, but to give you an idea, here are the current prices at the time of writing this post of some common top level domains on Namecheap:
.com– £7.30 ($8.85) per year.
.net– £9.85 ($11.92) per year.
.org– £10.67 ($12.92) per year.
.blog– £5.65 ($6.84) per year.
If your dream domain name is taken, Namecheap will usually offer some relevant alternatives. So don’t worry, fair reader, all is not lost.
Avoid free domains
There are some domain registrars that offer free domain names,
.tk is an example that springs to mind.
This may seem like a good idea, but a lot of spammers register these free domains and use them for illicit purposes. For the relatively low cost of a common TLD, is it worth the risk of losing visitors if your free TLD is being misused and black listed?
I don’t think so.
So in conclusion, choosing the right domain name is extremely important. Don’t make it obscure, try to keep it on brand, and if you’re really struggling to find the right domain maybe you have chosen the wrong name for your blog. Also, avoid free domain names, like