About to take the plunge?
Once you decide on a domain name, you'll be with it for a long time. It's important that you make your choice wisely.
Use these seven tips to avoid common pitfalls and pick out a great name for your site.
#1 Use a .com domain extension
If you're considering another domain extension because the .com isn't available, think again.
Did you know that 50.3% of all websites use the .com domain extension? It is by far the most popular and widely recognized top level domain on the web.
Why does this matter?
Because most internet users are more comfortable using .com sites, and many of them aren't aware of other domain extensions. You'll miss out on a lot of type-in traffic from visitors who land on the .com version of your domain instead.
This may sound strange, but as a blogger, it's important to remember that you're much more tech savvy than the average internet user.
#2 Come up with a lot of ideas first
Before you settle on one of your ideas, try coming up with a list of 50-100 domain names.
You see, the people with the most ideas tend to be those with the best ideas. By generating a large list of ideas, you are more likely to come up with one excellent name.
Because coming up with name ideas is so tough, I created a tool to make it easier. I call it the Domain Name Idea Generator.
You can use it to generate up to 100 names based on the terms you input (and it's totally free).
#3 Check availability right away
Don't get too attached to your name before you check if it's available. Attempting to register the perfect name just to find out it's taken is a heart-breaking experience.
Before you get attached to a potential name, check if it's available right away. You can use Instant Domain Search to quickly check the availability of any domain.
#4 Include a keyword
Adding a keyword in your domain can help you rank for terms in your niche.
You can add your niche or an industry term in your domain name to rank little easier. For instance, adding "food" for a blog about food, or "sewing" in a sewing machine review site.
That said, you must tread carefully when adding keywords. There are negative correlations with domains that match keywords too closely.
It's usually best to add one niche term, but if you want to choose a more keyword-rich domain, check out this guide for best practices.
#5 Differentiate from your competitors
Who are your top competitors?
Make sure your site's name is distinct enough not to get confused with others. It would be a shame to have visitors remember your content as belonging to another site, or get into a legal battle from infringing on someone else's copyright.
You probably have hundreds of competitors, so just make a list of the most well-known sites, and make sure your names couldn't be mistaken.
#6 Make it shorter
In general, the fewer words the better. Try to avoid stop words like "the", "of", and "to" when possible.
I know you just read them, but can you remember both the example domain names without checking? I'm guessing you'll struggle with the exact words and order of them in the second domain.
Try to remove a word from your domain, and shorten the existing words to make for a punchier, more memorable domain name.
#7 Avoid .info and .biz
While the .com TLD ideal, .org and .net can also be okay in certain situations. For instance, a .org is suitable for an organization like a non-profit.
Regardless of what your site is about, you should avoid using any domain extensions besides .com, .org, and .net. In particular, .info and .biz.
While you will find lots of available domains with these extensions, visitors are more likely to be wary of your site's credibility. Can you think of a single site you like that uses one of these extensions?
If people notice your site uses .info and become skeptical or distracted by it, that will harm your site's ability to perform. You want visitors paying attention to your content, not your domain extension.
Choosing your domain name is a big decision. It's how people will remember your blog and what they'll see in your address bar every time they visit.
Take the time to address each of these points before picking your name, and you're sure to come up with a name you can be proud to host your site on.
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