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How To Choose a Good Domain Name for Your Blog
This is part two of the One Week Blog Challenge series.
A rose.com by any other domain name would NOT sell as sweet
Picking out (or buying) a good domain name for your website can take a lot of time & creativity (or money). There are 3 basic ways to get a good domain name. Alternatively you can buy a an existing website at a place like Sitepoint, but I would avoid this option unless you really know what you’re doing and are an expert at valuing sites.
So here’s 3 ways to get a domain name:
1. Register a domain name that has never been registered
The obvious choice – go to Domain Tools Whois or GoDaddy and look up any number of domain names (some people like using instant domain search to lookup domains, but I found it’s sometimes inaccurate so I prefer Domain Tools). This usually involves coming up with a clever new combination of words or taking a .net, .org, .me, etc. Here are some things to remember. You’re building a brand here – go with something that’s sticky and memorable.
Here are my general tips:
- I would VERY highly recommend going with a “.com” over anything else. .com’s rule the jungle by a longshot and for good reason.
- Avoid anything super web 2.0 ridiculous. Those are really passé.
- Something short and easy to remember. If you have to spell out your domain name to someone it’s generally not a good sign.
- Keep it to 2 or 3 words or a made up a word like gothamist.com or abroadening.com
- Think of clever combinations or something that matters to you (ex: livingonimpulse.com, catswhoblog.com, incomediary.com)
- Avoid numbers and dashes (a given).
- Avoid using a trademark in your domain like googleizer.com or fordtruckseller.com
- Go with a brandable domain name over any SEO-keyword-laden bullshit. smittenkitchen.com or aliceinstilettos.com is way better, brandable, and memorable than kitchencookingsupplies.com or fashionstyleblog.com. Have some personality.
- We’re in the twitter age – brevity is advantageous.
- See additional strategies and tips by SEOmoz. Keywords might be nice, but brands are the future so personal is better than keyword-laden imho.
Once you find something you like, check out “Registering Your Domain Name” at the end of this article.
2. Buy a domain in the aftermarket
You can go to sedo.com or buydomains.com to see what’s already been registered but is available and listed for sale. I’ve bought a few domains that way in range of prices – from $70 to $1600. If you find an unregistered but undeveloped (or even a developed domain) you can lookup the whois email or telephone number and contact that person directly to see if they will sell you the domain name. I’ve had little success this way, but was able to pick up a few decent domains over the years.
3. Catch a dropping domain.
The third option is to catch a dropping domain. If someone has registered a domain and has let it lapse, eventually it gets released back into the wild, where companies or individuals snap them up. Don’t get fooled into thinking you can snag anything yourself once it drops – there are crazy systems that monitor and snag this stuff up, or at least the good stuff. You can go to NameJet or Snapnames (or even Pool even though I don’t like their practices as much) and see what’s dropping. GoDrops is a great website that monitors and sorts through the good dropping domain names.
#3 is how I got hotshotphoto.com – it dropped via NameJet sometime last year and went into auction where I picked it up for $200.
Registering a Domain Name
If you go with option #1 – registering a new domain name – I would use Moniker or Godaddy. Recently I prefer using Moniker because it’s cheaper and the contract is better from what I understand. (basically Go Daddy is likelier to capitulate and give away your domain name in a dispute). If you do go with Godaddy, just by the domain for any number of years you wish and don’t add any other services that they try to add on during checkout. You only need the domain. Definitely don’t buy hosting from them.
Next up – hosting