The domain name for your blog is obviously a pretty important decision that has to be made at the beginning.
In this episode, we talk about several important factors to keep in mind as you shop for a new domain name for your blog.
So… welcome back to another episode of Coffee Break Blogging! 😉
Now, we are in Phase 2 of our overall journey to creating this information business. And Phase 2 is all about creating our platform. We went into the very beginning of that and in this episode we are going to talk about “How To Pick The Right Domain Name For Your Blog”.
It is certainly an important point that you want to get right from the very beginning. I will say you don’t absolutely have to get it right. I have changed my domain name. My site is now blogmarketingacademy.com but it did not start that way. Actually, originally, the idea behind my current site started out as webbyonline.com, kind of an interesting one. I think it was an idea that I came up with out of the Webby Awards which I don’t even know if they still do but obviously I don’t use that domain anymore. Then I moved on to davidrisley.com; I still of course own that, but the main reason I switched off of that was because I did not want to pigeonhole my own name into nothing other than blogging for the rest of my life. You know, at the end of the day, David Risley (me) might do other things and I didn’t want my name to be tied only to the whole market of speaking to bloggers. So I moved on to Blog Marketing Academy because when you hear that, “Blog Marketing Academy” you kind of know what the site is about. So that was kind of my journey with my domain name. You may have a similar one.
But before you get started, let us talk about a few considerations you might have to have in mind when you are actually shopping for that domain name.
Shopping For A Domain Name
Get the “.com”
First of all, I do recommend that you do get the “.com” whenever possible. Now, if you have already got a .net or a .org or something like that, fine. I’m not telling you got to change your domain name. But I think that we all kind of know that the .com is the assumed domain extension and most people, if they hear a domain via word of mouth and if they can’t remember the end of it they automatically get assumed .com. So work with it. Don’t make them think. If you can avoid the .net or the .org or some other weird extension, then do so. I also know the releasing all these other very odd extensions that are coming up but generally I am not a fan of them because most people think .com by default. Okay?
Easy to say
The other thing is you want to get a domain name that takes into account the word-of-mouth promotion. In other words, it needs to be easy to say. You want to make sure it is not a difficult domain name to spell. You want to make sure it does not have a hyphen in it because hyphens when you say it, it is almost like saying, “Oh, you have to type in blah-blah-blah hyphen something” I mean, it is very odd. So I recommend that you avoid hyphens when at all possible. Make it very plain English words.
One of my issues actually with DavidRisley was that I sometimes find myself having to spell my last name because people didn’t know how to spell it right off the bat. They put “z” or something in there. So that was one of the things. It was like, “Okay, my domain is davidrisley.com”, “Okay, how do you spell that again?” And it made word of mouth promotion more difficult. Whereas, Blog Marketing Academy, those were 3 plain English words, everybody knows how to spell them and they can do that .com very simply.
So that is a real big thing. Whether you are saying your domain name on a podcast on some point, whether you are meeting somebody at a conference; you want to make sure that your domain can just roll off the tongue and there is no clarification necessary.
Don’t be too generic
The other thing is, try not to get a domain that is too incredibly generic. You know the ones. In fact, a lot of times these sites like godaddy or namecheap or those guys, when you go to buy a domain; if the one that you want is not readily available, sometimes they will add all these generic words to the front or the back of it and try to get one that will be available like you type in “organicgardening” and it is like, “Oh that was taken, organicgardeningblog.com…” You know, it is too generic to add those things on there. So I do not recommend taking them up on their recommendations. Just keep hunting for another one if the one that you want is not readily available.
Easier to deal with
I also recommend that you do not get a domain that is too long. It should not be something that is like just a big long stream of characters which is really, really long because here is the thing; you want to think ahead. First of all, it needs to be easy to say, it needs to be something that if you print it somewhere it is not going to be too insanely the long. Quite frankly, blogmarketingacademy.com; I think it is a good brand but it is a little bit of a long thing. If I were to print that somewhere, I would have to reduce the font or something to make it fit. So it is a bit of an issue but it just hasn’t become that big a one for me at this point. But it is something that you want to think about. It is better to have shorter domains and you also typically find that if you are buying a domain at some point, usually the shorter ones are more expensive and that is the reason why; they are just easier to deal with.
I also want to talk a little bit about the whole concept of using your personal name versus a brand of some kind. As I mentioned, I used to have my site at davidrisley.com. It was not blogmarketingacademy.com. So I went from a personal name, into a brand. Now, I have friends of mine who went into the other direction. For example, my friend Chris Ducker used to be virtualbusinesslifestyle.com and he went from that to ChrisDucker.com. And he and I talked about it because while I went one direction he went the exact opposite. 🙂
So there is not like there is any one way to go. It is to where everybody would be doing it. Everybody has a different reason for it but my reason for it was that I didn’t want to pigeonhole my personal name into one particular market. Chris was obviously okay with that and you know, that totally makes sense for him. So you need to think about what your future intentions are with this. Do you want your name to be that tied to whatever it is you are going to be talking about? The other thing you want to talk about is the “sellability”. If you are building up a real business here, it could be that you want to open up the possibility of selling it or handling it over to somebody else and letting them run it for you.
One of the reasons I went with Blog Marketing Academy was because I want to have the opportunity down the road to have other instructors on the site rather than just myself. Right now, I am the only instructor but I did not want there to be an expectation in the brand that the only person that will ever teach anything on my site is me. So that was one reason why I moved away from davidrisley.com. Obviously, if it were davidrisley.com they assume that every single thing is going to be always me; which of course, right now it is. But in the future, maybe there will be other people here. So that was part of my considerations. You need to look into what your future intentions are. Do you want it to be sellable? Obviously you are not going to sell your name off to somebody else. But if it was an independent brand, then you could do that.
Give It Some Effort
At the end of the day, like I said, this is not a decision that you need to get right from the get-go because these things only cost about 10 bucks a year. You can change them. It is just that as you build more momentum it becomes more difficult to change your domain later. I changed it after I already had a fair amount of traffic. And it worked out. I mean, you just do a 3 or 1 redirect on everything; you are not going to lose that much traffic. And I certainly didn’t. My site did not lose a beat when I changed domain names. But at the end of the day it is better that you do not have to do it. And so, do the best you can; come up with a domain name.
You can make up some words if you need to. You can put keywords in your domain but at the same time you want to make sure that it does not become too generic. I’ve seen some people who have their keyword stuffed in their domain but to the point where it is just kind of generic and it is just like a crappy brand. So you know, think about it. Put some effort into it; you could buy a few of these things, they are not that expensive… and just see what you come up with. Okay?
So that is basically all I can possibly give to you about the subject of choosing your own domain name. I definitely recommend that you get one because I know some people are hosting on WordPress.com or Blogger or one of these guys… bad idea. Just don’t host on those free things. We have already talked about hosting; two episodes ago on Episode 46… But going along with having your own host you definitely want to have your own domain name that you own and control. And by the way, as a little on the side, if your personal name is still available as a .com, buy it even if you don’t intend on using it right away. It is just a good asset to have. I bought the two domains for my two children before they were even born. And I keep renewing those things every year and I will. Who knows if they’ll ever use them? But it is just one of those things that is good to have these days.
Alright, so that is the subject of domain names. Now, related to this is obviously the idea of a brand and how to create a brand because the domain is definitely a very core component of that.
So, on the next episode, in Episode 49 we are going to be talking about how to create a brand and The 4 Elements of an Essential Brand. Okay?
So I will see you then on the next episode of Coffee Break Blogging! Talk to you soon! 😉