So… I actually had a blog before this one…
Yep. It was moodaxis.com.
After a few weeks of blogging on this domain, I felt totally deflated. I decided that it just didn’t accurately represent what I had in mind for my brand and I ditched it.
I even left ALL the posts I had written behind! I knew that I couldn’t simply copy and paste them into the blog on my new domain as Google would consider that copy theft and my domain would be penalized.
So I left them behind. Thousands of words lost. Never to be read again.
Pretty nuts, I know! But THAT’s how much I wanted, and needed, the right domain name for my blog.
I couldn’t believe I was back to the proverbial drawing board after two whole months of blogging and honestly, at this point, it felt like I was trying to jump-start a dead car.
I was having serious doubts about blogging as a future source of income and in fact, I almost packed it all in.
There just seemed way too much to get my head around and if I couldn’t even come up with a good blog name to get going, what would be the point of investing even more time into this blogging thing?
One weekend afternoon, I sat down with a lovely cup of Roobois tea and wrote down three words that I really liked. One of then was ‘wonderful’. I’ve always liked that word because it so effortlessly conveys happiness, contentment, and fun. I vowed to make something work with this one word.
After I suddenly had the thought of adding ‘basically’ in front of it, and confirming that the domain was actually available to buy, I KNEW that I FINALLY had the right domain name for the job!
BasicallyWonderful.com was general enough to comfortably blog about a wide variety of stuff, it sounded fun and upbeat, it was only two simple words long, easy to read in the browser address bar, and super easy to recall.
I soon discovered that due to this newfound confidence in my domain name, my productivity went through the roof.
I started writing more and more (up to three posts a day at one point!), more post ideas would hit me, and my desire to grow the blog exploded.
There were some things that I was super conscious of when picking my new domain name, though.
And I’m going to list those below…
1. Avoid Multiple Hyphens and Numbers
Yes, refinery29.com has numbers in it but they’ve been around for ages; they’ve long established themselves as a quality website.
The reason why you don’t see many domain names with hyphens or numbers in them is because Google tends to view domain names with numbers and hyphens as potential spamming domains because they’re so incredibly easy and fast to find and register.
For example, you can pick a word – any single word, and put a 2-3 digit number before or after it and you can almost guarantee that the .com will be available to buy.
Spammers aren’t interested in investing any time or effort into picking great domain names; they just want to get going and do their spammy stuff, so having lots of numbers and hyphens in your domain name may cause your blog to be flagged by Google as potential spam.
2. Go for a .Com or .Net and Avoid Country-Specific TLDs
Although this is by no means mandatory for creating a super successful blog, going with one of the main TLDs (.com, .net, .org) and not a country-specific domain name, (including a .co (which is actually the country TLD for Columbia) might be a really good idea.
This is because if you’re planning on getting lots of traffic from the Google in the US, country specific TLDs (like .co.uk, .de etc) may not rank as well as the main TLDs BUT, if you’re aiming for most of your traffic to come from Pinterest, the TLD won’t matter that much.
It’s also important to point out that server loaction (the country your host is located in) will also greatly impact your rankings in the US so in my personal opinion, it would be best to choose a US host or a host withe their servers in the US and go for a .com TLD.
Country specific TLDs may not rank as well on Google as the main TLDs in America BUT, if you’re aiming for most of your traffic to come from Pinterest, your domain name won’t matter that much.
Although saying that, do bear in mind that some readers may be turned off by country-specific domain names. My twnety year old cousin, for example, when finding blog posts via Pinterest, quickly closes any blogs she loads that end in any country-specific TLD.
Essentially, if it isn’t a .com or .net, she just isn’t interested.
I asked her why this was and she said that it didn’t feel as relevant to her as an American blog. I suspect other people might feel the same way, and that’s fine, but just brace yourself for that sort of user behavior if you decide to go for a country-specific domain name.
Additionally, clicking onto and then swiftly off a website also increases the website’s bounce rate, which isn’t good. You definitely want to encourage people to stay on your blog a while, read a good chunk of your post and then ideally, click onto another article.
User behavior like this will decrease your bounce rate, which is something Google takes into consideration when ranking sites, and you’ll receive more ad impressions and possibly clicks, which will mean more income for you (if of course, you choose to add ads to your blog!).
So looking at the above, it may be worthwhile going for a .com or .net domain name.
3. Keep It Short, Sweet and Memorable
Two or three short words that somehow relate to your niche would be ideal. That way, it’ll be memorable, punchy and easy to type into the browser address bar to revisit.
Consider Using Your Own Name
If you get REALLY stuck for a domain name, think about using your own name!
It worked great for Sarah Titus!
You can also blog under a pseudonym if you’re not okay with revealing your identity (which is totally understandable).
You also have the option of taking your real first name and then add a word before or after it, such as Anna did with annaeverywhere.com
There are tonnes of companies that are named after their owners! Think about Cadbury’s chocolate or Johnson’s and Johnson’s toiletries and how tremendously successful they are!
4. Include Keywords from Your Niche
If your blog is very niche, you can include the main keyword you’d like to rank for. succulentsandsunshine.com for example, is a niche blog about succulents.
The domain name includes the word succulents and that is likely to help it to rank for various search terms which include the words succulent and succulents.
Making it keyword rich will also instantly let people know what your site is about.
5. Create a Domain Name from a List of Words You Love
Kind of like I did!
Work with words that you really like and find engaging and pleasant. You’re way more likely to come up with a domain name that you’ll love and enjoy blogging under for literally years to come.
6. Visualize Already Having the Perfect Domain Name
If you believe in something called the Law of Attraction, which I blog about, you’ll know that resistance can keep things from happening. And so this brings me onto my next point…
I manifested my domain name by imagining that I already had the perfect domain name for my blog.
And after almost two months of deliberation and even ditching my first domain name as above, basicallywonderful.com came about after just a couple of days after that visualization!
7. Use a Domain Name Generator
I’ll be totally honest with you; I haven’t personally found these to be super helpful in the past.
I’ve used them many times for clients when I was a web designer and never came up with any really great domain names, but they’re totally free and therefore totally worth a shot.
Here are just a couple to get you going:
Now, having said ALL that…
I’m going to completely contradict myself by making the following statement:
Virtually ANY domain name can work well for your blog.
As long as:
- You’re happy with it (this is obviously super important)
2. It’s clean, meaning that it hasn’t been blacklisted by Google in the past.
This could happen if the domain was used by spammers for activities such as spreading malware, or for selling counterfeit goods.
It could also happen to someone who registered the domain and then used outdated ‘black hat’ techniques to improve their rankings.
Note: Check your domain is clean with websites like DomainTools before buying. A clean domain is required if you want your blog pages to rank on Google.
Now, I say this because there are SO many successful blogs out there with domain names that violate a lot of what bloggers and web developers usually recommend when it comes to picking a great domain name.
For example, people often say to keep a domain name short, yet there are hugely successful blogs with very long domain names and multiple words such as justagirlandherblog.com which looks hard to make out in the address bar, consists of 6 words, takes a while to type into the address bar if you’re revisiting the site, and is arguably pretty tricky to recall.
Yet in December of 2016 (the last month they published an income report), they made a profit of $41,700
So please note that ultimately, if you meet the couple of guidelines above, you should absolutely still be good to go!
Don’t Give up and Don’t Stress
I know, I know. It’s hard not to get stressed out when you just want to finally find that perfect domain name and just get going!
It’s even more frustrating if you’re setting up a blog to start making a little extra income that’s desperately needed. And it really can seem like everyone else in the Blogosphere is doing so incredibly well and you’ve barely made a start but remember that ALL of those people started exactly where you are right now!
Know that you WILL eventually find the right domain name and once you do, you’ll be well onto your exciting blogging journey!