Blogging is a long journey. Once you start blogging, you continue it over the years. There are many bloggers who do not persist and they stop blogging because they do not see the results immediately. But if you persist, then there are huge rewards waiting for you. At some point if you blog has at least 1,000 genuine followers who look forward new posts – then you can consider yourself a blogging success.
Let’s say you do reach a point where there are 1,000 readers waiting for your next post. If you reach that position, your blogging journey will become unstoppable. You will get on to a positive spiral and your blog’s value will go up exponentially as months and years pass by.
On this blogging journey, you can change your blog’s design, hire new writers, add premium plugins and change the focus of your blog. But there is one thing you will never be able to change – your domain name.
Your domain name is your brand and changing a brand name is not an easy process.
Your domain name would also define what you can do with your brand. That’s why this post is about choosing the best possible domain name for your blog even before you get started blogging.
Generic Domain Names Vs. Keyword Domain Names
When you are choosing a domain name for your blog, you have to option to go with a brandable domain name or a keyword focused domain name.
A generic brand name like YouMash doesn’t mean anything specific and it has the capability to launch anything and do anything.
However, let’s say you have a domain name such as BlogginginIndia.com. This name will restrict you to talk about blogging with a focus on India. A reader from outside India will not follow this blog because they will know that this is only for India.
Focusing is good but if you want to expand your reach in the future, the domain name should not be a road-block for you.
For example, if Google started with a name like SearchEngine.com, they would not be able to expand the brand beyond being an online search engine.
Brandable names are always better than keyword focused specific names when you want to build a valuable brand.
However, if you are just looking to build a small niche blog and work on it as a side project, keyword based domain names are OK.
Is it Possible to Change Your Domain Name Later?
You may think that you can get started with some name now and later change the brand and domain name if you want to change focus. But you cannot change your domain name on a later date because the domain name becomes your brand. Your backlinks, popularity and search traffic are all linked to your domain name.
Very few people have successfully changed their domain name without getting hurt. SeoMoz.org changed to Moz.com successfully. But I wouldn’t take a risk like that unless I have the branding, marketing and SEO expertise like the guys at Moz do.
This again brings us to the point that it is very important to start a blog with a good domain name. Some bloggers who do not start with a good domain name always feel bad about the choice they made years back.
Some bloggers get stuck with bad domain names which are difficult to remember and prone to type-in mistakes when someone is looking for their blog.
For example, Yaro Starak is a well-known blogger but his blog is built on the domain name Entrepreneurs-Journey.com. He has expressed several times during his private coaching program that he should have started with a better name.
If he got 10% more branding, reach and traffic with a better domain name today, how much do you think it would be worth?
If his website is worth one million dollars today, 10% of it would be $100,000. Which means that if he had the money to invest, he could buy a very good domain name for $100,000 and he would still be profitable.
Of course, everyone cannot predict the future success of a blogging project and also we do not have big money to start with. However, it doesn’t mean that you can settle for a mediocre domain name – especially if you are very serious about blogging.
Another example is Darren Rowse from ProBlogger.net. It is a nice name, but he started losing a lot of traffic to the .com version. When people think about websites, they think about .com. He was losing so much traffic to the .com domain name that even without a proper website in place, the Alexa traffic rank of ProBlogger.com started going up dramatically! He had to purchase ProBlogger.com later to protect his brand.
So if you haven’t started a serious blog yet, here are some tips to choose the right domain name for your blog. Having a good domain name will take you places and it will become a valuable brand of its own. So what makes a good domain name?
1. Go for a .com. Always!
I am a big fan of .com names. Even after there have been so many domain name extensions launched in the recent years, .com doesn’t seem to lose its value. Every time a company brands itself with a .com, the value of .com goes up.
AirAsia did a rebranding of all their airlines where earlier it was just written as AirAsia on their flights and it has now changed to AirAsia.com.
When you see the airplane at an airport the .com is written in such a big font on the side of the airplane. Such branding activities increase the value of .com!
Usually, many people prefer going for a .net or .org if they don’t find a .com version but in the long run, they will end up losing some traffic to the .com version (like ProBlogger.net).
People remember brand names more than the extensions and they will just type in brandname.com.
When I was running my blog BikeAdvice.in, many people used to refer my website as BikeAdvice.com. I tried to get in touch with the owner of BikeAdvice.com but, he was asking for $25,000. The price of the .com version went up only because my .in blog became famous.
If you don’t want to go for a premium domain name, you can also try your luck at LeanDomainSearch.com where you will find plenty of .com names that are available with different combinations of words.
For example, if you are going to start a blog about cars you can find .com names with a prefix or suffix to the word ‘Car’. I just found out that the domain name CarSigma.com is available. Not a bad name for a blog about cars, if someone wants to take it up.
2. The Domain Name Should Pass the ‘Phone Test’
This is the most basic requirement for choosing a domain name. If a domain doesn’t pass the phone test, I would think twice before building a blog or a brand around it.
If I tell you my domain name on the phone, you should be able to just type it out without asking me again to spell it out.
So if I say “Visit DigitalDeepak.com” on the phone to you, you will be able to type it out without asking me to spell it out. Both the words Digital and Deepak are common and “.com” is very clear.
“Visit ShoutMeLoud.com” – again there are no chances of spelling mistakes happening here if I tell it to you on the phone. Whenever I invest money in domain names, I make sure that it passes the phone test. Even if the domain name is 3 words, it’s OK, but it must this test.
3. Get a Premium .com Domain Name If You Don’t Have Any Alternatives
Now that I have convinced you that you have to go with a .com, the next question that you probably have is: what can I do when almost all the .com domain names are already taken.
Yes, it is a fact that most of the .com names are already taken but that shouldn’t prevent you from getting a .com. There are plenty of .com names that are being resold. You will be able to find good .com domain names from the premium domain name market.
Here’s are some places where you can find a premium .com name:
Such premium domain name market places sell the domain names for $500 to $1,000. I am not sure what is your appetite but if you are going to bet your future income on blogging, spending up to $1,000 for a good domain name is reasonable.
Where to Register and Hold Your Domain Names?
If you have found a .com name available for registration, you can register that name in GoDaddy or ShoutMyDomain. The price for the first year of registration in these registrars is extremely cheap – mostly around $2-$12.
Transferring your domain names is possible after two months of registration. When you transfer your domain names to a new registrar, they will give you one-year renewal for free which is usually cheaper than their normal renewal charges.
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