6 Tips For Choosing a domain name

One of the most important decisions you are going to make when you start a blog is choosing a domain name.  The domain name is the representation for your entire site and is so incredibly important in so many ways.

The domain name that you choose should be relevant to the blog’s content AND give people an idea of what to expect from your site.

There are lots of names that could be chosen that sound “nice”, but unless they give an indication of what your blog is about, it wont do you any favors.

Spend the time researching your domain name to make sure you get it right!

Choosing a domain name(Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

What is a domain name

Before we start to look at what’s involved with choosing a domain name, it is important to clarify what we actually mean by “domain name”.

Wikipedia describes a domain name as the following;

domain name is a unique name that identifies an internet resource such as a website. It is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control on the internet.

The domain name is the name that appears in the address bar of the browser.  For instance the domain name of this blog is (bloggingtips101.com).

Once you have registered your domain, it is yours to keep unless you stop the yearly renewals!

So you know that choosing a domain name is important, but you want to know WHY and HOW to do it!

1. Choose a domain name that represents you and your brand

Your domain name is your shop front and as such it needs to demonstrate who you are and what you provide.

Choosing a domain name can feel like an enormous amount of pressure, because it is going to stay with you for the life time of your blog.  The only way to change the domain name is to start a new blog, so you want to get it right!

You need to choose a name that;

  1. You like!
  2. Is catchy
  3. Is easy to remember
  4. Will be the building block of your business.

Your blog allows you to own this tiny piece of cyber space, so make it count!

2.Keep it short and to the point

There is no point in registering a domain name that is long winded which no one will ever remember.  This is your brand, so make it short and snappy so that people can recall who you are!

If your domain name is too long, it will also make it complicated for people to type.  Typically a name with 13-15 characters is ideal.  Try and choose a name that will connect and stick with people.

If the name is difficult to say, it is likely that people will easily forget it.

Do you want to be forgotten?  I didn’t think so!

3. Use keywords for SEO purposes where possible

Whether you love or hate keywords, you can’t ignore them!

If you want to rank for a specific keyword (which we all do), it would be wise to use that keyword in your domain name.  The domain name is used to help index websites, so make sure you include a keyword where possible.

Whilst the use of keywords in your domain is not a prominent factor for SEO like it used to be a few years ago, it is still worth giving attention to.  It’s one of those things that wont make the overall difference, but it will help chip away with your larger strategy.

4. Which domain extension to use

Choose a domain name(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

With the variations of domain extensions to choose from, it can often feel overwhelming for new bloggers. 

You can choose between

  • .com
  • .org
  • .net
  • .au (etc)
  • .info and more

As a general rule of thumb, a (.com) domain name will be your preferred option.

If however you are setting up a blog for a specific business which is location based you would be better off choosing a name that includes your country, such as (.com.au).

For instance, if you are a plumber and you start a blog for your plumbing business, a (.com.au) name would be far more benefit that a (.com).  You would not interested in securing business from the UK or America and the focus on your immediate area is what will be important.

5. Choose a name that is unique

This is something that I know I did not do too well for this blog.  Hands up ….. I admit it!!

At the time of setting up this blog, I was not really spending a lot of time hanging out in ‘blogging blog’s circles’.  I was hanging in the party, recipe, mummy blog section as my only blog at the time was not about blogging!

I thought the name sounded great, and when I searched it was available.  Double great!

What I didn’t do was research other similar blog names.  Mistake!  If I had done, then I would have realized that there was already a very successful pro blogger Zac Johnson who runs Blogging Tips.  Oh dear, what was I thinking?!

Yes the name is different, but I should have given it more thought and definitely undertaken more research before going in guns blazing.  It just goes to show that that extra research is going to pay off!  Don’t make the same mistake!

6. Register your domain name when you are happy with it

If you have a domain name that you are 100% happy with, then you will need to register it.

The name needs to be registered to ensure that it is not taken by anyone else, which can easily happen!

If you have a name that you are 100% committed to, but you are not starting your blog for a few months, it would still be wise to register it.  Good names get snapped up and you don’t want to be disappointed by having your name taken from you.

A blog’s success obviously comes down to more than just it’s domain name, but it is worthwhile taking these tips into consideration before you proceed to register it.

Your Turn:

What kind of decisions did you need to make when determining your domain name? 

Did you encounter any obstacles in this process? 

Please share your thoughts with us below.


Written by

Catherine Holt is the founder of Blogging Tips 101. She has been an internet marketer since 2012. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Google and Pinterest.

26 Responses to “6 Tips For Choosing a domain name”

written by Marc On 8 September 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine,
I always have a hard time with choosing domains. It’s not easy to find a good .com that is available. One resource I like to use is this list of suffixes and prefixes – http://www.dailyblogtips.com/200-prefixes-and-suffixes-for-domain-names/. If you have a main keyword you can add these suffixes and prefixes, and I find it to be helpful even if it is just to spark some creativity and get a few ideas flowing.

written by Catherine Holt On 8 September 2014 Reply

It’s not as easy as it first sounds is it Marc. Sometimes you may have something instantly in mind, but other times it can take forever to think of something appropriate.

That’s a great resource, thanks for sharing. That’s certainly a great way of changing around an idea that may already be taken, or in fact sparking up some creativity :-)

Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us.

written by Ryan Biddulph On 9 September 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine,

Getting crystal clear on your brand is the easiest way to pick the perfect domain name. I feel that being clear, like, TOTALLY clear, you’ll find a domain that isn’t taken. I wasn’t too surprised that Blogging from Paradise was available. Even though it seemed like an obvious choice for many travel bloggers I felt it was mine.

Being super clear on your brand and ideal reader helps you make a beeline for the ideal domain name. I simply recounted my life, or experience. I’d been blogging from paradise for 39 months. Why not write about it?

Why not share my tips with folks who want to retire to a life of island hopping through blogging? So many asked me how I did it, so I listened to my readers.

As for blogging newbies just follow your heart. Blog about what you most enjoy writing about, but before you buy that domain make the name align perfectly with your passion.

You’ve a fine domain name Catherine. I was drawn here initially because the name is perfect for anyone craving blogging tips. Well done.

Thanks much.

I’ll tweet this soon.


written by Catherine Holt On 9 September 2014 Reply

Your right Ryan, being clear about your domain name is incredibly important. The name needs to resonate with what you are about, and what you are providing. People are much more likely to connect to a name such as “Blogging From Paradise” as opposed to “Ryan’s Blogging Adventures”.

Thanks for the compliment about the name of this site too Ryan….I wanted something that was going to give obvious tips for newbies so it kind of just fell into place.

written by Virtuo Rohit On 9 September 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine,

Choosing a domain name may sound really easy. But it can turn out to be the hardest thing a blogger can ever encounter in his blogging journey. Sometimes, it takes weeks to decide which domain name to choose.

Choosing a wrong domain may result in a fail business. You have to keep several things in mind while choosing the name. It must relate your business. And if you are planning to buy a catchy and unique one then you must prepare for the troubles you are about to face.

Anyways, Another great post by you. Your presentation is always catchy.


- Rohit

written by Catherine Holt On 9 September 2014 Reply

It can sound quite scary, but the domain name really is an important thing to consider. It’s certainly not something that you can put together last mintute as unlike blog post titles, the only way to change it is to start a new blog!

Relating to your business is of upmost importance and we shouldn’t under estimate the effort that should be given to this.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Rohit :-)

written by Steven J Wilson On 9 September 2014 Reply

Hey Catherine,

Choosing a great domain is hard. It not necessarily coming up with some good names, it just seems as the first five names I really like are already taken by someone else :)

I think the main thing is stay true to your brand. If you do that then your domain will be fine. I have seen some, lets just say interesting domain names that are doing well.

Putting your tips to work and then getting to work will do the trick! I totally agree with your points and FYI I like your domain name :)

Have a good week Catherine!

written by Catherine Holt On 9 September 2014 Reply

It certainly is hard when you think you have an awesome name, only to then find that it’s been taken already….devastating!!!

Yes you can do very well with a domain that is slighly obscure, provided that you also make sure you focus on all the other blogging strategies (which goes without saying regardless of your domain name).

If your new to blogging, it’s probably easier to stand out with a domain that is going to represent your brand and be recognisable.

Thanks for leaving your thoughts here Steven, much appreciated :-)

written by Mi Muba On 9 September 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine
A very relevant post especially for those want to start a new blog.
A domain means the main component of your blog address. People don’t forget to put www before and .com or .net at the end but what is in between this is much important.
Confusing tags in domain name like hyphen and dash should also be avoided. Similarly the words which have two different spellings also create confusion like labor and labour. So it is necessary to avoid all types of confusions to pick the domain name.
Your tip number 5 is very important. If it won’t be unique people would keep asking everytime before writing it. So a touch of uniqueness is necessary to make it unforgettable.
Many people just pick a domain name and simply put the one with .com and forget the fact the last tag also reflect the nature of your blog. If it is on networking so it will be weird to get it with .com and better to select the .net for this purpose. This is a minor thing but we need to fully consider it while finally picking the domain name.
Thanks a lot for sharing another very informative post.

written by Catherine Holt On 9 September 2014 Reply

It’s so true how using hyphens and dash’s can be confusing for people. If you make it hard for people to type your domain name, then they are not likely too….it’s as simple as that!

It’s important to choose a name that is unforgettable, unique and something that reflects what you do. It’s definitely worth putting some thought into it!

Thanks for sharing your ideas with us Mi :-)

written by Sanjay Pal On 10 September 2014 Reply

Hello Catherine,

You have written an informative article. And the points highlighted over here show how well you have done research on the topic.

We don’t discuss this matter generally as we are more concerned about online money making or marketing our products, getting more traffic, the list goes on and on. In all this hustle and bustle, a proper domain name goes unnoticed.
Even if someone does give consideration, he/she ends up with a domain name which is quite contrary to their particular niche.

.com is no doubt a popular demand but yes .uk or .in is a better way to start a new blog too.

Its a funny thing though, when I chose my domain name, I didn’t have any idea about this blogging thing. What’s an SEO? What’s an Affiliate Marketing? Or stuffs like wordpress or even .com, .aus, .org. Now when I look back I find it quite naive of me. LOL !!!!

It was a great article Catherine. Now newbie bloggers don’t need to worry about domain names if they go through this post. Have a great day.

P.S: On another note, I believe that if someone puts his/her 100% with his/her blog having either .com or.uk/.aus domain, he/she will excel regardless of their domain.


written by Catherine Holt On 10 September 2014 Reply

Thanks Sanjay. It’s funny how you don’t often see much written about choosing a domain name isn’t it. It’s one of the things that you see literally every single time you log into your blog and the one thing you can’t change without starting over, yet it’s one of the things we give the least attention to.

You are right though, ultimately if you persist with your blogging goals and work on building your brand and connecting with others, you will be successful regardless of the domain name you chose. However a little helping hand along the way should never be discouraged :-)

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

written by Andrew M. Warner On 10 September 2014 Reply

Hey Catherine,

Great points here regarding choosing a domain name. I wish this post was written a few years back when I registered some of my domain names lol.

But point number 1 hits the nail on the head. You have to choose a domain name that represents you brand and you should know WHAT or WHO your audience is BEFORE choosing that domain name. That way, it’ll be easier to figure out what domain name to come up with that will appeal to them.

Really great tips here.

Have a great week.

- Andrew

P.S. What’s you take on numbers and even dashes in domain names? Obviously it works well for your blog but I’ve seen blogs that have domain names like “blogging-4-money”, etc.)

written by Catherine Holt On 10 September 2014 Reply

Thanks Andrew. Your right, the most important thing has to be choosing a domain name that represents you and your brand. It is the name that will be recognisable to others, and must give a idea as to what your blog is about. This really does need to have some thought given to it.

Great question about numbers and dashes. Lol…yes I have used numbers in my domain name, and I think it really depends on the context. (101) is used quite regularly so I think it is a number that people will easily remember. I wouldn’t add a number for the sake of it, for instance I wouldn’t have bloggingtips1…what would be the point? The example you gave of blogging 4 money is a good one. I would use this as “blogging4money”, but I wouldn’t use the dashes. This would also be the only number I would use as it makes sense bloggin6money would mean nothing and would be forgettable.

I personally wouldn’t use dashes in a domain name as I think it can be complicated to write…but that’s just my opinion. I think if anything doesn’t flow easily, then it should be avoided where possible. If it rolls off the tongue (or fingers), then go for it!

What are your thoughts on the dashes/numbers scenario??

written by Andrew M. Warner On 10 September 2014 Reply

I agree with you completely about the numbers … Lisa Irby seems to be having great success with her site and there’s a number in front of hers. Regarding dashes, I think they’re very confusing at times. The fact that you constantly have to do …- …. – …(dot) com can be really frustrating. I see people do it with their blogs, I guess they can get away with one, but when you get to 3 dashes, I think it’s too much and you should start thinking of a better domain.

- Andrew

written by Catherine Holt On 10 September 2014 Reply

Absolutely Andrew. If the numbers flow well and are useful then use them. As for the dashes, they are just a bit annoying and I think there are better options!

written by Brittany Bullen On 10 September 2014 Reply


Your blog’s name is the perfect example of applying all the great tips you share here. In fact, if I’m remembering correctly I think I wrote a post recently about choosing a domain that cited your blog as an example!

Heehee, good times.


written by Catherine Holt On 10 September 2014 Reply

Lol…thanks Brittany. It’s great to know that people like it :-)

written by Ravi Chahar On 10 September 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine,

For beginners it’s very important to know as what is a good domain name mean to be?
There are many options for them but to choose the relevant domain name is necessary. The niche bloggers choose should be revealed from the domain name of their blog.

As you have suggested that people should try to get a domain which can have keywords about the niche in it. Like you and me both have “blogging”.

A .com domain is always appreciated because you know most of people just type the domain name of any website and follow it by .com. It’s somehow human activity.

The points you have put together are great to follow while choosing a domain name.

Thanks for such a great article.

Hope you are enjoying this week.:)


written by Catherine Holt On 11 September 2014 Reply

Absolutely Ravi, the niche should be identified in some way in the domain name. By being clear about what you are providing, it will draw readers to you.

Whilst having a keyword in the domain is not the ‘be all and end all’, it certainly doesn’t hurt and you might as well utilise as many SEO techniques as possible.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts here :-)

written by Karmakar On 11 September 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine,

Thanks for sharing some awesome tips… :)

But the problem is you can NOT trust Mr. Matt Cutts’s team… Some times I feel that they themselves do NOT what’s their objectives are… For example you take the recent incident of “Authorship”… In the same way you can NOT be absolutely sure about whether using keywords in the domain name is going to boost your SEO campaign results…
I am using the keyword in my domain name BUT sometimes I feel that I should have gone for my own name as my Domain Name…

What’s your thought on that: Domain name with your keywords or http://www.catherineholt.com


written by Catherine Holt On 11 September 2014 Reply

I agree Karmakar, having a keyword in the domain name does not necessarily boost the SEO campaign….however, it certainly doesn’t hurt! I think you are still better off using a keyword in the domain rather than using your own name. For instance, if I used catherineholt in the domain, this would only mean something to people that already knew me. I don’t think it would entice anyone to show any interest in the site who didn’t know what I had to offer. However having a keyword gives an indication regarding what the site is about, and helps to set up your brand.

Certainly an interesting point you have raised, but I still think I would rather use a keyword than not.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your ideas with us :-)

written by Mandie On 11 September 2014 Reply

Hey Catherine,

Very timely post for me, as I’m working on a major re-branding project (because I didn’t follow excellent advice like this the first time around). Over the past month I’ve spent so many hours writing down keywords & phrases that reflect my mission statement while simultaneously searching to see if a name was taken. It’s an exhausting process, but so, so important.

I’ve heard bloggers say to not waste time agonizing over your name or your theme, but I have to disagree entirely. It may be POSSIBLE to create a successful brand without having the perfect domain name, but why set yourself up to have to OVERCOME your domain name? Much better to get it right the first time and have a name that truly reflects your brand.

I think, as Ryan says, the key is clarity. Having a clear understanding of what your blog is about and what you want to accomplish is fundamental. I curse Tim Brownson every day for not only taking A Daring Adventure, but doing such a great job with it that I can’t even be mad.

Great post, sharing! :)

written by Catherine Holt On 11 September 2014 Reply

Sounds very interesting Mandie, I would love to hear more about your re-branding! It sounds like you are giving a huge amount of thought to your new site and that is going to really set you up on solid ground. It may seem like a long haul at the beginning, but as you know it, it will pay off in the end.

You really said what I was thinking. No, you don’t need to have your keyword in your domain. No you don’t have to have your brand in your domain. No, your domain is not the be all and end all of whether your site will be successful …. BUT….why not utilize the advantages that are available, even if they only give that small percentage. At the end of the day, every little tip helps and once you put them all together, that is where the magic will happen. Nothing alone can make your site successful, it is a combination of them all.

Clarify what you are doing, be clear to your readers and then stick to it. You can’t go too far wrong with that!

Thanks for visiting us here Mandie and leaving a really insightful comment. And good luck with your re-branding too!!!

written by Moumita Ghosh On 12 September 2014 Reply

Hello Catherine,

Choosing domain name is really a tough job. I have chosen domain name for my first blog with the help of one of my colleagues but when I chose the domain name for my second blog then I understand what a tough job it is. You have discussed some tips those are really useful. I will read this article again before choosing the domain name for my third blog. Thank you so much for sharing this informative article.

written by Catherine Holt On 12 September 2014 Reply

It’s certainly not as easy task as we think it might be is it Moumita. People spend a lot of time thinking about the names of their businesses and stores because it all helps to build their brand. It should be no different when we take this online. Of course you can just go ahead and throw a name together, but spending some quality time REALLY thinking about how you want to portray yourself is such a useful task.

Appreciate your thoughts here Moumita….and hopefully the third domain name will be easier to think of!

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