When you’re starting a new blog, what’s your criteria for choosing a domain name? How do you decide what to name it? What are the things you look for?
For me, choosing a domain name takes hours. I do a lot more research naming my new blogs than the average internet marketer out there.
Mainly, it’s just personal preference. I approach new blogs with a business mentality. What do I want to name my new business? becomes a little more serious than what should I name my small side project?
But there are other things that factor into the equation of what makes a domain name good or bad, not just the name itself. I’m going to show you how I search, find, and analyze a domain name before registering it.
.COM, .NET, or WHAT?
Unless it’s a really great domain name that I NEED to have no matter what, I always go for the .COM.
I rarely ever go for the .NET and .ORG’s.
There also seems to be a lot of newer TLD’s like .community or .ninja.
Stay away from them. Few people even recognize those as URL’s.
I like to stay with the most universally known domain extension, .COM and I would advise most people to do the same.
Likely to be competitive for your brand
Another reason I like to go with the .COM is that, usually if the .COM is available it means the .NET and .ORG is available too.
If the .COM is taken, but the .NET or .ORG is available, searching for the domain by name on Google might bring back results full of the .COM site.
That’s just unnecessary competition.
Branded or exact match?
Even though exact match domains hold no weight for rankings anymore, people still use them.
For me, it’s branded every time.
I’ve stated this in the past, but I approach all of my new sites with the mentality that I’m going to be the best resource in the niche.
And to accommodate my goal, I want my site to be brandable.
Usually, I don’t go completely branded. For instance, for a dog training site, I wouldn’t go with something lycabee.com (off the top of my head). That’s just a nonsense word, sounds more like a startup name actually.
I usually throw in a keyword and then add in a supplementary word before or after it. So something like caninecentral.com.
CanineCentral.com looks a lot better than an exact match, bestdogtrainingtips.com, and it gives you more options to expand the site into different categories in the future.
For instance, we could expand into best types of food for different breeds of dogs, but that might not be so relevant on the exact match.
3 tools to help you choose the perfect domain name
This is my favorite tool and the most useful.
I just throw in my seed keyword and it will show me an endless list of options.
If you build out a lot of blogs, you’ll probably find yourself coming back to this one.
Panabee is another good one. Rather than give you supplementary words to attach to your keyword like DomainNameBrain, it will show you cool ways of spelling out your keywords.
For example, while DomainNameBrain might bring back suggestions like dogalpha.com or dogtyrant.com, Panabee will suggest things like dogific.com or dogimatic.com.
A blue heart next to the name means it’s available. A broken red heart means it’s already been registered by somebody else.
This one is similar to DomainNameBrain, except that you’re given a little more control over your selection, and are presented with just a few rather than an unlimited stream.
You enter your keyword and can determine whether the supplementary word added goes at the beginning or end of your keyword, if it is a verb, adjective, or noun and how many letters it is.
There are actually a huge list of different tools just like this one. I’ve tried them all.
These 3 are the most helpful. I found other ones more difficult to use and they do weird things like bring back only results that are all already registered.
Search for the domain name on Google
You found a great domain, what next? The next part is an important one that many people forget to do.
Do a quick Google search for your domain without the TLD. So if you decided to go with dogimatic.com, search for “dogimatic” on Google.
You want to see results like this:
A lot of times, you’ll find that your branded domain name is actually full of results by a different company. If you do, you’ll want to avoid that one (unless you love the domain and feel you can take over the rankings for the name).
Check if it was ever registered before
Now before you go off and register it, there’s one last quick step.
Check to make sure the domain has never been registered before. You can use this free tool here, and it only takes 30 seconds to run a check.
Hopefully you see something like this, telling you it’s never been registered.
If it does have a previously registered date, use archive.org to quickly check it wasn’t used for something spammy. You’ll also want to check the backlink profile of the site afterwards.
Register the domain name
If you’ve done all your checks, register the domain name. You can choose whatever registrar you like.