How to Choose A Brandable Domain Name For Your Blog

By Chris Lee 32 comments

select-a-perfect-domain-nameWhen 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 brandable domain name takes hours. I do a lot more research naming my new blogs than the average internet marketer out there.

The idea that whatever words you choose now will have the potential to become a popular brand name is an exciting thought, isn’t it?

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.

I’m going to take you through the exact steps that I personally take myself when I’m brainstorming for domain name ideas.

Let’s dive in…

Step 1: Find your 2 words

For me, the perfect blogging domain name is a combination of two words. A niche-relevant word + a miscellaneous word.

The niche-relevant word will be something related to my niche. It doesn’t have to state the niche itself, but it has to be related.

For example, if my niche was web design, I would use something like “pixel” or “CSS”.

The second word is a miscellaneous word. It doesn’t need to have anything to do with my niche.

All I’m looking for is a cool, catchy word that blends well with my first word.

For example, if my first word was “pixel” then I could name it something like “Mega Pixel” or “Simple Pixel”.

As you can see (or hear), both words fit well together, and it sounds catchy.

What to avoid

Don’t make your domain name sound spammy. It’s not 2005 anymore. We’re not looking for exact match keywords for our domain name.

For example, a spammy blog name would be something like “Web Design Tutorials”. It’s not catchy at all, and it’s completely generic.

Simple Pixel is a much better choice than Web Design Tutorials. I’m sure most people will agree.

How I brainstorm

For me, the process will always start by making a list of 10 to 20 niche-relevant words.

Remember, these are words that are related to my main niche.

For example, if my target niche was personal finance, I would come up with the following list.

  • finance
  • bucks
  • thrifty
  • penny
  • dime
  • wise
  • dollar
  • money
  • consumer
  • rich
  • wallet
  • debt
  • frugal
  • broke

From there, I would make a list of miscellaneous words that I think would supplement my first word nicely.

Continuing with our example of personal finance, here are some words that I might come up with:

  • spark
  • clear
  • point
  • line
  • lab
  • bright
  • light
  • core
  • groove
  • clever
  • witty
  • smart
  • bloom
  • colossus
  • fury
  • zig
  • idea
  • click
  • brite
  • mule
  • pulse
  • edge
  • nerd

Step 2: Put together combinations you like

The next step is to start putting together words from your first list with your second list.

Keep a “Final Candidates” section in your notes and jot down all the ones you like best.

For example, some cool blog names would be:

Wallet Nerd
Frugal Mule
Witty Penny
Thrift Point
Finance Edge
Dollar Groove

It only took me a few minutes to put together these lists of words, but already I have a lot of good candidates.

All of these names are catchy, brandy, and make it obvious that I’m talking about finance.

Some helpful tools to help you come up with cool, brandable domain names

1. DomainNameBrain

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.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.19.27 PM

If you build out a lot of blogs, you’ll probably find yourself coming back to this one.

2. Panabee

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 or, Panabee will suggest things like or

A blue heart next to the name means it’s available. A broken red heart means it’s already been registered by somebody else.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.24.13 PM

3. Impossibility

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.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.29.47 PM

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.

Step 3: Check for .COM availability

The next step is to go to a domain registrar’s website and check if the .COM domain extension is available for your chosen domain names.

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.

Step 4: Check Google

If you see that the domain is available in the extension that you want, then there’s one more step before you register it.

You need to check Google to see if there’s already a company out there with that name that’s eating up the search results.

This is a very important step. If there’s already a giant company out there with a huge authority, you’ll have a tough time ranking for your own brand name.

For example, here’s a search I did for “Wallet Nerd”.

As you can see, there’s already a huge company called Nerd Wallet that’s eating up the search results. Every single result is pointing to their brand.

In this case, even if the .COM were available, I would choose a different name. It’s tough enough to drive traffic from major keywords. You don’t want to have to compete so hard just to rank for your own name.

What you want to see are results like this:

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.34.51 PM

There are no brands, companies, or other sites eating up this search result. If we build a new blog with this domain name, we can rank for the brand keyword easily.

Step 5: 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.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.42.43 PM

Hopefully you see something like this, telling you it’s never been registered.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.43.16 PM

If it does have a previously registered date, use to quickly check it wasn’t used for something spammy. You’ll also want to check the backlink profile of the site afterwards.

Some other things to consider

Once you’ve gone through all the steps above and things look good, it’s safe to register your domain.

But if you’re being extra cautious, you may want to check for some other things before making your final decision.

Is the Twitter profile available?

If Twitter is going to be a major social media channel you’re going to be using, you may want to check if the @YOURBLOGNAME is available first.

Not a huge deal if it isn’t since you can use variations, but it’s always nice to have the exact match.

Are other social media profiles available?

If you’re using any sort of social media, it’s always nice to have your exact blog name as your user name. It just sounds cool, and makes you look very official.

Here’s a website you can use to check profile name availability:

Simply enter in your blog name and it’ll show you which ones are available for each platform, and which ones aren’t.

Final Step: Register!

Finding the perfect blog name takes a lot of time.

A lot of times, your preferred name will be taken.

But once you do finally find the right one that meets all our criteria, it’s a great feeling.

The last step is to go and register your domain name. You can use a domain registrar like NameCheap or if you don’t have web hosting yet, or you can register for both hosting and a domain with Bluehost.

If you register for hosting with Bluehost, they’ll give you a free domain name.

Make sure to register social profiles

Once you register the domain, go ahead and register your names on the major social media outlets. Even if you don’t have plans to use them yet, it’s still very important that you have them for the future.

The most important ones are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


I love coming up with domain names that are unique, creative, and meaningful. For me, it’s the most exciting stage of planning a new website.

As you learned, there is a lot that goes into finding the perfect name for your blog. Finding the right words you like is just the beginning. From there, a lot of things have to be right in order for you to move forward with it.

If you can follow the steps outlined in this tutorial, you’ll be able to name your blog with something you’re completely satisfied and confident with.

Leave a Reply


  • Reply Bill April 18, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Chris –

    Another fantastic post. Thank you so much for the leads on how to look for names. I too stick with branded names and then let the URL have a couple keywords in it. But it’s great to know how you feel about them too.

    One request. I visit your site almost daily and, as you know, email you bunches of questions. Would you mind putting a little search box in the widgets area of your site? I sometimes have to scroll through a few pages to get to the articles I want to re-read.



    • Reply Chris Lee April 18, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Thanks, Bill! I’ve added a search box in the sidebar. Thank you for the feedback, and for following the blog.

  • Reply Larry April 20, 2015 at 1:47 am

    Hey Chris, great post.

    I’m new to your site and am just reading up. Nice to see s fresh perspective that you bring.

    I saw that in one of your posts you mentioned planning on building authority sites, are the current site you have authority site types or smaller niche ones?

    Also just for my own benefit so I know where you are coming from.

    1. you have a lot of sites, did you write all of them yourself or do you have content written?

    2. for the current sites you have ranking, do you get them via outreach or do you build your own or buy links?

    Looking forward to reading more.

    • Reply Chris Lee April 20, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Hey Larry, definitely go authority every time. It’s the best way to grow websites to a substantial profit these days, and it’s also a much more sustainable model that can be grown into an actual business.

      I write the content myself for the big posts targeting high volume keywords, but get the smaller posts written for me. The majority of my links are built through outreach.

  • Reply Ron April 20, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Thanks, I am so new at this everything you share helps.

    • Reply Chris Lee April 20, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      Thanks, Ron!

  • Reply Larry April 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Thanks for the reply Chris.

    I’m new to adsense and for the most part people are saying to go after the high CPC keywords which often times are the most competitive.

    I remember you mentioning in somewhere to get away from the popular topics like weight loss, fitness, etc. which are high competition which take forever to rank for big keywords.

    When it comes to CPC? Do you have any rules and criteria? And how does it relate to # of monthly searches when you do keyword research?

    Thanks again.

    • Reply Chris Lee April 21, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      The thing about high CPC keywords is that usually these niches are full of affiliates. The strongest SEO’s in the world compete in these health and weight loss niches to promote high paying CPA offers and affiliate products. For what we’re doing, Adsense, it doesn’t make sense to compete with that kind of competition, imo. There are plenty of niches outside of those ones with far less competition and high search volume keywords.

      I look at search volume more than CPC. At minimum, I want my main keywords to add up to at least 100,000 searches. That’s using this strategy — — Not just on the raw data that keyword tools bring back.

  • Reply Ali T. July 5, 2015 at 6:08 am

    Great post Chris, totally agree with branded domains against exact match, as per the domain tools you mentioned i find much better.

    first time on your blog, will definitely come back.

    • Reply Chris Lee July 5, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion, Ali. Leandomainsearch looks really good.

  • Reply Patrick April 3, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Hello Chris,
    I start read your blog from first post. I found a lot of answers which help me make better decissions with my site. But once you told we will build 1 authority site (niche site) so we can expand it in diffrent categories like animals and travel even cars or I think bad?
    So we can name site like or

    • Reply Chris Lee April 4, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      Hey Patrick. That’s a little too broad to tackle with a one or two man team. Travel, animals, and cars are big enough on their own to target one individually.

  • Reply Jessica June 16, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Very helpful, Chris, as is your RankXL niche course.

    Also, thanks to you, I picked a niche, found the domain I love, and ran through the checks you outlined above. All is good to go.

    Do you recommend that in addition to the .com, to lay claim to the name, I register the .net, .org, .mobi, .io, or any of the other extensions?

    • Reply Chris Lee June 16, 2016 at 5:33 pm

      Awesome! Glad to hear that Jessica šŸ™‚

      It’s really up to you. I normally just pick up the .com.

  • Reply Bikash August 8, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    I bought some domains which are exactly matched with my niche site after reading your post I have now some knowledge but my question is that should I do whit those domains?

    • Reply Bikash August 8, 2016 at 8:20 pm

      Plz say am i going to succeed in future if i post some moderate type of content

    • Reply Chris Lee August 9, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      Hey Bikash, don’t know what to tell you there šŸ™‚

      Why did you buy them in the first place?

  • Reply OliviaU August 15, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Great post. I just recently purchased a .me domain. The .com was like $400 but .me was $7 which is much more in my price range.
    Olivia at

    • Reply Chris Lee August 16, 2016 at 4:42 am


  • Reply Imer Imran September 25, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Hi Chris
    A very informative article. DomainNameBrain, Panabee, and Impossibility is new to me, thanks for sharing such wonderful tools. Will be saving this as a reference. I also find that lean domain search also is a great tool as suggested by Ali T below.

    Great write up and keep up the great work!


    • Reply Chris Lee September 26, 2016 at 9:30 pm

      Thanks again Imer! Yeah, I love DomainNameBrain šŸ™‚

  • Reply Bhajan September 27, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Domain name represent your blog and it must be a very professional and branded one.

    • Reply Chris Lee September 28, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      Yes šŸ™‚

  • Reply Kaylem December 26, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    chris, thank you for this great blog post

    • Reply Chris Lee January 1, 2017 at 5:57 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Kaylem šŸ™‚

  • Reply Chad Westby January 5, 2017 at 5:22 pm


    I chose a domain name that was a very product specific name related to road bike wheels. I’ve since expanded the content to cover other areas of cycling and I have plans to redesign the site.

    Would you recommend getting a new domain name that is more representative of the content?

    • Reply Chris Lee January 7, 2017 at 12:35 am

      In most cases, I would not get a new domain. It’s not super important to have an accurate domain name solely based on your content topics.

      But if you truly do feel it’s necessary, make sure that you do proper re-directs or hire an SEO who knows how to do this.

  • Reply Rahul Yadav April 29, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Excellent post. I was checking continuously this weblog and Iā€™m inspired! Very useful information specifically the remaining phase I take care of such info much. I was looking for this certain info for a long time. Thanks and best of luck.

    • Reply Chris Lee May 6, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Thank you Rahul!

  • Reply Jason July 12, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Hi Chris,

    New reader here. Thanks for the great info your posting. Question, when you find a .com do you also buy the .net, .org equivalents? Or do you simply buy the .com?

    • Reply Chris Lee July 13, 2017 at 12:05 am

      Hey Jason! No, I normally do not get the .net and .org. No need to really.

      • Reply Jason July 13, 2017 at 8:15 pm

        ok, thank you.