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 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.
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:
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:
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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: https://www.namecheckr.com/.
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.
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.