If you are preparing to start a website or blog, you need to come up with a name for your online business. Your website will be identified by this name and it is called a domain. For this website, it is 10webtools.com.
WhoIs.com records indicate that there are over 300 million registered active domains. Those are A LOT of domains! In addition, over 70 million articles are published on WordPress monthly and again, those are A LOT of posts/articles! Only websites/blogs with great quality content and good brand names are able to attract visitors online and that’s important as the competition is very high.
This guide will assist you to come up with a domain name that actually stands out and easy to brand. A perfect domain with high-quality content and a good brand name are more likely to stand out and beat 300 million other active domains. So, how can you get that perfect domain name for your blog or business and rank for SEO?
Before we go into detail discussing the tips you need to consider when selecting a domain name, let’s first answer this common question:
What is a Domain Name?
Moz describes a domain name as follows:
“A unique, human-readable Internet addresses of websites. They are made up of three parts: a top-level domain (sometimes called an extension or domain suffix), a domain name (or IP address), and an optional subdomain.”Moz
This guide will give you detailed info on how to choose a domain name for your venture. Your website’s domain name could be a small business, blog/website, affiliate marketing site, personal site, real estate site, travel blog or for personal use.
To simplify and as shown in the image alongside, here are two key clarifications:
A domain is 10webtools.com and the domain URL (for the same domain, this site) is https://10webtoosl.comDomain Name vs Domain URL
Now that we’ve clarified that, let’s go through the tips you should take as you choose a domain name for your online venture.
5 Branding Tips for your Domain Name
Before we go in detail to explain each of the 10 tips you should consider when choosing a domain, I want you to discuss some key branding considerations.
As you continue to search for your domain name, make sure you are searching for a brand that you’d want to be associated with. In fact, as you search for a perfect domain name, ask yourself this:
What is a good brand name for my online business?
What is a good domain name for my online business?
The video below explains why your brand should come first as you find a name for your domain. There is a need to carefully make informed and well-thought-out domain names that pass the branding test explained below.
To summarize on domain branding, here are five categories you can think about as you come up with your domain name:
#1.Personal Branding: Your First Name + Last Name
This approach works best for life coaches, mentors, experts, artists, musicians, politicians, authors, celebrities and trainers. You’ll see a few experts such as Neil Patel having the domain name Neilpatel.com. By using your name in the domain name, it gives you extra credibility.
#2.Generic/Descriptive Brand Name
This is when you use a descriptive word as the domain name of what your blog does. For example, you can use photography.com for your photography website or a babygearreviews.com for an affiliate marketing review blog.
This approach gives a hint of what your business is about without having any context. This can improve the click-through rate and is great for SEO. Awhile back, exact match domain names such as babymonitors.com were able to rank better than those without the exact keyword match. Google has insisted that this is not the case anymore but a lot of SEO experts agree that you may get some SEO advantage.
#3. Suggestive Brand Names
These are names that may combine two or more words to give you an idea of what the business is about. For example, Groupon.com is a combination of Group and Coupon while Mixergy.com is a combination of Mixer and Energy.
#4.Arbitrary Brand Name
These are words or names that have no meaning in itself that refer to what the business does. For example, Apple.com has no meaning in terms of tech while Shell.com has no meaning when it comes to oil distribution.
#5.Hybrid Brand Name
This is when you combine a noun and a descriptive word such as First Name + Adjective/verb such as Matt + Nomad for mattnomad.com
10 Tips to Pick the Best Domain Name
1. Use .Com TLD
Our #1 pick and my personal urge for all my readers is that you should use the .com TLD extension for your blog. According to WHOIS database, there are currently 300 million active domains that use up to 2,864 TLDs & ccTLDs.
Verisign‘s study revealed that almost 50% of all registered websites have .com Top Level Domain and there is a key reason for this:
- Users will find you: Most internet users assume that a website or blog uses a .com TLD and they type .com at the end of your brand name on the browser. If you are not using .com, you are losing out as it is not following what Fortune 500 companies are doing. I know people say that boingboing.net is a high-ranked website but still, that’s an exception
2.Easy to read, spell and memorable – Less than 10 Characters
It is sharp to your online venture that your clients easily remember your website’s domain. A website that is easy to read and say is easy to remember. It becomes easy for people to enter the name on their browsers to find you online. To make your domain names easy to spell for your visitors, make it short but related to your venture.
Vlad explains why the domain name has to be less than 10 characters in the video below:
I find the tip of listing 10 words that may be related to what your blog will be about. For example, if you want to write about software, write up to 10 related keywords that you think are memorable. You can use Dictionary.com or Thesaurus.com to give you ideas.
3. No Hyphens, Hard to Brand
There is no doubt that hyphenated domains are quickly disappearing from the SERPs. This is because spammers prefer using hyphenated keyword-loaded domains. While Google is not specifically targeting hyphenated domains, it is wise to get a domain with no hyphens to be rated higher on the giant search engine. Using hyphens in your domain name makes it seem less credible and untrustworthy.
If your situation requires you to use hyphens on the domain name, it is essential that you use hyphens instead of underscores. While search engines like MSN and Yahoo can construe underscores as hyphens, Google, the dominant search engine, does not. Google treats the underscore as a character and therefore yields altered results for underscore searches.
4. Use Keywords
As search engine algorithms evolve, the importance of using keywords in domain names has dramatically changed. There are several benefits you can get from using domain name keywords. However, they are not as critical to a site’s ranking on the SERPs as they once were. If misused, they could actually hurt your website’s search rankings.
When Google realized that website developers were optimizing sites for search engines more than humans, it began to rethink the factors that were important for a successful search. While keywords are still vital for your visitors and clients to relate to your product, the content of your website is now much more critical to your SERPs rankings.
5. Consider using your name
If your website is intended to brand you as a professional in a given field, then you should consider using your name as your site’s domain name. Having your name used as your online business name could show people how confident you are in your profession and should be recognized as an expert in your field.
Branding yourself is, however, not the only reason you should consider using your name as a domain name for your website or blog page. If you have tried creating a domain name, you know how hectic it can be to find a brilliant business name that is not already taken. However, if your name is unique, there is a chance you will be allowed to use it as your website’s domain name and on your social networks too, which is excellent for your brand.
While it is advantageous in some situations to use your name as your domain name, you should not use it if it is hard to spell out. You do not want your visitors forgetting your website’s name immediately after they go offline. Also, there are several online businesses that are not wise to use your personal name on. The biggest trouble will be selling your business if you have your personal name as the business name and domain name.
6. Avoid stringing words together
Strings of words in a domain name could create other unsavory phrases. One such example is a site that goes by the domain name itscrap.com. The IT firm offers a hardware scrapping program, but readers will not get that impression after reading the name.
Apparently, the IT firm recently changed its domain name to regencytechnologies.com after realizing that most firms and clients around the globe are not so inclined to partnering with the itscrap firm.
It is in your venture’s best interests that you avoid strings of words that may deter potential clients and partners. Be original and straightforward; your unique domain name will eventually build an online reputation with your continued marketing efforts.
7. Avoid ambiguous terms
Using overly-complex or ambiguous terms on your domain name increases the risk of misspellings or typos when the user is trying to feed it into their browser.
Users easily ignore vague domain names since they appear less credible. Keep your domain name simple with one to two simple words maximum. A good example is Facebook.
8. Be creative
In the evolving digital age, buzzwords are the way to go when creating your domain name. However, you must be able to recognize the buzzwords that will outlive the rest. When a buzzword is no longer trendy, then so is your domain name.
Without enough time to gain an online reputation, this could be detrimental to your venture. Try to do some research on the most popular buzzwords in town and get creative with them. Even Mark Zuckerberg had to purchase WhatsApp after growing its online reputation at a dramatic rate.
9. Check if the name is for a Spammy Expired Domain
Finding an expired domain could be a great way of capitalizing on the efforts of a different firm or individual to create a competitive website or blog. There are many benefits to finding an expired domain name with considerable traffic.
The only problem with these expired domain names is that most of them have misrepresented values for their sites in order to attract buyers. Purchasing a once spammy expired domain could prove tragic to your online venture.
It can be challenging to identify proper expired domain names from the ones once used as spam swaps. However, there are several ways to check if the expired domain name represents a once spammy site. Some of these techniques include:
- Citation Flow: The score a site gets relative to the websites linked to it.
- Trust Flow: The score a site gets relative to the authority and trustworthiness of the sites linked to it.
- Cross-referencing all backlink profiles with Ahrefs, Moz, and Scrapebox
- Looking up the site’s anchor text
- Deleted links: If a site appears to be deleting a lot of links, it is a clear sign that there is something wrong with the site
- Choosing older expired domains is better. They gain more trust with Google and the other search engines as they get older.
- Avoid choosing domains that are not .com
After registering for a domain name, webmasters are often offered the option to buy additional TLDs (Top Level Domains). To take advantage of direct traffic to your domain, it is wise to opt for a .com TLD. When the .com LD you were looking to buy is not available, experts recommend opting for .net, .co, or other ccTLD alternatives.
Moreover, it is recommended that SEO-conscious webmasters avoid purchasing the more inexpensive low-quality TLDs such as .ws, .name, .biz, .info and others as their way of improving direct traffic to their websites. Since these LTDs are less common, they receive considerably lower traffic as compared to the more popular domains. The cheaper LTD options are also considered spammy by most users and search engines.
10. Do not overthink it
Domain names sell fast. Though they are not expensive, overthinking a domain name may use up too much time and find your name taken. Overthinking the name will also make it sophisticated and hard for your visitors to remember. Keep the name simple.
A good idea would be including your local town’s name in the domain name to make it memorable to your local customers. There are also a number of domain registrars that will suggest alternative domain names during domain search. That will definitely make the process of finding the perfect domain name much easier.
Bonus: Favor Subdirectories over subdomains
Search engines like Google and Yahoo use different metrics when rating with domains than with subdomains. Though Google has stated that when ranking they consider the content in subdomains and in subdirectories to be roughly equal when ranking websites, it is still advisable for SEO-conscious webmasters to prefer linking their content in subfolders over subdomains. However, webmasters dealing in language-specific sites are exempted from this recommendation.
Tools You Can Use To Find the Domain Name for Your Blog
Thesaurus.com and Dictionary.com
To come up with name suggestions for your domain, you can use thesaurus.com to get the synonyms or dictionary.com. In the snapshot below, I used thesaurus.com to searched for synonyms of pets and I got more than 10 suggestions:
Domain Name generators:
There are over 10 domain name generators that can assist you to come up with a short and memorable domain name. I like these domain name generators for three reasons:
- Random: The tools below come up with random name that you may not have thought about.
- Catchy: With the tools below, you’ll not miss a catchy domain name
- Short: You can count on the name generators below to give you domain names that meet our SEO and branding test of having less than 10 characters.
Here are a 7 favorite domain name generators for short, catchy, memorable brands:
- Namecheap Domain Name Generator
- Godaddy Name Generator
- Spotify Online Shop Name Generator
- Bluehost Domain Name Generator
How to Choose a Domain Name for SEO
Search engines will have to find your website and the reputation of your domain online may impact how it ranks. If you are looking to get a domain name that will rank fast on search engines such as Google, this section is important for you.
Usually, affiliate marketers or anyone looking to start a blog to promote products online want to rank fast on Google SERPs. If you purchase an entirely new domain that has never been registered before, it will be new to Google and it can take up to 3 months to start ranking for keywords.
If you don’t have 3+ months to wait, you can get an expired domain name that was previously owned by someone who did not renew the domain name. Usually, this will get you ranking fast. For example, 10webtools.com was first registered in 2004 according to Archive.org. This means that 10Webtools is 16 years old now (in 2020). This adds to the credibility search engines give to this site.
Another important thing you can is to find an expired domain with high authority in the eyes of search engines and SEO tools. This has been used again and again by various SEO gurus to fast-track the process of ranking on search engines.
Here is an example.
We bought babymonitorcenter.com, an exact match domain that had been around since 2006 and had it set up. We went ahead and wrote some content there. Now, from the get-go, we knew babymonitorcenter.com wasn’t our preferred domain name but in the past, it had materials similar to the topic of choice – baby products.
After a few months, we redirected it to an entirely new domain. Babymonitorcenter.com now has a 301 redirect to the new domain, 10babygear.com. The new domain got the link juice that the old domain had accumulated over the years and it enabled it to start ranking fast for keywords that a new domain wouldn’t.
In fact, the new domain name 10babygear.com which I bought in August 2019 made over $1200 in November 2019. In other words, an affiliate marketing blog that had been around for just three months was already making over $1k per month. This was only possible because we took advantage of the old domain’s link juice and were able to rank for high-commercial keywords such as ‘non-wifi baby monitors’.
Here is a recap of how to choose a domain for SEO:
- Purchase an old domain that is within the niche topic of your new blog and find out how many referring domains (backlinks) it has. You can use the free Ahref backlink checker. Once you get a domain with a good trust flow, good backlinks and high domain rating, purchase it. It may not be perfect but you can redirect it within a month or two to your new domain. When you redirect it, it will rank fast as if it were a mature domain.
How to Choose a Domain Name for Personal Website
If you are looking to choose a domain for a personal website, consider using the #1 branding top shared in the first section of this guide. As explained above personal websites can take two types of naming structure:
- Exact Name: First and Last Name
- Hybrid Name: Name + Adjective/Verb
If you are an academic or someone distinguished in your industry, you should go with an exact name domain for your personal website. If you are choosing a domain name for your blog and have a topic that you want to concentrate on, you can combine your name and the name of the topic such as Sam + Cooking to get Samcookdiary.com or something like that.
Domain Name Registrars and How to Choose them:
According to Wikipedia, a domain registrar is a company that manages the reservation of Internet domain names There are several domain registrars available in 2020. A quick internet search revealed more than 100 active domain registrars who can sell you your domain name. It is possible to purchase one domain from one registrar and host the website with the registrar (if it offers website hosting services) or with another registrar.
How you choose your domain should be dictated by two key factors:
- The ease of transferring your domain from one registrar to another.
- The cost of the domain. Some registrars offer free domain if you purchase hosting with them. You can also get a domain from a cheaper registrar and change the DNS settings to point to another host.
On our resources page, we have listed Bluehost as #1 recommended registrar mostly because you’ll get a free domain when you register with them. In addition, you can also easily transfer your site if you find another hosting provider that suits your needs better.
If you are interested in checking out Bluehost’s inexpensive hosting plans, get started here.
While competition in the markets continues to stiffen, it becomes more and more essential for marketers to find ways to improve their site’s traffic. Most of the firms have already invested chunks of money into optimizing their webpages and content.
While the various techniques are critical to a successful marketing strategy, most marketers forget that a domain name goes a long way in increasing site traffic. Domain names could put-off some of your clients or encourage them into your website.
The tips detailed above will help you create a unique competitive domain to better market your brand. If well implemented and combined with other marketing strategies, your brand is well on its way to experiencing exponential growth in the near future.
If you purchase hosting with Bluehost, they’ll give you a FREE DOMAIN!
My name is Nate Reiner and I am the editor here at 10Webtools. I have 8 years of experience using 50+ different web tools ranging from podcast, web hosting, email marketing, and much more. I previously managed a team offering support services to a large conglomerate that utilized tens of software solutions. I now run this blog full-time and when I am not reviewing or testing software, I enjoy riding bikes and supporting my clients achieve internet success. You can reach me directly at [email protected]