Oh boy, this one is not easy. I mean not easy for me to write this post, but good news is, it’s quite easy to choose a good domain name.
Once you have decided you want to start a blog, it is time to choose a domain name. Domain name tells readers what your blog is all about. Let’s take my blog’s domain name, iFOODreal.com, as an example.
The name with 3 www’s in front of it is a domain name. And a cute green apple is called favicon. Just another way for a brand recognition.
There are 3 essential criteria for a successful domain name:
1. Short & Sweet = Easy to Remember Domain Name
See this slogan at the top, on the right hand side?!
It says “Healthy High Protein & Low Carbs Recipes”. This is what my blog is about but I can’t have it all in my domain name.
Do you think www.healthyhighprotein&lowcarbsrecipes.com would be a good domain name to have? Right! Make it short and easy to remember, and you will see a lot of returning visitors on your blog.
Think of your market niche. For example, my niche is healthy cooking. My recipes are clean, lean and made with real ingredients. I make real food, like your grandma used to make.
The concept of using “i” in front of the verbs and nouns became popular with Apple introducing various devices on the market – iPod, iPad, iPhone etc. That’s how iFOODreal.com was born. I like it.
Play with words and find what you like but don’t forget about your market niche and Google. That takes me to the next point…
2. Include Relevant Keywords
By saying previously, short & sweet, it doesn’t mean I could get www.ifr.com (abbreviation for iFOODreal.com) and expect a ton of traffic. Doesn’t work that way.
You need to find relevant keywords with reasonable amount of traffic. That’s when Google AdWords Keyword Tool comes in handy.
Keyword research is a separate topic on it’s own. I would say, it is one of the keys to succes online! Choosing right keywords, with right amount of traffic and profitable Cost per Click (CPC) is crucial to your blog’s success. I will be covering this in the future posts.
So, let’s find you a good domain name.
1. Go to Google AdWords Keyword Tool.
2. Enter your desired keyword, your country under Locations and hit Search.
Let’s enter real food and see what happens (click on image for a bigger view):
Let’s analyze it. So, in the past month:
1. 165,000 searches were performed all around the world.
2. 9,900 searches happenned in Canada.
3. Low competition means good monthly search volume and relatively low competition.*
*In reality it’s not always true and in my case it’s not that easy to rank #1 for real food. But it is not how my blog iFOODreal.com ranks #1 in Google. I will be covering my strategy in SEO chapter and a little bit below. Right now we are just choosing a keyword.
Let me give you another example. Let’s look up healthy recipes (click on image for a bigger view):
See the difference?! Healthy recipes is 20 times more popular than real food. Choosing it would make me work 20 times harder to make my blog appear in the top results of the search engines.
Instead, I target additional keywords in the website’s title:
See Healthy high protein and low carb recipes? That is my blog’s title in addition to its name iFOODreal.
If we perform a search for these keywords, here is what will come up:
And here are the search results for just high protein and low carb recipes, without healthy in front.
As you can see, the last set of keywords is more competitive than the first one.
I chose the first version for my website’s title as it would be easier to rank high in the search engines.
3. Choose Right Top Level Domain Name – .com, .ca or .us?
It’s very simple. Again, think about the demographics of your target market, particularly the location.
If your business is a window cleaning company in San Diego, California, .us will work great.
More importantly, I would make sure to get www.sandiegowindowcleaning.any domain as the residents of San Diego will be plugging in san diego window cleaning in search engines, when looking for window cleaning services.
If you are a food blog with international readers like iFOODreal, you need to make sure you get an internationally recognized domain name. Here is the latest screenshot of iFOODreal’s demographics from Google Analytics.
2/3 of the audience is located in the US, 1/3 everywhere else and I live in Canada. Neither .ca, nor .us wouldn’t be a good match for iFOODreal.
What to do if .com is taken?
In 2013 many good domains are already taken but not all of them. Trust me, there is a great domain name available for you right now. It’s always there. You just have to find it.:)
You could pay $20.99 to backorder it – may be you will be able to buy the domain when it expires, if the current owner doesn’t renew it, if the domain is not on hold, if… It has never worked for me or anyone I know. Bidding on domain names can be quite pricey too.
I would recommend to choose .me or .net extension.
My first preference goes to .me. I was lucky enough iFOODreal.com was available. Me and Alex spent numerous days choosing domain name. It was very important for us to have .com. It just has more credibility…
But having said that, I had options in terms of name. If you are 100% confident you have found an awesome name for your blog and .com is taken, then go for .me or .net. On the other hand, think will your blogname.me be confused with already existing .com?
Use common sense. I wouldn’t call my blog skinnygirl.me even if this domain was available. I just wouldn’t want my blog be confused with Bethenny Frankel’s product line, although I love her and her products. Not that it is a bad thing in some cases, but actually in this case it is.
Here is a list of other topics in Blogging Tips section that you might find helpful in growing your blog: