So you’ve decided on your niche, but what are you going to call your blog? Really, the question should be how do I choose a domain name, as the blog and domain should be the same – you’ll see why that makes sense later in this post. In my previous post I wrote about the importance of keyword research to find your niche site ideas. From that work you should be aware of the popular keyword phrases in your industry or niche and be in a position to know what keywords might work well as your blog name, and you may hit gold and find the related domain name hasn’t been purchased yet! The domain name I have chosen is immediately obvious to the niche I’ve decided on. I wanted a single word but in the end I have decided to see how I go with a long tail name which I hope will be memorable.
If you have not already used the Google Adwords keyword tool and the free Wordtracker keyword tool, then I fully recommend them both. Start by inputting the kinds of search terms you may use yourself in looking for sites related to your niche (for example, “healthy meals” if your blog is about healthy recipes). The results may give you name ideas and suggest some angles that you had not considered before. The real power is that you’ll get a feel for what people are actually searching for as both the keyword tools I have mentioned provide search statistics.
The next step is to see if that domain name that you have chosen is available. There are several popular registrars you can research and buy your domain through, such as Go Daddy, 123-reg, Namecheap.com or Domaintools.com . I have used JustHost.com as I have registered and hosted a number of sites through them and have found them to be good and relatively inexpensive. However, you’ll need to decide for yourself who you want to register your domain name with – it doesn’t have to be your hosting provider. However, consider whether your provider offers free “Whois” protection (you can’t see with whom the domain is registered).
Domainsuperstar.com lists 25 rules to consider when choosing a domain name. This ranges from consideration of avoiding hyphens in the domain name as they make it harder for people to remember your URL and keeping your doamin name keyword rich. With regards to the domain name extension – the bit at the end – generally it is considered best to have the .com extension since it can give your site a credibility boost. However, I have decided to go for a .co.uk extension as I felt that this would be a good fit for the site and some services that I wanted to offer within the UK. For information on this subject read an earlier post on this blog about how to choose a website or domain name
As well as a domain name for your blog, you will of course need software to run it – a “blogging platform” – where you’ll write your blog posts and publish them across the internet. There are many popular services such as WordPress, Typepad, and Blogger, which come with their own hosting (that is, the place on the internet where your site will be stored). You may want to consider what other platforms are available – for those who are interested I can recommend reading the 2012 Best Blog Software Comparisons and Reviews.
However, when you use the own hosted versions of the blogging platforms it can greatly restrict your control over advertising, design, and community interactions and as we’re building a blog to be monetised having complete control is best. Also, there may come a day when you may want to sell your blog – if we get things right it could happen sooner than you think! Having full control is best done by hosting your site yourself, with a service such as Hostgator.com, or like me you could use JustHost. You’ll then need to install a blogging platform to your website.
As this bit could bamboozle beginners, more details on the technical info of how to install WordPress using fantastico can be found in an earlier post – it took me less than two minutes to do it unlike my very first blog which was more like a six hour stint of error messages and banging fists on my desk! Here is video I shot to show you how easy it is:
To experience ease of installation make sure your web host’s cPanel has a software program called Fantastico which effortlessly installs WordPress to your domain. For information on how to start a website then please read my post how to start a website – the ultimate guide.
I hope that this post will help you to answer the question of how do I choose a domain name? Next time, we’ll be focusing on the design of the blog, and finding and tweaking a “theme” for it.
To Your Success
Professional Internet Marketing Coach
Author of How You Can Generate 50-100 Leads Per Day