You’d think choosing a domain name would be easy, but it always feels like there’s so much pressure to get it right.
This URL is how people will remember you! It represents the work you do! It represents YOU! It’s got to be the perfect internet vanity plate!
And then, of course, there’s the problem that we’ve all run into. When you finally decide on the perfect domain name, you check to see if the domain is available…and it’s already taken. Back to the drawing board.
Take a deep breath. We’re here to help you figure out how to name your blog, so you can move onto the fun stuff — actually blogging.
How to choose a domain name for your blog
If you take nothing else away from this article, remember this: the best domain names are easy to type and easy to remember.
We live in a constant state of content overload. With social media feeds that never end, inboxes that don’t stay at zero for long (if ever), and a crazy number of new blog posts published each month, it’s fair to assume that most users of the internet are a bit overwhelmed.
Your domain name needs to be memorable. This fact is worth fixating on and even repeating. If you want people to come to your blog once and then again after they appreciate the value you bring, they need to be able to remember your URL.
It also needs to be easy to understand and write out. If you say your domain name out loud to someone, they should be able to turn around and type that URL into their browser. If they can’t do that, they’ll never get to your website.
Let’s look at my own website, The-Blogsmith.com, as an example. I made this very mistake when I chose this domain, and I learned from it.
My domain is too complicated, and too easy to get wrong. Acquaintances who try to remember it often end up typing in variations like blogsmith.com or theblogsmith.com, which are pretty close…but not my domain name.
While I probably wouldn’t change my domain name at this point (unless theblogsmith.com was available!), it’s worth noting the challenges that come with complicating your URL with something as seemingly innocuous as a dash.
Here are a few solid options when it comes to choosing a domain name.
Use your own name
When deciding how to name your blog, choosing a URL that’s your name or reflective or your name is always a smart idea.
FirstNameLastName.com is the gold standard.
Want to see if your name is available as a URL?
Type it into this box and Bluehost will tell you if you can grab it:
When sharing your blog’s domain name with people you meet in person or even online, it’ll be easier for them to recall this correctly, since your name is pretty straightforward.
(Unless, of course, it’s not. If you have a name that’s difficult to spell or remember, consider picking a variation of your name instead, or one of the options we’re about to review below.)
If you have a popular name, your ideal domain name might have already gotten scooped up. In that case, choose one of these options:
- A nickname
Here’s an example of someone who has taken this route: ryrob.com. Ryan Robinson is a blogger who chose this domain name on a whim during a college class because his friends called him “Ry Rob.” It stuck, and he has grown the URL into a popular blog.
- Your name + middle initial
Here’s an example of someone who has taken this route: benlcollins.com. Ben Collins is a Google Developer Expert who teaches online courses about Google Sheets. His first and last name are common, so he added his middle initial.
- Your name + what you do
Here’s an example of someone who has taken this route: carolinewinnphotograpy.com. Caroline Winn is, you guessed it, a wedding photographer. It’s a bonus that her specialty is clear immediately from her URL.
Google won’t penalized you for using a hyphen in your URL. Here’s an example of someone who has taken this route: kimberly-palmer.com. Kim Palmer is a personal finance writer. The hyphen in her URL makes her name easy to read.
One massive benefit of starting a blog or business with your name is it will remain relevant even if you make a shift in your work. Say you start out as a social media consultant and put “social media” in your name, then pivot to offering a full content marketing package instead. Your new direction would no longer match your URL. This is worth thinking about as you consider how to name your blog!
Choosing a domain name that’s your name or a variation of your name also helps build your personal brand. Making your URL synonymous with your name makes it that much easier to gain traction and recognition.
If you’re not 100% sure where you want your blog to go in the future, picking a domain name based on your name is the smartest option.
Use your business name
It’s a good practice to buy your domain name shortly after coming up with a blog or business name, or while deliberating between a few of your favorite ideas.
Why? Because if you decide to first incorporate your business and the matching domain name is already taken, you’re SOL.
Or are you? You certainly wouldn’t be the first person to come up with a great business name only to be disappointed by the available domain name results.
Here are some ideas for domain name variations that play on your business or blog name:
- Incorporate your name into the business name (for example, MaddCopy)
- Synonyms of the individual words that make up the business name
- Alliteration to assist in recall
- A different language (if it’s relevant in some way)
- Relevant industry jargon so people can instantly understand they’re in the right place and/or something that describes what you do clearly
- A play on words with a domain extension (ex/ Groupon’s link shortener is gr.pn)
- Dashes between your first and last name (or words in your business)
- Adding “the” before your business name
- Incorporate power words and descriptive adjectives
What about .org or .net?
If you absolutely can’t come up with a URL that’s available as a .com, you could consider another extension, such as .org, .co or .net. Bluehost also offers many more obscure extensions.
There are a number of downsides to this approach, including these two biggies:
- Most people assume all URLs end in .com
Say they actually remember your first and last name and type that correctly into their browser…but then they add .com instead of .co, and it takes them to someone else’s website. We talked above about the importance of your domain name being memorable, and using an extension other than .com throws a wrench in that.
- Dot com domains tend to show up higher in Google’s search rankings
This is partly because .com domains tend to be associated with trust. (So do .edu and .gov, but you probably won’t have those choices for your business unless you’re associated with an educational institution or government organization.)
If you show up high in Google search, someone who’s looking for you might find you more easily, and you could get more general search traffic to your blog.
Still, if you absolutely can’t find a .com URL that works for you, plenty of professionals and businesses make their online homes at .org, .net or another domain extension.
How to name your blog: Is your ideal URL available?
The easiest way to incorporate your chosen domain name is to buy it through the hosting company you’d like to work with. This will save you from the technical headaches that occur if you buy a domain from one company and then have to point it toward a different web host.
Bluehost is an easy choice for an all-in-one solution; you can purchase your domain there AND use it as a web host.
(If this is confusing, review our guide on how to start a blog. We explain everything there, including how to install WordPress after you purchase your domain and hosting.)
The Write Life has a partnership with Bluehost whereby they allow our readers to purchase hosting for $2.95/month. The cool part is that INCLUDES your domain.
Here’s the domain checker so you can see if your ideal URL is available:
If you’re still totally at a loss for choosing a domain name, consider some of these domain name generators. They do the creative work for you.
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This is an updated version of a story that was previously published. We update our posts as often as possible to ensure they’re useful for our readers.
Photo via GuadiLab / Shutterstock