What’s in a name, you ask?
When it comes to domain names, quite a lot, actually. For the company that owned the domain name cars.com, what was in that name turned out to be worth a whopping $872 million, making it the most expensive domain name in history.
Of course, this wasn’t the case of some savvy investor buying up domains he thought might make him a fortune.
Rather, the price reflects two factors: one, that the name is a spot-on example of an exact match domain name – i.e. it does exactly what it says on the tin – and two, thanks to that perfect name, the company had built up annual revenues in the hundreds of millions. In short, it was a good bet from the very beginning, and it reaped the expected rewards.
If you’re just in the preparation stages of founding a blog, how do you decide between the .com, .info, or .online extensions of the name you want?
Is the more expensive option really worth it? What do you need to consider in choosing the right domain name to give yourself the greatest chance of being found by the readership you are looking to write for?
Generic vs. Specific
While using keywords as a part of your domain name may certainly help you turn up in search engine results, there’s more to establishing a strong and memorable name for your blog than simply going for the obvious terms.
Not only will the short and most straight-forward of these domain names most certainly be taken (or if available, out of budget range), it’s probably not even helpful to land a generic topic domain such as wine.com for your blog on fine wines. It's better to have something tailor-made that sets you apart from sales or product based sites.
Although we’re talking about a blog rather than a corporate brand, a great way of understanding the value of specificity is by looking at some of the top brands and following their lead.
There are a few givens for choosing a domain that I’ve already mentioned in step two of How To Start a Blog and Make Money. But let’s look at this a little more in-depth.
If it had followed only part of the conventional wisdom of what makes a successful domain name, the Coca-Cola company might have chosen the domain softdrink.com. After all, it’s short, easy to spell and say aloud, is an exact match domain, and is easy to remember. Plus, it is an obvious catch-all for the company’s many brands. But in this case, does it really do what it says on the tin?
If you wanted to find Coca-Cola – as opposed to some other brand of soft drink – you’d type “coca-cola” into your browser, right? And that, of course, is why we find the company not at softdrink.com but at coca-cola.com.
The same principle is true for all of the world’s most well-known brands. Apple is found not at computers.com but at apple.com. There may be exceptions, but when the brand is strong, it follows that the domain name will be as well.
Clever is Great – Memorable is Better
But what do highly successful brands have in common?
- Would you have associated the name Nike with shoes or athletic wear before the now-legendary company took off?
- What exactly do the words “star” and “bucks” have to do with coffee?
- Was Google even a word before it became our go-to place to find the answer to everything?
The point is, your wine blog could be called anything.Aim for a domain name that is short and snappy rather than long on details and qualifiers.Click To Tweet
While being specific will help you to distinguish yourself in the crowd, try and express your primary idea in as few words as possible, even making up a new word that you just like the sound or look of.
This makes it all the more likely that you’ll be unique and that your domain name won’t already be taken.
When you’ve settled on a name that you feel captures the spirit of your blog’s content and speaks to your likely reader base, the easiest way to find out if the name is available is to search a domain registrar.
This site can help with cheap domain registration and will not only tell you if the name is free (and its price if so) but will also suggest a series of alternatives that might be less expensive and even more well-tailored to finding your specific audience.
Dot What? Extend Your Reach With Extensions
You’ve fallen in love with your domain name, but the .com. is gone. Does this mean it’s hopeless and you have to start over?
There was certainly a time when this was your only option, but today with the ever-expanding “phonebook” of the internet, those last letters after the dot can help potential readers to know that your site offers insight and information and isn’t just another online shopping portal.
You might find out that glass-half-full.com is taken, but halffull.glass is just as memorable and maybe even catchier. Of course, it’s worth testing that your domain name can benefit from word of mouth advertising, so use a few friends as a focus group before you commit. If you say “half full dot glass” and three out of four write down some other variation of the words, it’s probably better to try again.
The key consideration here is that your name is understandable to and repeatable by your potential readers.
You’ll find that once you start searching and brainstorming domain names, the possibilities are endless. Your blog will soon be on its way to becoming a reality.