Choosing a domain name is one of the first steps when starting your first blog. At WebeezHive, we want you and your blog to be successful, so here:
Brief History And Future Outlook of Domains:
A domain name is a unique string identifier that represents a digital piece of property on the internet. Domain names are used to make web addresses more unique and memorable for end users. A domain name has a lot of information associated with. Such as where to locate the files that represent your website (the IP address of your website).
The very first domain name was actually registered in 1985 by a computer systems company called symbolics.com (source Wikipedia). By 1992 there were fewer than 15,000 domain names registered. Fast forward to 2009 and there were over 190 Million registered domain names (probably 50-100 million more by now).
The future of domain names, in my opinion, is that .Com’s will always be the most coveted domain extension and will just continue to be harder and harder to come by. The buying and selling of domain names, while maybe never as crazy as the late 90s, will only continue to rise as quality domain names become more scarce. New domain extensions will not alleviate the issue either as the domains with the most authority will be .Com’s followed by .Net’s.
Do Domain Names Help With SEO?
As far back as 2011 Google’s Matt Cutts was already discussing how Google planned on lowering the importance of keyword rich domains. He advised focussing more on a name that is brandable and memorable such as Twitter, Yahoo, Flippa and other great online brands. Since then, most believe that Google places little to no value to keywords in domains.
This isn’t to say that keyword rich domain names are useless though. Often times a good brandable domain name might also happen to have keywords in it. One thing that I think Matt Cutts fails to realize is that mostly everyone trying to run an online business doesn’t typically have hopes or expectations of being the next Google, Yahoo or even Flippa. They just want to carve out a respectable niche for themselves. For 99% of online businesses, creating a recognizable online brand can be more expensive than they can afford. Also, horribly time-consuming.
In my opinion, while maybe not helping with SEO the way they used to, keywords in your domain are going to help you new visitors know immediately what your site is about. On top, possibly even evoke some trust in them. If they are new, an odd named branded domain will not help them in any way. There is a great case study on Flippa.com about the domain name www.stockphoto.com that I think illustrates my point even further.
So, in my opinion, if you can find a way to combine a brandable name with keywords that explain what your site is about, while still following the other domain name best practices here, you’ve found a win-win situation.
Try To Keep It To As Few Words As Possible
Yes, it is true that finding a one-word domain these days is nearly impossible. Two-word domains are incredibly tough (if not impossible as well). But you don’t, nor shouldn’t, resort to an incredibly long 4-5 word domain.
Think about the last section, are long domain names brandable or are the brandable domain names typically shorter? Look at WebeezHive.com for example, it’s getting a touch long, but still well within my realm of acceptable length.
My suggestion is to try as hard as you can for a two-word domain or a three-word domain with relatively short words. Try to stay away from four or five-word domains. Stick to the advice that shorter is better.
.Com .Net .Biz Or One of The Hundreds Of New Domain Extensions?
If you’ve swung by Godaddy or any of the other registrars before, you’ve probably noticed that they are promoting 100′s of new domains to go along with the old .Com, .Net and so on such as .Photography, .Estate, .Contractors or whatever. You can register the name www.Painter.Contractor if you wanted to. But Should You?
Even with all of the new domains being released, nothing is going to change. .Com’s are still and always will be the top dog as far as authority is concerned. When you are registering your domain, do your absolute best to register a .com. A quality second choice is to register a .Net, but a .net is going to be a bit harder to brand and if you really want people to remember your website, you will have to make sure that the .net is very prominent in all of your marketing. .Com’s are ingrained in people’s heads for all web addresses and that can be hard to change.
Unless you are government (.gov), education (.edu) or a non-profit (.org), then stick to the main two of .com and .net. 99% of internet surfers aren’t even going to be aware that these other domain names exist and they will only serve to confuse them and once accepted, they will be associated with cheaper, less trustworthy sites.
Is There A Chance You May Ever Sell Your Blog?
It can be tempting to brand your blog with a domain name that is personal to you. Maybe it includes your name, a spouse or a reference to your family (all very common in mom blogs). These are all absolutely fine things to do, unless selling may someday be in your future.
An over personalized domain name can make re-branding for a new owner a much more difficult task and thus take away value and sellability (is that a word?) of your blog.
How Long Should Your Register Your Name For?
When you register at any domain registrar, you will notice that they recommend you register your domain as long as possible, and there is a good reason for this. Google sees domains that are registered for shorter periods of time as higher risk domains, they could possibly be spam sites or gone within a few months.
Personally, the way I register domains is I will register them for one year to start with. Sometimes I grab a domain on a whim and think I am going to build the best blog or site ever. However, as time passes, I think of a better domain or I realize I’m just not interested in the topic. If I registered the name for 2-5 years, then I just wasted $25-$75. If within that first year I launch the site, then I go back to my registrar and renew for 2+ years and set to auto-renew.
4 Last Tips
- Don’t use numbers in your domain name. People don’t know if they should type the digit or spell out the word.
- Research your chosen domain before purchase – make sure it wasn’t used for any spam or black hat activity in the past.
- Don’t register a name that is only 1 or 2 letters off from a popular website. It will only confuse.
- Set your domain to auto-renew!