This is part 3 of the series: Your blog’s domain name
Should my domain name be the same as my website/blog name?
- Yes! People tend to think of websites by their name. What if they type your site name into the address bar and it doesn’t come up – or they end up at a different site altogether?
What kind of TLD (top level domain) should I use?
- It used to be that the various TLD endings meant specific things, and people really followed those meanings: .com = commercial; .co = companies; .org = organizations; .net = networks and so on. There are also specific country TLD’s, for example .uk = United Kingdom; .ca = Canada (though they usually cost more). But now people often don’t follow the old TLD “rules” that much. Many people try for a .com TLD because it’s the ending everyone thinks of, and often automatically type in. Another popular TLD is .net. However, there are some times when a specific ending is important – we’ll discuss that below.
- Some bloggers get creative with their endings, and use endings to complete a keyword that reflects the site focus in some way. Just remember that you have to go with TLD endings that are available. Google search “domain names” and you’ll get lots of ideas and find out what is available.
- If your site aims specifically at a particular geographical area or country, you may well want to use the TLD for your region. But if you plan to expand later, you may be wise to also register other TLD endings that you will want to use when you expand. If you wait to do so, those TLDs may no longer be available.
Can I use any name I choose?
- By 2010, there were about 196 million active domains in use. Remember that your domain name includes the various parts — www … .com … yourname … etc. But each unique combination of parts can only be used once. When you have chosen a name you like, you must use web-based search features or tools like WHOIS, to find out if your choice of name is available. If it is not, many of these tools will suggest similar names that are available.
- To find out what names are available, you can search “domain name search” and then go to a reliable company that provides these services.
What if I cannot get the domain name I want?
- If you have a brand name by which you are already well known, or you have settled on a name you “just gotta have,” there are some possible ways to get that domain name, if it is already taken. You could try to buy the domain name from the current owner – information about the owner is available through “whois.” But they’ll probably charge you a hefty sum – if they are willing to sell it at all.
- You could also check to see if the name is available with a different TLD – if so, you’ll want to choose one that is well-known, or works together with your name in a catchy way people will be able to remember.
- You could also go for a slight change in spelling, or add a number or dash – but those kinds of complications often come back to haunt you. You may actually be better off to come up with something new, unique, and memorable.
Question of the day: What kinds of problems have you run into while trying to decide on a domain name?
Tip of the day: If you have a domain name you really, really want to use, and it is available right now, but you aren’t ready to start your site quite yet, you should reserve/ purchase the name now, as it could be gone by the time you get your site started.
Put it into action: Check the top name options on the list of domain names you are considering, to see if they are available. If they aren’t, can you make adjustments that will work (ie change in TLD, or a different order of words, or ??). Will those adjustments work well? Or should you consider a different name instead?