How to Choose a Brandable Domain Name

domain name

If you are looking to start a blog, you probably will want to buy a domain name that is short and memorable. However, why not pick a domain name from a personal branding perspective? The easy way, and probably my favorite method is to buy a domain name that is your real name. Unfortunately, in many cases your name is going to be taken as a .com, .net or even an .org extension. So if you are like me and you are unable to purchase your name here are other options:

Name Association
If you want to be know as an expert in a specific field, why not choose a domain name related to that field? For example, Darren Rowse has a blog at problogger.net and now people see him as a professional blogger (pro blogger). This works well for him because he wanted to brand himself as a professional blogger who blogs for a living and makes six figures a year doing so.

Nicknames
If you have a nick name and wanted to be branded under that nickname then it is probably wise to purchase a domain name that contains your nickname instead of your real name. Even if your real name is available for purchase you may want to consider a nickname if your real name is too long, hard to spell, or hard to remember.

Extensions
.com is the most popular domain extension but choosing a different extension may help you. If you are trying to brand yourself with a specific audience such as individuals in UK why not purchase a .co.uk extension? Alternatively, if you are looking to brand yourself with non-profits you should think about buying a domain with an .org extension.

Personal Touch
If you are trying to create a blog name that helps you brand yourself you need something that appeals to people on a personal level. Something that appeals to all the senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste) usually does the trick. A good example of this is TreeHugger which is Graham Hill’s blog on everything green. I personally don’t read the blog, but I know of it because I heard the name TreeHuger once and felt it related to me on a personal level.

If you already created a blog and your domain name doesn’t help with personal branding it isn’t the end of the world. If you picked a bad name like Quick Sprout you can still do well. ;-)

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Comments

  1. Great post. The methodology behind choosing a domain name is not so obvious for non internet types that want to make the right choice first up for their new blog or website. I am often asked this question (what domain) by new zealanders who want to start their own site but are unsure about whether they need a .com or a .co.nz or both.

    Seems like a simple decision but its not so easy these days.

    • Yea, it definitely isn’t as easy any more. In an ideal world you would be able to register the .co.nz and the .com versions but they always aren’t available.

  2. I was lucky to be able to register the .com of my name, but with other domain names, my wife and I have had to think totally outside the box. Mostly because of how hard it is to get a straightforward domain name these days.

    Having said that, I’m happy with some of the domains we’ve created because they’re both unique and memorable.

  3. Great post, Niel, as always. I’d just like to point out you misspelled TreeHugger. I’m a nit-picker.

    By the way, when it comes to branding, how about a favicon on your page? (I can’t see any.) I think that’s one of those things that make a website stick in your head when done nicely. What do you think?

  4. I think it all depends on what your niche is and the subject you will be speaking about. Then once you have uncovered that, you can choose a brand name to match.

  5. Neil-

    Great post and thanks for taking the time to write it! You have given some good points to think about when selecting a domain/blog name.

    I have gone back and forth much lately in trying to pick a domain name/blog name that I can brand. I have a personal domain name, however, I feel like I could come up with something more unique (and shorter).

    Keep up the good work Neil… ;)

  6. The domain of my name(dilip.com) was registered some 7-8 years ago. I changed my name to Deelip later.And that is also already registered. Finally, nintynine.org does not fall in any of your idea I guess hehe.

    finally I’ve registered profitmakingtips.com may it this one is pretty cool.

  7. Oh, I’m sorry. There is a lot of grammatical mistakes in my last post. I was actually about to sleep, my eyes were nearly closed. So, sorry.

  8. I was lucky I registered my personal name back in 2005. I just started blogging last Friday. One of my posts was linked from the Search Engine Watch blog!

    Thanks Neil for inspiring me to leave the shadows and start sharing.

  9. Thanks for bringing this up, Neil. It’s definitely some good advice–you need a “brandable” domain name. One thing that people don’t realize is that domain names are getting more difficult to come buy nowadays–don’t forget the expired domain name market for your search. There are a lot of domain names that others thought were good–so they bought them. But, in many cases they didn’t really do anything with those domains.

    If someone thought that the domain name was good enough to buy, then they must have seen some sort of value in it; either it is a good, brandable domain name like you’re suggesting or it had some other value to them. There’s lots of places out there where you can find these domains, so don’t limit your search to domains that appear to be only available now.

  10. Hmmmm….. Rotinpieces.com? IDK if im brandable or not but I have only been online for about 3 days with my blog and have already gotten over 300 hits – thanks to Shoe :)

  11. I wanted my blog to be less about me personally, and more about the art of developing online communities.

    That is why I decided against using my name as my domain, but went for something reflective of my blog’s subject matter.

    – Martin Reed

  12. Have you considered registering a .name domain if you want to brand yourself? Your domain name would look like first.last.name (e.g. http://peter.smith.name/)

    • I have not considered it. It could be effective, but I feel that normal people such as my “dad” would not know what a .name extension is. The last thing you want is to create confusion with your target audience.

  13. This is a great post. As for the domain extension i bought myself a .com because the first thing you have i mind when you hear a “www” is dot com.

  14. Joe Davison :

    If you’re serious about very effective and powerful personal branding with your blog, I would have to say that you probably need to look beyond the pool available domain names and start looking towards the aftermarket.

    For less than a couple thousand dollars, you can buy a generic, brandable domain name from a company like BuyDomains.com, Afternic.com, or FabulousDomains.com.

    This really expands your options and increases your credibility in the eyes of your readers. If you’re in it for the long term, and personal branding is your goal, a few thousand dollars to buy a great domain name is not much.

  15. Neil-

    Once again, thanks for your post. It helped me brainstorm more and come up with a domain for my technology site, Keenpath.com.

    For anyone out there looking for a domain name and need help ideas combining, I suggest Dotomator. I found it useful.

  16. I want to create a blog, but I dont know how to add RSS. I haven’t registered the domain yet, but can you tell me how I would go about doing this?

    • Mark Reed-

      Having a blog is an enjoyable experience and will allow you to expand your horizons and opportunities. I’d recommend a few basic things. Register a domain at a registrar such as Namecheap.com, then find a reliable host such as Bluehost, or any you choose, and use WordPress as your blog/content management system.

      If you want to get this all done easier, use a free blog service like wordpress.com, however, consider your plans for down the road. Having your own domain gives you lots of flexibility!

      WordPress serves up RSS feeds right out of the gate, so that is great for you.

      Good luck and let us all know how it goes.

  17. Backlink Liz :

    What ever happened to microsoft expression? I tried it when it first came out but i thought it was to clunky.

  18. Ya, I was thinking along the same lines when I registered damonday.com about 4 years ago. Even though I have only been doing my blog for a few months, I figured it was wise to snag my own name while I had the chance. Sure my name doesn’t describe what I do, but I am looking to build a personal brand around honest and ethical financial advice for consumers struggling with debt. In time, my name may come to mean that to people.

  19. I have been able to get a domain name with my name in it. But i am thinking what to put in that website.

  20. Also from a seo perspective it helps if you name is Keyword rich. Just a suggestion when you are thinking about branding.

  21. I found your site while browsing on google for Zoo World Cheats and saw a few of your other pieces too. I’ve just added you to my yahoo rss Reader. Just wanted to say” keep up the good work” and congrats on a job well done! thumbsup from me :D

  22. Sound advice Neil. People get so caught up in the whole keyword domain name that the forget how many great brandble dot com names are yet to be registered. I just started two blogs recently BeatsDiggingDitches.com and SpamDiary.com. Cool names huh? They are not great names for everybody’s need, but they fit my niche perfectly. And that’s the whole point really. It’s not about keywords, it’s about brand evocative names.

    I wrote about it here: http://the-name-i-wanted-was-already-taken-so-i-used-a-lot-of-dashes.com/the-keyword-domain-trap-avoid-generic-domain-names-pick-something-unique-and-brandable/

  23. Actually one of the challenges which people beginning a new on-line firm face is that of obtaining visitors to their internet site.

  24. Hi i bought a domain last year,which is a common word in many South Asian & Eastern languages, but i spelled it in English :

    MyDomain.Com

    but should i buy MyDomain.Net as well??

  25. If you have a name, that’s long and difficult enough, you won’t have problem in buying that domain name. :)

  26. I think it all depends on what your niche is and the subject you will be speaking about.

  27. I really like the idea of a brand domain but lately i have seen myself giving more importance to SEO on the domain than on how memorable the domain can be. What about the SEO on the domain name, do you think it is important?

  28. This is really a good idea to choose a brand name for your blog..I like it and love this blog.

  29. Cashceejay@ make money online :

    This is so true and very few people knows it. I started a blog without knowing anything on branding and now am suffering for it. But still that does not matter because it is doing too well.

  30. Its good to know all about this.Thanks.

  31. Great points. Name are hard to remember. Goes right up there with owning your own domain instead of using a 2.0 for any halfway serious blogging effort.

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