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 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.

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.

.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 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. πŸ˜‰

P.S. For more branding tips go here.


  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 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 and the .com versions but they always aren’t available.

    • Hi Neil,
      what do you think of for a Website building company
      the theme is obviously relating to Charlottes Web which Charlotte builds a good picture of Wilbur the pig and saves his life
      I want to build websites for sole traders and tradesmen

  2. Gerard McGarry :

    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?

    • Sh.. Jesus, talking about a misspelling and calling you “Niel”?! Sorry, Neil. I’m not a native English speaker.

  4. Dan Schawbel :

    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. Mark Mathson :


    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… πŸ˜‰

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

    finally I’ve registered 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. Hamlet Batista :

    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. Bill Hartzer :

    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….. 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 πŸ™‚

  11. Community Building Blog :

    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 (e.g.

    • 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. Stelian Firez :

    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,, or

    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. Mark Mathson :


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

    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, 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, 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 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.

    • At the end of the day, branding is what will really make the difference, regardless of what your domain is.

  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.

    • That’s probably the million dollar question… just think about what interests you the most and take it from there.

  20. Textbook Rental :

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

  21. Zoo World Cheats :

    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 πŸ˜€

  22. The Domain Naming Dude :

    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 and 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:

  23. Increase My Score :

    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 :


    but should i buy MyDomain.Net as well??

    • Depends on the traffic flowing into your other site. If you feel it’s substantial then go ahead and buy the .net account too.

  25. fitness terem :

    If you have a name, that’s long and difficult enough, you won’t have problem in buying that domain name. πŸ™‚

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

  27. shapes for kids :

    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. Executive Programs :

    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. frozen.lemon4 :

    Its good to know all about this.Thanks.

  31. attorneydavid :

    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.

  32. age reviver with ginkgo biloba :

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post. Many thanks for providing this info.

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  34. Although its old but still useful πŸ™‚

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  36. Very quickly this website will be famous amid all blogging viewers, due to it’s nice posts

  37. Mohamed Elfeky :

    You are the boss really after registered domain name with keyword research it is at first page without seo or content

  38. We are now in the age of the 2 word brandable domain name. Since EMD is irrelevant a great brandable can include a niche keyword and a strong natural keyword –

    For example – KingLoans or LoanKing

    Both good names, target the financial market niche for lending and are memorable. FOr me the LoanKing is the stronger and more natural of the two.

  39. Hi Neil,

    I want to start a blog on self improvement stuff on topics like practicing positive thoughts, goal setting, building better self image etc (mindset stuff).

    My plan at the later stage is to sell info products, and coaching sessions through this blog.

    So was wondering should I use my own name as domain name i.e. or I would be better of using something that reflects what the blog is about like

    • I think creating a brand like mindhacks would do better. Then you can work on you building your personal brand as you build your blog out and it gets more traction.

  40. Okay so I will get a brand doman like mindhacks, but I am not sure what you meant by “Then you can work on you building your personal brand as you build your blog out and it gets more traction”.

    Did you mean once my blog Mindhacks is successful then I should start another blog by the name

  41. Searching a really good domain name is an art & science. We can analyse the way by which good domain names are formed. An interesting way to search new domain names is by dissecting already existing good domain name.

    • I agree with you. A domain name is the name of your brand, and you intention would be to have that live on forever, so choose something you can get married to.

  42. Anoop chawla :

    Hey Neil,

    While researching I found some experts suggest that it is better to go into a sub niche than the main niche.

    So instead of starting a blog in self imp niche like mindhacks that talks about everything, would it be better to focus on a particular topic in self imp like

    I have also researched a lot about getting happy myself, and I have come across various methods and teachings to become a happier person myself.

    As I know from experience material things only make you happy for a while, it’s knowing yourself that gives you lasting happiness.

    What I don’t know is that will it be a good idea in terms of money?

    I am a marketer so I know to make a good income from a blog I need to have funnel of products, I just don’t know whether it can be done in the niche I am talking about.

    • Happiness is a state of being, so you selling happiness could be done in a creative way. Think about a problem people have in your sub niche that makes people unhappy. Create a solution that makes them happy, and blog/market products and services that will help them get there.

  43. Anoop chawla :

    For me the reasons I was unhappy were:
    1. Uncontrollable negative thoughts.
    2. Inability to set smart goals and follow through.
    3. Not knowing my true passion and working just for the sake of money.
    4. Setting a small goal and hit it.
    5. Worrying too much about what other people think of me.
    6. Not treating myself with love and always being dependent on others to do things for me that make me feel loved.
    7. Negative self talk
    8. Consciously focusing on negative and ignoring all the positive aspects of my life.

    BTW Would it be easier to start a generic self imp blog like mindhacks and write posts about solutions for above problems and then see what audience is more interested in?

    • Absolutely. Usually the answers lies with the thing you desire the most. The reasons why you feel unhappy are common. The fact that you can acknowledge your why, you are on the way to feel genuine happiness now. Follow your heart and it will lead the way to your true calling.

  44. Ulyses Osuna :

    I got lucky when it came to choosing a domain name. Pretty much everything in the dictionary is taken!

    I have my personal site which is my name ( this will help with my personal brand)

    And then I have my business site (Cartoon Photos) – I started getting more into it when you asked me about the designer. From there I payed the guy to teach me and now he gets commissions.

    An advantage I have with the site is that it could be pretty easy obtaining backlinks. I can just make the photos for a ton of bloggers and hopefully in return they link back to where they received the photo.

  45. GamblingDomains :

    It is possible to score good domains with sites like freshdrop. If you can’t score that great domain then find a clever new word or brand to create.

  46. Best article thanks a lot

  47. one of best article to brand your name

  48. What’s a good domain name for a travel business?

  49. Hi Neil,
    I’ve read lots of your stuff, all great! thank you!

    One question though: you mentioned to pick a domain name with your brand name.
    Would it hurt seo for the site to use initials only?
    For example, American Eagle Outfitters uses

    Thanks for your input!

  50. Great post, nice points put up there.Choosing a domain name can also depend upon associations with the message you are trying to convey.

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