What is a Domain Name? A Domain Name is the name of your blog, like the name of your house – it’s where you live on the Internet. The Domain Name for this blog is My Second Million. If it’s your intention is to make money with your website, you need to choose a good ‘marketable’ Domain name. This requires research. In particular, you need to do Keyword Research. Keyword research is all about marketing, and is too big a subject to explain in detail here – so, more about that in future posts. Now, lets get down to the business of what you need to know in order to actually buy a Domain Name.
How to Choose a Domain Name
In order to choose, and then buy, your domain name, the Domain Name has to be available for you to buy. You’ll probably find that other people have already claimed many of the good and highly marketable, domain names in the topic area you want to target. That’s because millions of other people have already done exactly what you are doing right now – looking for a catchy, clever title for the sort of blog you want to start up for yourself. You can’t change that. But don’t be discouraged – you just have to be creative!
And you never know, you might find that you’ve managed to come up with a fabulous name that no-one is currently using – it’s just sitting there, waiting for you to pounce on, and claim it as your own!
How to Find Out If a Domain Name is Available
There are many websites with search engines that will search the databases and tell you if any name is available to be bought or not. I usually use Network Solutions.com because you can enter up to 10 names per search, and you can download your search results if you want. It’s fun. But don’t spend weeks and weeks doing endless Domain name searches – we need to focus, right?
Do Some Brain Storming
Write, or type out, a long list of all the interesting, catchy and attention-getting names you can possibly think of, that are directly related to whatever your blog will be about. Save your list in some form, and then add to it whenever you think of a cool new name. You can type it out on your computer, or jot down ideas on the backs of envelopes – it doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it – make a record of all your ideas before you forget them.
Don’t worry if they sound silly, or you think “Someone must have already thought of that one” – just get all your ideas down in whatever format you like. Then, when you don’t feel like ‘working’ on your blog, or you are half watching the TV, start plugging your names into the Domain name search box and see if you can strike gold.
I personally use a color code to edit my list of names, so I can always know the result of my past searches. I use blue for ‘available as a .com’ name. Orange for ‘available as a .net’ name only, and ‘strike through’ or italics for a ‘not available at all’ name. All those names on my list that are still un-formatted, I know I haven’t checked yet.
Choose a .COM Name If You Can
All currently active Domain names of all websites and blogs are recorded in a huge database by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). When you check to see if a Domain Name is available to be bought, the search engine that you use, say at Network Solutions, checks to see if that name is already listed as ‘actively in use’ in the ICANN database, or whether it is currently unclaimed, and is therefore, available to be bought by you.
Domain names are also sub-divided and categorized into different ‘levels’ of name. Each level type has a different ending to their domain name, for example: you can choose to have: name.com, name.net, or name.org, and many others. Or, you can choose to have your domain name ending in your particular country’s code listing, for example, name.uk, or name.au. They are all domain names, but they are not all equal.
The Best Type of Domain Names are Those Ending in .com.
Why? The general public often assumes that a website’s name will end with .com, and if they assume that, and they search for you online using the .com ending, they will find you. But if you have a name that ends in say, .biz, they are unlikely to type that into the address bar when they are searching for you, unless they are already a frequent customer, and know that your internet address ends with .biz, so there’s an increased chance that people will not find you.
Also, if a potential customer sees that your name ends with .biz, and it comes up in their search results next to lots of other similar websites ending in .com, they are likely to assume that you are either a very small business, or an amateur, or that you don’t know much about online marketing.
And we don’t want that, do we? (correct answer: NO!) We may be all of those things, but we don’t want to tell the world about it! These examples above, are some of the reasons why online marketers value a .com domain name above others.
There could be an exception to this general advice
If you are a local retailer, with a store whose customer base is located in a particular country, such as in Australia, you might decide that you want to ‘tell’ people who find you online that you are located locally. That’s when a country coded domain name can be useful. I know, I’ve done it myself. I’ve searched online for something I want to buy, and I want to be able to see the real product in a real shop or store before I buy it. So, I focus my searching on names that have .au at the end of their names – because I know from that, that the store, and the item, aren’t located in America or China. It also means that any importing, or overseas shipping rates, will not be part of the price I have to pay for that item.
Don’t Use Hyphens, Numbers and Funny Spellings in Your Domain Name
Why? Because people will get it wrong when they try to find you on the web, and you will lose valuable traffic. We want to maximize the chance that people will find us when they are looking for answers to a question, not some other blog owner who has researched and bought a Domain Name that is easily remembered and with no chance of being mis-spelt. It’s not necessary, so don’t do it.
In the same way, having numbers in your Domain name just adds an extra risk of losing traffic. Potential customers could have difficulty remembering if they should type out the number with letters, or use the number itself. It’s not necessary, so it’s best to avoid it altogether.
An Example of Why Odd Spellings are Undesirable for Domain Names.
People use the Google search engine because they want to know something, or to find something, and they go online to find the answer. And when they do, we want them to find us. So we have to try to provide the answers to questions that lots of people are asking about. We do that by trying to put ourselves in the shoes of the people who will ask questions that we can answer.
They already have the question in their heads. They might be thinking, “ I wonder how I set up a blog?” So they type something into the search engines along the lines of ‘How to set up a blog’ or similar. If you have a Domain Name like ‘www.eeeaazy-blogz.com’ it might catch their eye (if you’re not buried and out of sight on page 285 of a Google search result), and they might even remember the name, but the next time they try to search for you in particular, or they tell their friends about you, they are highly likely to mis-spell your name and fail to find you.
BTW: I just checked. www.eeeaazy-blogz.com is available! There you go! No one wants it.
However, I saw that the possibly more marketable www.eazyblogz.com is already taken, and only the .net and .co versions of that Domain Name are available to be bought. Now I’m going to have to go and check out that website….back soon, and I’ll report on my findings.
OK. That address looks as if it’s an Italian blog portal with some new starter blogs hosted on it, so it’s of no interest to us. Maybe in Italian, ‘easy’ and ‘blogs’ are commonly spelled that way – it’s possible.
Note to Self: Stay Focused! – Quite right. Will do.
How to Buy a Domain Name
This is very easy to do, in theory. You choose your preferred and available Domain name, click on the Buy Now button and give them your details. Easy – right?
Yes….but! It will probably feel like a very big commitment. This is the very first real step you will take in building your online empire, and that is a real milestone in your online life. My message to you is this:
Even the Longest Journey Starts With Just One Step
I know it feels like a big commitment, and in a way it is – but at this early buying stage, you have only committed to the buying one domain name – and they are as cheap as chips. Perhaps there are 2 or 3, or more names, that would all be good, and you can’t decide which you should buy? Easy! You buy them all, of course!
Buying a few domain names, is like buying a deck of cards. Buying the deck is cheap and easy, but that is what gives you some cards to play with. You can choose which of those cards you want to play, and when, later on. Of course, you might think you have bought an ace, and that you don’t need to buy any other cards, and that is fine too.
One Domain name costs around $10-$15 per year. That’s $1.25 each per month, or 28 cents a week. Also, if you find you don’t want to renew a couple of them when the year runs out, you just let them lapse, and the name goes back into the ‘pool of available domain names’ database.
Go On! Just do it!
When I made my first Domain name purchase, I bought 7 names in 3 different general topic areas. I had done a lot of brainstorming, keyword research and business model planning, and had narrowed my Domain name options down to about 10. Then I bought what I thought were most likely to be the best ones out of that 10. But I still hadn’t committed to the bigger decision – the step of choosing, which exact ones I would work with, and spend my time developing.
Make no mistake – choosing the right name is important – and you have to feel happy with the name, but it’s not the most important thing. It’s what you do after you’ve bought your name which matters most. This initial researching, planning and choosing, is an important step because it’s also part of the necessary task of working out, and focusing, on exactly what sort of blog and business you intend to run. But the act of actually buying the name, or names, is much less of a big deal – but it is still a major achievement! But you can always fine-tune your final choice of the specific domain name you actually use, later on, as you find out more about how to market, and start to set up your blog.
Right now, you should be choosing a Domain Name, and then buying one – or two. Go on! Just do It!…….Cue Motto!
Plan Well. Start Small. Think BIG!