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How to Start a Blog for Fun or Profit – How to Choose a Domain

by Ryan Guina

Congratulations for making it this far in starting your blog. Now you you know which topics to write about and have decided to use a self-hosted blogging platform, you need to choose a domain name. Your domain will be with your site forever and it is a very important factor in the success of your blog. These tips should help you find the perfect domain name for your new blog.

How to choose a good domain name

Your domain is your website’s calling card – it will be one of the first things people recognize and it will be with you for the life of your blog. The difference between a good domain and a poor domain can mean many more repeat visitors. That is why it is so important to get it right the first time!

Qualities of a good domain

A good domain is something that will be relatively short, easy to remember, and more importantly, easy to type. Branding is another factor to consider – popular sites such as Google and Twitter are made up words. If you do this well, you might be on to something. If not, you might find your domain in the next section – poor domain names.

Qualities of a poor domain.

A poor domain may be hard to remember, have complicated words or spellings, be confusing, and may use excessive numbers or dashes in the name. Be careful when using a made up word; while Google and Twitter were mentioned as good examples of made up words that succeeded as brands, there have been thousands of made up words that died a slow, lonely death from lack of visitors.

.Com, .net, .org… What’s the difference?

In the hierarchy of the web, .com extensions are the most common and most favored, followed by .org, .net, other country codes (.co.uk, .ca, etc.) then other extensions. Always try for the .com first, then if it is not available, try for the .org, or .net. Try to avoid the .info extension, as many of these are used by spammy websites and infomarketers.

Where and how to purchase a domain

I purchase my domains from GoDaddy because they are easy to use and usually among the cheapest options (but not always). I have also used Register.com to register domains.

Search for domain names here:

GoDaddy and Register.com also offer hosting packages, which you will need to get your site up and running. Another option for registering domains is through your webshost, but many people prefer to keep their domains separate from their host. If you don’t mind having your domain and host in the same place, stand by for the next installment, in which I will discuss LunarPages, which offers a free domain with the purchase of a 1 year hosting package – that might save you a few bucks!

Use GoDaddy coupon codes. I always use GoDaddy coupon codes when I purchase domains. I have saved hundreds of dollars over the last two years just by adding a GoDaddy promo code before I submit my purchase.

Brainstorm and try different options. When you visit GoDaddy you will see a box to input your desired domain name. Enter it and click the submit button and GoDaddy will check your desired name against all registered domains. You may find your first choice is taken – if so, keep trying variations or other domains until you find what you are looking for. When you find your desired domain name, go to the checkout, and don’t forget to use your GoDaddy promo code before you purchase it!

Next up – Hosting!

Now that you have your blog topic and domain, we will need to discuss hosting options. For most people a shared hosting package will be the best option. Stay tuned!


Published or updated June 29, 2010.
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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 PRIMUS1

As many of you entrepreneurs already know, the first step to embarking on starting a business is choosing a name for your business. After this is complete, it is just as crucial if not MORE important to find an appropriate URL and hosting.

Lucky for you, there is a great company called GoDaddy. They not only sell URL’s but they also offer internet hosting. Ontop of great service, they offer great deals and promotions.

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2 Kyle

In fact, there’s been talk that Google explicitly penalizes .info domains for being “spammy.” That is, you’re guilty until proven innocent as far as they’re concerned. I don’t own any .info domains but I’ve seen quite a bit of talk surrounding this subject, so I’m guessing there’s something to it.

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3 Ryan

Kristy: Some people have had problems having their domains at their host when they tried to move their site to another host down the road (trouble as in the host wouldn’t allow the domain to be transferred, host would renew the domain, and other such problems). These problems aren’t common anymore, but some peopel just prefer to keep their hosting and domain management separate.

Domains have an annual registration fee. Some hosts such as LunarPages cover the fee for new customers – it’s like a coupon to bring in new people. After your first commitment is up, you may have to pay for it on your own. Domains cost $9.99 through LunarPages, but are usually a couple dollars cheaper through GoDaddy.

I have several .org domains. Anyone can purchase one – there are no special requirements.

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4 Kristy @ Master Your Card

Just a quick note, if I’m not mistaken, .org extensions are generally reserved for nonprofits, so they may be tough to sell. I could be wrong on that, but I believe that’s what I had read.

Forgive me for my ignorance here, but what’s the advantage of having your domain separate from your web host? Why pay money for a domain if you get one free with your host for a year? Is there an annual fee for the domain through a host? What about separately?

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5 Kristy @ Master Your Card

Sorry, in the previous post about .org extensions, I meant to say they may be tough to obtain. Don’t know why I put “sell” there.

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6 Primus1

Kristy,

I do not think that .orgs are reserved for only organizations… I could be wrong but why would you be able to purchase them prior to checkout when purchasing a .com?

Anyone?

Primus1

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7 Ryan

Primus1: Anyone can purchase .org domains – I own a couple. :)

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8 Primus1

Thanks Ryan,

That is what I thought but just wanted to make sure. Man, so this is a little off topic but last night I purchased another domain from GoDaddy because I found those coupons I listed above…and it wasn’t hooked to the server for some reason…

Long story short, I woke up this morning to them calling me! I have never had a company do that or even heard of a company do that..

I like GoDaddy THAT much more now.. ha

PRIMUS1

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9 Ann

Hello,

I want to start a blog and build it to a point where I can make a profit. I am going to buy a domain name, but what is the next step after getting the domain name???

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10 Ryan

Ann, once you have your domain name you will need to buy a hosting plan. I have a little more information about that in this article: Hosted vs. Self-Hosted blogs, and more about how to choosing a web host. I recommend starting with a host such as LunarPages or Blue Host, which both offer inexpensive and easy to use hosting plans. Best of luck!

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