Name your blog before reading anything. Go ahead and do it right now! No, no, no…hold on, let’s not do it that way. Some of the readers might be able to come up with the perfect name on the spot. Others will struggle with it for a long time and there is no right time to brainstorm. There is no expected time to come up with the perfect domain that all your readers will want to remember and visit.
When I put myself into the brainstorming mode it doesn’t take long to travel down the path of the perfect name. Some of us think while taking a walk, or at a party with friends, and maybe even the shower. Surely, if you can sing in there you can also brainstorm a bit too, right?
I just used my name on this blog. Almost no thought process needed for this website. That couldn’t be too hard right for others, could it? Wrong! By luck, I was the first Adam Mulholland to register this domain before the other 100+ Adam Mulhollands could. One night in 2008 I was searching GoDaddy and thought I should check my name, and this domain was available for purchase. I bet if I didn’t buy this at that time that another Adam would have very soon after. Then again…it’s tough to spell Mulholland so it’s a risk I took.
Have you considered searching just your name like I did? Google your name.com and see if it is available. If this is your personal blog then register the .com and call it a day. Last year, I was trying to get the domain name of my oldest daughter but there was already another young lady using that domain. I waited and just a couple weeks ago I check and it was open so I snapped it up with blinking an eye.
One of the biggest take-aways on this topic of yourname.com is that you must own the .com version of it. Please don’t buy the .co, .me, or even the .net. You must own the .com otherwise it’s mostly useless (to a degree) because you will most likely be sending the traffic to someone else. Once you own the .com version you can buy any other extension you want because they are not as valued so I normally don’t. Could bite you in the ass, but that is part of the journey.
Naming It Right
Believe it or not there are many thoughts that race through my head when it’s time to find the perfect domain name. I have bought well over 1,000 domain names in the past 15 years and there was a lot of losers and some winners. You could say that I have some trial and error in doing this and I want to share the successes that I have but more importantly the lessons I learned. I am about to give you a few questions to think about or write down as part of your brainstorming sessions.
Please, do not go to a name registrar like GoDaddy, NameCheap or anyone else and see if your thought.com is available. I have a conspiracy theory that if I go to GoDaddy (just the one I happen to use) and start searching for that thought.com, their algorithm will note that someone has interest in that domain name. I am sure that the system will mark it as a premium domain if you don’t buy it on that search and from that point on you are paying top dollar because you showed your interest. Never risk it until you have the money and are ready to buy when you step up to that search bar.
Again, that is not a proven fact…yet. One day I will figure out how they decide what is available for $8.29 and what is available for $3,000. If you know the secret about this please feel free to spill the beans in the comments. After knowing how this is done I could finally bury this thought and find another conspiracy to grasp onto. There are plenty out there as Captain Disillusion has taught me on YouTube.
Questions to Ask
Moving on, these are the questions that I ask myself before jumping into a purchasing event. Take these and expand on them. Use them to build your portfolio and cement your name in history. Here are some questions just off the top of my head:
- What is the blog/site about?
- Is this a hobby or business?
- Who is your demographic?
- What are the goals?
You might think those are obvious and easy questions to answer but they aren’t always. Knowing the topics you want to cover, and for who, are important because it can absolutely drive the end result. The demographics could easily make you choose a professional domain name or a funny one and anything in between. There is a lot at play with domain names such as numbers, hyphens, and even different spellings or misspellings. If you really just want to find your own name and keep your blog personal to you then here are some ways you can go about it.
- first last .com (adammulholland.com) 10/10
- first letter first name, last name .com (amulholland.com) 3/10
- firstname .com (adam.com) 11/10
- lastname .com (mulholland.com) 7/10
- first name middle and last name initials .com (louisck.com) 8/10
I could write 20+ variations but I hope the missing and changing gives some guidance in your hunt. If you are not looking for your name as a domain name and plan on starting a hobby or business then the same rules can be used. Don’t stop into you got it and you know it’s just right. If you are not sure about it sounding right then ask someone you trust to give you feedback. Make sure this is someone you really trust otherwise after you are done asking they will probably head over to the registrar and purchase it for themselves. This really happens so measure your risks.
Personal & Professional Naming Thoughts
All of the tools and ideas that I mentioned above can certainly apply to any type of entity. Whether you are a 501(c) charity, small business, an Etsy seller, or just a dude like me that likes to write, it just takes the first step to walk the road. I have bought all kinds of domain names and it was well worth the time and brainstorming session that I pushed through.
When going the professional route there might be a few other items you might want to keep in mind. The little things like the words you use in the domain name for SEO purposes. In other words, if you are selling widgets online and want to be the #1 result in Google search for widgets you have to get widget.com or as close to it as possible. If you have a domain name that doesn’t have the word widget in it then that is a -1 point against Google’s decision to rank you among many other like-sites. While there is very little facts from Google to point that makes this true, it has been a well practiced decision over the years.
Another item to remember as a business is making sure that your domain name is on your business card and everywhere else, that it is short and memorable, as well as named in a way that people can type it quickly to get to you. People have to be able to think about that 1 or 2 words.com to get to your site quick and brand it into their mind. Believe it or not, people will share the easier domain name with friends when they are looking for a service like yours. This is what I refer to as making it as frictionless as possible for your customer or user.
Oh & Before Getting That LLC
I really hope this hasn’t happened to you, but did you get the domain name after finishing your LLC registration with the state just to find out someone owns yourbusiness.com? I hope not but you can certainly get some things wrong. I made this careless mistake in 2016 when I was getting the EIN from the IRS for my company. I thought it would be cool to call the company The Mulholland Group. As soon as I got the number I went looking for a domain like TMG.com and other versions. As you can imagine it was an instant facepalm. Why would a 3 LLL.com be available? I had to wait the 24 hours until I could get a new EIN and I haven’t shared this until right now with anyone.
So before you do anything else, solo or with partners, please secure the name of whatever you are building from the registrar first. I mindlessly got lost in the excitement of building a new company that this simple step was overlooked and thankfully it was only at the IRS level. I didn’t get far enough to start sweating bullets thankfully.
I just want you to go slow and get it right the first time. Get that solid name that is easy to remember as well as buying it before doing anything else.
Thanks for giving this a read and hopefully this helps you step into the online world in a positive direction. This type of thing is what I enjoy writing about so you can benefit from my experience. As with all of my content, this is a conversation and one I want to have in the comments below. I want to hear what you think about this and add your own story so others can hear more than just my voice. Plus it would be nice to know I am not the only one that makes mistakes.