Picking a Domain Name for Your Blog

I don’t recommend the use of Blogger.com for blogs you intend use to make money.

The reason is that blogging is more than just writing interesting posts. You’re going to do a lot of work building backlinks to your blog. If you eventually outgrow Blogger.com and want to move to your own domain name, you’ve lost all those backlinks and have to start from scratch.

So if making money is your goal, start with your own domain name. You can get your own domain name with free hosting (see my JustFree.com series on making your own website for free), or you can go with paid hosting (my favorite paid host is Site5, their $5 a month deal gives you enough space and bandwidth to run several websites).

Having your own domain name helps in two ways.

Branding Your Blog

Branding your blog is the process of making its name recognizable, and considered as a resource for your niche. A domain name for branding purposes doesn’t have to have anything to do with the topic of the website. Consider how Amazon.com has become a household name for an online bookstore, or Google.com is synonymous with search engines.

Branding makes it easy for people to tell others about your blog (“Hey, have you heard about FruFru.com?”).

Search Engine Optimization

Search engines, unromantic that they are, consider a website to be relevant to a keyword if the keyword appears in the domain name. The effect is not huge, and can be overcome if your domain name has nothing to do with the topic of your website. But if you’re starting a site from scratch, consider if using your site’s primary keywords in your domain name is a good idea.

For example, if you’re starting a blog about car repairs that can be done at home, you could use FixMyCar.com and get a relevancy boost for people typing in “how do I fix my car”. Yet it’s still a brandable name, if not as obscure as Amazon.com.

Don’t worry too much if you can’t get the exact keyword domain name you want. Like I said, you can overcome the small relevancy hit you’ll get by not having keywords in your domain name. Search engine optimization is mostly about backlinks and anchor text, with domain names playing a smaller part.

For this blog, I wanted a domain name that was brandable and yet would also be meaningful for the topic of making money online. Online Opportunity seemed like a good choice. The .com wasn’t available, and I wasn’t willing to pay a premium for it, so I went with the .org.

If you have a blog already, how did you pick your domain name?

21 Replies to “Picking a Domain Name for Your Blog”

  1. Hi Lori, domain forwarding allows you to build links to the domain names, so that if you switch to paid hosting on one of those names later, you won’t lose the backlinks. Provided you’re building links to the domain names, and not directly to your Blogger blog.

  2. I’ve got DoFollow turned on, so some comments pointed to your domain name instead of Blogger will get you started, if you decide you want to switch. Most people who’ve linked to you will probably be willing to switch their links, too, if you ask them.

  3. Hi Vic! Yes, as long as you’re building links to your own domain name, using Blogger is great. They do have some nice tools, especially now that adding widgets is easier.

  4. Two months ago, when I started my blog, I wanted to register a domain name. I brainstormed over 150 names before approaching the domain register window. For half an hour, I typed in names. Everything .com was already registered.

    In frustration that ‘all the good names are taken’, I grumbled to my husband, “This is about as easy as Juggling Frogs.” As a joke, I typed “Juggling Frogs” in the domain register’s window. Et voila! The rest is history.

    By the way, I wonder if it is such a problem using Blogger (as I am) now that they have hosted domain names. If I always link to the domain name (www.JugglingFrogs.com or blog.JugglingFrogs.com) in my comments and elsewhere, does it matter that the blog is still at Blogger?

    Once their hosting was set up through a CNAME alias, all the posts show up at blog.jugglingfrogs.com, not jugglingfrogs.blogspot.com. Doesn’t this avoid the problems described in this post?

  5. Yes, linking to your own domain name avoids the difficulties with Blogger, and is a great idea. By the way, Juggling Frogs is a great name for branding purposes. With pretty much all the good keyword specific names taken, brandable names are the way to go.

  6. Thank you!

    I have an easier time of it, because I’m not blogging for profit. I still want to optimize the experience for readers, and to get readership. (Which is why I read the meta-blogging sites.)

    I haven’t even figured out what my keywords or niche is. I guess I’m my own keyword (that sounds like it should be sung to the tune of “I’m my own Grandpa”) and my niche is whatever I just posted.

    I’m still working on answering the question, “What is your blog about?”

    The good thing about a ‘brandable name’ (even for the money-seeking blogs) is that it can be flexible enough to handle a change in focus. Keyword names tie a site down. They are also easily lost in a crowd. As a user, I often get confused between similarly named sites. (Or same names with different hyphening schemes…)

  7. After messing up my blog at Gaje Master Blogging, I decieded to go with my own domain name and a different host. I am having a little bit of trouble though. I was wondering how I can get all of my information from my old blog onto the one with the domain name and I was wondering how I can get it to say Gajemaster.com instead of the gajemaster.justfree.com ? My domain name is gajemaster.com but I need to know how to switch everything. Can you point me to the right direction or give me a link that will show me how to do it?

  8. Hi Rosa, if your blog is still hosted at JustFree.com, go into the Account Settings area. You’ll see a section labeled “Extra Domain”. Put your new domain name into that box, and then go to where you registered your domain and have them point the nameservers for your domain to what’s listed in JustFree.com (currently ns1.justfree.com and ns2.justfree.com). It’ll take anywhere up to a few days to work, but after that your domain name should point to your JustFree.com blog.

    On the other hand, if you’re switching from JustFree.com to another webhost, WordPress itself has an Import option under the Manage section in the dashboard that will copy all the content from your old blog to your new blog.

  9. I chose to go to another server and I was wondering what I need to do after I import all of the post from my old blog to my new one? Should I close down the account with justfree? I was also wondering if I would loose all of the linkbacks that I got from my old blog at justfree?

  10. If you’re leaving JustFree, then you will lose the backlinks. Instead of closing the account down, you could leave one last post that directs people to the new site.

  11. Just make sure to get all future backlinks to your domain name. That way if you need to switch later, you won’t lose any of the backlinks you get from here on.

  12. You can be proud of me Jay, I finally did something on my own. Even thoguh it took me all night to do it and it is almost three in the morning. I got everything set up to where gajemaster.com works and I no longer have to type in /blog after it.

    I wanted to tell you how I fixed this incase you have anyone who runs across this problem.

    It can be easily fixed by saving the index.html file as index.htm I don’t know why this worked but it did. i got this answer from Yahoo Answers. The cool part is that it even fixed my email address for me. It is funny that one letter made such a big difference. lol.

    I will be yelling at you later when I run into another problem. Thanks for everything.

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