There’s an old saying in horse racing that the top racehorses all have great names. Even if you don’t follow horse racing, you’ve heard of Man O’War, Secretariat, American Pharoah, and now Justify. The Jockey Club, the governing body of racing, does not permit name duplication.
The same is true of domain names. No two websites can share the same domain name or the URL that goes with it.
Not sure what a domain name is? It’s the name of your blog site, which is reflected in a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or protocol for specifying addresses on the Internet. Your URL is your Web address, like https://www.howtoblogabook.com, and it contains your domain name.
A friend of mine once had a racehorse named Ack Ack a Buzz, a nice gelding who couldn’t outrun me. Maybe a better name would have helped. This bit of racing superstition holds just as true for domain names.
A good site needs the right name for real success. For best results, your domain name needs to match your brand, and if you can manage a single-word domain name, that’s even better.
Most domain name sites are relatively cheap, but you will pay more for what are considered premium names, just like you’ll pay more for premium racehorses.
Domain Name Considerations
When you’re trying to come up with a domain name, avoid odd spellings, hyphens or symbols substituting for letters, and find a name that’s easy to pronounce. People tend to avoid sites they can’t pronounce, both because they’re embarrassed and not sure exactly what that brand entails.
When checking out domain names, it’s essential to make sure a name isn’t already trademarked as well. You can check for trademark here.
There’s one more thing: Even if a domain name is available, check to make sure it isn’t someone’s username on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media site. You’ll need that username for your own purposes.
Where to Purchase a Domain Name
You don’t purchase a domain name or URL like you do a racehorse. There’s no need to visit the stable, watch the horse run, get a vet check, and negotiate a price. You just visit one of the many sites that sell URLs—like those listed below, do a search, and hit “buy.” Most offer hosting services and analytics, among other things. So the only thing to consider is price and your needs.
GoDaddy is the father of URL and domain name searches. More than 17 million people have turned to GoDaddy for their domain names, and the site boasts low prices and a vast selection. With your order, you receive tools to forward domains to existing websites, up to 100 subdomains for creating custom web addresses, and up to 100 professional email aliases. GoDaddy’s outstanding tech support is another reason to obtain your domain name from them.
This domain name site sports a moniker explaining the nature of its business. Namecheap advises that when you’re trying to decide on a good domain name, it is crucial to “come up with one that can stand the test of time and that accurately represents you and your website or brand.” To that end, Namecheap offers available domain name searches and will suggest suitable alternative names if the ones you want aren’t available.
DomainTools is another excellent example of naming and branding since it offers not only domain names but a plethora of tools for research and monitoring. Monitoring tools include the brand monitor, which sends an email when a domain matches a keyword. Its domain report gives you all the information it has available about a particular domain in a PDF file.
Obtaining a new domain name is simple with Network Solutions. Once you choose and register the domain names you want, like most other companies that sell domain names, Network Solutions does the rest. The company provides numerous services including hosting, website, development, email, and online marketing.
Finding a Domain Name Owner
If there’s a name you must have, but it isn’t available and doesn’t appear to have gone live on a website, you can contact the owner and see if they are willing to sell. Often people purchase numerous URLs thinking they will use them at some point…and then they don’t.
Visit whoIs.net and find out not only who owns the name but their contact information. WhoIs also lets you search its database for other relevant information, such as the domain’s history and whether any of its pages are Google-listed.
Many companies, including GoDaddy and SnapNames will help you purchase a domain name that has been taken already.
A URL for Your Blogged Book
Don’t forget to purchase a URL for your book as well. And be sure your blogged book site’s domain name corresponds in some way with your book title.
Nina Amir made it simple. The site where she blogged her book was called www.howtoblogabook.com—the site on which you are reading this post. After publication of the book, How to Blog a Book, the site became a place to promote the book as well. Thus, she didn’t need two URLs.
With the purchase of an appropriate domain name for your blog, you can create your website and begin blogging or blogging your book. That means you’re off to the races!
Have you purchased the URL for your domain name? Tell me in a comment below.
About the Author
Jane Meggitt is a former reporter for a major New Jersey newspaper chain. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications, including USA Today, Financial Advisor, LegalZoom, Zack’s and The Motley Fool.You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.