Domain Registration Tips

Domain Registration Tips From Experience

Just about every serious blogger needs to register a domain at some point. In this post we’ll go over several domain registration tips, including choosing your domain, covering all of the bases and using a top level domain. We’ll get into keywords, branding, plural vs singular, difficult spellings and hyphens.

I have registered a couple hundred domains over the years, for various reasons, and have made just about every mistake in the book. I’d like to help you make the best decisions when registering your domains and avoid the mistakes I’ve had the pleasure to learn from.

What’s Meant By “Registering A Domain”?

We can’t “own” a domain (Website URL) so we register it, which means we get to use that domain for the term it’s registered. It’s much like a rental or lease with the option to renew.

Why Register A Domain

Most serious bloggers end up using a self-hosted blog on their own domain. That’s not to say there aren’t popular Blogspot, WordPress, or Tumblr blogs, there are some very popular blogs on free platforms; even many of those end up registering a domain that redirects to their free hosted blog.

So, just in case I’ve convinced you to register your own domain and you haven’t done so already, I’d like to share a few tips and considerations.

The First Top Level Domain – Dot COM?

Let’s tackle the big one first; does it have to be a dot com? Well, no, but it would be nice. My first domain was a dot net (.net) and it always seemed like an uphill battle. I’ve actually watched people first hand that typed .com while being told .net. Dot com is still the norm for now but not as much as it was a decade ago when I had the .net.

So, in my humble opinion, it’s usually best to register a dot com at all possible. With that said, I wouldn’t let the fact that there wasn’t one available get in the way of my dreams and goals. If your brand isn’t available or too expensive, take the next best thing. What is the next best thing?

There are several options when it comes to choosing a domain. You can always go with a .net or .org if it’s available. A nice alternative for personal brands is .me. A blog or website featuring videos would do nice with a .mov

Your DOT COM Isn’t Available? Try This…

If you want a dot com and it’s not available or affordable, consider using a prefix or suffix. Some prefix ideas, to give you an idea, could be things like:

  • Best (BestBikes.com)
  • My (MyFramedPhotos.com)
  • Your (YourAdTracker.com)
  • Top (TopFamousQuotes.com)
  • Hot (HotOffRoadVideos.com)

As for suffixes, adding a short word or two to the tail end of your URL might be an option. Things like:

  • Online (MetroUsedCarsOnline.com)
  • Guide (CarpetCleaningGuide.com)
  • Blog (TopFinanceBlog.com)
  • Tips (HealthyLivingTips.com)
  • Academy (HousePaintingAcademy.com)
  • Explained (CouponTradingEplained.com)
  • Offers (HotHolidayOffers.com)
  • Network (HighSpeedRailNetwork.com)
  • 101 (HorseShoes101.com)

Be Creative… But Not Too Creative

A lot of websites do well with a little creative thinking. For example, look at Scoop.it or bit.ly. There are a ton of examples when it comes to being creative with incorporating the site name with the domain.

We don’t want to get so creative that we make it difficult for people to find us. We’ve all heard of tumblr.com or flickr.com but you have to wonder how many people have typed tumbler.com or flicker.com after hearing about the websites. In  Flickr’s case, they’ve since purchased flicker.com but I imagine the owners of tumbler.com get a lot of traffic for their redirected URL from new internet users.

We see blogs like blogGtips.com hit the scene all of the time and fade off to a quite death shortly after. Being creative to the point of creating a crazy spelling just looks shady and is going to be difficult to build an influential brand with a start like that.

Keywords and Branding

Using your brand or keywords is important when choosing a URL for your blog. We know that Google recently took a stand against exact match domains but that was an attempt to cleanup low quality sites and shouldn’t affect a quality authority site. Using your brand name or a descriptive title within your URL can help insure site visitors know what your site is about before they click. We’re not even talking about SEO here, we’re talking about common sense. BestChevyTrucks.com is a better choice than WhatILikeToDrive.com if our blog is going to be about Chevy trucks.

Easy To Remember

On of my first blogs, years ago, was ExtremeSitePromotions.com. I wish I had thought things through a little better because that domain isn’t that memorable. People would say things like, “What’s that blog you have, Extreme something” or “Extreme what?

Register Every Possible Spelling

One of my domains is CSC4U.com. Back when that was a main site (it’s just parked right now), I registered and parked CSCforU.com, CSC4You.com and Csc4u.com, and CSCforYOU.com. I wanted every possible way to type the domain so virtually any way someone typed it, they would land on my site.

A couple of days ago I was listening to an Entrepreneur On Fire podcast by John Lee Dumas, with Fran Tarkenton. Fran Tarkenton has a very cool website called Small Business Club. The domain they went with is SmallBizClub.com. That’s great but there are a couple of issues I see with that choice. First, at the time of this post, SmallBusinessClub.com is for sale. It may be too expensive for them to spend the money on but ideally, they would use the the full brand name in the domain. Another issue I see is there are two other possibilities when it comes to spelling. For example, since I heard the URL on a podcast, I might have mistakenly typed SmallBisClub.com or SmallBusClub.com into the address bar. In the perfect world, that wouldn’t be an issue because they would simply redirect to SmallBizClub.com.

Avoid Difficult Spellings

I mentioned Entrepreneur On Fire a bit ago; how many people feel confident they can spell Entrepreneur? John is a bright guy so I’m not surprised that he’d already thought of that and setup EOFire.com to redirect to the main site.

Know Your Why

This has to be one of the most important things to understand before you even choose your niche, much less the domain. Let’s go back to ExtremeSitePromotions.com; I wanted to blog on more than promotions , marketing and advertising. Don’t choose a niche or domain that’s going to limit your growth and interests.

Be Ethical

Several years ago I was looking into a new project that involved WordPress. I contacted WordPress and asked permission to use the name “WordPress” in my domain. They responded, politely, that they’d rather I didn’t. Obviously I respected that and didn’t use their brand with my URL or site name. Now we do see websites and blogs often using another brand within their site name and URL. That’s not only ethically questionable but risky because there’s always the potential from that brand coming around to legally take it from them later.

Plural vs singular

Should you go with a plural or singular version if applicable? The answer is both, if possible and if it makes sense. For example, I own MetroUsedAuto.com and that’s a brand name so MetroUsedAutos.com might not make that much sense but it’s not a huge investment to secure it when avalable. If you’re not sure, just ask yourself, “What will people search for to find my brand?”

Avoid Hyphens

Personally, I’d avoid using hyphens within your domain. As a niche blogger I may be a little biased but hyphens just make a URL look spammy or low quality. I use hyphens (dashes) in my blog post permalinks but that’s not what we’re referring to here. Using hyphens because the URL isn’t available without them is a losing battle if there’s already an established site without hyphens.

Numbers Spelled Or Numerical?

So you decide to go with “Here For Dinosaurs”. Should you register the domain HereForDinosaurs.com or Here4Dinosaurs.com. I’m going to have to recommend both again. Personally, I’d use HereForDinosaurs.com and park Here4Dinosaurs.com forwarding to HereForDinosaurs.com. The reason is two-fold. First, when someone hears your URL verbally, such as a radio spot or phone conversation, they could go either way and you want both options to work. Second, you prevent a low life from taking advantage of your oversight and registering the same domain you failed to.

I hope these domain registration tips help but here’s the biggest tip of all;

Take action and register your domain and don’t slow down for a second.

Get the site up and start creating great content as soon as you’ve figured out your why.

Where To Register Your Domains

Domain Registrations from just $3.98/YearIt’s important to use a domain registrar with a great reputation for price and customer service. Real quick, I registered my first domains with Yahoo years ago. I think they were under $10/year but then Yahoo got super greedy and raised their registration fees to $34.95/year. That really adds up when you have over a hundred domains and I spent the next year transferring my domains elsewhere. Yahoo still advertises $9.95/yr but once that discounted term expires, the price goes back to $34.95/year. I’ve tried several domain registrars and now I only use NameCheap($). There are plenty of legitimate places to register your domain but I’m using Namecheap and transferring everything to them as domains near expiration. They seem to be the cheapest legitimate domain registrar that has great customer service and the entire line of tools and resources. I’d be grateful if you’d use my affiliate link($); it won’t cost you a penny more to do so but would mean the World to us. 🙂

Need More? See this detailed tutorial on How To Transfer Your Domains From GoDaddy To NameCheap

Video Link

Branding Tips For Domain Names (Video)

Action Step

If you’re still on the fence when it comes to registering your own domain, take action today($) and don’t let the cost of a fast food lunch hold you back. Before you do though, think things through and use the above domain registration tips to help guide you and your brand. It’s much easier to do it right the first time rather than “fixing” things later. Trust me, I know from experience.

Questions Or Advice?

Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear your tips, stories or advice. Leave a comment below and let use know your domain successes or failures and help others get the most out of their website URL. Question? That would be awesome, we love questions. Leave it all below in the comment’s section below.

Comments


  1. Twitter: toptrends
    Handful tips for registering domain. Thanks bro this is an ultimate guide for all those guys both newbies and pros. First and major hurdle in blogging is registering a domain. I still remember the day when i registered my first domain. I <3 to remember those days. With some limited knowledge i started blogging and with blogging i learnt more. Thanks for sharing this information with us.
    Nithin Upendran recently posted..Top 3 Battery Saver Apps For Android OSMy Profile

  2. a nice idea indeed using words in front of the domain you wanted if it was taken,
    but… if the domain is taken do you really want a unique website with a name who is very close to someone else’s site?
    for example like “myfacebook.com” ?
    all the big brands have the power behind their name because they have a unique name for a unique service don’t you think ?


    • Twitter: HotBlogTips
      Fair point Roy, I actually went to MyFacebook.com and it’s redirecting to Cregslist.com. lol Facebook is a bad example because it is a huge brand and it would be a simple matter to shutdown URLs using their trademarked name. Like I mentioned in the article, I couldn’t use the term “WordPress” within a domain.

      But if you’re brand is already taken, yes, I think it’s worth considering an alternative when it makes sense. This doesn’t mean we take someone else’s brand like Facebook and try to feed off of that.

      • Oh I see what you mean…
        but I do think it works more for general words like your blog
        I mean “Blog Tips” is not a name of anyone and if it is taken then you can add the
        “Hot” at the beginning it is a good idea I guess!


  3. Twitter: madlemmingz
    Hey Ileane,
    Some great stuff in this post. I have also had some major issues over the last years trying to find domain names in a crowded market place. Many of the tricks you mentioned I have used, but the collection of advice here is awesome. Some people make big mistakes on this front, and there really is almost no turning back!
    I gave you some social media love :>
    have a great week
    ashley
    Ashley Faulkes recently posted..45 Best WordPress Plugins (Free & Premium)My Profile

  4. Thanks for writing these amazing tips.
    I remember when I registered my first domain before 3 years, it was also a .net one. I didn’t even searched if .com is available because there was my favorite forum I was visiting which also was a .net so I thought it’s the best kind of domain. Such a ‘newbish’ days xD
    Today I of course always go for a .com one.
    Agreed with you in everything else. Great job
    Regards,
    Josh


  5. Twitter: HostingAtBest
    Wow! That’s an in-depth post on domain registration. I know quite well about the topic but still I picked up a few highly useful tips.

    Registering domains that use numbers for shortening certain words and redirecting them to actual website is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.
    Jane recently posted..How Capable Is Your Web Hosting Company To Cope With Your Needs?My Profile

  6. Jeevan Jacob John says:


    Twitter: DaringBlogger
    Hey Brian,

    I have already registered a domain for my upcoming blog, but I do appreciate your tips 🙂 My main tool was thesaurus; I had an idea of what the domain name should be (something that showcases the experiment part of the blog; I am planning to do a lot of blog experiments :D).

    I was looking for something like blogexperimenter (I wanted something with more energetic – more fizz :D). Finally I settled for Daringblogger (not so much experiments, but I do plan to showcase that in the logo).

    Anyways, thank you for sharing the tips, Brian!

    Hope you had a wonderful weekend!


  7. Twitter: bloggerbulk
    Wow really an awesome tips in domain registration. Thanks to you Brain. Surely .com .net is most preferable and then it should be .org. I love to here and look for a website with .com and .net

    Thanks for sharing these tips. I would surely use these in my next domain registration.
    Tharun recently posted..Redirect Broken Links (404) To New Url or Homepage In BloggerMy Profile

  8. Hello,

    Well the mentioned tips are really helpful and informative and to be honest i haven’t check all these things while registering the domain name.

    I’ll surely follow all these tips whenever i purchase a domain name!

    Cheers!


  9. Twitter: truenomads
    Great tips – I love getting advice from other people’s experiences so I don’t have to make the same mistakes. Thanks for taking the time to share!
    Justin recently posted..Photos to Help you Understand EstoniaMy Profile

  10. Hi Brian,

    I have purchased expired domains from online auction and am planning to build up that for Seo purpose will that help me to gain some ranking rather than registering brand new domain. Let me know.

  11. Lots of great advice, thank you! I really like the list of prefixes and suffixes, they will come in very handy in the future.

    I have heard in the past that the best is to go with a .com or a .org and you say something similar. Why is it an uphill battle to choose something else than .com?

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