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If you’re considering starting a blog, you’re probably doing a lot of research. One of the things you might be researching are domain names.
Thinking of the perfect domain name is important, but not as important as owning that domain name.
You might already have an idea of what you want your blog to be called… or maybe you have no freakin’ clue like I did. I couldn’t come up with a creative name that I truly loved, so I just went with my own name! Which is totally fine, even though I’m not a celebrity or person with even a recognizable name. I chose to name my blog after myself because I want to start building a brand. Like Beyonce, ‘If there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself’.
My best advice is to not overthink it. Yes, your blog name is important- but it is not the MOST important thing. It’s more important to have high value content on your blog that people actually want to read.
If you have great content that people want to read more of, they’re less likely to care about your blog name.
The only exception to this rule is if your blog is going to be super niche. If you’re planning on starting a food blog, your audience needs to know exactly what your blog is about just by it’s name.
A blog that is narrowly focused on one niche is great! But unlike a lifestyle type blog, you need to pick a name that lets people know what your blog is about. A food blog named morganktylka.com is way less likely to gain traction than a food blog with a name that is actually related to food.
The takeaway: if you want to start a lifestyle blog, your options for domain names are more broad. You can go with something cute or creative, or even just your own name. But if you want to start a blog that will be highly niched, you’ll need to think of a name that is relevant to what you’re blogging about.
Here’s what you should do after you’ve thought of the perfect domain name.
You should be prepared to discover that the name you want for your blog/website may be unavailable. The easiest way to find out if your domain name is available is to go to a website like BlueHost or NameCheap and simply search for it using the domain name search function.
If the domain name you want is taken, don’t be discouraged! You should do is go to that website, and have a look around. Sometimes there isn’t even a website set up at all, someone just owns the domain name and wants to sell it to someone who actually wants to use it. (domain name flipping is a real thing, y’all)
If there is a website set up under that domain name, here are a few things you should look for.
Is it the same type of blog you want to start? Does there appear to be a lot of quality content? When is the last time anything was posted on the website?
You need to find out a few things here:
1. Is this website in the same niche as the one you want to start?
2. How popular is it?
3. Are you willing to have the same website as someone else?
If the website is in a completely different niche, that might work in your favor. You definitely don’t want to be competing with someone else in the same niche you plan to enter. If you can, check out the social media accounts linked to the website and find out how popular the site is. If it’s a massive site with a huge fan base, you definitely want to run the other way and think of a totally new name for your blog.
You’re just starting out, so there is no reason to add extra work by trying to compete with a popular blogger with the same name. If you find that the website is a totally different niche, isn’t super popular, and you’re okay with your site being called something very similar then I say go for it.
PURCHASE THE DOMAIN
If you Google ‘domain names for sale’, you will be shown 101,000,000 results. There are a lot of places to buy domain names, and which one you choose is totally up to you. I decided to go with NameCheap for my domains. When I first got started, I was doing a ton of research into which platforms were the best and cheapest, etc… but when it comes down to it, I knew that if I kept trying to read every little piece of information on whether I should use GoDaddy or Namecheap, or BlueHost I would never actually just go and buy the domain and figure out what to do with it from there. So, like I said- I went with NameCheap. I like it because it’s really easy to use, and like the name implies: it’s cheap!
Check out reviews on different sites, look into things like how their customer support is, how user friendly their website is, etc. to get a good idea of which site is a good fit for you.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you’d ever want to be an affiliate for them. BlueHost offers their users the chance to become affiliates, which means that they promote BlueHost to their readers and make money for everyone who signs up using their link.
I am actually an affiliate for Namecheap, through ShareASale.
The domain you want might not be available, but if the owner is willing to sell, you’ll either see an amount or ‘make an offer’. It’s totally up to you, if you have the money and you really want that domain name, buy it.
You can also buy your domain through your website host if you use Squarespace.
I don’t use Squarespace myself, but I have built a blog on this platform before. I definitely reccomend using WordPress self hosted, but Squarespace is a really great all in one website builder that you can do a lot with if you’re a first time blogger and don’t understand WordPress just yet.
Check out my post on WordPress vs Squarespace for a comparison of the two.
CONNECT YOUR DOMAIN
Once you’ve purchased your domain name, what do you do with it?
Well, if you’re using Squarespace to set up your blog, just follow the prompts to set up your website. Squarespace is very user friendly, it’s click to create basically.
If you’re using WordPress self hosted, and you bought your domain name through BlueHost or NameCheap, these sites offer services to set up your website for you. For NameCheap, it’s called EasyWP.
*note: BlueHost is really great, but you should know upfront that they offer free domain name for a year, and options starting as low as $2.95/month to set up your website. However, it’s required to pay for 36 months upfront. So even for the cheapest option, the total cost will be at the very least $106. Add on any additional security options, the price jumps up to $245 upfront.
With NameCheap, you pay for your domain registration for either 1 or 2 years. This is a one time purchase and a domain name on NameCheap is as low as $8.88 for a 1 year registration. The EasyWP can be billed monthly, for roughly $4/month and your first month is only $1. You can also purchase SSL certificates through NameCheap for as low as $8.88 for 1 year.
For someone who might not have a lot of money to throw at blogging, I definitely recommend using Namecheap and EasyWP. It’s just so simple, and affordable for a new blogger. Plus, you get the added benefit of using WordPress self hosted but not having to worry about installing WP yourself (which is pretty difficult if you’re not super tech savvy).
Name your blog. Choose a domain name that you love, is relevant to your blog topic
Research whether anyone else owns the domain name and then decide whether you need to think of a new name or buy that domain name from it’s current owner
Set up your blog on a hosting website, like BlueHost, Squarespace or Namecheap
A few things to keep in mind when you’re planning to start a blog: Your blogging journey is not going to look like anyone else’s. You will need guidance and advice, yes- but in the end, the best and most successful bloggers are the ones who DO instead of THINK about doing. You have to just START the damn thing, and make it your own.
I hope this post has helped you in some way. I try to keep things light and simple, and not over-complicate them. The worst thing you can do when trying to start a blog and think of domain names is over-complicate the process. Let it come to you naturally- and trust that you will know what the right name is when it does.
As always, thanks for reading!