In this series of posts I will go over the steps for creating a website.
Is a domain name really important?
That’s a good question: How important is a domain name? Different people will say different things.
My take is that it’s not that important, as long as it’s not awful. This shouldn’t be the thing to hold you back from getting started.
It’s also not something worth putting money into. If the domain you want isn’t available, don’t try to bid a $1000 for it , just look for a different one.
To help you choose a direction, here are the 3 options when choosing a domain name for your business/blog:
The 3 types of domain names
A domain with your own name could be good if you are building a brand around yourself. Your personality. This option is good if you don’t want to limit yourself to one particular thing, but instead build your personality as the brand.
This is kind of a bold option, since you’re exposing yourself to the world in the most personal way. There is no company name to hide behind, no excuses. You will be accountable for everything you say on that site.
It is also a bit harder to get people to follow this way, unless you are famous, because a lot of people’s initial reaction might be “Who the hell is this guy?”, but this is just my view.
This option refers to a domain which describes the purpose/goal/topic of the site.
The big plus for this is the ability to score good keywords in your domain name (think bestDroneCameras.com).
The disadvantage is that you will be restricted to whatever is described in the domain name. If you are writing on bestDroneCameras.com but suddenly decided to talk about DSLR cameras, it’ll be hard to attract people when your domain name focuses on something else.
I tend to stay away from these kind of domains since I like keeping my options open. There’s a way, however, to use it tastefully and not totally restrict yourself. When I founded bloopAnimation.com I used the word “animation” in the domain name to let people know this site focuses on animation, but I didn’t go into specifics. This way I allowed myself to talk about a wide variety of topics related to animation.
A generic name that doesn’t mean anything, or that has nothing to do with the topic of the site.
This is one of my favorite kinds of domain names, and the one that have proven to be great for startups and successful companies (Apple, Amazon, Google, Uber, Yahoo, Etsy, Facebook and Tumblr to name a few.)
The great thing about this kind of domain name is that it allows you to expand your brand to every direction you choose. Apple used to be called Apple Computers. Can you imagine that name today? Computers is their least profitable revenue stream.
These kind of domain names are also attractive to new visitors, peaking their curiosity. They’re also fun to make up. My 2 main brands are within this category – Bloop and Limebrush.
Does it matter if I don’t use a .com?
A lot of people recommend using a .com or a .net TLD, but I feel like this advice is getting old. Getting a .com is still the number one preference for most uses, but personally I think .Net is a bit too 90’s. It has a dated sound to it.
If I had to build a website and the .com was taken, I would have chosen .co. It’s .com’s hipster younger brother, and has a modern sound to it. .me could also work if you’re building a personal brand.
It’s still seems to be the case that the popular TLD’s get higher search rankings than the host of new ones, but if you’re going to do this for the long haul this should not bother you. Go with the best domain you can find and don’t worry about it.