10 Rules for Choosing a Domain Name for WordPress Blogs

Website domain name

A domain name is the part of your website’s URL that tells a browser which server to fetch files from. For example, for https://blog.wordpress.com/index.php, the domain name is wordpress.com. The same rules for choosing a website domain name also applies to choosing a WordPress domain name. Since your domain name becomes your blog’s brand and identity, it’s important to choose a good domain name. Here are some rules for choosing a good domain name for your blog.

1. Make it easy to remember

If your readers find a post they like, they should be able to find it again. Also, if they come across another one of your posts on Google, they should be able to recognize your domain name. A domain name like dropbox.com is more memorable than ifttt.com.

2. Keep it short

Short names are easier to remember and there’s less room for error when typing it. For example, ml.com is much easier to type than merrilllynch.com. Very short domain names are usually taken already. A ~10 character long domain name that’s easy to remember is better than a 4 character domain name that consists of random letters.

3. Make it easy to pronounce and spell

Word of mouth is important for promoting a website. When you say your domain name, it should be easy to figure out how to type it. For example, if someone told you about gfycat.com and you’ve never seen it before, you’ll have no idea how to spell it. Avoid plurals because it’s easy to miss the ending “s”.

4. Stick to alphanumeric characters

This is mainly to make it easier to remember and pronounce correctly. If a website is word-press.com, visitors may forget to type the dash. Also, if you share your website through word of mouth, you’ll have to say “word dash press dot com”, which may be interpreted as worddashpress.com. However, contrary to popular belief, dashes in your domain name does not negatively influence SEO.

5. Avoid ambiguous spellings

It should be unambiguous what your domain name is. This also relates to making your domain name easy to remember and pronounce. For example, flickr.com will be commonly mistyped as flicker.com. In this case, Flickr owns both domains, so it’s not a big issue.

6. Avoid trademarks

If your domain name infringes on a trademark, the trademark’s owner can pursue legal action to shut down or seize control of your domain name. You can use the World Intellectual Property Organization’s tool to check if there’s a trademark related to your domain name.

7. Don’t make it sound spammy

Potential visitors will be reluctant to click on links that look spammy. Domain names containing words such as “best” or “top” often look spammy.

8. Don’t worry too much about keywords

Google used to place a high weight on keywords appearing in domain names. If your domain name exactly matches a search query, it would easily rank well for that query. However, since this has been abused by spammers, keywords in your domain name no longer influences your rank very much.

However, your domain name should give potential visitors some idea of what your blog is about. If your blog is about cats, you should try to include “cat”.

9. Think about how your blog will change

If your blog is about cats, you may decide to write about dogs as well a few years later. If you included “cat” in your domain name, it will be hard to change. If you think you may write about other pets as well, you should try including “pets” in the domain name instead of “cats”. A few years later, if you decide to write about dogs as well,

10. Stick to .com domain names

Domain names that don’t use .com are usually harder to remember and pronounce. This is becoming less important as people get used to other TLDs (the ending of a domain name such as .com or .net). If you want to get a domain name that isn’t .com, you should try getting the .com version as well. For example, Twitch owns twitch.tv and twitch.com.

One common exception is using your country’s TLD if your blog is written for people from your country. Search engines will rank it higher for people from your country.

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