Picking a name for your blog or brand can be one of the hardest parts of getting started. It was for me at least. I would finally come up with one I absolutely loved only to find out domain match wasn’t available. It was also even more irritating when I went to the domain and nothing was there. How exasperating.
The truth is though, there aren’t very many virgin names out there. Someone will have thought of the name you want to use, or something similar to it.
That shouldn’t stop you from using it though! Here are three ideas I have for using the brand name you want when the domain isn’t available:
- Add prefix, suffix
- Add an action
- Try a different domain ending
(obviously, you don’t want to copy anyone or infringe on copyrights, but it is possible to have similar names as other domain names out there.
Alternative 1: add a prefix or suffix.
Say I really wanted my blog to be named Fitness Life. The domain name fitnesslife.com is taken but there isn’t anything there.
We could add a perfix: thefitnesslife.com or myfitnesslife.com. Play around with different words before or after your brand name.
Remember the brand name does not have to be the same thing as your domain name.
Alternative 2: add an action
The second is similar to the first, but more specific – add an action. Adding an action to your domain name brings the site to life for your audience. For example getflywheel.com is the domain for Flywheel, a hosting company. People will be visiting their site to get hosting so it just makes sense. Maybe you want to go with the brand name Paleo Plates, but the domain isn’t available. You could add eat and the URL will be eatpaleoplates.com and instantly your audience knows what they want to do when the come to your site: eat Paleo Plates.
Alternative 3: use a different TLD
The third suggestion I have is to use a different domain TLD. TLD stands for top level domain. TLD is part of the domain name system. It is the ending of your domain, after the dot. In this post I will refer to TLD’s as TLDs, domain endings, or domain extensions.
In the last couple of years, the ICANN has approved several new domain extensions.
Even Google has come out and said that your domain extension does not affect SEO. They’ve even launched a new business selling these alternate extensions.
In 2021, it is A-OKAY to use an alternative domain ending. It goes back to that whole no virgin name thing. Google knows this, ICANN knows this, there has to be other options than just .com these days. The internet world is just way too big. Here are some of my favorite TLD’s for bloggers.
Domain Name Endings for Bloggers (aka TLD’s)
- .blog – It’s the most obvious one. If you consider yourself a blogger, this might just be the perfect option for you.
- .guru or .ninja – if you want to be considered an expert in your field .guru or .ninja are great choices for your domain ending.
- .recipes – hello food bloggers.
- .style or .fashion – fashion bloggers make up a large percentage of the bloggers in the world. Use your name and then one of these endings. If you blog about a specific style you could go with the type of fashion you write about: veryboho.fashion.
- .tv – perfect for the Youtubers and Periscopers of the world wide web. You know you’ve always wanted to be on TV.
- .consulting – for the coaches and consultants out there.
- .club – great for building a community around your blog. I’ve always thought it would be cool to start a momlife.club website.
- .rocks – kristiehill.rocks, need I say more? It’s available and only $10 a year. It is so tempting.
- .yoga, .run, or .fit for the fitness bloggers.
- .guide – the perfect ending for your course or book. I may or may not be hoarding .guide domains, so it the one you want isn’t available…
Domain name endings for specific niches and industries
Photographers no longer have to add photography onto the end of their URL. They can use a TLD instead. Kristiehill.photography
Designers can use .design
Even the Hunger Games used thehungergames.movies for their home page.
.florist .flights .tours
You get the picture. If you are in a very specific niche or industry, check and see if there is a domain extension available for it.
Other Domain Extensions
- .me – great for resume or bio type of sites. I also like how unroll.me used the extension to name their subscription app.
- .to – this goes back to adding an action into your domain name, just in the form of a TLD. Freedom.to uses it beautifully. It is an app that helps monitor your phone time so that you have freedom to…
- .ly – Mother.ly is a great example of this one in action.
Cons of alternate TLD’s.
I like to keep things honest around here, so I will mention the only two cons I could think of:
One down to the new TLD’s is that not all platforms are automatically making them clickable links yet. This means that if you share easypeasy.recipes on Facebook, it might not show up as a clickable link. I think that places will catch up but it might take a little bit of time. The fix: you can still make it a clickable link, just make sure to share the whole URL http://easypeasy.recipes and it will show up as a link. Easy Peasy.
Also, people might say, “But no one will remember if it doesn’t have a .com ending.” Pssht. They’ll remember. Okay, maybe your Grandma won’t (sorry Grandma, I actually think you’re very tech savvy). For the most part I think people will catch on quickly. In fact, since you’ll be among the first, people might think it is totally awesome, be super jealous, and always remember it.
I had no problem remembering unroll.me, freedom.to, and mother.ly.
How to purchase your new Domain Name
I recommend going through a reputable domain registrar like NameCheap to purchase your domain name. They have more options than other hosting companies and registrars, especially the ones that offer free domains.
Head to NameCheap and search for your domain name. If you know the specific extension you want, type it in the search too. If you want to see what options are available for your domain name, type in just the name part and see what comes up under the popular tab.
You can also check out the NEW tab for extension ideas too.
Once you have your domain purchased, you’ll need to connect it to your hosting. If you still need to purchase hosting for your blog, scroll down. If you already have hosting, here are your instructions: Find the nameservers from your current host and then head over NameCheap. Click manage on your new domain name. Under the Domain tab scroll down nameservers and add in the nameservers found from your hosting.
Connecting your Domain name to your new hosting.
Now that you have a domain name, you need a place to set your blog up.The two web hosting companies I recommend for new bloggers are SiteGround and Bluehost. Here are instructions for setting up your domain with either of those companies
Head over to siteground.com and pick out a hosting plan that best fits you. For most new bloggers the Startup or Growbig plans are sufficient. Click get started on the plan you want to go with. Under enter a domain, click I already have a domain name. Then complete your purchase. Once you’ve completed your purchase you can connect your domain to your new SiteGround Hosting. First, you will need to get the nameservers for SiteGrund. While logged into your SiteGround account, go to My Accounts > Manage account > Information & Settings. Under the section Account DNS you will see two nameservers IDs, you will need both of these.
Now, head back to NameCheap and click manage on your domain name. Under the domain tab scroll down to nameservers and add in the nameservers we just located on your hosting account. All done!
Now that you have the logistics set up, you can continue building your blog. Use SiteGround’s easy WordPress installation and then check out my How to Start a Blog series, jumping in at step five.
Pick out a BlueHost plan for your new blog. Usually the basic or plus plan are a good starting place for new bloggers. Once you’ve selected your plan, sign up under the box I have a domain name. Once you have your account all set up, you can access your BlueHost home page.
On the main blue menu, click Domains and then assign domain. Select the option Use a domain that is not already associated with your account. Once you type in your domain name, BlueHost will give you the nameservers for your account.
Leaving this screen open, head over to your NameCheap account and click manage on your domain name. Under the domain tab scroll down to nameservers and add in the nameservers we just located on your hosting account.
Go back to your BlueHost account where you have your domain assign screen up and finish the process. All done.
Now that you have your domain name and hosting set up you can check out my How to Start a Blog series, skipping down to step four.
I can’t wait to see what name and domain you decided on for your new blog. Leave me a link below when you go live. Happy blogging!
Great post! I usually am kind of OCD and look for only .coms but with high quality content and a bit of SEO, I’ve had no trouble ranking with .so, .io, and .orgs. In fact, my latest site, which is doing really well is a .org (www.bloggingguide.org). So this post is a good reminder for all of us!
Loralee Hutton says
Great post Kristi. I especially love the reminder that .com isn’t the be all, end all. I love how many new TLDs there are now, in comparison to just a couple of years ago. Great roundup!
Kristie Hill says
Me too! .com used to be the be all, but not anymore. Which TLD is your favorite?
Also sorry Kristie for the misspelling-silly autocorrect!