How to Choose a Domain Name

Updated September 16, 2020

Put some thought into choosing a domain name. The goal of the tips below is not to meet every criteria (that would be impossible), but to give you some guidelines to consider in the process. And then I’ll tell you where to register your domain.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links through which I’m paid. No additional cost to you. More here.

Just so we’re straight:

  • Domain =
  • URL =

Alright here we go…

1. Go with .com

Internet users assume .com domain. A .net, .info, .tv or any other extension puts a potential roadblock in the process of finding you. There are successful sites with a .net extension (or something else), but a .com is ideal. Use a .com unless you absolutely can’t.

2. Short and sweet

The shorter the better. Enough said.

3. Easy to say and spell

You want your domain name to be passed along easily by you and by others. Don’t make people stop and think about how to say or spell it. Don’t include commonly misspelled words or tricky ones to spell.

4. No hyphens

Hyphens are amateurish and not smooth or punchy. Example: “Hi, my domain is fly hyphen fishing dot com.”

5. Use keywords

Update: Keywords in your domain don’t boost your rank in Google (source).

Have you read my post What is SEO? Your domain is one of the best places to use a keyword or two. And the more compact and closer to the beginning of your domain, the better. For example, if “fly fishing” is your keyword, is better than

6. Consider using your name

I highly recommend registering your name as a domain even if you have no plans to do anything with it. Why? Because you never know if you just might become a household name — or want to pivot — in the future. And then you’ll be glad you have it.

If you plan on using your blog to sell a service you provide or if you hope to speak or become a published writer, your name might be perfect.

If you have a really difficult name to say or spell, consider using your first and middle, or a nickname, or make up a new name altogether (yes, people really do that).

7. Make it expandable

You never know how your business might expand, so avoid names that box you in. Example: is nice, but what if you decide to sell fishing poles later? I also recommend avoiding life-stage-specific names like It’s good now, but not so much when they’re no longer toddlers.

8. Avoid strings of words

If you have a wide range of interests (you should niche down anyway) and you also want to incorporate keywords in your domain, you might be tempted to string them all together. I recommend against this simply because it’s confusing. Example: is a recipe for major confusion when a visitor is trying to remember the correct order.

9. Avoid obscure terms

Avoid using niche-specific terms in your domain unless they are very recognizable to your perfect people.

10. But all the good names are taken!

Be creative. It’s very possible (and in many cases probable) you’ll come up with the perfect domain only to find it’s already taken when you try to register it. Go back to the drawing board. Look up similar words in the thesaurus. Ask others for ideas. Mix words up or around. Use a tagline, a nickname or a phrase you say all the time.

11. Make sure the name is available on other social media sites

If you use the same name on your blog and on Twitter, Facebook, etc., it solidifies your brand and makes it more memorable. My favorite tool to check your name across all networks at once is Namechk. Another tool is called knowem? but as of this writing, they don’t check Instagram for you which these days, is a must.

12. Don’t overthink it

I hear from a lot of people who get stuck at this point because they’re afraid of making the wrong choice. The most common problem is that they can’t find an available .com. If this is you, just make your best guess and move on. A not-quite-perfect domain name is better than no domain name at all.

How do I register a domain?

Some choices:

  1. Already got a website? I use and recommend Namecheap to register your domain. Type your desired domain in the box and hit “Search” to get started.
  2. Need a domain to go with your website? Follow the instructions in this post and your domain will be baked right in.