How to Find a Great Domain Name for a New Blog and Set it Up in 15 Minutes

  • September 15, 2011 by Corbett Barr
  • 50 Comments

Note: I have an update later on in this post about the heated discussion that broke out on Tuesday over the topic we announced (and what we plan to do about it). Skip ahead to find out, or keep reading to learn about choosing your domain name and setting up your blog.

You’ve read the ground rules and hopefully have chosen a topic for the Million Dollar Blog Project. Now it’s time to choose a great domain name and set your blog up.

Choosing a domain name is an important and potentially tricky step in building a new blog. We’re going to talk about all of the things you should watch out for when selecting your domain name.

Then we’re going to show you how to set up your new blog in 15 minutes or less. That part is actually pretty easy if you haven’t done it before.

If you already have a domain name in mind, you can get straight to setting up your new blog.

Finding a Great Domain Name

There are different ways to go about choosing a domain name, depending on your goals. If you’re setting up a niche site, for example, you would probably choose a domain name differently from if you’re setting up a blog. The same goes for building an online product or service.

Let’s look at several guidelines for choosing your domain name.

With any of these guidelines, I like to talk about the guideline, and then talk about the exceptions. Any of these guidelines can be broken, and I’ll try to share some examples of domains that break the guidelines and have still been wildly successful.

Length of Your Domain Name

Generally, the shorter your desired domain name, the less likely it will be available. On the other hand, the shorter your domain name, the easier it is to type in and potentially the easier it is to remember.

Shorter domain names can also stand out if you find one because they’re so hard to find (or expensive) these days.

For web applications, the guideline is usually that your doman name should be 8 characters or less. Think about Facebook, Google, Digg, or even a new application like Square (at squareup.com).

For blogs, the rules aren’t the same, but in general the shorter the better. If you have a choice between a great 8-letter domain name vs. a similarly great 20-letter domain name, choose the shorter one.

If you can’t find something short, it may not be a problem though. Look at Smart Passive Income for example, Pat’s domain has 18 letters and he’s doing fine. Escape from Cubicle Nation has 23 letters and Pam has a massive audience there as well.

Personally, I still prefer to keep it to 12 characters or less for a blog, but I wouldn’t be afraid to go higher if the name was good.

Should You Include Keywords in Your Domain?

To answer that question, I asked my friend and SEO consultant Sean Ogle to write a special section for this post. Below is what Sean had to say about including Keywords in your domain.

I also wanted to mention that Sean is launching a new course this week called Location Rebel, which gives you the skills necessary to build a business that you can run from anywhere on Earth. Check out Location Rebel if that sort of thing is on your to-do list. ;)

Over the last few years there’s been lots of debate around the effectiveness of certain search engine optimization strategies.

While some strategies like keyword stuffing or content farms are becoming less relevant, there’s still one aspect of SEO that’s proved to be particularly effective: the exact match URL.

If you’re creating a new site, there are three different types of domains that you can register, each with their own benefits:

  • Branded: My new site locationrebel.com is a branded domain.  Generally speaking, I’m not going to get much SEO benefit from that name because there aren’t any relevant keywords within the URL. However, it’s memorable and the intention is to build a brand, not necessarily drive SEO traffic.
  • Semi-Branded: This is where you take a keyword and embed it into a brand name.  For instance if I had a site called hdrphotographyexperts.com it would be semi-branded.  I’d still get some SEO benefit for the term “HDR photography” but it’s branded in a more memorable way.
  • Keyword: A good example of a keyword domain is hdrsoftware.com.  That’s the primary keyword, and with help from the exact match domain it now ranks #2 in Google for that term just a couple months after it’s inception.

When deciding what type of domain is right for you, think about your visitors.  Are they more likely to be one time or repeat visitors?  If it’s just one time, then a keyword domain is probably your best bet.  If you want to keep them coming back, then a branded or semi-branded is the best way to go.

Thanks for the tips, Sean.

Using Sean’s framework, “Think Traffic” is actually a semi-branded domain. It contains one part of a popular keyword that’s relevant to this site (“traffic”) and I added the word “think” to it because of the connotations and alliteration. Together I thought it was clear, smart and fun to say.

For blogs, I usually recommend either a branded or semi-branded domain. Keyword-match URLs are great for niche sites, but if you want repeat visitors it’s better to include an element of branding in your domain name.

.com vs. .net vs. Other Suffixes

One question I’ve heard a lot is whether you need to go with a .com address, or if a .net address (or others) will work too. You may have noticed that Think Traffic is a .net address.

When I looked for domain names for this blog, the .com address for Think Traffic was for sale, but it was a bit more than I wanted to spend at the time.

I looked around at some of the most successful blogs I know and found that several of them used .net addresses and hadn’t been held back by that decision. Two great examples are Zen Habits and ProBlogger. I reasoned that if the .net extension worked for them, it could work for me too.

Since then, I have acquired the .com address for this blog and if you type in thinktraffic.com you’ll be redirected here. That provides access to some interesting data: I can track how many people type in the .com version and it gives an idea of how much traffic you might miss out on by choosing a .net.

Over the past month, less than 4% of the traffic to this site came from the .com redirect. You could use that as an indicator of how much traffic you might give up by choosing a .net. Keep in mind that in the beginning people won’t be familiar with your brand name and won’t be typing it in as much. They’ll mostly be coming through links, so the choice of a .net shouldn’t matter much then.

Bottom line: the .com is always the best choice because of convention and expectations online. If a great .net is available, you shouldn’t be too worried about going with it.

In any case, just make sure another extension of the same domain isn’t occupied by an active site. Don’t register a .net if someone is already using the .com actively, for example. You could end up with a lawsuit on your hands down the road.

Personally Branded Domains

Another question I get a lot is whether people should use a personally branded domain. My other site sits on my personal domain name at CorbettBarr.com.

That site didn’t used to be that way, originally it was called FreePursuits.com. I made the switch because I wanted to put more emphasis on my own personal brand, and because I didn’t want to maintain Free Pursuits as a separate brand over the long-term.

I learned some things from that switch. Mostly, it makes the project much more intimate and personal. That can be a good thing for some (it was for me). It could also scare you a little and maybe restrict your ability to write outstanding content because of fear you personally are being judged.

Obviously with examples like Chris Guillebeau’s AONC project, it’s clear that a personally branded URL can work. Chris had a different issue on his hands because his name is difficult to spell, but his outstanding content and interesting blog concept overcame that as well.

Before you choose a personally branded domain, consider how you’ll feel about being so exposed to the world. Consider how important your personality is to the project you’re planning. Also, think about whether you might someday want to step away from that project and let other people run it, or even sell the project.

Things to Avoid

There are some basic things to avoid when choosing a domain name. These are all to make sure you don’t confuse people or make it unnecessarily difficult to find your site.

In general, avoid using the following in your domain name:

  • numbers (either written “two” or numeric “2″)
  • confusing or difficult to spell words
  • hyphens
  • letter jumbles (look at your potential domain name, do the letters from one word jumble into the next, so that it’s hard to tell which is which?)

Of course, there are probably successful examples of domains that violate these rules, but most of them are still a good idea to follow.

Searching for Your Perfect Domain

Here are a couple of tools you can use to help find your ideal domain name as you keep the above guidelines in mind.

Step 1: develop a list of words and phrases related to your topic

Let’s say you’re going with beer brewing as a topic. You would start by brainstorming potential brand names. I like to write down lists of words that I might want to have in my domain name.

For this example, “beer” and “brew” and “brewing” would all be candidates. I would then make a list of related words and phrases like “head” “mug” “wort” “dry hopping” “cask” “cask conditioned” etc. (Google something like “beer brewing terms” to find a list of potential key terms if you need help)

Step 2: add some helper words

Then I like to make a list of other short, non-topic-related terms that might be good add-ons to our brand name. Here’s a list of common short words you might use.

Often you’ll have a word or two you want to use, but the related domains will all seem to be taken. Adding an unrelated but positive or inspirational word (like “think” or “zen” or “art” or even “experts” or maybe “hq” or “now”) might open up lots of possibilities.

Step 3: search for domains with combinations of your words

Once you have your list of terms, you can use a tool like Bust a Name to find available domains. Just type in your favorite words from your brainstorming list and the service will tell you which domains are available.

Step 4: choose a domain (or repeat the process)

Using Bust a Name and the process I just outlined, I found dozens of domain names related to brewing beer that are available.

Try the process yourself for your own topic and see what you find.

Setting Up Your Domain and Blog

Alright, once you have a domain name in mind, it’s time to register your name and set up your blog.

Before you do that, you’ll need a web host.

I’ve used half a dozen or more web hosts over the years and have way too many stories to tell about server crashes, downtime and slow performance.

Recently when Think Traffic outgrew Dreamhost, I migrated to a $200/month VPN service and ended up having nothing but trouble, despite the high price tag and promises from the service. There’s nothing more frustrating than when you server crashes during a new product launch.

I started asking around and several of my friends (with blogs much bigger than this one) recommended BlueHost for reliability, service and performance. I was skeptical because some of these huge blogs were still running on BlueHost’s basic plans (which start at less than $5 a month).

I did a bunch of research and found lots of people who swore by BlueHost. Our sites now all run on a decided plan, but that is because we bring in over 100,000 visitors a month. Until you reach this level, BlueHost is the best option.

The crazy thing is, all this runs on a regular shared hosting plan, which costs as low as $5 per month for one domain.

Anyway, do your own research, but I’m a big BlueHost fan now. If you sign up with them I’ll get a commission, which I really appreciate and which helps support doing projects like the $1MBP.

Why You Need WordPress

There are lots of blogging platforms out there, but only one valid choice in my opinion. That’s WordPress, and all my sites run on it.

I’m talking about the self-hosted version of WordPress, not the hosted wordpress.com version. That means the software runs on your servers (like at BlueHost) and you’re in complete control over how you use it, and what to install. Most importantly, you’re in control of your data instead of some other bigger entity who can change the rules at any time.

Our example in this project will run on WordPress, and I strongly recommend you use it, but you’re of course free to do your own research and choose whatever you think fits your needs best.

If you go with BlueHost as your host, they have a quick and easy one-click install for WordPress. You really just click one button and your blog software will be set up for you.

Quick Hosting + WordPress Setup Video

Caleb put together a quick video to show you just how easy this process is.

In this video you’ll see exactly how to sign up for a host, register your domain, install WordPress AND get a spiffy countdown-to-launch page all set up in less than 6 minutes:

(If you are reading via email or RSS, watch the video here: How to Set Up a Blog in 6 Minutes.)

If you have questions or need help with the setup process, just leave a comment below and we’ll be happy to help out.

Up Next: Creating a Launch Plan

Once you have your blog set up, it’s time to start thinking about a launch plan. We’ll be covering this in much more depth coming soon.

For now, start making a list of everything you’d like to have in place by the time you launch your new blog.

What kind of content will you have already written? Will you have a giveaway ready to entice email subscribers with? Do you want to have social media profiles set up? Will you be reaching out to other bloggers or media to tell them about your launch?

A launch is a great opportunity to come out with a bang and generate buzz and interest in your site. It’s a one-time event and I like not to waste it.

Check out this earlier post about how I launched Think Traffic to get you thinking about ideas for your own site.

Addressing the “Great Topic Debate”

Quite a discussion broke out on Tuesday over the topic we announced for our new blog. It seems many of you are disappointed with the topic selection.

I want to let you know that we hear you and are considering what to do about it. We appreciate the feedback and I’m glad this is such a public and community-driven project.

Let’s clear up a few things first before we make a final topic decision.

When the voting results came it, we thought it would be an easy decision to go with the #1 choice (blog and web design), because so many Think Traffic readers voted for it. As I mentioned in Tuesday’s post, the #1 topic also happened to be something we feel confident about and think could be really fun to build a blog about.

From your reaction to the topic, I understand that you feel like the audience would overlap with Think Traffic too much. That’s a reasonable point.

I also understand that another “blog about blogging” (as some of you put it) might not represent a “real world” scenario for many of you who are building non-blogging / non-marketing related blogs.

We’re taking all of this into consideration and will update you with our final decision shortly. I’m actually taking a real vacation (with no Internet) over the next week and will be thinking about this issue in between boat excursions and lounging by the pool (we’re in Croatia at the moment).

Whatever we decide, I want you all to know two important things:

1) some people will likely be disappointed with any topic we select, and 2) we will always have some advantages in this project that you will not have. It is impossible to remove those advantages completely.

Some of you mentioned you’d like to see a popular blogger (me) go from “zero” and build a new blog in a new niche from scratch. I started with no audience and no experience in 2009, and the result of that work is at CorbettBarr.com.

Now that I’ve been blogging for two and a half years, I can never truly start from scratch again. Whatever project I work on now, I bring certain resources and knowledge that a true beginner won’t have.

Even if we went with “DIY rocket ship building” as a topic, there will always be some built-in overlap with my various audiences here and on social networks. Whatever blog we start will have some sort of instant audience, simply by being the subject of this project. The project we start will also have certain disadvantages simply because this will be my third active blog, and we’ll be managing it along with half a dozen other active projects.

Whatever advantages we have, I’ll be happy to point those out along the way. We’re not competing with each other here, hopefully we’re helping each other. Hopefully you will have certain advantages from participating in this project as well.

Again, we appreciate all the feedback and are deciding what to do about it. We’ll update you as soon as we’ve made a decision. If you have other feedback for us, feel free to leave it on this post.

Next week, Caleb will be giving you instructions on how to officially register your participating blog with this project. Stay tuned for that. We’ll get back to you with our final topic selection shortly after I return from fun in the sun.

Cheers and thanks for following along with the project so far. It’s incredible that so many of you feel invested in the project already.

Your assignment is to finalize your topic, set up your blog (if you haven’t already), and start thinking about your launch plans over the next week.

We’ll see you here again shortly. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below. We’re here to help.

Finally, if you haven’t completed our free Business Plan Workbook for Bloggers, go check it out now. This is 6-page document contains 33 questions to ask yourself as you’re starting your new blog.

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Jane C September 15, 2011 at 6:19 am

Cheers for the post, so good to have simple step by step instructions.

I totally agree with the fact that no matter what you chose, someone was going to be disappointed! Obviously the knowledge, resources and current traffic is going to mean you will not be starting ‘from scratch’ like some of us. But I would rather view that as an advantage, we can learn alot from you guys and benefit from your blog being a few steps ahead of ours.

I really don’t think a change of topic would make that much difference, I took it to be about design rather then blogging, I am interested to see how you guys make it stand out from other design sites and what audience you choose.

Enjoy your holiday!

David Damron September 15, 2011 at 6:46 am

Hey Corbett (& Caleb)-

Loving this approach you are taking. Very thorough info and background to not only what you guys are doing but the why which is just as important.

I would prefer to see you guys tackle something other than “a blog about blogging” but understand if you still do.

Obviously, you guys are still in the early stages, but something I’d love to see as one of the steps is a “worksheet” guide detailing a topic attack for the first 1-2 months of a blog. For example, week 3 should be dedicated to how to articles or week 2 should be dedicated to “Top 10 ways to…..” type of posts.

Anyways, keep up the great work guys.

David Damron
Life Excursion

Rob M | Premium SEO Articles September 15, 2011 at 6:48 am

i think trying to purchase an aged domain will help with your SEO rankings. Purchasing a brand new domain will take a while to register with google. I think google looks more positively upon aged domains (i.e 2 years older plus) What do others think?

Sean September 16, 2011 at 1:07 am

Agree – it’s definitely better to purchase an aged domain when possible. That said, often times those can be more expensive, so you have to assess your goals and decide whether or not it’s worth it.

Pedro September 16, 2011 at 6:10 am

Hi,

What do you mean “registering with Google”? You can have a domain nameindexed in Google in less that 24 hours, as long as you have content and you build a sitemap (very easy to do with a plugin), for example.

Beata A. September 15, 2011 at 7:41 am

1. Obviously installing your own Wordpress gives you amazing amounts of flexbility and probably can’t be beat in terms of easy customization, but consider the fact that if you’re just starting out, creating your blog in a platform that has a built-in community (like Wordpress.com or Tumblr) has its advantages for getting your first few readers.

2. I hope you’re not re-considering your blog topic, because I am looking forward to reading about design, specifically the combination of using design principles within the framework of existing software. It’s a subject I’ve been following for a while, and always want to know more about.

3. I just got back from an extended vacation in Croatia about a month ago. :) Have fun!

Monja September 15, 2011 at 7:50 am

Another great article! i´m a new reader here but so true it all starts and falls with a good domain name. if things are not easy to remember or too complicated i can never keep them in mind and usually lose quickly interest in the site as i want it simple.
or, i save the site as a bookmark and end up accessing it on my mobile – and never get there because i can´t remember the domain name correctly.
lost potential and sales :-)

Laura Roberts September 15, 2011 at 8:27 am

Thanks for the update on the topic decision! I will admit I was a bit disappointed with the chosen topic (since it seems like something that has been done a million times, and there are lots of great tips for inexpensive web design on places like Smashing Magazine), but as you point out, that was the number one vote of the people. If the goal is to appeal to a large majority, then that’s the topic you should go with, right?

I think it also helps to realize that, like you said, you can’t ever really start from scratch again. Even if you did decide to go with making a website about going green or home-brewing or rocketships, you’d always have an audience of people who like you personally and will follow any new ventures you create. That seems like another good thing for us followers to remember, when trying to create a successful blog in a limited amount of time, i.e. if WE are coming from scratch, it could conceivably take 10 years to make the money you’ve seen in 2!

Brad September 15, 2011 at 8:47 am

Looking forward to getting started with the project.

Whatever topic you choose is cool with me.

My focus is on MY blog.

I’m confident you will guide us along step by step of how you build up your audience and money.

Steve Scott September 15, 2011 at 9:01 am

Some great tips here. Nice to see things are chugging along nicely.

Your list of common short words may be missing the best one. HQ. yourkeywordhq.com can get all the keyword love with a minimum of extra letters while somehow subtlety suggesting that since this is the “headquarters” it is better than the other URL.

Of course this is just the one I used on my domain the other night…so perhaps I am biased. ;)

Stephanie @ Passive Income Results September 15, 2011 at 9:58 am

Hey, hey!

I, too, use HostGator & have NO complaints at all. I host a few niche sites and they load quickly on all internet browsers. Whenever I have needed any type of support (billing, cust svc, etc) they have been available promptly and 24 hrs a day. I definitely suggest them too. And even if someone is starting off with hatching but thinks that maybe they want to do the baby plan (for future blogs/niche sites), there are no worries. They do the switch instantly for you.

As for the topic – I think that going with the #1 voter’s choice is what you should stick with. Why send out a poll then? The vast majority of us chose a topic and it won. This goes to show that a majority of your readers think highly of your expertise in designing a million dollar blog. As I previously stated though, regardless of ANY topic – the stats will be off. This is about the PROCESS, not the topic. Readers need to have more confidence in themselves to be able to produce a successful blog on their individual topic; using Think Traffic’s tutorial.

Cheers & enjoy your vacay!!

Rick Barlow September 15, 2011 at 10:23 am

Excellent overview. I have been working on a couple of lifestyle blog projects for several months, and I’ve read several books, posts and articles on the various facets of building a successful blog. Your advice on selecting a name was very helpful. I found that I couldn’t quite commit to my main project until a name broker showed up in my inbox with a perfect name. The url was pricey, but it was perfect. Owning it kicked everything into high gear. I hope to launch within 2 months, delayed only by the need to build enough content to make the site worth browsing once it attracts a visitor. I’m on HostGator, which has been pretty simple and very inexpensive. I am using a WooTheme (Canvas), which I am trying to master. And I’m struggling with the whole photography element. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the sources and uses of photography on blogs.

Caleb Wojcik September 15, 2011 at 10:27 am

Two quick resources I can recommend are:
http://www.istockphoto.com/ – if you are using them for business
http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/by-2.0/ – if you want to use them as creative commons & credit the creator

Angela September 15, 2011 at 10:50 am

Any thoughts on registering the .net of a domain where the .com is purchased, but with no live site… I’m considering buying up the .net and using some resource (go daddy?) for buying the .com down the road? Any suggestions or thoughts appreciated.

Chris Kerschner September 16, 2011 at 7:37 am

I think that’s a really good idea. You end up having to pay for a domain with the hosting. Might as well take advantage of that.

Nick September 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Corbett, you are making a rookie error by redirecting the .com to the .net – it should definitely be the other way around.

Love the site buddy, sorry my first comment is negative.

Corbett Barr September 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Hey Nick, not sure if you caught the history of that decision or not. The .net was what this blog started on. We purchased the .com after about a year of blogging here. I didn’t want to migrate to the .com because you can lose out on some established traffic sources (like StumbleUpon) and because it would reset retweet counts and perhaps other counts as well.

What’s the big advantage in your mind of using the .com instead of the .net?

jules September 15, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I’m in almost exactly the same position as Angela. I own the .net but haven’t started the site yet. The .com is registered by someone but unused.

I emailed the owner of the .com as their email was displayed
on the whois but got no reply.

Guess the main issue could be they start a site after I do and grab some traffic at the point when my site takes off or ask for a lot of money to buy it.

Rick Barlow September 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm

You might go ahead and file a trademark application. I think, regardless of whether someone else has owned the .com url before you bought the .net, actual first use of the name would probably earn you the trademark registration, which you could then use to protect your name against being used to market a similar site.

Angela September 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm

The other sticking point would be if a mark had been filed (but under an intent to use) application. An initial trademark search for free on the US Patent and Trademark Office’s website came up totally blank. So the race is on for first use! :)

Jules – There could definitely be bigger issues (worth talking to an IP lawyer about) depending on what you find – i.e. if there’s something similar already filed. Before jumping in…

Tom Ewer September 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Corbett,

Good post – I picked some interesting tips regarding choosing a domain name that I will definitely bear in mind for the future.

I didn’t get caught up in the furore surrounding your blog topic selection, but I can understand why people think that web design would overlap too much with Think Traffic. I personally would like to see something completely unrelated.

Either way, I will definitely be watching your progress keenly!

Cheers,

Tom

Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being September 16, 2011 at 4:31 am

You’re sure a good example of being responsive to your readers. ;-)

I love the topic you chose and like some others, I see it more as a blog about design than blogging. I, personally, would love to learn about that.

When I do a quick search about that topic, I come up with a lot of blogs/sites that are just trying to sell their themes or design services, and many of them are old. I think a blog that offers great info first and foremost on that topic is more than welcomed.

I also like that it will be info we can all use. Frankly, if you developed a blog about something most of us (okay, me) aren’t interested in, I wouldn’t be as eager to follow your progress. (And this from someone who is definitely burned out by all the blogging blogs. I really don’t see it that way.)

Finally, I like that this topic has visual elements to it. That makes it somehow more “fun” and less dry. I think it opens the possibilities up to how you might use various media on it as well.

That’s my two-cents. I say stick.

Chris Kerschner September 16, 2011 at 7:58 am

I’m just wondering if anyone else sets up a development subdomain for creating and testing their site changes.

Nicolaj B. Müllertz September 19, 2011 at 2:10 am

Hi Chris,
i do that often, just for testing the niche.. And when the site is create money, i put that money into creating a bigger site :)

thanks for a great post, Corbett :)

Stephanie September 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I think I’ve had a change of heart after this post. You should do the blog design topic. We’re going to look at your blog anyways whether it’s about blogging or about brewing. It’s just like Pat Flynn’s security guard site. EVERYONE looked at it to see what was going on there (even though the topic was as uninteresting as can be).

Plus, I’d love to see what Corbett offers in this area. If it’s going to be your typical “You’re not a designer? Here’s Thesis for you” or if it’ll be something truly different.

Jesse September 17, 2011 at 9:49 am

Here’s what I learned when choosing my domain just recently:

I picked “thingstodointheup.com” for a few reasons.

1. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is commonly referred to as “The U.P.” by many Midwesterners. So when someone refers to “The U.P.” the majority if people will have some idea what you’re talking about. And “Things to do in the U.P.” very plainly tells what the site is all about.

2. Keyword ranking. Being a newbie, I used Google’s keyword tool to research search volume and didn’t take “exact” match searches into a account. The exact match searches turned out to be many, many, many times lower than the combined search volume. So I’m already ranking for the “Things to do in the U.P.” keyword phrase, but it’s not bringing me much traffic. :)

Overall, I’m still happy with my choice so far and think it’s a solid brand that’s been pretty recognizable to my target market.

Ryan September 19, 2011 at 5:42 am

Cool stuff, thanks Corbett. Inspired by the blog challenge i’m giving my personal blog a major overhaul but have also as an experiment i’ve just set up another wordpress powered blog that’s more of a niche site I guess. It’s a pure affiliate marketing site and it’s really quite amazing how quickly I had registered the doman, installed wordpress, a new theme, some plugins and put up some test content. That was all dead easy, now just to add some content of value to readers and get some traffic! Quite excited to see how it all shapes up and see what I learn from it…….and any income I earn will be a nice bonus :-)

Conni @ A Life of Blue September 20, 2011 at 7:11 am

Thanks so much for this post, Corbett!

I can see how choosing a topic, blog name and domain might be the hardest part of this project!! It was a loooong process in my case, but I learned a lot from it and your advice!

Regarding the topic debate: I like the winner topic about web design and was looking forward to it. But how hard is to serve everyone’s taste… I’m sure whatever you chose, we will benefit from this project!

Bianca September 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Yeah, I’m currently in the .net/.com vortex as well. I am happy to take the .net extension, but it makes me nervous that the .com has already been registered (but no active site is there). I am thinking hard before i jump on this to avoid future trouble but the page says: “Services for this domain have been discontinued”. Hmm.

Does anyone have experience with this or can give some helpful links on this subject? Thanks!!

mark Lowe December 9, 2011 at 10:21 am

just followed the video step by step and surprise I cannot find my site. I am at 2:30ish of the video. Site was reg. and hosted with Hostgator, installed wordpress, got a login for wordpress but there is nothing there. What am I missing??

Do I have to also create a wordpress website/blog first or something? Something isn’t right here.

Thanks

Mark

Sergio Felix April 17, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Hey Corbett,

This is definitely one of the best guides out there on starting a blog from scratch and leaving almost nothing out for starting mistakes.

I like that you have had nothing but good experiences with HostGator.

I had to open a few tickets with them in the past (about five different scenarios) and every single one of them resolved/closed in a positive way for both parties.

They even went the extra mile with some stuff that I can’t even openly say here but they are really, THAT cool and professional.

Sergio

Matt Mazur October 12, 2012 at 7:27 am

Hey Corbett,

I launched this after you wrote this blog post, but I think you might find it helpful: it’s called Lean Domain Search (http://www.leandomainsearch.com) and it’s a domain name search tool that makes it really, really easy to find great available .COMs for your website. You mentioned BustAName, which is somewhat similar, except BustAName requires you to type in lots of keywords and then it mixes and matches them to come up with domain names. With Lean Domain Search you simply type in one keyword related to your domain and then it will pair it with thousands of other keywords and instantly show you which are available.

Great post though — I never heard anyone mention the .COM redirect stat before (4% you said) which is very telling. .COMs for the win. :)

Corbett Barr October 12, 2012 at 9:43 am

Hey Matt, thanks for the tip. I have used your service before and it’s really convenient. Nicely done.

Gus Prendergast October 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm

I would go for a branded domain name rather than trying to stuff keywords in there. The most successful domain names out there at the moment are all branded (think Google, Facebook, Twitter etc). Also, keywords in domains looks a little spammy and all the best combinations are already taken. It doesn’t hurt to be unique, in fact I think it helps your marketing strategy!

Christopher Hofman October 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Great elaborate post,

I think though you should revise the section about choosing either .com or .net. With the new domain revolution we will see hundreds of new TLDs, and I would much rather have a .guru for my expert blog. (Btw you can get it herr http://www.europeandomaincentre.com/pages/price-list/all_domains/new-top-level-domains/guru)

Jason September 16, 2011 at 10:15 am

Another one I’ve found and use occasionally is morguefile.com. Still, I think you can’t beat a fotolia account. We wouldn’t really have to buy anything for more than 1 credit ($1.20 at the most).

-j

RobM| Premium SEO Articles September 17, 2011 at 2:42 am

pedro, I see your point. Maybe the point I am trying to make is that it will be easier to rank quickly in search engines with an aged domain. Adding tons of baclinks to a new domain could get you sandboxed by google. Not good for anyone’s blog. RobM.

Matthew Bailey September 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Yes Rick, I’m pretty sure your right. As far as I know, it’s really whoever put use to the domain first and even then, how big it is. You can’t just own a site name with absolutely no content and claim it’s a business infringement type of thing.

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