The following is part of Frugal Dad’s weekly series, “So You Want to Be a Blogger?” which chronicles the development and optimization of a blog’s lifecycle.
Registering your name is not an absolute requirement to start a blog, as many free services (such as Blogger.com) will allow you to tag on to their domain. However, if you are interested in customization, advertising, or are concerned with search engine optimization, you should consider registering your own domain name. Besides, it is fun owning your own piece of real estate along the information superhighway!
When selecting a domain name, remember the “K.I.S.S.” principle – Keep It Simple! Many shorter domain names based on common themes are taken, so you may have to get creative to come up with a unique domain name. Just don’t get too creative. Something that is easily memorable for you may not be for someone looking to return to your blog. In my case, I knew I wanted to write about frugality and money, but many related URLs were taken.
I brainstormed ten names and bounced them off friends and family to see which ones were catchy, which ones were thoroughly forgettable (about half my list), and which ones were brandable – meaning I could develop an entire theme around the name. “Frugal Dad” was the winner, in large part because it was short, easy to remember, and easy to create a theme around. From my site’s name visitors instantly know the type of content they will likely find – frugality, parenting, finances, etc.
There are many options when selecting a registrar to reserve your name. I decided to go with GoDaddy.com, mostly because I was familiar with their service, and because I had a few other domains registered there from past blogging attempts. I realize there are probably cheaper alternatives, but in some instances you get what you pay for. Be sure to check ICANN’s extensive list of accredited registrars before signing up.
Register your domain for two years, instead of just the first one. Many times registrars give a price break if you select a period of two years or longer. That was the case at GoDaddy.com, so I registered Frugal Dad for two years. Also, consider an automatic renewal option to be sure your domain doesn’t get dropped and snapped up before you can re-register. Most registrars offer this service, and will automatically renew your domain and charge the credit card (or debit card) on file.
Consider private registration. I could write an entire post on whether or not you should blog anonymously, but for now I’ll just recommend private registration if you have concerns about people identifying who you are, where you live, etc. ICANN requires a name and address to register a domain name, but many proxy services will allow you to register with them and have their name listed on the public lookups. Look for “private registration” or “domain by proxy” options when registering if you are interested in this service.
Next week’s post in this series will focus on selecting a hosting service and template for your blog.