Should Your Blog’s Domain Name Be Your Name?
From time to time, I’m asked if I have any regrets about using my name as the URL for my blog’s domain name. My answer is yes and no.
Having a custom URL for your blog, a service that even platforms like Blogger offer, can set your blog apart help it look more professional.
It looks better to the web visitor when your website address takes the form of
So once I realized there was a good chance I was going to stick with this blogging thing early in this blog’s life, I started thinking about getting a URL of my own to move it to some day.
A domain with my own name — which is what I’ve used for about nine years or so — seemed the best choice, especially since I knew I wanted to reserve a domain with my name.
The real question, at this distance, is whether I should have reserved two domains way back then: one for my name so I could do something with it eventually and a different one for this blog.
The obvious choice, patricksplace.com was taken. It still is. As best I can tell, it’s used solely for someone’s email, which, of course, is well within the right of whoever owns the domain.
It would have been easier for readers to remember, I’m sure, if I’d gone with one of the alternatives to the traditional .com domain, like a .net or .org, but the problem with this is you’ll always have people who, out of habit, will type the .com and assume the site has been deleted when they get something other than the site they’re expecting.
If I’d have given more thought to it, I would have found a better name for this blog than Patrick’s Place that would have better reflected what the blog is about, then made sure that URL was available.
I do think it’s better, when possible, for the URL and the name of the site to match. It just makes it easier for you to be found.
But at the same time, you’re hoping for your readers to rely on easier ways to find your content.
5 Ways Readers Can Find Your Content Regardless of Your URL
1. Your email list
When you get people to subscribe to your email newsletter, your content reaches out to them right in their inbox, meaning they no longer have to remember your URL to read what you have to say. And once they’re on your site, they can find more of what you have to say (assuming they like what they find when the newsletter content gets them there).
Yes, everyone’s tired of those three little letters, but search engine optimization makes a huge difference when it comes to helping people find your content. If you’re using keywords and optimizing your content correctly — I use Yoast to assist me — you can see in your analytics how much of your readership reaches you through search engines. And if you’re doing well with SEO, they’re reaching you because of searches about your topics, not your name, which will surely help you find a bigger audience because it won’t be only people who are already aware of your blog. SEO becomes, then, a great way to find new readers who otherwise wouldn’t have ever heard of your blog.
3. Social Media
If your email list is made up of more loyal readers and your SEO might be made up of readers who’ve never heard of you, your social media accounts might bring a great mix of both: people can find you on social media through friends of friends who interact with your content or they see new content you post directly because they’ve already liked or followed your account.
If your readers like your content enough, they may bookmark your site. An alternative to bookmarks is links on other people’s blogs. Bookmarks and links might be the least reliable way to get visitors these days; after all, how many bookmarks do people actually want to deal with in a web browser and how many links do people feel like listing in their sidebars to promote others? But for those who still rely on either, it could still generate regular visitors.
5. Feed Readers
Services like Feedly allow people to subscribe to your feed without cluttering up their inbox. They may or may not be as common as they used to be, but for those users who love them, they’re a great way to reach your audience.
If I had it to do over again, I’d have probably found a better name for this blog and a URL to match.
My alternative to this, which I came up with after the fact once my current domain was established, was to create a referring URL, http://www.patricksplace.me, that automatically refers people to this site.
But if you’ve not yet committed yourself to a URL and you’re thinking about it, my best advice would be to make sure that all of your digitial locations — your blog name, your URL and your social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest — all use the same name.
You want your readers to be able to find you easily no matter where they are.