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Domain Names – Personal or Keyword?

One of the most important and difficult choices that someone that is beginning a website can make is what to name it. What do you want your domain name, or website name, to be? Do you want it to be a reflection of yourself? Do you want it to be related to the topic you love?

Which is more important? Should you have a keyword related domain name, or a personal domain name that reflects your name? This is a choice you have to make and one that depends on what your intentions are with your site.

One of the toughest questions that I faced when I started this site was what should I name it? When I first started this site, my intentions were to use it for a web design business. I enjoyed sharing what I was learning about accessible web design, and showcasing my work. Over time, however, I began realizing that there were numerous opportunities to learn a lot more about the internet and web sites, making money online and other things with personal web sites that just solidified my choice.

I decided to pick this name, ejcross.com as a personal site. This gives me a huge benefit, but also a huge drawback when it comes to domain names. Let me explain.

If you are looking to learn to blog, one of the choices you will have to make is will you sell your blog down the road? If you pick a hot topic and bring in a huge audience from your favorite topic, will you eventually sell your site? If it is in your name, probably not. If you do, you won’t make as much as you would if your site was in a generic name. Why?

Well, if I was shopping for a site that talked about my favorite items of “blue widgets” and your site was named “bobsbluewidgets.com” instead of “bestbluewidgets.com”, which one would make more sense? As for an investor or a person that was wanting to make money online with websites, I would pick the generic site name as a purchase.

When you create a site in your personal name, there comes an aspect with it that is related to you. It is hard to distinguish between you (the original owner) and someone else that might own the site. Would you want someone else owning your identity online? I sure wouldn’t.

One of the great sites that I read often when it comes to creating websites is Court’s Internet Marketing Site. You can see a great video about how to chose a domain name for beginners that should help you pick a domain name for yourself.

The ultimate choice comes down to the fact of if you want to just have a site that is related to your personal name, one that reflects your own feelings, opinions and thoughts, or if you want a site that is branded to eventually be able to sell for a profit if you decide to?

5 Responses to “Domain Names – Personal or Keyword?”

  1. David Airey says:

    It’s an interesting topic, no doubt, and one that any website owner will have to struggle with.

    For me, I originally chose to use my personal name, then branched off with a second website, using keywords. It’s twice the work, but I get benefits from both sides of the coin.

    David Aireys last blog post..Creative roundup 08 July 2008

  2. john says:

    I used my name obviouslly, and since I didn’t have a focus on my blog that was probably OK. But I have noticed that on sites were I use keywords I get better rankings because when people link to my website they use my keywords rather just “john” which doesn’t get me much! Of course, I don’t know what else I would want them to use because I don’t really have a theme. Maybe thats the problem.

    johns last blog post..Five Years Ago This Week – 7/12/2003

  3. elliott says:

    David, I completely agree with you. When I first started, this was my only site. Now that a couple of years have passed, I have a lot more options with other sites I have bought or developed.

  4. elliott says:

    John,

    I know what you mean. If you look through the archives of my site, you will see some different posts. Some of them have ranked well and brought me some SE traffic, others haven’t. I think you can have a general topic blog and it can still do well, just a lot of it depends on your SEO and topics/length of posts also.

  5. If you plan to promote your website offline, such as in print materials, on the radio or by word of mouth, make sure your domain is not easy to misspell. For instance countesssarah.com would often be misspelled by typing ss in the middle rather than sss.

    David Leonhardt, SEO consultants last blog post..Google Cache Gets Style

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