www or no-www in Domain Name

When you start a new blog or a website, after you have selected a domain name, you have option to use www with domain name or use the domain name without www. It was a big achievement for a 9th grade student 15 years ago to know that ‘www’ stands for world wide web. Now it is sort of obvious. You don’t really need to use this. Or its your personal preference if you want to use it. You should follow below action points to address www or no-www option:

1. Decide to use or not.

You must use one thing. Using both causes problems in Search Engine listings. Such an example is given at DailyBlogTips about Digg.com where they were using both options and it lead to duplicate listing of their site causing low ranking although collectively they were having maximum traffic. Because www acts as a subdomain and search engines start considering it a separate entity for the content. You may use either on your personal liking. If it looks good written with your domain name, go for it. And if you like the domain name without www prefix, just drop it. But once you have decided, stick with it. Don’t change later and do the following.

2. Setup redirects:

After deciding, setup redirect from www to non-www version or vice versa. Mark Aaron has explained how to setup 301 redirect using .htaccess. This is not necessarily needed if you are using WordPress.

And if you are hosting your website with WPEngine, you must add Domain redirection from Domains option in your WordPress install. Add redirection from www to non-www version or otherwise as per your choice. It will look like as in below image after completion.


Domains option in WordPress install

3. WordPress Setting:

If you are using Word Press as your blogging platform, go to Settings > General. There are options of WordPress Address and Website Address. Write your URL either with www or no-www as you have decided earlier.


WordPress General Settings

4. Add Preferred Site option to Google Webmasters Tools.

First of all, you will need to verify your domain with and without www separately in Google Webmasters Tools. After verification of both variants, go to either site settings and set your preferred domain as per your decision earlier. It will look like below.


Preferred Domain settings in Google Webmasters

What is your choice about www or no-www and what are you using? Did you start considering this as you started your website or came to know at later stage?

How to find best Domain Name for your Blog

When I planned for this website, my first step was to make an outline of what I intend to cover, what are my goals and why I want to build this website. This was the planning phase. After having written above requirements in my Evernote, its time to decide on a domain name. A domain name is not only an address to my website but it would become the name of my new platform.

Although there is always an option of re-branding but that is an art itself and needs a lot of efforts in later stages. So safely I can say for a newbie, its not wise to change domain name for a website again and again. If renaming is really needed, it must be done as soon as the need arrives.

There are many but at least following are very important points to keeps in mind when you select a domain name. I considered at least these for this domain name selection.

SEO Keywords or brand Name:

You have two paths when you are searching for a domain name.

  1. Use a typical (may be) non-dictionary word or even your name (personal branding). Many times its done when you are going to take your off-line business name to Internet. In this case, you are not really required to work hard to search for domain name.
  2. To get more search engine traffic, select a domain name with your niche words contained within and explaining the nature of your blog/business. It should be a combination of two or three words that describe purpose of your website or blog. Anything longer than three words is not a good domain name in general.

LearningBlogging is an example of this type where two words describe the nature of this blog. It describe of a platform where we are learning the art of blogging.

 .com domains

Its been long since Internet and websites are around but importance of .com domain names is still in place. Don’t opt for any other top level or country level domain unless that is really necessary.

A country level domain can be needed if your business is local and there is no margin of expansion on international front. Examples are .us, .uk, .pk, .in etc. These mostly cost more than a .com domain.

Examples of top level domains other than .com are .net, .org, .tv, .info etc. People have adopted as natural tendency to use .com with your site name and you have to make them realize if you have other than .com domain. Hitting CTRL+Enter after writing domain name in adress bar of browser adds .com making it obvious to go for .com domain name.

There may be a scenario that you really need some other TLD. Why not buy .com domain as well and redirect that to your other domain name.

Some large business buy many TLDs and redirect those to their .com domain. Or a same company can use .com and .org for different purposes like WordPress does it.

Easy to remember

Using dictionary word or a combination helps others remember the site name. Shorter is better. Its not easy now to grab single word domain name. A logical combination of two or maximum three words is fine. Don’t go beyond three words combination.

Initially I wanted to make a combination of three dictionary words but could not find something appealing. My motive for three words combination was to make a short name consisting of initial letter of each word.

No Hyphens / Numbers

Don’t use hyphens or numbers in your domain name. It makes typing difficult and word of mouth sharing error prone. So better avoid a-hyphened-domain-name.

If you are concerned with isolation of words in domain name, use Camel case -where each word starts with a capital letter like LearningBlogging.com

Domain Name Suggestion Tool

You must use some helping tool for domain name search. Such tools sometimes broaden your options in mind. I had used Bust-A-Name for this website and many others. Give it a try and let me know in comments if anything better you use.