Whatever you do, don’t rush into choosing a domain name for your travel blog. You’ll build your whole travel blog brand up around this so it needs at least 24 hours of thought, just so you can sleep on it. The best way to start researching an awesome travel blog domain name is to have a look around at others and see which ones you think work best. After you’ve read the tips and advice in this guide to choosing your travel blog domain name, obviously.
If you’ve already settled on your travel blog domain name I think you’ll still find this article interesting. If not, scroll down to after the Dr Seuss quote if you want to know what to do next.
Next week’s Travel Blogger High: What to Write and How to Write About It
The reasoning behind my domain name was that I wanted to express what I did and also to have my name in there. I seem to remember reading somewhere at the time that it would be better for my SEO if I had ‘travels’ in it. This has led to me having a really long URL, not something I’d recommend. If I could go back I wouldn’t bother with the ‘travels’ part, the ‘flipflop’ already suggests that. But in hindsight it’s not too bad a URL.
People often ask me where ‘flip flop’ came from – it’s because of my surname, Philpott. At school some of my friends would call me ‘flip flop’, which has worked out pretty well for my future career.
I really like being ‘VickyFlipFlop’. At conferences and travel events people will shout ‘Flippers’ or ‘FlipFlop’ as it’s an easy name for people to remember. Some people I’ve met have been upset that I don’t wear flip flops 24/7 though, I guess it would be good for branding if I did, but it’s too difficult in chilly England. Not dedicated enough, obviously.
Domain name memorability
Choosing a memorable domain name is a good idea. I won’t pick on my fellow bloggers but for some of them I can never remember if there’s a prefix like ‘this’ or ‘the’ and others I can’t remember where the dashes go – you need to make it as easy as possible to be known and shared.
Also, make it easy to spell!
Some of the most memorable names I think are ones with the travel bloggers name and then just one word, like adventurouskate, runawayjane, aliciaexplores and wanderingearl. If you’re out and about and you want to tell people about your blog they’re much more likely to remember these names than some of the others in the blogosphere.
Blog title suitability
It’s good to have some idea of what you’re going to write about before you settle on a domain name for your travel blog. If you’re planning on writing about the eco systems of Saudi Arabia, or similar, a travel blog domain name like ‘bobscrazytravels.com’ just won’t relay your message. Have a think about the following points in any decision-making:
- What will your main travel blogging topic be?
- Will it just be you writing, or will you open it to guest posters?
- What tone and voice will it be written in?
- Who is your intended audience?
Make sure your final travel blog domain name suits the answers to these questions.
The shorter your domain name, the better. I don’t mean really short, like an acronym, but just don’t have anything over 20 characters. It’s just too long for your social media pages and for your business cards too. It’s also annoying for people to type. When it comes to having posts on your site the full URLs will be so long they won’t fit in the search engine results pages (SERPs), so try to keep your original blog name as short and simple as possible.
Having a short domain name is also good when it comes to claiming your social media accounts. I had to shorten mine to @VickyFlipFlop, which isn’t too much of a problem, but I bet some people think that’s my URL too, without the ‘travels’. Other bloggers such as backpackerbanter.com have had to drop letters – Chris’ Twitter account is @bckpackerbanter which once you get used to it is memorable, but he’s even said to me it’s not ideal.
Get rid of .wordpress.com
If you’re serious about your blogging it’s also best to get rid of the .wordpress.com attachment. It just looks more professional. If you’re willing to invest the few pounds to get rid of it the more likely companies will be to invest in your brand too.
If you’re unsure about making the investment wait a while and see how you feel about your domain name, how it feels, and then you can always change it before you pay out any of your hard earned cash.
I’ve written more below about choosing a host for your new blog, but when you upgrade you could look at Mangomatter – one of the best web hosting services out there. They promise fast service and great customer service too.
Domain name SEO
If your travel blog focuses on one part of travel, for example skiing in France, then it would be good for your site SEO to include a reference in your domain name, like amyskiisfrance.com, for example. Google will always give extra credit to any domain name that’s managed to claim the keywords it’s attempting to rank for. For example when I worked at gapyear.com we’d usually appear first in the SERPs for our key search phrases because we had ‘gap year’ in our URL.
If you’re not planning on having such a focused content or audience then I wouldn’t worry about trying to play SEO with your domain name. You might just end up limiting yourself for the future, or making your URL too long, like I did.
Just go mad
There are a few travel blog domain names out there that to the untrained eye just don’t really make any sense. I’m thinking beerandbeans.com, baconismagic.com and feveredmutterings.com. Choosing such an experimental blog name depends on whether you want to start off being brandable or discoverable – all the blogs I’ve just listed have gone on to be some of the best in the industry. This proves you don’t have to have travel related words in your domain name, if you don’t want to.
Words to avoid
Words like ‘nomadic’, ‘nomad’ or ‘abroad’ are totally overused now. It can be tempting to want to describe your blog so literally for the reasons above but in order to stand out from the crowd now I’d advise you stay away from these words. Take the word ‘nomad’ for example, there’s already:
And they’re the ones I know about. These guys already dominate the whole ‘nomadic’ thing. And ashleyabroad.com, theblondeabroad.com and savoirfaireabroad.com, among others, have claimed the ‘abroad’. When it comes to naming your travel blog, think unique!
Choose a .com extension
The most accessible domain name extension is to have .com after your chosen brand name. There are others available such as .net, .info, .tv but this is just another roadblock for people to find you. If you’re tech savvy this is ok as you can sort out all the 301 directs yourself, but if you’re tech brain is as limited as mine I’d recommend you stick to .com. It also looks more trustworthy as people are familiar with it.
5 of my favourite travel blog domain names
1. worldofwanderlust.com – good branding and has the potential to be a huge travel site, as there are no limits.
2. girltweetsworld.com – clever and memorable!
3. ytravelblog.com – short, says what it is and clearly states it’s a travel blog.
4. goseewrite.com – memorable, snappy and again, says what it is / does.
5. aroundtheworldin80jobs.com – I mentioned it earlier but I think this domain name is great. You know exactly what you’re going to get and it has a clear message, as well as being memorable even though it’s quite long.
Google your potential domain name
Before you finally decide on your domain name just do a quick Google check to see what comes up.
- You don’t want anything too similar to anyone else.
- Any weird associations.
- Or anything ‘inappropriate’.
- And definitely not any potential legality issues.
Check the handle on social media
Check Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and any of the other social media sites you want to use to be sure your chosen name hasn’t been taken. Claim them asap!
Competitor sabotage prevention
If you were really serious, and paranoid, you could buy all the alternatives around your travel blogger domain name. For example I could also buy up things like:
You can then redirect all the other domains to your main domain to make sure no one else can have them. I haven’t done this though – too much work.
Changing your domain name
It’s absolutely possible to change your domain name of your travel blog if you find your changing direction or want something different. If you do though you’ll lose any history you’ve already garnered with Google around your current choice.
Here are two of travel bloggers who’ve changed their domain names.
- Backpackerbecki.com to bordersofadventure.com (Becki didn’t like the negative connotation with ‘backpacker’ she experienced)
- 40before30.com to girltweetsworld.com (Jayne came of age!)
You can see they’ve managed to move their sites over (with some help, I understand) and they’ve used the knowledge gained on their first blogs to make their new ones even better.
If possible it is best to avoid this as it can take timely and cost a bit, but it’s always good to know you have the option if you feel you want to change. Sometimes it can even be a good idea to liven things up – depends on your attitude!
Claiming your own name URL
While you’re looking into domain names it makes a lot of sense to secure your actualname.com while you’re at it. I bought victoriaphilpott.com a while ago and a quick LinkedIn search shows me there are six other Victoria Philpotts out there, but I got in first.
It’s only about £20 a year to run and once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. A lot of travel bloggers use their actualname.com as a portfolio site for further work.
Obviously I need to update mine a little – I’ll add that to number 125 on the to-do list – but it’s there and no one can take it from me. I’d suggest you do the same.
Choosing a website host
Once you’ve chosen your domain name you need to decide on who you’re going to get to host your site. If you’re just starting out I’d recommend you choose bluehost.com. I did.
Almost every travel blogger I know went with bluehost as they’re the best value, have the best customer service and the best reviews.
As your traffic grows you can look to upgrade – like I have – but bluehost.com will be your best option for the first few years.
And that’s it! Any more questions about choosing a travel blog domain name?
Sign up for Lesson 3 on Monday 19th January – everything you need to know about making friends with travel bloggers.