.Blog Domains: Everything You Need to Know

Posted on December 11, 2016 by in Resources | 16 comments

.Blog Domains: Everything You Need to Know

On November 21st, .blog domains went on sale to the general public. For the first time ever, you can purchase “my.blog” instead of “myblog.com.” But just how does this magic work? And is it worth buying a .blog domain? Keep reading for everything you need to know about .blog domains.

What are .blog Domains?

.blog domains

.blog is a completely new top-level domain (TLD), which might raise an entirely different question:

What is a top-level domain?

A top-level domain is essentially the part of a domain name which appears directly to the right of the final “dot” in your domain name. Originally, there were six: .com, .org, .net, .edu, .gov, .mil.

But as the Internet has grown, so has the number of top-level domains. In the early 2000s, new TLDs started springing up after ICANN, the international body who oversees domains, started opening up the system.

In 2012, ICANN announced a new type of TLD: generic top-level domains (gTLD). Through an auction process, companies can purchase generic extensions like .store, .host, and…you guessed it, .blog.

Who Controls .blog domains?

In 2015, the rights to control .blog domains were auctioned off to a mysterious Panamanian buyer for the princely sum of ~$19 million, an amount about roughly three times as much as any other gTLD auction (at that time).

A year later in 2016, it was revealed that this mysterious buyer was none other than WordPress’ own Automattic (in partnership with another company).

By purchasing the rights to .blog, Automattic secured the authority to sell and oversee .blog domains. After giving trademark owners first-purchase rights and opening up domains to early (paid) applications, Automattic officially started selling .blog domains publicly on November 21st, 2016.

Reasons to Consider .blog Domains

When choosing whether to buy a .blog domain for a new or existing site, you should weigh the pros vs the cons. I’ll discuss the positives first and then get into some potential negatives in the next section.

It’s an Open Frontier – Huge Array of Domains Available

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With over 120 million .com domains registered, it’s tough to find a quality .com domain that’s still available. Unless you’re willing to buy “extemporizes.com” or something similarly awkward, it’s nearly impossible to find an available single-word .com domain name. Most premium two-word combinations are also taken these days.

Not the case with .blog. Because .blog is brand new, you can still find many premium single-word domains. For example, at the time of writing this article, it’s still possible to register “weightloss.blog” and “blogging.blog”.

It’s important to note that Automattic is charging premium prices for some of these attractive single-word domains. But if you’re willing to be a little flexible, you can still find a great single-word domain without breaking the bank.

.blog Is Highly Brandable

If you’re running a blog, .blog domains obviously open up a ton of cool branding opportunities. Instead of something like “weightlossblog.com”, you can now just be “weightloss.blog”. The basic branding is the same, but your domain is shorter and catchier.

Some sites have long taken advantage of this with other TLDs. For example, Genius uses “geni.us” and Anchor Hosting went from “anchorhost.com” to the simpler “anchor.host”.

There’s No SEO Penalty for Choosing .blog Domains

A major worry when discussing new top-level domain extensions is whether using them will affect SEO rankings. Well, assuming Google is being honest, they claim that’s not the case at all.

According to Google, Google’s “systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org)”. You’re not at any SEO disadvantage when choosing a .blog over a .com.

There is one caveat, though. Keywords in your TLD don’t affect your rankings. So if you did choose something like “weightloss.blog”, Google would not view that as an exact match for someone searching “weightloss blog”.

But given that Google has greatly decreased the importance of exact match keyword domains, this isn’t an issue like it would have been ten years ago.

Automattic Is Going to Be Pushing .blog

Though it’s a new TLD, .blog has a major advantage: it’s being pushed by one of the biggest names in blogging. Though it’s too early to tell, this backing will, hopefully, prevent .blog from becoming “just another TLD.”

If Automattic can push .blog into the mainstream, it will be much easier for your potential visitors to remember your domain name.

Reasons Not to Buy a .blog Domain

Though the new possibilities coming from .blog domains are certainly exciting, there are some reasons you may want to consider going with something traditional.

.com is Still the King

Though the magnitude has certainly decreased, it’s still common for regular users to associate websites exclusively with .com. If you don’t believe me, just ask your old Uncle the next time you see him!

Rand Fishkin also discussed something called cognitive fluency in one of his Whiteboard Friday talks. Essentially, you want to choose the name that’s easiest for your users to remember. In most cases, that’s still a .com.

If you have the option to get a good .com versus a slightly better .blog, you should probably stick with .com. If it’s a good .com versus a great .blog, then you might want to go with .blog.

.blog is a Brand New TLD

Some of .blogs greatest strengths are a consequence of this one weakness. Because it is brand new, average users might not even know that .blog exists. This could cause them to either:

  • Forget your website
  • Worry about the authenticity of your website

Automattic is aiming to register 250,000 .blog domains in the first year. If they’re successful, .blog might well enter the public consciousness. BUT, that’s a pretty big if. We will have to wait and see if they can meet their goal.

How to Buy a .blog Domain

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Because .blog domains are now public, you should be able to buy them from most any domain registrar. I tested both Namecheap and GoDaddy and both are actively selling .blog domains.

If you want to use the official WordPress system, you can buy from get.blog. But, at least at the time of this article, get.blog is more expensive than both Namecheap and GoDaddy. Namecheap is selling regular .blog domains for ~$24, GoDaddy for ~$28, and get.blog for ~$30.

Once you buy a .blog domain, it will function exactly the same as any other domain name you’ve purchased.

Wrapping Up

Personally, I’m still on the fence when it comes to .blog domains. I think they open up some very intriguing branding opportunities and I love how many single-word domains are still available.

Despite that, I’m going to wait and see how effectively Automattic can push .blog’s adoption before I jump in. I want to see that .blog starts getting some mainstream acceptance before I build a site on it.

What are your thoughts on .blog domains? Do you think they’re going to become a viable option or go the way of .info domains?

Article thumbnail image by Timashov Sergiy / shutterstock.com 

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16 Comments

  1. Been viewing your blog and have been enjoying and benefiting from your tips.

  2. “Once you buy a .blog domain, it will function exactly the same as any other domain name you’ve purchased.”

    Not entirely true. Once you’ve gotten your .blog tld, you have to log in by requesting a link via email, and you have a “concierge” that handles your DNS changes or things that normally you may use a cPanel for.

  3. USD $2600 a year for a domain? Wow what a deal!

    I’ll stick with CAD $15 .ca domains that remain under CIRA control, thanks. If I am interested in a gTLD of my own, I’ll go to CIRA. Though I question the value of gTLDs and doubt they will ever take off, unless pushed, like Automattic is here, having invested millions, now they have to.

    Still interesting post, thanks for the info!

  4. Yeah. $2,600 a year is probably too much for a domain. Unless I have investors and huge fund backings, I’d rather stick to a ‘crappier’ .com name than .blog. One word domain is probably not available for .blog (for instance: health.blog or forex.blog)

    I will only go for .blog when there is a much significant benefit.

  5. Interesting. I have got some of my customers to use the .me for the reasons stated.

    I see it as a positive move to have a.blog extension in the case of blog sites.

    It can be hard for established brands to find traditional top level domains as others have already taken them up. I have struggled with this on a number of occasions.

    Today I plan to register a domain and I will have to use another extension, in this case .nz as the same name has already been taken up with a .co.nz which is the most common extension here in New Zealand.

    Maybe in other countries you might want to use .blog for blogs and .me for other sites?

  6. One negative you didn’t mention is that readers might not be able to find your site because they assume it ends in .com so end up on someone else’s website.

    However…you might approach that owner of the samename.com site and do a deal on the extra traffic you send them – by mistake.

    I’m not sure how you would set this up but it’s a possible marketing strategy in a new .blog;s timeline.

  7. Tried to buy a few on Godaddy but looks like almost everything I want is unavailable. I’m not fast enough 😀

  8. planning to buy one for personal branding.Hope it goes well with SEO

  9. I would usually stick to .com unless you go for a local TLD.

    If you’re building a website that only targets a UK audience it would make sense to choose a domain ending in .co.uk This may help your local SEO rankings.

    Additionally, if you’re choosing a domain name that is very similar to its .com counterpart simply because the .com isn’t available then there will be confusion for visitors and you will probably lose traffic.

    .tv .info .co etc didn’t have the impact that was projected but maybe it will be different for .blog with the backing of Automattic.

    Having said that, .io seems to be doing pretty well in the tech sector.

  10. Of course MY desired name comes up as premium.. its to be expected after all..

  11. Hello, Brenda!

    I am going to buy my own name in .BLOG TLD! 🙂

    It really is awesome of having this domain extension. Seriously, that’s the good addition in the domain names’ industry.

    ~ Adeel

  12. interesting, nice post

  13. Great post! Thanks for this

  14. A strategy I have used with our clients where a .gtld makes sense is to get the same domain (if possible) as a .com

    Real life example. One of the many .gtlds is .dog
    One of our client has a dog walking business. They had TheirBusinessName.com after doing a quick search TheirBusinessName.dog was available. Perfect for a business like theirs.

    After they registered their .dog domain everything on the internet was changed over (at the time they didn’t have much on the internet) to their .dog domain. Any links, their web site etc.

    Now for old .com links or those that just type in .com instead of the .gtld when they know better (yours truly is guilty of this), I recommend having the same domain name as a .com. Just use the .com as a forward and point to your web site as an Alias (Domain Forward) as this is easy thing to do. That way you have the people like me from time to time that subconsciously types in the .com any way not landing on a 404 Page Can’t Be Found”

    And for email service, if you have a professional email service for business, you can add your .com as an Domain Alias as well so in case someone sends you an email to the .com it will go to the correct .gtld (.dog in this case).

    This has been a good marketing approach for our client (and others). People seeing the .dog on their business cards and paper handouts has been a great conversation starter. And that is what you want, all good things start with a conversation.

  15. Almost all .com domains i cherished to buy is almost taken. Its really hard to find a cool .com domain. I searched hours but didn’t find any of the domain i wanted to buy, everything is taken:/

    • Taken does not necessarily mean ‘not available’. Many domain name owners are open to offers.

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