Making websites is something that I really like, and whilst they can be time consuming sometimes, one area where I spend have spent far too long in the past is thinking of a name for the project. I don't know if other people have the same problem, but I can get really stuck on this, and it takes my focus away from actually making the project as good as it can be.
Sometimes I think of a good name, and then when I search for it in Namecheap I find that it is available, but also that it will cost £2,000 to buy. So I have to return to the drawing board.
Overtime I've become more pragmatic about this, afterall very few of my personal projects will ever reach an audience. I have about 30 Twitter followers and the only person subscribing to this blog is me, so no need to go spending the big bucks on a snazzy name.
But, I still want a custom domain name. For example, I wrote an article about creating a little website showing album art cover for a band I like, and I wanted a custom domain. So I thought of a name, Foalio and took a look at what was available. Sure enough 'foalio.com' was available, but I didn't want to go spending £10 on a .com domain for a website that I created to help me learn and be the basis for an article. What to do?!
I noticed that another domain was available and it was £0.79 for the year. This domain was foalio.xyz which whilst not the best sounding domain in the world, it was still custom and the main part of it was the the 'foalio' part. I can afford to shell out less than a pound to get a custom domain.
The biggest thing about this, it s that Google doesn't care about the top-level domain. If you main goal is to get Google to rank the site, then you can choose which ever top-level domain you want.
Interestingly, when I told friends and family to go and look at it, most of them struggled to recognize it as a website because, unless you're a nerd like me, you don't necessarily think that top-level domains like that exists, and you probably don't realise they are called top-level domains either.
Admittedly, if you are creeating a business, it is still the case the the .com top-level domain is still better known and better respected, but if it's jsut for fun, grab something cheap, like .xyz!