Choosing domain name isn’t as easy as it used to be. There’s nothing quite as disheartening as finally settling on the perfect domain name only to find that it’s already taken. We’ve all been there, but the good news is, there’s a few tricks you can use to find a great domain name.
To see if a domain is available, just type it into the domain checker below. The checker is run by Bluehost, which offers a domain and email for just $3.45/month, which is the best rate we’ve found to get started online.
Jason L Bauman, Jr SEO Associate, Trinity Insight
Assuming you’re not going for a company branded URL mycompany.com you want to find something that ideally targets keywords relevant to your industry. For myself, I use free tools like Ubersuggest to find phrases around the term I want in the URL and then use my registrar’s search to see if it’s available.
My secret weapon is bustaname.com. I use it all the time to generate a name based on keywords related to the new site.
Sam Firer, Public Relations, Consulting, Concept Development, Hall Company
Coming up with domain names for new businesses is one of my absolutely favorite parts of my business. A few tricks up my sleeve are:
- Keep a running list of possible great future names. As soon as you think of it, make a deposit to the list; you’ll thank yourself in the future. My list is 15 years old. It has served me well.
- Walking through the shelves of a good library is a great way to start or spot a great domain name. Just do a twist on the title that resonates with your need.
- Look for similar business names in other countries; you’ll always find a hint or a direction toward the perfect domain name.
- Check out demised businesses in the same industry; then see if the domain name has lapsed; grab it!
4- Get creative now and go for an unusual domain (like yoursite.io) and shoot for a .com name later on.
Nick O’Neill, https://gettre.at
Great .com domains are in tight supply, particularly if you have a short, common name for your startup or app. We tend to go with a more creative domain to start, thinking that we’ll pay for that one great .com if we’re successful later on. Our current site is gettre.at as in get treat.
I use Domainr.com for most of my searching. It’s great for brainstorming ideas and finding domains with strange or new extensions (did you know you can get a .ninja domain?)
5- Don’t get married to one domain name generator. Use many to find the best word combination for your domain name.
Oleg Korneitchouk, Director of Digital Marketing, SmartSites
The perfect domain name really depends on the purpose of the website. Are you building a brand? Bringing awareness to an issue? Creating a personal blog/resume? Depending on the intent, you are either looking for a catchy/brandable or informative domain (a great domain will be both but they are diamonds in the rough).
I like to play around with the countless domain name generators. These make it easy to mix and match your keywords, add common internet prefixes/suffixes and see which domains are still available. After you have a list of 3-5 solid domains and ask others which they like best.
6- Need a list of what to look for in your domain name? Use these eight questions to poll your team for the perfect domain.
Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls
The first step is to create the committee or team in charge, identify who else should be involved in the process and then set the criteria. Here are some examples of possible criteria:
- has versatility (works in multiple ways from course name to concept to book)
- is ³sexy² (catches fire/engaging)
- can be sustainable over time (longevity)
- looks good
- sounds good when spoken
- contains playful element
- beginning of alphabet if possible
- URL available
Once these are confirmed then you can start the process. We have many exercises to help generate names and a process to pare them down and test for a winner. Pick a memorable name and stand out from the pack. Would you rather hire Strategic Marketing Solutions or Mavens & Moguls? If nothing else our name is a great conversations starter and getting into a conversation is all it takes to open a door.
Marc Diego, JokesByMail
Finding a great domain name takes some thought and time: I always ask myself if the domain name is something that has a high search volume? Is it relevant to my website? Do you want to brand yourself or influence SEO based on your URL name?
- I use: instantdomainsearch.com so I can quickly check names.
- I then take note of names I think are good onto my evernote app.
- If I want the URL to rank in a specific keyword, I use Google Adwords keyword tool to bounce the URL keywords.
- Finally, I still believe in top level domain .com vs .co, whatever is new.
Steve Spacek, litterscorecard.com
Using published topical media stories, notice selective, descriptive word choices utilized by reporters in these articles when determining a domain name.
Get feedback from friends, customers and if possible, those experienced/in the know on a provided goods/service to be covered on the website before selecting final, chosen domain name.
Gary Spivak, FidelityDating
Our domain name is the same as our business name with a .com on the end.
Our company is FidelityDating and our domain name is http://www.fidelitydating.com/. It’s easy for potential members to find us.
10- Keep your domain name short and clear, don’t go for long, drawn out names that are hard to remember.
Paul Cram, Arbor Bay Marketing
I work at Arbor Bay Marketing, our criteria for choosing a domain name: as short as possible, while giving enough information of what the client does without being generic. Which means we have clients with some very long domain names- which is totally fine as long as they are remembered
Find out if your domain name is available using GoDaddy’s free domain name checker tool?
11- Take advantage of the alternatives and use the new extensions and country codes to keep your domain name name memorable and recognizable.
Brett Hamilton, Founder, SIMPLE.BE
These days it’s to hard to find a great available domain name in the typical extensions (.com .net .org) but thankfully there are lots of alternatives, including the classic country codes and new extensions, and there is always the option of buying an existing domain name that is for sale.
Michael Edelberg, SVP, Viable Operations and IT Solutions
We source many domains for our clients and most seek a TLD (Top Level Domain) for good reason. A .org will immediately tell the user they are looking at a non for profit. Others need to be closer to the company name or type of business, that also includes redirects for region or other business lines. We’ve also dealt with people looking to buy and sell and squatters too. There are SEO issues to take account of as well.
13- Be ready to take a domain name as soon as you think it because, in this tough market, you may only have seconds to buy it after you’ve come up with the perfect name.
Adam Dailey, Principal, Keep Moving Fast, LLC
I usually keep a pad of paper and start writing down ideas. I then keep a couple windows on the computer open – one to see where the domain I like might be parked; one to see if I can register it and usually one more to riff out more ideas (or do a quick WHOIS search so that I can get more info about who might own the domain).
14- If you can’t choose your business name, will the domain name you do choose work well with your business name?
Nima Noori, CEO & Founder, TorontoVaporizer
When choosing a domain name there are many factors to consider. You want to choose a domain name that is relevant to the product or service your business provides, asking yourself: Is this domain name as marketable as your business and does make sense side-by-side with your business’s name? And even better, is the domain name related to industry keywords for SEO exposure? For example, we are a vaporizer retailer located in Toronto, so our business name, and also our domain name, TorontoVaporizer.ca, makes incredible sense from a marketing, product and SEO perspective.
Gabriel Kuperman, Huge Impact
It took me 6 months to settle on HugeImpact.com
A great domain name typically has the following:
- Is short (10 characters or 2 words max)
- Easy to spell and memorable
- Easy to pronounce
- Is a .com domain extension
- Is not easily confused with other brands
- Doesn’t have pluralization that could cause confusion
Greg Tessitore, Director of Marketing, 36creative
We find that being creative and using a phrase rather than just the name of the company can be a huge help when it comes to securing a .com domain. e.g. www.weare36.com vs www.36creative.com.
17- The domain market is expanding with lots of tempting new generic domain extensions, such as .supplies, .jewelry, .consulting. What generic domain can work for your business?
Brett Dunst, VP of Brand & Community, DreamHost
Small business looking for the perfect domain name need to know about the recently expanded set of gTLDs (generic top-level domains), which offer newly available substitutes for the familiar .com and .net address endings. The issue with using a .com nowadays is all the best names have long been taken; new businesses are left using names that are cumbersome in length, or include a dash or funky spelling. The new gTLDs open up address endings such as .boutique, .catering, .coach, .florist, .ninja, .consulting, .coffee, .jewelry, .supplies, .systems. There are hundreds of new possibilities that allow a small business owner to get creative and stand out.
18- Don’t let the perfect generic domains get snapped up by your competition. Be proactive and buy ones that work with your brand even if you’re going to use a .com primarily.
Sydney Holmquist, Vantage PR
As startups, companies and individuals seek to build and maintain an online brand, it is crucial that a memorable and unique domain name is utilized. Domain names such as .press, .business and .site are all playing a role in helping users personalize and align their online presence with their business goals and strategies. Companies need to be proactive and think of a memorable domain that highlights its products and services.
19- Don’t be so quick to create new names for your domain. Use your domain as an opportunity for SEO.
Arthur Zilberman, CEO, LaptopMD
Choosing unique names such as Google or Yahoo! might seem like a good idea, but it will work against small businesses without the marketing budget to properly promote themselves. The Google crawler queries whether the type of service a company offers is in their domain. Zilberman’s LaptopMD.com has been able to maintain a first page Google ranking for relevant queries in part because his domain clearly denotes LaptopMD as a repair service.
20- If you use a keyword domain name, be sure to make it an exact match for your business. Don’t try to rank for something that isn’t what you provide
Mike Juba, Content Marketing Strategist, EZsolution
Pick a domain that is short and sweet as well as brandable and memorable so that people will remember you by it. Don’t play the keyword game trying to get a domain with your main keyword in it, as Google doesn’t want anyone trying to manipulate their system and they enforced an exact match domain penalty for sites that try to do so.
Simon Slade, CEO and Co-Founder, Affilorama
When selecting a domain name, first and foremost, never include a trademarked name, such as sellyouriPhone.com. Secondly, it’s unlikely you’ll ever acquire the name recognition of Dell, Amazon or other famous companies, so choose a domain that helps explain what the website is about, such as jonesstockphotos.com.
22- Make sure your domain name is future-proof. You don’t want a domain name to box you in and prevent you from expanding or even pivoting.
Rob Skelton, SEOPlusNet
Consider the future. Don’t call yourself JustBabyBeds.com if growth might mean you sell other products as well.
Click here to check out the guide for dropped domains!
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25- After you find a domain name, you need to make sure you can use it on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
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Don't forget to check out our free guide on how to get a website up and running in less than an hour.