Tips from a domain expert on how to find what names are available and choose the right one.
Having the right domain for your business sounds like common sense. But it can be a challenging task. Your business name may not translate into a good domain name. Or someone else may already have grabbed it. Regardless of the challenges, it’s absolutely essential that you have a good domain name so that customers can find you, as well as help increase brand awareness.
So how do you actually acquire a good domain? Here are some suggestions that you’ll need to take into consideration while searching for that perfect name.
When acquiring a good domain you have to begin by doing some brainstorming. What’s the name of your company? What products or services are you selling? What industry are you involved in? Develop five terms or phrases that can best answer those questions and can describe the domain name that you’d wish to acquire.
For example, if you wanted a domain that involved “marketing,” you could use related terms like “online marketing,” “digital marketing,” “advertising,” or “sales marketing” as a starting point.
To help find related keywords, you could use tools like Keyword Discovery or Google Keyword Tool.
While this may sound obvious, you also have to remember that your domain name should be related to your business. For example, if your business name was Joe’s Electronics then you would want a domain to reflect that name. If the site was called joesawesomewebsite.com, customers wouldn’t know that it was actually an electronics site, which means you’re losing out on business because customers can’t find you.
Once you’ve compiled a list of possible domain options, make use of tools like Impossibility, Dot-o-mator, Panabee, Name Mesh, Lean Domain Search, or Nametumbler to help you find suggestions or alternatives.
After you type your list, upload it to GoDaddy.com to see what’s available. If you want a domain name with word phrases, then visit Dot-o-mator.com.
Keep It Short, Unique and Easy to Remember
While brainstorming domain names you also want to keep in mind that the shorter the better. Shorter domain names are not only easy to type, but also easier to remember. On a related note, stay away from using domain names that are misspelled or containing words that are difficult to spell. If you heard the domain from a friend or on the radio, would you be able to spell it correctly?
Finally, settle on a domain that is unique. The last thing that you want is for your domain to get confused with another site. This will also make sure that you won’t come across any ownership issues.
Now that you’ve found a domain that fits your brand, you have to be 100 percent sure that it’s available. One possible option would be to upload your list of possible domain names onto GoDaddy and see what’s free to use. Another option would be to explore checkdomain.com, Domjax or copyright.gov.
What If My Domain Name is Taken?
Chances are that the domain name of your dreams is taken. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a domain name that isn’t similar. Almost all short .com domain names are taken. This means that they are going to have premium cost to them if you’re looking to purchase them. Check the whois information on the domain you’re looking to purchase.
Add Small Words Before or After
While you should stay away from pluralizing or hyphenating words–since that will create confusion–and words like “best” or “top,” there could be some minor adjustments to make your domain stand out. Let’s say you have a car rental business located in Phoenix. You could search for a domain name that was on the line of phoenixrentals.com.
Use Other Domain Extensions/Endings
Ideally, you want to secure a .com domain. It’s the best option for branding and type-in-traffic, as well being perfect for any website. However, there are other extensions or endings that could benefit your brand as well. Take the .info extension for example. It could be a option if you’re running an informational site.
Another choice would be to localize your domain. If your site is based out of the United Kingdom, you would want to use the .uk extension. Not only does this open the door to additional possibilities, it also differentiates you from an international site.
A website like name.com is a great resource for searching for possible domain names and extensions.
You can also hit auctions to purchase a domain name that was/is previously owned. There are numerous sites that have been acquired by investors as a way to monetize a site. They will purchase a domain and fill the site with lists and links to other sites simply for lead generation.
There are other instances when someone had a domain and didn’t do anything with it or the business didn’t work out and the domain has expired. In this case, the domain is now available for purchase.
You can view auctions on sites like Sedo, GoDaddy, NameJet, or my personal favorite, Flippa.
Contact The Owner
If your desired domain isn’t up on an auction, you could try and reach out to the owner. Perhaps they’ve forgotten about the site or are receptive to the idea of selling it. Visit the site and see if you can find out who owns the site on either the “Contact” or “About Us” pages. If you can’t discover who owns the site, you can still shoot an e-mail over and ask who owns it.
After you have the owner’s contact information, contact them directly. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to make an offer initially. You’re just trying to find out whether or whether not the domain is available for sale. If the owner is interested in selling the domain, you want to do a little research to find out how much it’s worth. You could use a site like Compete to see how much traffic is visiting the site. It may not be the only factor in determining the site’s value, but it’s a powerful indicator.
How Do I Acquire Domains?
I sit on domain auction sites like Flippa and watch domain sales all the time. I look for one-word domain name sales. Don’t just jump in and buy something. Wait. Get to know the marketplace and how much domains are truly worth. I’ve been doing this for years and have picked up some amazing domains for cheap prices. I’ve purchased Hostt.com, Bart.com,Drowned.com, Demented.com, and several hundred more for really good prices. I’ve even been able to flip some of the domains that I’ve scooped up for 10 times what I purchased them for.
Key to acquiring a good domain for your startup is knowing where and how to look for the domain. Don’t be in a rush, take your time, and you can get an amazing deal for the startup domain of your dreams!