Picking the right domain name for your business is a crucial step. If you choose the wrong one, that decision can impact the overall success of the brand. In this article, you’ll discover how to find available domain names and what to do if the domain you want isn’t obtainable.
How to Register Your Domain
You can register your domain name via a domain name registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap. Most web hosting companies offer domain name registration, too, so buying one is easy. The real challenge is choosing a good domain name.
Here are some tips that can help.
1. Use .com Whenever Possible
Despite the sheer number of new domain names available today, the original .com is still the best option. It’s the most established, credible, and memorable top-level domain (TLD) in use.
People generally type ‘.com’ at the end domain names without giving the action much thought, especially those who aren’t tech-savvy.
Additionally, many smartphone keyboards have a noticeable .com button. To access other variants, you usually have to look for the button buried away somewhere.
That noted, the original .net, .org and newer niche extensions like .marketing, .pizza, or .photography have their uses. Sometimes it makes sense to use one of the more recent extensions. For example, a marketing agency can use the .marketing extension.
2. Keep the Domain Name Short
As you find available domain names, watch the length and keep it short.
Shorter domain names are more memorable. Longer ones are typically harder to remember, and the likelihood that a user will enter a typo also increases when the name is long.
Ideally, keep your domain name under 15 characters for best results. Some examples of short and memorable domains include amazon.com, walmart.com, and tesla.com.
3. Use A Primary Keyword in The Domain
Keywords help people find you on the web by informing search engines about your website. Providing you have quality content and a good user experience, you can leverage keywords to increase organic website traffic.
Even though it’s not specifically a ranking factor, a keyword-infused domain name can give consumers the details necessary to click-through to your site. Also, in the wild, domains with keywords tend to outperform competing sites, with all other things being equal.
For best results, don’t use the keyword alone – ensure your brand name is there.
For example, something like cheapshoes.com does nothing for the brand unless the company name is “Cheap Shoes.” However, HBKshoes.com or teslamotors.com is much better since the brand names are present.
4. Avoid Hyphens
Avoid using hyphens because not a whole lot of people trust hyphenated domains, and with good reason.
Hackers trying to impersonate businesses often use hyphens (e.g., adobe-stock.com). As a result, hyphenated domain names are often viewed as a sign of spam or malicious activity.
Hyphenated domain names are also prone to typos, which means users can easily end up at competing sites.
5. Choose Something Brandable
As you find available domain names, aim for something brandable.
Usually, that means being memorable, unique, and catchy. For example, Google.com is brandable, whereas CheapBooksOnline.com is not.
6. Stay Clear of Double Letters
Avoid domains with double letters since it can cause you to lose traffic due to misspellings. For example, something like jesssimpson.com can result in lost traffic.
If you must have double letters in your name, consider some of the new, premium domains. For instance, a company named Donuts Shop can use something like donuts.shop
7. Think of The Future
Choose something relevant to your industry or niche without limiting your long-term options.
For instance, a cell phone repair company may choose a domain like theandroidclinic.com to start but later realize they would like to service iPhones. If the brand had planned for expansion, then it wouldn’t need to change its domain.
What To Do If You Can’t Get What You Want
Today there are more than 360 million registered domain names. That can make it challenging to find available domain names you want. The good news is with a bit of creativity, you can snatch the perfect domain name.
Here are various things you can do if you can’t find what you want.
Use A Domain Name Generator
Manual domain name search and brainstorming are time-consuming. Thankfully, you can speed things up with a domain name generator.
Most registrars have a domain generator built in to search for options using your defined keywords automatically. You can get hundreds of matching ideas.
Here’s an example from instantdomainsearch.com
Add A Verb in Front of The Name
As you find available domain names, consider adding a verb in front of the name if the ideal domain is unavailable. With this tactic, you can still get what you want without having to use a different TLD.
Verbs like “try, “get,” and “be” are great choices.
For example, Pocket uses the verb ‘get’ in its domain name.
Offer To Buy It
You may be able to buy the domain name from its owner. If it’s available or the owner is accepting offers, the domain registrar will typically alert you. At which point, you can decide if or not to buy it or make an offer.
Here’s an example from Name Cheap.
Consider A ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain)
A country-code TLD (or ccTLD) might be suitable for your brand. These domain name extensions appear more trustworthy to people who live in the given region. Some examples of ccTLDs include .ca, .co.uk, and .us.
Include A Natural Extension of Your Brand
Pick a word that’s a natural extension of your brand and add it to the domain name. For this tactic to work, the word must be relevant and offer some information about the business.
Consider naturally related terms you can add that won’t sacrifice meaning or memorability.
For example, Gogo uses ‘air’ along with its brand name – the company provides inflight Internet.
You can also add your country or city to the domain name as they are related terms. However, while effective, think of it as a last resort strategy. Remember that you need to consider the future too – do you want to remain in one country or city forever?
For example, since Nissan couldn’t acquire the domain name ‘nissan.com,’ the company opted for nissanusa.com.
Use This Nifty Trick to Spell Something
You can use alternative TLDs in creative ways to spell out something. Just make sure it’s easy to remember.
Matthew Mullenweg’s blog is a great example.
Use an Abbreviation or Acronym
Consider abbreviating one or more words (anything that isn’t the brand name) in the domain. It may help you grab an original .com or even make your URL shorter.
You can also use acronyms in your domain name.
For example, something like fbinews.com is a domain that uses an acronym. A company that sells electric motors can use something like jacobsem.com (abbreviation).
Take the time necessary to choose a domain that’s right for your business. It’s often a real hassle to switch domain names later on after establishing the website and investing in marketing. So best to pick something good from the start. Good luck.