Finding an excellent domain name is not nearly as easy as it used to be. Or is it? In truth, it depends who you ask. Certainly, we've come a long way since the infancy of the internet, when most people would only have the option of choosing a .com, net, or org.
With how desirable premium domain names have become, and domain sellers and brokers often asking the big bucks, it can feel like there are very few options available to the budding netpreneur. But that doesn't quite tell the whole story; with multiple new extensions, as well as domains that are dropped or deleted on a daily basis, you may have more choices than you think.
Let's take a further look at some of the ways to land yourself a fantastic domain name in today's market.
.com is still king - but where do you find one?
There is still no better extension than a dot com. The authority and trust it exudes is second to none in the domain name industry. But how do you zero in on one?
Domain name generators
Using an online tool such as a domain name generator can prove invaluable to landing a great domain. A good generator will often allow you to combine a set of keywords along with other factors you deem important, to ultimately produce a list of available domains.
Keyword-based domains tend to perform well when paired with excellent search engine optimization, which could work in your favor if you're hoping for substantial search engine traffic.
The names generated by these websites may be a little hit or miss, but at the very least should offer you some food for thought, or give you ideas on how to proceed with your search.
Scour deleted and expired domain lists
There are a number of websites out there which allow you to browse domains that have recently expired or been manually deleted. Following a short grace period, domains that have been released back into the market will be available at base registration prices. Typically, these websites will feature a filter system, whereby you can easily sort through expansive domain lists to pinpoint one or more that could potentially be great options for you.
When it comes to "used" domains, do remember to perform a trademark search on the name prior to registration, as an unfortunate result in this area could prevent you from operating commercially under your new name.
If you have a straightforward company or business name that is available at registration, you're all set and need not worry about it again. But if you plan to utilize a keyword-based domain, you will likely have to do a little more digging.
In this situation, you may find that your top choices are unavailable, but you can, for example, add a list of prefixes and suffixes to your keyword to potentially score a name. For instance, if you sell cars, you can try:
Along with many more - limited only by your own imagination, and what you perceive to be catchy/easy to remember.
As a rule of thumb, a name that is simple to retain, and can be spoken aloud and easily typed out based on that, is always recommended. Ask others if they think your name is memorable, and verify that it's straightforward to spell when typed into a search box or browser address bar directly. Objective, third-party feedback can prove invaluable in this regard.
In general, we feel it's best to avoid hyphenated domains, or those containing numbers, unless they happen to be a perfect fit for your business or website idea.
While .com continues to rule the roost, that is not to say you should exclude other options entirely. Sometimes, you can land yourself an excellent .net alternative, or a .org if you operate an organization.
Similarly, the multitude of new domain extensions available can provide you some fantastic options.
For example, if you're in a rock band, registering bandname.rocks is not a bad idea! Likewise, if you plan to run a viral news network, picking up viralnews.buzz is a pretty solid decision.
As a word of caution, do be aware that for a percentage of (novice) internet users, an unorthodox extension may not register as being a valid domain name. They may misinterpret the name, or add .com to the end without realizing their mistake.
On the whole, we'd only advise looking for a domain extension that matches your objectives or represents the country you're in, but for an occasional wacky or creative project, you could do worse than picking up a foreign extension. For example, legalize.it (utilizing Italy's extension) could be a great and catchy domain for a particular purpose (we'll let you guess which).
Don't be afraid of the marketplace - or to haggle
Sometimes, it pays to browse domain names that are for sale. The bigger brokers and auction websites will often have thousands of names available. Given how difficult it can be to sell a domain name, you might find that a seller is willing to budge considerably on the URL you're interested in. Even if you feel you may have to spend too much to acquire the name you want, it never hurts to look. And with such a wide selection, you might be surprised at just how many names will work for your web project, and your budget.
In short, there is no one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to domain names. Something a little unusual but funny/catchy/clever can work tremendously well, even if it does not follow the established "rules" for picking a solid domain.
Time and perseverance are your friends when it comes to searching, and being flexible is a plus. Develop a short-list of names that appeal to you, and trim them down by way of careful consideration. If all else fails, you can easily hire a domain researcher to find names for you. This service is usually fairly affordable. However, there's ultimately no good reason not tackle this project alone - with patience and some of the tips provided above, you should well on your way to finding a great fit for your business.