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Finding an available domain name is not easy. Here’s how I do it.

Finding an available domain name is not easy. Here’s how I do it.

This is going to be a bit of a short post about finding an appropriate and available domain name for your website. I’ve always run into this problem and am the sort that prefers not to pay crazy prices for parked domains. I must admit, I have paid a premium for one or two but nothing exorbitant. So here are some of the tricks and resources that I use to help me.

Firstly, find a registrar (NameCheap, GoDaddy etc) to check if the domain name is available.

We would all love to have that ideal domain name that is simple to remember, short and sweet. But the likelihood of that name being available is very slim – yeah I know, it’s pretty frustrating. Most are taken and parked by people hoping that someone would want to buy it for a premium or generate some advertising revenue.

So which TLD (Top Level Domain) name should you use. TLD is the extension of the domain e.g. .com, .net, .org etc. I generally like to stick with .com or .net and lean a little more towards .com domain names. The reason being that the early and most common domain names were .com, and given that the internet is still in its infancy, I believe that people still associate better with .com’s than the others. Now the trend is moving such that it does not really matter what the extension of the domain is. A search engine will still find and list it if it is relevant. So it’s more about content than the name of the domain. Regardless, you should aim to find a name that will be easy to remember for the end user who wants to come back and read a bit more or buy something else.

What I do is start with the key concept. Let’s say we wanted to create a website about pillows and pillow cases. Perhaps a store.  I’ve got my heart set on a .com domain name so I would really like to have one of the following:

  • pillow.com
  • pillows.com
  • pillowcase.com
  • pillowcases.com
  • pillowstore.com
  • pillowshop.com
  • pillowsrus.com

But I bet that these are probably taken. It just seems a bit obvious to me. Let’s take a look.

work_online_pillow_dot_com_800x499

So as expected, pillow.com is taken (indicated by ‘Make Offer’). If it was available it would have a price allowing me to purchase it. The same goes for the rest of the domain names I mentioned above, they are all taken. Some are actually websites related to pillows/bedding most of them are parked.

So I’ve run out of ideas but all is not lost. I log into the Google Adwords Keyword Planner and use the Keywords Idea utility. You can see my quick rundown of the keyword planner here. That post is to do with market research but it gives you a short overview of the tool.

Anyways, back to our domain name.  So I enter ‘pillow case’ in the keyword idea section, click search and it spits out a few related keywords and search phrases. So I choose a few and check if the name is available.

  • cheappillows.com is an option but I avoid joining words on the same letter. So I opt for cheap-pillows.com. Again, its taken 🙁
  • a few others qualitypillows.com, bestpillows.com.. All taken.

So now what. Well, I know I want the word pillow in the domain name. And it’s going to be an online store. So I open up thesaurus.com which I will use to lookup synonyms. I enter the word ‘shop’ and see what pops up.

work_online_shop_synonyms

 

Okay, so now I have a few more ideas and I put them through the availability checker.

  • pillowboutique.com (taken)
  • pillowemporium.com (taken)
  • pillowmarket.com (taken)
  • pillowsupermarket.com (available)

work_online_pillow_supermarket

 

And that’s it. We’ve got one. Now I’m not going to register it cos, I really have no need to. I am sure someone will in the not so distant future.

But what if I could not find anything even after checking synonyms.

Well, I recently came across these websites the other day as I was helping a friend find a domain name. They all help you with name suggestions. They are limited in a sense but I’d take all the help I can get if I were stuck for a name. Here they are:

There is also an article here on Mashable with a few more tools. Too much to go through but check it out.

So that’s it. That’s generally how I go about searching for a domain name when I need one.

I’d really like to hear about your strategy for finding the ideal domain name. Drop me a comment below to share.

Good luck with your search.

 

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