How many hours have you spent searching for the perfect domain name? I probably get a new domain/site every month or so, sometimes they are even great ideas. But in the past I would spend hours researching the right keywords, then jotting down ideas for domain names, then searching the availability of the domains. In the last month or so I finally put together an arsenal of sites (okay, it’s more of a small drawer of sites) for quickly finding the perfect domain name. SEOmoz recently posted on How to Name a Web-based Business, and this inspired me to write about what I do to find the domain.
Resource 1: Overture Keyword Search, Google
If your customers are searching for X, and that domain is available in a nice .com without any dashes (okay, just one is not bad), why not. But you can’t get a domain of Y if a customer doesn’t relate Y to X, when they are truly looking for X. Use Overture’s interface for searching keywords and find various forms of your keyword that people actually search for, and see how popular they are. Next consider googling it and see what comes up. You might want to make sure it doesn’t come up with adult content, or other undesirable relations to other sites. Also, if it is important to you that people search for your domain right from Google, you may consider finding something that doesn’t come up with a lot of hits (low thousands).
Resource 2: DomainsBot.com
For years I used directnic.com and godaddy.com for all my domain checking. I am never going back now! DomainsBot.com has an AJAX (think Web 2.0) enabled search tool. As you start typing, it starts searching. Check plurals, mix up the words a little, or whatever, but you only have to wait for your fingers to type it. It’s fast!
Resource 3: Thesaurus search
If anyone knows of a sweet web service Thesaurus, do share. For now you can just go to Thesaurus.com and search for a word that describes part of your message, and then see if another word will take care of it.
If your immediate domain is not available (yes, business.com is taken) then you will need probably need to add another word into the mix. You could add a number, but that makes for an ugly domain name (unless you are 97thfloor.com). You also might want to stay away from “theYOURDOMAIN.com” and “myYOURDOMAIN.com” unless those are just exactly what you are looking for. To get some fresh ideas (though some might be stale), go to DomainFellow and try tacking on one of their more generic words/descriptors onto the beginning or end of what you are looking for. At the very least, it may give you some ideas. For more ideas, and I still have no idea how in the world I found this, go to a long text page of lots of words. Not only do they have some word ideas at the top, but they have domain names (some taken, some not) generated from combining various words. The most use I have gotten out of this is from just finding words I wouldn’t have thought of before.
Buying your Domain
I just found a great way to buy domains for a discount, at least for the first year. GoDaddy will give you a discount if you (1) search for “cheap domains” at Google, and (2) click on the GoDaddy ad (probably right at the top) advertising domains for $6.95. The discount will be applied, all you have to do is checkout with your selected domains.
Before too long you should find a domain, preferably “the perfect domain”. And if not, make it perfect by branding it and customizing it to be what you want it to be.