How I Found a Perfect Domain Name for a New Brand
We often find ourselves confused over making some straightforward decisions attached to the technology. Or should I call them hard decisions? I have bought over 500 domains throughout my life. You like stories, and I like stories; hell, everyone like stories, so let’s start with an account of my own.
The first domain I ever bought was Freakify.com, a design blog that, with other 30 blogs, got acquired by a US Design press last year. Registering the domain was the easy part believe me. As a beginner, who was going to buy a domain for the first time, I thought it would be complex, but what I found complex was the part where I had to research the name.
Later I found out that it wasn’t me alone. It happens to almost 80% to 90% of people who buy an excellent domain name. In my case, I spent 33 days until I hit upon this particular name. Thirty-three days is a long time for one to decide on a simple domain name. One of these days, while buying more domains, I thought I should think of ways to optimize this process.
And there it was, the optimized workflow to find a perfect domain name for a new brand, right in front of me after buying more than 50 domains. Two months ago, I was delivering this lecture on Freelancing or Startup, and a particular group of tech enthusiasts approached me to find my opinion on finding the perfect domain name for their startup. What I explained to them is very much the topic of this post today.
Selecting a Perfect Domain Name#
Selecting the best domain name for your blog or startup is quite a task. Let’s talk about choosing the best possible Domain Name through some tools which can very much automate the research process—starting with the very basics.
What Is a Domain Name And TLD?#
A domain name is the name of your site/brand/startup through which anyone can access your site globally. Just like Google has Google.com and Fb has Facebook.com.
When you buy hosting to host your WordPress or any website, as we discussed yesterday, you only get the space that holds your website files, but for anyone to open your website, you need to buy a domain name. You can try different registrars like Godaddy, Dynadot, and NameCheap to register a domain name for yourself.
TLD means Top Level Domain. E.g. .com, .net, .org are termed as most used TLDs.
Select the Best Possible Domain Name#
Let’s discuss some tips for selecting a friendly, picky & creative domain name. Many beginners are not aware of how important a domain name can be. Keywords, branding, length, which TLD? These are the issues that need discussion. So, let’s get the conversation started.
Which TLD to Choose?#
If you are planning to buy a domain name for some organization, go for .org. Working on some information-related project, then .info will be the best option. The .com domain, on the other hand, has some particular importance.
- People are most likely to write .com after any famous brand names
- It’s like even if you buy another TLD & your blog starts ranking well, someone someday will buy the exactly matched .com and will get free traffic. Or you need to buy the .com as well, to stay on the safe side
- Some geeky visitors have a habit of pressing “Ctrl + Enter” after writing the domain name. e.g., if you write AhmadAwais in the address bar of your browser and then press Ctrl + Enter, it will automatically add .com at the end & will open AhmadAwais.com
Advice : Go for .com, it works in most of the cases & it ranks very well in the search engine.
Keywords & Branding in Domain Names#
Keywords are essential when you think of hitting a particular Niche. An excellent keyword with moderate competition might get you tremendous traffic. E.g., if you register a domain downloadgooglechrome.com, it will surely start ranking very well for such a standard set of keywords if pursued correctly.
I guess one can get up to 500,000+ unique traffic in a month for such a domain name once it starts ranking. So, it seems pretty nice Yay, Nay? But the issue is finding such domains is not easy. All such simple keywords are not available and are already registered. From SEO (Search Engine Optimization) perspective, such domains can consistently rank better if one properly uses them and not spam.
Branding is critical to thinking about Yahoo & Google. Do they look like keywords? No? These are brand names; branding is an essential aspect of a startup. There is always a vacancy at the top. Why not be that much creative to engage your visitors? Being creative is tricky; it takes a lot of time, but uniqueness pays very well.
Advice: Either go for a good brandish name or register yourself a domain with some perfect keywords in it, which can help your business grow.
What About the Hyphenated Domains?#
Domain’s look and feel are sometimes very much critical. Suppose you select a niche with a keyword in your domain. You cannot find a precisely matched domain, so you think to go for the keyword with a hyphen. This is a good option. Hyphens have no harmful impact on your domain name.
These hyphens may even save you a lot of trouble. E.g., if you buy a domain pressshop.com, it becomes pretty confusing, whereas press-shop.com seems better. The same is the case with kidsexchange.com, i.e., kids-exchange.com (Pun intended).
Many domain registrars are selling their services and claiming to be the best. Choose a trustworthy domain registrar! Many fake domain registrars deceive people when their domains start performing well. If you have already bought your domain, you can still transfer it to the trusted domain registrars listed below:
Tools for Finding Creative Domains#
Finding a particular brand name is hard. It can take months if you don’t automate your approach with these tools. I have been using them throughout these years to help me find the perfect domain. Give them a try.
Domize is a creative AJAX-powered domain search tool, you have to type the domain name you want, and it tells you if it is available to be bought or not. If the extension is in blue, then the domain should be available. Otherwise, it must be already registered. Use domize to save yourself from wasting time over the domain names already registered.
Finding short & creative domain names had never been easier. Domai.nr is a tool that helps you find a creative but most straightforward possible domain name around the targetted word. Some known creative domain names are adf.ly, goo.gl, del.icio.us, etc. So, if you plan to get something like this done, enter your keyword, and Domai.nr will do the job for you.
Nametumbler (no longer active)#
Please automatically enter your keyword and mix it with a nice suffix or prefix. It will also tell you which of the suggested domains are available to be bought.
- Combine Your Keyword – Combine it with a different set of words to make an excellent domain
- Choose Keyword Placement – Add your keyword at the beginning and end of your domain.
- Use Hyphens – You can have a choice to use hyphens to separate your keywords & get extraordinary domains
- Extension – You want your domain to be .com, or .org, etc. choose it yourself
- View Your Results – You will get a lot of suggestions in a matter of seconds.
It is another tool that mixes keywords with many other words from its database and outputs the set of domains available.
This service helps you find short domain names; you can get a four-letter domain name and bigger.
This service seems promising. Found three great domains from the massive collection it provided me with.
Finally, the Do’s & Don’Ts#
Some of the handy tips are listed below; reading these before buying a domain can be helpful.
- Spend at least one hour finding an excellent domain
- If possible, go for a .com; it works better
- Be creative; think of short domain names that are easy to memorize
- Going for two keywords? Use a hyphen. It may get you ranked better on Google.
- Don’t buy a very long domain name
- Don’t use q, z, x, p, or w; these are most commonly written wrong
- Don’t use slang words; you will not be appreciated enough for them
- Don’t use zero 0 in your domain name; it looks like a capital O. It can easily mislead your visitors
- Which tool do you like the most
- Any confusions? Let me know!
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One question after that I still have roaming around in my head after reading this great article, what about the techniques people use when a .com is not available such as adding a keyword at start like “thedomain.com”?
I don’t like that practice. If you can’t get what you need, be creative. E.g. when Dribble.com was not available, they bought Dribbble.com same is the case with Ballloon.com instead of balloon
Nice article. Network Solutions (check it).
Nice Article Ahmad , thanks for your awesome post and the links which you’ve mentioned above are helpful and “domize.com” is the best. Instantdomainsearch.com is also helpful.
Yup, I used to go along with InstantDomainSearch.com but then I found Domize. Do explore advance settings at Domize.
1. What’s the better option for a blog with audience in Pakistan.
1.1. A little lengthy and ordinary looking .com domain with keyword
1.2. A short, memorable and brandish .pk domain
2. If I buy an about to expire 5 year old domain from Flippa then how much difference it is going to make.. Is it a good idea to go with? One cannot find the domain name of choice in this way…we just buy the domain age.
What you say about it?
1. .pk is best if you want to target local audience
1.1 It is fine too
1.2. Only when you are targeting Pakistani audience should you use (.pk) domain extension. It brings more value to your website in terms of SEO than.com one
2. I have dealt with expired domains for about 4+ years. I can tell you from first hand experience that there are no hard and fast rules for this scenario, you can find a $10 expired domain with 1000+ daily visitors if you are lucky and you buy a $1000 worth expired domain only to find out that it’s statistics aren’t worth your money.