When you start a brand new online business, one of the first tasks you face is coming up with a name for your company. Be it an online shop, eBay account or Amazon shop – you need a name for your business. This also means that you want to register a domain name to create e-mail accounts and set-up a website.
Back in 1995 it was an easy task as there were only 71 000 domains registered! Fast forward to year 2012 and you’re facing a real battle as most common names are already registered, especially if we talk about .com domains. With more than 200 million domain names already registered, you really have to be creative to come up with something unique and suitable for your business.
Even if you start selling only on eBay ALWAYS register a domain name for your eBay business! First of all, this will give you opportunity to use a professional e-mail address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org), secondly – you want to secure your future business plans, launching an online shop, or at least a blog to stay connected with your customers.
Here are my TOP 10 ways to come up with a perfect domain name for your new business:
1. Go Daddy
My favourite approach is to simply use GoDaddy.com domain registrar and brainstorm for domain name ideas. This will instantly show you which domains are available for immediate registration. This method will work perfectly for creative people who can come up with dozens of good names out of thin air.
2. Name Station
This is a very powerful website for domain name creation process. With NameStation.com you can use 18 different domain name generators as well as hold contests. For people who are not that creative and really struggle with this task, contests particularly can be a great way to find superb domain names.
3. Warrior Forum
World’s largest internet marketing forum has a separate “Member Contests & Challenges” forum section where you can hold your domain name contests. Be generous with your prize pool and you’ll receive dozens of good ideas from contests hosted on WarriorForum.com.
4. Digital Point Forums
Another, highly popular internet marketing forum where you can hold domain name contests. Digital Point Forums is also a perfect place to hold logo design and slogan contests.
Yes, you can outsource domain name brainstorming on Fiverr.com for $5. Just search for a phrase “domain name” to see all the gigs related to domain names. As you’re dealing with just one person, make sure to check out their feedback and comments left by previous buyers. Deal only with reputable sellers, with established gigs to avoid disappointment.
6. Bust A Name
A very popular domain name generator. BustaName.com is an algorithm/software that tries to find available domain names based on keywords you enter. Personally I haven’t had much luck in past using domain name generators as names they come up with are usually long and not very “brandable”. Still, worth a try!
7. Domains Bot
DomainsBot.com is another domain name generator and works very similar to Bust a Name website.
8. Stuck Domains
Each year millions of domain names expire. StuckDomains.com offers a chance to purchase previously registered but now expired domain names. However, there are some risks associated with expired domain names – you can’t really know the history of each particular domain name and this is very important when we talk about Google and SEO in general. While Google tend to boost rankings a bit for long established domain names, it may also hurt your rankings if that domain name was involved in any black hat SEO activities. So just be very careful and do some domain name background check (Google, Who is) before you purchase it.
9. Dot O Mator
Another domain name generator with a twist! DotOMator.com offers pre-defined domain name beginnings and endings. BY entering your main keyword, you can try to come up with original, good looking domain names that are available for immediate registration.
If everything else fails, check out Sedo.com – World’s largest domain marketplace where you can purchase already registered domain names from other people. Be prepared to pay a lot for really good names. Always negotiate with domain owners as price you see listed is price owners asks, not what you have to pay. Usually, you can get prices down significantly. I have seen cases where domain is listed for sale at $5000 but gets sold for $300! If it’s a superb domain name, $300 is money well spent!
Out of all these, domain name contests are probably easiest and most effective way to get a great domain name registered. Yes, it will cost you some money but treat it as a long term investment in your online business, not an expense.
Remember, if you plan to work in local markets only (UK, Ireland, Germany etc.) it’s basically enough to get only local domain name. For UK it will be .co.uk, for Ireland – .ie and so on. What you want to do though is check that there are no direct competitors working on the .com domain name. If there’s a website on .com domain totally un-related to what you sell, it still could be an option – IF you can’t come up with anything better. This is not ideal as you’ll mix up your company results in search engines, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. If possible, avoid such scenario by using original names only.
If you find a good, local domain name and on .com there’s an empty landing page (parked domain page), go ahead and register that local domain name. You can also contact .com domain owner and ask about the price they’re willing to sell domain name to you. Almost always you can bargain price down significantly and if you can get a good .com domain name for a reasonable amount of money, purchase it so you’re 100% secured against any future competitors using that .com domain name.
You can find domain name owner contact information by searching for that domain on Who Is data base.
When registering a new domain name try to avoid:
- Dashes between words. This will NOT help you in the search engine wars. Besides, it looks ugly! Just don’t do it! For example, if the name is “Dog Food” do not register a domain name Dog-Food.com, go for DogFood.com instead.
- Numbers. Even though there are some successful examples of using numbers in domain names, in general you want to avoid them at all cost. Why? Numbers confuse people – they won’t remember the number, if they do – they can be still confused on whatever it was a number 4 or word “four”. A classical, bad example would be Fishing4You.com.
Only time I personally allow numbers to be used in domain names is when it makes sense branding wise. For example, 7Dogs.com potentially could be a good brand name. Or my 60 Day Blueprint Program. But this is very, very rare.
- Trademarks. You want to avoid using any registered trademarks in your domain names, at least locally. For UK domains, check EU data base of registered trademarks to avoid any surprises. Even if a trade mark is registered in just one EU country, within 6 month period trademark owners have priority to register it in any other EU country, so just to stay safe, avoid any, already registered, trademarks.
Obviously, you want to stay away from any popular brand names, such as Sony, eBay or Ralph Lauren. I once registered a domain name with a word “eBay” in it – it took just few weeks for eBay to find it and report. As a result, I lost my domain name and one year’s registration fee.
- Long names. As a general rule of thumb – the shorter domain name you can find the better. One word, two word and three word names max. Character wise, try to not go over 15 or so. This depends on the situation and products you sell of course.
- Similar names. This is a very simply rule – do not use names that are similar to competitors name or any other domain name for that matter. You don’t want your customers to get confused when they find a similar company online. For example, if there is a website DeskLamps.com, do not use a name DeskLamp.com where just one letter is different. In same way, avoid duplicating ideas in same market. For example if there’s already craft supplies online shop called MyLittleHouse.com, don’t use names like YourLittleHouse.com and similar.
- Phonetically bad names. WeLoveCostumes.com – sounds good, right? But how about CustomCustomeHouse.com? First two words start with a C, making it hard to pronounce and memorize. Ask your family, friends, relatives – present them few good names and ask which one they like better and why?
- Confusing names. Try avoiding any names that have several meanings, or when written, look confusing. For example, a name Fens UK – doesn’t look that bad, right? But when you look at it this way – fensuk.com? I hope you get the point!
Don’t rush with domain registration process – it’s a very important part of your future business, you want to find best name possible. Sometimes it can take days and even weeks to come up with that perfect domain name so be patient while going through this process.
With that being said – don’t delay too much once you have found a good domain name. There are robots/bots that spy on domain name requests and you can actually lose a good domain name if you wait for too long. Personally for me – I almost always get that special feeling when I finally find that perfect domain name. When I do, I register domain name straight away.
Which company you should use to register a domain name?
Any decent, well known and established domain registrar will do the trick! I personally now use Go Daddy for almost all of my domains as their pricing is very good, they have regular promotions/discounts and at the end of the day – they’re leaders in the domain name industry!
Go to Go Daddy and start working on that perfect domain name right now!