Hosting Guide #2: Picking The Right Domain Name

You might not realize it at this point, but choosing the right domain name is one of the most important decisions you will make throughout your entire website journey. It’s vital to your company’s success, and changing this at a later date can be extremely costly, complicated and annoying. It is no different than picking a company name.

I cannot stress this enough, be patient, and do your homework! Somehow, you’ll just know when you got the right name! 

In Hosting Guide #1 we discussed what a domain name is, why it’s important, and how it works. Let’s start figuring out how you can select the right one for you. 

I’ve compiled a list of tips, followed by steps to guide you through this process.

KEEP IT SHORT

One to three words (at most).

MAKE SURE ITS EASY TO PRONOUNCE

If your domain name is long and complex, you risk customers mistyping or misspelling it. Short and simple is the way to go!

If people are asking you to repeat the name, or slowly spell it out on the phone, it’s too complicated. You want to be able to tell it to someone on the fly!

6. Consider Using Keywords 7. Think Long-Term 9. Use the Right Domain Name Extension

THINK LONG TERM

MAKE IT MEMORABLE 

CONSIDER YOUR AREA

ASK THE PEOPLE

before making a final decision 

 

 

STEPS

STEP 1: BRAINSTORM

Here, there are no bad ideas! Get the scrap paper out and get your own head. 

– View competitors websites

 


– Create a list of verbs and nous that describe your industry

– Check for synonyms to those words
– Use domain name generators to expand on that word list

Here are some of our favorite domain name generators to try out:

  1. Wordoid. This tool allows you to plug in a word, and it will come up with ideas that either contain that word, begin with that word, or end with that word.
  2. Lean Domain Search. This tool matches your keyword with other keywords, and generates a list of available domains.
  3. DomainHole. This tool allows you to search keywords, find expired domains, generate new names, and more.

STEP 2: MIX, MATCH AND VARIATE – CREATE A LIST OF CHOICES

Based on your research above, create a list of potential domain names, and narrow down your options to a list of about 10 options.

Send the final ones to friends and co-workers. Get their opinion, you might be surprised to learn they all converge on a specific option. That can usually be a pretty good indicator that you’ve found the one.

STEP 3: CHECK DOMAIN NAME AVAILABILITY

Check  here to see which .com options are available. It can be extremely frustrating if your favorite domain names are already taken. In fact, most good names are taken. But worry not! We can add a prefix, postfix or modify the domain name extension to hopefully find an available option. 

Example: Say you wanted financialgroup.com, but it’s already taken. You can try thefinancialgroup.com, or financialgroupla.com or financialgroup.la. 

If you really are determined to get the already taken domain name, especially if you visit the website and it looks unused, you can always lookup the owner here: https://whois.icann.org/ and privately message the owner asking him if he wants to sell it. It’s important not to sound desperate as it can increase the chances the owner of the domain may propose an unreasonable price to release ownership. 

STEP 4: CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA AVAILABILITY 

Even if you don’t plan on having social media accounts, which you should, remember we’re thinking long term here. Check social media for an identical or easy to use handle. It’s also important to be consistent across all social media platforms (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).