How I found my new domain name - Including tool tips
Over the past four weeks, I have been searching for a domain for a new website project I am planning to start.
Actually, the project has already started it's planning phase under a different domain that I already purchased, but I eventually found the niche too wide and then the domain didn't fit anymore.
The process of a domain search is long and boring. It's boring because most good domains are taken without even being used. However, I cannot complain too much about this, as I have some good unused domain names laying around myself.
When searching for a domain you have to start with setting some criteria for how you want the domain to appear. I picked these criteria for my search:
- It should clearly describe the niche
- It should contain no more than two words put together (this complicates the search a lot)
- It should be no more than 15 characters long (this complicates it even more)
- It should be available as a username on Twitter (hence the 15 characters), and also available on as many social networks as possible
- It should make sense and be readable without the chance of any confusion
- It should be brandable
- It should not have been in use recently
- It must be available as .com
Well, after 4 weeks of daily effort I found my domain. A perfect 10 character domain that fit all the criteria above. Here is how I did it.
Picking the words (# 1, 2 & 5 on the list)
I had 3 version of the main word the domain should contain. Depending on the word this could be nouns, verbs or adjectives.
Then I played around with other words to put either in front or behind those words in order to find a working combination.
Another tool is http://www.nameboy.com/
But the tool I used the most was the Thesaurus. http://www.thesaurus.com/
This is brilliant for playing around with words and finding words with similar meaning. You'll be surprised what word journeys you are lead into.
When you have found your word combination, check out how it looks. For instance 'whoreads' could be interpreted as both 'who reads' and 'whore ads'. So make sure that you don't end up looking stupid (or arrested).
Checking .com availability (#8 on the list)
To do this you can use the tool here in WA. https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/websites/domains
This will give you the availability on .com which is most important and also on .net and .org
But I mostly use https://domainname.shop/ for this search. This is where I have my local domains registered and it gives a quick search on lots of other top-level domains as well.
Checking the previous usage (#7 on the list)
If a good domain is available, it is very likely that it has been in use before and for some reason is abandoned. It is very important to check how it has been used and what traces it has left behind.
I use the Wayback Machine to see if there are previous websites that have used the domain. https://web.archive.org/
If it has been in use lately I need to carefully check out how it has been used before I take the chance of registering it. If it has a recent history I most often don't register the domain.
Domains can be penalized by Google if they are used for spam. If you get stuck with a penalized domain you may never rank no matter what you do. A penalty may stick to the domain even if registered on a new owner.
Another thing to check is if the domain exists on lists of banned email addresses. It's easy to send spam email appearing to be from any domain and a domain name may end up on a blacklist without the owner knowing anything about it and even if the domain is not in use.
There are many ways to check this, but I use http://www.blacklistalert.org/
Branding and social media availability (#4 & 6 on the list)
I like domains that are brandable. That means that you can use the domain consistently across your online presence. That will make you stand out, you will be easy to recognize and it will help you be remembered.
You can check the availability of your domain name as a username on social media here: https://knowem.com
When you (think you) are done
The first thing to do when you have found a domain name is to let it sink in. Put it on a shortlist and evaluate it for a few days while you continue the search.
I had around 5 domain names on my shortlist that was good enough but not brilliant when I found the one I chose.
And I found it playing around on the Thesaurus.
If you decide to go for it, register it as soon as you have decided. Then register profiles and pages on the social media you plan to use as soon as possible. It is annoying to find out after building a page that the Twitter username has been taken.
Good luck with your search.