Figure Out Your Who & What
Before you register a domain name, you need to determine what words best communicate who you are, what you do, the kinds of products/services your business provides, and who your intended audience is.
Start by listing some common terms that describe your niche. For example…
Great! Now How Does that Make a Domain?
While you COULD just pop over to a site like GoDaddy or NameCheap and start methodically (or randomly) typing in various combinations using those words, you’d probably spend a long time and not find many good options. (And since so many great names are already taken, you might find yourself feeling really discouraged, and that’s not good at all!)
Out of sheer frustration, I’ve built Excel spreadsheets to shuffle keywords around. It was time-consuming, didn’t yield very good results (you can only shuffle the word columns so many ways), and I STILL had to go copy/paste the few combos I liked into a domain registrar to check availability.
That’s not fun OR efficient!
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather leverage some sort of tool to do the heavy lifting. (haha!)
Better yet, how about THREE FREE tools?
Awesome, I know. 😉
~ Bust a Name ~
My first and fave go-to is BustaName.com* – this is a very helpful and FREE resource to help find your amazing new domain name! It’s especially beneficial when you are trying to create your brand.
Simply copy/paste your two lists of keywords into the domain search tool and hit the “Add” button.
BustAName will automagically “spin” the keywords together to show you what combinations are available!
- Choose 2 or 3-word combos
- Look for plurals, hyphens, or drop the last vowel (i.e. flicker » flickr)
- Add prefixes (my-, i-, e-, the-) and suffixes (-ly, s-ter, -ista)
- You can even add your OWN prefixes and suffixes (insta, easy, fab)
- You can group them so certain words don’t combine (i.e. eliminate options like “comfy comfortable,” “pretty lovely”)
- BONUS: It has a built-in tool that suggests related words!
You won’t BELIEVE the variety of domains still available for registering!
Be aware that if you don’t uncheck the “aftermarket” domain option it will include domains that have already been registered and are up for resale. Prices range anywhere between $10 (Woot!) and $10,000+. (Ouch!)
Once you’ve found the perfect combination (or 3 ~ sometimes it’s so hard to choose!), either use the registration link on the site so they get a little “thank you” commission for providing an awesome free domain name finding tool (it doesn’t cost you any extra) OR hop over to your favorite registrar if you use one not on their list.
~ Lean Domain ~
Sometimes I just don’t have enough keywords to create a great domain… Or I’m short on ideas and just need something FAST, but still want something clever.
Enter LeanDomainSearch.com. This handy tool takes a single keyword (like “house”) or keyword phrase (“tinyhome”) that you already know you want to use, and then combines that word/phrase with a massive list in their database to produce an entire PAGE full of domains that are available.
This tool will only add one word (or short phrase) to your given search term, so you might have to perform a few searches before finding something that really sings. But I’ve seen COUNTLESS great domain suggestions that I would have never come up with on my own. Think of it as brainstorming with a friend who’s just throwing together words you wouldn’t have considered previously.
You can sort the domain suggestions by:
- Popularity (i.e. “design” is considered more desirable than “creativedesign” because it is a broader term and more succinct))
- Length (note: shorter names also tend to be more popular)
- You can also filter the results to either start or end with your search term – I find this filter particularly helpful when I am looking for inspiration.
Earlier this year we built a fashion site for my (Kristen) teenage daughter who was really into clothes. We knew we wanted the word “chic” in the name, but after unsuccessfully running through all of our ideas at BustAName, we decided to try our luck with LeanDomainSearch.
I entered “chic” in the search bar, then sorted by length and filtered the results to put our term at the front of any suggestions. Up popped several good ones, but one really stuck out for us: “Chic Devil.”
Since we’re kind of smart-allecky around here, we thought that was a fun play on the term “Cheeky Devil,” and could immediately visualize some sassy branding for it. The store was only a middling success as our muse shifted to Fangirling and Anime, so we’re exploring other options for her. Even so, we still love the name ~ and its cheeky logo ~ plus it serves as a simple example of how to find a pretty cool domain name.
~ Shopify’s Name Generator ~
The helpful folks over at Shopify have a business name / domain search tool. It works similarly to Lean Domain where you only give it a single word/phrase and it generates a list of names based off of it, but I’ve seen it come up with some great suggestions. While theirs is a more visually appealing list, it’s far more limited since you can’t sort the domains by length or alphabetical order, nor can you choose other domain extensions, check word variations, or check on social media handles. However, it’s free, fast, and easy to use, and it might just help you create a great domain name. And if you’re intending for your new site to be a store, you can register your new domain name and start a Shopify account simultaneously.
What do you think? We hope this helped you see that even though it might SEEM like your domain name idea is impossible to find, there are still loads of creative, meaningful, and brandable names out there waiting to be created.
* These are not affiliate links. There is no sign-up, registration, or even purchase required to use the services. However, if you purchase your domain through one of these services, they’ll earn a small commission… It’s a nice way of saying “Thanks!” for their awesome resources that doesn’t cost you a dime!