Earlier this week Entrepreneur.com (a great resource for business startups and entrepreneurs - bookmark it if you fall into this category) published an article with tips on "How to Find a Good Domain Name". The article challenges the popular perception that 'all the good domains are gone'. While we certainly know that isn't the case for .CA domains, with over 65 million .COM's registered, it's getting increasingly difficult to secure a good, evocative .COM domain in the primary market. Here are Entrepreneur.com's tips and recommendations, with our own suggestions thrown into the mix.
1. Starch the Search
Utilize domain search to check the availability of words, terms and phrases. If the domain name you want is already registered, see if it's associated with a legitimate website or if it's merely parked. If it's parked, you might want to inquire about it by looking up the Who-Is information.
If you're prepared to pay a couple hundred to thousands of dollars, try searching for pre-owned names in the domain aftermarket. Websites specializing in aftermarket domain sales like Sedo.com have a large inventory of names that can be searched by category.
2. Get the .com extension
Entrepreneur.com says: "In a hurry to go to market, eager entrepreneurs decide to take the available .net or a hyphenated version of their name...Be patient and get a name that's unique, distinguishable and memorable - and one that's a .com."
We say: Absolutely, get the .com if you find one that is clear, communicable, relevant to your business and available, be it in the primary or aftermarket. Remember though, if you do business in Canada or have any kind of Canadian presence always get the .CA also. If you're primarily a Canadian presence, the .CA is equally relevant and important to have.
3. Be Creative
"Here's another cold, hard reality: The simple one-word domain names are either gone or tremendously expensive. "(Again, while this quite accurate of .com's, it's not necessarily the case with .ca's) While it's always best to aim for a unique domain name your competitors haven't already registered a variation of, the folks at Entrepreneur.com also suggest taking your naming idea, and adding a suffix - ex. Group, Inc, Agency, Systems, Solutions, etc - or an industry-specific modifier, such as - Media, Medical, Tech or Capital."
4. Combine Evergreen Words
"One of the best domain-name-creation strategies is combining simple, positive words in a unique fashion." To do this, create a list of basic words that describe your business or industry. Then add a positive or evergreen word that will make the name stand out. What is an evergreen word? A word thats meaning has a universal quality and never gets old, or staid, for example: Star, First, Cool, Bright, etc. We like this suggestion and agree that it can open the door to a lot of interesting, catchy domain names.
5. Consider using a phrase
Surprisingly, many memorable phrases, as well as industry specific phrases are often available. It just takes a bit of resourcefulness to search them out. "An example was an online jewelry company we named SeaOfDiamonds.com. By using the metaphor of an ocean, we created a 13-letter domain name that's easy to say and recall. This approach does require a lot of thinking and digging. But if you hit on the right name, it's worth it."
6. Invent new names
While totally invented names start off with no inherent meaning (think Google), you can make invented names more memorable by using "familiar parts of speech that contain some sense of feeling or emotion you can build your brand on". Flickr.com, the photo sharing website is great example of this.
7. Run a legal search
Sound advice. If you find a domain name that's available and meets your criteria, find out if you can trademark it. Do a Google search to see if anyone is currently using the name/phrase, as well as a trademark search, then consult with a trademark agent to make sure you are in the clear to use it.
8. Hire a specialist
We say - Or try talking to a one of our specialists for free at 1-866-221-7878. We've been doing this for years and have helped hundreds of customers find domain names to meet their needs.