Tips for choosing domain name from experts

Consider Experimenting with Non-Traditional TLDs

As mentioned in No. 1, these days you can get yourself a multitude of different TLDs that weren't available just a couple of years ago. For example, you can get domain extensions such as: .shop, .club, .store, .blog, .design, .xyz, and so on. Also, you can experiment with some of the TLDs that were originally intended to be local TLDs, but, because of their unique appearance, can be used for various other purposes as well. These are domain extensions such as .is, .io, .fm, .it, .ly, .cc and others. Just to give you an example of the latter, if it makes sense for your brand and intended name, you can try making it seem as though the whole domain, including the TLD, is one complete expression. You can achieve that by choosing your TLD creatively. For example, Microsoft Translator is available under translate.it - that's the whole domain name and quite a creative use of the Italian TLD, .it. However, the thing with these TLDs is that not every domain registrar offers them. Currently, GoDaddy gives you access to the largest catalogue. GoDaddy domain auctions Nevertheless, if you're after some specific TLD, it's still smart to shop around with other registrars, too. Here's our other resource, where we talk about the top registrars in the market, plus some of the TLDs they offer. - Karol K - Winning WP


Don't Sweat It Too Much If Your Perfect Domain Name Is Taken

If the domain name you really desire is already taken, this is not the end of the world. Sometimes, you can actually still get your hands on it. Here's what you can do: If the domain name is not in use (there's no website or the domain is 'parked' - features only ads), then there's a very good chance the owner only bought it to sell it later on. You'll likely find some contact information on that parked website. If there's no info, use who.is and get the owner's email. If there's a website on the domain, you can still try your luck and contact the owner asking if they're willing to sell the domain off. Low chance of success here, but still worth a try. If the domain is completely empty and there's no contact info to be found, try looking through known domain-flipping marketplaces, such as GoDaddy's marketplace (auction based), Sedo, SnapNames, or Flippa. Buying an existing domain name is a different process from buying a new one, so it requires some additional caution. We talk about that in No. 13. One more note, domains you buy from someone's hands cost MONEY (emphasis mine). Sometimes good money! A safe estimate here would be a minimum of $250, but more like $1,000 or more. If you can't afford that, don't worry too much either - Karol K - Winning WP


Use a Thesaurus for Domain Name Ideas

Okay, so no matter what I say about picking a domain name that's brandable, simple, has a good ring to it, is easy to memorize, and so on and so forth, the fact of the matter is that coming up with a truly good name is hard. Sometimes, you'll easily go through tens of different terms before you settle on that perfect one, while other times nothing will seem good enough. In that case, Thesaurus.com can be the secret weapon in your arsenal. The site will help you find synonyms and also provide quick definitions to help you not to make a silly mistake by building your domain name around a word with a meaning you've misunderstood. Note: As I mentioned above, it's not advisable to just go with a standard, dictionary word as your domain name, even if it comes from a thesaurus. Always add some modifiers to it, or turn it into something original by changing a few letters here and there. - Karol K - Winning WP


Go for a .COM

If you are serious about building a long-term brand online, there is nothing better than a .com. Using a 301-redirect to drive traffic to a .net or .org is totally fine, but owning the .com or the equivalent TLD for your target market country is critical. There are a number of reasons why this matters, but the most crucial one is for your users. While there are thousands of TLDs to choose from, .com still carries the most trust with it. Many internet users are still unaware that the other TLDs exist and may hesitate to click when they see one. Make it easy for your users and choose a .com. You'll thank me in the long run. (Note for transparency: I am currently working on getting ownership of the .com for my site's domain. When I rebranded a few years ago, I was unable to claim it and now have to bid to own it.) - Ryan Shelley - Search Engine Land


Avoid trademark infringement & confusion

The ideal domain name is distinctive. It shouldn't be easily confused with the name of another site or brand. After all, you don't want any lawsuits on your hands. If your domain name infringes on a trademark, you could be sued and forced to give up the domain. Before you register your domain name, you can check to see if it violates any US trademarks here. On a related note: if people can confuse your name with another brand, so can search engines. Picking a name that's too similar to another business can lead to your name's search engine results being littered with irrelevant links. - Denis Pinsky - Forbes


Use keywords

Try using keywords that describe your business and the services you offer. For example, if you're a glass replacement business, you may want to register GlassRepair.com or GlassReplacement.com. Include the keywords that people enter when searching for your products or services. It helps improve your rank on search engines (which increases traffic) and just makes more sense to your customers. - Andrea Rowland - GoDaddy


Choose '.com' first

Up to 75% of all websites are '.com' domains. It is still the preferred extension and the easiest to remember. If your number one name choice isn't available, then try your second choice before accepting other TLDs. Remember that some browsers accept address-only entries in their address bar. If you type just the domain name (and who knows how many of your users will just do that?) they will return, by default, to the '.com' site. - Ogi Djuraskovic - FirstSiteGuide team


Avoid numbers and hyphens

Numbers and hyphens are often misunderstood - people who hear your website address don't know if you're using a numeral (5) or it's spelled out (five) or they misplace or forget the dash. If you need these in your domain, register the different variations to be safe - Andrea Rowland - GoDaddy


Don't overthink it

I hear from a lot of people who get stuck at this point because they're afraid of making the wrong choice. The most common problem is that they can't find an available .com. If this is you, just make your best guess and move on. A not-quite-perfect domain name is better than no domain name at all. Just do your best and own it! - Amy Lynn Andrews


No numbers or hyphens

Numbers and hyphens (especially hyphens) cause confusion. Stay away from them at all costs. Even something as clever as the number1website.com will cause confusion. Make the name speak for itself. - Ogi Djuraskovic - FirstSiteGuide team


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