Choosing the right domain name for your website seems like it should be a pretty simple task, but what if the domain name you want isn’t available?
That’s where things get tricky but don’t worry. You can still find a great domain for your site that represents your brand well. Just be prepared that you may have to compromise a little with the exact wording of your domain.
Before we get too deep into my tips, I want to clarify that your website’s domain name is separate from your website hosting company. Some companies sell both domains and hosting but they are really two separate services.
- Your domain is simply the URL that people type in the search bar to see your website.
- Your host is where your website pages, images, files, and content actually are uploaded and stored on a computer (server) so that they can be viewed by others.
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Namecheap Domain Name Tool
There are countless domain name tools out there to help you choose a domain name but what I’ve found is that they are all pretty similar. That’s why my go-to website to look up available domain names is Namecheap. Namecheap sells affordable domains and its interface is super easy to use. If you visit their domain search page, you can type in your desired domain name or a few keywords. You can select Beast Mode to generate thousands of ideas or simply hit search to see the most common options available. In case you wanted a couple of other options to check out, you might consider Name.com or Google Domains.
.COMs are usually the #1 domain name choice for most people, but as more businesses are created online, they become more scarce and the prices are generally higher, especially for premium URLs. Premium URLs are those that have a higher demand because they share common brand names or simple phrases and words that could apply to a lot of businesses u ie. copywritingservices.com or seoforyou.com
However, if you make your domain name specific enough to your brand and get creative with extensions, chances are you can settle on a domain name that is both affordable (less than $15 a year) and describes your business accurately.
Domain Name Extension Alternatives
The easiest way to compromise on your domain name is to choose an alternate extension such as .co, .me, or something else. Alternate domain extensions are becoming more popular and depending on your business, using an alternate extension could be a super-easy way to snag the domain name of your dreams. And in case you heard any rumors that these are bad for SEO, we can put that myth to rest right here – Google makes it clear that’s not true at all!
Just steer clear of .gov, .edu or .org unless it’s actually appropriate for your organization. Here’s a list of some alternate extensions you might consider.
- .com – Business / eCommerce
- .org – Non-profits / Organizations
- .net – Internet Provider / Technology Services
- .co – Company / Corporation
- .io – Tech Companies / Startups
- .us – Based in the US
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Other Creative Domain Name Ideas
An alternate domain extension is just one way to get creative with your domain name. But there are some other ways you can come up with a stellar domain name if your .COM isn’t available and you aren’t interested in picking an alternate extension:
- Shorten or use an acronym for the words in your domain name if it’s really long and makes sense for your brand. Consider that the easier your domain name is to remember and type out the better, especially if you’re going to use your new domain to get a matching email address. For that reason, try to stick with 2-3 words, if possible.
- Add your city or state to the end of your brand name if you are a brick and mortar business.
- Consider using your brand tagline or slogan instead of your company name.
- Add a relevate keyword that describes your brand or services
- If you are using your name as your domain, try adding your middle name or initial
- Avoid creative misspellings or using dashes or numbers unless they mirror your actual business or brand name as these can be confusing
- Avoid brand names that could create confusion with other brands or that are trademarked
Pro tip: Even if you are working with a web development company or marketing agency to build your website, I ALWAYS recommend purchasing your own domain name. This gives you total ownership of it and should you ever decide to part ways with that company, it helps you avoid having an awkward conversation and going through the pain of transferring it which isn’t as you’d expect. Trust me. You will thank yourself later for this!
Related Post: How to Launch a New Website (10 Step Checklist)
Have you been struggling with picking a domain name for your website (or wondering how you’re going to create the website that goes with it)? Let’s jump on a call to talk about your domain, your website, and everything else that comes with creating a standout online presence that gets you in front of more of your dream clients.
I help female entrepreneurs and business owners create brands that command the spotlight. I love working with women to help them create beautiful, one-of-a-kind brands that give them the confidence to take their business to the next level and get them seriously noticed. I’ve worked with coaches, authors, influencers… you name it, and I bet I can help you too.