Finding the perfect domain name for your new website can be a little tricky. Not only do you need a domain that perfectly represents your website, but you need to ensure it’s short, catchy, memorable, and actually available.
Luckily, there’s a number of tools that’ll help you not only uncover the perfect domain name, but also ensure it’s available.
Below you’ll learn how to find the right domain name for your website, and how to use a domain name checker to help speed up the process of locking down your dream domain.
Finding the Right Domain Name
There’s a lot that goes into a domain name. Your domain needs to succinctly sum up what your site is about while being catchy and easy to remember.
Your domain will define your brand and be the first thing that visitors see. As a result, your domain will create either a good or bad impression of your website.
Here are some tips for finding the best possible domain name for your new website:
1. Connect Your Brand to Your Domain Name
You want your domain name to be a differentiator. Having a unique domain name will always be better than a generic domain that sounds all-too-similar to competing sites.
When you’re launching a brand, chances are you’re doing something different than the competition. Make sure that your domain name reflects this.
For example, think of sites like Google, DropBox, Zillow, Facebook. All of these sites have unique and memorable names. Whether you’re creating new words from scratch or combining two unrelated words, one thing is for sure: they stick in your mind.
2. Keep the Character Count Low
As a general rule, the shorter the domain name, the better. It might be very difficult to find a shorter domain name as most of these were purchased a long time ago. But, you still might be able to find a unique word or combination of words that are still available. When in doubt, go for something memorable over something long.
Think about when you’re telling your friend about a website. For example, they’re more likely to remember catgram.com over picturesthatiloveaboutcats.com.
3. Make Your Domain Easy to Pronounce
Your domain name needs to be easy to remember, and part of that is making it easy to pronounce. When someone thinks about your domain name, they shouldn’t have to look it up in a dictionary to get the spelling right.
You want to make it easy for other people to pass on your domain name, whether that’s written or spoken.
4. Avoid Numbers, Hyphens, and Other Characters
A memorable site name can go a long way towards helping your site gain traction. One quick way to make things more difficult is by adding hyphens or numbers to your domain name.
Hyphens not only make it more difficult to pass on your domain, but it’ll probably lead to a lot of misspellings and people not being able to find your site.
For example, what’s easier to remember and type into your browser? C-N-N.com or CNN.com. Or how about Face-book.com, or Facebook.com?
The same goes for numbers. Adding numbers to your domain can come across as spammy and much more difficult to pass on.
What’s a Domain Name Checker?
Domain name checkers are tools that help you to determine if a domain name is still available. Often, these tools can also suggest other related domain names, along with presenting other domain name extensions that might be available under your chosen domain name.
There are also other related domain finder tools that are more focused on helping you generate unique domain names, while at the same time searching for availability.
Domain Name Checker Overview
There are a myriad of different domain name checkers you can use to see if a given domain is available for purchase. Most domain name registrars will have these tools built into their domain search tools. After all, it’ll be impossible to buy a domain if it isn’t actually available.
However, you might also come across domains that have been previously purchased or are currently owned by another party. Still, you can purchase these domains, but expect to pay a great deal more than a fresh domain.
Here’s a breakdown of a few different domain name checkers you can use:
1. HostGator Domains
HostGator Domains is not only a domain name registrar, but it’ll tell you which domains are available, and even offer suggestions for similar domains.
With this domain name checker you can quickly see if your domain of choice is available and get it registered right away. Plus, you can pick up quality web hosting at the same time and start building your new site right away.
LeanDomainSearch is another pretty helpful domain lookup tool. All you have to do is enter a keyword that you want to build your domain around, and this tool will do the rest.
If you’re stumped for ideas then this tool will help you get started. For example, here’s a sample search for the word ‘house’. From that simple word, we’ve got over 400 different domains to look at and draw inspiration from.
DomainHole is a search tool that allows you to find a very specific type of domain. Whether you’re looking for a new domain or an aged domain for SEO or other purposes, this tool is worth exploring.
You’ll be able to search for expired, expiring, or dropped domains, plus with the extensive search filters you’ll be able to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Knowem should be used in conjunction with another domain checker tool, but it’s still just as valuable. If you’re going to be creating social media profiles for your new website, then this tool will check to see what social media profiles are available.
Even if you aren’t going to be using social media right away, it can be helpful to still grab any existing social media handles for future use.
What to Do if a Domain Isn’t Available?
Let’s say you’ve found the perfect domain name, but when you run it through a domain name checker, it comes up as unavailable. This doesn’t mean that your search should end there.
In some cases, you might be able to place a bid on the domain or even pick up a different domain name extension.
Here are these two options in a little more depth:
1. Placing a Domain Name Bid
Sometimes the domain you want will already be owned by someone else. If the domain isn’t being used for an existing website or application, then you can usually get in touch with the owner and place a bid on the domain.
For example, here’s the website of a domain name that someone else owns. You have the option to reach out and purchase the domain.
Keep in mind that the owner might not always respond, or they might want more than you’re willing to spend. Generally, when you place a bid you’ll be spending a couple of hundred bucks at the very minimum. Sometimes these domains will run up into multiple thousands of dollars.
For example, take a look at some of these domains offered on Sedo.
Overall, the price of domains will go up the simpler they are. You’d be hard pressed to find a single word domain of a dictionary word for less than a few grand.
If you’re placing a bid on a domain name, expect a little negotiation back and forth until you land on the selling price.
2. Choosing a Different Domain Name Extension
The most common domain name extensions are .com, .org, and .net. But, that doesn’t mean your search should end, just because these extensions aren’t available.
In some cases, a different domain extension might even work better, but overall it depends on the type of site you’re running.
When considering a different domain name extension, keep the following questions in mind:
- Does the extension I want belong to an existing website?
- If I choose another extension will it work with my brand?
- Can I get a different extension that doesn’t feel like spam?
- Is the new extension memorable?
Overall, if the domain is taken by a website that’s currently live on the internet, then you’ll want to choose a new domain name. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of copyright infringement and run into all kinds of legal issues. This headache isn’t worth it, and your time is better spent coming up with a new domain.
However, if your first choice domain name extension is taken, but isn’t being used for a website you could get away with using another extension. For example, I really wanted a domain name, but the .com was already taken but wasn’t being used for anything at all, so I went with the .net version.
This allows you to start building your site if you’re absolutely attached to a given domain name, while in time you can acquire any other extensions with the profits from your new site.
How to Register a Domain Name
Once you’ve found the perfect domain name that’s actually available, then it’s time for the easy part. Registering your domain.
If you were using the HostGator Domains tool to search for the availability of a domain, then you’re already halfway there.
Just, add your domain to your cart, and complete the checkout steps.
Here’s a brief walkthrough just in case:
1. Navigate to HostGator Domains
Here you can enter your domain name that you want to purchase. You can enter your domain with or without your desired extension.
2. Input Your Domain
First, input your domain name and click ‘Search’. If the domain name is available, then you’ll get the message ‘Congratulations, Your Domain is Available!”
This will automatically add your domain to your cart, and all you have to do is click ‘Continue to Cart’ and complete your purchase.
3. Select Your Terms
When you register a domain name you’re going to have a lot of different options to choose from. For example, you can add things like domain privacy. You’ll also select the term for which you want to register your domain.
Overall, the cheapest option will always be to register your domain for the longest term offered. You’ll be spending more up front, but the monthly rate will typically be much lower than paying a yearly fee and having to renew every single year. Plus, then you don’t have to worry about accidentally letting your domain lapse.
Get Started with Domain Name Checkers
Hopefully, you have a better idea of what to look for in new domain name for your site, plus how to use a domain name checker to actually see if your dream domain is available.
Getting a domain name isn’t a process you’ll want to rush. Spend some time with the domain name checkers above until you find a great domain that speaks to the core of what your site’s about, while remaining memorable and catchy. Then, when you’re ready, you can register your domain right here at HostGator.