When choosing a domain name for your business, there are three rules: short, memorable, and easy to spell. “Short” is pretty self-explanatory. You want the shortest available name that ends in .com. “Memorable” generally means that the name somehow directly relates to either the name of your business or the name of its key product or service. “Easy to spell” is also self-explanatory. If your name is Kodzuleskizicz, you may want to adopt the “Hollywood approach” and come up with a new “stage name” that will be easier to spell. In fact, this last example would be in opposition to all three of the basic rules, right? How do you find the names that are available? The basic tool is the whois lookup, a tool that will tell you whether or not a name is available or already registered to another company or individual. Every domain name registrar will have a whois lookup tool, usually embedded into the home page of their website. At Pelland Advertising, we have a basic whois lookup tool available at the following page on our site: http://www.pelland.com/hosting1.htm The basic idea is that you cannot simply enter an address into a browser’s address bar and assume that a domain name is available simply because a site does not appear. Furthermore, you generally do not want to deal with trying to negotiate the purchase of a domain name which is already registered by another individual. At best, this is usually a costly process that is not worth the time and effort, let alone the expense. What you need to do is to get creative and to keep looking. In almost all instances, any domain name which is based upon a single word in the English language was probably already registered several years ago. The same goes with many of the most logical two-word combinations. Three-word combinations (or hyphenated word combinations or domains that end in anything other than the .com suffix) are far less desirable (and often get too long to be practical). How can you make the whois lookup process more efficient and useful? My suggestion is to try the free tools found at the Domain Tools website. One of the best of these tools is the Whois Lookup and Domain Name Source tool. This tools provides a wealth of useful information, not only when searching for a domain name but for checking the status of an existing domain name. It will show the basic whois records (name, address, phone number, and e-mail address of the registrant, administrative contact and technical contact, along with the nameservers, and dates or original registration and expiration), but it also shows a whole lot more. This additional information includes a screen shot of the site’s home page (along with historical thumbnails), the site’s title and meta description, the site’s DMOZ listing, server and registry data associated with the domain, a calculated SEO score, and the site’s Alexa, Complete and Quantcast rankings. Another very useful tool when looking for the best available domain name(s) is the site’s Domain Suggestions tool. With this tool, you enter your desired domain name or product concept to generate a list of possible names that might be appropriate, showing which ones are available (or already registered) under the .com, .net, .org., .info, .biz and .us top level domains. For example, I just entered the term “lawnmower repair” and found that lawnmowerrepair.com (as well as .net, .org, .info, and .biz) was already registered; however, I was provided with several useful (and available) suggestions, including mowerrepairsite.com, mowerrepairworld.com, mowerrepaironline.com, mowerrepairdirect.com, and others. Useful information? You bet! Take advantage of every online tool at your disposal in order to run your business smarter and more cost-effectively.
This post was written by Peter Pelland