When creating a new website or blog, one of the first things you are going to need is a domain name. However, the concept of simply grabbing a domain name and going live with your site may seem easy enough, but it should actually be treated with a lot of time, research, and preparation.
First of all, anyone can register a domain name, and it will typically only cost you around ten or fifteen bucks to register it for a year. Each year after that it will then renew. Since domain names are relatively cheap and many of them are on auto-renew, once a domain is registered it likely won’t become available again. With all of that being said, picking a great domain name for your site is no longer such an easy process — as there aren’t many original names to choose from.
However, there are some methods out there for getting your hands on a great domain name — possibly even a generic one-word domain if you know where to look, or simply have a budget to play with. To help with this process, I’ve laid out seven different ways to get your hands on a great domain name; many of which I’ve been actively using over the years, which have helped me pick up, grab and buy domain names I simply never thought I would have been possible.
Need a Great Domain Name? Here are My 7 Tips to Get Started
When it comes time to register a domain name for your site, don’t jump into the first idea that pops into your head. More often than not, if the domain name is available, it’s probably not that great. Before buying a domain name, run through each of these recommended tips below to try and secure the best domain name for your site possible.
1 – Simply Search and Register It
If you went back to the late 90s, this scenario would likely work every time, but now that nearly all generic and good domain names are taken, it’s tough to get lucky with a generic domain name search and seeing your name still available… however, it still happens thousands of times daily!
While most people are going after .com, .net and .org domain names, there are others on the market, and these were created to fill the demand for new domain names, while also bringing some new creativity for site owners. A good example of this would be if you were to buy a domain name and search to see if your name was available. You can see in the screenshot below what this process typically looks like. You will see all options, but the domains already taken will simply be blocked out, then you can move on to your next best option.
As mentioned earlier, a common rule of thumb is to try and secure a .com, .net or a .org. If none of these options are available, try to play around with your domain name and maybe adding a new word or phrase into the mix. You can also go with a different TLD as well.
2 – Register Your Name Before Someone Else Does
When trying to come up with a great domain name for your site, it’s also all about being proactive and not letting an opportunity slip away. A perfect example of this would be your personal name if you haven’t already registered it — do it now!
As brand protection – you might also want to purchase all other suffixes, this way you can prevent other people from buying your domain names and using them for other, less kosher reasons (this can especially happen if you’re working in a completive niche). While this might come at an extra cost, domain registrars tend to sell bulk domains for cheap prices in cases of multiple purchases, so this is best done on your first domain purchasing round.
This is something I did years ago, and I’m glad I did! Without it, my online branding and exposure would have never been the same. You can now see my personal blog at ZacJohnson.com. Even if you don’t have a personal brand or business, it would be silly for you not to spend a few dollars per year to simply own your name and secure it from someone else grabbing it!
In addition to securing your personal name, you should also try and register any variations or different ways to spell your name as well. This is something I have actively been doing for years now, and you’d be surprised at the many different ways people might be searching for your name online.
3 – Contact Whoever Currently Owns Your Domain
What if you think of a great domain name and find it’s taken, then search to see what’s on the site… only to find it’s low-quality site or nothing at all? This might be a great opportunity for you to contact the site owner directly to see if they are willing to sell.
If you can’t find the contact information for the domain name on their website, don’t get discouraged. More often than not, a domain name that isn’t in use is likely just sitting there with a parked page. This simply just means you need to do a WHOIS search to look up who owns the domain name. If the owner information isn’t blocked or protected, you will find everything you need to email or contact them.
However, when you do contact them… don’t make it look like you are desperate for the domain name. This may lead to them jacking up the price! Simply send an email about the domain and if they have any plans for it, then let them get back to you.
4 – Hire a Domain Broker to Acquire Your Domain
For those times when you came up with a site idea and business plan, but don’t have that perfect domain name you’ve been searching for… a domain broker might just be your best option. Yes, a domain broker will cost you some money, and are often used on much larger domain sales, they definitely work and provide value.
Many domain registration services will offer access to a domain broker service so this might be a good place for you to start researching the process. In short, a broker knows how to get in touch with domain owners, how to estimate the value on a domain, and also work on your behalf to make sure the sale goes through seamlessly.
When it comes time to invest in a domain name and a domain broker, don’t forget that the domain name of your site and business is extremely important. Several domain names have sold for millions of dollars, and are worth even more today!
5 – Use a Domain Name Generator Tool
Sitting around and searching for a great domain name that is available can be extremely frustrating. Not only do you keep getting denied, it’s also a big motivation killer. Good thing there are tools to help with this process, such as domain name generators.
The way these fun little tools work is simple. All you need to do is type in your main keywords or phrases of choice, and they will instantly run through a ton of domains and see which are available. Not only do most of these tools take your requested keywords and phrases, they will also throw in common and matching keywords of their own. This usually helps with the process of coming up with a great name, while also finding on that is available.
6 – Pick Up a Great Domain through Expiration
With millions of domain names already being registered and each of them up for expiration annually, that’s a lot of domain names expiring daily. As mentioned earlier, the majority of domains are on auto-renew, so they will likely not become available again. However, millions of domains will.
With such a demand in place, ‘domain expiration services’ make the process of getting your hands on these domains a bit more possible. Sites like NameJet and Pool specialize in simply grabbing domain names once they become available, then putting them up for auction. I’ve personally used both of these services to secure some really awesome domains over the years. You can reach more about this process and how it works here.
If you are going to try and secure expired domain names, remember it’s a long-term game. To make the most of this opportunity, create an account with any domain expiration service, throw in a bunch of domains to your ‘dream list’ and if they ever become available, you might just get them!
7 – Browse Domain Name Auction Sites
To bring everything together, we should also mention open marketplaces where people can list their domain names and websites for sale. One of the most common ones out there is Flippa.com. With thousands of sales under their belt, they are the most popular destination to find the latest domain names and sites for sale, that you simply wouldn’t know about otherwise.
The great thing about Flippa is that you never know what you might find. At the same time, they are a professional business, so you know your transactions are going to be safe and professional.
How to Get Your Hands on a Great Domain Name
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to come up with a great domain name when starting a website or blog. Try each of these methods and make sure to put in the time and effort to come up with a great name — after all, it’s something your website or blog is going to keep for the rest of its life!