I personally don’t register a lot of domain names. The domains I do own tend to those I stumbled across that I can’t believe no one else has already got, or I have an idea for a site and in a rush of blood register the domain name and then lose all energy towards the project (the ‘gonibbler’ debacle still hangs heavily over me). Recently I started looking for a domain name with these criteria in mind:

  • Encapsulate the theme of the website
  • Easy to remember
  • Easy to spell
  • A brandable name e.g. not simply descriptive of the service
  • .com & .co.uk both available to prevent traffic going to someone else

I’ll be honest I found it very hard. I started typing in quite generic words, combining them, mixing them around, but nothing hit the mark. For the first time I had to start doing some research into related words and phrases that I could use. If you find yourself in the same position where you are struggling to find a domain name you are happy with here are my tips:

Use a thesaurus for inspiration
Type in the core theme of your website in to a thesaurus and see if you can find any related keywords that you like. For example in you have an online shop you could type in “store” and you will be presented with words such as; backlog, cache, inventory, nest egg, reserve, reservoir, stock, stockpile, treasure, store, boutique, emporium, outlet

Go web 2.0
Web 2.0 style domain names are all the rage, and they are proven to be an effective method of branding and easy to remember. Good examples include flickr, wuffo, bliin and zoogmo. To create your web 2.0 simply remove a vowel (e.g. trackr), add a vowel or two (e.g. miiix), add two unrelated short words together (e.g. snapfrog) or use utter jibberish (e.g. boblr).

Use unrelated words
I know I have already used this, but this method isn’t limited to creating web 2.0 style names. Lets say you want to create a funky music review site and you find every obvious variation on music, gigs and reviews taken, simply add in a word that is not connected to music but still makes sense in the context of the site’s target audience. for example, you could try “gigblaster”, “musicpython”, “soundcastle”, “ticketstubwire” and so on.

Add ‘my’, ‘your’ or ‘the’ at the start
The risk with this approach is people forgetting to type in the xxx in to their browser and you losing the traffic to another site, however adding words such as “the”, “my” or “your” to the start can let you register a domain with keywords you feel you really must have. E.g. If “totalbbq” is taken you could register “thetotalbbq”.

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