It’s no secret, finding a great domain name is not easy. Any obvious domain name has long been taken. If you’re starting a new website in 2012, you have to realize that many people have come before you. It’s just a fact. Still, if you’re a bit creative, or are willing to do a bit of work, you can still find an exceptional name that represents your website well. Here we share some great tricks for finding a great domain name for your next website project:
1. There’s Nothing Wrong with Using a ccTLD
ccTLDs are country-code domain name extensions. Most countries have their own ccTLD, and many have some restrictions about letting people outside of the region register a ccTLD from the country.
Examples of a few ccTLDs are .CA for Canada and .DE for Germany. If you’re founding a website, and expect many of the visitors to be from your own home country, you might be very smart to go with a ccTLD.
For one, there’s much less competition for ccTLDs. The .DE extension is currently the most popular ccTLD. It has about 15 million domains registered as of February 2012. Meanwhile, there are already more than 100 million .COM names registered.
With that in mind, you’ll have much less competition for the domain name you want, if you pick an extension of your home country.
Don’t worry about suffering in the search engine rankings either. If you’re focused on ranking well in your own home country, you’ll probably actually get a boost by using a ccTLD, instead of .COM
2. Pick a Name in Your Own Language
This might be obvious, but it bears repeating because it is so important. If you’re making a website for a Spanish-speaking community, go ahead and use a Spanish keyword for your domain.
While many of the big websites online today have an English-sounding word in the domain, there’s no rulemaking it so. Picking a keyword in the language of your audience should make it easier for your visitors to remember your site.
3. Know the Current Edges of the .COM Registry
LL and LLL .COM names, like AA.com or ABC.com have been registered for years. LLLL .cOM names have been basically all registered since 2008.
However, there are still a lot of 5 characters, LLLLL .COM names are available to be registered. That means you can still register a short prounancable name if you take some time to do your research. You’ll give yourself more options if you’re willing to go to 6 or 7 characters.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Splurge on a Premium Domain
Some people just have a hard time paying for a premium domain name. When there are so many possibilities that can be registered at GoDaddy for $10, why pony up 100 times or more?
The reason is that having a good domain name can make a huge difference in the success or failure of a website. When people come to a website with a short domain name, that exactly describes the service provided, they’ll get the impression that it’s backed by a reputable business.
Of course, there are other factors, such as the design, and experience of the website. But if a visitor goes to two different websites, houseplants.com, and houseplantsHQ.com, the shorter, more appropriate domain name will automatically inspire more trust from the visitor.
5. Take a Look at Expiring Domain Names
Every day, nearly 100,000 domain names expire. They expire for many different reasons. An owner might have lost interest in a project, or perhaps just their credit card expired. For whatever reason, expired domain names represent an opportunity for website developers.
The process of buying expired domain names is actually quite complicated. There are several stages of the expiration process, and different channels to buy domains, depending on which stage they are in.
The great thing about expiring domain names is that it’s oftentimes possible to get great domain names that were originally registered 10 or even 15 years ago! Names registered back when there were far fewer domain names registered, are often of higher quality than the kind of names typically registered today.
If that sounds interesting to you, then take the time to research the domain name expiration process, and you may very well snag a great domain name for your next project.
Also, there is one very useful, free tool, to make finding expiring domain names much easier. Generic Domain Finder has a saved search feature. You can type in any keywords or domain name properties that are desirable to you. The service will then send you an email alert whenever it discovers a name that is a good match.
Hopefully, these 5 tricks for finding a great domain name have shed some insight into how to get a great domain name for your next project. If you have any questions or comments, leave them in the comments section below.