The only additional thing you’ll need to do during the checkout process is to enter your address and contact information. This is required by ICANN in order to confirm the identity of each domain owner.If your domain name passes both tests, you’re ready to purchase it!
Essentially, you need to “point” your domain name towards your web hosting using something called nameservers. Without doing this, your web hosting and domain name won’t be able to work together.
I’ll show you how each tool works using a fictional example where I’m trying to come up with a new domain name for a website about coffee.
All you need to do is browse through the list and find one that’s brandable:
Let’s do another example! Adam Connell runs a blog named Blogging Wizard. See the formula again?
- What makes a good domain name
- How to use domain name generators to come up with ideas if you’re stuck
- What you need to check before purchasing a domain name (hello trademark infringement!)
- How to purchase your domain name and start using it for your website
Domain names are how people find websites on the Internet, so it’s not like you can just skip the whole thing.
Why It’s Important To Put Thought Into Choosing A Domain Name
Some of my favorites are:
Panabee gets a bit more creative with its suggestions than Lean Domain Search. Rather than only adding words, it will also:
So to help you choose a domain name, I put together this massive guide that covers everything you need to know about:
Wordoid will instantly give you some results, and you can further refine things by using the more advanced options in the sidebar.
To check social media profile availability for your domain name, you can use another free tool called Namechk.
But beyond the fact that you want your choice to be permanent, your domain name is essentially your website’s brand and address all wrapped into one.
- How people perceive your site
- Where your site ranks in the search engines
- How easily visitors are able to remember your website (and hopefully come back in the future)
Can You Register Any Domain Name That You Want?
Most of the time, that answer is “NO”. While people are becoming more familiar with the variety of domain extensions, .com is definitely still the most recognizable extension. In fact, .com domains still account for ~68% of all domain names.
With Panabee, it’s best to enter two words instead of one. I’ll use “black coffee” for the example:
But, whenever possible, it still pays to try to fit at least one broad keyword into your domain name. Here’s why:
But in the real world, you might be running into a brick wall right about now.
I know I just hit you with a bunch of directions. In a perfect world, you were able to quickly come up with a domain name that:
How To Check If A Domain Name Is Available
You don’t really need to know the technical or legislative reasons behind ICANN, but here’s what you do need to know:
So why did Barefoot Contessa go with “barefootcontessa.com” instead of “deliciousrecipesforfood.com”? Because it’s a brand!
Naturally, you’ll probably want to check if these ideas are actually available for registration because the best domain name in the world doesn’t matter if it’s already taken.
- Enter your desired domain name in the search box
- Instant Domain Search will automatically return results as you type
- If you see green, it’s available. Red means it’s not
There are a few different reasons why you need to care about making your domain name pronounceable:
6 Tips To Help You Choose A Domain Name
This need for coordination is why the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) exists to manage and oversee domain registrations.
1. Remember That Your Domain Name Is Your Brand
Have you ever seen a company called “Delicious Recipes For Food”? It sounds pretty ridiculous, right?
While your domain name might not end up as humorous, it’s still confusing when your domain could be misconstrued as different combinations of words.
Brandability is hard – so if you’re struggling to come up with a brand, here’s a simple formula that can help you do it:
At Lean Domain Search, all you need to do is enter a single keyword that you want to include in your domain name. For our example, I’ll just put in “coffee”:
- Start with one word for context
- Add a noun after that word for brandability
Makes sense, right?
- WP – this adds context that the site is about WordPress
- Kube – this adds brandability
Once you save your changes, it might take up to 24 hours for your domain to start working with your hosting account.
- Blogging – this tells people the site is about blogging
- Wizard – this adds brandability
Trust me – if you’re feeling that way, you’re definitely not alone. The struggle to pick a domain name is something that every single webmaster deals with.
2. Make Sure People Can Pronounce Your Domain Name
Take the website American Scrap Metal. That’s a perfectly innocent name, right? Well, it is…until you put the words together.
Then, the tool spits back a list of available domain names. For this tool, every single suggestion will include the word “coffee”.
- It’s easier for people to talk about your website in real life (the obvious reason)
- People “pronounce” words in their head when they’re thinking
Now, you get americanscrapmetal.com, which could lead to an unfortunate situation where your visitors see Americans Crap Metal. Awkward!
And if you’re not careful, this can lead to some unfortunate mishaps.
3. Try To Use “A” Keyword In Your Domain Name
To get started:
If you want a little humor break, Bored Panda has a big list of these unfortunate domain names.
This is not an absolute rule. But if you have the option, you should usually take the .com.
- It helps add context. Because your site is probably about that keyword, the keyword actually helps humans understand what your site is about.
- It still helps with SEO. Because people will use the keyword when linking to your site by name, it still helps search engines understand what your site is about.
The difficulty of coming up with a domain name has spawned a whole set of tools called domain name generators. With these tools, all you need to do is enter a seed keyword and the tool will spit back a bunch of suggestions that are:
Once you finish purchasing your domain name, you’ll need to complete one more step before you can actually start using it.
4. Consider How Words Look When Mashed Together
Your domain name isn’t just written words in a browser address bar. It’s also something that people need to be able to pronounce.
Congratulations! You just learned how to choose a domain name and start using it with your host.
It’s a massively important event in your website’s life and, in an ideal world, you want it to be for life.
When most people think of a website, they think “.com”. But while .com is the defacto standard, there are actually over 1,500 different domain name extensions.
To get started, go to Namecheap and search for your desired domain name:
- Write down your domain name on a piece of paper
- Show it to your friends and family and ask them to say the name aloud
- If your friends and family give you different answers, head back to the drawing board
You’ll see this formula all of the Internet! It’s even what we use at WPKube:
5. Choose A .com Domain If Possible
To purchase a domain name, you’ll need to use something called a domain name registrar. Domain name registrars are accredited by ICANN and other organizations which gives them the ability to actually register a domain name for you.
And if you have any questions, please leave a comment and we’ll try to help out!
And because you want your domain name to be memorable, you want something that’s easily recognizable.
But before I show you how to purchase your domain name in the next section, it’s important that you check two things:
Ok, here’s where things get a little bit tricky. Each domain name on the Internet can only be owned by one person at a time. If you think about it, this makes sense…
At this point, you’ve hopefully been able to come up with a domain name that you’re happy with.
6. Avoid Using Numbers Or Hyphens
If you followed the instructions, you should have an awesome, brandable domain name that will set your website up for success both now and in the future.
Suffice it to say, you have a lot of options to choose from.
- Onestep4ward.com – a popular travel blogger who constantly regrets having to explain to people that his domain name isn’t “onestepforward.com”.
- Face-book.com – trademark aside, most people would just type facebook.com and forget about the hyphen.
Use One Of These 3 Domain Name Generators If You’re Stuck
Keyword + Branding Word
- Checks all the boxes
- Isn’t already registered
That will launch you into the checkout process where you can check out like you would at any eCommerce store.
But as simple as those words in your browser address bar look, they can be surprisingly difficult to come up with.
But should you branch out and choose a domain extension that’s not .com?
- Related to the keyword
- Actually available to purchase
Enter your domain name in the search box and click the search icon:
1. Lean Domain Name Search
Then, the tool will tell you whether it matched an existing trademark. In the example below, you can see that “facebookkube.com” throws up a big red flag:
Numbers and hyphens are just too dang confusing to use in a domain name. Consider these examples:
I always say that choosing a domain name is a lot like a marriage:
But if you like cooking, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of a brand called Barefoot Contessa.
While you can change domain names (divorce!) midway through your marriage, it’s a messy process that you want to avoid if at all possible.
While you can always find a few counterexamples (e.g. 9gag.com), in the vast majority of situations, it’s better to skip numbers and hyphens.
- Use abbreviations
- Add syllables
- Drop letters
- Add synonyms
- Some other neat tricks
Essentially, this guide will take you from zero all the way through to owning a brand a new domain name.
This formula is by no means the only way to come up with a brandable domain name. But in a pinch, it’s a great way to think up something that’s relevant and memorable.
Namecheap will check the availability for you. Assuming it’s still available, you can click the Cart icon to add it to your cart:
But it is a good tool to help you think outside the box and get your creative juices flowing.
In the past, many webmasters would try to forcibly use keywords in their domain name at the expense of many of the other tips on this list. They did so in order to rank higher in Google search.
To quickly check if a domain name is available, you can use a free tool called Instant Domain Search:
- Enter your main keyword in the Pattern box
- Choose the option for Containing
- Click Create wordoids
Then click the View Cart button and Confirm Order on the next page:
Here’s a good way to test this:
Check These 2 Things Before You Finalize Your Domain Decision
Here’s how to do it:
- Trademark infringement – you don’t want your domain name to accidentally infringe on an existing trademark. That can lead to legal problems down the road.
- Social network availability – whenever possible, you want to pick a domain name where you can register social media profiles. This helps you maintain consistent branding across social media.
How To Check If A Domain Is Trademarked
The easier you make it for your visitors to process and pronounce your website, the better the chance that people actually remember your domain name and find their way back in the future.
- Enter your domain name in the box
- Click Check Trademarks
It can affect a whole heap of things like:
In the next section, I’m going to give you a bunch of tips to help you choose an awesome domain name. And as you read through these tips, your brain will hopefully start firing with all kinds of cool domain name ideas.
How To Check If A Domain’s Social Profiles Are Available
Wordoid occupies a space somewhere between Lean Domain Search and Panabee. That is, the domain name suggestions can get creative, but they aren’t quite as “out there” as Panabee.
I mean – it would be chaos if anyone could just register another version of “Google.com”, right?
You have plenty of options, but my personal recommendation is Namecheap because it has:
You might not always be able to use your first-choice domain name, especially if it involves common words. As of 2015, there were over 294 million registered domain names – so competition can be pretty hot for the popular ones.
Then Panabee will spit back some suggestions:
How And Where To Purchase A Domain Name
The second one is the most interesting – because making your domain name pronounceable actually makes it easier for people to process and remember your domain. There’s a whole scientific field on this called cognitive fluency.
While none of these tips are absolute rules, it’s usually a good idea to at least follow most of them if you want to pick a quality domain name.
Then, the tool will use colors to indicate whether or not your domain name is taken at each social network:
How To Purchase A Domain Name At Namecheap
If you follow my branding example from above, an easy way to fit a keyword into your domain name is this formula:
I don’t want to scare you with these ideas – I just want to communicate the fact that you sometimes need to be creative/flexible when you choose a domain name.
But a domain name is only part of the puzzle – if you’re still struggling to get your website set up, you might be interested in our detailed guides on how to make a website and how to start a blog with WordPress.
If that sounds like you – don’t worry because I have something to help…
This part of the guide will cover how to purchase a domain name at a dedicated domain name registrar. But depending on where you are in your journey to make a website, you might not actually need to follow this guide. If you haven’t signed up for hosting yet, check to see if your host offers a free domain name as a signup bonus before you continue with this section.
How To Start Using Your New Domain Name
I probably could’ve tied this one in with branding or pronounceability, but I think it’s important enough that it deserves its own section.
You need to be careful with Panabee because not all of the suggestions are good ideas. E.g. many are fairly difficult to pronounce.
- Find the nameservers that your host uses. Usually, you can find these in your host’s dashboard, but if you’re not sure where to look, your host’s support can definitely provide you with the information.
- Change the nameservers for your domain to the values for your hosting account in your Namecheap account (or wherever you registered your domain name). Here are detailed instructions for how to do that at Namecheap.
If you’re coming up with a brand for your website, you’ll probably write the words down separately like you would in a sentence. But when you go to turn that brand into a domain name, the words are going to get smashed together.
Enjoy Your Awesome New Domain Name
If you want to launch a website, you’re going to need a domain name.
To check if your chosen domain name accidentally includes a trademark, you can use a free tool called EstiBot.com:
That’s not what I’m recommending. Google has lessened the effect of so-called “exact match domains” and it’s also just not a good long-term strategy from a branding perspective.