Before business cards and brochures can be printed and before the next advert can be booked, the domain name for your web presence must be selected. And this is where many startups experience a shock – when they realize that the domain they want has already been registered. The domain is not only essential for advertising purposes, like printing business cards, but also plays an important role for UX, SEO and digital strategies in general. But this is no reason to throw in the towel right away. There are a number of alternatives at hand to find the ideal and effective domain for your business. We explore 10 different means of finding and registering the perfect domain.
Navigational searches are on the rise
Users looking for specific products or brands often use navigational searches. This means that they do not only access websites by using search engines, but also frequently in a targeted manner by entering the search term or brand directly in the browser bar. For this reason, it is of utmost importance that your domain includes the brand name or is very memorable. Naming the product for sale in the domain can therefore also provide a solution, immediately indicating which product is up for sale on the website. Plus, when users type their search into the browser bar, it might even be displayed as the best result.
However, if the domain name is too complicated, cannot be associated with the service or product or cannot be found easily by users, this will result in lower numbers of visitors to the website and a loss of revenue.
For business, education or simply for pleasure. Here are 15 tips for successful domains.
10 paths that lead to your domain
These ten routes can help you find the ideal domain. Regardless of where you are, what you do or whether the domain you want is already registered.
1. Check the domain
The domain you want is already taken? Visit the website to see whether it is active. If you see an image like this, you should contact the owner.
In order to find out who the owner is, you can use the international WHOIS database. The domain owner's contact information is usually listed there. If the personal data is encrypted, you might find an email address or other information on the website or in the imprint.
2. Use a brokerage service
If the domain you want has already been registered, a domain broker might be able to help you. They find the rightful domain owner and, if the owner is willing to sell the domain, they negotiate a price on your behalf. Sedo, the largest domain marketplace in the world, offers a brokerage service. If this method doesn’t work, for instance if the domain owner asks for an amount that you are not willing to pay, there are still other means of acquiring the desired domain.
3. Use catchy verbs
Using a suitable verb in the domain can guide potential customers in the right direction. It also helps customers to remember the domain. For example, the terms “get” and “try” are extremely popular and suit many business models perfectly.
4. Brand name extension
In order to generate the perfect domain, you can also combine the company name with a word that is connected to the business. A prominent example is the automobile brand Tesla. The car manufacturers used the domain TeslaMotor.com until 2016 as Tesla.com was already taken. The addition “motor” complements the brand perfectly, allowing the domain to function well. When using this little trick, one has to make sure that the term used suits the business. If, for example, the brand is an app, adding the keyword “app” to the domain name could be a smart move.
The majority of internationally renowned companies include premium domains as part of their digital strategy. Find out how premium domains are used by top brands.
5. Using country-code TLDs
The TLD .com has long been the international standard. However, it is most frequently used in the USA. In other countries, companies are more likely to use their country-specific TLD, also country-code TLD (short ccTLD). In Germany, for example, the .de extension is more popular than .com.
6. Geographic advantage
If the business is located and operates in a certain city or region, this location can be included in the domain. This option is also beneficial for products or services offered in a certain country. .bayern, .berlin or .africa are just three examples of numerous geographic TLDs.
7. Creative domain hacks
The country-specific TLD .me is actually designated to Montenegro, while .tv is the ccTLD for the island nation of Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean. The websites spiegel.tv, stern.tv and loewe.tv, all well-known German brands, are prominent examples of using the extension .tv within the multimedia industry. The TLD .me enjoys great popularity due to its use as a personal pronoun in English. With this clever trick, when the domain and domain extension form a certain phrase or word, so-called domain hacks are created. The Despicable Me franchise of Universal Pictures provides another great example of a smart domain hack. It uses the TLD .me creatively to market their movies “Despicable Me” and “Minions” under the domain name despicable.me.
Take a look at another ten examples of ccTLD domain hacks here.
8. New gTLDs matching your business
If the .com domain is already taken, you can look for a TLD alternative that matches your business. If you operate an online shop, the extension .shop delivers a solid option, while .tech, .digital or .app offer great alternatives for tech companies. In general, the new gTLD .company is another reliable choice. But there are also TLDs that could match your business more specifically. Take a look at over 1,050 new gTLDs to find the right match for any purpose. Check our top-level domain list to see whether the name you want is still up for grabs under your favorite domain extension. You can also easily and quickly use filters according to type (like ccTLD, gTLD or new gTLD) or category (like automotive, education or entertainment).
9. Suitable gap fillers
Hated by many, but embraced by others, this method often paves the way to the best domain. Combining two words with a hyphen is a frequently used method to include the desired keywords or brand name in the domain. Apart from the hyphen, other possibilities include adding a number from 0 to 9 to the domain name. Well-known examples on the German-speaking market include bett1.de or check24.de. However, it is important to make sure that the numbers do not result in unnecessary confusion. With the numbers 2 and 4, it is often unclear whether these should be written as digits or as words (to/two and for/four).
10. Monitor the domain
Alternatives are out of the question, but the owner is not willing to sell the domain? In this case, your only option is to keep an eye on the domain by using Domain Monitor offered by DomainTools. This tool lets you know if there are any changes to the domain situation.
Multiple domains are better than one
We hope that our tips can help you find the way to the domain you want. We still have one last piece of advice for you though. Register more than one domain and link these to your main website. This will help you to catch a broader range of navigational searches and search engine results while also lowering the chances of the competition being found online before you.