How to Choose a Domain Name If Your Dream URL Is Taken

Web Design

Woohoo!! You’ve got a biz you’re excited for and you’re ready to start showing up online. The first step of that process is choosing the perfect domain name for your business. But what if your DREAM domain name is already taken? As a web designer who’s helped hundreds of clients, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to choose your perfect domain name.

First things first, where should you buy your domain?

There’s a plethora of places you can purchase your domain, and most of them will have similar costs. BUT I’m guessing you’re on this article because you don’t know (and you probably don’t WANT to know) about DNS records, servers, yada yada… So let me save you some time and tell you my two fav places to purchase your domains and WHY.

  1. GoDaddy Ok, some designers might fight me on this, but GoDaddy has become my go to platform to purchase domains. Why? Because it’s simple to use, fair prices, and the customer service is PHENOMENAL. Truth be told? I usually just hop on a call with a rep, tell them what I’m trying to do, and they take care of it for me. #exposingmyself.

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2. Google Domains. It’s pretty much the exact same as GoDaddy though there is the added convenience of having it connected to your gmail account and one less password you need to remember. Similar pricing, similar ease of use, though slightly less responsive customer service. It’s still an amazing option.

How To Choose a Domain Name – And Tips For Getting Creative If Your Dream Name Is Taken

Finding the right domain can be one of the most exciting parts of starting your biz. But it can also be one of the most frustrating because if you own your domain, it means you are literally the only person in the world who owns it, which ALSO means that it’s very likely that someone might already own the one YOU want.

With both of the domain sellers I listed above, they’ll have the search bar where you can check to see if the domain you want is available. Here’s a few suggestions:

Think Long Term When Choosing Your Domain Name

Your domain name is like a fine wine—it should age gracefully and still taste delicious years down the road. So choose wisely and avoid any “what was I thinking?!” regrets!

You don’t want a domain that’s going to be changing every few years. You want to pick one thing and have start building up a name for yourself! Do you know how hard it is for people to find you if you’re up and moving all the time?

Keep it Simple & Easy To Remember

Make sure you’re choosing a name that’s not excessively long or hard to remember. Avoid hyphens and numbers if possible, this can make it difficult for people to remember or search for you.

Choose the Right Extension (.com is always best in my humble opinion)

I’ve seen way too many people discover their dreamdomain.com is taken so they opt for the dreamdomain.org or .us or .edu or one of the other options….

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Listen fam, if we’re doing this, let’s do it right. If you purchase a domain like this that’s already taken you will a) share that same exact name with someone else and will compete with them every time someone searches your company on google. And b) when the time comes for you to get a professional email (yourname@yourdomain.com) it’s going to be complicated and confusing for you and your people to remember it’s actually yourname@yourdomain.us

But of course there are always excpetions. I don’t see anything wrong with .biz or .shop and if you’re a nonprofit, the .org is also a perfectly acceptable option. At the end of the day just choose wisely with what’s going to make sense for your business.

3. Try to find a domain that’s ALSO available as a social media handle.

It’s best if you can keep all your online presence platforms under the same name so people can easily find you no matter what they’re scrolling on.

4. The Domain You Want is Taken? Get Creative with Keywords

If your dream name is unavailable, try thinking about other words that might describe your business. Try to think specifically about words that people might be searching. Here’s a few suggestions to get the ball rolling

Industry: If you have a floral shop and find that DaisyDelights.com is already taken, try searching for terms like daisydelightsfloral.com.

Location: If your floral shop is a physical shop that exclusively serves the Portland, OR area, you could try searching for daisydelightsportland.com or daisydelightsoregon.com

Action: If you sell online products or have an online store you could try something like shopdaisydelights.com

5. Remember.. the words are all smooshed together…

Ok this one is one that you won’t see in other places BUT it’s something that has definitely brought me some giggles in the past. An iconic example? Furnish It – furnishit.com YIKES. or Pen Island? Yeah, we allllll remember that one.

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But aside from the occasional oopsies that happen like the above, smashing our words together without having any capitalized letters really can throw off someone who’s trying to search for your website. So make sure to take a step back to look at your name before moving forward and maybe ask a few people to see if anything pops out at them.

Bottom line?

Knowing how to choose the right domain name is no small feat, but with careful consideration and a sprinkle of creativity, you can find the perfect match for your business. Just remember your brand, be intentional and if you’re feeling stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or even yours truly! I’m always happy to help you get creative!

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