Last Updated: 4/5/2017: As years go on finding great domain names only gets hard regardless how many new extensiont hey release. This is becauise .com’s are The ubiquitous .com domain, one of the 7 original TLDs (Top-level Domains), has lived a long and popular life. From the first registration (symbolics.com) in 1985 there have been nearly 114 million .coms registered, an order of magnitude more than any other TLD. This has meant that short and memorable names are almost impossible to find freely available. Of course there’s always the possibility of contacting the existing domain owner and making an offer, but with such a shortage and domainers’ often delusional valuations, you may be best to look elsewhere.
Domains & SEO
It used to be very important for someone to get the Exact Match Domain, or EMD of the main keyword they were targeting. For Example, If I was a dentist in Seattle I would get a HUGE increase in rankings if I owned the domain: SeattleDentist.com. It was so bad many years ago that brand new websites with EMD’s would rank with a single page of content little above high authority sites. While this is no longer the case as Google Fixed it years ago I still believe EMD’s hold value just not even close to as much as before.
Moz.com posted an awesome “white board Friday video” on the domain names and how to choose them.
Tools For Finding Awesome Domain Names
Luckily, there are a number of services that allow you to quickly find available domains that don’t suck, both .net/.coms and others, with the help of some engineered creativity.
I have a new web based tool to add to the list for you that is easily my favorite now. While the developers have seemed to stop updating it.. The site still rocks for finding expired and hard to find domain names. DomainHole even has an IOS app for your phone and tablet that you can use on the go. Sadly, being an Android user myself I haven’t tried it yet. If anyone else is able tot try it let me know how it works for you!.
Some of DomainHole’s Features Include:
- search name
- spinner instant
- check complete
- check name
- generator alerts bulk
- check brainstormer
At first glance, the domains Mighty name spews out seems like it may be a joke. “communistgrandson.com” hopefully isn’t what you’re looking for, but give it a chance and with a few refreshes you’re likely to stumble on something surprisingly good. Check out the search function if you’d like a little more control.
A personal favourite, Wordoid generates “made-up words”, either from scratch or with a base word. Perfect for avoiding the .com shortage and plenty of fun too.
Fast domain search with a plethora of search options, combine words, synonyms and prefixes.
Looking past the 90’s style web design, domain soup offers a number of useful tools to find domains with various parameters, including x word length and dropped/nearing deletion domains.
Lean Domain Search
Lean domain search allows you to enter a word you want included in your domain and will pull back 1000’s of possible combinations. Best Features: Super fast and includes a Twitter username search too.
Domain hacks are gotten even more popular since this post was first published.
The term domain hack was first coined in 2004 here, with the registration of inter.net. Simply put, it’s the inclusion of the TLD/ccTLD in the context of the full domain name, e.g. del.icio.us. Best used for a technologically competent customer base as the unusual TLDs often required will be unfamiliar to most.
Really fast, but unfortunately that’s because there’s no validation of availability. Best to play with if you’ve got a larger budget for potential offers.
Domai.nr generates available domain hacks, both TLD and URL variations.
The original domain hack search tool, also includes email hacks.
Dictionary Domains provides a full list of english words with available domains (There are no .coms available so don’t bother looking!), but also includes a nifty domain hack search tool here, one of the best if you’re looking for a “real word” domain.
A number of ccTLDs have recently become popular for startups/web-based companies, so much so that Google has started to treat them as gTLDs (Generic Top-Level-Domains), an important factor in SEO as the domain isn’t tied to it’s local market. If you are interested in buying a domain name like this in a different country from where you are you will have to work with a Registrar that will go through the process for you. Keep in mind, depending on the TLD you are interested in it can be very expensive.
The .co of Colombia has been heavily marketed and even offers a “membership program” for owners of .co domains. It may seem gimmicky but it does have the benefit of being short and is easily pronounceable. Available at a number of registrars for around $6.
Being the TLD of Lybia, there has been justified concern over the stability of the domain, including a story where a domain was suspended for content hosted on it (Bit.ly also moved to bitly.com over similar fears). However, if you play by the rules, i.e. no offensive content, you should be just fine. LY domains are only available to register through Lybian Spider for $75.
.io (Indian Ocean)
You’ll find .io domains gracing the front page of Hacker News and programming communities around the web due to it’s symbolism of I/O. If you’re looking for credibility with hackers, then .io is your best option. Available to register at NameCheap for around $50.
Haver anything to add about finding hard to get domain names? Let us know in the comments below :)
Nice suggestions for tools for finding a domain Ben. However… I do not recommend IO at all.
Good article, I’ve been looking for a list like this. Just a correction, .co domains are from Colombia, not Columbia.
Good catch. Thanks