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Your Ideal Domain Name Is Taken—Now What?

You’ve just come up with the best idea ever for a business, and the perfect domain name to boot. When you go to register that domain for your website, you realize it’s already taken. What do you do?
In lieu of cueing those tiny violins, it’s time to re-strategize your domain naming game.

The Importance of Being Choosy

Think of domain naming as a reflection of who you are, what you do, and what service and/or product you offer. And, just as you’d devote enough time and energy into creating the right “physical” location for your business, you should invest that same amount of time and energy into creating your “virtual” location.
In other words, a “good” domain name is, in effect, a “good” digital identity. And, since your domain name will hopefully be yours for quite some time, it’s essential to strategize. You want to choose one that aligns with what your business and website promise to deliver.
So you may still be wondering, how do I go about choosing a good domain? Here’s how:

    1. Make It Keyword Rich. Here you should focus on effective keywords and phrases that best describe your business, company, and/or product. This strategy involves making a list of a few keyword phrases that relate to your product (or services) you offer and selecting the best keyword to describe what it is. For example, let’s say you live in Berlin and you’re big into recycling. Your goal? To create a website that lists all the recycling centers in your respective city. Your domain name, then, could be bestberlinrecycling.com.
    1. Think Social. Ideally, your domain name should match up with your prospective social media handles. For example, if your plan is to buy the domain mybusiness.com, make sure to then create a Twitter account (@mybusiness) as well as a Facebook page (facebook.com/mybusiness).
    1. Come Prepared with Options. Set aside some time to get those creative juices flowing and brainstorm a few backup options, just in case you discover your first choice has already been registered. When you’ve come up with a few that you really like, be ready to mix and match if need be.
  1. Keep It Easy. When thinking of possible domain names, you want it to be easy to remember, easy to type, and easy to hear. There’s nothing worse than struggling to remember a company’s website because the name was too complicated or if someone overheard it on the radio, they wouldn’t be able to type it out from memory. Keeping your website accessible should always be top of mind.

Still having trouble coming up with a solid name that hasn’t yet been taken? Try using DomainScope, a data-driven tool that does the work for you.

Get Creative

Even if yourcompanyname.com is taken, there are (thankfully) many ways you can still use the business name you originally had your heart set on—without starting over.

    1. Try Abbreviating. Sure, it may not be the most ideal scenario, but abbreviating your original domain name can still be just as effective. For example, let’s say your business name is Fritz and Max Recycling. If all obvious domains are taken, you can try an abbreviation such as FMRecycling.com or even FandMR.com.
    1. Adjust Your Desired Name. One of the easiest ways to find an available domain is to add a word before or after the name you want. For example, instead of FritzsRecycling.com (which is already registered, hypothetically-speaking), you can get FritzsRecyclingOnline.com (which is available, also hypothetically-speaking). Another option? Alter your location. For example, instead of DomainIwant.com, you may want to try DomainIWantGermany.com.
  1. Create a Catchy Phrase. If there isn’t an abbreviated option available, you can register a domain name with a catchphrase or tagline such as RecyclingDoneRight.com. You can even use an SEO keyword phrase that integrates your location, e.g. BerlinRecyclingDoneRight.com.

Think Outside the .Com Box

If you’re like most businesses, you prefer to have the “.com” at the end of your domain name. Right? As you may have guessed, however, many .com names might be unavailable.
Don’t stress. While .com domain names are still the most-widely used top level domain (TLD), generic top level domains (gTLDs) are increasing in popularity (think .edu, .net, .co, and .me).
To illustrate, here’s an example. Let’s say your aforementioned idea of bestberlinrecycling.com ends up being taken. Instead of throwing in the towel, why not register that same domain name with another extension? The result could be something like bestberlinrecycling.net or bestberlinrecycling.co.
As you can see, alternate TLDs are the perfect way to keep your original brand intact while still remaining searchable. So if you can’t register that coveted .com domain name of yours, it’s not the end of the world. Registering your domain name with another top level extension might not have quite have the visibility of a .com name, but it can still be a great alternative.

Try to Purchase the Domain

When all else fails, and your ideal domain name happens to be registered to someone else, you might want to consider buying it from them. If you’re lucky, there’s a chance they may just be willing to sell it, especially if there isn’t a current and/or active site there now.
To search for any domain, visit whois.sc. The results will show you who the domain is registered to and how to contact the owner (usually, there’s an email address listed). As a formality, send an email to the domain owner first to see if the address is even for sale. (This will allow you to determine if it’s a real possibility.) Keep in mind, though, that their asking price might be a little higher than you expected, so don’t make an offer right away. If their initial offer is too high, feel free to make a counter one. It’s not uncommon for people to overestimate the value of the domain names they hold.
If you prefer not to deal with the negotiations yourself, you can also hire a third-party broker. Domain selling is a multi-million dollar industry these days, so be forewarned—you could end up paying quite a bit of extra money for your domain.
All that aside, owning a premium domain name can be an excellent long-term investment for your business and/or company, bringing about brand recognition, delivering instant credibility, and creating more profits.
Now that you’ve come up with the perfect domain name(s), be sure to get them registered with Namecheap.

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Erin Huebscher avatar

Erin Huebscher

As a born-and-bred American who now resides in Germany, Erin brings her love of digital storytelling to Namecheap. With nearly 10 years of international copywriting experience from her time in Stockholm, Sweden, and an MA in Creative Writing, she has a penchant for all things fashion, film, food, and travel. More articles written by Erin.

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