“That name is unavailable. Please search for another one.”
Anyone who has ever searched for the perfect URL or even tried to find a Gmail address or a coveted Twitter handle can relate to that frustrating sentence. Unless your name is really unique, chances are it’s taken. This is particularly stressful for the would-be entrepreneur, as you are searching for a name that will stay with you for a while.
We used GoDaddy to find our ideal domain names. True, the suggested ‘Variations' the site offers are meant to assist finding other names, but the alternatives are not really useful and usually kind of entertaining! Aside from that, the site is really helpful. Over the years, it's user interface has improved and the navigation is more intuitive. Although there are other providers with a cleaner and simpler interface, for the price and the 24×7 phone customer service, we still keep going back to them and currently own more than 15 domains with them.
If you've run out of naming ideas, use the Igor Naming Guide for some tips. Also, the Lean Domain Search is great for sparking some available name ideas. If you have a local business or specialize in a particular niche, consider including keywords of the city or niche in your domain name (e.g. SmallvilleFatFreeCupcakes.com). Finally, if your ideal domain name is taken, try finding and reaching out to the person or organization that registered the name. If they are not using it, they may be willing to give or sell it to you at a discount.
After you finally get a great domain name, don't forget to snag the Gmail address, Twitter handle, or anything other account you may be using. Happy hunting.
How did you find your company name or domain name? Share any tips with us in the comments below.