If Your Domain Name is Taken, Try These 5 Tricks

Nowadays, having a business website is a must. However, finding the perfect domain name for your website can be trickier than expected. With more than 1.2 billion websites out there, you might assume that all the good domain names have already been taken.

If you discover that the domain name you want is already in use, don’t despair. Try these five tricks when your domain name is taken; you can still launch a website with a name that represents your brand.

1. Contact the current domain owner

If you discover that the domain name you want is already taken, try to figure out who currently owns it. This can be done using a WHOIS lookup tool.

Once you know who the owner is, you can contact them and ask if they would be willing to sell the domain name. Avoid making an offer in your initial email, and instead wait for their answer. If they reply positively, let them suggest a price and make a counter-offer. Expect to see a high price at first, and be prepared to negotiate. If they respond negatively, it’s time to move on to tip #2.

2. Try an alternate extension

Almost everyone defaults to using a “.com” extension, but there are plenty of other popular extensions out there, such as “.net,” “.me,” and “.co” that have been around for a while and might be worth considering.

Don’t forget that a plethora of new extensions like “.blog,” “.website,” and others have been released over the last few years. You can register a domain with a wide range of extensions through WordPress.com. That includes .blog domains for bloggers!

Try searching for your desired domain name with a different extension and consider registering it if available.

3. Get creative

If the above strategies don’t work, it’s time to get creative and come up with new ideas. Consider using an abbreviated name as your domain. If your business is called Mary Smith Wedding Photography, maybe you could use your initials and the word “photo,” titling your domain msphoto.com. Maybe use your full name and “photography” for a domain that reads marysmithphotography.com.

Alternatively, if you’re registering a domain name for yourself, throw your middle name into the mix. Another idea is to use your tagline or catchphrase instead of your business name.

You can use a service like domai.nr to help you come up with unique and short domain names, as well.

4. Use modifying words

Another great way to come up with a domain name is to use modifying words (those that can be removed from a sentence without affecting its meaning) at the beginning or end. If your ideal domain name includes the words “handmade jewelry,” try adding your first name or “my” to the beginning.

Another variation is adding an action word to your domain, such as “buy” or “get.”

Chances are, by experimenting with different variations, you are bound to find a domain name that sticks. Remember to keep your domain as simple as possible and easy to spell so that your site visitors can find you online with ease.

5. Try incorporating geography

If you’re a local business owner and your location is especially important, try adding your city, county, or state to your domain name. Doing so will allow you to not only narrow down potential domain names but ensure that your local shoppers know they’ve landed on the right website. In addition to allowing website owners to register domain names with dozens of different TLDs or extensions, you can choose a country-specific TLD such as .ca for Canadian websites.

Finding the perfect domain name isn’t easy, but it’s also not impossible. If your desired domain name is taken, use the tips above (as well as a little creativity), and you’ll find a great — perhaps better — alternative in no time.


Brenda Barron

Brenda Barron is a freelance writer, editor, and SEO specialist from southern California. She is a contributor to The Motley Fool and blogs regularly at The Digital Inkwell.

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