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How to Pick a Domain Name You’ll Love

There are millions and millions of websites.

All of them are clamoring for the spotlight whether it’s for business, branding, or just to get a message heard.

Amazon, for example, is so synonymous with online retail that it’s the first website you rely on to find great online deals. We sit patiently, waiting for that brown box with the happy swoosh sign.

I know I do it, I know you do too.

So, the question is: why does a name like Amazon, eBay, BuzzFeed, TikTok, and others have such an attachment within our society and mind? Why are they part of our social consciousness?

Surely you can find just as much great information and deals out there but we always come back to the juggernauts.

The goal of this post is to give you an idea of what it takes to not only pick a domain name that’s really great. But, helping you land one with lasting power. One that’s memorable. One that builds a brand.

A domain name that people will immediately associate with what you have to offer.

What is a Domain Name? Better Yet, What Makes a Domain Memorable?

Think of those domain names…

  • Amazon.com
  • Google.com
  • Facebook.com

Those basic file and server associations are now branded so powerfully they’re part of our everyday vocabulary.

Could it be that each of these brands has been around since the early days of the Internet?

Not necessarily, especially with the fact that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube only really took off until around the mid-2000s.

Well then, could it be that they’re simply so popular and loaded with traffic that we just immediately assume they’re the lead players in each industry?

Again, not really.

In the case of YouTube, there was Stage6 which already offered HD videos years before.

MySpace, LiveJournal, and other social networks were in full force before Facebook.

Even Amazon had competitors that were doing things way better.

I know! It’s the advertising and marketing, yeah, that’s it!

Hold up, when’s the last time you saw a massive ad push for Amazon? What about Facebook? Ever watch the Super Bowl and see some 30-second spot for Wikipedia? Nope.

Okay, I get it, where are you going with this?

The brand.

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This is that idea we associate our emotions and trust behind a name even though we really don’t have a clue about the people behind it.

What makes Amazon such a powerful brand is a combination of lucky strikes and innovation. Amazon was able to survive the Internet bubble which basically eliminated most of the major eCommerce competitors. Likewise, it’s been around such a long time that we’ve come to trust what we find on the website despite the fact that most of the products are sold through independent vendors. We place trust in Amazon that we won’t be cheated on a deal as opposed to eBay.

There are also subtle things such as the A to Z item I mentioned; it represents that Amazon has everything … from A to Z.

You may not have noticed it but it’s there.

There’s not a moment, when buying on Amazon, that you feel “oh shit, I messed up”.

Each of the names I mentioned in the list has this same experience. There aren’t moments when you feel lost and confused. But is all of this because of a domain name? Maybe there is something underneath it all …

A Domain Name Is More Than a Name

Whether you have one or a hundred online projects, the first place you’ll generally start is with the name.


Because you want to solidify your idea.

You probably get a lot of advice about creating a business plan before starting.

I’ve always found that doing the slog work, such as a business plan, gets in the way of the momentum.

Think about it, did you ever really spend an hour reading the rules of Dodgeball before playing, or did you just jump right in?

The domain name can shape your overall plans, too.

What does it represent? What’s the perception? How will it grow with you?

The domain name has a few tasks:

  • Explain what a visitor could expect to find
  • Describe the brand you represent
  • Offer flexibility into new ventures and projects

For a while, you could slap up an exact domain name website and be done with it but what you sacrificed was the long-term potential. Likewise, you could go full-on brand but then need to spend years getting the website found and ranked.

It comes down to this:

  • Do you want the quick win?
  • Do you want to be there in the future?

Those that answered the first should go ahead and dig into niche marketing; those that opted for the latter should continue.

Let’s not be lazy here – we should be viewing our online projects as something we can pass on; something that we can be proud of, something that’s going to, even marginally, become the next Amazon, Facebook, or … whatever.

Get in that mindset for this next phase – think about what people will say about your website, brand, and maybe even business, in the next 5, 10, hell, even 50 years.

How to Brainstorm a Great Domain Name Idea

For some of you, the name of your business/website will just pop into your head.

Maybe it’s what someone said and you were like “yeah, that’s it!” Others may need the extra push to find that perfect domain.

Let’s focus on the latter…

There’s no written ‘rule’ of domains but let’s try to set some boundaries:

  • Keep it short (maybe a a word or two)
  • Make sure you can pronounce it easily (so people can recall your site)
  • Try to avoid double meanings (does your domain translate into something weird?)
  • Don’t add hyphens (they suck)
  • Always go for a .com (because really, when’s the last time you said .net?)
  • Look to see if it’s already used but just not online (don’t be the imposter)

The first way I would recommend for coming up with the domain is to simply kick around names until it sounds good.

Just sit there, typing up domain names over and over and over again.

Do it to the point that you’re getting bored with it. Take a break. Come back and keep kicking out the ideas.

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Eventually, you’ll write something that pops out – something that gets stuck in your head where it sounds great even a week later.

The second would use keyword research tools like the one provided by Google to match up exact keywords. Although I don’t really recommend exact domain names because they corner your potential to grow – they can still be very good depending on the niche and industry you’re in.

Third, if you’ve already got a business then just go with that but pull out parts that don’t really matter. That goes for things like LLC or whatever’s sort of tacked on. People don’t want to go to “BillsCommercialPaintingandPowerWashingServices.com”, ya know?

The Domain Name Registration Process (Without Going Overly Techy)

Okay, tutorial time.

I hope you’ve got to this point and realized what goes into a domain name and some tips on coming up with your own. Now let’s do a quick overview of the process …

It really doesn’t matter which domain registrar you use as long as it fulfills its purpose. For years I used GoDaddy but lately, I’ve been picking up domains through NameCheap. Generally speaking, they’re extremely easy to work with if you just decline all the extras they want you to buy.

Registrars are there to … register the domain name.

All you’re really doing is setting up an account and telling what domain name you want.

However, if your domain seems to be taken I’d say to either go back to the drawing board or take a look at a few of their suggestions.

  1. Go to a domain registrar
  2. Type in your desired domain name
  3. Check if it’s available
  4. Add it to the cart
  5. Use a coupon to get a nice discount
  6. Fill in the details and checkout

There you have it.

What did you expect? You’re literally just buying a domain name.

I Want You To Do This Next

No need for a conclusion, just want you to take action if you’ve been on the fence about setting up your first website or if you’ve got other projects in the pipeline:

  1. Take about 20 minutes, today, to kick around some domain name ideas
  2. Send over your best ideas to a few of your friends to see what they think, ask your mother what she thinks the name means, figure out how it’ll tie into your overall message
  3. Go over and pick up the domain name
  4. Let it sit for a while or maybe put a coming soon page to start indexing. Why? Let the excitement build with the potential for the domain – you’ll kick up new ideas over the next day or so that you let it sit.

I hope you got a lot of info out of this post (or at least inspiration to get a new project up and running). I’m sure you’ll pick a domain name that’s really memorable. And hey, this is a perfect time to put together one of those one-page websites we’ve talked about!

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