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Buying a domain name: Researching and Brainstorming

Remember, the point of a domain name is to make a website easier to find and more memorable. So, as you research and brainstorm, it’s important to remember this central idea – a memorable domain name is always better than a cute or catchy domain name. If you have a great idea for puns to include in your ‘company name’, it’s advisable to use them in titles or headlines on your website rather than in your domain. In order to get people to visit and revisit your website, stick to the obvious.

For a New Website

Finding a domain for a new website can be something of a challenge, considering the fact that you’re selecting a name to use for years to come. Yes, you can always change domain names later, but the process usually disrupts your traffic to the site and confuses search engines.

It’s best to start with a bit of brainstorming. Grab a few blank sheets of paper, a thesaurus (or browser opened to, and have a little patience.

Jot down what your website will be about, in a paragraph or two. Next, boil down this description into a maximum of 2 sentences. Don’t worry about covering all the details; just make sure you’re addressing the essentials of what your website will be about.

Now, take your short description and underline all the “key” words that describe your future website. Let’s take a specific (fictional) example:-

“Our website will be the leading source of information on weaving and knitting, providing knitting patterns and design ideas, an introduction to weaving, a guide to selecting and caring for looms, and a store for people to buy wool, yarn and books.”

Now try to come up with a domain name that either addresses the one fundamental concept of the site or that marries two or more key concepts in a single name.
In our example, the following domain names may be possibilities:,,,, etc.

Once you’ve drawn up a short-list of possible domain names, start searching for available names using the iGoldrush domain search tool.

In the above example, “” and “” were both available as of December 2000. But we can do better than that!

“” and “” are both available, and while neither has the instant impact of an “” or “”, both will be acceptable to our target audience – in fact, at the low prices today’s domain Registrars are charging, it would be worthwhile picking up both names!

If you’re having difficulty coming up with useful domain name combinations from your keywords, try a single keyword and add prefixes or suffixes, such as “the”. Not all prefixes and suffixes are appropriate in all situations. Instead, use your judgment when deciding which to add.

Common Prefixes

e, e-, my, i, i-, the, online, net, web, internet, hot, cool, our, your

Common Suffixes

world, links, site, web, net, resource, business, company, corp, inc, shop, store, mall, search, directory, guide

If you still can’t find any names you like, try brainstorming using some of the domain name research tools listed in the resources section of this site! One great tool is DomainIt’s domain name suggestion tool, which will give you suggestions for available names based on the keywords that you choose.

If you have a budget for your new domain name, then you need not be restricted to available, unregistered domain names. You may be able to buy the perfect domain name from its current owner. For more information on how to buy an already registered domain name, read our guide to buying and selling domain names.

For An Existing Site

If you want to buy a domain name for a website that is already up and running, your options will be more limited than if you’re starting from scratch, especially if you’ve already been operating under a clearly-recognizable “name” or “title”. Even if your website is hosted on a free service or on a free site like MySpace or WordPress, you may have given it a short title in large letters (or in a logo). While your search may be more difficult, start your search using your operating title and go from there.

For instance, if your site is called “The Knitting Expert” then your search is over, as “” is available (as of the time this article was written.)
If your website’s name is very generic, you may well find one, or many, other sites already using it and the corresponding domain name(s) long since gone. In that case, you must decide whether you want to buy the existing domain name, look for an alternative extension, or use the brainstorming tricks outlined earlier in this article to find a suitable alternative.

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