Beyond web design: Choosing the right domain name for your company

May 12 2011 - 8:51am

Choosing an appropriate domain name is an essential task when creating a website, as a poorly selected domain name may lead to poor website visibility. However, arriving at a suitable domain name is not as simple as many people may think it is. This article discusses some free online tools that simplify the process of coming up with a killer domain name.

Some Free Online Tools for Selecting an Appropriate Domain Name for Your Website

Domain names may make or break a website. Choosing an appropriate domain name is of utmost importance especially for startups as domain names hugely influence the visibility of a website. A killer domain name is arrived at by choosing one that is easy to remember without compromising on SEO (search engine optimization).

Popular TLDs (top-level domains) such as .com, .net and .org have been so widely used since the inception of the internet that they have become overcrowded. As a result, creating clever domain names akin to Del.icio.us and Goo.gl not only gives your website a unique and easy-to-remember URL (universal resource locator), but also portrays the kind of ingenuity that pulls crowds and enhances your web presence.

There are several tools that can help you discover an appropriate domain name for your website easily, and 4 of the best are listed below.

1. Domainr (Domai.nr)

This website allows you to search for a domain name among all types of domains including the ubiquitous .com and .net, country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) such as .us, second-level domains such as .co.uk, sponsored domains such as .mobi, and internationalized domains which may contain characters from foreign alphabets.

It suggests domain names as you type in keywords in the search field, and clicking on a suggested domain name will reveal whether it’s available or already taken. If a domain name is available, Domainr suggests some domain registrars for you, though you may choose to register the domain name elsewhere.

2. NXDom (Nxdom.com)

This website features two search fields: one for the word you want your domain name to begin with, and another for the word to be at the end of the name. Like Domainr, NXDom employs AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML) techniques to list suggested domain names as you type in either of the search fields.

This website has a handy filtering mechanism that allows you to sort search results based on certain desired aspects of a domain name. You can filter by length, readability (whether you require the domain name to be readable in a particular language like English, German, etc), domain names that contain numbers, etc.

3. BustAName (Bustaname.com)

This website features a “Word Combiner” that prompts you for the words you would like included in your domain name. It then suggests domain names based on different combinations of the words you typed in. You can extend your search keywords by looking up synonyms of the words you entered in the “Word Combiner” and adding them to the list of words that can be included in the domain name. You can also specify whether you want a word to be at the beginning, middle, or end of the domain name.

The search results can be tweaked by adjusting some options; you may select the number of words to be combined, add prefixes and/or suffixes, choose whether to pluralize nouns, drop the last vowel of a word (like Flickr.com), etc.

You can save some of the suggested domain names for later review, but you’d need to register using your email address. The website also allows you to sort the suggested domain names by alphabetical order, readability, length, or number of syllables. Unfortunately, this tool only suggests domain names with .com, .net, .org, .info and .biz extensions.

4. Domize (Domize.com)

This tool lists suggested domain names with links to domain registrars for the available ones. Clicking on an “advanced search” link lists some advanced search options. For example, entering a comma-separated list of words within square brackets instructs Domize to search for domain names that contain either of the words in the list. Other examples of advanced search options are:

- [rhyme:word], which searches for words that rhyme with “word”;

- [like:word], which will search for synonyms of “word”;

- [bulk:URL], which searches for words contained in the text file referenced by the given URL;

- [color], which gives a list of common colors; etc.

The above tools can come in handy when selecting an appropriate domain name for a website. However, the list is by no means complete as there are many other tools out there that can do the same thing. Other notable tools not included in the above list include Ajax Whois (Ajaxwhois.com), DomainsBot (Domainsbot.com), Nameboy (Nameboy.com), SquURL (Squurl.com), and Dot-o-mator (Dotomator.com).

While these tools greatly simplify the process of finding suitable domain names, they all involve automated searches and it is therefore imperative that you consider the suggested domain names deeply before choosing one. Think about the intuitiveness of each domain name before arriving at a final decision, and avoid hyphenated and long domain names as website users may often misspell them.

All in all, do not use these tools in isolation. Use you own judgement and common sense as well, and eventually you will come up with a unique domain name that’s appropriate for your website.

Call Horton Group for domain services: 615-292-8642.

Ned Horton

What Ned finds most satisfying about being at the helm of Horton Group is working with clients, addressing their needs, marketing their businesses, brainstorming and delivering new systems and web-based applications that can move their businesses forward by leaps and bounds.

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