“I recently read a post by Joel Gascoigne from buffer, who I admire for building an amazing brand. Joel thinks that domain names are overrated; I disagree”
You probably know the feeling of searching for a new domain name and getting frustrated when hours go by, you don’t find something you like and there’s no end in sight. Here is how I approach this problem (+ a few tricks to find good names).
I recently read a post by Joel Gascoigne from buffer, who I admire for building an amazing brand. Joel thinks that domain names are overrated; I disagree. I think that a startup should invest time into finding a good domain name, as it is essential to their future branding. Hopefully I’ll inspire Joel to get creative with names as well 😉
What constitutes a good domain name:
- short — 2–8 characters
- 2 syllables — google, facebook, loglr (<- mine), twitter
- Trendy — It used to be: my, i or e + anyword .com. today it’s r (tumblr)/ly (grammarly) endings, exotic TLDs replacing the .com (youtu.be) and double letters (digg).
Tools and process:
My favorite tool to search for domains is InstantDomainSearch.com. It enables me to search for a new domain name in real time without the need to click the search button — this in turn allows me to work much quicker when brainstorming names.
Let’s face it — almost all of the one word domains are already gone. This means that you can either search for made up words like kululush, kaboom and kawabanga or try to find words combinations by putting one word after the other or fuse the two together.
1. Start with a list
Make a list of base words that relate to your initial idea using Thesaurus.com. This list should be between 20 and 60 words.
2. Add prefixes & suffixes
Try adding a suffix or a prefix to these words and check if the domain is available:
3. Fusing words together — howto
If you can’t find a good name with prefixes/suffixes, it’s time to start fusing…
I’m not going to connect words by putting one word after the other, like in the case of face+book (despite the fact that did seem to work well for them). I’m actually looking for a connection of some sort between the letters using a cool trick I developed.
For example — I wanted to try an idea that will pay users for seeing banner ads. Some relevant words in that space were user, advertising, clicks, banners, impressions, reward, look, see, watch etc.
- I used the word ‘user’ from the list and see if we can fuse something to it.
- We’re going to search for words that start with the last letter in user:The letter r, Using scrabbleFinder.com/start-with/r (you can substitute the r with any letter you’d like)
- The words in the result page are sorted by their length so it’s easy to start with the shorter words and go up until they get too long. We’re searching for extra meaning to the original idea (users get paid to see ads, remember?). The word ‘Rep’ (short for represent) seems relevant. Using instantDomainSearch.com, I checked to see if USERep.com was available. And sure enough…
- It was available! I like the name because it’s short (only 6 characters long), has low probability for spelling mistakes and relevant to the original idea.
It took a couple of hours of going through this process over and over before finding the combination that IMHO sounded good.
Words that start/end with…
Below are links to online resources that feature words that ‘begin with’ and ‘end with’ a letter. Make sure you change the letter in the url to the last letter or the first letter in the word you are experimenting with, respectively. Note, that you can have more than one letter in your searches and even find whole words, like: words that start with ‘big’.
If you’re looking for trendy domain name ideas visit: The 5,000 Most Frequently Used Domain Name Prefixes and Suffixes
In my opening I mentioned buffer’s success. Buffer couldn’t register buffer.com so they registered bufferapp.com instead. With buffer being successful as it is, I’m pretty certain that the owner of buffer.com is getting a lot of traffic 🙂
This post was originally published on Daniel Scalosub’s Medium blog
Image Credit: Shutterstock/ Macro view of group of color cubes with domain names on laptop or notebook keyboard