It can be quite frustrating coming up with what is to you the perfect domain name for your website, only to arrive at your favorite domain name registrar, run a search for your domain name and find out that someone has already registered it.
Sometimes, the owner of the domain name may not even be using it for anything. They simply registered it, hoping that someone will want it one day, and be willing to pay top dollar for it.
The fact is that the chances of you finding the .COM of your preferred domain name are small to nonexistent.
As at early 2019, the number of registered dot com domain names had exceeded 100 million, with the other domain extensions accounting for an equally impressive number of registrations, therefore, you will be hard-pressed to find what you want.
If you find yourself in this situation, what are the options available to you? Read on to find out.
Try an alternative TLD
Dot Com is definitely the most popular domain name extension in the world and accounts for more than 75% of registered domains. This high level of popularity translates into small chance of your finding your preferred dot com domain name.
If you cannot afford to be flexible with the makeup of your domain name, such as if it is tied to your brand then you can consider any of the numerous TLDs extensions available on the market.
As at February 2017, there are more than 1000 domain name extensions in the market. Aside from the more popular TLDs such as dot com, dot org, dot net and more recently dot biz and dot info, there are hundreds of other extensions that fall under different categories of gTLDs.
Another great idea is to register your preferred domain name using an extension that represents the country where your target market is. For example, if your website is targeted to audience in Spain, you can use a .ES domain extension instead of a .COM. Not only will it be easy to get your domain name this way, ccTLD will also help your SEO efforts, especially in the area of local search.
For websites designed for traffic from New Zealand, you can simply register your New Zealand Domain Names via Openhost NZ to make it easy for your target audience to find your site on search engines. Also, you will no longer have to worry about changing your name just so you can get a .COM.
If your website is focused more on local traffic, then a ccTLD will serve you just fine. You can use the domain name you want and enjoy local traffic from search engines.
Try Industry TLDs
If your website offers content that is industry specific, then you may want to consider going for an industry specific TLD.
Industry specific domain extensions are popular with websites targeted at specific industries or businesses in an industry. For example, lawyers are increasingly going for the .LAWYER extension instead of bothering with the usual dot com.
In fact, there is an extension for virtually every industry or business ranging from bars to restaurants, TV for television, FM for radio stations, photography and accountant. The list is exhaustive. You can even choose a .SHOP for your ecommerce website.
At this point, I should point out that not using a .COM extension has a few drawbacks. For example, internet users are rather more familiar with .COM and may unconsciously type the dot com version of your URL. This can make them miss your website, causing you to lose potential customers.
Therefore, if your business is already up and running and you simply have to use a dot com TLD, then you can try out the following tricks.
Try a variation
If you discover that the domain name you want has been taken, creating a variation of your original idea or business name can be an effective way to get the ideal domain when your preferred choice is taken.
For example, if your business name is Auckland Auto Repairers and you cannot use that as your domain name, you can simply modify it to autorepairsauckland.com or autorepairsnz.com. These two variations are obviously similar to what you originally came up with.
Try a catchphrase or add a keyword
If you can’t get a good variation that fits your business, you can try coining your domain name out of a catchphrase. Even though this may not match your brand name, as long as it fits what your business offers, it will work just fine. You can also try to integrate a keyword or group of keywords into your domain name. Something like autorepairsauckland.com not only covers your services, but also specifies your business location.
Find out if it is for sale
Some people buy domains not because they actually want to use them, but so that they can sell them and make a profit. If this is the case, there is the possibility that you might be able to get the domain of your choice if you are willing to pay for it.
The first step is to find out who owns it. You can get the information you need by running a WHOIS search. The results will show you details such as when the domain was bought, when it will expire and the contact information of the principal registrant.
You can then send an email to the domain owner to find out if they are willing to sell and for how much.
Setup domain monitoring
That your preferred domain is taken doesn’t mean it will be taken for ever.
Domain names are bought for a specific period of time, usually between one to ten years, and once the domain has expired, you can grab it up if the owner fails to renew it.
To keep an eye on the expiration status of the domain name you are interested in, you will need to use a domain monitoring tool. When the domain name expires, it immediately becomes available for sale and you can quickly snap it up.
There is really no fixed rules when it comes to choosing a domain name for your website. The only rule that counts is that you choose the right one from the get-go as this is something you will be stuck with for the lifetime of your business or website.
Of course, you can always change your domain name by buying a new one and pointing it to your existing site, but this may cause you to lose your hard earned page rankings and domain authority. Therefore, be sure about a domain name before registering it for your website.
Hopefully, the tips contained in this article will help you choose the right domain name even if your first choice is not available.