We all want the most ideal domain name while starting a website. Usually it contains the .com suffix and our brand name. But there’s always the possibility that it could already be owned by someone else, especially if it is a popular name. And they might not want to sell it us or want to charge an exorbitant amount for it.
If you are faced with a problem like this, don’t worry about it too much as there are several alternative names you can come up with that will be easily available.
Here are a few ways to find alternative domain names, when your domain name is already taken…
#1 Find a different domain suffix:
The domain suffix consists of the ‘.’ and the last few letters that appear after the main name in a website’s URL. For example, for Sainsbury.co.uk. the domain suffix is ‘.co.uk’.
When buying a domain name most people want to purchase the .com version as most sites have this suffix and we have become accustomed to it as well. But buying a domain name with a different suffix shouldn’t make much of a difference. It shouldn’t affect your social presence, conversion rate or your SEO presence as it is not a ranking factor.
So, if you really want to have the same main domain name as your business name or you want it to contain certain keywords and the .com version isn’t available, you should go with an alternate domain suffix that is already available.
To check what domain names are available you can use a tool domain name checking tool. Just type in the name of the company or the keywords you want to find a domain for and it will show you all the suffixes available and not available.
Insert image: find different domain suffix
As you can see I looked up the domain name chocolatepie.com and it is has informed me that the domain name is already taken. But it shows me alternative domains with different suffixes.
#2 Add extra words:
If you still prefer a ‘.com’ option even though your name isn’t readily available, you can try adding some extra words to your domain name. This could be an actionable verb or a noun or a word that has some connection to your brand or product. You can also add the name of the country your company or audience is located in.
An example is Pocket, a tool that lets you save web pages to view later. The company is called Pocket, but their URL is getpocket.com. When you visit pocket.com you go to an entirely different website.
Insert image: Pocket website
Another one is Buffer, the popular social media scheduling tool. They now own the Buffer.com URL, but initially their URL was Bufferapp. If you visit Bufferapp.com you will be redirected to Buffer.com. As they didn’t own the domain name that only consisted of the word Buffer when they first founded the company, app was a good addition as it is a social media management app.
These are a couple of different ways you can add in extra words and still get a .com URL that is similar to your brand name.
#3 Abbreviate your business name:
Another option is to just use an abbreviation of your business name. If you have a long company name this can be highly beneficial as it will shorten the length. Just add the first letter or first few letters of all or some of the word and string them together. But make sure you add the full name of the company to the meta title and meta description so that you appear higher in the search results when your company name is searched.
#4 Use a hyphen:
If you do not want to abbreviate your businesses’ name or add in extra words, then you can try adding a hyphen between the words. Several domain names with a hyphen should be available.
For example, earlier I had searched the domain name chocolatepie.com, but it wasn’t available. But now I searched chocolate-pie.com and it is available.
Insert image: use a hyphen in your domain names
So, try searching your domain name with the hyphen and see how it goes. But remember that using a hyphen can make it hard for people to find your website.
This is because when you usually look up a company’s website, you don’t add a hyphen. You only type in their name. So, if a competitor owns that URL their website might show up.
#5 Come up with a new name:
You could also try brainstorming new domain names that contains popular keywords that have nothing to do with your company name. They can actually play a vital role in increasing your site’s SEO performance. But they can make branding hard as the URL won’t match the name on the logo. It can confuse some visitors.
Now go and buy your domain name…
These are all the methods you can use to find a domain name when your perfect domain name is already taken.
If you still desire to get that domain name, you can monitor it using a domain monitoring tool. This will inform you when the domain is available for purchase if the owner has let go of it.
You could also save up to purchase the domain name in the future. But till then you can use one of the above tactics to find a domain for temporary use. Later when you get your perfect domain you can simply transfer all the components to the new site and redirect the old site to the new one.
Photo by The Booklight