So you've decided that you want a domain name.
Your first instinct is probably to register your domain name with a .com extension - with nearly 30 years of top-tier news, entertainment and businesses associated with .com, it's become one of the most versatile, trusted and recognizable domain name extensions around the world. Every Fortune 500 company and many of the top startups have .com domain names. And domain and branding experts agree that a .com domain name is preferred over other domain names.
So how can you take advantage of the reliability and instant recognition that .com can offer? There are many ways to find available .com domain names. Below are eight tips that can help lead you to several great .com options to register today.
1. Use modifiers
If your initial idea for a domain name is taken - like mine was - consider adding a modifier. I registered TheJeannieMcPherson.com and I actually like it better.
If the domain name is for your business, consider adding words that describe what you do, or the make-up of your company; like construction, dentistry, partners or associates. The possibilities are endless.
2. Include your location
Many businesses today are locally operated and serve specific geographic areas, and including this information in your domain name can help make your website more locally relevant for search, while also showing your community pride.
A great example is an Austin, Tx.-based mattress company that registered several location-based .com domain names and realized an increase in business from organic searches alone.
3. Add keywords
Recent research from Verisign and comScore revealed that having a keyword-rich domain name can help with getting more clicks. That's because internet search users are almost twice as likely to click on a keyword-rich domain name that includes at least one of their search terms, compared to a domain name that does not contain any of the keywords.
4. Come up with a unique way to describe or brand your business
Plenty of successful companies have come up with unique names by adding or removing a letter from a common word, like Tumblr, for example. By combining two common words or merging two words into one, like Facebook and Instagram; or by using a common word in a new context, like Yahoo, you can come up with a unique title.
Getting a little creative can open up a lot of options for great available .com domain names that can help you stand out. That's what Creative Agency, InkHouse, and electronic signature company, Docusign, did.
5. What would a customer type into a browser to find my business?
For example, a Boston-based home repair business name might be "McPherson and Sons," but a domain name to market that business could be "bostonhomerepairservices.com," an easier to remember phrase that people will likely search for and that ties back to the business.
6. Use an acronym
Companies like AOL, IBM and BMW all use acronyms in their brands and their domain names. You can also abbreviate states, countries and professions in your domain name, for example: NYC, USA and CPA.
7. Use your social media handle
Many people and businesses start their digital journey on social media - so why not use the same branding your audience is already familiar with as your .com domain name?
You can point the domain name to your website or the corresponding social media page, like I did by pointing JeannieMcP.com to my Twitter account.
8. Use a domain name suggestion tool
Verisign's DomainScope combines many of the above tips into one tool to provide available domain name options. All you need to do is type in keywords of interest and a list of relevant options is automatically generated for you to choose from. You can also use the tool to find recently expired domain names that are newly available and may be already receiving traffic.
Getting a great domain name requires a mix of flexibility and creativity. Using the tips above, you'll be well on your way.
Finding the .com domain name that's right for you can be an important step in telling your story, or the story of your business. Because .com is one of the most trusted domain name extensions, it can help show the world your website is one of trust and reliability.