Now finally, the fun part of learning how to choose a domain name—putting the pen to (metaphorical) paper!
Listing Out Potential Domain Names (Example of Jotting Down Ideas)
At this point, you’re ready to start coming up with your own domain name ideas.
My advice is to set aside some time for this—ideally an hour or two when you can focus on this process, uninterrupted. This could be a great excuse to head to your favorite coffee shop.
It’s important to list as many ideas as you can for domain names, as there’s a good chance many of your ideas will already be taken. Keep in mind too, domainerelite that a not-quite-perfect idea can often help you move forward to something better over the course of this exercise (or even days later).
Below, at #9 in this guide, is my more detailed process that walks through the seven key factors in choosing a domain name—so take a look at this to help you come up with more ideas.
7. Pick Your Top 10 Domain Names
Once you’ve created your list, choose your top 10 potential domain names and check which ones are available.
A great place to check your domain name availability is on Hover, where you can type in a domain name and search to see whether it’s already registered or not.
Hover Homepage Screenshot to Find a Domain Name
If it is registered by somebody else already, my advice for now is to move on to the next potential domain name on your list. While it’s possible to get a domain name that’s currently taken by someone else (by purchasing it either directly from the seller or through a brokerage firm), that’s likely to cost well into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars—depending upon the domain.
Normally, you’ll want to register a domain name with the suffix .com (see the 7 key factors below for more on this).
Sometimes though, it might make sense to pick a local suffix (like co.uk or .in) or a less common extension like .net or .co if your ideal .com isn’t available.
As I mentioned above, if you find that a domain name you love is taken, it’s possible the person who owns it might be willing to sell.
This could cost anything from a hundred dollars—or into the many thousands, depending on how valuable the domain name is perceived to be (and depending on whether or not they’ve just registered the domain or they’ve built a site there too).
My advice at this stage is to register an available domain name to get your blog started with—and you can always upgrade to buying that perfect domain later on down the line once you have a budget for domain acquisitions.
8. Try a Domain Name Generator
If you’re struggling to find an available domain that you like, or if you haven’t managed to come up with many ideas, a domain name generator could help.
My friend Andy and I actually built one over here on SmartWP, to help with the challenge of coming up with great (available) domain names:
Domain Name Generators by SmartWP Find Smart Domain name Ideas
There are lots of different domain name generators available, but they all work in essentially the same way. They let you input a keyword or phrase (which will normally be something related to your niche), and they come up with a list of potential domain names you could use.
Most domain name generators will indicate whether or not those domains are actually available too—and many offer up easy links so you can buy the domain name you like right away.
For more, check out my list: 21 Best Domain Name Generators for Bloggers
9. Consider the 7 Key Factors That Make a Smart Domain Name
If you’ve got several potential domain names to choose from—and you don’t feel strongly attracted to any particular option—then run each of your domain names through this test.
You might not be able to nail all of these factors perfectly when you’re deciding on how to choose a domain name for your blog, but the more you can check off, the better your domain name is likely to be in the long run.