Naming Your Website

Find a great domain name for your website or business…or both

You’re ready to take your company online and, dang!…the website name you wanted is already being used. So you try another, then another. All the good names are registered, it seems. It’s hard to come up with new ideas. What to do? How do you name your website? How do you name your company? How do you get that perfect domain name?

There are some good naming tools that can help you with finding a top-notch — and available — name for your company or website. I’ve linked to some of the best ones below.

But first, it pays to consider some unavailable names. Take a close look at some very successful sites that already have names, and see how they did it.

Strategies for naming companies and websites

The Non-Sequitur

It’s amazing how many of the most well-known companies have names that are totally unrelated to their business. Give it try yourself, but make it a familiar word or the name of a familiar character from history, legend or literature.

Alibaba.com
Amazon.com
Apple
BabelFish
D’Artagnan.com
Gutenberg.org
Monster.com
Pogo.com
Sprint
Starbucks
Target

The Neologism

Invent an entirely new, unrelated word

ebay
Google
kiva.org
Mozilla
Orkut
Veoh
Zedo

Double Up

Try a straightforward two-word description of your company or your website.

Findlaw.com
Home Depot
Office Depot
Pizza Hut
RapidShare.com
Whole Foods

Fancy Double Up

Or get a bit fancier. Stitch two words together because they sound cool, tell a bit of a story, or both. Colors are popular, as are take-offs of well-known names like YouTube or MySpace.

AllPosters.com
BlueRay
BlueTube
Craigslist
deviantart.com
doubleclick
facebook
godaddy
Limewire
MySpace
PayPal
QuickTime
redroom.com
Redtube.com
skyrock.com
WebMD.com
YouTube

Trendsetter

Lock in a trendy word. When a new buzzword comes along, someone’s going to be the first one to register it as a domain name. Why not you?

Chrismukkah.com (2003)
longtail.com (2002)
truthiness.com (2005)
woot.com (2000)

Re-Spelling Bee

Respell a familiar word. Go ahead…teacher’s not here now.

doon.com
Froogle
kidz.com
phreak
topix.net
warez.com

Suffixipedia

Add a common ending to word, or just to a word root. It can be a single letter or a longer suffix.

activia.com
colorzilla.com
dogster.com
Friendster
funtastic.com
musicovery.com
rentometer.com
spamdemic.com
technorati.com
Wikipedia

Prefix It

Add a common beginning…
A single letter…

ehow
eloan.com
ename.com
estrategy.gov
ibusiness.com
Uclue
Ucomics.com
ugallery.com
Xtube
zshare.net

Or something a bit longer…

cybercity.com
epicurious
Geocities
intelihealth
isohunt.com
megaupload
metacafe.com
metaclip.com
miniclip.com
mininova
neopets.com

Chop and Add

Replace part of a word with a common beginning

ezine
imation
imaginarium.org

One Letter Roulette

Add, Change or Drop one letter from a familiar word

xcnet
digg.com
epinions.com
Flickr.com
Globo.com
itanium.com
singshot.com

License Plate Style

Use numbers to diversify your name

1800Flowers
1up.com
411.com
4shared.com
health911.com
Hi5.com
integr8.com
w3schools.com

Keep It Short

Use initials of an easy to remember phrase.

byob.com bring your own bottle
fsbo.com for sale by owner
wayn.com where are you now

Or Make It Long

Go with an easy to remember phrase.

DoItYourself.com
DoSomethingAmazing.com
HeartAndSoul.com
HowStuffWorks.com
IDontLikeYouInThatWay.com
TheFlyOnTheWall.com
WhatTimeIsIt.com

Master of Your Domain

Play around with clever dots and domains

del.icio.us
last.fm
HiDef.tv

Of course, the strategies alone aren’t going to get you a great name. Even after knowing that neologisms are a way to go, it’s still a challenge to think one up!

Not only that. After thinking one up, you have to make sure the name is available. Here are a few tools you can use to help the process along.

Domaintools.com (a straightforward two-word combo) is a good general purpose site for help with names. Use their Whois tool to check name availability, and their Domain Suggestions tool for help in thinking up word combinations for naming your site.

Here are some good website naming tips to consider from The Site Wizard, and some more how to choose a domain name tips at WebTalk Radio.

You can also search newly expired domain names and grab one, if it catches your fancy.

After you settle on a name, let me know what you come up with. If it’s something cool and different, I’ll gladly add it to the above list.

Good luck.

David Sarokin