12 ways to come up with domain name ideas

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It's hard to come up with good domain name ideas. And if you're set on bagging a .com or a .co.uk address, it can seem almost impossible to find anything memorable that is still available

Don't panic. Good domain name ideas are out there, just they take some hunting down. You may have to invest some time and effort - along with some original thinking - to find one that's right for your business.

A quick note on .uk domain names

.uk domain names can be registered under a process known as ‘grandfathering’. This refers to the fact that only the owners of .co.uk domains can register the .uk equivalent – providing the former was registered before 28 October 2013.

If the .co.uk domain is available, owners of the equivalent .org.uk are given .uk rights, providing the .org.uk domain was registered before 28 October 2013.

In all other instances, .uk domains are provided on a first come, first serve basis.

However, due to the above caveats, we recommend speaking to your domain registering company ASAP to claim your .uk domain.

Here are 12 tips for taking the pain out of generating domain name ideas:

1. Get everyone brainstorming domain name ideas

Don't underestimate the power of a good old-fashioned brainstorm. If they can spare the time, get everyone in your business together in front of some whiteboards and scribble down all the domain name ideas you can think of.

Encourage your staff to think broadly and jot down anything that seems even remotely relevant. You never know where that killer idea will come from.

2. Think about your values and location

Your domain name ideas don't have to contain your brand name. You can include your location, or things that are important to you as a business.

Is your company located in London? Does it serve customers in the south-east? Do you pride yourself on speed of service? Maybe your domain name should reflect these attributes.

3. Do some keyword research (but not too much)

Possessing keywords in your domain can still have a positive impact on your search rankings.

Keyword research can provide great domain name ideas. Google's keyword research tool is a good place to start (although you will need a GoogleAds account). There are many free and paid-for tools you can use to find out which keywords your competitors are using including KeywordSpy, SEMrush and SE Ranking.

4. Plug initial domain name ideas into a thesaurus

Online tools can't find the ideal domain for you, but they can help. A good place to start is with a thesaurus, like at Thesaurus.com or Collins.

Enter business attributes, values, unique selling points, product benefits, the sector you operate in and more. You'll soon have a list of ideas longer than the world's longest domain name. (In case you're wondering, it's 63 characters long.)

5. Go old-skool with a printed dictionary

While an online thesaurus can help develop ideas from words you've already thought of, an old-fashioned dictionary can spark entirely new domain name ideas.

Get the dictionary, close your eyes and open at a random page. Touch a spot at random with your finger, and write down the words you find there. Repeat this a few times and you might just hit inspiration.

6. Invent new words by combining existing ones

Think up a portmanteau (that's two words combined to make one) that nobody else has come up with, and it could be your new domain name. Experiment with the ideas you've come up with to see if any of them work together.

Existing brands that have done this successfully include Groupon ('group' and 'coupon'), Accenture ('accent' and 'future') and Travelocity ('travel' and 'velocity'). Be cautious though - not all portmanteaus sound as good as these.

7. Use smarter domain name idea tools

Any company selling domain names will let you check for available domains online, like 123-Reg, Domain.com, GoDaddy, 1&1 Ionos and Names.co.uk. However, there are less well-known searches that offer more flexibility.

NameStation (free registration required), Bust A Name, Domainr, Dot-o-mator, Domain Name Soup and this free, business name generator can all 'spin' keywords you provide to suggest unusual and (occasionally) inspired domain name ideas that are also available.

8. Take a stroll round your business

Why not use the objects and words that surround you in your domain name ideas? Walk through your stockroom. Study the products on your shelves. See what the signs and labels around you are saying.

The language your business uses internally might not always be suitable for an external audience. But it can certainly help you come up with ideas that are.

9. Try translations

You don't need to stick with English. In fact, some things just sound better in other languages. There's no better example of this than Audi's famous 'Vorsprung durch Technik'.

But could you do something similar for your business? Google Translate is your best tool here, letting you plough through different words to see if anything captures your imagination. (If you like a word or phrase you discover, always double-check the translation with someone who actually speaks that language.)

10. Get domain ideas from someone outside your business

Once you've exhausted domain name ideas in your company, you can look to people who have less knowledge of what you do. They can provide a fresh or original perspective on things.

Good people to talk to include customers, friends, family and anyone who happens to be around when you need them. People like being asked their opinions, so don't be afraid to do so.

11. Put an original spin on a less-popular extension

All out of ideas for a .com or .co.uk name? It may be time to consider other, newer, less well-known extensions. There are many to choose from and new domains are coming on to the market all the time. Some lend themselves to creative uses.

For instance, if you have a word or phrase ending in .it, you can register a .it domain name. Or, if your business name ends in ‘UK’, why not register one of the new .uk domain names?

Alternatively, consider a domain that is related to your area of business or location. For example, a florist could choose a .flower domain, a wedding photographer might choose a .photography and a local coffee shop could take a .coffee domain. Location based domains ending .cymru, or .wales and .scot could help you attract local customers or Welsh speakers or associate your brand with your regional identity.

12. Look at what extensions are coming soon

New domain name extensions continue to enter the market. If you're out of domain name ideas, check which new extensions will be launched soon.

While it's hard to predict which of these extensions will gain market approval, they certainly offer scope for creativity.

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