Guidelines for Choosing and Searching a Domain Name
(1) Where to search for domains at registration cost.
Find a domain name registrar. Just for referral purposes two of the top registrars are GoDaddy.com and NetworkSolutions.com. If you enter “domain names” on Google you’ll find more choices than you’ll ever need.
(2) Which domain name extension is best
We can talk later about alternatives to .com but for now let’s be stubborn and decide we’ll settle for nothing less than the domain name extension that trumps all the others.
You’d have to have just stepped off of a space ship from another galaxy not to know that .COM rules and why. But just for a little pep talk prior to our quest I’ll paraphrase a famous quote from CNN,
.com has grown to become the world’s most popular TLD. Dozens of other TLDs are now available, but no matter how many new extensions may be added, everyone agrees — .com is still the “‘Rodeo Drive of the Web.”
(3) My domain name choice is already taken, Now what?
The chances of finding exactly the domain name you want are extremely slim. This is especially true for .com domains. Most people’s first choice for a domain name was taken by someone else years ago.
There are additional options that may lead to you acquiring a domain name that you could learn to love. To improve the quality of your effort as well as to increase the odds for success it will be helpful for you to start thinking of your desired domain name as a keyword that tells people what they can expect to find at your future web site.
(4) Search for .com variations at a domain registrar
Think hard to find one or two relevant words you could add before or after your keyword.
I’ll take the word “hunting” as an example. Mr. or Ms. Example is an avid hunter for game such as waterfowl, pheasant and deer. They want to write a blog about their hunting experiences and they want to share their knowledge with others. At the same time they believe it would be nice if they could sell hunting related gear that they describe on their blog.
They might try keywords or combinations such as hunter, hunters, hunting waterfowl, pheasant hunting and deer hunter (or The Deer Hunter). “Hunter Blog” is possible but “Hunter’s Blog” is not allowed because of the apostrophe. So, you could try Hunters Blog.
Be creative and keep trying here because the other options involve compromise, are more expensive and can be more complicated.
(5) Other generic domain extensions.
After .com generic domain extensions include .net, .org, .biz, .info, .coop, .aero, .name, .museum, .pro, .jobs, .travel, .mobi and many others.
There are many opinions regarding which choice is best. If you plan to offer Internet-related services .net is a logical alternative. If you plan to promote social awareness or you represent a non-profit organization then .org seems like a good choice.
You can usually search these domains back as your registrar.
(6) Country code top-level domain (ccTLD) that are available without restriction
There are some Internet country code top-level domains (ccTLD) that have been assigned to a particular country but that are now available to anyone with no registration restrictions.
Popular examples include .co, .me and .tv and you can also search this option at most registrars.
(7) Country code top-level domains with restrictions
These domains good choices only if you are a resident of the country and your intended audience is people who live in the country or region for which that domain is dedicated. In fact, you may be prohibited from registering some country specific domains if you are not a resident of that country and have no business interests within that country.
Using .us as an example I’ll refer you to the Wikipedia .US Domain article which includes the following information:
Restrictions on use of .us domains
Under .US nexus requirements .US domains may be registered only by the following qualified entities:
(1) Any United States citizen or resident
(2) Any United States entity, such as organizations or corporations
(3) Any foreign entity or organization with a bona fide presence in the United States
To ensure that these requirements are met, NeuStar frequently conducts “spot checks” on registrant information.