Domain Name Basics

Selecting Your Domain Name

Always go for a .com domain for your business registration. One of the most confusing things for a potential customer would be to accidentally type in when you own or .org and find themselves visiting a competitor or alternate-business website.

Step 1 – primary options

If you have an established business and brand, like “Purple Chicken Plumbing”, your best domain options in-order would be:

Purple Chicken Plumbing - mashup CCs flickr: normanack, rubbermaid


Whenever your brand name is unavailable as a standalone, adding your service (plumbing, in this case) to the URL often opens up the availability.

Now, let’s assume someone in New Zealand also has a plumbing company with the same name, so both domains are unavailable. Take the town you work in (ex. Portland) and append it to the end of the URL:


If neither of these are available, you have 1) a very ambiguous brand name — ex. “Red Studio”, or 2) a metropolis of businesses around you. If that’s the case, or you simply don’t like any of the mix-match domains that come from these formulas, continue to Step 2.

Step 2 – alternates

Do you already have a Twitter or Facebook account? Fan pages are created requiring similar constraints to your domain registry.

For example, one recent business I was assisting had a strong presence on Facebook, but didn’t have a domain yet. After searching through the potential options, we settled on a domain name that was also the same as their Facebook account.

You could try appending short words to your brand domain name:


Step 3 – unestablished businesses or personal websites

Purchase your name, nickname, or name and title:


Step 4 – last resorts

You know what you want, but you just can’t get it…quite. Well, you could try for a hyphenated domain name. (But warning, it’s much harder to say your domain name with hyphens involved. It’s also much harder for people to remember)


You can pick a completely service and location-based domain. This can be done well if available and you don’t plan to franchise. A great example local (to Bend) is Tomo’s Sushi restaurant. They own – it’s perfect for the keywords people search. (But warning, unless your brand very-much rallies behind local business, don’t choose this option.)

In conclusion, make sure your domain name 1) is clear enough that people can remember when told, 2) can be written down without asking how to spell it, and 3) doesn’t conflict with a similar domain that may lead to customer-confusion. Also, keep it as short as possible. If it ever gets put on a billboard, you don’t want people trying to read

If you have questions, leave a comment. Follow Unconventure on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks!

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  1. Pingback: Katie Moreno - the Freshman Who Built a Consulting Website - Interviews - UNCONVENTURE

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