Find a good domain name can be challenging. While most of the best names have been registered, many good names are being dumped back on the market by people who no longer wish to pay the registration fees.
If you just arrived at this page, you may wish to read the first part of the article, also called Finding Domain Name Bargains.
There are several good online tools to help you to find a great domain name. One of my favorites for locating expired domains is the Domain Search Tool at DomainTools.com. With this tool you can plug in a partial domain and it will display thousands of variations or both registered and previously registered (dropped) domain. While most of the expired domains are pretty much useless, a few gems do pop up and can be registered at your favorite registrar.
When it comes to determining if a domain name that holds an advantage for driving traffic almost immediately, you need to know how often people search for the keywords in the domain and how many other web pages are competing for the same keywords.
To determine the number of searches, the best free tool available is Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner Tool. Just plug in the keywords you wish to target and it will reveal the number of times users searched for that phrase in Google during the previous month, along with sometimes hundreds of associated search phrases. The associated search phrases are the gem. If you are searching for a domain name using popular keywords, such as “pet supplies”, you are not likely to find that domain available, but one of the variations of the search phrase may be available. If you find a phrase that is searched for quite often–perhaps more than 1000 times per month–and the keywords are available as an exact match domain (see part 1), you may have a domain name that can drive instant traffic to a new web site.
To determine the number of pages that the keywords in a domain are actually competing with, you need to know how many web pages mention that exact phrase. The easiest way to do this is to do a search in Google using the targeted keyword phrase surrounded by quotes. Searching with and without quotes will yield different results. Without quotes, you are search for pages using the exact search phrase as well as pages that merely mention any word in the phrase somewhere on the page. Using quotes narrows the search to only pages that contain the exact quote. This the real amount of competition for the phrase.
Why You Never Want To Search For Available Domains at Your Registrar
Most people make the mistake of searching for a domain name at their favorite registrar. You should only do this if you are prepared to purchase a good domain name as soon as you find that is is available. Why? Because most major registrars are known to monitor the domain availability searches and if you do not register a really good name that you just found, it will very likely not be available tomorrow. With many registrars, the next day you will find that these shining stars are no longer available and have been added to a registrars auction or registered by one of their partners. This happened to me several times before I figured out what was going on. In other words, you cannot trust a registrar when searching for a domain. Instead, use an online tool that is not associated with registrars to search for available names.
The best tool that I have found is the Bulk Check Tool at DomainTools.com. With this tool a series of domain names can be entered and the tool will tell you which ones are available for the .com, .net, .org, .info, .us, and .biz extensions. Enter the names as if they were domain names without the extension, such as petsupplies, catpetsupplies, dogpetsupplies, etc. For most popular search phrases, the .com TLD (top level domain) will not be available, but frequently the .net or .org are available.