Whether you’re looking to create a personal blog, an ecommerce website, or planning to launch the next Google, you’re going to need to register a domain first. I’ve reviewed and compared the top domain registrars and domain parking services to help you find cheap domains and the best places to park domains that you may find during your domain search. I’ve also incorporated a comparison chart that allows you to filter and sort them according to pricing, features, and support to help you quickly identify which ones that best match your needs. Initially you should focus your attention on top level domains (TLD), which consist of the most wanted web domain extensions (i.e. .COM, .NET, or .ORG), especially the .COM extension since that is what most people associate a domain name with. Prior to doing that however, you should think of a very practical name that is easy to remember and it is very relevant to the website you will be creating. This will make it easier for people to find your website on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Live.com as well.
Do Your Homework
You should really put a good effort into finding the perfect name for your upcoming website as all new domain registrations are for at least one year. Keep in mind that most of the common sense domain names are already taken so you might need to improvise. If it’s a personal blog you want to create, and your own name is taken (i.e. JaneDoe.com), be creative and use alternative version (e.g. I-Am-Jane-Doe.com).
For commercial website planning, you need to focus most of your attention towards defining the scope of the products and services you intend to offer, who your targeted customers are going to be, how you want your company to be perceived, and what keywords are relevant. Take all that into consideration and then brainstorm to come up with different creative domain names that are easy or unique enough to remember. Try using different synonyms, name combinations, acronyms, phrases, or abbreviations if your having trouble finding a domain that’s available. I’ve taken the liberty of adding a great list of domain registrars, helpful domain name strategies, and domain tools to this article just for that purpose.
Have Fun With It
If you don’t have a well defined intention for the website, your targeted customers, or you have plans to grow your business outside of its narrow scope later on down the road, you may want to use a vague common name or create a word that doesn’t exist. For example, Amazon.com is well known for selling products and services but I bet the first time you heard of it you had no idea what they did. Again, because there’s not that many names left for registration nowadays you may just have to create you own. Such is the case for names like Mozy and Diigo. Alternatively, my may want to intentionally misspell your targeted domain name if it’s already taken. Digg and Flickr are two examples of misspelled words that have gained quite a bit of popularity and are very well known today.
Another strategy for creating a unique domain name is to use non-TLD extensions and common words to come up with creative unique addresses. Notify.me is a great example of a domain name that is both memorable and relevant to the service it provides. Other examples that are less memorable at first glance are Del.icio.us and Mag.nolia.com. Here the creators have registered part of the common word as their domain (i.e. icio.us, nolia.com) and then created a subdomain that completes the word where they host their main website. Check out the domain name strategies and domain tools lists below for more help creating unique domain name ideas.
Strategies For Choosing A Domain Name
- Try real words first (Carbonite)
- Slightly changed words (iPhone)
- Misspelled words (Soocial)
- Made-up words (Boxee)
- Foreign words (Baidu)
- Synonyms of your original set of words
- Acronyms (IMDB)
- Try combining real words (ElephantDrive)
- Join parts of words (Wiki + encyclopedia = Wikipedia)
- Phrases (StumbleUpon)
- Dashes between words (Digital-Photography-School)
- Puns (Automattic)
- Adding prefix or suffix to words (Friendster)
- Real person’s name (JaneDoe)
- Subdomains (Del.icio.us)
- Use various combinations of those strategies and tricks listed above
Domain Search Tools
GoDaddy’s Bulk Register Search – permits searching for many domains at once
Bustaname – domain name generator allows you to enter words and it generates them through various combinations of those words
GoDaddy’s Smart Search – suggests other names using synonyms and commonly used suffixes and prefixes. It is featured as an options tab when you do a regular domain search.
Domize – a very fast and simple search engine for finding available domain names
DomainTools – quick check to see a domain is available, who owns it, where it is registered, if there is a website associated with it, and much more
Pick The Winners
After your research and brainstorming sessions have been completed, you should use a bulk registration tool like GoDaddy’s to copy and paste all your tentative domain name choices at once and search to quickly identify which domains are currently available. If you discover that more than one of the domains are available that’s okay. If you think the other available domains are really great names then you may want to buy them too. It’s possible someone else might want them later, especially if the domain name contains strong relevant keywords. You can easily recover the price you paid for it by selling it at one of the domain marketplaces listed below and park the domain to generate a little extra income in the mean time.
It may be in your best interest to obtain the same name with a different domain extension (e.g. yourdoman.com, yourdomain.net, etc.). Most business owners like to make these purchases to prevent others from easily stealing traffic and to protect their company’s identity. This can be of particular importance if the scope of your business is narrow and it is niche related. Buying the extra domains can save you time and money by preventing direct competitors from entering the market and scooping your idea. For instance, let’s say you sell something called Silly Widgets and your domain is SillyWidgets.com. It’s possible that someone could buy SillyWidgets.net and directly compete against you. It works out great for them because they can sit back and let you do all the work and take on the costs to promote your product while they get free traffic. Or worse, they could actually have their own version of Silly Widgets that sucks and therefore it damages your corporate identity. That is, word spreads that Silly Widgets is a bad product and now your traffic and sales suffer.
I personally like to use GoDaddy for domain purchases because they consistently have the lowest prices, great discounts, lots of free features, and excellent 24/7/365 technical support with live customer reps that can be reached with a simple phone call if you have have questions or need help with your domain. If you’re in need hosting too I would strongly suggest using GoDaddy since new domain purchases are only $1.99 with any new hosting package. Some other hosting companies offer free domains with any new web hosting plan so you might also want to see my web hosting review and its hosting comparison chart before you make your decision. Oh, and just before you make that purchase at GoDaddy or any other domain registrar, check out RetailMeNot to find promotional codes and coupons for extra savings. Below you will find the comparison chart of domain registration services and domain parking providers that can be used to easily compare domain prices, features, and support for the various companies.
Domain Registrars and Domain Parking Services
The comparison chart above was created to help you find the best domain registrar and domain parking service that best fits your needs. You can sort and filter based on price and features that are important to you. For instance, if you want to find a domain registration company that offers cheap domains and live domain support via phone you should filter the 24/7 Phone Support category and then sort according to .COM Price.
GoDaddy – This is great place to buy domains on the cheap, find get great domain discounts (i.e. free domain with new hosting), and you also get lots of free features with each domain purchase. GoDaddy domain services include domain sales ($9.99), private domain registration ($8.99), free email with each domain, domain parking ($3.99 or $9.99), monetized domain parking (60% or 80% revenue share), domain backordering ($18.99), appraisals for as little as $5.99, and 24/7 technical support via telephone. GoDaddy also has a very large domain marketplace, The Domain Name Aftermarket (TDNAM), where you can buy and sell domains. A membership to TDAM is $4.99 per year with seller fees set at 5% and no incurred fees for buyer.
NetworkSolutions – Provides free domains with every new hosting purchase, private domain registrations ($9), domain transfer services ($19), and 24/7 live support via phone.
Register – Sells domains ($35), domain privacy ($10), and delivers 24/7 support for their customers.
Dotster – Free domains can be obtained with each new hosting package, .COM domains are priced at $15, private domain registration costs $6.99, domain transfers are $6.99, and support can be reached 6am to 6pm PST.
1and1 – .COM domains can be obtained for as little as $6.99 each and come with free private registration and free email. 1and1 also offers domain parking services ($6.74 per year), and free domain support that can be accessed through a direct phone line 24 hours a day.
Fabulous – Fabulous is primarily a domain parking service but .COM domains can be purchased for as little as $6.30 each. Domains registered at there can be sold at FabulousDomains.com and the Domain Distribution Network. Fabulous boasts some of the highest earnings on a per click basis with their domain parking service. Joining Fabulous is by invitation only and you must have a portfolio of more than 50 domains that are mostly English based with .COM extensions.
Name – Provides domains ($8.99), free private registration for domains, auction services, domain transfer ($7.99), and 9am to 5pm MST tech support via live phone operators.
NetFirms – Domains priced at $6.99, free private domain registration, free email, and 24/7 phone support.
Moniker – .COM domains cost $8.02 per year, free domain parking, monetized domain parking, domain backordering, domain appraisal ($24.99), domain marketplace, and domain brokers available.
Sedo – Offers free domain parking, monetized domain parking (50% revenue share), domain appraisals ($29), domain auctions (free listings, $39 featured listing, 3% seller fee), domain transfers (3%, $50 minimum), domain brokerage ($69 + 10%), escrow services (fees: 3% internal, 10% external), and 24/7 phone support.
Yahoo! – Domains priced at $9.95, $9 per private registration, free email with each domain purchase, and round the clock domain support.
Parked – Does not sell domains but provides domain parking services that include free parking and monetized domain parking that shares 65% of any generated revenue with its customers. It is consistently the highest rated domain parking service on the web. They offer probably the most customization of parked pages by allowing you to add images, links, and banners.
Lunarpages – Gives away free domain with each new hosting account, .COM domains are sold for $9.95, private registration for domains ($7.95), and technical support for domains can be reached via phone from 6am to 6pm PST.
MyDomain – Gives you a free domain with every hosting purchase, sells .COM domains for $9.75 each, domain registration privacy ($6.99), domain transfers ($6.99), and live customer support via phone (6am-8pm PST).
NameCheap – Serves up domains ($9.69), domain privacy protection ($2.88 per domain), free domain parking, domain auctions (10% seller fee), and domain transfer ($7.99).
DreamHost – Free domains with purchase of hosting plan, .COM domains priced at $9.95 each, and free domain email.
Google AdSense For Domains – Accessible through your Google AdSense account, this domain parking service lets you park your domains with Google and run Google Ads on them for free.
Afternic – Provides free parking, monetized parking, domain appraisal services ($24.95), domain auction service, domain brokers, and escrow service.If you liked this article, please take this time to share it with your Facebook friends using the Facebook button (see Facebook post button to the left) or retweet it using Twitter (see retweet button to the left). You may also want to follow us or subscribe to the site to stay up-to-date with this article. If you'd rather follow us from your Facebook account, join our Facebook fan page or subscribe to our NetworkedBlogs profile.
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