One of the most important moments of building your online presence is creating the name of your domain. In the digital sphere, the domain is your address and your identity. Before you settle for a domain, however, you have to jump through a few hoops.
You may think of a perfect name only to discover that it’s already taken or too similar to another brand’s domain. You may find that the perfect domain name is available but you cannot afford it. So how do you find the middle ground between originality, availability and affordability? More importantly, how do you avoid winding up with a domain name you may regret? With a little bit of brainstorming and research. We’ll show you how.
How to choose a domain name
Choosing the best domain name is more than just the “aha!” moment. A good domain name sports several qualities that work together to turn your business into a unique brand. So, before you start a brainstorming session, think of some characteristics a good domain name should have.
Your domain name should be short, simple, and catchy. Avoid long names that are difficult to write and pronounce. You want something that will be easy to remember and access directly without people wondering “what was the name of that site again?”. Avoid lengthy domain names, symbols, special characters, and numbers because they are complicated, convenient for hackers, and suggest a bad reputation (more on that later).
2. SEO friendly
A good domain name incorporates keywords that are connected to your brand, business, or industry, helping you rank for relevant keywords and attract new website visitors.
3. Branding quality
The ideal scenario is to match your brand and domain name, but this is not always possible. However, aim for something unique and original – maybe an interesting wordplay. Pay particular attention to the legal aspect of this matter and double-check whether your desired brand name is trademarked.
Run each suggestion on your brainstorming list against these three requirements. The longer the list, the better.
How to check domain name availability
With the list you have, log in to Domain Availability Check Tool. Now, you may ask “why would I log in when there are other tools I can use to check domain name availability without the hassle?”. Your question makes sense – yes, you can use plenty of tools to check whether your desired domain is taken or not.
However, this tool created by Whois XML API will do much more than that. It will also show you whether your domain name is the right choice – something you won’t find anywhere else. In fact, it will help you protect your domain and future brand from very real and common problems you didn’t even think about when you started thinking of a name for your website. But let’s go step by step.
Once you log in, all you have to do is enter the domain name and run a search to see if it’s available for registration. When you find the available name, don’t be too quick to run to a registration service.
Continue by building a Reverse WHOIS report from the current record. This will enable you to identify all domains associated with the domain you want to use. Reverse WHOIS data will also help you discover spam, malicious websites, intrusions, and other online misbehaviors that may be connected to your future domain name. You can also run a check on potential trademark infringements. Reverse WHOIS API bases its search on particular terms such as name, email, phone, address, etc. that are normally part of any website’s WHOIS record. You can also search according to the brand name or keywords describing a business profile. Query results will be returned with all the domain records that correspond with the search terms used.
Sometimes, it may turn out that your perfect domain name has been connected to malicious domains and activities, as well as inappropriate or illegal sites and services. Make sure you run checks on all the domain names from your brainstorming list.
Whois XML tools are built on a database that stores more than 7 billion historic WHOIS records and currently tracks more than 582 million domains. With that in mind, you can rest assured of the reliability of results.
Once you shortlist the best and the safest domain name for your business, find the right registration service. We recommend credible, established providers that will offer both registration and hosting services. Most of these providers offer comprehensive packages that include basic privacy and protection tools required to build a safe website.
What happens next?
However, this is not where your work ends – especially if you have long-term branding plans. Monitoring your domain and protecting it from malicious activities is as important as selecting the right name.
Hackers have come up with increasingly sophisticated methods to conduct malicious activities or earn from them. In the past few years, there has been a significant rise in the number of cybersquatters. Cybersquatting can be defined as registering, selling or using a domain name to benefit from someone else’s trademarked property. There are several ways in which cybersquatting takes place, but here are the two most dangerous ones:
- Typosquatting – creating fake and malicious websites using your domain’s name variations, typos or domain extensions. In one of the previous sections, we mentioned that you should avoid using numbers in your domain name because they can make your domain an easy prey. However, even the most effective domains can run into this issue. For example, “paypal.com” can be typo-squatted as “paypall.com” and presented as a legitimate payment platform to the unsuspecting victims. Although this kind of attack doesn’t directly harm you, repeated issues can seriously damage your reputation and credibility. This is why it is a good idea to purchase several domain extensions to prevent cybersquatters from abusing them.
- Identity theft – purchasing a domain that the original owner has forgotten to renew, building a website and tricking users into presuming they are doing business with the original business.
To prevent these scenarios and protect your brand, you can use Whois XML API’s Domain Research Suite that allows you to research and monitor domains. It will:
- Track specific keywords associated with your brand and trademarks
- Alert you if there are any recently expired or newly registered domains that match your keywords
- Generate misspelled versions of your domain and track their status
As you explore Whois XML API tools, you’ll discover that they offer a plethora of laser-focused solutions embedded in cutting-edge technology. You have full flexibility to choose which tools to use or combine into powerful suites such as Website Categorization API, which combines functionalities such as content filtering, brand monitoring, and marketing. Even better, you get to try these tools for free or start with a monthly plan for as little as $20 a month!
Start with an available, safe domain name, and continue your business journey always feeling secure and ahead of the curve!