Brainstorming a domain name can be fun. This is especially true if you have a knack for wordplay, thinking out of the box and an adventurous spirit.

Why are you looking for a domain?

Are you looking for a domain to start blog? Or start a business? Showcase your work? Keeping in mind what brought you to this point is important because you may want to incorporate your “why” in your domain name. It’s always good to stay as close to your idea as possible while keeping it simple. A spark of creativity combined with simplicity can be a great combination to making your domain name memorable.

Domains include two main parts: the domain name, which is before the [.] and the extension, which is to the right of [.]. Early on, the extensions that we focused on were limited to .com, .org, .net., and a few others. Today, there’s really quite a long list of extensions available that can be viewed or downloaded here.

This means that you can include the extension in your creative brainstorming process, which is great! For example, if you’re stuck on a name, and nothing’s available as a .com or another common top-level domains, try something else. If you take a look at the list, there are actually a lot of other options that might work out just fine.

Mohawk Valley Today

For example, I opted for the domain because I wanted to call my site Mohawk Valley Today and felt it was a wee bit too long to add the .com on the end. The .today wound up giving me my ideal domain. Mohawk Valley has a lot of characters to start with, so by choosing the .today extension, I was able to keep it a bit more simple and straightforward.

I’ve read articles where people recommend to stick with only .com. I disagree. I think it’s more important to find something that works for you.

When brainstorming, come up with a bunch of word combinations that will work for your online presence.  Then go to a domain registrar (you may want to read this post first) to see if any of your preferred word combinations for your domain and extension are available.

Once you’ve registered your domain, be sure to

Keep track of where you registered your domain

This includes your account information, password and other details associated with the registration. I can’t tell you how many times clients and business owners have lost their domain registration account information.

Use auto renewals for your domain

There are websites that specialize in listing all of the recently expired domains for repurchase. I know of one client who had to pay almost a thousand dollars to repurchase their expired domain. Don’t let this happen to you.

Reserve your domain for more than one year

If you are purchasing a domain for an established business or online presence, opt for 5-10 years, if you can.

Set a reminder for your renewal date

This is one date you really don’t want to miss.

If you miss your renewal date, Get with your registrar ASAP.

If you miss your renewal date, but are within 70 days of its expiration, it may not be too late. Get with your registrar to see if you can work to get it back.

Take a look at how you can master your domain.

I like brainstorming domain names.

Truth be told, I have a thing about domain names. I enjoy working with clients to figure out what domains could work for them. But, before we get into the fun stuff, it’s good to know a little about what you’re getting into.

A domain name is associated with where your website is located on the web. It’s not the actual location, or the address, just the name of it. It’s like if you were in the Mohawk Valley and wanted to visit the General Herkimer Home. The Herkimer Home is the name of this wonderful historic site, not the actual address.

Domain names identify Internet resources, such as computers, networks, and services, with a memorable name that are used to establish a unique online identity. – Wikipedia

Domains, are set up with registrars

Domains, are set up with registrars. These registrars are accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Domain names can be purchased for a year or more—up to ten years. Remember though, that they need to be renewed after the term has passed.

If your looking to compare domain registrars, I found this review that you can check out.

Be sure to check out registrars customer support and how you will manage the domain. It really should be easy for you to get help or manage it.

If the registrar only offers a ticketing system it may take longer for issues to be sorted out. I’ve learned that the best support for me is being able to talk to a real person, even if I have to be on hold for a bit.

You should be able to easily

  1. Update the contact information associated with the domain.
  2. Renew the domain easily. If you buy a domain, but forget to renew it, you could lose it.  Questions about renewals? Check out this lifehacker article.
  3. Have access to the domain name servers. Domain name servers point to where the files for websites are actually located.
  4. Be able to unlock the domain for future transfers, if needed.

Check out my post about brainstorming domain names.