Should I renew short non-com domains

13 Strategies You Can Use When Your Domain Name Is Not Available

It's just part of it. The daily struggle in the digital age.

You come up with the perfect name for your company.

You print your business cards, take care of the paperwork and tell everyone about your new company.

Then you want to register your domain and you almost get hit.

Your domain name is already taken.

What now?

Do you have to do without the perfect name? Should you change it? Or just add a few characters at random? Maybe you should have a strange domain extension (TLD) choose?

This is one of the toughest decisions an entrepreneur can face. This problem brings everything to a standstill.

You question your entire brand.

But the question remains: what can you do when it happens?

I've heard this question a hundred times and I know a couple of suggested solutions.

But I have to honestly say that not all suggested solutions are good.

Your domain name is very important to your SEO campaigns and has an impact on your performance.

If you make a mistake when choosing your domain, it can have a negative long-term impact on your SEO.

People searching for your brand name will come to your website in droves. This is also called a navigation-oriented search query. This is why your URL should contain your brand name.

But if that is not possible, then that is not a problem either. You can fall back on alternatives.

I've figured out what works and what doesn't over the years. I want to share my experiences with you so that you don't make the same mistakes.

Here are 13 strategies you can use when the perfect domain name is no longer available.

1. You can try to buy the domain

That was clear.

This tip is actually obvious, but a lot of people don't think about it. You enter your domain name, see that it is already taken, and give up.

You have another option.

However, with reservation.

I am well aware that not everyone can spend hundreds or thousands of euros.

Maybe you have a limited budget.

If so, you can likely only buy new, expired, or inactive domains.

Then when you visit your desired domain, you could see:

Source: Seobook.com

Or something like that:

If you land on these websites, that's a good sign. This means that the domain is probably not in use at the moment.

In that case, you can most likely buy the domain for a good price.

It is best to contact the owner directly. You can use Whois.com for this.

Whois is an international database that contains all possible information about the domains.

You can often see the domain owner's contact information directly.

Go to Whois.com. You can find the search function at the top right.

Enter the name of the domain and click on “WHOIS”.

If the domain owner's contact information is publicly available, you can see it on the next page.

Sometimes the information also looks like this:

Did you notice that no private person is given as a contact? The information is “protected”.

You cannot immediately access the owner's contact information. The hosting service keeps the owner's information under lock and key.

In this case you should contact the owner directly via the site. It's best to look for an email address. The contact page also works.

You may also need to hire a domain broker. But that can be expensive.

2. Add a verb to the domain name

This method is very popular for securing a domain name that is already taken.

This method has two key advantages.

You can use your brand name in the URL and you don't have to consider weird TLDs.

The verbs “get” and “try” are particularly popular.

Pocket uses the domain “getpocket.com”:

These domains are often prettier than alternative TLDs and they are easier to remember.

3. Expand your brand name

Tesla Motor did not own the Tesla.com domain until 2016 because the domain was already taken.

What did Tesla do? You used the domain “TeslaMotor.com”.

The URL worked well because the “engine” extension is a great fit for the brand.

With this method you can maintain the trustworthiness of your URL.

Is there a catch? You can't just add a word randomly to expand your URL. The extension must be relevant and fit your company.

Gogo, an online airline company, uses the word “air” in its brand name:

The word fits the brand perfectly.

If they had used the “GogoToday” URL instead, the extension would not have been a good fit for the company.

You have to find words that fit your brand without the domain losing meaning, naturalness and recognition value.

There are words that are easy to use in certain industries. If you're selling software, you may be able to use the word "app" like Invision:

This is probably the best solution if you want to have a .com domain with your brand name in the URL.

4. You can also consider a country-specific TLD

Although .com domains are part of the international standard, they are particularly widely used in the USA.

In other countries you can also use country-specific TLDs (English: Country Code Top Level Domain or ccTLDs for short).

For some reason, the US country-specific TLD (.us) is not popular, but the .co.uk and .com.au TLDs are very popular and safe.

Sometimes country-specific TLDs are even a better choice. In Germany, the TLD .de is more popular and widespread than .com.

So if you work outside of the US, you can use a TLD from that country.

But you have to pay attention to a few things.

Some country-specific TLDs, for example .ru and .cn, are often used for spam sites.

Some country-specific TLDs are even prohibited in certain countries.

But that doesn't mean that you can't use a country-specific TLD. You should only use your common sense when choosing.

If you are based in Russia, .ru is not the best choice because this TLD is often used for spam sites. However, if your company is based in Japan, then .jp is a good choice.

5. You can add your country to the name

Have you ever heard of the Nissan naming complaint?

In 1994, Nissan Computer Corp registered the nissan.com domain.

The entrepreneur Uzi Nissan had been using the name since 1980.

In 2000, the Nissan Motor company sued the entrepreneur Uzi Nissan. Their goal: They wanted to secure the domain name nissan.com.

The well-known car manufacturer did not get the domain. If you enter nissan.com, you will land on the Uzi Nissan website:

(Yes, these are anti-Nissan T-shirts!)

So what did Nissan Motor do? You have added the "USA" extension to your URL:

This stopgap solution is a good choice if you're having trouble choosing your domain name.

The whole thing can look awesome too - nissanusa.com is a good URL that even includes the brand name.

You can also add the name of your city if your business is local. Loud Marketing uses the “Barcelona” extension in their URL:

And The Eugene, a luxury apartment company in New York City, uses the abbreviation NYC:

This strategy is very suitable if your company operates in a specific country or city.

You can use your country in the URL to show visitors where you are from. However, some visitors might then think that you are only active in this country. So you should think about this option well.

6. Look for alternative TLDs

Most of the time the TLD .com is already taken, but other TLDs are not. In this case, you can then consider this.

Stop! Don't just pick the next best TLD at random.

Making the right decision is a complex undertaking.

Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

First:.com URLs are more trustworthy than other TLDs.

The .com extension has many advantages. It is widespread, very well known and has been the standard for years.

Secondly: Many people believe that other TLDs are spam. Many people believe that .com URLs are safe and other TLDs are unsafe or untrustworthy.

This is not always the case, of course, but some people still agree. You just can't get used to the idea that even a domain that doesn't end in .com can be secure.

Third: Alternative TLDs have no SEO advantages. No TLD is inherently better than any other TLD.

This information comes directly from Google employee John Mueller:

But what does that mean for you now?

If you want to use a TLD that is not .com, you can do that without negatively affecting your SEO.

Even so, your target audience may not trust the URL.

Your TLD should be related to your industry. Twitch, a website that broadcasts video games in real time, uses the TLD .tv:

You should always think about the recognition value of your URL and whether it looks trustworthy.

7. Tricks allowed

Domain hacks are creative ideas for turning alternative TLDs into a word or phrase.

Since this trick is still relatively new, these URLs can be easily remembered.

A great example is Matthew Mullenweg's blog:

However, these domain hacks also have their disadvantages.

Often they cannot be pronounced. The popular website Delicious uses a domain hack:

But what, because you have to spell the domain? Do you then say: “del Punkt icio Punkt us” and pronounce every syllable? Or would you better spell the URL the same way?

This can be confusing and impractical.

But this does not apply to every domain hack. Visual.ly can be pronounced quite well.

However, these tricks have a small SEO disadvantage because the search engines do not take the domain extensions into account. In the SEO of the URL ma.tt only the “ma” is taken into account.

Depending on the domain hack, this may not be a problem at all. Maybe there is enough information in the URL to still get an SEO benefit.

Domain hacks aren't for everyone, but trending brands might well consider them.

8. Experiment with abbreviations

Sometimes you can abbreviate a few words in your URL without harming your SEO.

This is not necessarily the best solution, but it can possibly secure a .com domain for you.

Usually words, not brand names, are abbreviated. For example, the Fox Plumbing and Heating website has the URL FoxPH.com:

In the USA, abbreviations for states are also often used. GreenDreams uses the abbreviation for Florida in the URL:

This is also not an ideal solution, but if you really want to have a .com domain, this is often a satisfactory option.

You could also abbreviate your business name, such as the Tulsa Area United Way:

9. Use a catchphrase

Visitors remember key words particularly well. Think of Donald Trump's sentence: "You are fired!"

These keywords are short and recognizable, so they can make a great URL if necessary.

If you have a slogan or a brief mission statement, consider that as a URL.

You can also combine your keyword with an alternative TLD. Musician Gareth Emery has an online radio show called "Electric For Life" and uses an alternate TLD:

10. Use hyphens

This tip is controversial.

Some people love the hyphen (the minus sign) in the URL, others hate it.

I can understand why the hyphen is loathed by so many people. These URLs are hard to remember, and some people feel that they "look cheap and compromise the website."

If you use a hyphen, you can often secure your desired domain.

Many successful websites make use of the hyphen, e.g. Go-Gaia.com and Merriam-Webster.com.

11. You can consider a country-specific TLD (as a domain hack)

You can combine two methods to create a memorable and SEO-friendly URL that includes your brand name.

You can combine the country-specific TLD with a domain hack.

There are country-specific domains that are supposed to represent certain countries. Some of these abbreviations are also great as a domain hack.

Do you know the social network About.me?

The .me extension is the country-specific TLD for Montenegro.

And pages that end in .tv? These aren't necessarily domain hacks, but they fall into the same category.

I already mentioned Twitch.tv. Many websites use the .tv extension, including Periscope - pscp.tv.

The ending .tv is actually the country-specific TLD of Tuvalu, an island in the Pacific Ocean.

Instagram initially used the URL Instagr.am, the country-specific TLD of Armenia.

There are currently 249 country-specific TLDs to choose from, so you can let your creativity run free.

But there is one thing you have to be aware of.

Matt Cutts says that when you use a country-specific URL, Google usually assumes that you want traffic from the country.

Some TLDs, such as .io, are generally better accepted than others today. With some TLDs, however, you could run the risk that Google will always associate your company with the country.

While this is not always a deal breaker, it is still worth considering.

12. You can monitor your domain

Still after the perfect .com url?

Perhaps none of these strategies have convinced you so far. Does not matter. If you absolutely want your dream domain, you can get it.

Let's just assume that no other .com domain comes into question.

If you don't have the change to buy the URL (or if the owner turns down your offer) then you can monitor the domain and wait for it to expire.

You can use the Domain Monitor from DomainTools to be informed immediately about changes.

If the domain expires and the owner doesn't renew their rights, you can grab it.

While this is not a strategy with a guarantee of success, it can certainly work.

In the meantime, you can use the strategies above to create a transition domain. When you have secured your desired domain, you can set up a 301 redirect.

13. Take the opportunity and look for a different brand name

You may find this strategy pointless.

But it can be very practical.

I would like to explain to you why.

Just imagine two entrepreneurs programmed a new search engine. The project name is BackRub. (Always remember that search engines also rate the quality of the backlinks.)

The name can easily be confused with a company that offers massages. Search engines are usually not associated with the word "back rub".

So the two entrepreneurs came up with a better name: Google.

You heard right, the world's most famous search engine was formerly called BackRub.

If the perfect domain name is already taken, you could take the opportunity to come up with a better name.

Then you have to start all over again and come up with something new that suits your company.

Conclusion

There is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the perfect .com domain.

Alternative domains are becoming increasingly popular, but .com is often still a better choice.

Everyone uses .com.

When users search for a new website, they automatically enter .com.

If the user knows your brand name, they simply enter yourbrrandname.com.

This is the biggest advantage of a .com domain.

However, the Internet is constantly subject to new changes. Alternative TLDs, such as .tv and .coffee, are becoming increasingly popular. So it's only a matter of time before these TLDs take over the internet.

If you can get a .com domain, grab it. If the .com domain is no longer available, you can use one of these 13 strategies.

Is your desired domain already taken? Which of these 13 strategies will you use?

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