Whether for a business site, a hobby site, or some other form of web application the trend in recent times has been away from keyword-based domains to using a brandable domain name. Keyword-based domains were always “clunky” and never a good idea from a marketing standpoint in general, but it used to be that search engines would heavily favor them in rankings so of course everyone used them. But search engines caught on to Internet marketers use of keyword domains to manipulate their rankings and no longer weight the use of keywords in a domain enough to make the use of a clunky domain worthwhile.
Enter The Age Of Brandable Domains
Now that “Lunarly.com” is basically on par with “ApolloMoonLandings.com” when it comes to ranking with search engines, it makes more sense (and can be a lot more fun) to brand your website with a memorable domain rather than using keywords in some clunky fashion.
This doesn’t mean that keyword domains don’t still have a valuable place on the Internet, they do. It just isn’t in getting better search rankings overall. I (and my company) purchase keyword domains all the time for projects, but we’re very specific in what and why we buy. Generally, it’s only a product name/description keyword domain.
An example of this is CompressionKneeBrace.com. A good-and-clunky keyword domain for sure, and it doesn’t rank well with search engines, but that isn’t why we bought and use this keyword domain. Our goal was specifically to have an un-branded retail site where people knew exactly what was being offered. And on a bonus side note, since the term “compression knee brace” gets a fair amount of monthly search volume that meant there would be a small percentage of people who simply type the keyword term and add “.com” to it in their browsers.
It’s a funny thing but people do this. They take a chance not knowing if a website even exists when they’re seeking something so specific, and that’s free traffic that a keyword domain can still grab for you.
Still, unless I’m developing a project around a specific product like the example above, I stay clear of keyword domains like that.
But There’s A Catch
Some brandable domains can still be keyword based. Yes, everything is complex with technology isn’t it.
In my opinion, there are two types of brandable domains. The first is a totally invented or manipulated word domain. Examples of this are Google, Fiverr, and Canva. In the cases of Fiverr and Canva the domain still indicates the “offering” of the sites, but in the case of Google if you think back to before it became a household word nobody knew what a google was. An example from my own portfolio of such a domain that’s as of yet undeveloped is Precu.com. I loved the way it sounded when I found it available (I describe below exactly how I found this domain) and only learned after purchasing it that precu is Latvian and means “the product” or “the goods”, which to me is an added bonus.
The second type of brandable domain is what I call the “brandable term” domain. Here’s where you get to mix high-value keywords with other words for a name that’s descriptive, uses keywords, and can be branded easily into something memorable.
An as-of-yet undeveloped example of this second type of brandable domain name from my own portfolio is ToolTough.com. I purchased this domain for a project based on a product line of toolboxes, tool storage items, and heavy canvas tool carrying totes that I’ll eventually have time to get launched.
Coming up with these types of domains can be easy or hard if you try brainstorming them. That’s how I used to do it and sometimes I’d get 50 ideas in an hour, while other times I’d sit at my desk for half the day and get nothing. Eventually I grew tired of wasting so much time and built a tool that just did it for me using the most popular and common domain word additions, so I could just plug in my keyword (in this example “tool”) and let it find me what was available, then pick the best one based on how it sounded to my own ear. There’s a lot of personal taste involved when it comes to brandables. Anyway, the tool I created is the Leap Domain Name Generator and is available right here on this site so feel free to use it.
Finding Those One-Word-ish Brandables
I said above that I’d outline how I found the domain Precu.com and it’s really an easy way of finding short and memorable domains that can be branded to whatever project you’re working on.
In my case, this is often applications or premium WordPress themes I want to put a sales and promotion site together for. I find walk-throughs to be the easiest to learn from myself so what I’ll do here is walk through the actual process with you as if I had a newly developed premium WordPress theme I was about to launch. Basically, at this stage I’d be seeking a domain that sounded right to my ear as both the domain but also the theme name, so let’s get started.
Visit ExpiredDomains.net and if you don’t already have a free account signup for one and login.
Once logged in, open the drop-down under “Deleted .com” and you want to select the full list (the very first option, in the image below it’s titled “Deleted .com Domains (2,099,370)”).
We don’t want to sift through over 2 million domain names here, and most of them aren’t the type of domains we’re seeking anyway so let’s filter them out by clicking on the “Show Filter” link just above where the domain listings begin (link visible in bottom left of the image below).
In the filtering options that open up look for the block titled “Domain Name Settings” and then check the items labeled “no Numbers” and “no Hyphens”. Both numbers and hyphens are confusing to end-users which is the opposite of what a good brandable domain name should be.
Next, find the box titled “Listing Settings” and check the item labeled “Only available Domains”, then click the blue “Apply Filters” button.
Now that we’ve removed anything with numbers or hyphens or that’s already been registered after they expired, click on the list header labeled “LE” to sort all of the remaining domain names by length, from shortest (probably will be 5 letters) to longest.
Step #6 (The Weeds)
Now comes the fun part, start going through the pages and looking for domains that are pronounceable and you feel suited to your project(s).
Since I said I’d do this as though I were looking for a domain name for a premium WordPress theme product, just looking through the listing I found the following on the first 5 pages (and there are thousands of pages full of 5, then 6, then 7 letter domains to keep looking if I needed):
Every one of these could make a great name and domain for a WP theme site, if I were working on a different kind of project my thoughts on what is good or not as I scanned the list might be different so I might have come up with a different list of finds, the point is there are tons of brandable domains out there just waiting to be snatched up.
Looking over just this short list from the first few pages, for my imaginary WP theme site I’d likely go with “WPSev.com” (because of the WP for WordPress then using the “Sev” as the theme name), or else I’d pick either Tweid.com or Uveos.com since both have that WP theme sound to them to my ear. Still, every one of these is a good candidate.
NOTE: At the time of this writing all of these domains are available, I didn’t register any of them as this was just an example, so if you like one of them they’re up for grabbing until they’re gone.
Once I’ve decided on a domain name for my project I’ll head over to BanProNET to register it and grab hosting (using the 12 Month Billing Cycle the domain registration is free and hosting is only $3.99 per month).
Completing the order process my account would be instantly set up and available to me, so I’d just login and could begin setting up the site for my new project.
There You Have It
There are certainly other ways to find brandable domain names but this is tried and true, and most importantly for me it’s fast and easy. I’ve always got more projects than time to work on them, illustrated by the fact I’ve got so many undeveloped domains in my portfolio currently. I’ve also got plenty of important things keeping my mind occupied around the clock, as most business owners and web developers do. So, “fast and easy” is just what I want when it comes to tasks like picking a project name.
If you found this posting helpful or have ideas for other quick ways to find brandable domain names please leave a comment below and share it.