If you are shopping for domains, then you will want to do some research as a bad choice in domain names will lead to branding and search optimization issues down the road. Here are a few of the tools I use when I am setting out to find a great domain!
1. Google Adwords Keyword Tool
Google’s own keyword tool is always a great place to start when looking for keyword based domains. You’re goal is to find a keyword that has high search volume and low competition if possible – consider it sort of the sweet spot for ranking well down the road.
2. US Trademark Search
If you are creating a more customized name, then one thing you may want to do is to make sure it is not already trademarked, as you wouldn’t want to build your site on a domain that someone might go after you for. If you visit the US Patent and Trademark Office’s trademarks homepage, you can use the Search Marks option to search for your idea and see if someone has already claimed it.
Have you ever registered a domain name that you were really excited about, just to find out later when you started your social media campaign for it that a branded social profile isn’t available? I know I have, and it’s frustrating.
KnowEm allows you to enter a desired username and check it across over 500 social networks so you can be sure that your name is available on Twitter, Facebook, and all of the other top networks, including niche networks for design, entertainment, health, music, photo, tech and travel.
DomainsBot allows you to enter a domain name of your choice to see if it, or similar names are available, or simply enter a keyword and get domain ideas that are available. You can use Advanced Search option to specify extensions, status, inclusion of hyphens or variations, maximum domain length, and language.
5. Just Dropped
Not in the mood to develop your own domain idea? Would you rather get an email on a daily basis giving you domains that are already in existence with some great keywords?
Then head over to Just Dropped and sign up for their mailing list. It’s not free though – you can try it for a week for $10 or a month for $19.95, and if you like the results you can save by signing up for a year subscription for $99.95. If you’re someone who likes buying up great domains, you could find a great deal!
6. Wayback Machine
If you use the Just Dropped service, there are two things you will want to research about the domain. First is what it was previously used for. The Wayback Machine isn’t always the greatest, but sometimes can give you a little insight into previous uses of a domain.
7. Yahoo Site Explorer
The second thing you will want to about domains that have been in existence is what kind of links that domain has. Yahoo Site Explorer is the best free option to get some insight into a domain’s backlinks. Alternatively, if you have a subscription with SEOmoz, you could also use their Open Site Explorer.
Either way, the goal is to make sure you aren’t getting a backlink profile with your domain that would need some serious cleanup in order to help you in rankings.