This question would have been a lot easier to answer about 10 years ago. Back in “the day” there was only one go-to place to get your domain name, Network Solutions. They weren’t cheap, either. About $80 per year to register your .com name. Try to register several and you would be racking up a mighty large bill rather quickly. Finding what you wanted for your domain name back then, in the good ole days, wasn’t that difficult. For instance, I wanted lisadesign.com but it was already taken. Hmmmm? What to do? Well, I was in a hurry to start this business, and a little brain dead from all-night feedings with infant twins, so I just tacked an “s” on the end — lisadesigns.com was born. Worked for me. One less thing I had to worry about.

But then! Oh boy — domain name deregulation happened. Suddenly Network Solutions wasn’t the only game in town. Domain resellers started popping up all over the place! Register.com, tucows, godaddy. They were all out to undercut each other in price. It dropped to about $10 per year and hovers right around there now. The sky became the limit for domain names. Everybody wanted one. Everybody bought them. Enterprising entrepreneurs bought them to resell them. The field was wide open. Soon, most everything worth buying was already bought. Sure you can buy from a third party, but you will have to pay for it. Sometimes pay dearly.

So what’s a new website wannabe to do? First, try and see if your #1 choice is available. I just bought www.lonelyrangers.com for my band. Our band was already named The Lonely Rangers. Either I got lucky or our band name was so ridiculous nobody had thought of it before. (Just kidding! I love our band! Hi guys!!) It was a good deal that even though I thought it would surely be taken, I went ahead and checked anyway.

If your #1 choice is not available you may have some options to move a few things around like I did with my domain name and the “s”.

Add the location of your site into your domain name. For instance Motions, a site I do for a local dance apparel store, was already taken. However, our Motions is in Rapid City (hi Google) so we bought motionsrapidcity.com for Motions Rapid City.

If your business name is really long, it may help to abbreviate a little bit. South Dakota Overhead Doors becomes sdoverheaddoors.com

Use a thesaurus or a rhyming dictionary to come up with ideas. I love that Sheilatom.com, one of my first clients, has a sing-song rhymi-ness to it. Sheila Tom Dot Com! She got lucky — she came with that name.

Some theories say to use “power” words like super, mega, plus etc. to make your domain name more exciting. Several of the domain companies listed above have domain generators that will automatically combine words to help you with ideas.

Bottom line is to make sure you try your first choice before you do anything and you may get lucky. If not, don’t despair. Keep playing around with different combinations and ideas. Sleep on it. Make sure the combination of words you are thinking of purchasing don’t combine to spell something else you don’t want associated with your business. Run it by friends, co-workers, even your kids. They might notice something you don’t.

For $10 a pop, you can most likely afford to purchase several of your choices while you mull them around. It is probably a good idea to grab them before somebody else does. Good thing I did. Or we might have had to change the name of our band to the notsolonelyrangers.com :-)