With dozens or even hundreds of domain search sites available, you can easily waste hours exploring all of them.
Instead of casting a wide net, do a targeted search based on your project.
Building an affiliate or AdSense site? Use a keyword-based domain site.
Creating a new business or blog? Find a memorable, brandable domain.
Below are the best domain search sites for any purpose.
For SEO and Niche Sites: Keyword-Rich Domains
Most domain search sites specialize in keyword-rich domains. Why? They’re in high demand and are easy to serve up to potential buyers.
Lean Domain Search is a quick way to find available domains containing your target keyword.
Bust a Name will combine your potential keywords and show you the available permutations.
Panabee is really basic but will show you a short list of options including keyword combinations, spelling variations, and keywords with simple modifiers like “go” or “it.”
For potentially higher-quality domains, try aftermarket site Sedo. The prices are higher, but the domains should be more desirable.
For New Companies/Projects: Brandable Domains
Brandable domains are not for SEO. They’re for people, not search engines, to remember.
To be brandable, a domain and business name must be short, unique, and memorable.
The domain should be less than ten letters, easily pronounceable (especially to English speakers), and be spelled how it sounds.
Real words with other meanings can work well but will be harder to brand with a new identity. Think Apple or Amazon. They’re also probably already taken or too expensive.
Wordoid is a great source of word-like domains that are pronounceable but available.
You can select how natural you want the domain to sound, in which language, how many characters (max), and a word or letter combo to include in the domain.
If you can’t find what you want on Wordoid, try Instant Domain Search.
Domainr will find available and very short domains, but you’ll be stuck with a tricky subdomain and extension combo like del.icio.us.
Give it a try, but Domainr is ideal for finding short URLs for existing sites.
For Quick Set Up: Domains with an Identity
If you want to hit the ground running, you can buy a package of a brandable domain with a logo and color scheme.
Both BrandBucket resell domains with ready-made logos as a brand package.
Both sites sort domains by category, so you can browse the possibilities for your niche. Name and logo quality seem fairly equal. The biggest difference is price.
Every domain and logo package on Stylate is $250. BrandBucket’s packages start at $595 but most are multiple thousands of dollars. The latter does offer a larger selection however.
For Any Purpose: Domains Without Effort
You can find additional tools like the ones above on domain name contests.
For just $35, you’ll get 100-300 suggestions of available domains based on a project description. Once ideas start coming in, you can vote on them to give the contest entrants more direction.
When you’re tapped out of ideas or just need a starting point, turn over your project to the masses and let them do the work for you.
Regardless of your project, you should be able to brainstorm domains with just one or two sites. What are your favorite domain search engines?
About the Author: Fred Perrotta is the co-founder of Tortuga Backpacks and a marketing consultant.