This article is presenting ways to find the best domain name by researching available and deleted domain names using the Domain Tools service and a little ingenuity.
One of the most important decisions that a web site owner makes is the domain name, or names, pointing to their site. They should be:
- On topic
- Keyword oriented
- Easy to type
These are lifted from the Tips on How to Choose a Good Domain Name article from the Site Wizard web site. A seemingly obvious point that is often overlooked is that the domain name should also be available!
Not only that, but good domain name research can also yield interesting previous domain names that have been deleted, but for which there may still be references on the world wide web. The question is – how can the webmaster benefit from this traffic, as well as sensibly implement their new web site on an old domain name?
What is Domain Tools?
Enter Domain Tools, the new name for the old Whois.sc, a fairly simple look-up site with shiny new capabilities. Domain tools let the webmaster:
- Search existing domain names
- Suggest new domain names
- Find registrars, monitor domain names, etc.
All in all, it is one of the most useful resources for webmasters – both new and established. One of the most powerful features is the ability to search for domain names and see their TLD status for all of the top generic TLDs:
- .com, .net, .org
- .info, .biz
There are many options, and experimentation is the key to the best results.
Using the Advanced Domain Search
The user should navigate to the Domain Search Page (domain-search.domaintools.com) and follow these steps:
- Enter the Domain Name in the Domain Name box, it’s not case-sensitive
- Decide on the maximum length to return (good to start small!)
- Choose whether to include domains with Numerals (i.e. 123TopDomain.com)
- Decide whether to allow hyphens (i.e. 123-Top-Domain.com)
- Decide whether domains should start or end with the search string
- Select ‘Show Deleted Domains Only’
This last is vital because, for this usage, the user is only interested in available domain names, that have been used before. Once the search button is clicked, the data is returned and the user can continue their research.
Finding the Best Domain Name for Traffic
The ideal domain name should be one of the primary TLDs: .com, .net or .org. It must also have the gray dot icon in Domain Tools, indicating that it has been used and then deleted.
It will help the traffic if it is flanked by TLDs that have been registered and have active web sites, as it shows that the domain space around that URL is actively being promoted in search engines. This is also true for domain names that are similar to existing ones, or ones that include typos.
However, readers must be very aware that there are rules against so-called ‘Domain Squatting’, and they are well-advised to read the official ICANN FAQs on domain name dispute resolution before proceeding to register a domain name that might infringe other organization’s rights.
So, the steps to finding a domain name to leverage the existing traffic are quite simple:
- Choose a domain root that is on topic and contains keywords
- Find domains that have been deleted
- Ideally, enrich the domains with ones that have active TLDs associated with them
One final step is to customize the 404 pages so that any incoming traffic is appropriately redirected to somewhere that makes sense to the user and the webmaster based on the URL that they entered. The smart redirection technique mentioned here will accomplish much more than just the basic redirection offered by domain and web hosts.