Finding a good domain name is like playing darts; throw words into some of the best domain name generators and your catchy name pops out, right? Sadly, this isn’t true. If you’re building a new site or starting a blog then you’ve already heard how important the domain name is.
With billions of registered domain names out there, you need more than keywords and a dictionary to find a good name. And you need that good domain name to hit the bullseye by sounding good while revealing your site’s purpose at the same time.
You’re going to be happy to know that we have a few ideas for you today that will help you find that right name by using the best domain name generators available.
I’ve gone through a bunch of domain name generators while searching for domain name ideas for my wife’s blog. I’m going to show you exactly how I achieved a good result using domain name generators alongside manual methods. Then, I’m going to share my list of the best domain name generators currently available.
Let’s get busy!
First, the domain name generators you should check out and then the methods to use when picking your perfect domain name idea:
What are the best domain name generators?
After much testing and experimentation, here are my top selections of the best domain name generators in the market, plus what makes each of them great:
1. Domain Wheel
Domain Wheel is #1 on our list for a simple reason: I love it.
- An excellent algorithm that picks up related topics.
- Good creative suggestions: “sounds like”, “rhymes with”, random but related suggestions.
- Users have the ability to select the extensions they’d like to include in the search.
- Results are returned quickly.
- Only returns domains that are available for purchase.
- Works as a domain name finder as well.
- The random domain name generator part is really random.
- I need more options to filter the results.
- You can’t easily check for social media availability.
Panabee is the second best short domain name generator I used during the test, but it was a close battle.
- Panabee has an incredible amount of rules for manipulating your keywords.
- An excellent related words section.
- Social media availability.
- Returns unavailable options with information on how you could potentially purchase it.
- Just two keywords could be limiting.
- Clicking through to social media networks takes me away from the site.
- I’d like to be able to play with the filters to include fewer appends and more substitutions.
- You can include multiple keywords without crashing the search. You can also include terms to exclude.
- The UI is incredible.
- Easily find domain name ideas.
- The Premium names are much better. It feels like the cheap names are not using the same technology.
- You need to select to see available domains.
- Non premium names are very short, even considering that’s part of the pitch.
- The website is slow.
- There’s no social media availability.
NameMesh is probably the most definitive of the best free domain name generators available.
- Choice of domain registrar.
- Multiple categories.
- Social media availability.
- Only returns available domains.
- I got quite a few false positives in my search results.
- No related terms available as an option or category.
- The infinite scroll was annoying.
- Too few options for the extensions meant I was forced to cycle through bad options for too long.
- You only see 10 options at a time, which makes it less overwhelming.
- Nice structure to the names: most popular, other extensions, and alternatives.
- They push Shopify a little too hard.
- All of the domains seem to be really expensive.
- The alternative suggestions aren’t necessarily related to the search terms.
- No filtering options at all.
- Displays unavailable domains but with no options to explore further.
- Only displays 10 results at a time. In some searches you might find 10 unavailable domains.
What are domain name generators anyway?
The first thing we should accept is that we can’t get that good domain name without a little help. A domain name generator is the best tool for finding good available domain names because it provides two service
- It provides name suggestions based on keywords.
- It provides an opportunity to purchase available domains.
The process is not just a creative challenge, but also a technical challenge because so many top-level domains are already taken. This means you will need a quick way to manipulate your keywords, and check if the result is available. A domain name generator takes out a lot of the guesswork.
How do the best domain name generators work?
A domain name generator works with your keywords to find available domains that match up. In the early days the “best” domain name generators would just mash words together with techniques like string concatenation. Essentially this means taking a keyword and adding other words to it in the form of prefixes and suffixes. The best example of this is LeanDomainSearch which takes your keyword and rolls it through the dictionary, like so:
In the early days of the web, this was a reliable method, but with over 1.7 billion registered domain names, this method is outdated. The next stage of name generation involved the use of multiple APIs and custom rules and exclusions to create sophisticated algorithms for creative, and consistent domain names.
Domain Wheel is an excellent example of this method, which provides synonyms, collocations, related keywords as options for improved searches.
The future of domain name generation can go in two directions. We will see crowd-sourced human inputs (planned for Domain Wheel), or increased Natural Language Processing (NLP) to form better relationships between words.
You can see this in place with Panabee who work with expressions to provide variations in spelling, dropping letters, merging vowels, mixing syllables, and swap related words in.
What’s in a good domain name?
When we look through the results above, we can see a distinct improvement in the results as the generators get more sophisticated with their processes. While some of the best domain names have a magical quality to them, they provide us with criteria we can use to help rank the names we receive.
Here are the traits of a good domain name:
- The domain name should be short – and we’ll set 8 letters as the optimum number with some wiggle room (say 6-14). The best examples like “Facebook”, “Google”, “Microsoft”, “CodeinWP” all circle the magic 8.
- Let’s make it easy to pronounce and spell so people have a more favorable association with it.
- No hyphens and no numbers. Numbers especially can be difficult because potential visitors might not know whether to use the number or the written word. Hyphens can be associated with spam domains.
- Give people an idea of your site topic right in the name. There’s no great SEO benefit to a stuffed domain like “early childhood education purpose importance learning” but you should use words that at least hint at the site’s purpose.
- Be unique and brandable but without violating any existing trademarks. Unfortunately, not even the best domain name generators can help with this. You will need to do market research to confirm you are safe.
- Be memorable and catchy, this is particularly important for bloggers looking to monetize.
The only ones that can be difficult to assess are catchiness and memorability. We can agree that “Facebook” is catchier than “TheFacebook”. And for sure, “PayPal” is more memorable that “Confinity”. So, even if we can’t measure it objectively, we need to consider it as an important factor in the selection of the best domain name.
How can we choose a good domain name?
The only way we are going to find a good domain name is to have good seed words from the start. With broad seed words, it is impossible to hone in on the name that speaks to the core of your business. Look at the results from Namelix when I use the broad seed word “baby”:
When I added the seed words: “baby”, “learning”, “wise”, “teach”, “kids”, I got much better results. Except “Unlearnz.com”. That’s close to the opposite of what I want. However, I do like “learnish” and “nurteach”:
Once you have some keywords and your site identification nailed down, you can start to get more interesting results. You can always go random, if you’re a brave soul. In my experience, even the randomizers from the best domain name generators are too random to be helpful. I’d avoid it unless you see something really nice.
Completely random is actually nonsensical, but a topical keyword will allow you explore the left field options. Having a topical keyword helps, in this case, Domain Wheel provides better related keywords. This is not to say you must have a keyword heavy domain. It is definitely not essential to your success. But a keyword is going to help you get an intuitive domain name that people have a good association with.
Finding the best keyword for your domain name
Finding the keyword is not as difficult as you might think. Obviously, associations can be quite broad, which makes developing your seed word a manual process.
But, I have the ultimate solution to this: the two list method. This is just a matter of creating two lists devoted to the site’s identity. One list reflects the site’s topics and the other the expected results for visitors.
I decided to, finally, purchase a domain for my wife’s blog. The topic is early childhood education. The expected result is to give new mothers ideas for helping their kids learn. We could say that the pain point is finding activities to help your baby learn.
From this, I am able to start with “baby learning” which has 6,821 searches a month. It’s a good beginning.
The important thing is to expand upon this and find other associations. A simple brainstorming session can really add to your list. Likewise a dictionary dive can help expand your thinking.
Finally, some word clouds will help give the list as much width and depth as possible. My sample list includes “baby”, “toddler”, “kids”, “mummy”, “daddy”, “education”, “teaching”, “activities” and more.
How to find your domain name using a generator
One of the essential rules is to experiment with multiple generators and tactics. All of the so-called best domain name generators have flaws. Experimentation is the way around them to get your result. For example, if you just want to smash your words together to create a portmanteau then you can use a generator like MergeWords.
You can see that the longer the list the more combinations are created by the algorithm. If your list is not strong then your results will suffer. You can see that the results are not great. The words are merged, sure, but that’s it. While you won’t always have the answer handed to you by the generator, you will find inspiration in the results. For example, I think “ToddlerU” is a reasonable domain name.
However, neither of them can handle long lists of words, and you will need to experiment with some word variations. I used “baby learning” in Panabee but, unfortunately, some of the best names were taken. Now, we expect this to happen but Panabee also gave me a bunch of terms related to learning. I selected “wisdom” before switching to “wise” without any stand out results.
I started playing more and more with the words I provided and different generators. Over on Domain Wheel, I paired “baby” with “wise” and got “babywiseowl.info”. Which is a fairly memorable name, and right within the magic number while retaining brandability. I’d also recommend using a name you like to conduct further searches. I was able to find a way to swap to a .com address after searching with “babywiseowl”. 😉
What are domain name generators good for?
When you use any of the best domain name generators from our list, you will increase your possible names exponentially. Quick results are one of the best reasons for using a generator like that.
One of my tricks was using a good name as a seed word in a different generator to get ideas. All of the domain name generators I tested were able to give a good idea of domain availability. Most of the domain generators use Verisign’s Zone file which is published every night with a list of active domains. This is why you might occasionally run into a false-positive or two because not all domains appear on the list.
When looking for the best domain name generator for your needs, also consider social media. I noticed that a number of domain name generators, like NameMesh, are showing social media availability for selected names. This is not a standard feature even among our selection of the best domain name generators. Just be careful not to skip this step.
Should you use a domain name generator?
You know, I’m going to be controversial here and say it is essential to use a domain name generator when picking your new domain.
Why? Coming up with an unregistered name manually is quite a challenge, and you might find a dozen unavailable names without knowing. Even the worst domain name generators filter out unavailable names. Plus they all link to hosting companies for quick purchase.
Pick a good generator by paying attention to how it works and what it offers in the results. You can see that our list of the best domain name generators contains generators that use multiple APIs, NLP, exclusions and custom rules to create unique and brandworthy names.
The other part of it is that you could perform all of the letter substitutions and word relationships yourself, but not in a few seconds. The generators are going to be able to return more results in seconds than you could in 24 hours. The strength of the results comes down to the quality of your seed words. If you approach the domain generator with a range of possibilities then you will be able to find a good domain name relatively quickly.
Just think of the generator as one of your buddies. One who is really, really, good at brainstorming!
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