NOTE: This post was originally written by me in 2006, but I have updated it with new numbers and tools.
You are getting ready to start a new business or expanding your current one to include an online presence, what is your first step? These days you might want to check what domain name is available for your potential business before you purchase your business cards. According to Domain Tools, there are 125,067,779 ACTIVE domain names, of which 91,264,685 are .com names.
Before you go to purchase your domain name, I recommend brainstorming a bit and start with 5-10 potential names. Once you have this list, you need to go to Bustaname.comand let their system help you come up with potential names based on the keywords you want to highlight.
Once you think you have a domain name, you need to register it. You can purchase your domain through a company like Networksolutions.com or my personal choice GoDaddy.com. Network Solutions has long been the standard, trusted source for purchasing domains, but GoDaddy has proven itself as a leader in the industry and has the best prices for domains.
Dot com is still king and if you can get a .com name, you really should. You may need to be a bit creative with your domain name – using a phrase or dashes between words, but there are plenty of names left and Bustaname or GoDaddy will actually suggest alternatives if your first choice is taken. It might take a two or three word combination to get the domain you want and I recommend focusing on the keywords you are going after rather than the “cute” or “cool” factor in a name.