How to Pick a GREAT Domain Name for a Start-Up


in Articles and Thoughts,Product Development,Quick Notes,Tools

Are domain names important?

Could be – or maybe not.

It really depends what people use them for.  Some websites get all of their traffic through direct links, so people never have to type them in.

But … for most of us a great domain name can translate directly to better results.

NOTE: I said better, not good!

You have to start with value.

You can have the best domain name in the world and still go completely down the tubes.

That said a great domain name can add to the bottom-line so …

I’ve spent at least four solid days with the help of a number of people trying to choose a great one for my new start-up.

Guess what … it’s not that easy, especially if you want a great one.

Characteristics of a great domain name

  • Short
  • Memorable
  • Pronounceable
  • Easily Spelled (a single way)
  • Descriptive or Brandable
  • No hyphens or numbers
  • Multiple extensions available including .com
  • Easily typed
  • Inoffensive (or offensive if you want to go that route)

Sounds Easy!

Not really these days.

I spent a solid day using some of the standard tools that are available to try to come up with variations of words that might be relevant to what I’m doing.

Relevant is a good thing — even if it isn’t everything.

Here’s what the new site is about …

  • Mapping connections between people and organizations.
  • Finding people and organizations you need
  • Expanding your network
  • Measuring the impact of people and organizations
  • Helping people and organizations connect

It’s a cross between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.  It’s real-time, mobile and social.

So what should I call it?

Let me tell you what I did and then maybe you can give me some suggestions.

My first step was to start looking for domain name suggestion tools.  Here are some …

Useful Domain Name Suggestion Tools

Short Domain Name Tools

Expired Domain Tools

Premium Domain Names

It’s enough to make your head Spin!

I came up with hundreds of relevant combinations of words.

Most of them LONG.

Then I got together with my good friend Frank Sousa and spent another solid afternoon brainstorming short words that mean nothing.

Frank and I came up with a domain name that is short, is brandable and was available, but it has a couple problems:

Not very memorable.

I have a bad memory anyway, but it took me about 3 days to remember the word.

It turns out, that most people have a bad memory.

I took my list of possible domain names and read them off twenty at a time to my 17 year old son — younger mind, better memory right?

Then I waited 15 seconds and told me to tell me all of the domain names that he remembered.



I did this for hundreds of domains and then I tested it again with another person.

Same results.

People don’t remember so well.

That’s not to say we can’t.

When I suggested that he remember his favorite he could remember one.

The mind is a tricky thing, so maybe being memorable is not as easy as it sounds.

Can Be Spelled Multiple Ways

The name that Frank and I came up with ends in an “i”.

That means that people who hear the domain name might spell it with an “i”  or a “y” or an “ie” and the alternate spellings aren’t available.

Other than that, It’s a great domain name.

In fact after four days solid work, I may go with it.

But … just in case you have a better suggestion …

I’ve decided to ask YOU!

If you can come up with a BETTER available domain name than the one that I’ve picked.  I will give you a premium life-time membership to the new site when it launches.

Remember it needs to be:

  • Short
  • Memorable
  • Pronounceable
  • Easily Spelled (a single way)
  • Descriptive or Brandable
  • No hyphens or numbers
  • Multiple extensions available including .com
  • Easily typed
  • Inoffensive

DON’T Suggest your name here!

If it’s as great as it needs to be someone will grab it before I do, so just email your best suggestions to me directly at ken at

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

All the best,

Ken McArthur

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