One of the lessons you are going to learn very early on in your blogging career is the selection of your domain.
And that lesson is…
The likelihood of you finding your desired domain name; is like locating where you last kept your house keys when you are late for a meeting. Some days it is easy and other days, you have to toss out pillows and flip the dishes.
This is due to the rise of cyber squatting. And as you already know, no two domains can be the same.
Cyber squatting is the business of buying domain names to sell them later for the purpose of making a profit.
So what do you do when you get up one morning and find yourself in the same situation camp mulla is at. Your desired domain name is taken.
The first option, is to buy it. Duh!!
But what if you do not have the extra two thousand dollars to buy the domain. What do you do next?
You can choose to petition the domain.
According to WIPO there was a ten percent increase in domain name disputes in 2016. Making the year an all time high for domain name disputes at three thousand and twenty two cases.
This may be at an all time high but in the grand scheme of things, most people choose to avoid all the headache and select a different domain name.
Well, just because you dispute a domain does not mean you are going to win the case.
Fun fact: Nissan (yes, the grand car manufacturing company) disputed the domain nissan dot com and lost. Wanna know more about it. Just visit nissan.com
So how do you modify it? Add a couple dashes in between the domain name or underscores or pick weird ending TLD extension?
Domain name alternatives
With this article I am going to show you how you can find the perfect domain name alternative. Something that will make sense to both you and your readers and customers.
And do not let anyone lie to you that only dot com domains rank on Google.
But before we get to the alternatives, what is a good indicator that the domain name you want may not be as expensive as you expect it to be?
When the domain does not lead to a re-seller account and most especially when it is listed as expired by the registrar as shown below.
That means, you can visit whois and contact the owner of the domain to purchase. Most often than not, they are not looking to re-sell for a significant amount of money. And they would be willing to do away with it.
Add your industry in your domain name
I initially mentioned how the camp mulla domain has already been acquired. One great option for them would be to acquire campmullamusic.com
Well, if the domain name has not already been taken. This is quite an obvious solution since they are a music group.
The best practice would be to pick an industry title that covers everything you will do with your current domain. If you pick a generic extension, it will be hard for it to be memorable in your readers brain. You want something that they would be able to associate with your brand. Like teslamotors.com
Use a country code TLD
This is more of an unpopular domain hack. Where you choose a common country code TLD but it is currently an accepted norm in your industry. For example the domain wgnetworks.tv clearly tells you the site will be associated with broadcasting, video etc. But the extension tv is actually the country code for an island in the pacific ocean called Tuvalu.
There are over two hundred country codes globally to look at and see which one will make sense for your current domain name. So you can play with domain extensions such as mr, ms, me, fm, am etc.
Now be warned, most times when you are using a specific country code, Google will assume you are targeting traffic in that country. That is why if you have a local business, your seo consultant will encourage you to choose a domain extension related to that country.
Look at different domain name extensions
Apart from country code top level domains, you can choose domain extensions such as .org .net etc.
Before you jump onto the next best option, you need to remember a dot com domain has gained trust in most readers brains as a trustworthy extension. Not only has it been used for decades so it breeds familiarity, but according to a reseearch by semrush, certain domain name alternatives are considered unsafe. This is because of a ton of spam sites having that domain name extension.
Earlier I mentioned there are over 200 domain name extensions. Well, in total you have over eight hundred domain extensions.
For example Tim Ferriss of the four hour week has tim.blog for his blog.
Splice your domain
As an extension to use different domain name extensions, you can choose to divide your domain into two if the last bit of your domain can be found as one of the eight hundred available domain name extensions.
Make sure you choose something that will still be easy for your reader to comprehend and remember. For example visually, split their domain name into two to get visual.ly
You can choose from the wide range from dot music to dot app (both not yet accessible to the public market). From dot spa to dot insurance.
Just remember to let the domain name easily flow on your tongue.
Now you do need to remember Google crawlers do not consider the extension of your domain, so you will have to take that into consideration with your seo strategy.
Add your country to the domain name
Remember I briefly told you about how nissan lost the dispute of acquiring the domain nissan.com
Since they had no other choice but to acquire a different domain name, they added their country as part of their domain name. So now nissan is on nissanusa.com
This is a good hack if you want to attain the extension dot com and are based from a specific country.
Abbreviate your domain name
You can choose to abbreviate your entire domain name or part of your domain name.
I used to own the domain startupskenya.co.ke
The funny story to this, is I actually had the chance to get the dot com extension but I was an hour too late. And the owner wasn’t looking to sell. So without thinking, I purchased the Kenyan domain name extension.
If I had taken a little bit of time to think about it, I would have used startupske.com
After all, that was my handle on all social platforms. So it would have been easy for my readers to remember.
So if you choose to abbreviate your entire domain name, then remember you will have to do the same with all your branding. Otherwise, there will be a gap in your readers brain if this is actually your site or not. And most times than not, they may not figure it out.
A good example of abbreviated domain is Africa Air Rescue Insurance company. That may not be familiar to most people, but it is actually AAR insurance. This has been part of their branding since 1991.
Use a hyphen
My most unfavorable method to use.
Simply because they are not easy to remember. So if you have the domain name camp-mulla.com and campmulla.com, what domain do you think people will type in first?
The latter of course. Because we are not accustomed to use any hyphens in the domain.
One of the most common websites and familiar sites is merriam-webster.com
Another one, that I actually thought was aarinsurance is actually aar-insurance.com
Add a noun or verb at the beginning of your domain name
Ever visited a domain and it had “the” or “official” at the beginning of the domain name? I know you have. This is one of the most popular alternatives to domain name selection.
It could go from getaarinsurance.com to officialcampmulla.com or thecampmulla.com
This is popular because you can still get to keep your brand name in the URL and also have the dot com extension.
Other verbs or nouns to consider are “try” “use” “add” etc
This may affect your seo just a bit but it may actually get you the dot com variation of your brand name. You can abbreviate the entire brand name or you could abbreviate probably the industry or country code.
So instead of saying doctor, you could simply use dr. Instead of using Kenya, you could simply use ke
If you have gone this far and you are still not pleased with the results, your next best option is to find a different domain name and brand name for your project. This is an awesome idea if you have not yet built a brand and you are still in the ideation process.
What if you have found your perfect domain name? Do not purchase it yet. Take the next five minutes to see if that particular domain name is available on all the social media sites you would like to have a presence on.
Why is that?
It is good practice to have all your social media handles with the same name. It does not have to be the same name as the domain name. It could be shorter.
Once you have confirmed on namechekr, feel free to purchase your domain name, you can start reserving your social media handles.
The moment where people are going for more and more domain name alternatives is on the rise. This is will keep happening if their is still a rise in cyber squatting. And not many people have the funds to spends thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions to buy a domain name.
Also, not all of us have the patience of the back and forth process of appealing for a domain name that is rightfully yours.
It is still true that most people are accustomed to the dot com extension. And if they are familiar with your brand, they may go for your brandname.com
And as mentioned earlier some of these domain name alternatives may not be the best option when it comes to seo. This is because search engine algorithms do not consider domain name extensions. That does not mean you cannot improve your rankings.
So, when you can get the dot com extension. And if you are going to hack your domain name remember it may affect your seo strategy a little bit.
What did you do when you found your domain name has been taken?