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Have you tried to dream up a brand name recently? It's harder than ever. Not only is there domain name availability to contend with, but you also need to bag the appropriate user profiles on the main social platforms.

I have been trying for some considerable time to brainstorm a domain name for a new side project, and having identified one I've had second thoughts (it contains the word 'freak' in the title, which might be perceived negatively by some people).

As such, I wanted to change it prior to the launch, and I've unearthed some new (at least to me) domain name tools that are proving rather useful. I thought I'd share them with you.

Before I do so, let's remind ourselves of the 25 characteristics of a 'good' domain / brand name. The main ones are:

  • Meaningful (brand-building may be easier if it does what it says on the tin) 
  • Unique (to avoid confusion / ownership issues) 
  • Short (the shorter the better, for all kinds of reasons. The fewer syllables the better, I think) 
  • Easy to type (if you hear it on the radio could you spell it?)
  • Memorable (what use is a brand name if you forget it?)

And now, here are six useful domain brainstorming tools...

Impossibility

This is probably the tool that I've used the most over the past week or so. Impossibility allows you to choose from four, five or six letter advjectives, verbs, or nouns, and will add words to make new domain names that are available. 

Namemesh

Namemesh takes your domain name idea and suggests various alternatives, and does a lookup for international domain extensions. 

Lean Domain Search

This tool add popular words to beginning or end of your preferred keyword.

Panabee

A brainstorming tool that suggests dozens of domain name variants, and displays the availability of these names within the results.

Nametumbler

Choose from a list of word types to append / prepend words to your main term.

Dotomator

This tool mashes up word combinations suggested from its topic-themed library. Use the dropdowns to find prefixes and suffixes.

And finally, here is a seventh tool that you should probably use before buying a domain name...

Namechk

I've mentioned this one before: it allows you to see if user names are available on the main social platforms. A real timesaver.

Finally, here are a few other domain name tools that I have previously used.

Do leave a comment below if you have any pointers for choosing a brand name, or if you've spotted a new tool to help people minimise the time invoilved in brainstorming and research.

Chris Lake

Published 25 June, 2013 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

Comments (12)

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JDee

nice compilation.. good work

over 3 years ago

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Desire Athow

How come domai.nr not make it to that list? I can't fathom living without it :)

about 3 years ago

Kris Littlewood

Kris Littlewood, Digital Marketing Assistant at English Lakes

I find invaluable too www.namestation.com

The free version is pretty good.

about 3 years ago

Kris Littlewood

Kris Littlewood, Digital Marketing Assistant at English Lakes

I also second domai.nr that @Desire mentioned too.

about 3 years ago

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Josh Brancek

Panabee is the best I would say!!!

about 3 years ago

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Richard Hamer

A few years ago I decided to swap my blueskypr.biz for a .com.

Naturally the .com version was taken, and the process of finding something relevant or even reasonably relevant was very long.

This was mainly because my company name is very run of the mill, and when I started out in 2006 such things never occurred to me.

Trying to tie the two together retrospectively saw me looking at changing the company name to something funkier, but that would have brought up a raft of other issues.

Look before you leap!

about 3 years ago

Lenka Istvanova

Lenka Istvanova, Marketing Project Manager at Freestak

Nice one, Chris. It's really not easy to pick the right domain which ticks all the boxes (e.g. memorable, easy to type, cool, etc.). Therefore thanks for the tools, I'm going to use some of them. I would also use Ubersuggest although it's a keyword tool I think it could help find some additional idea.

about 3 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

Thanks for all of your comments / points. I thought I'd mentioned Domainr previously, but perhaps not - it's useful. Others include Domain Name Soup, Bust A Name and Ubersuggest, as highlighted by Lenka. No doubt I have missed some others!

about 3 years ago

Garry Davis

Garry Davis, Director at Grow Digital Marketing

@lakey very useful post as usual. @Lenka the idea of using ubersuggest as a domain name tool is an interesting alternative. What did you search on to find @Koozai ?

about 3 years ago

Lenka Istvanova

Lenka Istvanova, Marketing Project Manager at Freestak

@Garry Heh, I suppose we didn't use Ubersuggest in this case and went for a meaning instead. But if you fancy finding out what the word 'Koozai' really means feel free to look at our blog post http://www.koozai.com/blog/news/industry-news/the-meaning-of-koozai-2451/

about 3 years ago

Garry Davis

Garry Davis, Director at Grow Digital Marketing

@lenka thanks

about 3 years ago

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Francesco

You seem to have forgotten the engine that actually provides the name suggestions to all the leading domain registrars, starting from GoDaddy... www.domainsbot.com ;)

about 3 years ago

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