The Domain Name I Want is Taken – What Can I Do?

Written by geordiejimb

Topics: Internet Marketing

It doesn’t matter if it’s for personal use or for a business; chances are your first choice awesome catchy perfect domain name is already taken – so what options does that leave you?

For a business where the domain name is highly important to aid your search engine ranking efforts, keeping those keywords in the domain is essential, and you have some flexibility in how to do that, and the focus of this article is on the business side, although the same options exist for a personal website too – you just have a lot more freedom in your domain name for personal use.

Here are some options you can consider:


Use a different extension

While a .com is still the preferred domain extension it’s not the only option.  For a business you want to try staying with the main three – .com, .org, and .net.  You may be able to get away with something like a .info, .us, or type extension too, but only as a last resort (you might even want to consider the other options below first).


Change the name slightly

If you are trying to secure a website where your primary keyword phrase is already taken, you can look at options for changing the name – adding a suffix (such as site, center, information, review, etc) of some kind is the preferred approach, followed by adding a prefix (my, the, online, etc).

For the sake of illustration let’s use an example of a store called Joe’s Second Hand Books, with second hand books being our primary keyword phrase.

For our example, if Is taken (which it is), you could consider trying the suffix approach:

  • Secondhandbookstore
  • Secondhandbooksstore
  • Secondhandbooksonline

Or failing those, the prefix approach (a name, or other appropriate qualifier):

  • Joessecondhandbooks
  • Cheapsecondhandbooks
  • Raresecondhandbooks


Hyphenated names

Personally, I think hyphenated domain names look less professional, so for a business website I’d recommend avoiding the hyphen.  Hyphens are mostly used when someone finds a high search volume keyword phrase and doesn’t want to give it up.  Hyphens don’t affect your search engine rankings to my knowledge, but how many big name companies do you see with hyphenated names?


Buy The Domain Name

If the specific domain name is already taken go have a look at what is on there.  Is it a commercial website?  Is the page just full of links and Ads?  Or is it just a parked domain someone bought and hasn’t used yet?

You can contact the owner of a site and see if they are willing to sell.  Chances are, if it is being used for a business you won’t have much luck.  If it’s being used as a link site or ad-site to generate revenue from the traffic, you’ll have to make it worth their while to sell, and in both case that might mean big bucks.

Can’t harm to contact the owner and find out though, you never know.


Legally go after the Domain Name

In some cases a business name is protected by Trademark Law, you might have legal grounds to go after the website domain name if you can demonstrate it infringes your Trademark.  I’m not a legal expert by any means, so you will have to do the research on this yourself, but be aware that this may be an option if the options above all failed for you.

Having your main keyword phrase in the domain is important, and as you can see, you have options when the domain name you really wanted is taken.  Explore your options and find one that works for you.

I use NameCheap for registering my domains, and they have recently revamped the website to have a much cleaner interface, and unlike other registrars like GoDaddy it’s extremely easy to use.