|Well, you may have your work cut out for you, considering that more than 100 million domains have already been secured.
But that doesn't mean you should settle on just any old moniker for your site. Finding the right domain name takes time and a bit of creativity, say experts.
"There's the right domain out there for everyone," notes Joanne Henig of NY Design Group in Bohemia, which specializes in Web site development, search engine optimization and domain name registration. "You just have to open your mind and try different things."
To get started, try securing your company name first, she suggests. While the exact name may not be available, you might try different combinations of your name.
For instance, if BobsDryCleaning.com isn't available, you could try LongIslandDryCleaning.com or RonkonkomaDryCleaning.com, she says. Having a geographic location in the domain name can help customers find you through search engines, notes Henig, pointing to her own domain, nydesigngroup.com, as an example.
To help brainstorm, jot down about a half-dozen keywords or phrases that best describe your services or products, advises David Montalvo, director of business development for Active Web Group, a Hauppauge-based Internet marketing agency.
Then try different combinations of these words to see what's available, he says.
There is a variety of free search tools you can use to check domain availability, including DomainTools.com, Dotster.com/products/domains, Ajaxwhois.com and Domjax.com.
You can also search for pre-owned names at such sites as Afternic.com and BuyDomains.com, says Phillip Davis of Tungsten Branding, a Brevard, N.C.-based name-development and brand-strategy firm. But keep in mind that these pre-owned names can run in the hundreds to thousands of dollars, adds Davis.
It's less costly finding a domain that hasn't already been taken, he says. You can then claim it through a domain registration site like GoDaddy.com (for a list of registrars see internic.net/alpha.html). It generally costs anywhere between $7 and $15 annually to register a domain, depending upon the site.
"You can register up to 10 years," says Clint Page of Dotster Inc., a Vancouver, Wash.-based Internet company that offers domain search tools and registration. It charges about $15 annually to register a domain.
It's best to stick to the .com version of a name, notes Page, only because that's what Web surfers typically search under by default. You could purchase the .net or .biz version of your domain name to lock it up from competitors, but it should redirect people to your .com site, he advises.
"You can buy multiple domain names and then monitor where the most traffic is coming from," says Page.
Maura Halligan of AdvantEdge Sales Training Inc. in Massapequa Park has found it helpful owning multiple domain names. In fact, she may secure up to 10 domain names by year end. Most of her domains incorporate either her company name or sales in the keywords, like her site advantedgesales.com.
"Keywords in your URL are your password to success," says Halligan, who worked with Active Web Group to secure her domain names and optimize her site.
Of course, you don't always have to have your industry in your name, says Davis. After all, the name Best Buy was built on a key attribute rather than a single product, he notes. Finally, before securing a domain, you should check if it's not already a trademark used by someone else, advises Aimee Kaplan of Collard & Roe Pc, a law firm in Roslyn. Not every domain name qualifies for trademark protection, she notes, and you may want to consult with a trademark attorney to see if your domain is eligible.
Just don't rush into anything.
"This is something you want to put some time and effort in," says Page of Dotster. "This is your brand identity."