Hello, I'd like to post a short article I wrote about how to find great domains and website ideas to go with them. I have something similar on my website, but I have changed it slightly to suite the webdeveloper.com community.

Finding Available Domain Names

Finding an available domain name is getting harder and harder these days as domains are being registered by their thousands. I shall show some tips to find that valuable name that no-one has thought of.

First, find an idea for a site. Inspiration can come to you quite easily if you follow these pointers:

* Think what you would find useful when you go online
* See if there are any good ideas on the web which you reckon you could do better
* Read a book, whilst waiting for an inspiration or a train of thought which leads to an idea

[If you can't think of an idea, skip ahead to "Finding a Domain Without an Idea"]

Perhaps you have an idea for a site and are wondering how to switch that idea into a domain name, I shall explain the process of finding a great domain name through means of an example. Say you decided you wanted to create a website which shares your garden tips.

A simple search in the thesaurus for 'tip' will give you words people haven't thought of for domains. I quite like 'clue', in fact 'gardenclues.com' is available! Here it is best to go for the plural 'clues' because it makes more sense to make a website comprising of many clues instead of just one. This is a good domain name, but you can try and find a better one. What comes to my mind when i think of gardening is 'planting', of course 'planting.com' will be taken but 'bestplanting.com' is available! Here I added 'best', just one of the prefixes which I woudl have tried ('best', 'the', 'easy', 'web', 'e', 'great'...). This is a good name, but not a great improvement if any. I now try 'plantingpointers.com', which uses the planting of the second idea and another synonym of 'tip'. Indeed, this is available- this is, in fact, my favourite gardening tips domain because of the alliteration and the memorability of the name, despite its length.

Finding a Domain Without an Idea

What works for me is thinking of a domain name before thinking of a website idea; so- how is this done?
First, find a domain name by listening to what people say, reading books or watching the TV. Let ideas come into your head and check the availablity of domains related from your trains of thought as you do.
Lets say you heard someone say the phrase "That is doing my head in" you could check "doesmyheadin.co.uk", indeed this is available. Great, you have a memorable domain name! Now's the hard part, thinking of a winning idea. To think of one...

* Think about what the domain brings to mind
* Decide whether the ideas the domain brings to mind could be the discussion point of an online community. [Perhaps you could create a community which discusses what does people's heads in. Just create a forum, this would probably be popular]
* Think of any kind of database of entries you could create on the subjects brought to mind on the first bullet point. [Maybe the winning idea would be to make a database of things which annoy you, rather like a blog]
* Think whether the domain would be a good one for a simple blog
* Think whether you could use the domain with any affiliate scheme you know.
* Think about what you'd expect to load up when you type the domain name into the address bar.

So, as you can see, you should arrive at an idea sooner or later. Always remember, if you can't think of an idea, but still have a great available domain name in mind, you could always try to sell the domain to someone who can think of an idea.

I hope what I have written is useful to the community,

Matt