14 Simple Tools for Picking the Perfect Domain

Emma Grant By Emma Grant  |  Dec. 08, 2016

It’s beyond question that coming up with a good domain name is very hard work these days. There are just so many websites in existence, and then there are all these ruthless profiteers buying up all the best TLDs in the hope of selling them on later, for a profit.

Fortunately there are some tools around that can help to make choosing your domain name less of a chore. You’ll still need to use your brain a bit, but at least by using one or more of these tools, you will reduce the amount of frustration you inflict upon it.


1. Lean Domain Search

Give Lean Domain Search a single key word and it will instantly generate a huge list of potential names for you, as well as ensuring they’re still available. Fast and high quality.



2. Knowem

Recently I did some consulting work for a start-up who were heavily invested in creating a particular brand, where I felt there was strong possibility that somebody could already have been using the name they wanted (or a close enough version of it) as a trademark. As you may know, using an existing trademark can potentially expose you to a lot of trouble, and dilutes the strength of your brand. Knowem is a great tool to use when your domain name is going to be closely tied to a brand or business name. It is blazingly fast and checks to see if your entered text is already in use as a trademark (in the US), social media site, or domain name.



3. NameMesh

NameMesh allows you to enter simple key words, or a list of words. You can even use wildcard characters. Once you’ve put in the words, it will generate a list of suggestions sorted into categories—common, new, short, fun, extra, similar, SEO, and mix—from which you can make a choice or at least get a new idea. The most valuable category is “similar” because this one splits your key words and finds synonyms you could use for each one.



4. Bust A Name

It’s not quite as intuitive as NameMesh, but Bust A Name will let you add words, then finds whatever names might be still available for you using those words. Suppose you have a spaghetti delivery service in Houston. You might enter the same search term you’d expect to be found on Google with (“spaghetti delivery houston”) and Bust A Name will suggest what it thinks are the best available names you could get.



5. Dot-o-mator

Dot-o-mator is a really simple tool that just takes prefixes and suffixes and joins them together into new words. What makes it a little different is that you can use predefined lists for both the required parts to create your domain name. This one is good if you’re feeling too lazy to even add your own list of words to test.



6. Web 2.0 Name Generator

If you’re feeling even more lazy and just want a one-click solution, the Web 2.0 Name Generator, from the same people who brought you Dot-o-mator, is the answer to your prayers. Simply click the button until you see a name you can’t resist, then register it.



7. Wordoid

The concept of Wordoid is similar to the Web 2.0 Name Generator, but it’s multilingual and creates “wordoids” based on the language you select (English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German). It’s most useful when you want a name that’s loosely discoverable but highly brandable. Simple and fun.



8. NameStation

The saying may go that two heads are better than one, but what if you could enlist an army of helpers to create your domain name? Well, NameStation came up with the idea of hosting crowd-sourced domain naming contests. That may sound a little wacky, but already more than 5,500 businesses have used contests to get their name suggestions. The downside is that it requires creating an account to use their simple name generator, and it’s the only one on this list with that requirement.



9. Instant Domain Search

If you’re really impatient to see a result, Instant Domain Search is the right generator for you. Start typing and you’ll see results being reflected back at you almost instantly.



10. Impossibility

Impossibility is kind of fun. It’s quick and easy to use. You simply choose a category for prefix or suffix (by number of letters and whether it will be a verb, adjective, or noun), then type a key word, and click the button. I asked it for a 4 letter noun as a prefix combined with the word “possum” and in almost no time at all it had suggested things like “citypossum”, “shypossum”, “seekpossum”… you can easily see the potential here, and it’s a snap to use.



11. NameBoy

Linking to NameBoy provides a certain feeling of shame due to the blatant keyword stuffing on the home page, but at least their name generator does what it claims. It’s a bit unusual in that it will try to rhyme your keywords for you.



12. Domize

If you’re feeling paranoid about somebody hijacking your brilliant domain name before you’ve even finished searching for it, Domize operates in an encrypted environment, meaning (probably) nobody is going to see the names you are checking. It’s otherwise quite similar to the Instant Domain Search tool.



13. NameTumbler

This is a simple but really comprehensive name generator that only checks TLDs for you (because they’re the ones with the most value). You simply enter a comma separated list of all the key words you want to check and click the button. NameTumbler will process them and spit out a lot of suggestions, while simultaneously checking that they’re available.



14. Panabee

Panabee is fast and interesting, but it generates such a huge list (that, unlike NameMesh, isn’t logically sorted into categories) that you may find it tough going to read through them. Instead of sorting the results, Panabee tells you under each result what method was used to produce it. The speed is impressive, but what may be a concern for some is that Panabee processes your clicks through Dotomi before you get to the sales window. And Panabee’s privacy policy is (at the time of writing) conspicuous by its absence.