For me, this was BY FAR the most time consuming step to starting my online business. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent trying to conjure up a few ingeniously clever business names. To add to the stress, most of us are looking for untaken domain names that are an exact match.

The truth is, it’s really not that all that important. You can start a business with one name, and change it later if you come up with something better, and do a 301 redirect to keep the traffic flowing. The important thing is that you provide something of value, whether that something is content or a product. But if you are still stuck on this first crucial step, I’ve laid out a guide to help.

Step One:

Open up a document file in Word or Google Docs and grab something caffeinated. Trying to force creativity is never a good thing, so as you follow these steps and begin to brainstorm, take a break here and there to do something creative like listen to music or go for a run. That being said, rid yourself of distraction when the time comes to focus in on those million dollar ideas.

Step Two:

Take a look at the competition. Make a list of the top five websites or business names that you like and why. Then, make a list of five business names that you don’t like and why. This will give you a good foundation to start with.

Step Three:

Brainstorm all the words that you want your business to embody. Think of as many adjectives that describe your mission. Try to come up with a tagline that represents your purpose. Document everything. The more you come up with now, the better chance you will have of this list actually turning into a few usable names later on.

Step Four:

Look at your list and pick out the ones that stand out to you. Try creating word-mash-ups, and think of new and interesting ways to spell out your ideas. Business names often are made up of words that don’t exist yet or are born from the combination of multiple words.

Step Five:

Type “Business name generator” into Google and find a few that work for you. Some of these tools are really impressive and others, well, let’s just say they need some work. The ones I found the most useful allowed bulk word input, so I could enter all the names and words I brainstormed and receive a list of mashed-up outputs!

Step Six:

If you still can’t come up with anything, check out a website like Fiverr.com. This is one of the most useful platforms I have found for finding freelancers to help me with business related tasks and the guy I hired did an amazing job coming up with trademark-able business names with available domains!

Final Step:

Go to a domain name registrar like Name Cheap and search for available domain names that match your business idea. If you are new to domain names, see my blog post about it for more info.

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You can do this at most hosting providers as well, such as bluehost. To make it easy I have embedded a domain name checker for you below.