A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Perfect Domain Name in 2020

Michael Gargiulo
4 min readMar 9, 2020
A search browser with “www.domainname.com” typed in.

With approximately 1.7 billion websites out there, it’s important to stand out, and for many businesses, that means finding the perfect website name. When you choose a domain name in 2020, you need to take into account a huge range of factors, including competition and availability. As a result, a great domain name needs careful consideration.

What’s in a Name?

A rose by any other name, Romeo stated in Romeo and Juliet, would smell as sweet, but this has been lampooned numerous times. Call a rose a stenchworth sneezebug, and it probably wouldn’t have as much appeal. Unsurprisingly, stenchworthsneezebug.com is not a registered domain.

Most businesses start with the basics: their name. However, some businesses have very long names, and these aren’t particularly easy to type in or remember. A law firm with five partners named might want to go for something shorter and easier to put on a business card. Similarly, a name that could be misread may be better off being canned. Examples found include:

  • IT Scrap (now Regency Technologies)
  • Pen Island (now spam)
  • Experts Exchange (now parked)
  • Speed of Art (still in action)

All of these, when you lowercase them and push them together, are very easy to misread.

Is it Taken?

Of course, one of the biggest problems facing those who want to choose a domain name in 2020 is that many good names are taken. This was even a problem facing British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the early 2000s — tonyblair.com had been taken by a man of the same name, who happened to be a naturist. The website billclinton.com is now parked, so it’s owned by someone, and you can buy it for a mere $9,999.

This means some creativity might be required. Think about what your business offers and whether you can add something on to make it unique. While billclinton.com might be taken, billclintoninfo.com is not. However, the longer you make it, the harder it is to remember. It can be a fine balance sometimes.

You can often get ideas from popular domain registrars. These include:

All of these offer a search function to check that your potential domain name is not taken.

Go for the .Com

In most cases, you want to secure the .com version of the website. This is because it’s the most familiar top-level domain (TLD) in the United States. If you wish to focus services on another country, such as India or Brazil, for example, you might take a country-specific TLD. For India, that would be .in, and for Brazil, that would be .br.

In addition, ICANN, the nonprofit that maintains and coordinates IP addresses and names, has released more than 1200 TLDs. These include .charity, .search, and .food. The idea was to open up the Internet significantly, and it has made billions of new names possible. This can be extremely helpful when you want to choose a domain name in 2020, but it will take some time for people to get used to these.

Can You be Clever?

An early US-based marketing company decided to go for the TLD of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The company was called Servio, so its website was serv.io. In a similar vein, the Canadian-based website check.in uses the Indian TLD to create a phrase. A host of country-specific TLDs lets you be creative when you choose a domain name in 2020.

Just bear in mind that country-specific TLDs may need a little more work to become relevant in whichever country you are based in. In addition, there may be restrictions on the use of the TLD. Some countries restrict use of their TLD to companies that have some sort of presence within their borders, whereas others are much more lax.

Does the Name Infringe on Another Company?

There is often a risk of businesses accidentally infringing on a trademark, particularly as businesses tend to share similar names in similar spaces. The Dirk Cafe might have a good reason for going with thedirkcafe.com, but if a similar business in the area had already gone for dirkcafe.com, it may be an infringing name. This can result in tedious legal battles, so do a few searches to make sure that your name doesn’t potentially infringe on someone else’s trademark. If you are in the United States, it’s always worth checking the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.

Buy Your Domain Name!

The final step is to buy your domain name. It’s worth buying up extra TLDs, such as.info, .net, and .org, where possible so that you can prevent others from creating copycat sites, and it can make life much cheaper in the long run — particularly if your business website becomes popular.

Ultimately, when you want to choose a domain name in 2020, there’s a whole host of issues to consider. By thinking through your options carefully, you can come up with the perfect domain name for your needs.



Michael Gargiulo

CEO at VPN.com | Internet & Domain Name Expert | Forbes Council | CliffCo Leader & Host | Atlanta’s Top Tech Entrepreneur