With the increase in eCommerce businesses rising exponentially, good “.com” domains are running out. But have no fear, there are still some left if you know where to look and use some specific tools to find those missing BrandName.com domain gems. Learn why matching your brand to your domain name is so important. If you have an existing brand name and the matching .com is unavailable, don’t worry. We have a solution for that too. In this article, I’ll walk you through, step by step, each phase of my creative and due diligence process. Plus, you’ll be able to download Hemp Lively’s Domain Idea Kit to give you new domain ideas, links to the online tools you’ll need, and our Domain Due Diligence Checklist to make sure you don’t fall into some common domain sand-traps.
A Step-by-Step Guide to finding a brand name with matching .com domain name.
For the purposes of this guide, domain names and brand names are essentially the same thing. Our goal is to find an available dot com domain name for your new CBD Company, Cannabis Dispensary, or other hemp product line or cannabis company.
Which comes first, choosing a domain or brand name?
Ah the old “chicken or the egg” debate. Which should I do first, the brand name or the domain name? Surprisingly enough, most people start with the brand name, only to find out later that someone else already owns the domain name. This can lead to huge problems down the road, especially if someone else owns the matching .com domain name already and is selling similar products. You can essentially become their free marketing partner and simply be giving them your business, customers, and web traffic. That’s why my branding process always starts with searching available .com domain names.
Step #1. Brand Names and Domain Names 101
What is a Brand Name?
A brand name is how your business will be identified by potential customers. It should evoke emotion, be relevant, memorable, and unique for people to establish an emotional connection with your company.
5 Characteristics of a Good Brand Name
- Memorable: The best way to ensure that people remember your company’s brand is by creating something that sticks in their mind after hearing it once or twice. This could mean coming up with something funny or clever that stands out amongst other competitors in the market.
- Unique: Your business needs its own distinct identity so make sure that your brand stands out from the crowd. Think about how you want people to feel when they hear your company’s name and then come up with ideas around those feelings.
- Evokes Emotion: You want people who hear or see your company’s name for the first time to feel something. So, make sure it grabs their attention right away! If you can get them interested, then they will be more likely to investigate what you have going on.
- Short: Make your brand name as short as possible. 1-2 Words max with (no “the” or “a” at the beginning. Do not use hyphens and try to keep the total syllable count to 2-3 syllables, (max 5).
- Pronounceable: No one wants their customers to have trouble pronouncing their business name. How would they ever tell friends about your business if they can’t easily say it. Try using words that are common enough for most people but still unique enough that people won’t forget them easily.
To learn more about Brand Names, take a moment to read this article which dives deeper into Branding and 6 questions you should answer before choosing a brand name.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is simply the address used to access a website on the web. For example, www.HempLively.com is our domain name. It serves as an online identity for businesses, organizations, and individuals. A good domain name should be easy to remember, pronounceable and not too long. Ideally, it should be no more than about 15 characters long. Additionally, it should not contain hyphens or numbers unless the numbers are part of the brand name. For example, “420cannabis”.
What is a domain extension?
A domain extension (also called a top-level domain) is the suffix at the end of a web address that indicates what type of website it is. Commonly used extensions include .com (for commercial websites), .net (for networks or organizations), and .org (for nonprofit organizations). There are also many country-specific domains such as .us (for websites based in the United States) or .ca (for websites based in Canada).
Why are .com domains better than other domain extensions?
When it comes to choosing a domain extension, many people opt for .com domains because they are widely recognized as being associated with businesses and commercial websites. Dot com domains have been around since 1985 and have become so widely used that many people simply assume that every website has a “.com” after its name. Because of this widespread recognition and usage amongst businesses, having a “.com” extension can help build trust with potential customers and make your business seem more legitimate.
Does every CBD Company need to have a domain name?
Yes. Ideally, your company domain name should match your brand name, end in .com, and have a website at that domain address. However, even if you do not have a website or your domain does not exactly match your brand, there are other benefits to having a dedicated business domain such as consistent company email addresses coming from the same domain and the potential to build a website in the future.
What makes a great domain name?
The ideal domain name is:
- Short: 1-2 words max
- Spelling: Properly spelled English Language words (e.g., Amazon) or a very short 2-6 letter unique brand (e.g. Hulu).
- Domain Extension: ends in “.com” which is the most widely used domain extension in the USA.
- Availability: A great domain name idea must be available.
- Branding: Matches your brand name.
Does your Brand Name and Domain Name need to match?
Yes. It should, especially if you plan on having a website.
When is it okay to use a different domain extension?
There are a few cases where it’s okay to use another extension.
- When the “.com” domain name is available at a reasonable price which you can afford in the future, but not now. For example, let’s say HempLively.co is available for $15 and HempLIvely.com costs $3,000. Well, in a few months, you can afford $3,000 so you decide to gamble on the fact that it will still be available by then.
- When the “.com” domain name is so expensive, no one will ever pay that amount to mimic your brand. For example, let’s say HempLively.co is available for $15 and HempLIvely.com costs $100,000. You should be safe to hope no one will pay that amount of money to mimic your business. And by the time it may be worth it for someone to do that, you’d be so established that it wouldn’t make a difference. Plus, by then you may be able to afford it yourself.
- When you’re a local company that’s not doing eCommerce and the sole purpose of your website is for Brand Recognition in your local market. In this case, your Google Business listing on Google Maps will get you on page one for customers searching nearby.
- When your business is not commercial. There are different domain extensions for different business types. For example, if you’re cannabis business is a non-profit, you may want to use a “.org” domain.
- When someone else in a completely different industry owns it. This is not ideal. However, the goal is to not lose business to another company. Therefore, if someone owns YourBrand.com and they sell auto parts, you should be okay going with the “.co” or “.us”. Another factor in doing this, and the reason this should be your last option is competing with Google Rankings. By this, I mean you’ll now be competing for your brand name as a keyword on Google which can be a significant amount of traffic once you’re an established brand. Search the brand name and check the “.com” company’s listings to see what you’ll be up against to get to the first page for people searching your brand name. If it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to outperform their existing domain and page authority scores for the listings showing up on page 1, you should choose another brand name all together. Exhaust all other domain possibilities before going this route.
Remember, the goal of this article is to use an available cannabis domain name to pick both your domain and your brand name. So, in most cases, the above exceptions won’t apply or there will be a much better option. You just have to take the time to look. Keep reading to download my Domain Idea Kit. It will help with that.
Step #2. Download Hemp Lively’s Domain Idea Kit
Now that we’ve got a good idea of what domains are and you’ve read the “6 Questions to Answer Before you Choose a Brand Name” article, let’s get started on the fun part: finding the perfect cannabis domain for your new cannabis or CBD Brand. To do this, you’ll need a few things:
Download the Domain Idea Kit and Open it. There are several tabs located at the bottom of each Excel Worksheet. We’ll reference these tabs in the following sections.
Open a web browser (links will be provided both in the Domain Idea Kit and Below)
This process, if done correctly, will take several hours each day for at least 3 days. You can rush it if you want but I’d recommend taking your time and doing it right.
DOMAIN IDEA KIT
Step #3. Brainstorm Potential Words
The creative process in choosing a brand name and matching domain name starts with its most basic part, words. And although we are speaking about the words in a domain name, what we are really talking about is your brand name. What will you call your company, your brand, your identity, and what word or words will customers recognize you by?
To accomplish this, I’d like you to put every idea you have away temporarily to broaden your brand name idea bank. Open the Domain Idea Kit and click on the “WORDS” tab. In the “WORDS” tab worksheet, you’ll find a list of columns, each with either cannabis and CBD industry terms or commonly used Brand Name words, partial word beginnings, parial word endings, and mispelled words. For those of you reading this that haven’t downloaded the Domain Idea Kit, we’ve listed each column below as a section for the different types of words to potentially use in your upcoming CBD Brand.
You’ll find each of these lists within the “WORDS” tab of the Domain Idea Kit. I’ve started you off with some commonly used words. Pick words that resonate with you and your upcoming brand. Then, add to each list some of your own words. We’ll be using these word lists in the next section to start searching for available .com domain names.
WHAT DO YOU SELL?
What product, service, or effect of that product or service, do you sell? (One word per line)
Below are some commonly used cannabis and CBD industry terms which can be used in your branded cannabis domain name.
ADJECTIVES & DESCRIPTORS
Most two-word brand names consist of an adjective or descriptor word combined with a noun (person, place, or thing). Here are some commonly used descriptor words.
VERBS, ADVERBS, & ACTIONS
Some brands use specific action words to describe their business. Below are some verbs, adverbs, and other associated action words.
Superior words are words that say, “We are the best in the business” or “Better than the competition”. These can be placed at the beginning or the end of a two-word brand name.
Cannabis ecommerce companies often use shopping terms to define their business. It’s extremely common for companies to use these words in non-branded domain names in hopes of additional SEO benefits for transactional keywords. However, Google has surpassed the simplistic tactics. If used cleverly, these words can be used in a brand and domain name. However, stay away from using obvious keyword combinations for your brand such as “BuyCBD.com”. “Buy CBD” would not be a good brand name. Whereas something like CBD Kiosk would.
PEOPLE & GROUPS OF PEOPLE
Memorable brand names often use Specific, Types, or Groups of People in their Brand Name. Doing so can also clearly define your target audence. For example, “Soldier CBD” would obviously target US Veterans. Another avenue is to choose something like “Hemp Jedi” or “CBD Ninja” that’s memorable and unique.
Here’s a list of other nouns that may be useful to brainstorm a great brand name and find the matching domain name.
PARTIAL WORD BEGINNINGS
This list of popular word, partial word, letter/number beginnings. These are found commonly in the beginning of a brand name combined with another word.
This list of popular endings gives you some common words, or portions of a word, that’s usually found at the end of some brands and domain names. Combine these with your favorite words to see if you’ve found a clever brand with an available .com domain name.
MISPELLED SLANG WORDS
Changing an “S” to a “Z” or adding an “S” or “PE” is very common. However, keep in mind, you may lose some google traffic if google recognizes the mispelling and tries to recommend the correct spelling’s listings instead of yours. Mispellings also limit your target market to a much younger crowd. So, if you’re planning on selling your CBD Oil to Chiropractors, spell the words in your brand correctly instead.
PLAY ON WORDS
These are clever, but not too complicated, combinations of words combined into one. Be careful you don’t lose one or both of the words in the process.
(relief + leaf)
(cannabis + bliss)
(shop + and + go)
(cannabis + convicts)
Colors are the perfect word to use in a brand name. Whther its White Tiger, Purple Elephant, Red Robin, or Aqua Vapes, they always make a killer name.
Using places can also be beneficial to give instant familiarity and association with that place. However, be careful you don’t limit yourself to a specific city or area in doing so. For example, if your company is called Miami CBD, people searching the internet in Wisconsin will probably not click on your site.
Animals are one of my favorites to work with. You can combine them with almost anything and get a killer brand and domain name. Think of brands like MailChimp or Firefox.
BEING BAD EDGY WORDS
Edgy words are great for targeting younger adults. Using these ads some shock value which is extremely memorable. However, they usually limit you to a younger adult age group.
Maybe you’d like to align your new company with some of the most recognized, well known, or infamous names in history. This could even help target a specific audience.
ONLY YOU KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN WORDS
This could be anything from a made-up word from your childhood to a funny nickname. You can brand anything. These are great to use because the domain names with these types of words in them are usually available.
Use these words in combination with each other, or simply as ideas for different types of words to use in your brand name. Keep an open mind and start combining things that you normally wouldn’t. For example, choose a color and an animal to make a brand name called “Pink Monkey” or “Purple Elephant”. Also, remember that you don’t necessarily need to include words like CBD or Hemp in your brand name. We did. But some of the biggest brands in the world have nothing to do with the words in their name. That’s the point of branding. It’s a process of taking a word or group of words and through marketing and exposure, associating them with the products you sell.
If you’re using the Domain Idea Kit, start adding your own words to each column and fill in the last column named “ONLY YOU KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN WORDS”. If you’re not, make your own list using the words that resonate with you below. We’ll be using the words you pick out in a moment to start searching for available “.com” domains next with two amazing domain search tools, GoDaddy and ExpiredDomains.net. Below are the types and examples of potential Brand and Domain words.
Step #4. Use GoDaddy’s Advanced Search Tool
GoDaddy is the largest domain registrar in the United States. It’s where we recommend you purchase your domain from, but that’s it. Do not get your hosting from GoDaddy or try to use their website builder. One thing you must know before searching GoDaddy for your new Brand Name .com Domain is that you shouldn’t use their normal search tool. They are in the business of selling domains from hundreds of different domain extensions. And they will try to sell you one of those domains. Therefore, you need to use GoDaddy’s Advanced Search Tool. It allows you to select .com domains only and filter out domains with hyphens, expensive Premium Domains, and super long domains. Here’s how to use it.
Once you find a domain name you like, simply copy, and paste it into the “TOP 100” tab in your Domain Idea Kit or make a list using another program.
#1. Click on the link below for GoDaddy's Advanced Search Tool.
#2. Click the ".com" button to only show .com domain results.
#3. Check and Fill in the following domain search filters.
#4. Type in two words in the Search Query Box.
#5. Click the "Search Domains" button.
#6. View the results including all Alternate Suggestions.
(DO NOT USE GODADDY'S BROKER SERVICE)
#7. Copy and Paste any Potential Domain Names into a Top 100 List
#8. Repeat 4-7 using word combinations from the brainstorm.
#9. Stop when you have collected around 50 potential domain names.
Step #5. Find Expired Domains with this amazing tool
What is an expired domain?
An expired domain is a domain that someone has previously owned. This may or may not have added value to you, especially if it has previously been used and has existing SEO, with same-industry backlinks and anchor texts. At the very least, the age of the domain will help some.
ExpiredDomains.net is one of the most robust domain search tools on the market. It’s free to sign up and offers thousands of search filters.
The reason I’ve chosen this tool is because it has some very specific filters, we can use to find an amazing 1–2-word brand .com domain name. You can filter by thousands of variables but here are a few I use often:
- Position of Keyword (starts with or ends with)
- Number of Words
- Language of the Words
- Domain Extension
- Number of Characters (length)
- Hyphens (exclude)
- Numbers (exclude)
- Internet Archive Results
Let’s get started using ExpiredDomains.net to find a short, 1-2 English Word Brand Name .com domain name.
Once you find a domain name you like, simply copy, and paste it into the “TOP 100” tab in your Domain Idea Kit or make a list using another program.
Go to ExpiredDomains.net and Click Sign Up to register for a free account. You’ll need to create a user and password.
If you are not already logged in to your account after registration, log in to your Expired Domains account.
Click on “Deleted .com” Tab to give you only .com domain names.
Click on “Show Filter” to open up the search filter options.
Fill in or Check the boxes where applicable for the following Expired Domain Name Search Filters:
Domain Name Settings
- Check “No Hyphens” box
- Fill in Characters Max “25”
Dictionary Word Domains
- Check “English”
- Fill in Word Count min “1”
- Fill in Word Count max “2”
- Check “Only Available Domains”
- Price Max – Fill in “100”
Next, in the same section as the filters you just selected, in the top left you’ll see 3 boxes:
- Starts with
- Contains (anywhere)
- Ends with
This is where you’ll place your keywords to search for.
IMPORTANT: SEPERATE MULTIPLE KEYWORDS USING SPACES, NOT A COMMAS.
At this point take up to 30 words from your brainstorming list (seperated by spaces) and place them in either the “Contains” box. Or, if you know which words you’d like to see in the beginning and which you’d like to see at the end, you can use both the “Starts with” and “Ends with” boxes instead. You can also use the Domain Idea Kit Starts Ends With tab which has a large portion of these words setup in 30-word increments for both starts with and ends with. See below.
Using the Domain Idea Kit to Search Expired Domains.
Another option is to use the Domain Idea Kit. The 4th tab in the spreadsheet is named “Starts Ends With EXPDOMAINS.NET”. Within that tab are several columns:
- COMPLETE – Check this box once you’ve finished searching the Starts with and Ends with boxes in this row.
- STARTS WITH – Copy and Paste the words in this box into the “Starts with” box on ExpiredDomains.net.
- ENDS WITH – Copy and Paste the words in this box into the “Ends with” box on ExpiredDomains.net.
- DOMAIN 1, 2, 3 – Log any domain names you like
There are approximately 30 words in each box. Collectively, if you do every row, this should cover most combinations from the words we used in the brainstorm. This is time consuming but will turn up some great domain names.
Once you find a domain name, log it in the domain 1, 2, or 3 columns. When your done take all of your favorite domains and copy them into the TOP 100 tab or the list of your Top 100 favorite potential domain names which you’ll narrrow down tomorrow.
How long does domain research take?
Well, that depends. If you get lucky, it could take less than an hour. However, if you plan on doing a thorough search of all available possbilities. Then narrow them down so you are 100% sure you've chosen the best possible brand-name-matching .com domain name, than this step alone will take several hours. The entire process should be spread over about 3 days with a few hours every day. That way you've done all of your due diligence and are sure of your decision
Step #6. Make your List of available .com domains
Using your word brainstorm combined with GoDaddy’s Advanced Search Tool and ExpiredDomains.net, make a list of at least 50 domain options, preferably around 100. This may seem like a lot. But you will soon see that once they are all in one spot, there will only be about 10% that truly stick out as possibilities.
Make a mark next to your potential favorites on the sheet or your list.
You must, and I repeat must, not complete all these steps in one day. You can complete steps 1-7 the same day if you want. But after you complete step 7, STOP FOR THE DAY AND SLEEP ON IT. Wake up with a fresh set of eyes and a clear brain and look at your list again.
Step #7. Choose your Top 10 domains
After you’ve had a fresh look at your Top 100 domains list and reanalyzed your favorites, select your top 10 potential domains. We’ll be using this list in the next step to do some investigative work. If you are having trouble narrowing down your list, here are some things to look for to help narrow down your list.
10 ways to Narrow down your domain name list
- Double Consonants – When the first word ends in the same letter that the second word begins with. Sometimes this can become visually confusing and will be misread or mispelled by customers.
- New Words – When you combine two words, is there a new word thats created in the middle using parts of each? If there is and it takes away from being able to clearly read each of the two words, this may not be the domain for you.
- Sounds Funny – Try and say the brand/domain name. Say it out loud. Does it sound funny? Double check this.
- Too Long – Keep it simple. The shorter the better.
- Misspellings – If you have better options, remove any domains with mispelled words, even if it was intentional, unless it happens to be one word with less than 8 letters.
- Acronyms – Remove these all together. The last thing you want is to have to explain to a customer what something means every time.
- Take off domains with words like “the”, “and”, & “a”
- Removed domain names with words like “Buy” and “For Sale”
- Confusion – Can your domain be confused with a large existing brand. If so, it may cause problems down the road. Better remove it now.
- Extensions – make sure you keep the .com domains over all others.
Step #8. Domain Due Diligence
If you don’t read anything else read this.
Once you’ve narrowed down your potential branded domain list, now it’s time to do some due diligence. Let’s make sure, you’re not walking into a trap with a domain or brand name someone else has used in the past and possibly tarnished it’s reputation. Imaging finding this amazing brand-matching domain name. Then making labels, ordering products, and building an entire website, only to find out that when you Google search the brand name or the domain name, a bunch of bad customer reviews pop up saying they were scammed by “Your Brand”. There also may be legal issues with Wordmarks, previous SEO (backlinks), or language translations.
Read #3 and #5 of this article. You can interchange the words Brand and Domain as our goal is to have both of them match.
Double check the following due diligence items for all Top 10 Domains.
- Bad Anchor Texts
- Previous Company
- Poor Reputation
- Competing Brand Name Google Search Terms
- Wordmark Infringement
- Bad Translations
Click the article below to five deep into each of these items.
Choosing a Brand Name for your CBD Business or Cannabis Company seems simple enough. But there are several things you should thing about before selecing a Brand Name for your new CBD company or for your new CBD product line? It's my favorite part of building a business. However, before you finalize a brand name, you must answer these 6 questions. If you don't, you can be in a world of hurt and a bunch of wasted time, not to mention money. I'll show you 6 things to think about which should open up your brand name brainstorm to some unique possbilities. Read on to learn more.
Step #9. Choose your Top 3 .com domains
This part is easy. Pick your top 3 favorite brand name .com domain names. At this point, you may be anxious and don’t want to lose one or more of these. If this is the case, go ahead and buy one, or all three domains. You’ll spend less than $50 and have some peace of mind. If you buy more than one, you can always use it to build a blog and use it for backlinks to your main website, so it won’t go to waste.
Next, Sleep on it (last time).
Unless you are 100% sure about one of the potential domains, take one more night and sleep on it. This is a process. And it’s been my experience that when I’ve processed an enormous amount of data in a short period of time, my preferences change with a fresh set of eyes and a clear, rested brain.
Step #10. Buy the Domain
We recommend purchasing your domain name from GoDaddy. Once you’ve purchased your domain name, that’s it! Congratulations. You’ve done great and hopefully you’re extremely happy with your new Brand Name and Domain Name. Who would have thought, a two-for-one deal.
What to do next?
#1. Make sure you’ve read the 6 Questions to a Great Brand Name article.
#2. Point your domain to your Server or Hosting Provider (e.g. Siteground)
#3. Read this article about naming your LLC.
Hint: Do not Name your LLC the same as your brand name if it contains any words associated with cannabis.
There are 7 words you should never use when forming your entity (naming your LLC or Corporate Identity). No, this is not George Carlin’s 7 words you can't say on TV. But it might as well be if you're starting a Cannabis Business or CBD Company. From banking to merchant processing to payroll, you'd be surprised to find out the number of companies that will shut you down if they see these 7 words in your LLC or entity name on business applications. Don't learn the hard way like I did in 2016. Things have come a long way, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Let me show you how to avoid these issues.
Choosing a .com domain name is important and if you can find one to match your brand name, then you are in a great position for success. If you can’t, you may be in some trouble if someone else has YourBrand.com already and is stealing your web traffic from customers who mistakenly think that they are going to your website. Even if you don’t sell online, it’s still important to have the ability to in the future or at least build a branding website. So, why not just start with the domain name first? It’s the perfect first step to starting a CBD company.
Thank you for reading this through and I hope it has helped. It is the exact process I use to develop new brands. If you have any questions about Hemp Lively’s Private Label CBD Services, would like to Sign Up for a Private Label and Bulk Gummies Account, are interested in eCommerce Web Design or Graphic Design services, reach out anytime by phone or by using the chat feature. Thank you for choosing Hemp Lively. To your success!