Since this is my first blog post as I venture out into the world of blogging, I thought I would give you (ie. the one person that is actually reading this right now – hi Mom!) an idea of what of the body of knowledge that I am going to be blogging about. I am a website DIY addict. I love the world of open-source technology and am continuously teaching myself more and more about the intricacies of web design and management.

Yardstick offers two services that require me to keep abreast of the latest changes in web standards, technology and user expectations. I’m going to try my very hardest not to use this blog as veiled marketing so you can check out Yardstick’s Services on your own. What I am going to do is pick a topic each week and do a few hours of research to expand my body of knowledge. What I learn, I will gladly share with you.

So for my first article, I’m going to discuss the challenge that so many new companies are facing – domain name selection. How many times have you come up with a great domain only to find that it was taken by someone else (or worse, a cybersquatter is sitting waiting to sell it to you at a high price). Without a tool, this process can be incredibly frustrating and time consuming. So here are three free tools to help make that easier for you.

The first tool that I want to introduce you to is Nameboy. I’ve used it a few times to brainstorm possible domain names. I actually kind of enjoy putting in combinations of phrases into its generator and seeing what will be spewed out – not always pretty but you can see what’s available.

The second one that we like is MakeWords. For those of you in the world of web2.0 that like the nonsense brands like Joomla (actually it means ‘all together’ in Swahili but whatever), MakeWords lets you enter prefixes and suffixes to see what’s available. Check out this youtube video for an intro to MakeWords.

One last one that we haven’t used but just found is BustaName. I tried it and it was really easy and quick so maybe I’ll use it in the future.

If you want to know the seven characteristics of a good domain, check out this blog post. But for fun, a good test is to simply say your domain name to your Mom or Dad over the phone. If they remember it and are able to properly type it into their web browser without any spelling mistakes, it passes. Once again, Hi Mom!


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