Before you purchase an already used domain, you will want to see what has been published on that domain in the past to ensure it has a good reputation. You don’t want to purchase a domain that has hosted adult content or has a bad backlink history that you may have to clean up. Use Archive.org to see what content has been on a website in the past and use Cognitive SEO Site Explorer to check backlinks. If something looks suspicious don’t buy it.
Another possibility is that your intended domain name is reserved, but not in use, not publicly listed for sale and not up for auction. If this is the case, try contacting the domain owner to see if they're willing to sell it. See if the contact details are listed on the site. If not, you can try to find it by looking up the domain owner’s information using a Whois search. In 40 to 50 percent of cases, you'll find the domain owner information there.
Up to 75% of all websites are “.com” domains. It is still the preferred extension and the easiest to remember. If your number one name choice isn’t available, then try your second choice before accepting other TLDs. Remember that some browsers accept address-only entries in their address bar. If you type just the domain name (and who knows how many of your users will just do that?) they will return, by default, to the “.com” site.
Just because your domain name is already taken does not mean you should give up. A lot of people will purchase domain names and sit on them until someone else wants to buy it from them – at a higher price of course. Make sure to look up the domain name you want to see if there is another site listed under it. If not, try to contact the person who owns it to see if it is up for sale.
Before you register your desired domain name, it’s always a good idea to check social networks for the same name. To keep your site name constant and to build your brand, you want a name that is readily available. For example: check facebook.com/yourdomain, twitter.com/yourdomain – and secure them as well. KnowEm is a great tool to use to see if certain names are already branded on social platforms.
Dot-O-Mator performs exactly like the previous one. So you add your prefix and suffix choices and combine them to get probable names, select some (or all of them) from the combination to check their availability using Dotster. One added advantage for this tool is that you can use the Web 2.0 Domain name Generator to get random suggestions for domain names.
8 Rules for Choosing a Domain Name - Whiteboard Friday