How to find a good domain name

May 5, 2011 in Happy Links

Finding a good domain name is hard. If you're like me, you've spent absurd amounts of time on this task. Including time which would be much better spent building your product/website/company. 

Here are a list of tools I use which have significantly reduced the time I spend looking for a good domain, and have also significanly improved the quality of the domain names I end up with.

  1. Domain Hole
  2. Panabee 
  3. Name Station
  4. Bust a Name - takes a little getting used to, and is a bit painful to use, but can be valuable at getting you to think about connected ideas
  5. Value Drops, these guys update every day with quality domain names recently expired.
  6. helps you find creative url structures for that name you really, really want to use.
  7. Wordoid helps you make up names.
  9. LeanDomainSearch - punch in a word, get a bunch of pairs
  11. NameMesh

And finally here's an even more comprehensive list of tools - dozens deep.

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Small changes can bring big profits

January 30, 2009 in Happy Links


  • The $300 Million Button tells how a widely used ecommerce site stopped forcing people to register before they bought something and increased conversions 45%, which brought in an extra $300 million the first year (uhh).
  • How we reduced chargebacks by 30% tells how 37signals made a small change to the way they show up on customer credit card statements (they show a URL for people can go to figure out where the charge came from), and decreased chargebacks by 30%.
  • How to Sell More Software by Adding 12 Characters to Your Homepage suggests that adding your phone number to your website (he’s talking to ISVs, but it’s a good idea for many of us) should not only increase sales, but also bring larger sales. Pretty good argument, with a humorous refuting of common excuses.

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Happy Links

January 28, 2009 in Happy Links

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Happy Links (Chicken Little Edition!)

January 9, 2009 in Happy Links, Happy Quotes


  • The Startup Depression. The opening salvo here from Jason Calacanis (who has retired from blogging, so don’t mistake this, or his dozens of other recent blog posts for, um, blog posts).

    When the market is in the middle of correcting, as I believe it is currently doing, people tend to underestimate everything including:
    a) how bad it will be
    b) how quickly it will get worse
    c) how long it will take to recover

    It’s not short, but it is reasoned and interesting (including some personal details), and ends with 10 things you can do. He then follows up that post with this further commentary: Good News for People Who Hate Bad News.
  • Employees, Freelancers and Entrepreneurs - How to recession-proof yourself includes a list of rather drastic steps Ryan Carson has taken with his company (cutting some employees, and his Audi), and some panicky tips for weathering it.

    As hard as it may be, it’s time to lay off staff who aren’t directly generating revenue. If you avoid doing this now, you might go out of business later which means you have to lay off everyone, which will be much, much worse.

  • Recession Tips for Web Designers provides counsel (and a bit less panic) applicable to more than just web designers, from the sage and entertaining Jeffery Zelman.

    There are four keys to surviving bad economic times: do good work, charge a fair price, lower your overhead, and be sure you are communicating with your client.

Ok, now that we have done our due diligence and ingested, contemplated and processed these downers, it’s time to do what good and successful entrepreneurs do – put on the hat of ridiculous and unfounded optimism, and make sure we’re the exception. You are the exception right? If you’re reading this, you’re the exception, trust me. And as the exception, we recognize that a down time means competition is lighter, opportunities greater, and that those who work hard, and smart enough to survive will be in control when the cycle recovers. Now let’s do it.

“You have to be an optimist – almost delusionally optimistic – otherwise you’ll never ever think about creating something new, like a business.” – Guy Kawasaki

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The Secret to Success In [whatever]

January 2, 2009 in Happy Links, Happy Quotes, Killer Advice

Chasej Chase Jarvis, if you haven't heard of him, is a very successful (by most any measure) commercial photographer. He's also a true mensch -- and as such -- the object of great admiration by many serious photographers.

He is frequently asked the secret to success in photography. I think his answer applies 100% to whatever you're trying to find success in. His answer?

  1. Be undeniably good (quoting Steve Martin).
  2. Dedicate at least 10,000 hours (quoting Malcom Gladwell from his new book Outliers: The Story of Success.)

[Full post by Chase]

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Google's SEO Starter Guide

November 13, 2008 in Happy Links

Googlewebmastercentral A quick guide to SEO best practices (i.e. things you should do on your site to be viewed favorably by Google such that you show up high in their organic search listings), only this one is put out by Google proper. Nothing too revolutionary here, but it's worth a careful review given the source. It's a nicely put-together 22 page PDF.

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Happy Link

October 26, 2008 in Happy Links

Sethvid Inside the Entrepreneurial Mind: Great little collection of videos with the ever-wise Seth Godin and Tom Peters. With genius responses like this one from Seth on "is social networking good for small business?", plus some commentary on the current economic turmoil and (US) national election cycle, there are some real gems here. You can bang through them all in about 30min.

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May 30, 2008 in Happy Links

Lessons from the fall Ex-CEOs from JetBlue, Starbucks, and Motorola discuss what they learned when they lost their jobs.

I said, "Mom, how are you?" And she goes, "Great. Why are you calling me at ten in the morning?" I just said, "Hey, I just want to tell you, I'm not with Starbucks anymore, but everything is fine."


Happy Links - Ecommerce Best Practices Edition

April 8, 2008 in Happy Links

I struck gold finding this blog packed with great information for those in online retail. (via)

A few examples:

  • Welcome Email Usability Tips for Online Retailers
    An excellent and thorough analysis of the subscription practices of 118 of the largest etailers. (42% used HTML layouts, 15% offered incentives like free shipping on next order).
  • Registration Usability - 87 Registration Forms Tested
    This report discusses common fields requested during registration and how often they are used (e.g. Required First / Last Name - 54%, Required Birthday - 7%), discusses the ideal registration form length (as simple as possible, natch, but be creative if you need a lot of info), and ends with 13 registration form usability tips (e.g. Avoid hiding important information in graphics that look like ads or buttons that can be overlooked).
  • Losing Customers at the Register: 12 Checkout Blunders
    Examples, dead-end receipt pages, and upselling at checkout.
  • Registration Usability - Permission Email Dos and Donts
    In summary, don't send marketing emails to folks who sign up with you, unless they specifically request it. Otherwise you erode trust and lower open rates. She takes a few companies to task, then offers an 8 step checklist (Don’t pre-check the boxes for subscriptions).

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Happy Links - Best of Jakob Nielson

February 26, 2008 in Happy Links

Jakobbydeb Taking Jakob Nielson seriously is difficult when he has his glamour shots done by Deb. But, this perennial curmudgeon manages to stay relevant and important when it comes to researched findings on web usability. Here are a few of his recent gems.

  • Amazon: No Longer the Role Model for E-Commerce Design
    Many design elements work for mainly because of its status as the world's largest and most established e-commerce site. Normal sites should not copy Amazon's design.
  • Web 2.0 Can Be Dangerous...
    AJAX, rich Internet UIs, mashups, communities, and user-generated content often add more complexity than they're worth. They also divert design resources and prove (once again) that what's hyped is rarely what's most profitable.
  • Top-10 Application-Design Mistakes
    Application usability is enhanced when users know how to operate the UI and it guides them through the workflow. Violating common guidelines prevents both.
  • Usability ROI Declining, But Still Strong
    The average business metrics improvement after a usability redesign is now 83%. This is substantially less than 6 years ago, but ROI remains high because usability is still cheap relative to gains.

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