Anyone can pick a domain name for a new website or blog, but finding one with branding potential is a tougher job. If you’re ready to start your site and just need a name, here are five secrets to finding one that will help, rather than hinder, your success.1. Relevance and creativityThere are two main approaches to domain names: either choose one that describes what you do, or choose one that is totally unrelated to your business, but which is catchy.For example, most people would expect to be a pet shop’s site, since the name is extremely relevant to that business; on the other hand, most people also know exactly what is about, because the catchy slogan is so famous, and the company has spent millions of dollars on advertising to associate it with sports gear.2. Keep it shortIf you look at estimated prices for domain names that are already registered, you’ll see that shorter names are worth more. The problem is that a large number of short names have been bought up by speculators. The ideal domain name is between two and ten characters long, because it’s easy to remember, quick to type, and generally makes a good basis for a logo.3. Avoid numbers and symbolsYou may be tempted to use “txtspk” in your domain name - the way words are spelled on mobile phone text messages, such as “l8r” for “later”, or “ur” for “your” (or “you are”). However, unless your target audience is strictly limited to people who use these abbreviations, avoid them. While they are a neat way of grabbing a name that is almost exactly your ideal choice, your users may not remember exactly where you used an abbreviated form.You may also think of using a number or symbols. Since there’s a good chance that you are doing this because the natural form of the name is already taken, remember that anyone mistyping your domain name will go to the other site. You’re giving away traffic, simply because you couldn’t be bothered to find a better name.4. Get the right extensionNo matter how many new domain extensions are created, the majority of online users still start by assuming you own a dot-com. If they type your short, memorable domain name, they will end with “.com” most of the time. Make sure you buy that domain name.This doesn’t mean you should avoid other extensions, particularly if they work well with your brand name, but you must always purchase the dot-com if you can. If the dot-com isn’t available, you should seriously reconsider your brand name. The exception to this is non-profits, who can use a dot-org as their primary extension, since it was created for that purpose.5. Check and recheckThe final secret to a brandable name is to make sure no one else owns something similar. Perform searches for variations of your ideal name, including misspellings, mistyped characters, and close matches. Make sure you’re not trying to brand a name that already exists as someone’s trademark, too!–Once you have chosen your brand name, go through the whole process again and again. Create a shortlist of half a dozen (or at least two or three) names that are available, and run them by a few friends. Gathering opinions of which name is best will help you decide which is the most brandable!