There are many steps to starting a web site, but the most often overlooked one is the first one, namely what domain name to register for your new site. Undoubtedly, almost any single word domain name is taken by now, and two word domains are also hard to come by, so this leaves you with a three word domain. For example when I started WebKeyDesign, I had to choose an inventive three word domain name like WebKeyDesign.com, because KeyDesign and WebDesign.com were already taken, and even a less business like name, like BlueMidnite.com or .net were taken. There are of course the letter and number combination domain names like 123DesignSomethingName.com or perhaps 931DesignSomethingName.com, but these domain names are not as valued due to their complexity.
So what exactly is a good domain name?
First off know who your target audience is for you site.
If it is a business, you will want to have your company name as your domain name, but seeing how many domain names are already taken, if you absolutely can not get YourCompanyName.com, the second best option is to come up with a name that describes your business or what you sell, like SteelSecurityDoors.com or BestValueDoors.com.
For a personal site, like a web log, you have a lot more options. Most business sites want to be a .com site because 9 out 10 times, people will try a .com site first. But for a personal site you can choose a .net or .info level domain name. I would not recommend naming your site FirstNameLastName, unless you really want to promote yourself as a business, instead you should probably choose a domain name to reflect your content, like DebbiesFishTales.net or AngryManCries.info are some interesting names for weblog sites. If you are going to be a technology oriented site, you should strive for a .net domain name if you can.
Avoid hard to spell domain names.
Although you can spell words differently, many people will find it hard to find your site if you use a peculiar spelling or use a hard to remember combination like BestValueDoorsbyACMEandSons.com. You want to keep the domain name easy to remember and easy to spell to help people remember your site.
Do not choose a domain that resembles another one.
Some people have deliberately chosen domain names that either mimics or highly resemble more famous domain names like Microsoft.com or even Google.com. This just invites lawsuits and other legal issues. It is best to choose a domain name that does not lend itself to such reputations. If you find that your domain name is taken for a .com, but not a .net or .info, think about what your site will have in common with the currently registered site, if there is any similarities, I would consider choosing a different name altogether.
Lastly, to check if a domain name is taken, you can go to Network Solutions or any other registrar and lookup any domain name to see if it is taken already.
If you absolutely can not think of anything on your own, you might consider using a domain name generator. This Site Point article discusses popular domain name generators.
Choosing your domain name is an important step into creating your web site identity, it will define your site immediately and impact it in more ways than you know, and so you should take some time in choosing the right one for your site.