What’s in a name? It turns out, a lot. Especially if you’re starting a new business that you need to get online. Coming up with a catchy business name can be challenging. And then you find it. Inspiration has hit. Everyone forming the business is in agreement and it’s a wonderful personification of your organization.
Then disaster strikes. Your cruising trek toward employment independence comes to a screeching halt when that perfect name you spent hours coming up with is not available from the domain registrar. Choosing a name that fits your business, you actually like, and is available can be trickier that one might realize. This is especially true if you’re a small startup that’s strapped for cash and aren’t hiring a branding agency to do the work for you.
Start with a list of names you like
Make a list and check it twice. With new sites popping up often, the chances that your ideal name may already be taken get higher every day. Add names to the list you like, some you kinda like, and some that maybe just make sense for the type of business you’re starting.
Use the KISS method
Keep the name really simple. Avoid hyphens and odd spellings. Would you think to type Face-book into a search bar? Being clever with your name is one thing, but you want your ideal users to type the name into a search bar and have your business come up in a search result or autocomplete to the domain name.
Your business name is the first thing potential customers will see. There is some SEO and branding opportunities to be had in your deciding on your name. Some relevancy to what you’re doing or selling helps here for search engine crawls and how people identify with your services.
Ask friends and colleagues for feedback
Check with a few friends that you trust, and a few that will be brutally honest when you’re doing your brainstorming and name searches. You want a name that sounds good when spoken aloud. It should leave a rememberable and positive impression. After a lot of research and thinning the list of names that you like, you might develop a bit of tunnel vision. A second, third, and even fourth opinion can uncover some some possibly unfavorable impacts of names that sound great in practice, but have negative connotations.
Do a thorough search online
Doing a Google search for your desired name is a start. Even if someone os possibly using the name you prefer, it might not be a deal breaker. Resources like Namech_k, and KnowEm can give you a quick overview to see if the name you’re looking to register is in use as a domain and across multiple social networks.
Check with government registries to see if your business name is available. The US Patent and Trademark Office site will tell you if your name is available to be trademarked. You’ll also want to register your business with your state. The Minnesota Secretary of State site has a business name lookup tool that can help narrow your list a bit. If you’re not in MN, check your state’s SOS site for a similar resource.
We usually suggest doing the research on possible business names with the resources mentioned above, and then securing the name through a domain registrar. Once you have it secured, you can then go back and register with the appropriate government agencies and proceed with your business filings.
You’ve found the perfect name
When you’ve identified your business name. It’s time to register the domain. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be walking through the business startup process of building your presence online. In this series, we’re breaking from our monthly posting schedule to share some helpful information weekly. In our next installment we’ll discuss where to register the domain name for your business and get your branded e-mail. Stay tuned!