What’s in a name? In business, everything, and though “by any other name would smell as sweet” a business has more chances of becoming profitable if its name is catchy, memorable and strong. Think Coca-Cola, Xerox, Nike, Sony, Ford, and so many others.
But let’s think online companies, since this is our main business environment. Think Google, Twitter, Facebook, Digg. Would these companies be as successful with other names, more descriptive? Hardly.
Yet many online businesses consider branding a form of satisfying the search engines first. Many business names today are highly descriptive – focused on keywords rather than people. The “dot.com” era created the annoying branding habit of adding a .com at the name too. Expedia has ditched the .com from its name, but there are a number of sites that still keep it, the few that survived the dot.com crash.
Choosing a name for an online business is a challenging proposition. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd without a good name. Things become even harder when the brand has to match a domain name – and to protect a business against brand jacking, this is obviously a must.
You can start a business plan without the business name, but you cannot launch the business without a brand name that will make it stand out. There are rare cases of re-branding that involve name-changing, but more often than not, changing a name does not make a business better known – in fact, it could obscure previous branding efforts.
- The easy way would be to use naming software like Namify. It uses your niche and keyword to come up with catchy and memorable brand names which also reflect your niche. Check their company name generator page to see some examples right away.
- Here is where Trademarkia can help – the largest visual search engine for more than 6 million trademarked logos, names, and slogans on the Internet. They also provide, for a fee, trade mark registration services, legal advice and more.
- The Brand Institute is probably the less affordable solution, as it’s working with the “heavy industry players.” You’ll find names like Alcatel, AT&T, Avon, BP, Black&Decker and many others in their portfolio.
- CatchWord Branding specialize in all aspects of brand name development, including product and company naming, brand strategy, initial legal screening, and linguistic analysis.
- You can even crowdsource your brand name, with services like crowdSPRING.
To avoid the hassle, you could hire a brand naming professional, and there are plenty swimming in the pond.
In addition to using a name generator software, you have to research the market and make sure that the name you chose is not already in use by other company.
Whatever option you choose, the moment you have a name you like, you need to check that it is not already in use by others – to avoid trademark issues and copyright infringement trials. If the name is available, you’ll need to book the matching domain. With names no one else has, this should be relatively easy.
Don’t postpone this: you’d be surprised to see how fast the domain you need can be booked by someone else after you performed an online search for available domains.
Last but not least, register your brand. It’s not that expensive, and it instantly makes your business more valuable.
Image source: Be yourself
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Brand name is really important whether online or offline business. It is actually gives you your own identity. I agree with you that make sure you research first and no one have the same name as yours because it can cause some conflicts. Better to build a name that is so unique but very catchy at the same time.
We were debating EMD, exact match domains to night in the twitterchat #seochat with @randfish – The topic is interesting. I don’t think EMDs are going to remain as important as they have been. But that will depend on google figuring out how to detect value of EMD and non-match domains more consistently.
Nice article, informative and catchy!
I disagree with you on “Think Google, Twitter, Facebook, Digg. Would these companies be as successful with other names, more descriptive? Hardly.”
Simpler names are no doubt easy remembered by people.but these big names have gone through many reforms and evolution and are on top due to quality of services and user friendliness even lot more other factors,not only because of simpler name.
That is what i think,what do you say?
It has become increasingly more common for bands to chose their names based on the availability of that name’s unique url being available on YouTube, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter etc. I think this shows the power of ‘search-ability’ above the brand itself.
It is not easy choosing a name and staying with a consistent name because it is not similar. A couple years ago, the community on blogging about blogging, seo, and design were not as mainstream as now.
However, there are major conferences and tons of people who blog about those topics.
I certainly did not think too much about SEO as I do now back in 2006 when I finally moved to Blondish.net, nor much on branding.
Now, it is very important to me as it makes sense what I have been doing for years.
Ann, this is interesting. I think everyone wondered when Apple branded iPad but even with an awkward name like that – it can’t hurt “Apple”.
I thought is was funny the other day when I was watching my favorite soap opera and they called FaceBook “FacePlace”. I thought hmmm… that would work too 🙂
Thanks for the resources.
It’s really fast how someone can book a domain name you like, I experienced this, I thought of a domain name I liked and when I checked it, it’s available but I thought to think of still another name. But then when I decided that the previous on is the best and when I tried to check it again, it’s already taken. So, don’t prolong it, someone might take it.
Indeed, brand name is too important for a product. It carries the main services we cater or a consumable product we can see everywhere. Brand names or keywords in a domain or within a domain, somehow really matters in the world of SEO. I remember, toys.com was bought in a huge amount of money by toys ‘r’ us because of its domain name. Moreover, if ever you have this domain names, it is still important that you also work out on your marketing strategies including organic SEO as part of the campaign.
You can’t argue with the basic premise that landing a domain (.com) that matches your company name is very important even as it gets harder.
I have seen new businesses establish themselves and incorporate only to find that the matching domain name is not available.
Dodge the keyword domain name craze, search for a company name and domain name at the same time and provide a great product or service. You will be golden.