How To Name A Business
How to name a business and getting the exact same website address can be hard. There are several opinions and guides to tell you how to name a business. Below I would give my view from both a marketing and more technical point of view.
*Please notice while the video gives some very valuable tips, the specific keyword tool mentioned shortly in the video, is not more for sale in public.
Most people agree your company name should be memorable and expressive. Other says instead of dreaming up a fancy name for your business, you should use your own personal name if you are starting a small business, as you thereby can change your business purpose and market without your name and branding will loose effect.
Even I see the point, and always recommend all people to reserve a domain equal to their full name (for personal, but not business use), I personally like to find a niche specific name, when I consider how to name a business – let me explain why:
No matter what your target market is, all online businesses can get global customers. Your country specific first or last names can be hard to remember, and even harder to associate with your product and services, if your customer lives in the other end of the world.
I believe a company name that starts associations to your products and services, always will be easier to remember, and thereby in your customers memory when they next time place them-self in front of the computer and getting ready to buy.
If you name your business with your own name, please also consider, how it might affect future possibilities to include a business partner or selling your business.
Still, it is not enough just to consider a company name that is memorable and can be associated with your products and services when you want to have an online business.
How To Name A business includes several considerations and investigations
When you name a business you need to consider the following:
Is the domain name equal to your business name available?
You should find a business name less than 15 characters if you want to reserve your business name on different social channels. Social media channels like Twitter and Vine only allow a max. user-name length of 15 characters, while most allow a max length of 20 characters.
What social media channels would you like to use in the future, and are your business name actually available on these channels, or can you find a synonym or abbreviation to use?
Can you incorporate one or more important keywords in your domain name to get a continuing SEO advantage (more info will follow)?
OK – but how do you deal with all these things?
How To Name A Business – The 5 Steps
How To Name A Business Step 1: Define Your Company Aspiration
I suggest your start by defining your business aspiration if not done already. It will not only help you find a great company name for your business but will also help you define a business- and marketing plan. I will not go into deep details here, about how to define your company aspiration, but below you find some short ‘easy to use' questions, that will make it more clear, who you are, and what your company name should ”signal/brand to the world”.
Define your company aspiration by asking yourself:
What is your company mission: Who are you / what are your purpose / what problems do you solve?
What is your company vision: Who do you want to become and what customers do you want to serve?
What are your company values and principles?
What are your company priorities?
Or in short: Who are you (business), who do you want to become, and how will you get there?
How To Name A Business Step 2: Brainstorm Possible Business Names Containing Keywords
Base on above aspiration for your business, you should brainstorm a list of potential business names.
For now, you should not care about the total characters of the name.
If you base your suggestions on the above aspiration, the business name should help you reinforce the key elements of your business. The more your company name communicates to consumers about your business, the easier your marketing will be in the future.
Now try to think about what keyword (or a combination of 1-3 words), that match your aspiration above. This can be difficult, but it is only good for the next steps if you come up with several suggestions.
However try to come up with something that matches your aspiration, something that is memorable/catchy, and something you would like to be found for in Google.
How To Name A Business Step 3: How Easy Or Difficult Will A business Name Rank In Google
As you afterward should have a modified list, it is time to think about SEO.
People who know I'm very picky when it comes to the use of SEO tools.
Don't take me wrong there are several great tools out there, but as it can make your business life so much easier to find and rank the right keywords (including save you money, save your time, and boost your sale).
Among others, a high-quality keyword tool should of course, in AN EASY WAY, help you, find out how easy or difficult specific or related keywords are to rank for. Unless you are one of the few businesses, who decide not to focus on SEO to be found in Google, I strongly suggest you invest in high-quality SEO tools, as you will need it for several other things in your business on an ongoing basis.
Again I will not go into details here, but if you put in all your suggested company names (= keywords) into a great keyword tool, you will see if your found keyword (combinations) are easy, medium, hard or very hard to rank for. At the same time, you will get alternative suggestions for keywords related to the keywords you have typed in.
As there are several factors to take into consideration about keywords and SEO in general, I would not eliminate suggestions that might be medium or hard to rank for. However, I will get a valuable indication what keyword to chose for my future domain name, if I like an ”easy to rank for keyword” as much as a ”hard to rank for keyword”.
Before we continue, let me quickly explain why you would like, the keyword(s) you want to be found for, to be the whole, or part of, your future domain name.
When you SEO optimize your pages and blog posts, to be found for specific keywords, Google will only allow you to use the same keyword in around 10% of your total text. If you use it more than 10%, Google will see it as spammy and will most likely penalize you – unless the used keyword is your domain name or part of your domain name – then Google will not see it as spammy, but as you branding your domain name, and thereby allow you to use the word way more than the normal 10%. The more you are able/allowed to use the keyword, the easier it will it be to be found for that keyword in Google.
Well, let's get back to the last steps of how to name a business.
How To Name A Business Step 4: Narrow Down Your List Of Suggestions
It is now time to get rid of some keywords to narrow down your list of possible company names. I suggest you take out some keywords based on the following criteria's.
You don't like the names.
They don't associate to your company aspiration.
The names are not memorable or catchy.
They might be hard to spell.
They should for sure not include none English letters
As several of you suggested company names most likely would not be available for registrations, don't narrow down your list too much.
Now you almost have your list to choose from. However, you might remember the 15 character limit I talked about? Let me get back to that.
How To Name A Business Step 5: Exclude Long Business Names And Check Availability
I recommend your business name should have a maximum length of 15 characters. If you choose a company name of more than 15 characters, keep in mind you can't get the same name on e.g. Twitter and Vine, but also that your customers might find it hard to remember or write to long a name (says the founder of www.startbusinessbetter.com = 19 characters…..?).
Instead of counting characters for all your company name suggestions, I recommend you use a tool that can both count the characters, but also tell you if the suggested business name is available for domain- and social channel registration.
There are different free tools for that, I personally use the free tool from namechk.com
In the tool, you simply type in your suggestions to find out, if a .com domain is available (I strongly suggest you get a .com domain. If you for some reasons decide not to go for a .com domain, my second choice would be a .net domain).
Also check if the same name is available on most social channels (especially the most popular channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogger, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, Vimeo, StumbleUpon, DayliMotion…. – for some reason LinkedIn is not listed on ‘namechk.com'?).
At this time, I more or less promise you, you will start to be frustrated……you have used a lot of time, and found some great suggestions, based on hard work – but several suggestions are just not available for registration.
Here what I then would do:
Go back to some of you discarded suggestions, and see if they might be available, and would work for you in general?
Consider if it worth to register a company name, even it might not be available for registration on a few social media channels – you might be able to use synonyms or abbreviations. Personally, I use ‘StartBizBetter' as a synonym for my business domain StartBusinessBetter.com. I have then bought the domain ‘starbizbetter.com' and redirect the domain to my business domain www.startbusinessbetter.com, in case people try to find me based on the social media naming ‘StartBizBetter'.
If I still could not find an available company name from my list, I would as a last alternative use the sites leandomainsearch.com or namemesh.com, as you also can use in some of the earlier steps for inspiration.
These sites let you type in suggested names, and will then list the names, but also related names, that are available for domain registration.
How To Name A Business: A Finale Wrap-UpOf The 5 Steps
1. Define your company aspiration and brainstorm a list of possible business names based on the aspiration.
2. Find keywords or keyword combinations of 1-3 words you like as a business name and would like to be found for in Google.
3. Find out how easy or hard these keywords are to rank for in Google with help from a SEO tool, and include your findings in your choice. Go with the “easy to rank for keyword”, IF you based on the other listed parameters above, have a few equal candidates for a future business name.
4. Now discard the suggestions you either don't like, the suggestions that don't associate to your company aspiration, the suggestions that are not memorable/catchy, they might be hard to spell or contains none English letters.
5. Now exclude business names with to many characters (I recommend a maximum of 15 characters), and check available domains and social channels through e.g. namechk.com. For this, and earlier steps, leandomainsearch.com might help you find related names, if your preferred or even discarded company names are unavailable.
When you have found the right business name, consider if you should take actions to protect it as your property.
Please notice there is a lot of expensive professional naming experts out there – feel free to use them. However, you can also google “name generator”, or contact me for a free chat.
I hope this article have given you some thoughts and tips how to name a business. I would love to get your comments and hear your thoughts.
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Business Coach & Founder of 'Start Business Better'
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