Launching a startup can be exciting yet daunting.
Along with having a great product and a robust marketing plan, you also need to get your branding right.
Your company’s name is an underrated but essential component of branding. It can impact the positioning of your brand significantly. That’s why I decided to give away eight useful tips for naming your startup business.
Many words that started as brand names and trademarks like Onesies and Zipper got so popular that they are now a part of our daily vocabulary. Some brand names leave such an impact on people that they become synonymous with the name of the associated products such as BAND-AID and Kleenex.
As a startup owner, you have the opportunity to start from scratch and build a powerhouse brand.
Creating a recognizable and meaningful brand name can be a great starting point. It can make all the difference to your marketing and sales efforts in the long term.
Choosing the right brand name at the outset is extremely important as rebranding at a later stage can cost you 10%-20% of your yearly marketing budget. For a startup, this overspending could cause trouble.
Before I tell you how to name your startup business, let’s take a look at why it is so important.
What’s in the name, you may ask?
Plenty, I would say; especially, if you want to build a strong online presence for your business.
The web is oversaturated with branded content from various businesses. Just having a well-designed website is not enough to leave a solid digital footprint.
Two of the key factors that differentiate successful websites from unsuccessful ones are their brand and domain names. Designing your website’s layout, choosing colors and fonts, and building an overall online presence – all come second to finding a great domain name for your online business.
A great company name can help launch your startup business successfully and boost its growth rate.
Let’s take a look at a few benefits of naming your startup business correctly.
A good business name can fast-track your branding efforts. A relevant name can represent what you do and the values your business stands for.
For example, a company dealing in lifestyle products can get a boost if they choose a name such as Life & Style with a domain name like www.lifeandstyle.online. The name correctly reflects the unique proposition of the brand.
Are you looking for some real-life examples?
Louder Online, Australia’s leading digital marketing agency goes with www.louder.online — the domain name perfectly sums up their business.
You can get creative and come up with a unique name for your startup business.
A good brand name can add extra value to your marketing efforts. After all, your domain name is one of the first touchpoints your business has with its customers and it can go a long way in attracting and engaging your target audience.
Consider www.beautifulhomes.online. The name gives you a fair idea about what to expect from the website just by looking at the domain name. It is most likely a portal for beautiful homes on the internet.
How do you introduce your startup business?
You start by telling people your company name first, right?
The name of your business is your first impression and it should be impressive enough to entice consumers.
A name like www.mastertrumpet.online clearly suggests that you can learn how to play the trumpet on this site. Such business names are likely to stick around in public memory for a long time.
Naming your startup business the right way is one of the best digital marketing strategies. Along with the brand name, the domain and the domain extension also play significant roles in a company’s branding strategy.
So how can you get the naming right?
I’ve put together a few tips that have proven useful in naming your startup business right.
This is one of the best tips that you can follow to name your new company. You should choose a name that is simple, short, scalable, and memorable.
Some of the basic qualities that a good business name should include:
Your brand name should only consist of words. If it has a number in it, people might get confused about how they should spell it (six or 6).
Don’t compromise on simplicity for the sake of uniqueness. Putting a “z” in place of “s” or “8” in place of “ate” may hurt your site’s traffic as such odd combinations are difficult to remember.
This naming tip applies to domain names as well.
Similarly, having hyphens or acronyms in the domain name doesn’t help either. Users may miss the hyphen or put the acronym wrong and land on a totally different website or get a 404 error. This can be frustrating and the user might move to another website.
Another common mistake that startup owners make is to choose names that are too restrictive. You should use a name that stays relevant even when you scale or pivot your startup business in the future and add new services or products.
For example, if you choose a name like www.blackjeans.online, it will become irrelevant and misleading if you venture into shorts or t-shirts manufacturing later. A good option would be www.coolapparels.online.
As a future-focused business, you should always strive for innovation. And branding is the single most important ingredient that will help you achieve that goal.
Having a brand and domain name that reflects this attitude of innovation can go a long way in getting your branding right. New domain extensions such as .ONLINE help you establish this innovativeness. Despite being a small aspect of your overall brand, this can help you stand out and carve your unique space online.
Many businesses tend to compromise their desired name because the brand name or the domain isn’t available. But you should not give up on your desired company name that easily.
I have a pro tip for you to combat this challenge. If your desired domain name is not available, you should check for domain availability with a different domain extension.
For example, ProFX Online is an online platform that teaches Forex trading and they use the .ONLINE domain extension (www.profx.online).
Your brand name is the identity of your startup business. While it is a good practice to use the same name as your domain, you can still experiment with domain name extension options.
Having a relevant domain extension is important for your business and marketing.
Earlier, there was only a limited range of extensions that you could use.
Now, these are just a fraction of the options available in the market. You can experiment with custom domain extensions that cater to specific products, services, and niches.
Some popular niche-specific domain extensions include:
If you have a global business, .ONLINE is the perfect domain extension as the word online is understood in over 25 languages.
Custom domain extensions make more sense than using a generic .com extension. These new domain extensions offer a remarkable opportunity for new startup businesses to choose a name that supports their online branding efforts.
How do you look for a business online?
Don’t you search for phrases like “shoe store” or “California restaurants”?
If you want your business to rank higher in the SERPs for similar searches, using niche-specific keywords in your brand name is a great choice. Naming your startup business around your industry’s main keywords can boost your online presence.
However, there’s a good chance that most of the obvious domain names are already taken.
How can you find a keyword-rich name that hasn’t been taken yet?
You can use a niche-specific domain extension and combine it with a name that is relevant to what your brand offers or believes in.
For example, let’s take a look at Emirates, a UAE-based airline company. Their brand name comes from the UAE that stands for the United Arab Emirates.
They have two websites – emirates.com and emirates.store. Both of these domain names serve different purposes and as a user, you can identify what they might be offering even before you visit the respective sites.
That is the beauty of using a relevant, keyword-rich brand name, domain, and domain extension. Using the right extensions can help keep your domain name light and easy to remember and type for existing and potential customers.
Also, websites with relevant and easily recognizable domain names are pushed to the top of the search results.
Do you want to miss such an opportunity?
If not, use these tips effectively to get a great company name.
Nearly 45% of millennials in the US use voice-assisted shopping as of January 2019.
As we move into the era of voice search, it is imperative that your brand and domain names are simple. Virtual Assistants such as Siri and Alexa should be able to easily understand and search your brand’s domain.
Why is this important?
Ensuring that your brand name is optimized for voice search can help you drive more traffic to your website.
New domain extensions give you the opportunity to find a name that is simple, relevant, and easily recognizable.
If you ask Alexa (or Siri) to go to www.sportshoez.com, they may not be able to get there. New domain extensions such as .ONLINE, .STORE and .TECH can help you combat this challenge.
You can choose a short, simple, relevant, and voice-search-friendly name such as www.greatbakes.online or www.learnlanguages.online.
It’s essential for every entrepreneur, especially startup owner to trademark their company and domain names.
Merely registering your domain isn’t enough. With the rising number of cyber threats such as brandjacking and typosquatting, it has become important to take the right precautions to safeguard your company and consumers.
Disputes regarding domain name can arise anytime, so you should trademark them under the U.S. Trademark Law.
Consider the case of Hasbro Games, the creators of the well-known board game, Candy Land. They sued the domain name, “candyland.com,” that an adult entertainment company was using.
Hasbro Games won the lawsuit based on trademark dilution, claiming that candyland.com undermined Hasbro’s own trademark and misled users.
That’s why trademarking your business name and domain is crucial to protecting your intellectual property.
Cybercriminals constantly try to trap businesses into internet scams, and if you’re not careful, you can be the one they target.
They can change registration as an attempt to transfer ownership without the knowledge of the legitimate domain owner, which is called domain hijacking. It can lead to loss of control over identity, emails, social presence, and more.
How can you protect your business from such fraudsters?
To prevent this, you should:
These tips can help you protect your business and domain against threats.
A brand is so much more than a name. Yet, your small business name can distinguish it from other companies in the same space.
Think of a brand name and domain that will give your startup business the unique and strong online presence that it needs to succeed. These tips for naming your startup business will help you move in the right direction.
So, what are you waiting for?
It’s time to brainstorm, come up with relevant names, check if the domains are available, and shortlist the available options.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the Co-Founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.