All the good ones are already taken.
No, this time it’s not about men. Have you tried to register domain name lately? It seems rarely any good ones are still available.
So what’s in your business name? Is it long and awkward, packed with location, sentimental value and compromises between partners?
Can your customers remember it easily? Did you use unusual spelling just ’cause the regular version was already taken?
This and other dilemmas face startups today. Choosing your name may be the most influential decision you make for your future success. It will set you apart from your competition. Try to get it right the first time, so that you don’t have to spend 1000s in marketing dollars to fix it later.
If you have more than one decision-maker it’s even harder to come up with a good result. Somewhat like political party inside elections: the candidate with the lowest common denominator usually wins. As a result, nobody wins.
Here are some tips to help guide you through the process of choosing name:
Your domain name does not have to share your business name.
Registration and hosting prices have come down a long way. You don’t have to use one name for everything your business does on the web. It is not uncommon to buy a domain name just for a specific campaign, product or franchise within the same company. If you have a new business idea, the most effective and cheapest way to test it is through setting up a new domain and running your market research from there.
If you can’t express it in two syllables, think again.
Longer names are not easy to remember. Customers can be confused with spelling, order of words or just memorizing domain names constituted from more than one word or complex words and phrases. And remember, acronyms mean nothing to most people. Keep it simple, don’t lose customers to your name. If you can make it actionable –a noun that can be turned to a verb, it’s even better. Worked for Google (google me).
Be as specific as you can.
You know what you do. Let your customers know that too, just from your name. Such a name costs less to market and does a better job at branding you.
You won’t need to worry so much about keywords and search engines finding you. Your name will speak for yourself.
Don’t settle for other than .com
If the domain name you thought about is already taken, don’t settle for anything other than a .com suffix. It only makes sense to get .org when you are non-profit or .info when you are encyclopaedia. Half of the customers will not find you among .net or .ws crowd. There is a clear purpose in naming businesses on the web. Many domain names get abandoned over time. You may purchase something of interest cheaper than you think.
There is no shame in using professionals to choose your name.
Every cacadu parrot can spit out a name for you. Your mother, uncle, kid’s friend and your boss’s wife will all have an opinion on what it should be. How shall I put it: naming your company is a subjective business. I am sure that you as a founder of your upcoming startup feel compellingly entitled to name your own company. It is an irresistible itch. Well, stop. Give your domain a chance and knock on the door of a pro.
Believe it or not, a company like A Hundred Monkeys charges 6 & 7 figures for their naming service. According to the Title Doctors scores of films in Hollywood made millions or flopped on the name factor alone.
Ali Asaria, 30, founder of online pharmacy well.ca, bought his name for $7,000 when, as he said, he couldn’t really afford it. He thinks it turned out to be the best decision he made. His company is making millions just 3 years after inception, in Canada, in a small city. Of course it does not hurt that he turns out to be such a brilliant entrepreneur at a young age. But his company’s name will contribute to his success for years to come.
It really does makes sense for startup entrepreneurs to set up a new domain and test the new name.
By the way: I will be testing a new domain name too. It’s just strategic marketing. Plain and simple.