How to Come Up with a Business Name and URL for your Online Shop
Ready to transform your business idea into an incredible money-making opportunity?
You're going to need one all-important thing first: a business name.
Many business leaders assume that choosing the right title is simple. They think that the ideal name will come to them in a flash of inspiration after they've finished designing their website or creating their products. However, naming a company is very rarely that simple.
There are a lot of business owners out there that have a hard time coming up with a name that really makes sense for their organization.
So, how do you get started?
First and foremost, you're going to need to recognize that choosing a name for your business can't be a quick or hasty decision. Your name is crucial to your company's future – after all. It's going to dictate how your audience perceives you for years to come. Just imagine if Google hadn't chosen it's amazing title, or if Amazon had been called “The Book Marketplace”.
If you choose the wrong name now, then you'll not only need to spend days, weeks or months tracking down a different title in the future, but you'll also have to work on redesigning your entire brand to coincide with that name later.
Once you recognize just how important choosing a name and URL for your online business can really be, you can follow the steps outlined in this article to boost your chances of success.
Why is Choosing a Business Name Important?
Let's start simple, why should you care so much about choosing the perfect business name?
Your company's name is the first impression that your audience gets of your business. When people come across your website online, the first thing that they're going to see is your name or URL. If you've chosen the wrong title, or something that your customer finds confusing, then they could end up ignoring your brand entirely in favor of a competitor.
In a lot of ways, your business name and URL are similar to a physical address for your business or store. In the real world, the address you choose for your company will tell your audience a lot about you. For instance, they'll be able to see whether you're located in good part of town, what kind of other companies you're close to, and so on.
In the same way, your business name and URL online tells your customers how much you've invested in your brand, and how much work you're putting into making sure that they can find you. As the cornerstones of your brand, your name and URL will dictate whether the rest of your company building strategy is a success or not. Get your name wrong, and even if you have the best website, product, and marketing campaign in the world, people still aren't going to fall in love with your brand.
Business names can even be emotional. Look at Coca Cola for instance. While there are many other similar drinks like Coca Cola on the market, it's coke that's the market leader, because it's branding speaks to its audience. Part of that branding is the name that coke chose to convey it's unique flavor and personality to the world. The right name:
- Dictates the first impression you have on your audience: Your name will have an impact on your customers before anything else. Long before your logo captures someone's attention, or a customer notices your website, they'll see and respond to your name.
- Sticks in the mind of your audience: The right name will keep your brand front-of-mind for your target audience, making it easier for them to remember you and associate you with a specific solution to a specific problem.
- Remains consistent: Your name is one of the few constants in your brand. It gets more use and longevity than virtually any other investment that you can make into your business. While the products and services you sell might change, your name will usually stay the same.
- Attracts the right audience: Different names can appeal to different kinds of audience. The title you choose will help your customers to understand what kind of business you run, and what they can expect when they buy from you.
- Makes you easier to find: Choose the appropriate name and URL for your business online, and you can boost your chances of your users finding you first when they need to buy an item – rather than your competitors.
How Do You Define a Great Business Name?
Before you can choose an URL for your company, you'll need the name that the URL is going to build off. So, how do you choose a name that's really going to work for your brand?
There's no one-size-fits-all approach here. Sometimes, a new business will decide to brainstorm with the rest of their team, looking for a good name with a group of creative colleagues. Other brands prefer to pay for a professional to make a unique name or list of names on their behalf.
It’s also worth noting that there’s more than one style of great business name out there.
Some companies, like Google, have seen incredible success by coming up with new “creative” names from scratch. These unique one-word business names have been excellent for capturing the attention of their target market. Other companies like the Body Shop have excelled by using descriptive names that help their audience members to understand exactly what they do and sell.
While there's no one-size-fits-all strategy for choosing the correct business name, there are certain factors that should be included in any name. For instance, all business names need to be:
- Original: The last thing you want is for your customers to associate your company name with another brand. Simply trying to build on the existing success of another business by imitating their name is rarely a good idea. More often than not, it leads to confusion for your target audience, and makes it harder for you to build a unique and memorable brand. At the same time, if your name is too similar to another title that already exists in the current marketplace, you run the risk of falling victim to copyright and trademark laws. Many companies protect their names against copycats with trademarks and copyrights that could get you into a lot of trouble.
- Meaningful: Today's business owners need to walk a fine line between choosing a name that's meaningful, and one that's too descriptive. If your name is too descriptive like “Top Shoes Canada”, you could run the risk of restricting your future growth. After all, what if you decided to sell other clothes besides shoes, or spread your brand globally in the future? However, a name that doesn't make any sense isn't helpful either. Try to bring meaning to your name through evocative titles, rather than descriptive ones. For instance, the name “Amazon” makes people think of an extensive and exotic place – making it ideal for an online marketplace.
- Simple: In a world where millions of business names have already been claimed and trademarked by other companies, it can be easy to try and make your name extra complicated so you can stand out. However, if you have a title that's difficult to spell or say, then you're increasing the chances that your audience won't be able to remember you. Additionally, a complicated name is harder to share with others, which reduces your risk of all-important word of mouth marketing. Run your name ideas past your team before you invest to ensure that you're not choosing something that's too complex.
- Visually Appealing: Visual appeal is rarely one of the first things that companies think about when choosing a name. However, it's worth noting that in today's digital world, a lot of your customers will find your brand online, or through apps. With that in mind, you'll need to think about how your name is going to look written down, or in logo format. You might even need to consider how your name will look when it's used to describe a smartphone app.
- Memorable: Choosing a name that's simple and visually appealing will help to make your moniker more memorable. However, there are other things that you can do to boost the chances of your name sticking in the minds of your target customers too. For instance, think about the emotional impact that your name might have on your customers. If your title makes your audience feel something, then they're more likely to remember it.
- Personality: Speaking of emotional impact, your name has to have a personality that matches the kind of image you're trying to create for your brand. Look at Innocent Smoothies for instance, their name conveys concepts of pureness, making it excellent for a drink that focuses on all-natural ingredients. Think about what kind of vibes will work well with your name and your brand.
- Availability: Any name that you choose for your brand needs to be available. This means that you should be able to copyright or trademark the title. It's also important to check whether you can get ownership of the name for any social media sites that you want to sign up for too.
What are the Most Popular Styles of Business Name?
Business names come in a wide variety of different styles. Some are obvious, highlighting the function or purpose of the company. Other names are more creative – intended to get your mind working.
When you first begin to brainstorm with your team, the chances are that most of your business name ideas will be pretty basic. A lot of companies build their list of names using inspiration from the kind of company that they run, or the sort of products that they intend to sell. However, most of the good business name choices aren’t quite as straightforward.
The simplest business names can be too generic to really make an impact on your customers. At the same time, if you don’t have a truly unique name for your online business, then you’ll have a hard time when it comes to conducting a trademark search and getting ownership of that title.
That’s one of the reasons why companies don’t just stick to the initial business name ideas that they come up with. Most brands branch out by exploring their brand identity, and coming up with new potential names.
Here are some of the most popular options, and examples of the styles in use, to help inspire you:
Descriptive Business Names
Descriptive or “Obvious” names are titles intended to help you understand the function or purpose of the business before you click onto their website or learn anything more about them. For instance, PC World is a great example of a descriptive name that tells you exactly what to expect from the brand. While these names make it easier for your customers to understand what your organization stands for, they can be a lot harder to gain ownership of. If a name is obvious, then it's likely another company will have swooped it up before you. Additionally, even if you can get the name, your customers might not find it very inspiring or interesting, which means that it's also less memorable.
Sometimes, when a company has a hard time coming up with a new name from scratch, they use the name of their founder instead. This can be an excellent choice for people who want to combine the growth of their business with their own personal brand. For instance, the style of founder naming has worked very well in the past for brands like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and even Walt Disney.
As is the case with obvious names, there is a chance that someone with the same name as you will have already built a business using their name as the title. Additionally, there's a good chance that your founder name won't tell people much about your business, unless they already know about you as a person. However, these titles are a little more creative and personal than “descriptive” names.
Creative Business Names
If you really want to do something unique with your brand, then you can go beyond things like founder names and descriptive titles to come up with something brand-new. Companies like Google used the creative name to really make their organization stand out from the crowd. In some cases, a creative name can build on an existing word, like Google was a typo of Gogol. On the other hand, you might just design a name based on letters or sounds that you like. For instance, the founder of Kodak chose the name because he loved the letter K.
Just keep in mind that creative names don't necessarily tell your audience much about your business to begin with, and they can be a little harder to remember at first too. However, they're much more brandable than any other type of name.
Abbreviations and Acronyms
Some companies prefer to use initials and abbreviations as their primary title if the idea that they have for a name is too long. After all, a couple of letters is a lot easier for your audience to remember than several words. However, abbreviations can have their complications too.
For instance, when your audience is looking for you online, they might not know whether to look for AT&T or AT and T. Additionally, it can be easy to forget which order letters are meant to go in when your customers are still getting used to your name. It's also worth noting that these names aren't very emotional or meaningful. They're not likely to mean much to your customers until they get to know you better.
Compound Business Names
Maybe you want to get creative with your name, but you can't come up with a brand-new word from scratch. If so, then you might decide to go for a blended or compound name. This is basically what happens when someone takes two different words and mashes them together to make a new name. Think of companies like Microsoft or Facebook for instance.
Compound names are easier to come up with and provide more immediate meaning than creative names. However, they can also seem a little unprofessional too. Depending on how long your compound name gets, it might be harder for your audience to remember than a quick and simple title like Google.
Another way to get creative with your names but still give your customers some insight into what your business is all about, is to use an evocative term. This basically means that you pick a word that has meaning already, and use it describe your company. For instance, as we mentioned above, Amazon is a name that has nothing to do with selling huge amounts of products and services on the surface. However, it does draw the mind to ideas of vast spaces and exotic ideas.
Apple is another example of an evocative name. It doesn't initially say much about technology, but it's likely to make you think of things like innovation (Isaac Newton), and growth. Evocative terms are excellent for giving meaning to your company without being obvious. However, they can be quite difficult to trademark. There's also a risk that your name could go over the heads of your audience.
There are many business name ideas that take this strategy, including Amazon above. For instance, the word Nike used for the sports and clothing company was actually taken from one of a number of foreign words used to refer to the Goddess of victory. Often, coming up with evocative names using words that are already out there is easier than coming up with a great business name from scratch.
Prefixed and Suffixed Names
Finally, one example of a very simple and done-to-death type of name is the prefixed or suffixed name. Basically, you just add some letters to an existing word. For instance, Foundr, or Shopify. While these names are very easy to remember and often easy to spell too, they can be a little less inspiring than some of the other creative naming options that companies can use today.
Additionally, it's worth noting that some names with prefixes and suffixes involved can end up seeming unusual and abstract if you don't think them through properly.
How to Start Brainstorming Name Ideas
Now that you have a pretty good idea of the types of business names available to you, you can put your thinking cap on and start coming up with some really fantastic ideas.
Before you begin brainstorming, you'll need to take a few important things into consideration, such as:
- The products and services that you sell
- Your target audience
- The value proposition or identity of your company
Take some time to sit down with various members of your team and ask yourself what you're trying to convey with your name. Do you want people to understand the products and services that you have to offer from the moment that they see your name, or do you just want them to get a feel for the kind of company you're running? You'll also need to think carefully about the target audience that you're connecting with, and what kind of emotions you want them to feel when they see your name or read it out loud. The name “YouTube” has a very different feeling to “HSBC Bank” for instance.
A lot of companies even brainstorm multiple times, using different combinations of people to come up with a longer list of names to inspire them. They can even put those names into trademark search and domain availability searches to determine whether they might be suitable for a small business or not.
Once you're ready, follow these steps:
Step 1: Create your Brand Naming Guidelines
As tempting as it may be to start brainstorming immediately, it's a good idea to really think about what you want to accomplish with your new name. Remember, it's easy to lose focus and get off track when you don't have guidelines to follow. Think about what you want your company's name to represent and ask yourself some important questions as you go to keep you on the right track. For instance, ask yourself:
- What do I want to convey with this name?
- How easy is my name to say and remember?
- What kind of impact does this name need to have?
- What kind of words and sounds do I need to avoid?
Step 2: Launching the Brainstorming Session
With your guidelines in place, you're ready to start exploring your options with some real brainstorming. Think carefully about the brand ethos that you want to portray, the services and products that you're going to offer, and the personality that you want to highlight. Once you're ready, make three lists:
- The first list will be of all the keywords that you can think of that resonate with your brand and your company's image. Think about any technical terms, phrases or words that strike a chord with your team and your audience.
- The second list will be the names of your competitors and also businesses that you idolize. Ask yourself what you like and dislike about these names and use your responses as guidelines for finding something that's meaningful for your business.
- The third list will be a selection of names that you probably created when you were making the previous lists. This will be where you find the majority of the ideas for your new name. Try to keep your selling proposition in mind when coming up with this list.
Step 3: Step back then return to the list
Once you've designed your lists of names, it's important to take some time out. If you spend too long focused on finding the ideal name for your company, you might find that you struggle to choose the right name because you've got your “blinkers” on. You need to step back from the process for a while so you can get yourself into the mind frame of your prospective audience instead.
Once you've taken some time away from your naming process, you can come back to the list. Ask yourself whether during your break any particular names really stuck in your mind. Was there a title that you just couldn't get out of your head? If so, this might be one of the leaders in your selection.
A unique name has a great ability to stick in the mind of anyone who listens to it. Before you go to a domain registrar like GoDaddy, it’s worth going through your list of names to see if any of them have this stickiness.
Step 4: Do a Basic Availability Check
Once you have a short list of the names that you're most interested in using for your brand, you can move into the next stage – checking the availability of the potential titles. Initially, checking availability is a relatively simple process. You can run the name through a search engine like Google and check for results from companies that have a similar title to you.
There's also the option to run your name through a trademark database that's available online. In the US, the patent and trademarks system is called TESS – Trademark Electronic Search System. You can use this to check if a name has already been taken. Once you know that your name hasn't been taken by anyone else, make sure that you can acquire the URL and domain name that you want. Ideally, you'll want an URL that ends with .com.
While there are many other options for domain names out there besides .com, the .com domain name has a lot more heritage and value than any competitor. Having a .com URL will show your customers that you're fully invested in your brand, and it will highlight just how professional your company is. Don't forget to check other online environments for your name's availability too. For instance, you'll need to make sure that you can use your chosen business title on social media channels and forums.
Most of the time, you’ll be able to do a domain availability search on a good name with the domain registrar that you’re using. However, you’ll have to check your potential names on the social media websites that you plan on using individually.
Step 5: Test your Names
Now that you know which of your top names are actually available, you can begin to put them to the test.
There are various ways to do this. For instance, you can create a sample group of customers and people from your team and ask them to assess all of your names. Ask them to judge the names based on things like memorability and meaning. You could also consider giving your customers a list of the names that you like and asking them to vote for their favorite. Alternatively, give the same list to members of your team and find out which names they remember most after a couple of weeks.
Remember, your name is a huge investment, spending some time on testing before you pay for your title and URL will help to reduce your risk of making a big mistake. It’s also worth making sure that you test any foreign words to ensure that your list of names doesn’t have any meanings that you weren’t aware of. There have been countless examples of companies in the past choosing a unique name only to discover that they’ve selected a title for their online business which isn’t exactly as it seems.
Step 6: Register your Name
Finally, once you think you know which name you want to stick with out of all of your available options, it's time to take the plunge and register it. Once you've done all the necessary testing, registering your name will ensure that no other business can come along and take your title before you've had a chance to build your brand around it.
In some cases, even if you aren't completely sure which name you want yet, it might be a good idea to register the names you like and buy them just in case. Purchasing a couple of domain names usually won't cost you too much, and it will give you more time to make an informed decision.
When you're registering your domain name, consider purchasing additional versions of your name just in case. For instance, you might choose to buy the .net and .org domain extensions alongside .com, just so no-one else can swoop in and get them at a later stage. When you know which name you're definitely going to go with, then you can take your registration tot the next level and trademark your name.
Trademarking your name will stop any other business from using your title or anything like it in the same industry as you. A trademark search and purchase helps to protect your identity as your brand continues to evolve and grow.
A Template for Choosing a Brand Name: Picking a Business Name for a Clothing Company
Still need help choosing the perfect brand name?
To help you get started on the right path, we've put together this quick template for choosing a brand name for a clothing business. After, the clothing or fashion industry can be one of the toughest to stand out in today's marketplace.
In the clothing world, choosing a brand name that customers love is particularly important. After all, your clients won’t just be looking at your name when they’re forming an affinity with your business – these customers will be wearing your name on a daily basis. Sometimes, naming your new business based on your business plan or the kind of company that you’re going to run will make your search a lot easier.
So, how can you make sure that you’re picking a name that really speaks to your target audience?
Step 1: Brainstorming
As we noted above, the first stage of any naming process is the “brainstorming” aspect. This is when you sit down with the right members of your team and think about what kind of title you need to create to produce an amazing identity for your company. Here are some of the things that you might consider aside from your brand personality when you’re looking for a name in the fashion industry:
- What you’re going to sell: Some companies build a name around the specific fashion that they’re going to sell. For instance, the UK has Accessorize. However, this can be a dangerous choice in some cases, as it means that you won’t be able to branch out and begin selling other products easily in the future.
- How you can make it memorable: Your business name needs to be as short and simple as possible so that it’s easier for your customers to remember you. A short, easy-to-spell, and easy to say name is ideal for the fashion industry. It also ensures that your logo is more likely to look attractive when printed on your clothing.
- Aesthetics: In the clothing industry, more than anywhere else, you’ll need to think very carefully about what your name is going to look like written down. Your business name needs to be meaningful when it’s said out loud, but it should also look amazing when it’s printed on a t-shirt, bag, or pair of shoes.
Step 2: Conveying the value of the business
Before you can start narrowing down the options that you have for a compelling business name, you’re going to need to think carefully about how your name will convey the value of the company that you’re running. For instance, what kind of tone have you been trying to build with the content that you’ve created for your site so far? What sort of personality do you want your brand to have?
To make sure that you’re creating the right “soul” for your brand with a meaningful name, take a look at your customer personas. If you’re trying to appeal to younger people and teenagers with your fashion brand, then you’re going to be speaking a very different language than if you were creating maternity fashion.
Adjusting your attitude to create the kind of company your customers are looking for is one of the best ways to make sure that you attract dedicated fans for your organization. A unique name isn’t just born from foreign words that look good on WordPress. Your Unique name needs to say something important about your online business and brand identity.
Step 3: Make Sure it’s Unique
In all industries, the name that you choose for your business needs to be as unique as possible to help your organization stand out. However, in the fashion industry, where your customers will be wearing your logo wherever they go, it’s particularly important to make sure that people don’t mistake your company for something else.
Don’t underestimate the power of having a logo or identity that’s unique to your organisation. Remember, you can take ideas from other competitors, but you should only be using that inspiration to help you to determine what kind of name you want to create. Avoid anything too similar in sound or appearance to a name that your competitor is already using.
For an example of how dangerous it can be to use similar names to your competition, take a look at Ralph Lauren. In 1984, Ralph Lauren filed a law-suite against the company U.S Polo ASSN just for using a similar logo with the word “polo” in their design. When choosing the name of your business, conduct a trademark search and domain availability check before you get too attached to anything.
Step 4: Put your Name to the Test
One of the biggest problems that companies have with choosing a name and URL, is that they often leave this stage of the brand-building process until last. When a business leader is eager to launch their venture and start making money, it’s tempting to race through the process of choosing a name and select the first thing that comes to mind.
However, in the fashion industry in particularly, it’s dangerous to try and choose a name too quickly. You shouldn’t rush the process, as you could risk completely destroying your brand with the wrong title. Test your name by running it past potential customers and coworkers first. Ask them to tell you what they think and feel when they hear your moniker out loud, or see it written down.
If you have a number of names that you’re interested in and you haven’t settled on one yet, then you could test those titles against each other with metrics like “memorability” and “aesthetic appeal” and see which one comes out with the top score. This is a method called A/B testing that’s often used in marketing and sales strategies.
When you’re putting the name of your business to the test, it’s a good idea to test good names even further by putting them into a logo maker to see what they’re going to look like written down.
Step 5: Choose your name
Finally, you’ll come to a point when you’re ready to select the name that’s going to stay with your company for years to come. Remember, take your time at this point and assess all of the information that you have before you select your name.
It’s a good idea to take some time researching the title before you commit to it too. Make sure that the name that you’ve chosen doesn’t mean anything different in alternative markets around the world that you might move into in the future. Additionally, look up the name that you’re going to use and make sure that it’s available as a .com URL, and in the form of various social media handles.
Once you know your name is available, you can purchase it from a company that sells domain names and hosting and start building your website. The quicker you can get your online business up and running with a name that looks amazing on WordPress or Flickr, the better off you’ll be. This will ensure that no-one else takes your potential names before you’ve had a chance top claim them.
How To Get Your Brand Name Copyrighted
Before we move into a closer look on how to choose your domain name, it’s worth thinking about one last thing with your business title in general. Once you have the name that you want to stick with for your company, you need to make sure that you know how to register that name, and get it copyrighted. The good news? This is a pretty simple process.
Registering a legal trademark for your company name is a straightforward procedure that often involves filing an application on the web in a few minutes. You won’t even need to hire a lawyer to help you in most cases – particularly if you’re using the website provided by the US Trademark and Patent office here.
Registering and copyrighting your name ensures that no-one else in your industry will be able to use your name, or a title that’s too similar to yours. This basically protects you from someone trying to come along and steal your customers or defame your business by using a name that’s similar to yours. Before you complete your online registration form, however, you’ll need to ensure that you’re not accidentally using a name that’s too close to another company’s name.
The US Trademark office offers an online database called the “Trademark Electronic Search System” or TESS, which you can search to ensure that another corporation doesn’t have a title that’s similar to yours. If there is a similar name in the database but it’s in use by a company from a completely different industry, then you might be able to continue using your own name. You might want to check with a legal professional before you deal with the expense of registering your name.
Copyrighting your unique name gives you the extra dose of protection that you need to ensure that your business remains unique going forward. You don’t want anyone else taking your online business identity out from underneath you when your company is just beginning to grow for the first time.
Does Getting a Name Trademark Cost Money?
Registering a trademark or “copyrighting” your name with the US government is going to cost you a little money – often between $275 and $325. Although this can seem like a huge investment for a small business that’s just getting started, it’s a lot more affordable than the cost of having to start your entire brand over from scratch if someone else decides to use your name.
It’s also worth noting that when you apply for your name registration, you’ll need to answer some crucial questions about your company, and what you’re going to be using your trademark for. Sometimes, you’ll be asked for a date that addresses the first time the name was used in commerce, and whether there’s a design component you need to copyright too – such as a logo. Additionally, it’s a good idea to avoid registering the .com of your URL with your name – remember that you’re protecting your title here. If someone else tries to use your URL after you’ve purchased your domain name, they won’t be able to – so you shouldn’t need to worry about a trademark there.
The good news for companies worrying about trademarking their name is that it’s a simple process – but it can also be a very slow one. You’ll probably receive a response to your application within about 6 months of your claim being filed, according to the Trademark Office and US patent website. There are also some scenarios wherein registering through an intellectual property attorney might make some sense too. If your desired mark is similar to another registered mark, then there’s a good chance that the registration will be contested.
Another point to remember is that it’s very difficult to successfully register and trademark any name that’s too generic or descriptive. You might want to keep this in mind when deciding what kind of name you want to go for. Something like “The Computer Shop” is far too generic to trademark successfully. However, if you do have trouble, a specialist in trademark law might be able to help you find a way to get some protection for your new moniker.
How to Choose a Domain Name
Your domain name (URL) is going to be the pathway for a customer to reach your eCommerce store. It is the phrase, the name of the brand, the one thing that enables others to know you, to visit your store and to recognize you when the name presents itself. Google, it is quite the name for a company, but because of saturation and growth of the e-world, finding a great domain name is becoming increasingly difficult.
For most people, the brand name comes first and only then does the domain name follows. Unfortunately, we often see businesses giving up on finding a domain name that includes their brand name directly, as all the domains have been long sold – and many abandoned by the original buyers, there is nothing else to do, but to wait in line and hope you'll one day be able to purchase it.
The Brand, The Keywords & The Extension
Technically, keywords and the domain extension (.com, .org, .net, etc,.) should not matter, but because they offer ‘some' SEO benefits, it is worth taking into account all three. Your domain name should reflect your brand name (or what you sell) clearly and loudly, and the domain extension should be any of the three mentioned above.
This is important because majority of online customers are used to these domain extensions, and anything else begins to feel unsafe and offputting, unless you're using a country specific domain name, for building an online store in that specific country; then, of course, it is perfectly fine to use a country specific domain extension.
Lets take for example a brand name of Hemp Products Ltd. I don't even need to check whether the domain name HempProducts.com would be available or not, I already know intuitively that it won't be available, at least not for any of the three major domain extensions. This is the current state of domain market, and it is something we've got to deal with, and overcome at the same time.
5 Steps Towards a Good Domain Name
Although we're very limited in the availability of good domain names, we can try and utilize the following methods for finding good domains that will end up sticking and working well.
- Short and Sweet: Try and use as less words as possible to describe your brand and/or the products that you're going to sell. What you need to do is engrave the domain and brand name in your customers head, so make it short and memorable – no matter how hard it might prove to be.
- Personalized Domain Names: If you operate from within a specific (large) area like New York for example, try and utilize the NYC at the end of your domain name. So, for example, if the domain name you want is HempProducts.com; try purchasing HempProductsNYC.com – which is guaranteed to have a higher success rate. Be specific and personalized if need be.
- Pre-Purchased Domains: You can always take out your life savings and try to go for a premium (otherwise known as pre-registered) domain name that will cost anywhere from $200 to $200,000. It is all up to you of what it is you require. The advantage here is that these domain names will usually have age attached to them.
- Avoid Symbols: Your domain name needs to be at least two characters long, and can’t contain symbols, such as $ # or @. For example, if your business provides tracking services for the stock market you’re not allowed to use $tocks.com.
- Re-Buy the Domain: I've done this one time before. I needed a domain name for my own personal blog, and I happened to notice that the domain I want had been registered already, it didn't however have an active homepage, so I got in touch with the domain owner and settled a deal for $100 to buy the domain off of him. Try this, it does work in some cases.
You can see that there are a few things to pay attention to, but nothing that could prove to be as difficult as rocket science. Online eCommerce platforms like Shopify will gladly help you out with setting up your own domain name, registering it and even coming up with the idea. (if you ask nicely!)
Domain Name Generators for Online Stores
Essentially, any domain generator is going to be ‘great' for generating a domain name for your newly founded business. I've got two that I've relied on in the past, and I know that many others do as well. If you know of more, please suggest them in comments as we will appreciate that a lot.
The Shopify Business Name generator is easily one of the most popular business name generating tools on the market today. The great thing about this tool is that you don’t have to worry about checking whether the domain name is available for the title that you choose after you’ve found it. Shopify will only list names that have domains available. You can even purchase your name and start building your eCommerce website directly within the Shopify environment.
To make things even more straightforward for your company, Shopify also has specific name generators that are designed to support companies from specific industries. For instance, there’s a clothing line name generator for fashion brands, and a furniture store name generator.
All you need to do to start running a successful company online is select the name that you like from the Shopify selection, sign up for a Shopify account, and you can begin selling straight away.
Domainr helps you hack together special and unique domain names by the word that you've submitted. This is a pretty cool tool to use if you're really desperate to find some kind of domain combination that would reflect the name of your brand, and what you're about. It is easy to use, and you also get instant whois information displayed. In some cases, the domains you find taken are often bought many years ago, and might be available for sale through direct contact with the owners.
NameStation is more on the serious side of things, and will help to come up with both long and short length domain names to suit your business needs. It requires of you to signup first to use the service, but the platform itself is so rich and extensive in features – it is worth every second to take the time and create a new account.
You'll get access to a domain finding dashboard that will let you filter out specific needs and desires for your domain name, as well as provide access to a dictionary; within which you can perhaps find alternative words to use for your domain name, as to make sure that you get one at all.
How to Buy a Business Domain Name
Once you’ve found a domain name that you want to purchase – either through a brainstorming session with your team or with the help of one of the generators that we’ve highlighted above, you’ll need to actually purchase your domain name. This means buying your domain online so that nobody else can use it.
There are plenty of great websites available that you can use to buy a domain name, though our favorite right now is Namecheap. This is one of the simplest websites online that companies can use to instantly purchase their domain names and start selling online. The domain registrar is accredited by ICANN, which means that you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve got an accredited name. Additionally, Namecheap has sold more than 4 million names to customers since it was launched back in 2000.
Namecheap offers benefits like:
- Excellent customer service and high-quality security features
- Accreditation from the ICANN group
- Simple exporting and transfer for domain names
- Minimal upselling or cross-selling from the sales team
- An insightful knowledge base and help desk
- 24/7 customer support
- Excellent price points for budget-conscious brands
Choosing your Business Name and URL
Choosing the perfect business name and URL isn’t easy.
There’s more to launching your new business then bringing a team of people together to brainstorm good business name ideas. You can’t just pick a brand identity at random, or use a foreign word without checking its background. Finding a unique name for everything from Flickr and LinkedIn, to your small business, takes time and effort. There’s a good chance that your initial list of names won’t even contain the great business name that you eventually want to use.
Unlike various other aspects of your business, like your product portfolio, your user personas, and your website design, your name and URL are rarely things that are going to evolve over time. Instead, you need to look into the future when making your initial choice and ensure that you purchase a title that you can stick with for years to come.
The time focus and effort that goes into finding the perfect name and URL means that you can’t simply jump into choosing the first name that you see. Finding a title that’s going to appeal to your audience requires significant patience and research. The good news? If you choose the moniker that’s going to represent your business correctly, the outcome can be more sales, better brand loyalty, and more opportunities for growth in the long term.
If you can commit to finding a good name that adheres to your business plan and brand identity, as well as offering domain availability and uniqueness thanks to a trademark search, then you can ensure that the name of your business is ready for anything.
Don't just pick the first small business name that you find because you’re eager to launch your WordPress website or play around with logo makers. Make sure that you do your research and make a name that sticks. That way, you could become the next Nike, Flickr, LinkedIn, or Google.
Are you ready to choose the perfect business name and URL?