Choosing the right name for your business in 7 steps

The branding process for any business or organisation SHOULD START with choosing the right name and ensuring its availability. Initially, when starting out, some people make the mistake of focusing on everything else but the name like location, advertisement, funding etc. Only for them to find out later, that the name they had in mind is no longer available either as a trademark or as a domain name.

As humans, ours is a culture that believes in the giving and receiving of names. A name can be a harbinger of goodwill or that of doom to your brand, business or organisation. This is why in 7 steps, I’ll guide you through the process of choosing the right name and domain for your business. 

 

1. NAME ORIGINALITY

There are businesses and companies that prefer the exact match type of naming protocol. For example, such companies come up with Arizona State Power Bikes as their name and by extension their domain name. Nothing wrong with that.

However, this type of naming convention can prove to be quite restrictive as such brands become successful and expand in the future. What if the brand is opening up another branch at say, New York or Tokyo or somewhere in Nigeria like Enugu? The name, Tokyo Arizona State Power Bikes will definitely be an overkill. 

 

Ours is a culture that believes in the giving and receiving of names
FOLIO TEAM

Sometimes, to be original, you may have to forget the keyword entirely or use it creatively. Think Google or Yahoo or even the Greeks who coined the word, Alphabet.

These brand names work because they‘re original. Originality means that you can do just about anything with the name. Hence, Google can decide to go into space navigation or even sports and the name, Google, will still work.

So if you’re going for originality, avoid trends. Brainstorm with your team. Don’t just think outside the box; do away with the box entirely. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a team, brainstorming can be a little hard to do just by yourself. Fortunately, you can always use sites like SQUADHELP, where freelancers can help you come up with some great names for your business.

Shop our portfolio for a creative domain name for your brand

2. KEYWORD MATCH

Like I said before, there’s nothing wrong with exact match names. But you’ll have to use it the right way. For SEO purposes, keywords are key to the success of a brand’s website as they help bring in traffic. For this reason, it’s important to include a keyword in your name and website.

However, there are rules. When choosing the right name based on a keyword match, the keyword has to fit. You’ll have to ask yourself two critical questions:

  1. Does this keyword explain what my business is all about?
  2. Will it still be relevant in the future should things change?

For instance, if you offer data services to the farm and agricultural business, an exact match name like FarmData will be a great keyword name. However, if your customers include other industries either now or in the future, then you might have to rethink the name. 

 

3. RADIO TEST

radio test your name

Your brand’s name and domain name should pass the radio test. A name is said to pass the radio test if it spells as it sounds. If you heard the name over the radio, you should be able to write it successfully. Most long, complex, and misspelt names usually fail this test.

Ultimately, when choosing the right name, ensure that it passes the radio test. This way, your name will easily roll off the tongue when people talk about it. 

 

4. SHORT AND MEMORABLE

Long names are hard to remember. Lengthwise, the rule is to stick to names that aren’t longer than 15 characters or are made up of more than three words. You don’t want to be stuck with a wordtoolongforpeopletoremember.com on your hands. The fact that Google bought the domain name, abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz.com, doesn’t mean you should.

For a memorable business name and domain name, remember to Keep It Short and Simple (KISS). 

 

5. TRADEMARK AVAILABILITY

At this point you have that awesome, original name that’s easy to spell and people can remember. Before you run off and start printing t-shirts, it’s imperative that you check for the availability of your name for registered trademarks. If you overlook this step, it can prove to be an expensive mistake as there might be legal repercussions to deal with.

Here are different online portals where you can check for trademark availability.

6. DOMAIN AVAILABILITY

.Com: King of the domains

If you’re still undecided on whether to get a domain name or not, HERE ARE 7 REASONS WHY YOU NEED A DOMAIN NAME.

In choosing a domain name, .COM is still king. Despite the introduction of various other extensions, none has quite the impact that .com has.

Picking a non .com domain name should be a last resort. If you must, you can go for legacy extensions like .org or some CCTLDs like .de, .au or industry relevant extensions like .loans, .app, .art etc. 

 

7. BUY OR REGISTER THE NAME

If a name is available, register the trademark as soon as possible. If the name already has a trademark (especially for the same class you want to do business in), here are 2 possible outcomes:

  1. Negotiate with the owner for a trademark transfer (assignment). Here is HOW TO CHANGE TRADEMARK OWNERSHIP
  2. You can’t reach the trademark owner, or he/she isn’t interested. In this case, it’s time to pick another name by restarting steps 1 to 6 of this guide. 

For domain names, here are 3 possible outcomes: 

  1. The name is available. Register the name as soon as possible at a good domain registrar like DYNADOT. READ OUR GUIDE ON HOW TO REGISTER A DOMAIN NAME. 
  2. The domain name is already registered but it‘s for sale and you’re willing to buy it. READ OUR GUIDE ON HOW TO BUY A NAME THAT IS ALREADY REGISTERED. 
  3. The domain name is already registered. It’s for sale but you don’t want to buy. Or you want to buy the name but the owner doesn’t want to sell. In this case, it’s time to pick another name by restarting steps 1 to 6 of this guide. 

Remember, be original. Keep it short and simple. And if at first you don’t find that name, try, try and try again.

AUTHOR

We are a team dedicated to ensure that you have an all-round great experience on our website. From helping you pick a great domain name from our portfolio, to guiding you through the payment and domain transfer processes, we will be with you every step of the way.

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