One of the most difficult decisions in starting a business is wondering what to call it. Choosing a brand name for your business is as much a strategic decision as it is a creative one. And, today, our world is undeniably digital — more and more people (i.e., your customers) are researching brands online and preferring to shop directly via their mobiles or laptops. In such times, you can’t ignore the importance of having a web-friendly business name.
Here’s the deal — for customers, your business name is the first touchpoint of your brand. The name should be distinctive, memorable and should reflect what your brand (business) is about. A web-friendly business name also helps establish and maintain trust.
Having a web-friendly business name makes a massive difference in how quickly and easily your business ranks on SERPs (search engine result pages). The majority of searchers never go beyond the first page of search results. So, would you rather be on the first page of search results or pages 10, 20 or 50? Investing time in coming up with a business name that’s easy to recall and web-appropriate is a game-changer when it comes to building a brand and increasing visibility.
Here's something else to ponder: What do people type when they can’t remember your website URL? They enter your business name and click on the link they assume is your business. Having a web-friendly business name not only helps you rank better but also makes it easier to remember your business.
Sometimes, selecting a business name can take much longer than the time you devoted to making your business plan. We totally get it. The pressure and struggle of getting a creative business name that is memorable, appropriate for your legal structure and full of SEO juice are real.
But you can pull this off. How? Here are a few pointers.
Make It Unique
Make sure your name is “new” and not a take on an already renowned business name. Why? Because it establishes your brand and you don’t want a customer or search engine, in this case, to think you are a “wannabe” of another brand.
Make It Memorable
Use alliterations (think Krispy Kreme or Lululemon) or shorter two-syllable names. Research from DataGenetics shows that most popular domain names are typically between 12-14 characters.
By using industry-related keywords in your business name, you're making your brand search-friendly. Now, both Google and customers will know what your brand is about. For instance, if you’re in finance, you can integrate words like investing, stocks or trading into your business name. By using keywords in your web name, you are also opening yourself to new business opportunities. Google Keywords and Ubersuggest are two keyword generators that can get the ball rolling.
Avoid Hyphens, Numbers, Punctuation or Underscores
Having dots and dashes in your business name can make it sound like Morse Code, and we don’t want to tread there. Unnecessary punctuation marks and underscores will also make the name harder to pronounce, which can impact your business's visibility as more people are using voice searches.
Use a Business Name Generator
Have keywords and phrases that summarize your business but aren't sure how they all fit? Try your hand at these business name generators. Most of these are free and will help you come up with a list of snappy and catchy business names ideas that match your criteria.
Found your name? Before you completely commit to a name, run a business name availability and trademark search. This quick step will save you from having to cough up between $250,000-$750,000 in a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Does Your Business Name Have to Match Your Website?
Here are our two cents on this. In today's digital economy, it's wise to have an exact match (or as close as possible) between your business name and domain name. People typically assume your business name is your website address and if there's a disconnect between the two, you’re losing out on potential business. An exact match between your business name and website will also boost your SEO as it makes it easier for search engines and customers to find your business instead of someone else’s.
Should My LLC and Website Have the Same Name?
Legally, your LLC name and website name don’t have to match. The LLC name is your company’s legal entity name that you’ll use to file the Article of Incorporation, open a bank account, sign contracts and file taxes. Your business name is your brand name to market to your customers. While it would be simpler to have the same for both, it’s not a must. If you opt to have the same name for both legal and brand purposes, then check your state naming requirements to make sure the name meets the mark.
However, if your website domain name doesn't match your LLC name, but you're using it as a major part of your brand (like on social media accounts), then you might need a DBA. A DBA, aka "Doing Business As" name, gives you permission to operate a business under a name that's different from your legal name.
Not All Names Are the Same
No one said coming up with small business name ideas would be easy. Like most things in running a business — it takes work and a little dash of creativity. But with a name that’s unique, simple and web-friendly, you have the chance of uncovering one of the secret sauces to a successful business — increased visibility, more leads, more clicks, more sales. Now, that's worth it, isn't it?
As you're selecting your perfect web-friendly brand name, use Incfile's free Business Name Search tool to be sure the name is available to use in your state. If it is, you can even start the process of creating a legal business entity to secure your business name.
Swara Ahluwalia is a freelance content writer with experience in the technical, B2B and SaaS domain. She also has curated content for various lifestyle brands. In her downtime, you will most likely find Swara training for her next marathon or spending time with her two daughters.