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What Is A Good Business Name? Does It Matter?

funny business names

You should never judge a book by its cover, and never judge a business by its name. In reality, though, people do this all the time.

Whether you are targeting other businesses or working with consumers, your customers are busy people. We have an awful lot of noise in our lives and not a lot of time to make decisions about where we spend our money.

A business name is a shortcut to what your business represents. The best business names are clear, concise and memorable, helping you to attract customers on a ‘gut instinct’ level. This image of ‘Sew What’ from The DailySatire shows that a business name can be funny. Whether this works or not depends on your business.

So how do you go about naming a new business? What are the major considerations for choosing a new name? And, in a world where most businesses thrive online, how does your choice of business name fit with search engine optimization (SEO) and domain registration?

Give Your Business A Personality

Good Business NameThere are hundreds, if not thousands, of considerations to make when you brainstorm a business name. Ultimately, just about anything can work – it’s funny to think that the only reason names like Google and Apple work so well is that we have grown used to them through years of brand building.

But Google and Apple also illustrate the single most important rule of naming a business – choose something that hints at personality.

An Apple is full of symbolism. It harks back to Eden, to creating something new, and to knowledge. It is also incredibly simple. These are all traits that suit the company Apple has gone on to become.

However, a name like Apple also flies in the face of other guidelines about brand naming. After all, Apple doesn’t directly say what the company does, or what it offers customers.

This is testament to the fact that the most important thing you can do is settle on a batch of names that you like. Choose some that are explicit about what you do, and others that are a little more random. Try them on family and friends to see what the response is.

Of course, if you still feel like you need specific guidance on what makes a good brand name, there are thousands of articles online that can help. One of my favourites is Tips for Naming Your Business from Forbes.com.

Is Your Business Name Available?

Once you’ve thought of a few names that could work for your business, the next step is to check which ones are available.

The best tool for the job is the Company Name and Trademark Checker from Gov.uk. Here, you can enter the name that you have in mind, and instantly see whether the name is:

  • Trademarked in the UK, EU or Internationally
  • In use by a registered business

If the name is in use, go back to the drawing board. Remember, though, that you can easily differentiate your name by adding another word or choosing a synonym.

By now, you have at least one name which is not a trademark, and not in use by a company. There is, however, one more thing to check.

Will Your Name Work Online?

whois.netToday, most businesses use a website as a tool for marketing, sales and support. This is even more important if you run your business from home, where the web may be your only point of contact.

So once you have a name, be sure to check that it is available as a web address. You can do this using any WHOIS tool, such as www.whois.net. Simply enter the web address you want, and see if it has an owner. If it does, you can contact the owner to offer to buy the address if it is not currently in use.

Many webmasters also look to include popular search terms as part of their web address, in an attempt to achieve higher search engine rankings and, in turn, more traffic.

A great tool for finding keyword domains for sale is auctions.godaddy.com. Here, you can enter any search term to find potentially valuable web addresses for sale that relate to your business. However, as algorithms become more advanced, domains featuring keywords are not as useful as they used to be. However, there is still benefit in buying a domain that is established, already ranking highly in Google and has a clean history. You need to carry out checks as you don’t want to purchase a domain which has Google penalties attached to it.

For a limited time, HomeforBusiness users can access free membership to DomainonFire software which will show you available high-ranking domains that might be suitable for your business. You will need to download the free JumpStart Pack.

For more information on exact match domains, check out seomoz‘s article on the subject. For logo and branding advice, this article has some helpful tips and resources.

If you find a business name that you like, is not in use, and is available as a web address, register it quickly! Now you can begin developing your brand around your chosen name and, most importantly, building a successful business around your brand.

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What’s your experience of naming your business? Let me know of any other resources you’ve found helpful. Comment below and let me know you’re alive!



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