How to Choose a Domain and Company NameStarting a company requires several important steps and choosing a name for your business that is effective is one of the most crucial stages, but also one of the most challenging. Trying to stand out from the crowd can be difficult that’s why we’ve written this guide, to help you choose a company name, as well as the perfect domain to match.
Choosing a company name
1. Use other companies for inspiration but don’t copy themHave a look at other companies that are already in the market and take inspiration from them. However, don't copy other business names as this can cause confusion with consumers and you will risk infringing trademarks.
2. Play on wordsYou need to be savvy and creative with your company name to reflect the excitement of your future brand to customers. A simple brainstorm is the best place to begin. Start by making a list of some words that you think are relevant to the business.
Play with these words and be creative to come up with a narrow choice of names that you like; consider using alliteration and rhyme to make the name something that can be easily marketed later down the line.
3. Choose something that isn’t complicated
When we think of the most successful modern day business names, we think Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon; all of which use just one word that has become associated with each brand. Using fewer words is better when naming a company as it will make the name catchier and more memorable – simplicity is key.
If you do want to use a selection of words when creating your name, consider using them to make an acronym for example ‘Easy Application Sticker Ideas’ would become ‘EASI’ which could then become ‘EASI Stickers’ using your list of words relevant to your business from the previous step.
4. Consider leaving out personal affiliationsAn easy solution to choosing a name for your business is to use your family name. In the past, this approach has been successful for Cadbury’s Chocolate and Selfridge’s department store, for example. However, this traditional approach might make it more difficult in the future if you want to think about selling your company, and rebranding at a later date can be expensive. Consider whether larger, more contemporary brands like Apple would have been as saleable as a company if it was called ‘Jobs Computing’.
5. Get feedbackOnce you have a selection of names that you have checked are legally available to use, get some feedback from friends, family and potential customers. This might include holding focus groups or perhaps using social media to directly message individuals whose opinion matters.
6. Check for availability and pre-existing trademarksWhen you’ve got a shortlist of names, use the ‘Companies House’ website to check the availability of this name. You will also want to find out whether you could legally trademark the name for your company, by searching the registered trademark database at the IPO.
7. Choose a name that can be turned into a domainThe internet has become an integral part of business plans, and in an age so reliant on technology, it is important that your company has a digital presence. Whether you’re looking to engage with your audience or sell products online, a website is as important to modern day business as the name you’ve chosen. That’s why we have decided to include our tops tips for finding the perfect domain. Use these tips to find a domain name that is easy to search and relevant, for example insureyourphone.com (the aim of the site is clear).
Finding the perfect domain nameChoosing a domain name is the next crucial part of starting a company as it will act as your online representation.
1. Keep it short and simpleTrying to over-complicate your domain name will only confuse your visitors. For example ‘luxurytaxis.com’ is much easier to type than ‘themostluxurioustaxis.com’ - so keep it short and sweet - avoid the potential for spelling mistakes.
2. Keywords & localisation are definitely keys!Not only will keywords in your domain name help search engines find you, it will also help differentiate yourself from the competition. For example, ‘vetsforpets.com’ would be much easier to discover than ‘veterinarysurgeryforyouradoredpets.com’ because people are much more likely to search ‘vets’ than ‘veterinary surgery’.
Also, make sure that if you serve only a specific area, your domain name reflects this. For instance, if you're a taxi firm in Glasgow called Axis Taxis, you might go for 'atlastaxisglasgow.com' to help capture very local searches.
3. Avoid using numbersUsing numbers in your domain name can be confusing and lose you a lot of traffic to your site, for example ‘freshgroceries365’ could get confused with ‘freshgroceries247’. Steer clear unless absolutely necessary!
4. Beware of hyphens!It can be tempting to add a hyphen in your domain name, but it's best to avoid hyphenated domains entirely. Search engine optimisation experts Moz recommend avoiding hyphens as they are more commonly associated with 'spammy' domains, which could reduce your search engine visibility.
People tend to hyphenate for readability, or because the domain they want (without a hyphen) is already taken. If the non-hyphenated domain is already taken, then you'll only create potential for confusion with another website. If you're looking at adding a hyphen for readability, then consider instead a simpler domain, or at the very least, make sure you also register the non-hyphenated version.
5. Match the domain with your company nameIf your domain is something totally different to your company name, potential customers might not associate the two, for example ‘GoTravelling’ wouldn’t use the domain name ‘flyanywhere.com’.
6. Make it a domain to rememberThere are billions of domains out there so when choosing a domain name, make sure it stands out and is memorable. Try running it past some friends and see if it appeals to them.
7. Use an appropriate domain name extensionA domain extension is a suffix at the end of a web address for example ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’. The most popular extension by far is ‘.com’, but you might find a different extension works better for your site. There are hundreds of new domain extensions now available, so don't despair if you can't find the perfect .com - there might be something better out there!
For instance, if your company was called 'Audio Visual Solutions' and audiovisualsolutions.com was taken, you might find that audiovisual.solutions is still available! That's way better than a more complex alternative.
Here are some popular alternative domain extensions you might consider:-
- .co / .company / .limited / .consulting etc. – Perfect for companies
- .blog / .club / .family – For blogs, clubs or personal web sites
- .studio / .design / .agency / .media / .digital / .photography – Web designers, marketing agencies, graphic designers, photographers and more
- .boutique / .store / .jewelry / .clothing - Clothes stores, jewellery stores
- .ninja / .guru – A fun extension with great possibilities, londonproperty.ninja or onlinemarketing.guru
- .bar / .cafe / .pub / .kitchen – Restaurants, café's, bars etc.
7. Purchase a collection of domainsPurchasing many possible domain extensions for your brand will help you to capitalise on users trying to find your site. Even consider purchasing misspellings of your domain so that if people don’t type the domain correctly, they can be redirected to the right place.
Make sure you snap up as many popular variants of your company name to prevent 'cyber squatting' - there could be nothing worse than you registering a .com domain, only to find that someone else snaps up the .co.uk, .co or the .net equivalent. Who knows what they might use the domain for!
8. Don’t wait around!Domain names are inexpensive - but you’ll have to act fast! Once you’ve got an idea of your company name and the domain(s) you want, get them sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.
You’re ready to go: check availability and find your perfect domain today!