Your website name is very important. But, naming a business and keeping your domain & social media handles in mind, could be the most important part of your marketing.
A domain name is like a virtual identification card. It’s a way for people to verify your online presence. Many mistakenly believe having a bad domain name is better than not having one at all, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Having a bad domain name can backfire and even cause you to lose customers and/or visitors. Having a bad domain name makes you look unprofessional while a good domain name leaves a positive impression and fosters a feeling of trust within your visitors.
A well-chosen domain name will also allow your website to rank higher in search engine results, which in turn allows your site to be seen by even more people.
Since your domain name will be on your social media account, other web properties, promotional print/swag, and more if you choose to take it over the top, you’ll want to choose a name that is reflective of what your website is.
Coming Up With Names For Your Brand/Business
Now that you understand the importance of a domain name, it’s time to make a list of potential domain names for your website. Remember, you don’t just have to use your company/product name.
In fact, it might be better not to if your company name is long or difficult to spell. One company had a difficult name to remember so it launched a website for its most popular product and found that customers were able to remember that domain name. This resulted in better customer/visitor conversions and higher search engine rankings since more customers were searching for the product than the company.
If you’re the face of your brand, you might consider using your name as your domain name. For instance, Gary Vaynerchuk is the face of his “brand”. If that’s the case for you, then you’ll want to use your name as the domain name. (example: garyvaynerchuk.com)
List Your Ideal Names For Your Brand/Business
I would recommend you put together a list of 5-10 names that you would like to use. Do not get attached to any of these because in a few minutes we are going to eliminate a few of them.
Once you’ve come up with a list of potential domain names, go through and cross out anything that’s too long. Sometimes the best name is a longer name depending on what you are doing for your website.
Try to stay around or under fifteen characters so your domain name is easy to remember. Think about how easy it would be for someone to remember it. This will also help with availability with social media handles (Some limit @ username character length – Twitter’s limit is at 15 characters).
Cross out anything that might have negative connotations. If you’re using several words write them without spaces to be sure that your domain name wouldn’t be potentially offensive.
When you FAIL at naming a business
When you skip this step in naming a business, you get this example that I found. It is a children’s clothing shop that was called Kid’s Exchange.
Kid’s Exchange doesn’t look bad when it is punctuated properly but when people look at the name without punctuation it could look like something way worse!
I first saw this looking for examples of bad logo design for a social media business conference I was hosting. The logo is all together with the same font and the letters are all different colors so it runs together. This made kidsexchange look more like kid sex change. From a branding point of view, this could be a very negative tick on your website & business
After you’ve gone through your list and crossed some out, rank these domain names in order of your most favorite ones to your least favorite ones. Go online and research which domain names are available without any active trademarks and also has matching availability with social media profiles.
How To Find Available Names For Domain/Social/Trademark?
This is where you may lose out on that “perfect name” so brace yourself!
There is an awesome tool that I use to check if a name is available as a domain(.com).
The cool thing about this tool is it also checks for trademarks and checks social media username availability for almost EVERY SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM.
Some of the platforms they check are:
- Instagram (currently this feature isn’t working)
- And Many More!
The tool is Knowem.com and I’ve used them for years BUT I DO NOT USE THEM FOR MY DOMAINS! Remember that this is just to check our names to see if they are available.
Understanding KnowEm.com’s Free Username Search Tool
The first thing to know is that KnowEm.com’s search tool for username availability is NOT ALWAYS RIGHT. Sometimes there are issues where the platform changes something and it shows unavailable no matter what you search. But that does not mean it isn’t one of the best tools available to us.
The tool is 100% FREE! So please take advantage of it.
Once you are on the website all you need to do is put in your desired name in the search bar and click on “Check It” (They may update the name of the button but it should be self-explanatory.)
This will bring up a page similar to the image below.
Don’t get overwhelmed! :)
We have three categories to check. The biggest problem is the level of importance is backward on KnowEm.
The most important thing that you should check, in my opinion, is the “Trademark Availability”. This section is towards the bottom of the page. Trust me, it is worth the extra scroll to check this first. Even if the domain and social media sites are available if someone has the trademark then you need to completely move onto something new.
After you check the trademark and it shows it is available, now it’s time to check the domains.
Check For Domain Availability
I recommend that you look at the (.com) domain the same way you do a trademark. If someone else is using the .com, find something new.
I say this because, after years and years of programming, most people will automatically type in a .com. If you want a .org for your non-profit or think yourname.yeah would be fun to have, you can get it but I would recommend building the website on the .com domain. You can always redirect a domain later.
***DON’T REGISTER THE DOMAIN YET*** We still have more to do!
Checking Social Media Username Availability
Before you freak out, you don’t need to be on every social media platform. If you click on the “Social Networks” tab on Knowem.com to search other platforms besides what it checks on the home page, you may find it easy to be overwhelmed. Don’t Be!
There are a lot of different social media sites/apps. But you DO NOT HAVE TO BE ON EVERY PLATFORM. Just focus on the main platforms.
That being said, I’d currently consider those:
- Instagram (Currently isn’t checking availability on KnowEm)
Once you have found a name that you really like, that’s available on social media, for your domain (.com) & isn’t trademarked, make sure that no one else is using a similar name for something dishonest, spammy or offensive.
While this might seem like a very boring task, you don’t want your website confused with a similar website that’s not ethical. Even if you aren’t associated with them, it doesn’t mean people won’t automatically think about them when they visit your website.
NOTE: While you may want to use different extensions I highly recommend that you ONLY MOVE FORWARD WHEN YOU FIND A .COM. If you want to use a .net .org or one of the fun extensions such as .yeah, you can. But, you would be better getting the .com and building your website there then forward the other domain(s) to your main website