Domain Names VS Brand Names- Where to Start?
- Lately I’ve come across an odd trend in branding- branding businesses based on domain availability. From sites that generate random available business names to entrepreneurs naming their company based on whatever domain names are left to scoop up, it seems some business owners are approaching the most important element of their brand with a less than authentic approach.
Why would you base the name your business on something so meaningless? Your business name carries the bulk of the load in communicating your brand to your customers!
- It may seem, at first, like a logical approach- we’ve all experienced the frustration of your local business having to compete with global companies in the digital realm. When you’re trying to stake your claim on a domain name and you discover that your chosen brand identity is gone, it can be pretty disheartening.
- But starting the naming process in reverse- chasing domains before settling on a brand name for your biz – will lead you down the wrong path. You will likely wind up with a business name and brand identity that has nothing to do with who you are as a company, what makes you unique, or what you need to convey to your target audience.
- So what’s the solution? Name your business based on what concerns your company and your clients. Find the balance between being memorable, descriptive, authentic and unique. Brainstorm. Seek feedback. Eliminate. Get help from a brand developer, like me! But find the name that feels right to you and that your audience will respond to. And THEN do the domain search- and if you can’t find the exact .com- which you probably won’t- it’s time to get creative. You can:
Shorten your business name in the domain.
- (Shorter domains are easier to enter as well!)
Modify the domain name with a local abbreviation.
- (You can reference a city, province or state.)
Use the most popular domain modifier in your country.
- (In Canada .ca is nearly as well known as .com, and shows national pride!)
Purchase one or more of the fun new domain extensions that relate to your business (.health, . photo etc).
- (These are only going to increase in popularity, and they have the added benefit adding meaning to your brand!)
- Bottom line- your business name and domain name do NOT have to be exactly the same. If your target market is searching online for your service- other factors (such as fresh content and keywords) will be more important for SEO. And if your customers are entering your specific domain in order to see your website- they will have the link from your social media sites, business cards, packaging and other promotional material (at least they should!)
- When it comes to naming your biz- meaning matters! Don’t compromise it for a domain.
- Need help naming your new business, product or service? I’d love to help! You can learn more and follow me here.
- ~ Erica Halvorsen