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How to Pick an Online Business Name

Gary Stevens — Last Updated on May 19, 2021

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If you’re thinking about starting an online business, you’re likely preoccupied with the products, website design, and business plan. However, you can’t underestimate the importance of your business’ name. While it may seem like something you can put off, business names can significantly impact the success of your business.

The name you end up choosing will define your brand and your products, and it will influence potential customers’ perceptions of your business. Follow these rules to pick the perfect name for your online business.

Choosing a Proper Name

Avoid Hard-to-Pronounce Names

As a soon-to-be business owner, you want people to know your business’ name. You want people to talk about your business and spread awareness, so you can bring in new customers through word of mouth. However, you can’t expect that to happen if your business’ name is hard to pronounce.

When you’re doing your initial brainstorming for names, come up with names that are easy to pronounce. Think about some of the most well-known brands around the world—Apple, Spotify, Nike, Google, Amazon. All of those names are easy to pronounce which leads to the spread of their brands.

Avoid Hard-To-Spell Names

Staying on the same topic as the previous tip, make sure your name is easy to spell. Using the same example as mentioned above, all of those are easy to spell.

And just like spreading awareness through word of mouth, with a simple-to-write business name, you can see your brand spreading through social media posts, text messages, and similar communication means.

After all, how would you like it if you saw your brand name consistently misspelled on social media? You probably wouldn’t. Play it safe and make your business name simple to spell.

Be Descriptive

pens and paperWhile many of the most successful brands have vague names‑ Google, Apple, Amazon—it’s a good idea to find a more descriptive name. As you’re starting an online business, you have an uphill battle to climb.

If someone sees your name through a Google search, it helps them to have an idea about what your website sells or provides.

With a descriptive name, you’ll be more likely to bring visitors to your site that otherwise may not have visited it. To be descriptive, you can incorporate keywords that hint at what your business does or provides.

For example, if you’re going to start an online business for web design and development, creating a name like “Cutting Edge Design” gives visitors a great hint of what your business does.

Avoid Overly Specific Names

While it is advantageous to have a name that tells potential customers what your brand is about, you can go too far. Thus, you need to be careful about how specific your name is. The reason overly specific names are potentially damaging is because they can limit your brand down the line.

For instance, imagine you sold exercise clothing products, and that you initially targeted only men. If you were to name your online business something along the lines of “Best Men’s Athletic Wear” then you could never get out of men’s athletic wear. If you wanted to expand your business, you would likely need to start a separate business that is associated with your first.

Rather, you should opt for something slightly more general while remaining in the middle ground of specificity like “Best Online Athletic Wear”. Doing so will allow you the opportunity to expand to children’s and women’s athletic wear.

Try to Find Something Catchy

In the beginning, it may seem like choosing a name is difficult because of how many options you have. After all, there are virtually endless possibilities of word combinations.

However, once you begin to narrow down possibilities with the previous criteria, you’ll find the real challenge comes with this tip—finding a catchy name.

How do you know if a name is catchy? What makes a name catchy? It’s tough to describe what a catchy name is. Rather, take inspiration from other popular brand names.

Again, go back to the popular brands such as Apple and Google. The names are easy to say, spell, and roll off the tongue. While they don’t relate to the products, they don’t need to. The names are catchy.

Be Creative and Unique

Starting a business is all about being unique. You can’t copy another online business’s products, website, and business model. You have to set yourself apart from the competition, and that requires creativity.

To create a solid online business name, be creative and try to find a name that will stand out—a name that makes a good impression on your friends, coworkers, and family. Similarly, avoid the tradition of using your name in the business’ name. While that method may work for a small grocery store in your hometown, it won’t work for an online business.

Brainstorm with Others

If you’re starting an online business with partners, you should all brainstorm names together. Sometimes, you may think you have a creative, easy-to-pronounce name, but other people think otherwise.

Even if you’re starting your online business solo, you can recruit help from friends and family. A collective brainstorming session is much more creative and powerful than one mind alone.

Narrow Down Your Options and Sleep on Them

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There will come a point where you’ve begun to narrow down some options. If you’ve made it here, congratulations! You’ve made great progress, but you aren’t at the finish line yet. It’s a good idea to take a few names and sleep on them.

For example, you could take 5 names and after a night of rest, narrow it down to two or three. For the next steps of the process, you want to keep a few names as options as your personal choice of name isn’t the only piece of the puzzle.

Test the Names

Now that you’ve narrowed down your options, you need to see what some people think. Consider creating a quick online survey and putting it out there on a personal social media profile.

Additionally, you should seek opinions from your family and friends.

While you don’t need to go with what the majority of people say, it’s a good idea to get an understanding of the publics’ opinion of the names. For example, maybe the most picked name isn’t your favorite, or maybe some people criticized your favorite name. You can take constructive criticism and use it to alter your name for the better.

Technical Side

Make Sure Your Business Name is Available

Before you start making a website with your business’ name displayed, you need to make sure that your name is available for use. Through a quick Google search, you may be able to figure out if it is or not. However, if you’re located in Canada, consider using some official domain registries to see if your name is already taken.

Find a Domain

buy domain nameIf all is good up to now, you’re just about there! However, before you register your name and pay any associated fees, you should make sure you can get the domain name that you want.

For most online businesses, it’s best to go with a domain name that ends in “.com” rather than the alternatives like “.net”, “.org”, or something else.

If you can’t find a domain name that matches your business name, you can use abbreviations or a shortened version of the name. As long as your name was unique, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding a domain name that suits your chosen business name.

Register Your Online Business Name

The last step of the process is to make your business official.

You must register your online business’ name with the Canadian government. Check out this link to find all the necessary information, resources, and related links, so you can make your online business official.

Wrapping it up

The process of selecting a name is not something that can be done in a single setting. You need to put care and quality thought into your business’ name.

In the end, as long as you follow the above tips and steps, you’ll come out with the perfect name to build your business and establish your brand.

The next steps are to find the best web hosting, eCommerce site, Cloud Hosting or a website builder. Only then will you have the finished product!  

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