One of the first things that we normally do when we want to start a business is to give it a name. Great, but before you begin you have to know all the different names. There’s a domain name, company name, brand name, social media names and App names (iOS and Android). In the simplest scenario, we just make them all the same, but depending on what you choose, it may not always be available for all of them.
What’s a Domain Name?
Domain name is basically the name of your website address. Back in the early internet days, it’s basically anything that begins with a www. and ends with a .com. The www.brandname.com is also known as your ‘url’.
Domain Name is Your Brand
Why is domain name so important? For most products and services, the domain name is pretty much your brand name. What do people do these days if they want to find you? They google you. So if you are selling some clothes in a physical store but don’t have online presence, you are losing a huge potential in branding. In general, the url is one of the first things that get indexed by google so it’s great if your url is your brand name.
Brand Name is More Important Than Your Company Name
Brand name is what will people will remember your products and services by. If you look at name cards, the brand name is usually most prominent and occupy the largest space in the card. The company name, which is of little interest to most people usually sits in small black fonts below. Let’s say your brand name is Funky Dresses, a www.funkydresses.com url would be great. The company name can be anything like The Funky Fashion Company, but it doesn’t really matter. Other than using the name in legal contracts and bank accounts, company name is not a big deal.
Get Your Domain Name First!
Usually, the shorter the domain name the better they are as it is easier for people to remember. However, these days nice and short domain names are getting harder and harder to come by. This is made worse by squatters, who basically buy a ton of domain names and try to sell them to a business that is willing to pay big money for it. Therefore, it is essential that you make sure your domain name is available before settling on a brand name. Yes, you could potentially use a different domain name other than your brand name, but marketing it becomes a lot more difficult as you have to keep explaining why your url is not the same.
Fortunately, more and more new extensions are being made available. For example, .co, .io, .net, org, .sg etc. Short ones are always good and if your business is focused in a single country, geo targeting domain names can be a good way as well. For example, .sg for Singapore or .my for Malaysia. I will cover domain name strategies another time but it is super important to make sure you have your brand available and once you are happy with it, buy it!
These days, having the website will not be enough. You will need a social presence as well if you want to engage your customers. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn are all great platforms which excel in different areas. Again, having your brand name as the Page Name and social url is ideal. Social url is basically like Facebook.com/FunkyDress and while it’s free, no two person can have the same url. So it’s not great marketing if you can’t get it and you have to call it something like Facebook.com/FunkyDress243.
So in short, when you are thinking of a name for your business, you should start by
1. Checking Domain Name Availability
2. Checking Facebook Url and Pagename Availability
3. Checking Company Name – not really that important but it shouldn’t be too far off.