With the clutter on the web increasing everyday, building a memorable brand starts with your name, and to help you get started on naming your business we reached out to the professional naming experts behind the naming company BrandBucket. We’ve had the pleasure in working with them on our own name, when we opted to buy wazala.com from them a few years back.
BrandBucket is a marketplace for brandable .com business names, (think Google, Yahoo and Pinterest). They help startups and entrepreneurs find the perfect name for their venture quickly and easily by being able to pick from a list and complete the transaction immediately. They also offer great advice on how to choose a business name, let’s dive into some of their suggestions.
Top Level Domain
This is the extension of your domain name – .com, .net, .org etc. – It is important to choose one that reflects your business. Non profits would gain from a .org extension, but country specific domains like .com.uk may limit your search visibility and imply you only do business in the UK. The .com is the most common, a customer would type it in without double checking and usually it implies you were there first. Another extension might suggest, you were late to the game.
The length of the name (4, 5 or 6 letters) helps memorability as the name gets shorter. Shorter names are easier to type, and remember, but you should also consider the number of syllables in each word. Again, the less the better.
A name may be easy for you to pronounce, but can your colleagues, friends and customers? A great way to test this is to email the name to a friend and ask them to call you and pronounce it. Another thing to keep in mind is how other languages may pronounce it. A “J” in English is pronounced differently in Spanish, so do consider all pronunciations especially if you sell internationally.
How many alternate ways can it be spelled as? There really should be one way to spell your name, and confusing customers with spelling alternatives may lead you to lose them if they search for you. Example: Catherine’s Jewelry, with Katherine’s Jewelry.
Naming your brand to be similar to others is a total no-no! You should consider how you will brand your own identity, and a unique name that is not used in your industry or mimics others will help in the long run.
Other suggestions BrandBucket mentions are: Longevity, industry match, dictionary words, first alphabet, and general retention. They dive into this in their naming a business advice blog with real life examples.
I found a name, now what?
Once you decide on a name or a few to consider, BrandBucket advises to do a trademark search. Start out with your own Google search and domain search using a WHOIS service. Keep in mind that if the name you like is trademarked, as long as the trademark is for a type of business outside of your industry you can still use (and trademark) the name. For example, Apple Plumbing Supplies can trademark their business name because they do something different than Apple Computers.
Once that checks-out, you can use a trademark search tool like the United States Trademark Electronic Search System, that will show any existing trademarks in your country. Though this does help, the only way to be certain for sure is to hire a trademark firm to help out or an attorney to take on the entire process for you and register your new name. This is a sound investment to make sure you’re protected.
Using your custom domain name with Wazala
Once you have your custom domain name, you can configure it to your store. This is called a custom domain mapping and is available to all Wazala subscribers. It allows you to set up your Wazala URL MyStore.wazala.com to be Store.MyDomain.com. This is great to keep users on your website within your own domain and browse your online store.