Naming a business or a brand is important for a business. A business name which picks a memorable name gets registered in the minds of the users. A well-chosen brand name can deliver trust, promise, and relevance to its customers and prospects.
For offline retail, a quirky name can become a local landmark and a hangout place which bring in more customers by the day. For an online business, the domain name is the brand identity.
People associate your brand with the domain name and the same should and will be used in all your marketing campaigns.
However, when it comes to an online store the number of factors which influences naming and customer’s reaction to it changes. By end of this guide, you will see how to take into account each of these factors and decide on a profitable name for your store.
Before your start know this
Brand Personality – Branding is an inside-out approach. It is about YOU and YOUR values being reflected in every aspect of your activity including naming, logo, design, service, marketing, culture, and values. Before you name your brand it is important to list your brand personality. Once you are clear about what YOU are, it will be easy to shortlist the right names which reflect your brand than shooting in the dark.
- Is your company more Personal or Formal?
- Are the products your company represents premium or inexpensive?
- Is it gender specific?
- If your brand was a person what would be its age?
- What is the most important thing you deliver? Transparency? Steadfastness? On-Time Delivery?
Once you answer these questions you will get a brief on what kind of brand names you have to stick to. Knowing this is important as a mismatch of brand personality and naming can result in loss of trust. Imagine an office stationary supplier naming his company www.funkystuff101.com. Being in touch with your brand personality is an important aspect of deciding on a name.
Branding – If you go this way your online store URL will be the format www.<brand-name>.com. A brand name is an option taken by most big online and offline commerce players have taken. This approach relies on the brand recall in the mind of the customer. Using brand names as the online store name is good if your brand has a strong recall among an audience or you have heavy branding campaigns planned in the future. You can come up with multiple brand name ideas using the below ideas
- Sell to their need – When you sell to their desire people will immediately associate your brand with your product. In this scenario, you will be using a brand name which specifically appeals to the users need. Example of modern-day brands using this ……. DirectTV, Diet Coke, Forever 21, 24 Hour Fitness Centre, Rent the runway
- Empathize with the Problem – Unlike “Sell to their need” empathizing with a problem is in which the brand name is centered around customer’s pain point. Example: Repair Clinic
- MishMash – List all your product or company features. Pick two or three words and club it into a single word. Example: LilGadgets
- Tweak or Add – Pick a single word your brand wants to stand for. Add or remove letters from the word. You can remove the vowel or add an extra letter to make it sound cool. Example: Tumblr, Quikr
- Use a Suffix or Prefix – Using a Suffix or Prefix after the brand name gives character to the brand name. Example; Poketo, Cropp, Lipsy
- Local Lingo – If you are targeting a local market or a market in which people speaking in a certain language then using a local lingo or dialect for your brand name can give a tribe like feeling to the user. Example: Chumbak
- Will it stick? – Spell the word out loud. How does it sound? Does it rhyme? Is it phonetically succinct? The way it sounds in the customers head determines how well the brand will be remembered. Examples: Yoox, Gaiam
- Use a personal or family name – If you are selling something which needs a lot of trusts then using a family name could work in your favor. Example: MarrieCatRibs
Discovery – The chances of discovery on search engines like Google go up when you use industry keywords in your domain name. Although the keyword in domain helps, Google prefers and promotes trusted brands over keyword rich domains in its search results page. Going the exact match domain route is not advised if your product line has multiple verticals and if you are looking to build a long-term brand. However, you can use niche keywords and pair it along with a brand name in order to have an impact which helps both the brand and search engine discovery.
Examples: Sisuguard.com, HippieButter.com, Gobag.co
Keyword research – You can use a variety of keyword tools to find the right keywords which should go into your domain name. If you are selling ‘vintage hats’ then a quick search for it in keywordtool.io will give you an idea of what people are looking for in hats. It is also possible that your audience uses a different word for vintage. Look up the thesaurus and see which other synonyms could be searched for by people.
Optimize for both brand and discovery – By using a domain which includes a brandable term and a product name will help you reap the benefits of both the search engines and branding. Brands names like BulbulWatches, PurgoTea, DodoCase, and SoloStove are good examples o a combination of a “searchable keyword +Brandable name”.
If you already have an established retail brand – If you have an established retail brand offline in multiple locations and want to add online store as an added convenience to your current customers then it is suggested that you choose a domain which is the exact same as your offline store or something close. This will prevent confusion in your existing customers and strengthens the brand for both offline and online presence.
Things To Remember
- As short as possible – Short names are easy to remember. It is easy to remember 2 words at best and three words at worst.
- Easy to type – Domain names which have words with difficult spelling can eat up your direct traffic. Users in spite of remembering your brand name might have to stumble across multiple ways to reach your website.
- Unique – See how you can differentiate from your competition. What is your USP?
- Should define what your business does – If you did your first exercise of knowing your brand personality right you will have the essence of your brand in each of your shortlisted ideas.
- Choose the right TLDs – Use .com or a country TLD. You can even use .store or .shop TLDs to stand away from the crowd. But bear in mind that users usually remember your brand name and might enter it in the browser with a .com as suffix leading to lost traffic.
- Don’t violate trademarks – Don’t use domains names which have other organization’s name in it. This might lead to lawsuits and legal hassles in the future taking your time away from running the business.
- Say no to hyphens and numbers – People forget numbers and hyphens. A brand with a number in it doesn’t necessarily sound good.
- Think Long Term – Choosing a domain name is an important step. One should research and test the validity of each idea before choosing one. Starting an online store on a wrong domain name today will need you to change server name pointing and URL redirects which could lead to temporary hiccups in website traffic and sales.
- Check if the name has all social media accounts available – Use name check tool for this purpose. Also, buy all top TLDs for the brand name. The top TLDs are usually are .com, .net, .org and your most popular country(target market) TLD. This is to protect yourself from future brand jacking from competitors.