What’s In A Name? Startups: How To Name Your Business

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Name tagWhy did we choose the name We Rock Your Web for our website? We went back and forth for a long time between this name and many more creative possibilities (Wild Web Tamer anyone? Or Wild Web Wizard? 😉 ). And for those that don’t know, this website grew out of a web development outfit called Contract Web Development (yawn, that’s as boring and straightforward as it gets right?).

But we’ll show you there’s a place for both creative as well as straightforward names, depending on your niche.

Should I Use A Creative Or Straightforward Name?

The problem with any business name these days is that, unless your name is really creative and unique, the odds are slim that you’ll find a .com domain of your business name available. Read our guide on how to buy a domain name, the knowledge will come in handy as you brainstorm your business name.

Why did we opt for a new creative name (We Rock Your Web) over our former name Contract Web Development? The primary reason is that the nature of our business has changed – we don’t develop websites anymore (we now publish B2B content and how-to guides and reviews). But the reason we didn’t switch to a straightforward name is we were unable to secure a .com name from our short list.

Creative Name – Pros and Cons

The advantages to a creative name are:

  • It’s catchy and can peak people’s interest when they first hear it.
  • It can be easy to remember (as long as it’s not too wacky).
  • Both of the above support branding power.

However, there are some disadvantages as well:

  • It may be more difficult to discern from the creative name what the business is about (ie. Web Catcher or Web Spinner – are they about the world wide web or about spiders and webs?).
  • For branding power to be successful you need to have a large budget capable of promoting the brand.
  • The way search engines have evolved, keywords in the domain name are less important than they used to be.

Straightforward Name – Pros and Cons

Here are some advantages of a straightforward name:

  • It speaks directly to what your business is and does.
  • Since it’s direct and simple it can also be easy to remember.
  • It won’t be confused with other names or functions.
  • It doesn’t require a large budget to promote.
  • If the name is a keyphrase with high search popularity it can lead to type-in traffic (keywords and visitors type your name directly into their browser’s address bar), as well as high search rankings for that particular phrase, especially if you are engaged in local SEO efforts.

The disadvantages to a straightforward name:

  • The lack of creativity may bore some.
  • Your name may be more difficult to remember in the long run because of its generic properties.
  • High-powered branded names may be more recognizable than yours.

The Bottom Line

From my experience working with companies that have names ranging from the ultra-creative (how about I Just Picked a Boogie Now What) to ultra straightforward (Roofing Materials, Inc.), both can be very successful in the long run. People have asked me if it’s a good idea to start out with a straightforward name and later change it to a creative one as branding budgets expand.

My advice would be to spend the time and resources to get the name right the first time if possible. The cost of rebranding your name may well outweigh the benefits reaped from the new, more creative name. Once people get to know you and your company the name will play less of a role. It’s especially important in grabbing first-time customers. It’s then up to you and your marketing efforts to turn them into repeat customers.

What Business Names Are You Considering?

Want some feedback on potential business names? Feel free to post them below and I’ll give you my two cents, for what it’s worth. Also post any questions or comments you may have.

Important: if you have not secured the corresponding domain name(s) for your business name(s), please do so before commenting below. If you’re not sure how to register your domain name, our guide on domain registrars is here to help.

About The Author:

Alex bring a series of in-depth articles on search marketing and content management systems as well as troubleshooting tips to We Rock Your Web's collection. He is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs, Bella and Lily.

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Stevie G
I’m trying to decide “how long is too long” for my business name. I haven’t secured the domains so I’m going to give a generic example. Would you go with option 1, 2 or 3 below Alex?
1) BestBW.com
2) BestBlueWidgets.com
3) TheBBW.com