Choosing a business name

Choosing a business name

One of the toughest things when starting a new business, is deciding on a name. It is not as simple as you may at first think.

Location, location, location

When it came to choosing a name for South Downs Web, +Malcolm Oakley and I had a lengthy discussion about the merits of including the location in the business name.

First of all, why would you want to include your location? Well, for small businesses including the place where you operate is vital for connecting with the people that live there. It gives them and you a shared empathy for the place.

It also helps when thinking in terms of search engine results. If your website’s URL and site title include a location keyword, that will help with local searches. The URL and site title are only two ranking signals out of hundreds, but it would be silly to ignore them right?

So, what if we had called our business Storrington Web? It would have been great for local searches on Google and Bing… but only in Storrington. What if we moved to a different town, or wanted our business to appear relevant to other locations? Suddenly Storrington Web doesn’t sound like such a good name to use.

For us, South Downs suited our needs. It is a geographic location, but it is broad enough to encompass a wide area. It is also a well known location, so people not living in the area are likely to have heard of it too.

Going back to local searches. It is more than just the location name that is important. Google+ Local, page titles, page content… they all add to the mix. Choose a business name that is right for your business and goals and be aware of the implications to search results.

Acronyms and funny website addresses

You have settled on a name and all is good. Is it though? When thinking about brand, you must consider what people will do with the name. For instance, South Downs Web can easily be shortened to SDW. Nothing wrong there.

What about this great example from the BBC sit com ‘Only Fools and Horses.’

Ahem. It just goes to show you have to careful or you may end up looking like a Trotter’s Independent Traders.

The same goes for the website URL as well. Pay attention to the words you are using and any abbreviations or concatenation that may come about. For instance, Pen Island sell pens. Lots of pens. Pens galore. The problem is… their web address.

http://www.penisland.net/

Ask others

One final word of advice when considering a business name. Ask your friends, family and colleagues what they think. Often they will (gladly and with much laughter) point out the obvious acronyms and silly connotations to names you have picked. If in doubt, you can ask us too.

By Alan Stainer

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