If you’re creating a new startup or rebranding your current company, here’s what you need to do to make sure your name is remarkable and memorable (and available!).
Brands lose out on so many visitors when people can’t find their website or social media profile because they’re spelling it wrong or can’t remember it.
If you want people to remember you and find you, here’s what you need to consider.
If You’re Starting a Brand New Company…
If you already have an established company name, you can skip down to the next section.
When coming up with a new brand name, here are some things you should consider:
1 – Keep It Short
Keep both the length of the name short, and the number of syllables short. This will make it easier to say, and nicer for email addresses. Your full company can be long, such as “Sunlight International Association,” but ensure that your primary name, “Sunlight,” is short. I like to keep primary brand names under 4 syllables and less than 12 characters.
When I was rebranding my own company, I chose SparkFlow because it’s easy to say and only 2 syllables.
2 – Avoid Numbers
Numbers in your name can get confusing, especially when it comes to your domain name. For example, if your brand was “Three Trees,” is it written “3 Trees” or “Three Trees?” And when you tell someone your website, will they remember it as “3trees.org” or “threetrees.org?”
3 – No Confusing Spelling
Try to avoid words that have multiple spellings, or that people frequently misspell. For example, is your company “Bear Goods” or “Bare Goods?” Or if your brand name is “Entrepreneur Lifestyle,” we all know how much trouble people have spelling “Entreprenuer” or “Entrepenure.”
If you can, avoid changing the spelling of a word as well, such as “Desine Group” or “Green Teknology.” There are a few successful brands that have been able to get away with it, such as “Lyft” and “Netflix,” but it is a risk and you have to have fast publicity.
How to Pick and Find a Great Website URL / Domain Name
Finding the right domain is probably one of the most important aspects of your brand – especially the online side. Changing it in the future is not recommended, so there’s a lot of pressure to pick the right one in the beginning. But it can be really hard since virtually all the common “.com” URLs are already taken.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when looking for your new URL:
1 – Keep it Short
Remember that your website domain also becomes your email address, so if your URL is “brightmindseducationalprogram.org,” people emailing you will have to type in “email@example.com.” If your ideal URL of “brightminds.org” is taken, consider abbreviating other words in your name, such as “brightmindsep.org” or “brightmindsed.org”
2 – Don’t Use Dashes
If possible, don’t use dashes. If your brand is “Dream Day Photography,” avoid making dreamday-photography.com as your URL. It doesn’t look as professional and people can easily forget the dashes.
3 – Never Use .biz
It was created to be used for businesses, but for some reason, it never got mass adoption from well-known companies. Any website that has a company.biz domain just screams amateur.
4 – Consider New TLDs
TLDs are the domain endings – you’re familiar with the common ones like .com, .org, .net. or .info. But there are hundreds of new TLDs that have been created and released in the past few years, and they could match your business perfectly. So for example, consider getting a domain like dailylift.blog, citykids.center, or greenwave.global. Take a look at some of the most popular TLDs available here.
When I rebranded my company name, I also had to find a new domain. sparkflow.com was already taken, so I opted for sparkflow.co. It’s a bit shorter and has a rhyme to it.
5 – Match Your Social Media Channels
As much as possible, try to match your domain with your social media channels – it helps to solidify your brand identity and make it easier for people to find you. So if your URL is restorebeauty.com, try to get your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram handles as @restorebeauty or @restorebeautycom.
When I picked my website domain as sparkflow.co, I wanted to make sure the social media handles @sparkflowco were all available, as you can imagine that @sparkflow was already taken on most of them.
How to Find the Ideal Social Media Usernames
Ideally, you’d want your social media username to match your website domain as much as possible. But that may be difficult and you might have to get creative, so here are some tips for finding the right social media handles for your organization.
1 – Keep Them All the Same
If you can’t find social media usernames that match your website URL, then at the very least keep all the social media channels the sync. Avoid have different usernames on different channels, such as facebook.com/redbrickagency, twitter.com/redbrick, and instagram.com/rbagency. Experiment with different versions until you can find one that is available across all channels.
2 – Claim Them All
I usually don’t advise marketing on more than 2 or 3 social media channels, especially if you’re just starting out. But it’s good to claim them all. You may have the capacity to manage them in the future, or want to shift focus to a different channel, and it would be a shame if it ended up being taken. So even if you don’t plan on using LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, or Snapchat now, just reserve it, put up some basic info, and leave it.
I’ve claimed “sparkflowco” on most of the platforms I can think of, even though I currently only actively market on Facebook and Twitter.
3 – Avoid Dots, Dashes and Underscores
Sometimes you may be feel like you have to use one of these symbols because all of your usernames are already taken. But avoid this because different social media platforms accept different characters, so using a dash on one may not be possible on another, causing you to have different handles on different channels. It can also be hard to remember (for others and yourself) which channel had the dash, which one used the dot, or which one had the exclamation mark.
Where to Find the Best Domains & Social Media Usernames
It would be really tedious to go to each social media channel to check if the username is available, and then crosscheck it with a domain name. But luckily, there are tools that will check a username and URL across multiple channels for you and show you which are available.
Any one of these will work:
Whether you’re starting a new business or just rebranding an existing company, it’s important to find a website URL and social media usernames that are simple, memorable, and consistent.
I’m a web designer, marketing consultant, and the creator of this site. You’ll find me reading in coffee shops or snowboarding down mountains.