Avoid looking weird (unless you're weird)
These days, pretty much every business owner wants a great domain for their business, for reasons that are obvious and hardly need spelling out.
The .com domain is still number one for building a brand
In an ideal world we’d all get ourselves a nice, short dot com address. By some historical quirk of the internet, a .com sends out a signal that if you own the .com YOUR company is THE version of that name. So while there are other companies called Amazon out there, there’s only one Amazon.com. With a .com, you’re the daddy.
The trouble is, this objective can lead to choosing a business name just because the .com domain is available – particularly tempting for startups. And sometimes the only way you can find an available domain is with a funky two-word portmanteau like CloudHipsta.com; a quirky latin-effect name like Convolutia.com; or a synthetic-but-kinda-relevant name like Flowlyo.com. And they can get a lot worse than these examples.
In other words, allowing the domain-name cart to lead the business-name horse can take you to some weird stuff – which is OK if the business is weird …but most aren’t. (And don’t confuse ‘weird’ with ‘engaging’; you want to get noticed and remembered for the right reasons.)
Not all business names are created equal
In principle, portmanteaux, latinate or synthetic words can make great brand names – but you have to know what you’re doing to create them, and choose carefully if you’re buying one.
Whilst branding experts should be able to spot the names with genuine brand potential among the un-brandable nonsense, I think most business owners can also tell instinctively when a name isn’t quite right for them.
So, if you are taking a ‘domain-first’ approach to naming a business, you still need to answer a few basic branding questions to identify if a name is any good for you, for example: Is the name appropriate for my market? Does it make my business sound credible? Does it sound OK when I say it over the phone? Do I actually like it, and feel comfortable with it?
Don’t let that aching desire for a .com address lead you astray; the name has to hit all the brand buttons too.