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Choosing A Company Name For The Web

5th July 2011
If you’ve ever had to name a child, or even a family pet, you’ll know that it can often take time and a lot of soul searching to find a suitable name that your offspring or loveable animal will have to live with for the rest of their life.

If you thought that was tricky, try finding a suitable title for your company in the ever-crowding online market!

Deciding on a name for your business startup or first foray into online trade can be a difficult process. There are trademark issues to consider, involving a spot of research with Companies House, and gone are the days when you could simply thumb through your local copy of the Yellow Pages and make sure your chosen title hasn’t already fallen into the hands of a competitor – the internet has nationalised and globalised to such an extent that you’re going to have to spend a bit of time browsing the search engines to ensure that someone hasn’t enjoyed the same flash of inspiration much earlier than you.

Some of our very own clients have chosen some simple but effective names which clearly state their purpose – and are perfect for SEO reasons as they so closely match the type of terms that a member of the public would type into a search engine in order to find their particular service. We can cite sites such as HarbourGuides.com, CoachBookings.com and WhatARubbishCompany.co.uk as good examples of this practice.

Each of the aforementioned sites can be found at the top end of Google’s search results when you type in the relevant phrases (normally anywhere in the top three – and regularly top – on any given day), meaning good traffic and great credibility.

Devto know where to look to take all of the fuss out of searching for the perfect company name, utilising some of the handy tools that the web provides to search for available domains and potentially suggest credible alternatives if your chosen moniker has already been snapped up.
ElefantBeware! Search engines can over-ride results for your brand name.
Simply tell us who you are, what you do, and what you’d ideally like us to work into your URL, and we’ll come up with a selection of suggestions to ensure that you’re well placed for search success. We’ll also tell you what to avoid in order to prevent having to fork out pricey sums to wrestle your dream URL from an existing owner. Titles like ForkLiftTrucks.co.uk and BeanBags.co.uk are long gone, even if they don’t appear to be used constructively, so you have to carefully choose the best identity for your product. If you’re thinking of creating a backpacking holiday booker called Amazon, we’ll definitely warn you off!

Of course, there will always be examples of very unique names that can easily be sourced – see Warbreck.co.uk or Telsolutions.co.uk – but some of our clients with striking names of their own have gone down the path of simplification for search success. Halsall Toys International chose CommercialWarehouseStorage.co.uk to highlight the particular line of service and Nakita Yacht Charters became YachtChartersMajorca.co.uk for their online guise, in order to pick up specific local traffic, recognising the strength of going for a name that matches the volume of search queries instead of being precious about their own identity, which can be worked strongly into the site anyway.

You also have to be careful to consider if your name is too broad. As great as it may be to own cheese.co.uk, it’s not a cast iron guarantee that you’ll be up there with the big hitters, with such a crowded marketplace. Indeed, at the time of penning this article, the site – despite being fully functional – was nowhere to be seen in Google’s estimations.

A large reason for this is the cost of competing for pay-per-click advertising for your chosen search term if your site isn’t going to hit the top organically, and certainly, in the case of cheese, competition will be great. Aim for a slightly more specific target – e.g. Lancashire cheese – and suddenly your costs and targeted traffic will become a lot more cost effective. CheeseFromLancashire.co.uk, for example, is a solid name that clearly states your niche product and is unlikely to get you confused with a competitor.

Finally, another key point to remember is that most search engines like to second guess you, as you’ll have found if you’ve ever mis-typed a particular phrase and been met with the response “Did you mean…”. For instance, you may have come up with the concept of a child’s elephant-shaped fan called the ‘Elefan’, but type ‘elefan’ into a search engine and it will presume that you meant ‘Elefant’, a type of tank or a New York-based indie band. Results for ‘elefan’ do exist, but you have to follow the “Search instead for elefan” link to find results for the sites that do actually refer to this term, taking you to sites about a German concept for measuring the growth of fish or people with the name Elefan on Facebook.

Be careful not to fall into the trap of choosing a catchy name that sounds like a deviant spelling, for fear of ending up having your results lost. But if anyone would like to patent the ‘Elefan’, we’ll be happy to see what we can do for you...

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