Naming an Internet Business – Essentials

One of the “fun” parts of creating an online business is choosing a name for the enterprise. It’s also very serious work, because picking a name that does not fit with the company’s product, service, or philosophy will not bode well for financial success. This is a step that wise owners spend plenty of time on. There are legal, copyright and branding laws that apply in this area as well, so it pays to know the basics of choosing a name.

Rules of the ‘Name Game’

Gone are the days when company founders named the enterprise after themselves or their children. In the Internet age, shoppers tend to use search engines to find things; and that means anyone positioned with the right company name will get more visitors and eventually more customers.

There are no guarantees when it comes to finding profitable names, but most of the more profitable companies in the startup genre use some basic guidelines. For instance, it’s almost always better to use a short name rather than a long one. Shoppers and potential customers will make fewer spelling errors if a business name is short and correctly spelled.

Which leads to suggestion number two: avoid wacky, improbable spellings for a company name. Owners with unusual names sometimes fall into this trap. Keep the spelling regular and the word or words short. That way, more people will find the website and be less apt make typing errors.

When purchasing a domain name, it’s wise to purchase several of the closely-related alternate names as well. Then, when someone searches for the similar-sounding name, maybe with a tiny spelling variation, they will still be directed to the main website.

It’s also wise to think like an online shopper. When looking for appropriate company and domain names, use the auto-complete feature in Google and other search engines. Auto-complete is a powerful little marketing tool that reveals what the most popular searches are.

Sellers of gourmet cookies, for example, will find out that the most popular searches are in fact for “gourmet chocolate chip cookies,” and “gourmet chocolate cookies recipes.” This is priceless information for a business owner who sells such products. It might lead a smart cookie seller to post several recipes on the main page of the site, and include chocolate “chip” cookies as an item for sale.

Business owners need to make certain that no one else owns a name before choosing it. There are many ways to discover if a name is owned or in use. Note that just because a website or business name is not in current use does not mean it is up for grabs.

It is rather easy to discover whether a particular website name is available by searching the WHOIS database at As for learning whether a business name has been legally trademarked or reserved in some other way, it’s best to consult an attorney and make sure that the business name is available.