When it comes to starting a new business or brand, it can be hard to know where to start. From coming up with a name, creating an online presence, trademarking, and more, taking the time to research and secure a business name for your business and brand can seem like a time-consuming and complex process. Luckily, there are a variety of helpful tools on the web to help you out!
In this post, we will cover:
- 3 Steps to Research Your Business Name
- 5 Steps to Securing Your Brand
- Quick Links
3 Steps to Research Your Business Name
First things first; research, research, and research some more! Thorough research will save you buckets of time and money down the road. Here are 3 steps you need to take before deciding on a new business name:
1. Find A Name
One of the first things you can do to start your research is to use an online business name generator to help you to come up with name ideas for your business or brand. A simple search of “business name generator” in Google will provide you with an abundance of online name generators. We recommend steering clear of online sites like GoDaddy, Wix, Shopify, and Squarespace name generators. While these sites can help you with your research, they often will simply advertise their products and services to you.
Check out these online business name generators to get started on your research!
2. Find Domains and Social Media Accounts
After you’ve found a business name, the next step is to find a website domain that you can secure, as well as social media accounts and handles that you can use.
Matching your web domain with your social media handles is a great way to develop brand consistency across all marketing channels and helps your audience to remember and engage with your brand. Brand cohesiveness builds trust and trust is one of the core tenants of marketing.
Bob Burg, a networking and referral expert and author of “Endless Referrals”, is famous for his quote “All things being equal, people do business with, and refer business to people they know, like and trust.” So always, do everything you can in your business to build that “know, like and trust” factor.
An online site like namechk.com can help you find domains and social media handles that are available to use. You can also check to see if usernames are available on specific social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and WordPress, as well as other web platforms like Etsy, Medium, Canva, and more!
Ideally, you want the.com extension of a domain, unless you’re a non-profit, in which case the .org version makes more sense.
3. Check Trademarks
Once you’ve found an available domain name and some social media handles, look up your chosen names in your local trademark databases. In the US, check the US Trademark database to check if there are any registered trademarks for the domain or social media handles that you’ve picked out. If there is a trademark on one of them, revisit steps 1 and 2.
Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you find the perfect name for your business! Then move on to Securing Your Brand.
5 Steps to Securing Your Brand
In order to protect your business and brand from squatters who might compromise your good name or even just from an unsuspecting business owner who don’t realize you own that business name already, it’s imperative to lock down and secure your brand as soon as possible. Here are five steps:
1. Purchase Your Domain(s)
If you have an available domain that hasn’t been trademarked, the next step is to purchase that website domain. This can be done through many different domain registrars, but we recommend Google Domains since it is an easy-to-use online system that provides free privacy protection for you and your business.
Bonus Tip! Purchase commonly misspelled versions of your domain name as well as other common extensions. People often mistype or misspell business or brand names and owning common misspellings of your domain will allow you to link and redirect users to your correct domain.
2. Create your Online Brand
Once you’ve purchased your site domain, it’s time to begin creating your online presence. You’ll want to make sure that you create accounts on all the major social media platforms to help you nail down your brand. Even if you don’t plan to use all of the platforms in your social media strategy, it’s better to have options available that you can pick from early on, rather than having to backtrack and create a social media account after your business and brand are already established. And most importantly, it will prevent others from squatting on your social media too!
3. Consider Trademarking
Remember when you checked the trademark systems to see if there were any trademarks on possible domain and business names? It might be a good idea to trademark your business/brand name for future use. If you’re in the US, check out uspto.gov/trademarks/basics/trademark-process find more information on the US Trademark process, and don’t forget to hire a business lawyer.
4. Set up Social Listening
Once you’ve created your website and social media accounts, you’ll want to keep tabs on how your online presence is doing. Social listening allows you to monitor your brand and the activity it generates with your target audience. Platforms like Google Alerts and SEMRush are both helpful online tools that you can use to monitor your brand on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
5. Search Your Brand Name Regularly
Even after you’ve started to create your business and brand’s reputation and set up social listening, it’s important that you search your brand name on Google and other search engines regularly. This is to make sure that no one has brought ads on your brand name. If your brand is trademarked and you find that another brand or business has bought ads on your brand name, you may be able to pursue legal action. You can find out more about competitor targeting at Adespresso Competitor Targeting.
Starting a new brand or business doesn’t have to be complex. While there are a number of steps that you need to take to find and secure a domain and brand name, the web has a wide range of online tools that you can use to make the process easier.
If you’re in need of assistance with researching a brand/business name, securing a domain, and creating an online presence for your business, Virtually Nat is here to help! Book a complimentary, no-obligation discovery call with us at virtuallynat.com/chat to see if we’re a good fit.