Some founders agonize over the name of their company and pay big bucks to purchase the domain name. Save yourself lots of time and money because it doesn't matter. At least not the way you might think it matters.
The best names start without any meaning at all. Brand names become recognizable because we make them mean something. Two startups I worked with provide good examples; AltaVista and Napster. These words had no real meaning before we started using them, but became some of the most memorable and recognizable names and logos of that time.
Google, Yahoo, Zappos, and Cisco are further examples of words that didn't mean anything until they made them mean something. That is a good thing because you don't want to confuse the marketplace with a common, well known name that already has a meaning. It is really hard to overcome preconceived meanings.
You also don't want to confuse the search engines, or rank poorly for your own name. Lets say you have a cool new startup focusing on fixing the problems of multiple calendar management. You are convinced Calendar Management is the best name for your company, but you discover that someone already owns the domain name www.CalendarManagement.com Undeterred, you offer $100,000 for the domain name. But, the owner wants more...they want 2% equity in your company too. Don't laugh...I have seen this happen many times. Don't fall for this.
Here is the problem. Do a search for Calendar Management. I got about 1.2M results. Every company that is doing anything remotely close to calendars or management has loaded their web pages with key words and applied SEO magic to rank highly for those words. The advertisers have also bid up those keywords to very high prices in order to get their ads in front of anyone searching for those terms. So, how do you think your new little startup is going rank against this kind of competition?
Company names should follow a few basic rules;
- Memorable - the name should be easy to remember, and not confused with anything else.
- Easy to spell - removing vowels or doubling letters is not a good idea
- Short - Try to keep it to 10 letters or less.
- Non generic - calendar management is way too generic
A great logo is really important. In this age of cell phone apps, a tiny logo is the face of your app and company. The association of the logo to your name and to the product is what great marketing is all about. Spend quality time on designing your logo.
Pick a unique name that doesn't mean anything, is memorable, easy to spell, and short as possible. Then design a great logo to go with your name. Don't overpay for domain names. Once a user visits your site one time the browser cache remembers the name and will auto-complete it after the first few letters...or teh user will bookmark it. So, in the end...the URL doesn't really matter.
And, BTW, CalendarManagement.com is held by a domain name squatter just waiting for some sucker to come along and offer big bucks for it. Domain name squatters are down there with patent trolls in my book. They add no value and take money from suckers. Don't be one.
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