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How To Choose a Name for Your Design Agency

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Coming up with the perfect name for your business might just be the hardest part of starting up a web design company. You’ll come up with so many great names, but only to realize they’ve already been taken by someone else. To make things worse, you also have to pick a name with an available domain name and one that doesn’t infringe on any copyrights or trademarks.

This difficult process often makes people settle for less and go with any name available. That’s the one thing you should never do when starting your design company. Your company name is the first thing your customers see when they visit your website, it’s how they recognize your work, and how they will refer to you when talking about your company.

Even the smallest mistake you make when choosing your company name could actually make or break your business. When Colgate first launched toothpaste in France named “Cue”, they had no idea that there was a French adult magazine of the same name! Not a great thing to find out after you’ve launched. To avoid making mistakes like that, here are few tips that will help you find a killer name for your new web design company.

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Consider Your Target Audience

Different words mean different things in most languages. If your target audience is local businesses, you can freely choose a name that will appeal to your locals. However, if you’re planning on reaching an international audience with your design business, you should be extra careful when choosing your name. Make sure that your name doesn’t translate into something different in other languages.

Back in the 70’s, Ford had a tough time promoting its Pinto car in Brazil because the name actually translated as “tiny male genitals” in Brazilian Portuguese. Remember not to come up with a name like that! Do your research up-front, and save any embarrassment later.

Make It Creative And Memorable

Using initials as a name for a design company rarely works. Can you even imagine how ridiculous it would be if someone names a web design company as P&G Designs? Your company name is also the identity of your brand. Your customers should be able to instantly relate to your brand name and company.

intel

When you see the name “Intel”, it could make you think of many words like intelligence or intellectual, allowing you to instantly relate with the brand. You probably have no idea that the name Intel is shortened from Integrated Electronics. But, it doesn’t matter as long as you can relate to the brand.

If you could also add a power word to your name, it would work much better when grabbing attention and making your name more memorable (eg: Smashing Magazine). These power words will trigger emotions in your audience, helping them memorize your company name quite easily. Don’t even think about using plain words. It worked out well for General Motors and General Electric, but it’s not going to work for a design company.

Take Your Time

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You won’t be able to come up with the perfect name in one hour, or even in a day unless you get extremely lucky. It will take a lot of time and a whole lot of thinking before you can settle for the perfect company name. So, don’t rush into anything. You don’t want to choose a name that you’ll regret in a few months.

The best way to approach is to start thinking about a name while you prepare the initial groundwork for your business. Get some feedback from your team and friends along the way.

Check For Copyrights And Competition

The search doesn’t end when you finally come up with a solid name for your company. Next, you’ll have to make sure that it’s not already taken by another company and that your name doesn’t infringe on any copyrights or trademarks.

Do the necessary research, both online and offline, to make sure that your company name is not already taken by another web design company. Google and a telephone directory book is a great place to start.

The process of checking for copyrights and trademarks will be easier in some countries than others. It’s only a matter of finding the right website. If you live in the UK, you can go to Gov.uk to search for trademarks. If you’re from the US, you can search for trademarks through the USPTO website and check copyrights via the Copyright.gov websites.

Get Smart With Your Domain Name

The first rule of thumb when choosing a domain name is to “keep it short“, but it’s also the one rule that’s difficult to follow because all the short domains are already taken. All the good ones anyway! There are a few ways you can go around this problem by getting creative with the domain names.

scoop

The first approach is to skip using a top-level domain like .com. Yes, it might sound like bad advice, but there are some companies that got this strategy to work for their branding. Take Scoop.it and Any.do, for example. It perfectly describes their brand and those domain names are easier to grab.

But, if you’re set on using a .com domain name, you can go with the second method by adding an extra word to your domain name, like getpocket.com. By adding the action word “get” to its domain name Pocket managed to acquire a great .com domain without having to pay any premium registration fees.

The other method is simple. Buy your long .com domain name and then get another short domain name to redirect to your website (eg: entm.ag redirects to www.entrepreneur.com). This way, your domain will be memorable and still easy to share with people.

Choosing a company name is a process that you should proceed with patience and careful thinking. Try to get it right the first time and you’ll save a lot of time and money that goes into rebranding a business.

posted by David Appleyard

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