First Things First In Digital Name Selection

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  • First Things First In Digital Name Selection

This Quirk Might Give Your Business Away

wearing many hats

When you are responsible for everything that happens in your business you are juggling so many hats it can be extremely stressful when you have to make choices and decisions in marketing. Decisions range from selecting the color scheme of your brand and the look of your logo to managing your website and social media. Some choices in this realm can be forgiving and others not so much. Names, domain names and toll-free numbers have a few quirks that can make them work against you if you don’t take adequate care and foresight in setting them up from the start.

When you are planning any new enterprise you are going to have to think about the brand pretty early on in the process. These days that definitely includes the name you intend to put out on social media and in your digital presence. It is so important now that you do this because your business is more likely to be discovered online much more often than any other way. So think about the big guns of online and social media: Your primary domain name, your name on services like Facebook and Twitter. Here I want to talk a little bit about how having a less than optimal name online is a real deal breaker.

The Accidental Misdirection

The one thing to avoid in selecting a named part of your identity is choosing a less familiar form of a name that has a more popular version in circulation. Why is this? Because the more popular form will tend to skim off some of the casual interest in your business and get some free promotion at your expense. That would be a shame wouldn’t it?

Here’s how it works: The domain you want for your site is taken, say it’s and it directs to the biggest name in your part of the business. But you really wanted that one so you opt for what is available, say or, it sounds great, right? Not so fast! When your loyal customers rave about your service and facilities they may forget that you have the slightly more complicated domain name or less popular extension.

Even if they tell all of their friends the exact domain name with correct spelling, half forget they said (or and go to anyway. So there could be a large fraction of potential members who end up signing up for the other guys.

What Is In A Name? Lots Actually!

Picking a domain is just one example but you need to be careful in these choices more than ever as we are likely to find services online before looking in the phone directory these days. It’s a similar issue with toll-free numbers where 877-something-something is likely to be dialed as 800-something-something. That is less of a concern perhaps than it used to be; there aren’t many “800” numbers left anymore and the possible permutations in domain names are likely to cause more trouble.

In some forms of online advertising it might make a difference depending on the form of your domain. When it makes enough impact that some viewers try to look you up later you don’t want that advertising cost to pay dividends to the competition. It also means there is a strong argument for claiming the oddball domains; slight misspellings and that are close to yours and redirecting them to your main site.

Back To Basics

Try to keep your names original and easy to remember. That is getting tougher as the obvious names are most all taken now. You want to use the dot-com domain first and foremost. The upper limit is probably going to be set at sixteen characters because that is the maximum length of a twitter name and you should also be thinking about the social media implications of your business name.

You always want to keep it simple in choosing the parts of your brand that are most visible and permanent in your presence on the marketplace and in digital media. That means that you need to follow the most conventional forms in things like domain name selection, in business the only extension that matters still is .com because it is the default that everyone will remember. It’s a small decision on the face of it, one that may not cost much up front. However, choosing the wrong one can add up to a costly mistake over time. Take the time to do it right the first time and it will be the difference between celebrating success and wishing for a do-over.


Fagan, Lawrence. “Gym Brand Products Promotions.” Gym Insight Blog. 30 Oct 2013. (accessed November 30, 2014).

“Of Marketing Gurus and Gym Promotions.” Gym Insight Blog. 13 January 2014. (accessed November 30, 2014).