Google knew it. Seth knew it. I’m sure Dave knows it. I’m only just learning it. And I’ve heard from Rob and Dan in the last week about it.
A Website or Company Name Matters
In simplest terms, it becomes important to get the name into people’s heads. Why does EVERYONE know the name, “Google?” Partly because it’s a great product, but also because it sounds interesting when we hear it and say it. (Ditto Yahoo, Squidoo, and other vowely names). Those are on the unique side.
On the other side of the name recognition game is making sure you name something keyword-a-riffic. For example, in my town there’s T—‘s Florist and there’s Greenery Design. One has the word “florist” in the name. The other, which is an amazing place with top quality arrangements and unique things for the home, has chosen a name that doesn’t get them found simply via searching. Why? Because if you’re not looking for that specific business, you’re looking for what that business DOES. Flowers. So, the name Florist in the other company’s name keys you in.
Websites are tricky that way. I chose chrisbrogan.com years ago for vanity reasons. I wanted people to be able to find the guy writing all those neat short stories. Later, I wanted people to be able to find the guy writing all those running posts. Now? Self-improvement. Tomorrow? Who knows. But vanity names don’t work exceptionally well, because, there are gazillions of them. You’re competing against everyone else’s name, too.
So, what to do? What to do?
I think it depends on how much of a “customer base” you eventually want to have. If you’re thinking there’s a potential to grow your business or site into the biggest thing the world has ever seen, then I’d go with the weird and original name that gets people coming back (37Signals, Digg, Flickr).
If you’re shooting for more than 20, but less than 2 million, I’m not so sure naming your business or website after yourself works. If someone is out there and they’re thinking, “I’d like to be really well informed about the best in nutrition news,” are they really going to think, “I’m going to Google and I’m going to enter into it: Jim Richards.” I doubt it.
I think (especially with a website) one might want to trend towards a name people will remember, but THEN, you should keep the site co-branded with your own name. So, Jim Richards launches EatMoreNuts.com with Jim Richards! Or brought to you by… or … you get the idea. That way, you have the potential of trying to bring up more than name at a time.
Franchising, Placement, More
I’m big on the idea of getting your name out there in as many ways possible. Look at Ebay, powered by Sun. Sun’s out there saying: “look at me!” because they NEED to be saying that. They’re saying, “When you think about these big great internet sites, think of me.” Think of “Intel Inside.”
McDonald’s just swapped out coffee to feature Green Mountain’s Newman’s Own Organic blend. Why? To compete with Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks for that morning addiction fix money. Imagine being Green Mountain? They must be screaming woo!
Think of folks who are buying targeted search ads. They’re paying Google for the right for their site to come up high on the search list when someone looks up lightbulbs or broccoli, or whatever.
The creative economy is the attention economy. There are more blogs out there than humans (actual stat). Hell, I’m writing for several now, myself. To that end, if you’re looking to capture some amount of attention for whatever reason (my goal is to get folks to collaborate on self-improvement efforts), then you’ve gotta come up with a way for them to find you, to share you, to remember you, and to bring that home with them.
Name yourself wisely. And often!