how to choose a name for your web design business
Why is choosing a name for your web design business such a hard thing to do? I struggled with it. I mean, I started with the name Meraki Leigh Digital and after more than a year I changed it to Kristen Leigh Designs. Why?
My reasoning was simple. No one could pronounce Meraki and it was driving me nuts. But how did I make the decision to change it to Kristen Leigh Designs? And how did I even choose Meraki Leigh Digital in the first place?
Why It’s So Hard to Choose a Business Name
If a name didn’t just come to you overnight while you were dreaming (like it did for my husband’s SEO business), chances are the thought of what to name your business has been keeping you up at night. I remember when I was picking my business name, I spent daaayyys brainstorming ideas. A majority of that time though looked like this:
*Me sitting at my desk thinking…*
“What should I name my business?”
*Brains literally goes empty*
“Just think up one possible name.”
“Whatever comes to my mind I’m going with because this is crazy.”
*Brain laughs and says back to me, “well that’s not happening”*
I couldn’t think of anything at all and looking back I know why. I thought choosing my business name was a huge decision. I felt like it had to be perfect because this one thing was going to define me. I would have to use it everywhere, say it to people, and own it. That’s a lot of weight to put on something.
Is that how you feel, too? Like if you don’t choose the right business name you’re going to be embarrassed or your business maybe won’t even work out.
Let me let you in on a little secret…
Businesses Change Their Names all the Time
Businesses change their names all the time! Not just small businesses, but HUGE businesses. According to this article, all of these major companies below changed their names.
- Instagram started out as Burbn
- LG started out as Lucky and GoldStar Co., Ltd.
- Pepsi started out as Brad’s Drink
- Yahoo started out as Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web
- Google started out as BackRub
- Amazon started out as Relentless
- Dell started out as PC’s Limited
- Nike started out as Blue Ribbon Sports
- Target started out as Goodfellow’s Dry Goods
- 7-Eleven started out as Tote’m
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to come up with the perfect name for your business. If at some point you feel like you didn’t pick the right business name and that you want to change it, you can, all of these companies did.
The Two Ways to Name Your Business
As an entrepreneur there are two ways you can name your web design business. The first is to use your name and the second is to… not use your name.
Honestly, there is no right or wrong way to do this. If you plan on running an agency you CAN name your business after yourself. If you plan on having a bunch of employees under you at same point, you CAN name your business after yourself. Just because you won’t be working alone doesn’t mean you can’t still be the face of the company.
The same goes for being a solopreneur. Just because you’re the only one in your business doesn’t mean you have to use your name. You CAN choose a different business name that has nothing to do with you.
Ultimately, it’s up to you!
8 Step Process to Choosing Your Web Design Business Name
Now that we got all of that out of the way, how do you actually brainstorm ideas for your business name and then make a final selection?
Step One: Write Down Things You Love
Make sure you’re in a space that allows your creativity to flow, set a timer for 2 minutes, and write down everything you love. Don’t hold back and don’t put any limits on this. What you love could be feelings, living things, inanimate objects, activities or even words. Here’s what part of my list looked like:
Step Two: Write Down Adjectives
Next, set your timer for 2 minutes again and brainstorm adjectives. These adjectives should describe the personality you want your business to have. Here’s what part of my list looked like:
Step Three: Write Down Business Name Endings
This next part you can either brainstorm on your own or steal this list below. You want to come up with possible endings to your business name. Here’s a list of examples for web designers specifically:
This isn’t an exhaustive list so by all means, if there’s one not on here that you love, add it to the list! Be sure that it makes sense for a web design business though. Something like “Social” wouldn’t make sense because you’re not running a social media company. Keep that in mind!
Step Four: Put Them Together
Now it’s time to combine some of the words you’ve written down. Try combining every word in step one with every word in step 2. Then take those combinations and try every ending in step 3.
If any of the combinations immediately make you shake your head or cringe, put a line through them. Your first reaction matters! If you don’t like it on first impression, trust me, it won’t grow on you.
Step Five: Sleep On It
After you’ve crossed off those names that just don’t do it for you, sleep on it. It’s best to look at your remaining options with a fresh perspective. Plus, after looking at the same words for a while, don’t they stop looking like real words to you?
Step Six: Check to See if the Domain is Available
Once you’ve narrowed your list down to the ones you like, check to see if the domain in available. I always use and recommend GoDaddy for purchasing domains. You can check to see if the domain is available for each option using this link.
If the domain isn’t available, cross it off the list.
Note: What should you add to the end of your domain? Using “.com” is the best option because that is what most website users unconsciously enter into a browser. If the .com version of the domain is taken, cross it off the list. If you’re not in the US and you want to add “.uk” or another ending, you can definitely do that but also make sure you purchase the .com version and redirect it to the .uk domain. Better safe than sorry!
Step Seven: Check to See if the Business Name is Available
This step is an absolute must if you want to register as an LLC in the US. (If you’re outside of the US, I don’t know anything about registering businesses so look into this!) Each state can only have one business per business name. If your business name is taken, you won’t be able to register as an LLC. Don’t have plans to ever register as an LLC? Then don’t worry about it!
Step Eight: Make Your Final Selection
You should only have a few options left on your list so now it’s time to make a decision. Choose the name that feels the best to you. Remember, if Google can change their company name, you can too. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself with this final decision!
If you haven’t already, download the free worksheet below to help you work through the 8 step process to name your web design business.