If you haven’t chosen a name or website domain for your company yet, invest in a good name now.
When it comes to creating a brand and launching your investment company, I’d encourage you to break away from the norm I’m seeing throughout the industry.
What norm is that?
Trying to keyword stuff your name, or buying ridiculously long domain names to host your site at. You know the ones I’m talking about.
- We Buy Homes Crazy Fast
OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating a tad. But not much.
The question is, why is this happening? Is some guru or educator hosting seminars for prospective investors and telling them, “make sure you create a really long name, filled with words about what you do, and buy the domain on Google?”
I don’t know.
My guess is that it has something to do with the “We Buy Ugly Houses” franchise taking off, along with some teaching that if you put the keywords in your domain name, you’ll show up in search engines better.
Finally, I think a lot of people saw what top ranking, or top performing companies were calling themselves, and followed them.
Well, I’m here to both dispel some of those rumors, and encourage you to create a brand you’re really proud of. I know that naming a company can be really frustrating, especially if you’re not the creative type. Naming a company is something that’s been on my mind a lot lately, so I want to share a few thoughts on this.
First, be honest with yourself on if you’re really committed or not.
I wonder if part of the reason I see such poor, thoughtless names and brands out there (like websites filled with stock content and no logo), is because lots of investors just aren’t committed to going through The Dip, and as a result, choose quickly and thoughtlessly.
I wonder if they figure, “I’m going to try this for a few months, and if it doesn’t work, bail” and so they don’t think about the long term impact of a long, hard to remember domain name, or an ugly site that doesn’t inspire trust.
So if you’re an aspiring investor who isn’t really going to go the long haul, and you know that, then that’s fine. This article probably isn’t for you. If you are committed, then read on…
Second, decide if you’re going to ever want to go national, or only stay local.
There’s no right or wrong here. But it is important to decide on the scope you’re envisioning. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to focus solely on one major city, and try and be the brand that people know there. There’s also nothing wrong with trying to be a brand that can be found in every major city.
The key thing is, you should decide now, before choosing your name.
The main reason I say this is because if you’re going to expand nationally in a few years, you don’t want a name like Florida Beach Buyers. Think about it, you’ll be competing in PPC, search engines, paid ads, or whatever it may be trying to reach motivated sellers, and they’re going to see “floidabeachbuyers” in the url, but they’re getting snow up in New Jersey.
So if you have aspirations to go national, I’d recommend a broad name. This could literally be anything, because when you’re trying to go national, you assign value to what that name means. As long as it’s an available .com name (or a variation of it), it can work. Seth Godin has an excellent read on this.
He points out: who would have thought that Apple would make a good name for a computer company? Or that Starbucks would make sense as a coffee company?
And that’s his point. The words don’t make sense. The company simply creates a brand, that customers then come to assign meaning to. When you think Apple, you think a lot of words, products, and services. You never think, “what does that have to do with the fruit?”
Who would’ve thought that the mashing up of “Instant” and “Telegram” made sense for Instagram? So expand your thoughts.
You could approach it the following ways:
- What two word mash-up could you use?
- What words relate to buying, helping, selling, houses, space, freedom, etc.
- What words do you like? Even if it’s random (like Apple)?
Third, if you’re going to stay State, or City based, pick something iconic about that place and incorporate it into your name (or don’t).
First of all, you don’t need to do this. If you want to call yourself, “Apple Tree Investments” and you’re only working in Houston, that’s fine! Because the biggest foundational principle here is, customers are going to assign value to your brand. You’re creating a name, and then through your products, services, trust-building, etc., you’re helping them learn what you’re about. The name doesn’t matter as much.
However, I think it would be helpful, familiar, and trust-building to give the client some context as to where you buy, and show your local-ness, by incorporating something local into your name. So, let’s say you’re going to to invest only in the Houston or Dallas Metro Area (a really competitive space): pick something with the words “lone star” , “cowboybuyer.com” , etc.
Or, consider adding the city or metro area you serve to your name. This gets to be much trickier (because so many names are taken), but it allows you to also brand yourself as an authority in that area. For example, Philly Home Investor. This site shows a photo of the city, and incorporates a clean logo with a backdrop of the Philadelphia skyline. It’s fairly easy to say and remember, and incorporates the slang name for the city rather than the full “proper” name.
To me, that name isn’t as good as “Lone Star Homes” or “CozyHomes”, but it at least accomplishes what many investor sites don’t: a clean name, easy to spell, and easy to search.
The point is, pick something local residents rally around or recognize and try and use that. Or don’t! And just go with a really generic name. Either way is fine.
Tips For Naming
Here’s a nice, neat bullet list for you to help you choose a good name:
1. Make sure it’s easy to say, and easy to remember.
“WeBuyTexasHousesFast” is not a good name. Increasingly, one of the ranking signals in Google is direct visits to your site. How many people will know or remember the difference between “WeBuyTexasHousesFast” and “WeBuyTexasHomesFast”, your competitor?
2. Find a domain name close to it, and don’t come up with an entirely different domain name.
Let’s say you go with “Tumbleweed Investments” (not sure if that’s taken or not). Don’t make your domain name, “webuyhousesintexasquick.com”. Even if “tumbleweedinvestments.com” is taken (right now, it’s not), you can do “trytumbleweedinvestments.com” or something like that. The point is, keep it consistent with your name. I’ve seen investors have a completely different url than their business, and that will hurt your brand (and I think, being found online) in the long run.
3. Don’t worry about keywords in your URL.
I’ve seen conflicting evidence as to whether it helps or hurts you. One thing I have seen for sure: brands without keyword stuffing massively outranking brands that do. So don’t worry about locking down “kansascashhomebuyersfastnow.com”. The one caveat I will add, is that when it comes to getting listed in Google My Business, there is some evidence that a word associated with what you do, or what city you’re in, may help a bit. Again, not so much that it’s worth choosing a name completely based on that, but for what it’s worth, it might help. So if you’re local to one city or State, and you can find a nice, clean sounding way to get the area name in, or terms centered around what you do (like, “buyers”) – that might be worth considering. A good example is Home Sold Speedy, which is about as long as you’d ever want your name to be (in my opinion anyway), generic (it could work for any city), but still has one or two keywords in there (“home” and “sold”) while still managing to sound like a brand. Again, do not hang your hat on this, or name your company solely for this benefit. But if you must incorporate what you do in the name, make it like this.
4. Make it easy to type, especially if you’re going to run voice ads.
If you want to drive voice ads (whether podcast, radio, Pandora, or Spotify), you’re going to have to have a domain name that people can easily type. So avoid words that are hard to spell, or are complicated. Keep things simple.
In the end, you also need to think about branding and name choice as a long-term investment in your company. You will be marketing to a completely different audience in about 5-10 years. An audience that makes buying decisions and associates trust with clean design, clear description, etc.
My projection is that if and when this upcoming group of sellers goes to search for solutions like you, and they see a long, complicated, keyword-stuffed domain name, they’re going to run the other direction… to Zillow, Offerpad, and the like. Brands with simple names, clean branding, and that focus on building trust – not temporary domain names.
So plan for that now, by building your own brand that people can resonate with.