How I named my website—and the lessons for you

I’m reading One Perfect Pitch: How to Sell Your Idea, Your Product, Your Business—or Yourself. Author Marie Perruchet says, “Very often, a startup’s name tells much more about the company’s story.”

That made me wonder, what does my naming story say—and what lessons might it offer for naming your financial services firm?

Here are my lessons for you.

1. Personal vs. generic name

Do you want a name that’s specific to a firm headed by you, as with SusanWeiner.com? Or, do you want a generic name?

I started out wanting to use my own name to make it clear that I’m the only person who does my firm’s writing, editing, and training. As Perruchet says, “Audiences are smart and can easily detect what is fake. There is no reason to inflate or transform the truth.”

However, think differently if you plan to build a firm with employees—a firm you may eventually wish to sell. You might prefer a more generic firm name that doesn’t use your surname. You can still personalize by using words or images that resonate with you and your target audience.

For example, I love the spinning classes at my gym. If I were starting a writing business aimed at companies offering spinning-related classes and products, I might call it Spinning Words.

2. Grab your desired name ASAP

I wanted to use SusanWeiner.com for my website. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available when I started. I faced much less memorable variants that involved inserting hyphens or underscores into my name.

As you consider names for your investment, wealth management, or financial planning firm, see if your candidates have already been taken by someone else. The Small Business Administration offers advice on how to check that your business name won’t infringe a trademark or if another local business has already incorporated under the name.

Think about your website name, in addition to your firm’s name. If a couple of short, memorable names are available, consider reserving those website addresses. It’s fairly inexpensive. For example, it’s about $15 per year for a URL on GoDaddy.

3. Crowdsource

What if the name you want isn’t available? That’s what initially happened to me with SusanWeiner.com.

My first thought was to use InvestmentCommunications.com because my title at my previous corporate job had been director of investment communications. Unfortunately, that website address was already taken.

I asked my web designer for advice. His suggestions included InvestmentWriting.com. In retrospect, I’m glad I was forced into using something other than SusanWeiner.com. InvestmentWriting is more memorable and more easily spelled, especially since I pronounce my name WEE-ner, instead of the more common WI-ner. Also, Investment Writing identifies my key skill. That’s priceless.

If I ran into this problem today, I might crowdsource my naming dilemma. I might ask for ideas on social media, as I did for my book cover. Or, I might ask a select group of colleagues. Your choice will depend on how comfortable you are with these options.

4. Don’t give up on your ideal website address

Remember how I wanted SusanWeiner.com? My web guy kept his eyes open. We snared that address once it became available. Now it rolls over to InvestmentWriting.com.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of One Perfect Pitch from McGraw-Hill in return for agreeing to write about it. Also, if you click on an Amazon link in this post and then buy something, I will receive a small commission. I only link to books in which I find some value for my blog’s readers.

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