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By Jeff Peterson

Things to consider before choosing a brand name

Looking at some of the facts and figures relating to the internet can truly be mind boggling. Currently, there are more than 3.4 billion internet users in the world, meaning around 46 percent of the world population has an internet connection today. Back in 1995, the number was less than 1 percent. Internet user numbers increased tenfold from 1993-2013, with this explosive exponential growth projected to continue for years to come.

According to Netcraft statistics, there are 644 million active websites. Quite an astonishing number, yes, but not altogether surprising. If one takes into account all the public business websites in the world, for example, that number begins to look much more reasonable. Adding in other such entities like government sites, public service sites, and so on, helps to further put these numbers in perspective. And of course, personal brands and domains, one of the most rapidly growing sectors in this market, make up a considerable portion of this growth today.

Anyone today that is looking to "make their mark" out in the internet world will need to have a brand name to associate with the product or service they are involved with. It goes without saying that any business or service company or organization needs a solid, identifiable brand name for their product. But now more and more individual users are looking into, and subsequently securing, their own brand names now. Artists, musicians, writers, agents, athletes and countless others who want to make their own footprint in a given market are establishing their own brand name and individual identity.

For individuals or companies looking to realize success on the internet, they will need to, first, come up with a brand name. Then, they will need to come up with a domain name and get their own website. As daunting a task as that may sound, it is a rather quick and easy process that can cost very little to get started (and in some cases, there is no charge at all).

The question many people have is, "What makes for a good brand name and domain name?"

There are some general "rules of thumb" in this important step in the branding process, as agreed upon by many experts in the field. Some do's and don'ts that the experts suggest include:

Do: Come up with an easily remembered brand name and domain name.

Don't: Make names too complex or meaningless.

Try to keep names short and simple, making them easier for people to remember and recall when going to look up the name online.

Do: Make the name easy to pronounce.

Don't: Use hyphens or numbers, especially in the domain name.

Humans use an innate "processing fluency," a cognitive bias that enables people to remember easier things we can easily say and think about. Extraneous symbols and numbers affect this processing fluency, negating any brandability that is being created otherwise.

And when it comes to obtaining a domain name, this is important:

Do: Use the .com TLD (Top Level Domain) extension.

There are many, many other TLD extensions out on the market now, but most people (Americans in particular) still think of dot coms first when it comes to site names. If the dot com name that the person wants is already taken, they can either 'tweak' their brand name to somehow make it compatible with dot com, or go with something like .net or .co. They aren't as popular, but the chances of getting that specific name as a domain name is greater with one of these TLD extensions.

Coming up with effective brand names and domain names can be an integral step in the branding process. Making the right decisions and right moves at the start can be instrumental in making that brand, and that site, a success in the ever expanding and highly competitive internet world.

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