“What’s in a name?” Why Website Naming is no Shakespeare


“What’s in a name?” Why Website Naming is no Shakespeare

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare.

That beautiful quote by Shakespeare is intended to mean that a name doesn’t change the value of a particular thing. However, when it comes to naming a website, nothing could be less true. Lately, I have had the opportunity to consult for two midsize companies who are looking to take the leap and scale their businesses. I believe the only things that keep a $20mm company from becoming a $60mm company are efficiencies and effective marketing. Efficiencies of scale becomes a business within the business, but some parts of marketing can be best served if outsourced.  This is precisely what these two companies have chosen to do. Largely for them, this means it’s time to focus more heavily on competing online in highly competitive spaces including mortgage and insurance. These are noisy markets to be sure, however, there is plenty of pie to serve themselves a piece.

So, it begins. Where does one determine how to create online growth in a profitable manner when a keyword in these industries for a paid search campaign could easily cost $20 for one click?! There is a lot of planning involved to pre-determine the customer path because getting the click can be easy enough, but fulfilling the expectation from that click to the point of a visitor completing a lead form needs to be planned with intention all the way through the thank you email and longer term follow-up messaging. The biggest challenge with these two companies isn’t so much with their websites as it the name of them. For instance, one company (I’m not using real names to protect the innocent) is called, let’s say Mortgage Leader. But their URL or website name is www.WeLendMoney.com. Now, to attain large scale growth online is not for the cheap nor faint of heart. One must be in the game all the way or probably not play. On this, Superbowl Sunday, it would be like asking if the Falcons can win if they only put half of their team on the field against the Patriots? Of course not. There are two major problems with this website name disconnect. One is search engine optimization and the other is user trust.

When it comes to SEO or search engine optimization, there are very particular rules for online success. One may argue that there is a lot of room for creativity, but for the most part, it is more about specific types of web development, coding, and clear messaging than a catchy marketing phrase or beautiful images. To put it simply, the website name and the company name need to match. Search engines like Google and Yahoo take great care to provide excellent results for the user experience. Of course, the better the user experience, the more often users choose their search engine than someone else’s, and the more money they ultimately make. This ties directly to the user trust issue. If someone sees an ad for Mortgage Leader and a few days later she decides to search online with the name, she may not want to click on a result that reads, WeLendMoney.com. It almost feels like a scam. But, now that she’s typed a search term with a highly competitive word like “mortgage,” the results will include trusted names like Quicken Loans or Wells Fargo, so she may decide to click one of those options. And, she’ll make that decision within just a couple of seconds.

Since she moved on to easier options, Google will count this slightly against WeLendMoney.com because it might mean that the website wasn’t a good result for her search, and they want to provide the best results possible. If this happened many hundreds of times, it could significantly discount the result value. Obviously, making a move as significant as changing the web address of a company can be a costly decision – business cards, stationary, etc. would all need to be changed. But sometimes we have to realize a 10-year-old decision of which website name to buy is stunting our growth, and it’s best to take a step back to take a huge leap forward. What’s in a name? Success!

Thank you for your time,

Katherine Campbell

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