Questions

Should I find a new brand name?

Hi! I'm the owner of wantdesign.co.uk and I'm going to take the next step by hiring full time help and setting up a limited company. I've got wantwebsite, wantseo, wantapp .co.uk domains and thinking about creating landings with focus on each service (wantdesign will be just for branding services and print design). Is this a good idea or should I find a new, more brandable, name and run everything under one name? Thank you.

10answers

You're definitely going the wrong direction. That's my opinion. But I'm right, and here's why:

Your domain strategy is hyper-extended.

You've got 4 domains in .CO.UK – hopefully 8 counting .UK rights. That's all well and good for a British audience. But you deliver work online; so why not appeal to a global audience? Here in the USA, ccTLDs (a.k.a. country codes) are not recognized.

Your business will look strange and be misremembered as .COM. That means your marketing will be inefficient; you'll leak traffic to Google, parked PPC pages, or even competitors who develop sites with the same brand name(s) in the same niche! Meanwhile you'll pay extra in ongoing advertising costs to compensate.

And you don't own the 4 corresponding .COM domains. I checked. They're owned by a pair of people / companies – both known to me already. To acquire these 4 matching domains, you'd need to spend about $10,000. That's based on the typical list prices these guys set, which you can verify, I'm sure.

On top of this, you'd face brand protection issues for at least 4 distinct names. That obligates you to further domain purchases or risks ... in proportion to the number of brand names you're attempting to operate. After all, WantApp is confusingly similar to WantApps; and WantWebsite resembles WantAWebsite. And let's not forget .DESIGN and .WEBSITE, which means your WantDesign.co.uk is competing against both WantDesign.com and Want.Design, while your WantWebsite.co.uk has to shout extra-loud to be heard above WantWebsite.com and Want.Website. Things get complicated fast!

You'd eventually face competitors with these names unless you bought them all. You might even get embroiled in trademark disputes, which are no fun.

For that amount of money ($10k upwards), you can buy a really great domain name and consolidate all your efforts on a single brand name with worldwide appeal and a single website.

In the long run, going the way you're going, you will pay thousands of pounds one way or another. Maybe you won't buy those other domains, but you will put extra cash, sweat, and time into marketing. You'd probably lose a few customers over the years as well, since they'd go somewhere other than your site and find other people to hire.

I also have concerns about branding with multiple domains, managing multiple websites, or asking customers to bounce around between several sites. But there's no space to go into that. The domain issues already sank your battleship, I'm afraid.

If you'd like help selecting a single unified brand name for all your services – which is what I recommend – let's talk. Naming and domain procurement are both areas I specialize in.


Answered 4 years ago

Hi! This is indeed a great question and one that merits a lot of thought, as it seems you are putting into it.

I think the big consideration is if you have the technological scale (or can hire/build it) to run multiple sites. There are a lot of companies that started off with one domain and then have acquired their way into other verticals and brands. For example, Zillow in the US operates Zillow.com, Trulia.com, HotPads.com, Streeteasy.com, as well as a number of B2B sites. From that experience, customers don't really care *who* owns the site as long as it meets their needs.

Also, I am assuming that these are all services that you offer, not lead generation sites for others? From looking at wantdesign.co.uk, it seems that way, so that is the assumption that I am going off of.

The pros of having it all under one domain:
1) Easier upkeep (potentially) because everything is consolidated on one platform.
2) Good for SEO in that you won't have to build links to a bunch of different websites.
3) It will be easier to build one brand than four, and will be less confusing for your customers potentially. Also, with all of your services under one brand name, it will be easier to upsell existing clients to your other services.

The cons of having all of these under one domain:
1) You will have less ability to customize the different services according to who the customer is.
2) WantWebsite, WantSEO, WantApp etc are all partial-match domain names which have been shown to be good for SEO, though not necessarily better than brand.com/seo or brand.com/app-design with proper onpage targeting, some links built to it, etc.

In my opinion (as a growth marketer who is also building a brand right now), the best way to go is to find one brand name and build out your services under that. You're too small to even think about being on the scale of someone like Zillow.

Good luck! If you want to discuss via a call, I have spare time right now!


Answered 4 years ago

Lot's of great ideas from everyone that has posted. Here are my two cents.

1) I am a firm believer in multiple domains talking about one specific service. The reason I believe in this concept is I have been doing it for more than 15 years now and I have not spent one dime on advertising. My niche markets are unique so it may not apply to what you are doing, but for me I turn business down. When people have twenty services on one website I believe they can get confused. If they see you specialize in just one thing or that website is specific to one thing they can't be distracted as much.

2) There are two types of domains. Brandable and searchable. Geico or Nike is a brandable name and a searchable name would be bestinsurance4u.com or bestshoes.com. I've always done searchable domains and had the best luck. The traffic I get off of these searchable domains are so much more than my brand name that I VERY SELDOM US MY BRAND NAME.

3) I see you have different types of services that require different types of qualifications. I strongly recommend that you do an online quote. I started doing this around five years ago and my business tripled within that first year. My quote form had specific questions geared to my business. I was able to stop 1-hour phone conversations and get an online quote to them within 3 to 5 minutes of my time. 90% of my business is now computer generated and automated so that I very seldom even talk to anyone on the phone.

4) Short story. I am a real estate broker. Most would advertise how good they are at selling properties. I do evictions to get my foot in the door. It's a service that most people don't want to do so they hire someone. Once I evict them I have already established a relationship with that owner so now I can renovate their property, lease their property, or sell their property. Consider doing the same thing in your business. Figure out how to get your foot in the door and then tell them about other services. My average client uses me three times for some service. One is the eviction process and then it can be as simple as running a credit report or typing a lease. All generating income at a consistent rate.

5) I've owed over 1000 domain names and have figured out how to get my websites ranked on google without paying. Content is key and multiple domains about the same service will get you more leads. In 1990 I started my buisness. The internet was not popular or being used so we relied on the yellow pages. I created a company then that started with the letter A. Allstar Leasing. I then purchased another business ad and phone and did Bemis Realty. What people would do is shop around and call the first one and then twenty minutes later call the second one. I said I have more so you can keep calling, but you are going to get us again. We had literally 7 names. Fast forward. Now ranking is how they find you. The other day A guy called me (rare event lol). Talked to him for 30 minutes. Five minutes later I get an online quote and it's him. I immediately emailed him back and said I just got off the phone with you and You filled out my online submission form. Just so you know I have 40 websites and chances are you are going to get me on most of them. He said he kinda figured that since the questions asked on the online submission form were what I asked him on the phone.

6) I have been in business now for 25 years. I've learned the best thing anyone can do is make sure you have a system in place that is consistent. Your system will make or break you. Take fast food places. You must have a set presentation. Time it and refine it. Always look to decrease that process. The quicker you can do a service the more money you make. Organize your thoughts and make sure you follow through. I good app to organize things is Trello. I know there are many things out there, but I prefer this personally.

7) You can have all these great ideas but at the end of the day you need a good accountant, attorney and mentor. All cost by the way. You must make sure that what you are doing is legal and you should have all the proper documents to protect yourself from liability. You should always keep up with your profit and loss statements. You can't really build a business if you don't know what you are making or losing.

My final thoughts are this. People never plan to fail, but they do. What makes winners versus losers is how you treat your customers, the value of the service you offer and how well you deliver that service. It's better to charge more for a service and have less people than to charge less to get bulk and provide a poor service. I tripled my prices and increased my attention to detail. I work less and make more. Win win for both clients and myself.

Good luck!


Answered 4 years ago

Hi — there are 2 angles to consider, here.

1. From the customers' point-of-view, it may be confusing to jump from one domain to another. Gives the impression that you have been redirected to another company's website. Better to have one website, with all your services (like many digital agencies do). Especially when the services are all related somewhat.

2. From an SEO point-of-view, the keywords in each of the services you have listed are very competitive. So, it is probably more efficient to put all your SEO efforts on a single combined entity.


Answered 4 years ago

Yeah, you could go either way, it is more of whether right now is the issue of time, money, and strategy vs. long term in all of those. I would do the three, because getting more targetted will help you find customers easier and speak only to what they need.

From an SEO benefit, I would disagree that a single site is better since you would be pouring all that into a less focused site and the incoming traffic would also be varied by source and topics. I think it would be better to rank a site surrounding one specific topic and the end user will find it more useful.

Also you can leverage each individual asset to help the others and promote them where needed. From a social growth side it is better as well for various reasons.


Answered 4 years ago

My suggestion is to find a name that explains the unique and special benefit you deliver to prospective customers. Don't do multiple sites. It is too complicated. Have one site and focus on it and be successful in one area first.
I'd start with your strength. Do one thing great.


Answered 4 years ago

I agree with Anwar's suggestions above.

To add more on the communication side of things, Customers like to identify a set of services with a particular name. For instance, McDonald's is a food brand, Nike is a shoes and apparel brand. I'd pitch to you that design is more than just the look of things, it is the creative structuring and setting up of a vision that solves people's problems. So sticking with wantdesign is absolutely fine even if you branch out from web design to include apps and SEO services.

Let's get on a call about what you feel your central service is and what we can do to create a spiral marketing structure around it. Look forward to speaking with you!

Warmly,
Arjun


Answered 4 years ago

I like of different want..... sites. Keep them all and focus on one of them first. The UK is big enough as a market to keep you going for quite a while.


Answered 4 years ago

Some great answers here already, and in general I agree with the strategy of focusing on just one domain where possible.

So, if you agree too, the next question is how do you come up with a new name/brand/domain to capture it all?

I've done several branding/naming projects, and my recommendation is the following:

1. Nail your positioning. This means, in very few words, how are you positioned with your target customer, and against your competition? It's not easy to simplify this down to a couple sentences, but it is imperative.
2. Find a name that speaks to, and supports the position you are taking. There must be a strong tie between the position and the name, otherwise creating messages (marketing) will be very difficult.
3. Find a domain to call home. The beauty of a highly distinctive position and related name is that finding an available domain becomes MUCH easier.

Let me know if you'd like to talk more about the positioning, this is the hardest part and good to get help on!


Answered 4 years ago

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