What is in a Name? Keyword and Color Essentials to Branding Your Small Business!

What is in a name? Plenty, if you plan to do business on the internet and want to generate traffic and link energy to your website or blog.

If you are looking to create a new business or re-brand an existing one, you can not underestimate the power of keywords, keyword phrases, color and your web presence, when naming and branding your organization.

Most businesses do not have the resources of a large corporation or a well funded start-up to spend the thousands, if not millions of dollars that it takes to establish a unique and recognizable brand name and image. You can take a shot as Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy did when he bet the farm (and his advertising budget) on a Super Bowl commercial that propelled his company from a virtual unknown entity to a domain and internet hosting market leader and household name.

If you are just starting out and looking to take an idea or vision and turn it into a business that you want to successfully market on the internet, consider these five simple, but essential guidelines as you develop a name, brand and an image for your company.

Essential 1 – Keywords Make the Name
Make sure that you identify and use keywords in your company name that best describe your core business and have strong internet search value. This can take some research and effort but you need to know which words are the most powerful when marketing yourself on the web.

You can get very sophisticated in your search and analysis, or you can just go and use the Google Keyword Tool and type in words that best describe your business and see which words people use when looking for what you are going to market. Remember, what you call your product or service and what a customer or searcher calls it, can be two very different things.

A simple example of the power of a single keyword is the difference between the words “plan” and “program”. Let us assume that I have started a website marketing a new diet that I have developed and want to name my new business and website. An easy example of the power of a keyword is that people will search the term “diet plan” 550,000 times per month on average, but will search the keyword phrase “diet program” 165,000 times per month. If given the choice I am calling my business and marketing my site as “Bill’s Diet Plan” over “Bill’s Diet Program”.

Now this is an over simplified example, but you need to understand the power and potential of the keywords you use in every facet of your business, even your business name. Many search engine spiders (it is documented and sometimes just speculated by the experts) give business and website name greater authority when indexing sites and listing them in keyword searches.

Essential 2 – Own Your Domain Name
There is nothing worse for any business owner than to develop a product or service, create a plan; spend the time and money to form a business, and register it with the state only to find out that some one else owns the domain name for your new business. It happens all of the time.

Never settle on a name, register a business or begin to develop a web presence without first controlling the domain that you will build your business around. That is essential. You can buy up a variety of domain names, but always strive to own your business name.

You can easily go to GoDaddy as we mentioned above, or a variety of domain name registration sites and see what what is taken and what is available. This is also why your initial keyword research is so important, in order to identify and register a business and domain name that will help generate traffic for your site.

Essential 3 – The Power of the Tag Line
Never underestimate the power of a tag line to re-enforce the core of your business as well as add keyword energy that can help set you apart in a search. You tag line is your slogan, theme and mantra wrapped up into a few select words. You want it to be simple, concise and keyword rich.

I am not talking about a mission statement. I am talking about 7-10 words that describe your business. An effective tag line is search critical, as it should contain the keywords that you want to be known and found for.

Take my diet plan example. A tag line might be “A Diet Plan That is Transforming Bodies and Changing Lives”. Now from this tag line I have a statement that uses my keyword phrase “diet plan” and gives a very clear picture of what my diet can do. I would definitely test and research my other two keyword phrases “transforming bodies and “changing lives”, to see if there are more popular keyword phrases that maintain my tag line theme, but have greater search value.

Essential 4 – Color Your World – But Not To Much
This section is literally the blind trying to lead the seeing, as I am not good with colors and completely color blind when it comes to certain colors. My wife and children have a field day with me some mornings when I appear in the kitchen wearing one black sock and one blue sock with my suit.

Color can be a great tool or a huge pain. When considering colors for your brand, logo and website, consider who your target customer is, the region of the world you are marketing into and finally keep in mind the phrase “less is more”.

First, check out other websites and products that target a similar age group or demographic. Big companies spends thousands of dollars on market research and testing to see which colors, themes, layouts and images work best for specific target markets. Why re-invent the wheel, use what works for others and add your style and theme to it.

Next, know where in the world you are marketing into. Certain colors can have very positive or very negative responses in different regions of the world. Some regions respond to bright colors, while others do not. If you are selling outside of the U.S., do some research and check out websites based in those regions to get a sense of what is popular and what is not.

Finally, “less is more”. The more colors you use in your logo, website and company theme the more complicated and costly you will make it for yourself. It costs more money every time you add a color to print a marketing piece or company letterhead, so keep this in mind.

Remember that not all monitors show colors the same and what people see on a website, is not what may get printed out. Consider how everything will look as black and white when developing your website, brand and logo. If you create something that you encourage people to print out, make sure the text will show up.

Essential 5 – Your Logo Can Speak Volumes
An effective logo can help you establish your brand and a bad logo can send the wrong message and turn off a prospect faster than a light switch.

Logos, like color, do not need to be overly complicated to be effective. You can easily outsource logo design. there are hundreds of graphic artists on the web that will do good work for $100. Make sure you are specific for what you want, how many colors and the theme of your logo.

When you get a logo designed make sure that you get high resolution images that you can work with and the specific RGB, Pantone or CMYK color codes used so you can match them up and see how it will look on your website.

When you are designing or considering a logo design consider three things:

  • Relevance to your brand and business image
  • Simple is better
  • No more than 2 colors

If you are a financial planner starting your own business, who has a passion for Harley Davidson and weekend biking, that does not mean you should develop a logo using the Harley font, a similar symbol or an image of a motorcycle in your logo. You may think it is funny, but I have seen stuff like this. You need to consider your target, not yourself when developing a logo and brand. I am not sure how big the financial planning market is for Harley enthusiasts, but you would be limiting your market and creating a brand image that is not in sync with your business.

The bottom line is that your vision will only go as far as your planning will take you and that a name represents more than it ever has in this competitive marketplace. Take the time and plan, it will make a huge difference.