“I Need to Start My ________. How Do I Choose a Name?”

best-usernameChoosing website domains and social media usernames can cause heartburn for even the most web-savvy person. While this name selection isn’t quite as crucial as selecting a name for, say, your child, in the online world, it’s as close as you can get to that.

There is no definitive One Size Fits All rule book to choosing your website URL and social media usernames, but here are some generally accepted tips and guidelines for making your name determination process more clear.

5 Considerations for Choosing the Best Domains and Social Media Usernames

  • By default, the average person assumes your website URL ends with “.com”, unless you are a non-profit or educational institution. If your preferred .com is taken, think long and hard before going with a .net, .us, or some other extension. You might consider choosing something shorter, adding in a keyword or adding your location to the URL if that means getting the .com.
  • It is possible (and common practice) to own more than 1 domain for your business, and to set it up so your additional domains all redirect into your main domain. So, if you’d prefer to go with a shorter website address, it’s probably wise to also purchase the URL for your full, official business name so don’t suffer a major PR blunder like Chef Guy Fieri did.
  • Look into character limitations across all social media platforms before selecting a username on any 1 platform. For consistency’s sake and to make it as easy on your customers as possible, it’s optimal to have the same – or nearly the same – username across the board. To use Eli | Rose as an example, we could not select @EliRoseSocialMedia for our Twitter handle because of Twitter’s character limitations. Also keep in mind that the social media landscape is ever-changing. You might create a fan page and Twitter account today, and have matching usernames. Then 6 months from now, a new social media platform may emerge and a different person or business claims your desired username before you have a chance.
  • If you need to modify, modify wisely. Think what alternate username would make the most sense to your average customer, and what would be the easiest to remember. Don’t discount the value of customer recall! The more complicated the website address or username, the harder it is for customers to find and connect with you. Perhaps leaving off “the”  or “and” will be all that you need to make it work. Basic shorthand for words like “with” would reduce your character count down to only the “w”.
  • Consider social media platform overlap. Photos posted to Instagram can be shared to Twitter, and new pins made to your Pinterest pinboards can also be shared to Twitter. If your Instagram and/or Pinterest @Usernames are different than your Twitter handle, it can make those shares photos and pins a bit awkward.

Like I said, there are no absolute rules nor conclusive set of instructions when it comes to choosing the best username and website domain for your business. These 5 tips are solid guidelines that can help you sort through what can sometimes be a tricky situation when going social for your business.

What tips do you have to share? Have you faced difficulty choosing either a website URL or social media username?


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