Naming Your Art Business: Don’t Do What I Did

naming your art business header. Three framed drawings by Kevin Hayler

There’s more to naming your art business than meets the eye. I GOT IT ALL WRONG. Now it’s too late to backtrack. So, in hindsight, what should I have done?

Your brand is your own name and that should be the name of your art business. It should be easy to read, spell and remember. Your business name should be as short as possible and be part of your website’s URL for search engines. 

Of course, it’s not always easy. Your name could be already taken or hard to spell. You’ll have to get creative but there are some key points to remember and they will affect how your site develops. I know that from bitter experience. Let me explain

Why Naming Your Art Business is Important

The mistake I made, right at the beginning, is not taking the name of my art business seriously. I assumed, wrongly that I could simply change the name later. That’s not quite as straightforward as it seems

Once your domain has started to rank on Google with your chosen URL, changing it can kill your rankings. In the eyes of Google, you are starting again. That’s not a big deal if you have no traffic, a very big deal if you have. 

I called my site wildlifeartstore.com because I thought it described my shop very well, contained the keyword I was targeting, and had a .com domain. All things I knew to be important.

I went wrong by not considering the possibility that my business might expand and change.

Instead of being a clever title for my website, it has become restrictive. I started a blog and soon realized that very few people search for wildlife art. I had to broaden my appeal or not get enough traffic.

If I had used my own name as a brand, I could take my art site any direction I pleased. I shot myself in the foot. 

Further Reading: This Is How Art Blogs Make Mone

Ironically, I registered my own name as a domain years ago and decided that there was no need to renew it. When I realized my mistake, someone had bought it and had it up for sale for $100!

My domain name is great for what was intended. Wildlifeartstore.com is perfect for an e-commerce store selling my wildlife art. My mistake was to add a blog to the store. I should’ve started a new blog site and linked it to my store.

If I rebranded now, not only would I risk losing all my traffic, I would need to change my social media names and my business cards too.

Keep The Name of Your Art Business Simple

Ideally, you need to give your art business a name that reflects who you are and what you’re offering. In other words something like your first name+lastname+art

The trick is finding a name that’s both simple and memorable, not an easy task. If you are lucky enough to have a memorable name that hasn’t been bought already, GRAB IT. 

Think about the spelling. Do people get confused when they write your name? In my case, people spell my surname ‘Hayler’ with an ‘o’. That is a minor issue in most areas of life but if someone searches for your name online and gets redirected elsewhere you can lose custom.

If your name is difficult, can you shorten it? or what about using a pseudonym for your business? Plenty of authors choose to do so.

You must also consider the length of the domain. You are allowed 60 characters but your name should be much shorter. I’m a member of a blogging site called Project24, and they advise members to find the shortest domain names possible. 

Do not use numbers, special characters, or any hint of sexual innuendo.

Long names are tedious to write and hard to remember.

The dream is to find one below 10 characters, but in reality, most short pithy domain names were bought years ago. Your best hope is your own name with a prefix or suffix attached.

I like to use Namecheap to find domain names. You can also check GoDaddy

How to Choose an Art Business Name

It’s only when you start searching and brainstorming great domain names that you realize that others got there long before you. Naming your art business will take some time. You will have to research it.

Choose a ‘.com’ domain name. Like it or not, the public associate ‘.com’ with authority. If you choose to name your site YOURNAME.co.uk for instance, you will alienate a lot of searchers in the USA and you will need the American market. 

And that brings up another issue, American spelling. When in doubt, use the American form. Unless you are trying to target a very local market, most of your visitors are likely to be from the States and search using American English. 

As an Englishman, I have only just learned that ‘learnt’ is not used in America. There are many differences and I use an American spellchecker to make sure I don’t make too many errors. 

If your name is not available try variations of your name. Let’s make a random name up, we’ll say, Stephen Miller. Let’s presume it’s taken. You could try:

  • SteveMiller
  • StephenJMiller
  • SJMiller
  • StephenMillerArt
  • SteveMillerFineArt

If your name is not available think tangentially. What describes you and what you do? Be careful not to trap yourself. If you describe yourself as a watercolorist and change your medium later, you may regret it.

Be aware that your chosen name might be very close to that of another site, or it might be close to a trademark or have a double meaning. If you do choose a name that can be mistaken for another site, all you are doing is sending them your traffic. 

Check out the competition and see what they are doing. Google your keywords and see what comes up. 

I did some keyword research recently around drawing water. It had a good search volume because there are many people searching for drawing water from a well. Who’d have thought?

Try thinking of a name that gives you wiggle-room. Ambiguous words that can evoke your expertise. 

I wrote a few ideas down when I was brainstorming:

  • Pro
  • Expert
  • School
  • Master
  • Biz
  • Maker
  • Fineart
  • Art
  • Studio

You get the point. They say something about you in an ambiguous way. They’re not too specific.

If on the other hand, if you intend to make separate sites for separate genres, styles, or mediums, be as specific as you can and use the keywords for better SEO.

Check Your Art Business Name On Social media

It’s a good idea to have a name that can be transferred to other social platforms. Check out the major sites, especially

Further Reading: 5 Best Social Media For Artists

Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. If you’re not already active on those networks, it’s worth joining and grabbing your name in case you need it later on. 

Branding is all about consistency. Your name acts in a similar way to your logo because it is immediately recognizable. If you can secure your name across platforms it gives you better exposure and the public will trust your brand as a professional.

Conclusion

Naming Your Art Business is more important than it may seem at first. You have seen how I made a fundamental error at the beginning and when I realized how important the name was, it was too late to turn back.

Don’t get too obsessed about the name, just be aware that the best names allow you to change direction further along the line.


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