Does LLC Name Have to Match Business Name or Website Name?

Stuck in not knowing if the business name you want should match your website’s or LLC’s names? This article will end this paralysis-analysis.

Hurry to check if the name you chose is already taken by someone else!

Starts at $49 + state fees and only takes 5-10 minutes

Recently one of my startup business clients asked me, “Does my LLC name have to match my business name or website name? Many entrepreneurs are confused about LLC names. To help you, I have compiled advice from attorneys and startup experts to answer your LLC name questions.

Your LLC name does NOT have to BE your business name or MATCH your website name. Your LLC name is your company’s legal entity name while your business name is your brand name to market to your customers. However, you WILL need to include the designation LLC in your business name on your State business registration application.

Read on to learn if your LLC name needs to be included in your business name, what are the legal requirements for LLC names, and also if you should add your LLC name to your business cards or website. 

Every US State has slightly different rules regarding LLC names, however, these legal regulations and rules are common to the majority of States.

State differences tend to be slight such as allowing different abbreviations for LLC such as; L.L.C. or L.C. Some states list more disallowed professional terms if unrelated (unrelated to your type of products) including Underwriters, Surety, Trust, Insurance, Realtor and Attorney.

  1. Must include one of these words; Limited Liability Company, LLC or LC, to indicate that your business legal entity is an LLC
  2. Cannot match an existing LLC name – Your LLC name must be unique to your company and cannot be the same as one already registered with your State. 
  3. Cannot contain words for other business entity types such as DBA, incorporated or corporation – which would be misleading to consumers.
  4. Cannot contain words unrelated to your business products or services – such as a bank, medical, or legal – if your company does not provide these services. If you are planning to start one of these types of businesses, consider forming a Professional LLC called a PLLC.

Wondering if your domain name and business name should match?

Here is my expert advice that I give my marketing clients

LLC Name vs Business Name Uses

Name UsageLLC NameBusiness Name
(Or trading name, trade name)
EXAMPLEABC Partners LLCAlex Bill & Cindy Caterers
Business Registration
Application
YESYES – must include LLC within business name such as this:
Alex Bill &
Cindy Caterers, LLC
Legal ContractsYESNO
Loan ApplicationsYESNO
Bank Accounts & Credit CardsYESNO
Vendor Credit ApplicationsYESNO
Rental LeasesYESNO
Trademark RegistrationsYESNO
Business CardsNOYES
Store SignsNOYES
LogoYES and NO – more detailsYES
WebsiteYES and NO – more detailsYES

Search for LLC Name Availability

As you learned above, one of the legal requirements and rules for LLC names is that they must be unique and not taken by another business registration in your State. 

Here’s how you can can search: 

  • DIY LLC Name Search – Use your State’s business registration database and search for your LLC name availability. Use my links to your US State LLC Name databases

    Know that there are complex legal rules that differ by State. These types of slight word variations listed below do not qualify as creating distinguishability and thus will not be acceptable as LLC names uniqueness because they are deceptively similar:
    • Single, Plural and Possessive Words
    • A, An or The
    • And, Or and &
    • Hyphens, Periods and Commas
    • Alphanumeric

FYI: If you want to change the domain name on an existing website – it IS possible.

Alabama

Alabama Secretary of State: Business Entity Records

Alaska

Alaska Division of Corporations: Search Corporations Database

Arizona

Arizona Corporation Commission: eCorp Business Entity Search

Arkansas

Arkansas Secretary of State: Business Entity Search

California

California Secretary of State: Business Search

Colorado

Colorado Secretary of State: Business Database Search

Connecticut

Connecticut Secretary of State: Business Registry Search

Delaware

Delaware Division of Corporations: Business Entity Search

Florida

Florida Department of State: Search Records

Georgia

Georgia Secretary of State: Business Search

Hawaii

Hawaii Business Registration Division: Search for Businesses

Idaho

Idaho Secretary of State: Business Search

Illinois

Illinois Secretary of State: Corporation & LLC Search

Indiana

Indiana Secretary of State: Business Search

Iowa

Iowa Secretary of State: Business Entities Search

Kansas

Kansas Secretary of State: Business Entity Search Station (BESS)

Kentucky

Kentucky Secretary of State: FastTrack Business Organization Search

Louisiana

Louisiana Secretary of State: Business Filings Search

Maine

Maine Secretary of State: Corporate Name Search

Maryland

Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation: Business Entity Search

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Corporations Division: Business Entity Search

Michigan

Michigan Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs: Business Entity Search

Minnesota

Minnesota Secretary of State: Search Business Filings

Mississippi

Mississippi Secretary of State: Business Name Search

Missouri

Missouri Secretary of State: Business Entity Search

Montana

Montana Secretary of State: Business Search

Nebraska

Nebraska Secretary of State: Corporate & Business Search

Nevada

Nevada Secretary of State: Business Search

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Secretary of State: Business Search

New Jersey

New Jersey Division of Revenue: Business Entity Name Search

New Mexico

New Mexico Secretary of State: Business Search

New York

New York Division of Corporations: Corporation & Business Entity Database

North Carolina

North Carolina Secretary of State: Business Search

North Dakota

North Dakota Secretary of State: Business Search

Ohio

Ohio Secretary of State: Business Name Search

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Secretary of State: Business Entities Search

Oregon

Oregon Secretary of State: Business Name Search

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Department of State: Business Entity Search

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Secretary of State: Search for an Entity

South Carolina

South Carolina Secretary of State: Business Name Search

South Dakota

South Dakota Secretary of State: Business Information Search

Tennessee

Tennessee Secretary of State: Business Information Search

Texas

Texas Comptroller: Taxable Entity Search

Utah

Utah Secretary of State: Business Name Search

Vermont

Vermont Secretary of State: Business Search

Virginia

Virginia State Corporation Commission: Business Entity Search

Washington State

Washington Corporations & Charities Filing System: Advanced Business Search

Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs: Business Filings Search
(you need to create a CorpOnline account)

West Virginia

West Virginia Secretary of State: Business Entity Search

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions: Search Corporate records

Wyoming

Wyoming Secretary of State: Search for Business Names

FAQ: LLC Names

Do I need to put LLC on my business cards?

In most States, it is not legally required to included your LLC designation on your business cards, however, it could be an advantage to add LLC onto your business cards.

Including your full business name with LLC communicates to clients your professionalism. It also notifies them that they are engaging in business with a legal entity – your LLC – and if they choose to sue your company they will not be able to get your personal assets.

Most brand name companies do not elect to include LLC on their business cards because they want customers to focus on their branding message.Do I need to put LLC on my website?

No and yes.

No, you do not have to include LLC in your company name on your graphic banner headers on your website pages. Here is where you focus on your brand name.

Yes, you should include LLC in your company name on your legal pages such as terms of use, disclaimers and privacy policy.Should I put LLC on my logo?

In most cases, no you should not include LLC in your logo. Logos are visual representations of your branding messages and do not need to contain extra legal abbreviations to get in the way.

Some professions and States require including LLC in logos for attorneys, bankers, and insurance agents. Check with your business lawyer.

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