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Before Choosing a Name

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Brand Name Strategy

What’s in a name? As it turns out, there’s quite a lot in a name! At Appellita, we help individuals and businesses find the right domain name for their company with our state-of-the-art name generator, one that’s unique, memorable and effective. However, name generation is only half of the battle when naming a company. In fact, there are seven key questions that we believe each person should ask him or herself when considering a list of name ideas.

Have You Completely Fleshed Out Your Business Idea?

As they say, don’t put the cart before the horse; make sure that you’re intently focused on your product or service and not the name that it goes by. The name that you choose should define your product, not the other way around! For this reason, it’s usually advisable to delay the naming of your project, whether it’s a company, blog or product, for as long as possible. Too often, companies get overly attached to the name they’ve selected, and this prevents them from making the on-the-fly adjustments they need to in order to appeal most effectively to their market space.

What Does Your Future Look Like?

While considering name ideas, it’s just as important to think about your business’ future as it is to think about its present. For this reason, you should ask if any given name idea can grow with your company, or if it’s too narrowly tailored to a specific audience or product. For example, say that your business specializes in making handcrafted wooden pens. At present, you might think that OakPens.com is perfect when you’re choosing a domain name. But if a few years down the line your business decides to start offering a line of artisan writing desks, then that domain name that once seemed to fit your business perfectly won’t any longer. In that event, your business will face the cost of rebranding, a cost that could’ve been avoided if a more flexible name had been chosen in the first place.

Is the Name Unique in Your Market Place?

If you’re using a quirky version of name, like one that might be suggested by Appellita’s name generator, make sure that a website that uses the original word is not already present in the marketplace. Additionally, you’ll want to do a trademark check to see if there are any other names that conflict with yours. Most often though, if you can get the .com domain, Twitter handle and Facebook name that you want, the likelihood that you’ll be stepping on anyone else’s toes is very low. Still, it’s vitally important that you do your due diligence before settling on any given name idea.

If you’re considering a generic domain name (one which uses a common dictionary word or strings several together), there are some important things to consider. For one, they do not provide the SEO benefit that they once did – Google’s algorithms place a much greater degree of importance on content these days. In addition, most of these generic names are taken (or squatted), and the ones that aren’t look spam-like, something that will degrade consumers’ confidence in your brand. Finally, these generic domain names are extremely competitive, as they generally contain keywords that other top brands are already bidding on.

Descriptive and clever names are a better option, as they give consumers an opportunity to get what your business is all about at a glance. However, depending upon the name, it may be difficult to adequately distinguish yourself from the competition, and you may find your name harder to trademark. Think of names like Best Buy, Business Week and Capital One.

Ultimately, a name that’s entirely invented might be best. It will be much easier to trademark than any of the other options, and you’ll be almost assured of dominating search results for your name. Still, the drawback is that your name might be essentially meaningless and incapable of providing an at-a-glance understanding of what your business offers. However, don’t forget that you have your company tagline or motto to make up the gap!

Does the Name Look Good?

When you’re considering the aesthetic quality of your domain name, do not rely on capitalizing key letters to make your name coherent. Instead, always assume that your domain name will always be lowercased in the mind of your consumers and in search engines. While a name like LAsweet.com might look great with capitalization, the lowercase version of it (lasweet.com) is potentially confusing. Also, always avoid triple letters in your domain name. A name like classsuccess.com or coffeeenjoy.com (with triple s’s and triple e’s respectively) can be hard to type, and the triple letters obscure the end of one word and the beginning of the next.

If you’re electing to go with a quirky name, make sure that it’s a good match for your product or service. If your business is operating within the luxury sector, for example, a name like Foziquik.com won’t match that brand identity. For this reason, make sure a quirky-sounding name is adding value to your brand and not subtracting it.

Finally, we advise that you avoid special characters at all costs. In almost all cases, your customers will be unable to remember where those special characters fall inside of your name. Of course, like any rule, there are always exceptions. For example, 7-Eleven.com naturally makes sense for 7-Eleven stores. However, it’s important to remember that, in this case, 7-Eleven has an already established brand.

Does the Name Sound Right?

This one’s easy. You’re going to be stuck with the name that you choose, so can you stand saying it 1000s of times? Also, make sure that you ask different people to pronounce your name, especially if it’s quirky or invented. If you’re getting a lot of different pronunciations, then it’s likely you’ve made your name too complicated. Also, just in the same way you considered whether the way your name looks matches your brand identity, ask yourself if it sounds like it matches your brand identity. If it doesn’t feel right coming off of your tongue, then it’s probably not the right name for your business.

Does the Name Have Any Negative Connotations?

Take the time to consider your name from all angles, as there’s almost always an unexpected meaning or connotation when you start deconstructing a name. Perhaps the name that you’ve selected means something strange in Japanese, or maybe part of the name comes close to spelling out a dirty word. If you’re getting close to selecting a given name idea, take the time to search it thoroughly. And, if you’re selecting an ‘edgier’ name, make sure that your customers will get the context – offending your customers with your name is never good.

How Much of an Investment Are You Willing To Make?

Just as you considered how your name will match up with your business in the future, consider how the investment you’re making in your domain name matches up with your financial present and your expectations for your financial future. Depending upon your budget, the competition in your market, and the confidence you have in your future financial situation, it could make sense to go with a temporary name. Many businesses have done this successfully in the past. Mint.com, for example, originally started as MyMint.com, which went for a relatively modest $3000 when compared to the price for the more generic Mint.com domain name.

If you don’t want to deal with having to secure your desired .com domain name in the future, then go with the best brandable .com you can find. Appellita’s name generator is the best tool for finding the perfect one! Just make sure that it’s one that you’re likely to be comfortable with for many years to come. If you choose a name that’s not easy to say or spell, then bear in mind that you’ll have to allot a significant portion of your marketing budget to educating consumers about your brand.

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