What’s in a business name? Quite a bit, experts say. While a good name alone won’t lead to success, a bad name can lead to confusion or poor brand perception. “The best names are simple, short, unique and connect with the target audience,” says Pia Silva, partner and brand strategist at Worstofall Design in Brooklyn, New York.
They’re also simple and easy to pronounce, says Ross Kimbarovsky, founder and CEO of the Chicago-based marketing, branding and design firm crowdspring. “If your customers can’t remember your company name or spell it for others, it will make it difficult for them to promote your business,” he says.
In need of inspiration? Online tools are here to help.
Identify Your Brand and Keywords
The best names are simple, short, unique and connect with the target audience.
“Your name needs to reflect your brand and ‘voice,’” Silva says. Try generating a list of keywords related to your business, brand or industry, which will help you evaluate your proposed name’s searchability. Use free keyword tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner or Keywordtool.
With luck, your name and your professional passion will lead to a solid name that’s also searchable. For example, wine enthusiast Dini Rao named her wine-tasting and wine consultancy company DiniVino based on her name and the Italian word for wine, Silva notes.
If that option won’t work for you, try using your keywords to generate a list of dozens of possible names, Silva says. Online name generators such as Anadea, NameStation or the crowdsourced Wordlab can help identify new options.
Some businesses have found success by coining fictitious names rooted in something similar to their industry. Use Wordoid to find made-up words that sound professional and are rooted in keywords of your choice. For example, one of Silva’s clients named his New York City-based marketing technology firm Clevos. While the word itself has no meaning, it is similar to the word “clever” and sounds fresh and forward-thinking, Silva says.
Secure the URL and Consider a Tagline
While you shouldn’t choose a name solely based on the availability of a URL, it is an important factor, Silva says. Use Google Domains or NameMesh to see what domain names are available. “A dotcom name is gold, but it’s just one factor for success,” Silva says. In lieu of a dotcom name, the next-best options are .net or .biz, she says. The .io extension is also currently popular with tech companies.
Finally, create a tagline as a part of your naming process to help customers understand your story, Kimbarovsky says. Get ideas or inspiration from SloganGenerator. If you’re in e-commerce, try Shopify,which offers tools for name generation as well as slogans.
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