Tips & Ideas for naming your online business or brand

Coming up with a name for your new company or brand can be a daunting challenge. You’re trying to create a name that conveys what the business is about but without it being too dull or easily forgettable. Some of the best names have the branding built into it which is important. By this I mean that the name you decide on needs to make marketing and promoting the brand as easy as possible. A general theme needs to carry through from the name right through to the marketing materials. However the name is not the be-all or end-all for a business and doesn’t need to be quirky or clever if the product or service speaks for itself. Such businesses give more emphasis on delivering a good product or service that translates into word of mouth referrals, than clever branding which piques interest. Obviously the best businesses will try and combine both. As an example: “James’ Tools Online” is a pretty bog standard name where you have a good idea of what the business is all about. But if you were to choose a name like: “totooly” (a play on the word totally) this would set you up for a range of marketing and promotion themes centered around “totally”, and will give you a better chance of having your brand remembered.

Things to bear in mind when choosing your name, and especially for online businesses, is how it will translate into a domain name. Many of the .com URLs with any combination of English words will already have been taken, and for an online business with an intended global audience, the domain name is one area you don’t want to compromise on. For online businesses only looking to operate in their own country or locally, you will probably have an easier time coming up with a name and domain that can be registered with your country’s TLD, ie, etc.

You also want to try and come up with a name that is scalable, and can evolve as your business does. There’s an almost certain chance that once your business gains momentum, new opportunities will arise that may take your business in a whole different direction. Rebranding down the line is costly affair that has the potential to lose a portion of your loyal fan/customer base, so try and avoid it from day 1.

Types of names for your business.

While this is in no way an exhaustive list of options for naming your business it should help in giving you a bit of direction with where you’d like the naming process to go.

  • Descriptive names (where you have an idea of what it’s about before visiting the site) – PayPal, Mail Chimp, Evernote, AfterShip, Kickstarter
  • Abstract with verb in name – Zapier, twitter, Pinterest, Pocket, Uber,
  • Abstract and made up – Zopim, Zomato, Gogobot, Snorg Tees, Lumosity
  • Punned/Made up names – Whatsapp, Engadget, Gizmodo
  • Combination names – Skitch, ThinkGeek, Instructables, Superbalist
  • Noun based names – Fred & Friends, Cape Herb & Spice, Brooklyn Grooming

Prefixes and suffixes

Sometimes you’ll have this great name but something similar already exists or the domain is not available. Adding something to the beginning or the end of the name can not only enhance it further but also ensure that the desired domain name is available.

Classic suffixes: Other suffixes: Prefixes: Latin prefixes: Prefix and suffix:
house now go ubi (when) media
central tools re bis (twice) direct
point source metro ad (to, towards) access
home review urban ambi (both) ez
place system head inter (between) easy
garden book hit liber (free) info
site guide front mono (single) interactive
spot talk techno poli (many) biz
park vision ever tele (distant) buzz
dome load rush omni (all) bit
bay box think exo (outside) byte
web focus solo extra (addition) up
net beat radio hyper (over) tech
cave voice vip hypo (under) on
base share hot intro (within) out
heaven cafe smart proto (first) auto
portal zone cool intra (within) pulse
world sight hot micro (little) x or xt
camp link fast macro (large) venture
network lab fresh multi (many) trend
county insight sleek neo (new) life
street vine first iso (equal) retro
city board daily mono (one) secret
alley flow best
depot signs sharp
valley network light
nation wire classic
news cast fast
side cove great
it today quick
ly (add “ly”) future

Mind Maps and Online Tools

Mind maps are a good way to visually create links to words and themes you’d like your brand to have. Start with the core of the business, it’s essence, in the middle of your page and just starting coming up with links and themes around it. Don’t analyse what you come up with too much, the idea here is to get as many variations, names, themes and links to your core business as possible. Once your page is completed filled you can start cherry picking the words and themes you like best . You can then start interchanging all of that data into a name you’re happy with and that’s available to register online.

There are also many online tools to help you choose your name. One online tool I always use is More Words. There you can choose to display a list of words that contain a specific word at the beginning or end, or if you want the word to have a certain amount of characters etc.

Also check out Scrabble Finder which is an indispensable word companion when naming your brand. It’ll also come in handy when playing Scrabble and other fun word games.

Here are a few more great resources originally found at Medium.

The missus and I (looking decidedly haggard and grizzly with that new beard)
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Mr Mantality

Mr Mantality

Lover of gadgets, men's culture, cool stuff, Earl Grey tea and all things manly. An optimist in his prime. When he's not keeping the wheels turning at Mantality HQ you'll find him trawling the web, and visiting trade shows to find the newest and coolest gadgets. During his down time he's usually with his 2 dogs, on the golf course, cycling or basking in the literary company of Oscar Wilde, Bret Easton Ellis or Martin Amis whilst drinking espresso strong enough to strip paint.

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