How to Pick Product or Startup Name

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

Most important naming components for any new ventures


Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash


There is no doubt about the fact that picking the right name for your startup might be one of the most important things you will do in the beginning phases of your entrepreneurial quest. Many companies in this era tend to be web-based, which limits the founders to the current available domain names or a domain-name extension. Furthermore, you have to think about whether you should use the same name for both your company and product or services.

In this article, I want to highlight factors that founding members should consider when brainstorming domain names for their company.


Things to consider when registering for a new domain name:


Dot com availability


In the early stages, founders have the advantage of ensuring that their domain name is available with a dot com extension. Dot com domains have the highest recall of all other extensions (.biz, .net, .org) and is favored by SEO. Many browsers today check for the dot come extension by default.


Two most popular sites for domain names registrations and searches are:


https://domains.google/

https://www.godaddy.com/

Highly Memorable Name


When thinking of a highly memorable name, it may be useful to use the ‘crowded bar rule.’ If you were in a bar and said the name to someone, would they be able to recall it?


Short Name


With certain exceptions, it’s important for names to be 15 letters or less. If the name must be longer, it helps to have a highly memorable name with no spelling ambiguity and special characters (-, $, %, etc)


Own all spelling variances


To explain this, I want to give you an example. There is a company called Utube.com, but this domain doesn’t even show up on the first page of Google Search Engine.


The image shown here is what google recommends instead. Companies with better SEO and algorithms will always be favored, so it is important to own all spelling variances, especially if your brand is not well known by the masses.


Domains with spelling ambiguity can lead users to some sites other than your own. It is unfair that another business is getting all the traffic from your hard work.


Evokes the thing you are naming


Sawstop.com is a brand that services exactly what the name indicates. This technology has saws with blades that can sense human tissues. When human skin is detected, a safety system is activated that causes the saw to stop before coming in contact with the human body.


It’s important to pick a name that hints potential users about what your products or services can offer. Most new companies entering the market have very few resources. Therefore, giving an indicative name to your company is a genius and low-cost marketing strategy.


One caveat is choosing a name that has potential to lose meaning in future. For example, a company called VCR Are Us may have been very profitable in the early 2000s, but it is basically obsolete in 2020. Who uses VCR’s anymore?


Evokes attributes of the product


If you are starting a company that sells clothing items for women, then it might not be the best idea to call it roughclothing.com. Choosing a word that describes attributes of your clothes, such as silky, warm, and comfortable implies that your product is going to be silky and soft. This is another example of making the name you choose work for your company.


Positive Association


Humans tend to associate with different brands. For some, brands become a symbolic representation of their identity. In order for your company to succeed, customers need to associate it with something positive.


There is a brand association between Corona beer and beaches.


It is no surprise that sales of Corona rises during the prime vacation times. On the opposite spectrum, when Corona virus hit the United States, a lot of people started associating this beer with the virus and the sales immediately dropped.


How your brand name makes consumers feel is very essential for growth.


Easy to Say


Along with being highly memorable, it is important to determine if the name you are considering is easy to say or not. People tend to forget or misspell words that are hard to pronounce.


All the rules stated above are not set in stone. It is important to consider variety of factors in context of the group you are trying to target. If your company was to grow beyond your own country, how would the global market respond to the name? Does your name hold the same power in a Latin community as it does in Indian community?


As a founder, you must make the decision for yourself. After ample market research and feedback from your potential customers, the answer becomes blatantly obvious. Once you narrow down to a couple dotcom domains, the next step will be to send a survey to about 50 people — the layout of the survey will be outlined in the next article!


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