How to Find a Business Name

Besides our tools we want to give you a short tutorial for choosing the right business / startup name. Not everything can be done by tools. You must decide and tell gold from dirt. However, by using Namesmith you will have an easier time finding gold. Now go ahead and read the tutorial to use your creativity and our to tools to their full potential.

If you are impatient at least read the checklist.

1. The Basics

A good business name should fulfill several properties. Most of the time you cannot meet all of the following criteria but you should consider all of them when choosing a name for your startup.

Descriptiveness vs. Uniqueness

A company or domain name can be very descriptive (e.g. Silver.com is very clear about its content) or absolutely non-descriptive (Amazon.com, Exxon.com etc.). Choosing between a descriptive or non-descriptive name is a balancing act. On the one hand a descriptive name makes it easy for new customers to recognize the type of product. On the other hand a non-descriptive fantasy name increases the recognition value and sets the company apart from its competition.

You may also strife for a balance between the two extremes. This may be achieved by altering the keywords slightly, so people can recognize the original word behind the name. Some examples are:

Remember that you don't necessarily have do describe your product. Describing your customer may also be a successful path to a business name. Consider Den of Geek as an example.

Smooth and Easy

This point is very simple but of great importance. Be sure your company name is easy to write, pronounce and remember. Just keep it short and simple. Check the following points and you will be good:

  1. Don't exceed 10 characters. There is no point in combining 3 keywords if nobody can remember the name of your business.
  2. Make it easy for the tongue. Always consider your target audience. A foreign word or a fantasy name may be hard to pronounce for a specific nationality.
  3. Test if people remember the name. Tell your friends or family about the company. Mention 4 to 5 names and after a few days ask them which they do remember.
  4. If possible avoid words that may be confused because of their pronounciation: sea and see, knight and night or tail and tale.

Generally a good test is the 'pub test'. Imagine being in a loud room and telling your name to someone else. Will he understand it and remember it? If he can type the domain into the browser one day later, it is a good name.

The Keyword's Cousins

Sometimes targeting the exact keyword can be a mistake. Imagine the keyword 'book'. There is a good chance all good domains containing the keyword are already taken. In the example case you should inspect relative keywords such as 'page', 'bookmark' or 'read'. For the keyword 'coffee' you could consider 'beans', 'strong', 'black' or 'latte'.

2. The Namesmith Algorithms

In this section we explain the different algorithms namesmith uses to generate your next business name.

Exact Keyword(s)

Here we show your exact keyword or all combinations of keywords you have entered. You can then directly check the domain availability. These 'matching' domain names are often good for internet marketing purposes.

Phonetic Blends / Portmanteaus

Portmanteaus are blends of different words. This algorithm finds words that overlap with the keyword in pronounciation. One example result for the keyword domain would be 'domainiac', a blend of the words 'domain' and 'maniac'. Another example would be the blends 'wunderwear' or 'wonderwear' as a result for the keyword underwear.

Some or most of the suggestions will not make sense or even sound stupid. It is up to you to find the good ones. Namesmith helps by sorting the results by word popularity in common language. It is always worth checking this category.. gems are hidden here for your startup name. Pinterest.com is a real world example for a successfully used Portmanteau.

Written Blends / Portmanteaus

These blends are similar to above but instead of overlapping in pronounciation they overlap in writing. An example would be the blend of eskimo and 'move' resulting in the word 'eskimove'. Often these words are hard to pronounce but sometimes they offer a great alternative to phonetic blends. The results may partly be equal to those from the phonetic blends category.

Rhymes

Everyone knows rhymes. The big benefit: they are often smooth to say and good to remember. Namesmith rhymes with the end of the keyword. So searching for the word deal would yield 'stealdeal' and 'realdeal' amongst many others. 7-Eleven is a good example for a rhymed company name.

Pre-/Suffixes

This algorithm just appends and prepends popular pre- and suffixes to the keywords. You think that's too simple? Well what about iTunes or Spotify then? Sometimes a simple name is all you need!

Modifications

Misspelling a word can be a good way to have a recognizable name and still set yourself apart. Think of Reddit.com or Tumblr.com. Namesmith features different misspelling rules to help you out.

Randomly Generated Names

Sometimes you want a really unique name. Namesmith offers a random name generator with different flavors. Intelligent algorithms trained on sample sets of greek, aztec, japanese and modern names may just offer the perfect unique name for you.

3. Decide and Commit

Always remember that a good name will not make your business successful. Make sure you have a polished product and then find a name for it. Don't overthink it. Prefer simple names and check the most important domains for availability or competition. Read our guide on how to find the best TLD if you are unsure about domain extensions such as .com, .net, .org or others.

Last but not least consult our checklist below before registering a domain.

The Final Checklist

  1. The name must be short. Don't exceed 10 characters.
  2. Check for a pleasant pronounciation in the target audience's language.
  3. An easy spelling will make sure that people have an easy time entering the correct web address.
  4. Examine if the name has a secondary meaning. You don't want a negative association with your business name.
  5. Try to avoid trademark infringements. For example a music store called HiTunes would surely be in trouble soon.
  6. Usually you want a .com address. Sometimes other domain extensions are a great alternative but you should avoid these if a competitor owns the corresponding .com domain.