In a world where it seems like the market is flooded with startups that boast cool, punchy and high-tech company names, it might seem like the pressure is on when naming your own business.
By keeping your mission in mind, as well as the strategic pointers below, you’ll be sure to land on a company name that will pique market interest, and scale with you for the long-term. And because startups are inherently digital, picking a domain name that aligns with the company name is just as important.
It’s important for entrepreneurs to keep three things in mind when brainstorming for a startup name: awareness, simplicity, and scalability.
When it comes to awareness, do thorough and upfront research before committing to a name. Make sure both the company and domain names are available, consider popular web extensions outside of .com, such as .co, .biz and .us.
Then, check popular social media sites to also ensure you are not doubling up on someone else’s business. Look at keywords that will increase awareness for your business and consider adding them to the URL.
Keep it short and simple. You want people to be able to remember the startup name, but more importantly you want them to remember the URL. Long phrases, misspelling words, and adding hyphens will complicate this task and confuse your audience, especially when they’re ready to search for you online. People have very short attention spans and memories. If they are just learning about your company, a tricky URL could end their customer journey just as it is beginning.
The short and simple rule is further compounded by social media. You want to make sure the name you choose is easy to find and spell so that potential customers can engage with you, be it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and more.
In terms of scalability, think 5-10 years down the line. Where will your business be then? Your name should be able to grow with your company, so stay away from names that could lock you into a niche or dated trends that will force you to rebrand in a few years’ time.
While awareness, simplicity and scalability are the three golden rules of naming a startup, there are, of course, cardinal sins to avoid.
Avoid choosing names that are generic, confusing, or are too similar to those used by your direct competitors.
You do want to be distinct, so don’t shy away from creating your identity. But don’t let this result in a complicated name (and therefore, web address) that is easy to misspell on paper or online. After all, your website will likely become the showpiece for your company when it comes to customers evaluating your product/offering. In fact, most if not all of your marketing programs will reference the URL, so put a lot of thought into what it represents for your brand and your business.
Last but not least, consider how your startup name will look on signage at an event, in banner ads, or on business cards. What will it sound like when you are sharing it with another person over coffee or pointing people to it in a podcast interview? Give them something to remember, so your brand won’t be forgotten.