How to Pick the Perfect Name for Your Startup

14th April 2016

By: Jeff Jacobson

What’s in a name? The short answer is, A LOT. Names of people, products and companies often elicit feelings and associations somewhere deep inside of us. So let’s say you have a great idea for a startup or new business venture. How do you pick the right name? Here are four tips to help you create some magic:

1) Mind your brand and audience - Keep your customers in mind while noodling on a name. A mobile app company creating a game targeted to kids can get away with a much more playful name than a web based healthcare management company targeting sick patients. Sure your audience and target might change, but you probably won’t make major u-turns. Be creative and push to stand out in the crowd without offending your audience.

2) Research the domain - First check to see if the domain name is available. Often you’ll come up with a great name but quickly find out that the url is taken. The easiest way is to check is by doing a quick query on GoDaddy or other domain registrar sites. Dot com addresses are still at a premium but there are other TLD (top level domain) options, especially if your business plays in a specialized market or locale (think .nyc or .guru). If you’re set on a name and the url is taken or too expensive, there are creative options. Remember that most people don’t type the exact url into their browser any more, so name variations often work. Throw in short action verbs like “go” or “get” or possesive’s like “my” or “your” in front of your name to come up with inexpensive and often available alternatives.

3) Stay out of the crowd - Having a strong web presence is crucial to today’s business. Make sure to measure how crowded the wordspace is for your company’s new name. Pick a crowded wordspace and you will be starting behind a big giant 8-ball when optimizing your SEO or budgeting for a CPC campaign. Unique or less searched names will allow you to quickly move up search engines and quickly create “first-page” presence. Many online tools exist to check including MOZ and Google Analytics. A little research can save you a lot of dollars in the long run. Stay discoverable.

4) Get creative - The first time you heard of Yahoo, Google or Uber, you might have even chuckled. No one’s laughing now except the founders and early investors on their trips to the bank. As names are spoken, heard and typed, they quickly become more palpable. Sure, most startups have slim odds of becoming as successful as the examples above, but if your business is in demand and your customers are happy, your name will quickly sound more mainstream.

At the end of the day, make sure to put significant time and research into choosing your company’s name. A big miss can cost you in the long run. Most importantly, explore many options and have fun. I loved the process and look forward to doing it again.

P.S. The image is of our golden bird. Every week a member from our team is rewarded for diligence in and outside the office...aka, crushing it.

Work small, dream big,

Team Kinglet