We know the process of choosing the right name for your project or company is a BIG deal. You’re tasked with finding a word or phrase that not only sounds good, but will determine everyone’s first impression. No pressure, right?
So how can you make sure this name is... your destiny?
When Beyoncé needs to pump herself up to go on stage, she calls herself "Sasha Fierce." Names are powerful. The best names convey your brand as well as your company values, your mission, and even the quality of your work. So let's take this seriously! Here are some pointers:
- Keep your spelling and word choices relatively intuitive and easy to understand. Our brains more positively associate with and remember words we can actually pronounce. Avoid sticking in random numbers or hyphenated words whenever possible.
- Try not to cater to current trends or puns. It may have seemed cool to say YOLO a few years ago, but now we can't say it without cringing. If you are planning to use your name for a long time, make it timeless. The same rule goes for puns and inside jokes; if there's a chance your target customer might not understand or connect with your choice, reconsider.
- Contrary to popular belief, short names often don't work. Most domains under six letters are already taken or are owned by squatters.
- Don't be too cute. If your company is playful or sells fun products, that's one thing, but try to avoid choices that tell your customers not to take you seriously.
- When you've got a list of ideas and you've Googled that they're available, gather a group of confidantes and say the names out loud. Ask them to spell it for you. This is important; if your friends don't understand what they're hearing, or need you to repeat it multiple times, or stumble when trying to say it themselves, it might be a sign that it's not the one.
- Use Namecheckr to see your choice as a URL or social media handle. If it's too long for certain channels, you will have to modify it, and that puts you back at square one. (One quick note on .com versus .biz or .net: whenever possible, go for .com. It's still the gold standard.)
- Do a search on the Trademark Electronic Search System too. Make sure your name choice can't be confused with another company's trademark.
The next step is to secure those domains and social handles. Grab them and hold on tight! We recommend creating a business email address using your company name and signing up for your URL and accounts with that email address, so you have everything claimed and easily organized.
It doesn’t matter whether you think you might only use a few social media channels at first; you should own all the handles related to your name in case you might one day use them. This also helps your customers find you and see that you're legit. Even Beyoncé needs this advice: we found her in seconds on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and MySpace, but when we looked for her on Pinterest we found someone else entirely.
If you do nothing else, register your name through the proper legal channels. Here's a handy guide to that, and make some time to learn about trademarks by watching this video. Don't hesitate to reach out to a lawyer if you need to. It's worth it!