Once you have a good name, it resonates with the customer and creates a solid foundation for your brand. It's like the difference between Kroc's and McDonald's (10 points if you've seen that movie!).
There are two ways to name your online business:
- Use your own name, e.g. James Francis.
- Use a company name, e.g. Digital Prosperity.
Either way will work fine, but a company name gives you more room to grow in the future.
However if creativity isn't your strong point, it can be tough coming up with a good company name.
I know because my first business name was "Internet Marketing Profit Machine" - the longest and scammiest sounding name ever!
Fortunately now we're getting pretty good at this when helping our clients' come up with awesome names for their businesses.
We usually follow four simple rules:
1) The Big Picture
First, you need to think of the "big picture" for your online business.
What will you help people to achieve? What is their end goal?
Or looking at it from another angle, what process will you take people through to get them there?
These things can be incorporated into your name to make your business name unique to you.
For example, our company helps people to make a profit by selling digital products and services, so we incorporated "Digital" in our company name.
(We thought about using "profit" instead, but we didn't want to give off the "get rich overnight" vibe.)
The next word was a little more difficult. We needed to think of a way of saying "live a profitable and awesome life" in just one or two words.
So when you struggle to think of the right word that sounds good - OR the name you want is already taken - it's time to turn to the thesaurus.
We use thesaurus.com (yes it's free), which gives you a lot of different suggestions when you search for a word.
I call it the "idea machine" (well I don't, but it sounds cool).
So in our case, we searched for "successful" and saw the word "prosperous". Add that to our first word, and Digital Prosperity was born.
We have coaching clients ask us to review their company names all the time, but sometimes the names don't make grammatical sense.
When this happens, it makes your company sound amateur and unprofessional before people even land on your website.
For example, which sounds best?
a) Digital Prosperous?
b) Digital Prosperity?
The only difference between the two is the suffix (end of the word), but it makes a huge difference.
So don't just choose two unrelated words and put them together. They should relate to each other and roll off the tongue nicely.
When coming up with your name, it's best to keep it at three words or less, otherwise it sounds more like a phrase and isn't as catchy.
And with those words, think of how many syllables are in each word.
Ideally you'd like less than 10 syllables otherwise it becomes difficult to say over and over again, e.g. in videos, podcasts, etc.
Ideally you're looking for two words, but three is complete fine, and one would be amazing (but usually super difficult).
4) It Shouldn't Be Taken
Once you come up with a name, you'll probably be super excited and want to get started with it right away.
But before you do anything, you need to make sure somebody isn't already using it.
You can do your due diligence online with trademark and copyright searches, or hire a lawyer if you want to make 100% sure it's ok to use.
Once you follow these four steps, you'll be able to come up with a name that gives people a brief image of what you help them with, while still being catchy and unique in your industry.
- James Francis.
Founder & CEO, Digital Prosperity.