As your business starts taking shape, it’s time to differentiate it from the crowd, by giving it a catchy name. Let’s dig into the basic rules of business naming:

1. Avoid cheesy wordplay

When you look for a name for your business, cheesy puns are often the first thing that comes to your mind. If you’re tempted to use one of them, here are three reasons not to:

  • Silly pun might hurt the perceived credibility of your business
  • Not everyone will get it
  • It’s probably less clever than you think

A few notable examples of existing businesses whose owners got carried away by their own sense of humour are Curl up & dye hair salon, Handjob Nails and SPA, or YahPOO plumbing.

Puns are fun, but its a shaky ground to build your whole brand identity on. However, if your “punny” business name idea is really clever and relevant, then go for it. Just test it on a few people from your target audience first – check if their reaction is what you’ve expected. Otherwise, leave wordplays for claim, tagline or slogan.

2. Make it short

Short names are easier to remember and look better in logotypes, but they’re also the hardest to come up with. It seems like all the good short names were already taken, right? It’s only the first impression. The longer you’ll think about this, the more ideas for a short business name will come to your mind. To get the inspiration flowing, pick up a dictionary and get creative with adding prefixes, suffixes and mixing words. For optimal length, aim for three or fewer syllables.

3. Pick something easy to pronounce

Don’t make it hard for people to recommend your products and services to each other. Boost your chances of having favourable word-of-mouth going around by choosing an easy to pronounce and pleasant-sounding name.

4. Remember about SEO

A client who forgot the URL of your store should be able to find your website instantly after tapping the name in Google. For that, you should own an entire SERP that appears after the client searches your name. The less competition you have to outrank, the better. Ideally, you’d want your business name to be unique enough that no one has used it (or its variations) before.

5. Avoid diacritical marks

No matter if you plan to sell internationally or locally – a name that contains diacritical marks will prove troublesome in the long run. Think about all that possible mistakes in invoices, incorrect domain name and confusion among clients and business partners from abroad. Don’t do this to yourself.

6. Make your name memorable

Get yourself a name that will be as unforgettable as possible. Easier said than done? Don’t worry, there are proven tricks for that.  A memorable name should be short (maximum three syllables) and phonetic (it should sound exactly as it’s spelled). If your business name has more than one word, use alliteration – make the words start with the same sound (e.g. Best Buy, Dunkin’ Donuts)

7. Bet on originality

Have you ever noticed that the biggest companies (those worth more than a billion dollars) usually go for exotic and abstract names? Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Apple, Youtube – all those names are short, sound pleasant and tell nothing specific about the company itself. It’s a good business naming strategy if you don’t want to box yourself in one industry. Abstract names are timeless, universal, and will work in your favour even if your business evolves into something totally different in the future.

8. Don’t be a copycat

It may be tempting to name your business similarly to a successful company that already exists – to gain some popularity by association. This is a short-term strategy that must eventually backfire. You can’t build a solid brand and customer base on a deception. If you’re in this business for something more than a quick grab&run, avoid spammy-looking names at all cost.

9. Check what it means in different languages

When naming your business, think about the markets you’ll try to conquer in the future. An abstract word that sounds good in English might have pejorative or obscene connotations in other languages. So do proper research before registering your company’s name.

10. Remember that business naming isn’t everything

When building your online business, don’t get too hung up on a name alone. There’s no doubt that name’s important but it’s not the only important thing to consider before starting an online store. To assure that your clients can enjoy a good overall shopping experience you should also:

– find a desirable product to sell,

– get a coherent visual identity,

– win people over with charming customer service,

– and plan your overall marketing strategy,

If you’re not sure where to start with all this, use our Complete eCommerce Checklist.

About the author

Content specialist and gaming enthusiast. Trained to be a philosopher. Interested in Deep Learning, scalability and startups.