Naming your product
The Web App Challenge | February 4th, 2013
Naming is probably my least favorite part of the product creation process. I feel like I spend days or weeks just going in circles, coming up with nothing good. It is a painful cycle of thinking up names then checking the domain registry, only to find the .com is taken. It sucks. Though now I have a bit of a process so that I can at least come up with a few decent options in not too long.
To start, I have a few rules this name has to meet:
- The domain name must be a .com
- The name should be two words at most
- The name should be three syllables at most
- Can be clearly heard over the phone
- Should not be easily confused with another word or name
I always start by writing down a list of words that describe or relate to the product in some way. Here’s a sample of the words that I wrote down for this project:
There were more, but you get the idea.
Then I plug these words one-by-one into LeanDomainSearch.com (which is a god-send for this process). Basic Lean Domain Search takes your word and combines it with other common words, then returns the combinations that have the .com available. This will leave you with a name along the lines of these popular startups:
As you can see it has worked well for them. Other than being just two words, what do all those have in common? They are just two syllables. It turns out finding short words that have some meaning is quite difficult. Though every time I found a combination that might work, I wrote it down. Often a word would turn up that sounded good, so I would go back and try pairing it with words on my previous list.
For one off searches I used Moniker. Only because I hear they don’t snag your domain names if you don’t purchase them. Something GoDaddy and NetworkSolutions have been accused of doing.
A rough list
Here is the rough list of .com names I made:
Another option with names is to go with something short, but memorable, then add something to the domain in order to get a .com. Classic examples are:
And many more. The problem I have with this approach is that people tend to add the extra word into your company name. For example, my company is called Legend, but the domain name is ThinkLegend.com. Unfortunately everyone thinks my company name is Think Legend. Which is really frustrating.
So I wanted the product name to be an exact match to the .com domain name. So that brought me back to my list above.
I picked out a few of my favorites, then asked a few trusted friends for their opinion. I didn’t share anything about my choices with them (to make sure to not bias them). Here are a few of the comments that came back:
“Don’t like ‘hello’ at all.”
“ConvertLater is a bad idea. Sounds negative.”
“SnapConvert is good.”
“ConvertKit is good.”
ConvertKit was already my favorite out of the group, so it was nice to hear the validation. I decided against SnapConvert because I don’t like the way it sounds, but more importantly because “snap” sounds instant, which is the opposite of the conversion process I advocate.
So with that, ConvertKit became the official name and I breathed a sigh of relief. I quickly registered the domain and started to use it in the project.
I hope my experience helps you choose a name for your product.
I’ve fallen behind slightly with my weekly reviews, so I’m going to give you two weeks now. Development is still moving along great. I actually will start sending public traffic to the ConvertKit landing pages in a few days. That’s serious progress!
January 20th – 26th
- Design: 3 hours
- Planning: 1 hour
- Marketing 2 hours (this was working on the sales page)
Total: 6 hours. Remember that week I worked more than my allotted 20 hours? Well, I’m making up for it here. I’ve been on vacation in Costa Rica the last couple weeks, so that’s why the hours are so low.
January 27th – February 2nd
- Design: 3 hours
- Development: 5 hours
- Marketing: 5 hours
Another vacation week, but I managed to fit in a total of 13 hours worth of work. That included everything necessary to get ConvertKit.com up and running.
As always, if you want to follow along by email, sign up below. Have a great week!