Generating a creative but functional website name can be extremely challenging, if not downright frustrating. You want it to be fun but smart, short but descriptive, cool but professional. It’s a creative balancing act and there’s not really any net to catch you: choose the wrong name and it could plague your business forever.
Hopefully you’ll have some time to make this decision. And if you take a step back, you will see there are various ways to go about generating a cool website name.
Here are 10 methods you can use:
1) Look at other website names
This isn’t to say, “copy other website names”, but rather, see how their names reflect their business and try to figure out why certain names work and others don’t. A great website name both defines the business and its personality/voice while sticking in your head. Netflix. Google. Facebook. These are nothing short of brilliant: simple, unique, effective, creative. Draw inspiration from these names and approach naming your own website the same way. Don’t settle for anything less than perfect.
2) Read everything and see everything as a potential idea
Every word and phrase, be it from a highway sign or a textbook, has the potential to be adapted into your website’s name. The key is being open to any idea come from any source and any type of word. So rather than just glaze over things the way you normally might, let words – whatever their source – gestate in your brain for a while. If they don’t organically turn into a good idea that could be applicable to your website’s name, let them go and move on to the next one.
3) Go back to the roots
The English language evolved from Latin, and Latin has some pretty amazing-sounding words and phrases. The cadences of Latin are fluid yet exact, strong yet graceful, making it an excellent creative website name generator. Think of the industry your website is in and look up the Latin equivalent of the key terms and processes. You may be surprised at what pops up.
4) Form, meet function – function, meet form
Think of both the form and function of words, and how you can combine or adapt them to generate a spectacular website name. For example, if your website is about reselling semiconductor parts, you might take “conductor” from that, change it to “conduct”, and using “conduct” as the central function, then play with the form of the word by breaking it down into syllables or expanding on it until you have a cool made-up word that describes the business. “Netflix” is an example of a prime meeting of form and function.
5) Wake up in the middle of the night and let your mind drift
Not many people like waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to get back to sleep, but it’s a common problem. If you’re in the generating-a-creative-website-name phase, though, waking up in the middle of the night can present the perfect opportunity to stumble upon a great website name. The mind is extremely fecund and creative in this dark, sleepy state, and it will provide you with breakthroughs if you let it wander. So let it go, and always keep a notebook on your nightstand.
6) Marry two ideas. For better or for…better
This is a common strategy for screenwriters trying to come up with new ideas or pitching new ideas to executives. They’ll say: “It’s The Matrix meets Avatar” and the executives will instantly see the movie. The same can be done with generating cool website names. To go back to the semiconductor idea, you can take the “conduct” root, then think of other semiconductor-related terms and processes and attach them to “conduct” to see if they form an interesting word. Or – think of something totally unrelated to semiconducting – apple-picking, example – and see if you can make any interesting connections. Sometimes two completely disparate ideas can come together to make something amazing.
7) Purposely try not to think about your website name
This one probably sounds a little counterintuitive but it can lead to great discoveries. The best solutions often come out of the blue when you aren’t trying to solve the problem at hand. If you’re feeling burned out on trying to come up with a cool website name, step back and put it out of your mind for a day or two. In this period, something might jump out at you as the name you’ve been looking for.
8) Think of the foreign counterparts
As with investigating the Latin roots of words, it can also help to make a list of words in your industry and see what their translations are in other languages such as French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Be sure to avoid overused foreign words such as “bon” or “meister” and go for something different but still applicable.
9) Try good old-fashioned brainstorming
There’s a reason brainstorming has been a longtime mainstay of name and idea generation: it works. But you have to go about it the right way. Make it fun and be sure to do it an environment – be it the room or the people – that makes you feel uninhibited and unselfconscious. The more joy you put into the brainstorming process, the more it will produce for you.
10) Use a name generator
Name generators essentially automate many of the above tactics. You plug in a keyword or words that you know you need or want in your website’s name and the search engine spits a list of ideas back to you. At BuyDomains.com you can both check to see if a website name is available while obtaining a list of prime website names on the resale market via a simple keyword search.
No matter which tactic or combination of tactics you use, the most important thing in generating a creative website name is to have fun with it. Of all the things involved in starting a business, this is a relatively low-hanging fruit and should be a pleasant endeavor, not another stressor.