My first website was called Super Awesome Dating. Genius, I know.
Naming a website is difficult because it’s not intuitive WHAT exactly makes for a good website name. What are the characteristics?
This is a question most can’t clearly answer. A good domain name most certainly is memorable, easy to type in, easy to tell someone without needing to have them write it down, and at it’s very best becomes synonymous with an idea or product.
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Many of the best names use alliteration to great effect. Examples:
BoingBoing.net, JavaJacket.com and Coca-Cola.com
These names are not simply good website names, they’re fantastic examples of brand equity. Particularly the Java Jacket example whose name is clearly worth but more than the product itself.
That now ubiquitous paper cup sleeve or “java jacket” is an all too common feature at any coffee house. That part of the coffee drinking experience we don’t even think or care about – actually had to be invented by someone, and was so in the early 90’s.
Now, is the product itself that creative? No.
Is revolutionary? No really.
It’s definitely one of those “duh” ideas huh? Yes!
Anyone who drinks coffee out of a paper cup could have made this product (especially any paper manufacturers), but none of them did.
So the real genius is in the implementation of the IDEA for the product to bring it into reality. The second part is the creation of that the NAME – Java Jacket.
Video interview below (history of the coffee cup sleeve here)
The perfect name
Java Jacket is the perfect name for the product and website because it describes so clearly what the product is in a clever, creative and concise way. It adds novelty to an otherwise boring product. It also builds brand equity like Coca Cola in that it defines and industry. Sometimes you say I want “coke” but in reality you don’t really care what you’re brought so long as it’s soda.
It’s a domain name that’s also easy to type in since it’s so easy to remember. No dashes, no numbers, no additional words. Just Google “Java Jacket” or type in JavaJacket.com (not .org, not .net) and you find their website sitting at the top of the results. Brilliant.
Value to you as a webmaster and online publisher means creating and acting on ideas that help you forge a dominating brand awareness for your online work. So your brand and your website commands market share as well as mind share.
The money however is a result of building a system to provide value to as many people as you can. A kind of value that results in a real world change. Like the Java Jacket does for coffee lovers. A dramatic change? No, but it’s still a positive change and that’s what matters when it comes to making money from offering a product or service.
A Good Domain Name has Value
When you have brand awareness, when you have a good website name that contains the essence of what your website is about you can:
- Charge more for products and services because you have something that has an identity.
- Get more back links to your website naturally as a thought leader.
- Network with successful people more easily because you’ve made something of value.
- Increase the social shares of your website and brand.
If your website is perceived to be generic, like HowToBlog.com it will lack that critical differentiation you need for your unique selling point. It won’t capture the essence (yes this describes the website but that’s not good enough) of what your website is about quickly and easy. It will lack distinguishing characteristics to make it better from the rest. This also applies to your tag-line as well.
Getting the name right
Only when you get the name right does that turn a bunch of words into a recognizable identity that defines something, that becomes a proper brand you can register, own and profit from for years and years to come – like ProBlogger.net for example.
Use alliteration, but stay away from cutesy. Don’t make the words feel forced and false. If it won’t connect with your audience, if it’s over the top, if it’s unoriginal or eye rolling corny TRASH IT and start over.
Also, alliteration is but one way to come up with clever sounding domain names and tag lines. If you’re stuck on what to name your website it’s a good technique to help get the creativity flowing and perhaps even strike brand equity gold.
Communication with your website always needs to be purposeful as to maintain the respect and trust of your website visitors. Let’s go over how exactly to do this (click the drop down arrow):
Website Name Ideas
Ready to create a domain name or slogan with rhythm and a musical nature to it?
1) Create a list of core words related for your website. (10 minutes – 20 minutes)
They can be keywords but they can also just be words related to your topic. Example for my industry: HTML, WordPress, Plugins, Create, Creative, Make, Easy, Website, Fast, Build etc.
2) Come up with potential names and tag lines for your website. (30 minutes – 60 minutes)
Just start writing.
The creativity will eventually kick in and you will move from a writers block into a fluent out pour of names and tag lines. Your first few tag lines will be basic and generic but as you keep writing you’ll come up with something better.
3) With your tag line and domain name, what word MUST absolutely stay in. What are your non negotiable words?
Build everything around these select words as they must remain.
4) Now, depending on your select words that must stay in, play around with alliterations. (30 minutes+)
Write everything down. Even if it’s stupid and not usable. Some words like “website” are terrible for this exercise. Other words have the potential for brand equity gold. Find synonyms for words that have the same sound as your select words. Even if they start with a different letter. The sound is what’s important – like “melt in your mouth”.
How to name your blog or website
Let’s cover some advice for different types of websites:
- Service Website
While I shy away from keyword heavy domain names because they come across as spammy and low quality they do make sense for specific service oriented websites.
While I would never suggest going with BestRowingMachineReviews.com because, let’s be honest that sort of website no one would ever trust.
A keyword focused domain does make sense for a service. Take, CreateaClickableMap.com.
It’s not a blog with endless blog posts, it’s a clear and specific website that let’s you create a clickable map that you can embed on your website.
Generally with a blog, go for a domain name that’s more memorable, brandable, and related to a topic over something that is keyword focused.
Like the travel blog onestep4ward.com – which is written by Johnny Ward. See how it’s a play on his name? The travel site PracticalWanderlust.com is good too because wanderlust is related to travel and practical works too because they provide practical travel advice.
Brads win over keyword heavy domain names.
A local business should strive to own it’s own .com. Your domain name should match your business name but sometimes that is not always possible.
Regardless, a local business should get a .com and try to get it’s business name as a domain name. Sometimes this means you may need to pay a premium for your domain unfortunately.
Domain Name Tools
Name Boy – A domain name generator
Panabee – A domain name generator
Lean Domain Search – A domain name generator
Domainr.com – A domain name generator
NameStation.com – A domain name generator
Shopify Name Generator – A domain name generator
Impossibility – A domain name generator
Conclusion – How to name your website
Don’t spend too much time on this when starting a blog. Your domain name is important, but it’s not the end of the world if you can’t get the exact domain name you want.