Remember being a kid and getting a dog or cat and trying to think of a name for it? How about thinking up a name if you were a superhero?
uummmm I’m SUPER AWESOME MAN….lame.
Naming 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.
We can all agree to this.
The difference with naming your website compared to naming your dog however it that your website name matters.
You can call your dog “Mr Woolsworth the third” and have a good laugh about it, but your website’s name will need to capture the essence of what the website is about as a way to keep people attention for more than a minute.
Especially new visitors.
The last thing you want is people to be confused about your website. You don’t want them to ask themselves, “why is this website called this, but it’s about that…?”
So how can you make a domain name or slogan memorable?
THE ALLITERATION TECHNIQUE
Many of the best names use alliteration to great effect. Examples:
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.
HOW A GOOD WEBSITE NAME INCREASES THE VALUE OF YOUR WEBSITE
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):
HOW TO CRAFT GOOD WEBSITE NAMES WITH ALLITERATION
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”.
Naming Your Website / Naming Your Blog
Some online call these niche sites, others say information sites, I say content sites. Because your goal is to build an information oriented, content filled website.
If you’re building a content site (and not a blog) about a topic or building a website that teaches people how to do something then it might be a good idea to use a domain name that has the action in the name, or if your building an Amazon affiliate website for a specific product, include the product name.
An example would be you want to build a content site about yoga fitness training or – a good domain name might be YogaFitnessTrainingMastery.com, another idea is to abbreviate aspects of this domain name into something like YogaFTM.com
Because it helps with the search engine optimization (SEO) of a site – that is, it makes it easier to rank your site for a given keyword because it has the specific keyword people type into search engines in the domain name. This helps with the accuracy and relevance of your site. Remember, this is one among hundreds of things search engines use to index and rank sites – but it’s an important one.
Keywords are what people type into web browsers and search engines to find things from the Internet. Most people use Google, so if I want to know about the history of Russia or how to cut a pineapple…I type that into Google and it gives me 8-10 free results as well as paid advertising from advertisers wanting to advertise for that specific keyword group.
That word or phrase I typed in is whats known in the industry as a keyword or key phrase. If you use this tool (make sure you click exact!) and discover that 20,000 people a month are searching for “yoga fitness training” – you would want your site on yoga fitness training to rank for that key phrase so you get that traffic right?
If you rank on the first page of Google you will be receiving targeted relevant traffic to your site that converts well into sales and email list signups all for free! Depending on where you rank (first, second, eighth) will also influence how much free traffic you get (#2 gets much much more than #6).
SO HAVING A RELEVANT KEYWORD IN YOUR DOMAIN NAME HELPS WITH SEO, BUT IS IT A MUST? IS IT ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL?
For the most part NO – this site is called Website Creative Pro, who searches for that? No one. But it has the keyword website which helps the domain be a little bit more relevant for high searched for keywords like “create a website” and it conveys authority and professionalism.
Keywords in the domain name do matter, even more so if you notice that all the results on page 1 have a specific keyword in the domain itself – which would mean that if you want to rank on page one eventually, you will probably need the keyword in the domain name (as well as hundreds of other variables).
My experience is this: If you want to build a content site about something try and get relevant keywords in the domain name, but again, always build your site for people first.
Don’t register a domain name that is un-natural and the only reason you registered it was because of search engines. Go ahead and use keyword information to help you decide what people want and to also do market research, but don’t build your site strictly around a bunch of keywords.
Domain names and blogs – same points as above, if it’s about a specific topic like travel hacking or dog training it might be a good idea to get that in your domain name so over time you can rank for phrases relevant to your online work and so visitors instantly know what to expect from the content.
Again though, the best blogs are the ones where people live their life and share their story.
A popular blog takes MUCH more than search traffic which is what having a keyword focused domain name can only help with.
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 blogs 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.
Brands by their nature take time to gain traction and market awareness – but if successful they become synonymous with an idea or action. Classic example is – Coke: soda.
Having a successful brand helps you become the default resource in your market – want to learn how to build a site, go to EdgeOfDavid.COM. It’s memorable and most people say .com when talking about websites (even if the extension is .net or .org – woops just sent that person to a competitor, another reason why you want a .com!) as opposed to “build a website now dot com” or something generic that doesn’t connect with people (and is not memorable!).
When registering a domain name for a brand make sure that it’s 1) catchy 2) easy to type and 3) easy to pronounce. Also make your actual site and domain name the same name.
A local business should want to rank for local search terms. If I type into Google “men’s hair cut New Haven CT” it should give me the websites for businesses related to that search term. With a local business, you should first keyword research terms people look for and think about how you can incorporate that into the actual domain name.
If that is not practical for whatever reason like your local business is a brand then no worries, just register the .com version of your local business. If it’s taken already add a word or hyphen to it.
You can use hyphens in domain names if you like, but for the most part no one remembers hyphenated names, they always type in DomainName.com NOT Domain-Name.com. The only advantage is with search traffic. If YogaFitnessMastery.com is taken and you really want the keyword “yoga fitness” in your domain then you could always check to see if “Yoga-Fitness-Mastery.com” is available.
Just make sure you’re not infringing on anyone’s copyright, and don’t use hyphens to the point where the domain name is weird or unnatural. One hyphen in a domain name is appropriate, no more.
Here are some tools to help with branded domain names (or descriptive domain names)
Name Boy – A domain name generator
Instant Domain Name Search – Tells you if a domain name is available as well as alternatives. A great example of a “descriptive” domain for a website that has a singular service.
Panabee – A domain name generator
Domain Groovy – A domain name generator
Lean Domain Search – A domain name generator
Domainr.com – A domain name generator
NameStation.com – A domain name generator
GoSpaces.com – A domain name generator
Shopify Name Generator – A domain name generator
Impossibility – A domain name generator
How to use a domain name generator
If you know for sure what keyword you want to use in your domain name then use these generators as a way to give you ideas. Keep going until you find something you like. If you don’t care about a specific keyword, pay attention to word combinations that you like and think you could leverage and apply to your own website.
What you say matters.
How you say what you say matters.
Branding, design, as well as naming are make or break pieces of your website. Alliteration is one technique you can use to help build brand equity by putting the right words together with rhythm and style to make a good website name that captures the essence of what your website is about while also being memorable.
Do you have any suggestions for coming up with a good blog name or various other ways to formulate compelling website name ideas? Let me know!