How to Choose a Business Name – An Introduction

How to choose a business name

At BrandBucket, we are consistently thinking about the various words, sounds, letter combinations and characteristics that contribute most to a good business name. After years of building companies and watching other companies get built, we finally decided to develop a short list of the common characteristics that all good brands seem to have. We came up with ten categories or “traits” that make up a good name: Length, Real Word/Expression, Alphabet, Pronunciation, Spelling, Conflicts, Industry Match, Longevity, Uniqueness, and General Retention. We then added an extra category specific to domain names: TLD (Top Level Domain). We hope this helps you in choosing a business name that is right for you.

Find a name in the bucket
BrandBucket is your marketplace for ready-to-use brandable domain names. Click here to browse our list of .com domains for sale.

To help us organize the domains in our portfolio, we developed a ranking system based upon these eleven traits. Each trait carries a certain value, which assigns the domain a score out of a total of 100 points. We give a basic breakdown of the traits below and show the relative importance (in points) of each. If you would like to try scoring your own names, we have developed a handy Domain Evaluator utility that you can download free of charge.

We will also be writing a dedicated blog post for each of the eleven traits below that provides more insight and examples. Keep an eye out for new entries in the the How to Choose a Business Name series.

The BrandBucket domain name scoring method:

TLD (12 points)
The Top Level Domain (.com, .net, etc.). BrandBucket features only .com domain names, which is important for worldwide branding and exposure.

Length (20 points)
The length of a domain name (4 letters, 5 letters, etc.) is exponentially important as the name gets shorter. Shorter domains are easier to type, and easier to remember because they have fewer potential spelling variations.

Real Word/Expression (10 points)
How close the name is to a dictionary word or common phrase factors in to retention and direct “type-in” traffic.

Alphabet (3 points)
Based solely on the fact that most directories of companies and products are sorted alphabetically, names starting with letters at the beginning of the English alphabet have a greater chance of being seen.

Pronunciation (10 points)
How many variations of the pronunciation are there? Does it work well across speakers of different languages? Most importantly, do users experience a moment of hesitation before trying to say the name?

Spelling (10 points)
A good domain name has few or no alternate ways it can be spelled.

Conflicts (5 points)
Are there existing businesses using the name? Is it a common surname? The fewer existing uses for the name the better the score. BrandBucket never promotes buying a name in direct conflict with an existing trademark.

Keyword Match (10 points)
A name that has a logical match to a particular industry or application, versus a generic name, has a greater potential for retention among customers.

Longevity (5 points)
Is the name or its spelling based on a current trend, or will it be applicable for a long time to come?

Uniqueness (5 points)
A name that sounds similar to other existing brands, or that mimics a naming pattern of existing brands, will have difficulty growing into its own identity.

General Retention (10 points)
This is the most difficult of all features to score. Mostly a “je ne sais quoi” feeling for how memorable a domain is, retention can relate to the consonant/vowel construction compared to spoken language, memorable letters, repeated letters, etc.

Start your search for brandable domain names now, or read more tips on how to choose a business name.

Margot Bushnaq

Margot Bushnaq

Margot (@margotb, +Margot) is a serial entrepreneur, and founder of BrandBucket.com. She loves working with the exciting and passionate startup community, and in her free time she enjoys exploring Los Angeles and California with her family.

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