Why choosing the right name can make or break you

12 replies
Considering the surname I grew up with, you'd think I'd know a thing or two about naming stuff.

But it still took an epic mistake on my part before I actually sat down and figured it out.

Here I'll give you a simple formula for naming your products, your domain names, or anything else you like.

And you won't have to make the same mistakes, for you to benefit from the lessons.

A few years ago, I'd built a website that was doing ok (In terms of traffic), it was a 4-letter dot com, - an acronym for a phrase that I'd made up.

And every. single. day. I would get multiple emails asking me what it stood for. Even when I added a page explaining it, the emails still came and only stopped when I incorporated the full name into the logo.

It took a long time, a lot of branding and positioning myself in key places for people in my niche to finally 'get it'.

This was the wrong way to do it.

I had to work harder, for longer.

So much of our communication is already misunderstood, and because we work on the interwebs, we mainly communicate via the written word. There's no body language, tone and other gestures that give us clues.

When we communicate with someone in person, it usually works like this:
(this is important if you wanna be more persuasive)
  • Body language: 55%
  • Tone of voice: 38%
  • Words spoken: 7%
Dr. Albert Mehrabian's 7-38-55 Rule

Transfer that to the internet, and guess what happens?

You only gotta look at the average comment section of your fave blog to see the amount of confusion, arguments and perceived hostility.

Oh but hey, don't we all use video now, anyway? True, but you still gotta make people click on that link, yo.

So we gotta communicate clearly, if we want our message to be actually understood immediately.

We can't leave any room for misinterpretation.

How do we communicate clearly?

I'll explain how to do each of these...
  • Avoid homographs and homophones
  • Use attention-grabbing words
  • Use meaningful words
  • Make the right sound

First thing we gotta do is avoid using homographs and homophones.


They are two words that are spelt the same way, but have different pronunciations and different meanings. For example; words like 'date,' or 'live'.


They are two words that are pronounced the same way, but have different meanings or spellings. For example; words like 'new' and 'knew'.

Avoid using both of these crafty buggers.

Next, we gotta use attention-grabbing words...

In 1963 David Ogilvy published a list of attention-grabbing words.. they are:
  • Suddenly
  • Now
  • Announcing
  • Introducing
  • Improvement
  • Amazing
  • Sensational
  • Remarkable
  • Revolutionary
  • Startling
  • Miracle
  • Magic
  • Offer
  • Quick
  • Easy
  • Wanted
  • Challenge
  • Compare
  • Bargain
  • Hurry

It's not ways possible or appropriate to use these in your domain name or the name of your product, but I'm listing them all here because you can still make use of the ones that don't fit.

Use meaningful words

All groups of significant size, or hey, niches *cough*, use their own meaningful words.

It's like a secret language that speaks directly to your target audience.

For example, where else would acronyms like SEO, CTR or EPC have any meaning?

If you can use words that have significant meaning to the people you want to draw in, this is a shortcut to easily making your offer a bit more attractive.

Make the right sound

Here's a quick experiment. Play along with me for a second.

One of these shapes is called Bouba and the other one is called Kiki.

Which is which?

If you guessed the shape on the left is called Kiki, you'd be among 95% - 98% of people.

As a result of this experiment, in 1929 psychologist Wolfgang Köhler discovered that we attribute sounds to shapes.

This is something to think about when it comes to designing your logos, product images and website graphics.

The sounds we use are important. For example, look at Coca Cola.

There's a rhythm to the words, a pattern that we enjoy hearing - our ears responds favourably to loops and patterns.

This is called the phonological loop, and it's closely linked to memory. The ear bounces the sound around a few times, before a decision is made.

If your audience likes what they hear, there's a higher chance they will move closer to your product, or your website.

So when it comes to choosing names, if you have to explain it to someone you're doing it wrong.

This is the process I go through now, before I decide on a name for my products or websites.

And it's helped me to communicate better, grow an audience quicker, and sell more. So maybe it will help you too.
#break #choosing #make
Avatar of Unregistered
  • Gotta jus' say 'bout Oglovey's grab-all 1963 list ...

    **** SMACKO FATIGUE ****

    Gotta figure these words stick forever, we gotta question VERILY & FORSOOTH as actionable discourse.

    Cruel truth is, neato scarlet braces become red rags to bulls ... jus' kinda bcs.

    Meanwhilesy, point about Bouba & Kiki is ... which one you dishin' & which one you snugglin' on up with?

    Booobie booooobie boooobie.

    I love so how language is supermutable.

    Gotta hope this post propulses forth srs discussion like it kinda oughta.

    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff togethah.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11235541].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author jyzdesign1
    I never noticed this but speaking, talking etc comes under your personality and it represents you. Some really useful tips here. Thanks
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11235897].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
    Some great points and the importance of them should not be underestimated.

    I remember when I used to do a LOT of public speaking. The advice from many sources: when you were preparing your outline it was best to write your introduction LAST . I think some marketers actually choose a domain name or name their company too soon - before they have really established a primary focus or thought about plans for future development.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11235943].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author posinfo1
    The first shape does lead your mind towards the letter K. The second shape is rounder which matches the rounder letters of the word Bouba. I am not surprised that so many people guessed it correctly.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11235948].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author discrat

    Yeah I can see where homographs can really be confusing to people. You either see the word one or the other
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11235967].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Yanglish
    Thanks for magic collection of attention-grabbing words.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11236007].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Ejude45
    Nice post post . Really useful tips here
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11236499].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author nakul gupta
    It is advised by many to write the introduction of a public speech at the end. Often people choose the domain of their too soon without even realizing its result. Like a name becomes the identity of a person likewise a domain name is purely meant in order to differentiate the domain from other domains. The name of your domain must say what your website or site is all about. There are many freelancers who use freelancing platforms such as contentmart.com for getting freelancing project, often it is noticed that they keep a random name for their profile and it, in turn, leads to losing their chances of winning the bid.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11236512].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author peterparker1997
    Thanks for sharing this useful information
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11236600].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Mike Alfred
      Originally Posted by peterparker1997 View Post

      Thanks for sharing this useful information
      It wouldn't hurt to utilize the thank you button instead of posting a Thank you post that doesn't contribute much to the discussion. It's present regardless of the number of posts you already have.

      Kindly check the attached image:

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11237394].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    The note about homographs is spot on.

    Lately, I've been doing a lot with freelance writers and their sites. You'd think that people trying to make it as creative people could come up with something besides the write/right coincidence.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11236626].message }}
  • Very well said. I agree on the importance of using the right words to convey the right meaning of things- a very important aspect in the internet marketing world. From domains to content writing, the right choice of words really helps in getting the right people to listen and (even) to buy your product.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11239050].message }}
Avatar of Unregistered

Trending Topics