This decision could impact your online business forever. You need to consider many factors for it to be successful long-term.
But if you get it right, it’ll pay off forever in ways you cannot measure.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? I get it. But I’m here to tell you that you’re overthinking it. Picking a brand name is easy with the methods I created.
After reading this, you’ll come out on the other side with a kickass brand name and domain that’ll make it effortless to scale your business in the future.
That said, it’s important you…
Don’t Biff Your Brand Name
A lot of people struggle with brand names. They pick something narrow and lock themselves in a tight niche. And the name is usually boring.
For example, CeilingFanReviews.com. Talk about a terrible brand name. Thankfully, it doesn’t exist…yet.
This brand cannot scale. It’ll forever be a niche site buried in the SERPs.
We’ll come back to this example in a minute. And I’ll show you how I would improve the brand name based on the following methods.
Why is a Brand Name Important for Scale?
A good brand name is the foundation of your business. It can build trust with your readers and customers. The goal is not to be another run-of-the-mill affiliate site with a generic name.
The goal is to create a strong brand that’ll scale over time. And can grow with the niche or add multiple niches.
You want to start with a broad brand and a narrow niche.
Broad Brand, Narrow Niche
I think a great example of this is Epic Gardening. Kevin Espiritu started the site as a hobby blog in 2013 around indoor hydroponic gardening. He picked a broad brand and a narrow niche to start.
But now, it’s a multi-platform gardening education resource. He’s expanded the niche, and his brand name allowed him to do that.
Thankfully, he didn’t name his brand Epic Hydroponics.
In 2022, Epic Gardening grew its audience by more than two million across all platforms, including the website, Instagram, and YouTube. And grew revenue by more than 70% year over year, hitting their first 8-figure year.
That’s the power of a great brand! And he’s built the ultimate economic moat.
Build an “Economic Moat”
Warren Buffet coined the term “economic moat.” An economic moat acts as a defensive barrier against competitors, keeping profits high and competition low.
There are many ways to build a moat around your business. And one of those ways is creating a strong brand.
If a company has a strong brand name, people will be willing to pay more for their products. That’s just ONE benefit, but an important one.
So let’s dive into naming your brand with the simplest method I used for all my brand names.
The Catchword Container Method
In 2004, I wanted to start an affiliate site teaching people how to take care of their pools. But I had to come up with a brand name.
At the time, I worked at a pool store. We sold swimming pools, hot tubs, and pool tables.
This got me thinking about how one word can mean many things.
On my site, I wanted to talk about pools and hot tubs. So I needed a word that would fit both. And I came up with “Swim.”
I could have picked other words like bubbles, flow, or float. But more importantly, I realized these were all action words.
Now, I needed a container word.
I chose “University.” I don’t know why. I didn’t even go to college. And I didn’t choose the word ironically, which would have been a baller move.
I chose it because it sounded good with the word “Swim.” That’s how Swim University was born. It just felt right when I heard it.
These words are clear. They’re simple. They make sense. They’re easy to say. They’re broad.
But that’s not the only way I come up with brand names. Let’s go over a few other methods based on my past experiences.
I started another site called Roasty Coffee (that I sold). How did I come up with that brand name?
The Catchword Corner Method
First, I decided I wanted to start a site around coffee. You have to have your niche first before picking a domain name.
I just sat in a quiet room and wrote down every word related to coffee I could think of.
I don’t remember all the words I came up with, but Roasty was one of them. And I like the way it looked and sounded. That’s it. Some words make sense to me.
Roasty fit that bill. It also sounded modern because it ended with a Y.
And it was a real word. Not something made up and goofy to say like Roastify.
Unfortunately, this locked me into the coffee niche. There are not many things you can describe as roasty besides beer.
Adding the word coffee locked me in too. But that’s okay. It was a broad enough niche.
In this method, you take a broad term and match it with the niche. Easy.
Rebranding a Niche Site with Multiple Naming Methods
Let’s take the CeilingFanReviews.com example and rebrand it using my naming methods.
We want a broad brand and a narrow niche. Ceiling fans are a narrow niche. But for the brand, we need to go wider.
In the future, we may want to branch out into other types of fans. Or maybe other home gadgets.
So let’s consider a broad term encompassing fans or home air gadgets.
Need more words? Use a thesaurus. Get as many words down as you can.
Now, purge any word that doesn’t sound cool. And we’re left with…
Finally, we could add a container word or add the niche. Off the top of my head, here are a few examples of each:
- Blade Academy (my favorite)
- Spin Factory
- Zephyr Fans
- Flow State
- Breeze Zone
- Flow Fans
Free Brand Name Generators
We could turn these words into new words using an AI-powered branding tool called Namelix.
Coming up with a brand name is easy if you have a niche. There are lots of words associated with niches.
Sometimes it’ll take me weeks of brainstorming. It can be frustrating. But I know how important it is to get it right. It’s a name you’ll live with for a long time.
But what if you’re starting something generic, like a media company?
Branding a Generic Business with No Specific Niche
One of my favorite media company names is Vox. Vox means voice. It’s an awesome word and fits what a media company does.
They even run their entire media company off internal software they call Chorus. Which is a group of voices. Fucking brilliant.
The best way I could come up with a name is to think of all the things associated with ME. I was the only person in the business. And I had no idea what niche of clients we’d be serving or what brands we’d start.
Make It Personal
I looked around my home and started writing down things that were uniquely me.
And I came up with the most generic name in the world: Ace Media.
I used to collect playing cards. I had hundreds of decks from all around the world. And I wrote down every word associated with them.
I landed on “Ace.” Which is the coolest playing card word, in my opinion.
I also like homebrewing, snowboarding, playing guitar, and movies. I could have written down a million better words. But that’s what I landed on.
I’m fine with it. It’s not the best, but I still have it. It’s my LLC. And no one ever sees it.
It’s usually why it’s a safe bet to name it after yourself. Think WALMART. Your name is timeless already. And it’s usually not related to any niche. No one will ever question it.
If Giovanisci was a brand could be a lot of things. Fashion or food or…
Ok, probably only those two things.
But I don’t use this name mainly because it’s hard to say. And that leads me to the next few tips when picking a brand name…
Do Your Research!
Once you’ve landed on a brand name or a list of names, you must run through a series of checks before registering a domain.
I was part owner of a project management software company for a short time during my 9-to-5 days. We had a product name but didn’t have a company name.
It was my job to come up with a name, and I just started riffing in the conference room with the rest of the team.
The name we landed on for the company was Simp. The reasoning behind it was we wanted to take a word and make it shorter as Intuit did with intuitive.
Yup! It was fucking terrible. We took the word SIMPLE and made it…simpler?
I hated it at the time, and now it would be very problematic.
In case you don’t know, “Simp” is slang for a guy desperate for a girl’s attention. Not in every case, but that about sums it up.
But that’s not all. There’s one trick that’ll save your ass in the future, and this is a true story too.
Say The Brand Name Out Loud to Other People
I had a friend developing SEO software, and he needed a name for the tool. He came to me and asked what I thought of the name. He said, “it’s called Grow Pin.”
On paper, it works. Say it out loud, though.
Grow Pin. GrowPin. Gropin. Groping.
Yea, not great. Here’s another example…
Deadline Funnel (aff link) was created by a company called GrowthLeap. This is software I use and love. But I’m not a fan of the parent company brand name.
Again, looks great on paper. But keep saying it out loud and watch your tongue completely give up.
And one more example for fun…
Imagine your name is Jenna, and you started a side hustle. Now you want to blog about your side hustle. Instead of spending time developing a cool brand name for your blog (or just using your full name as the domain), you get lazy with it.
You decide to call it JennasSideHustle.com.
Say it out loud. Actually… say this one in your head if you’re around other people.
Also, this may be a pet peeve for me, but I hate double letters in a domain. Notice the two S’s jammed up next to each other. My wife owned a site called EmpoweredDollar.com, which had the same problem.
It’s why it’s important to research before you buy and commit. Check out this story…
- Say it out loud! (GrowthLeap, GrowPin, Jenna’s Side Hustle).
- Double letters with multiple words in a domain.
- Can you say it in any language?
- Does it make sense outside the country you operate in?
- Don’t go too narrow and box yourself in (Whole Foods instead of Target)
- What letter does it start with? Does that matter for your brand? Will your company be listed in a phone book or something else alphabetical that’s CRUCIAL to your business?
Domains Don’t Matter Anymore
I’m tired of people struggling with picking a domain name. It doesn’t matter anymore. Google has been trying to kill the domain and will one day succeed.
What matters is the product or service you offer. What matters is your content. Any .com, .co, .net, .biz, .sucks, or .io will rank.
If you can dominate the SERPs, buy the .com later when you can afford it.
And by that point, you’ll probably see it as a waste of money.
This site is a .co. When you google “Money Lab,” I’m the first result. I would love to own MoneyLab.com. But it’s owned by a squatter who, last time I asked, wanted $30,000.
But the more I dominate with my brand, the more that price will have to drop. I’m the only person he can sell it to. And I won’t pay a cent over $1,000. Even that’s a lot.
Should You Trademark Your Brand Name?
Not at first. But it might be worth trademarking later.
I trademarked Swim University in the pool maintenance niche. It costs me $1,000. And the only thing I got was this stupid ®.
You can add ™ to anything. That doesn’t mean it’s trademarked. Just means you plan on trademarking it. Only the ® means it’s trademarked.
The only thing I’ve been able to do with it is my threats have a little more weight. But I don’t threaten people. Plus, I operate in such a tight niche that I rarely get to use it.
I thought I had a case when someone pointed out another brand name close to mine in the same niche: Pool Man University.
When you Google their name, guess who appears in the SERPs? Google thinks it’s a pretty close brand name.
We talk about pool maintenance, but to different audiences.
But after talking with my lawyer, I didn’t have a leg to stand on. Their brand was very different than mine. There was no confusion between the two brands.
The only similarity was the word “University,” which I don’t own.
That said, I know someone going through a heavy legal battle right now because he trademarked a broad word: Impossible. And now, there’s a HUGE company (Impossible Foods) that started that wants to own it.
They want him to cancel his trademarks. But he’s not going to do that. Why would he?
He wants to fight it. And rightfully so. What’s the point of trademarking something if anyone can come in and steal it?
That’s why trademarks exist. They protect you against this very thing.
But this is a rare case. The word is very broad. He was smart to trademark it early. And it’s not just one trademark. He filed 19 of them.
How Do We Wrap Up Brand Naming?
I find it easy and fun to come up with a brand name. It might take me a long time, but that’s part of the fun. It’s all about being creative. But once you’ve found a few names you like, there are ways to battle-test them.
You might land on a solid name that you like. And find out if the domain name is available.
1. Broad Brand, Narrow Niche. Try not to box yourself in with a name.
2. Come up with all the words associated with your niche.
3. Choose cool words that would look good on a hat or t-shirt that you would wear.
4. If needed, add a container word. Or use tools to mix and match it.
5. Research: say it, search it,
6. See if the domain is available. It doesn’t matter. Any domain can rank.
Matt GiovanisciI own three authority sites across different niches, including Swim University, Brew Cabin, and Money Lab. They earn a combined total of roughly $1,000,000 a year. I design and code all my sites. Write the words. Film and edit the videos. Produce the podcasts. Illustrate the graphics. And I have a small team that helps too.
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