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Unlock Your Brand: Creating a Name for your Online Business

Updated: Jan 15

Remember when you were little and you wanted your friend to do something first to see what it was like? OK. I'll go first.

Having an idea for an online business is one thing. Actually doing it is a totally different story. I have had SO many ideas for businesses. I made logos and business plans and even purchased URL's (website names). At one point, I think I owned twelve website domain names at once that never went anywhere. My husband Michael jokes that I am like I Lucy.

Let's start the journey together one step at a time.

I have this idea for a site to sell digital downloads. Where do I start? I need a name and more importantly, a website name. I also want to have a tagline.

Before you get all nervous, let's think about this rationally. It's going to cost less than $20 to get a domain name. The rest of the work is just time and energy. Since we are all quarantined right now, you've got plenty of that.


Get out a piece of paper or open up a Word document and let's brainstorm. Get out all of your ideas - even the terrible ones. Think specifically about what the goal of the business or product will be and how the name will let people know what that is.

Acronyms - Think AOL or BBC. My husband and I use our initials for our videography production business. Michael Owen + Jennifer Owen = MOJO Talent

Descriptive - Consider 7-Eleven - the name instantly tells you what's special about their business (they're open from 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. every day).

Different Angle - Take a step back and see if your idea reminds you of anything else. Reebok is an alternate spelling of rhebok, an African antelope. The company founders found the word in a South African dictionary won by Joe Foster, son of the Reebok founder J.W. Foster.

Foreign Names or Latin - Incorporating non-native language can make your business seem exotic and memorable for potential customers. Think about a hair salon with a French name or a tea shop with a Japanese one. Verizon is a combination of the words veritas, which is Latin for "truth," and horizon. Lego is a combination of the Danish phrase leg godt, which translates to "play well." Lego also means "I put together" in Latin, but the Lego Group claims this is a coincidence, that the origin of the word is strictly Danish.

History or Mythology or Literature - The word yahoo was coined by Jonathan Swift in the book Gulliver's Travels. The term represented repulsive, filthy creatures that resembled humans. Yahoo founders Jerry Yang and David Filo considered themselves yahoos, and thought the term would be an appropriate name for their joint venture. Nike in Greek mythology is the goddess of victory. Oracle, Hermés, and Mars are mythological names, too. Do some research and see if there's a mythological figure that's relevant to your idea.

Look at a Map - Get inspired by the globe. Amazon is named after the largest river in the world. Cisco is simply short for San Francisco. Its logo resembles the suspension cables found on the Golden Gate bridge.

Loved Ones - What about using your nickname or the name of a loved one? Carol's Daughter is a beauty brand that offers a range of hair, body, and skincare products. Lisa Price named the brand after her mother, Carol.

Mash-ups - In a mash-up business name, two or more words may come together to form a new meaning that conveys the mission of a business. For example - Groupon (Group + Coupon) or Netflix (Internet + flicks). Coca-Cola's name comes from the coca leaves and kola nuts used as a flavoring in the soft drink. Eventually, Coca-Cola creator John S. Pemberton changed the K of kola to C to create a more fluid name.

Your Own Name - It's your business, why not incorporate your own name? Many well-known brands use the creator's name - like Ben & Jerry's ice cream or Boeing which is named after their founder William Boeing.

Pick from the Dictionary - If none of these ideas have inspired you, be like Twitter and choose a random word from the dictionary.


Here are some free online resources to help you find a business name:


Experts indicate taglines should be memorable and tug on the emotions of consumers. Think of the tagline as the most concise way possible of defining your brand. Here are three free slogan makers:


The website you create for your new business will be one of your most important marketing tools. Check the availability of a URL before you create your brand. URL means the address of a World Wide Web page.

Before you commit to a business name, be sure you can find a website address for your favorite name.

You will hear the words URL and Domain Name interchangeably. A URL is a string of information providing the complete address of the web page on the internet. Whereas domain name is a part of URL. For example, is a complete URL. “” is the domain name.

Here are two sites where you can purchase a domain name:

Domain names ending in .com are the industry standard, so don’t plan to grab the .biz version of the name you want if the .com isn’t available. Doing that is a sure way to send lots of visitors to the website of the owner of the .com URL.

Here is a great article with tips on more information about buying a domain name:

If you just easing in, buy your domain name for one year and do not buy any of the other bells and whistles showed in the checkout process. That way, you are slipping your toe into the pool and you know that you have secured the website name for your new business for the next year.

Next post: Logos



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