Does your startup’s name matter?

Photo cred: Kathryn

How much time do you spend worrying about the name/url of your company?

I think we tend to place an inflated amount of value on a name because it’s such a long term position.  When it comes down to it, I don’t think it matters that much.

Here’s some advice from SEO Malaysia when coming up with a name, and why it doesn’t matter.

1. It should be easy to spell.

Of course, on the web, you can get around this by buying all the common misspellings of your name.  Still, if it’s easier to spell, that’s probably better.

It doesn’t really matter because usually people discover websites by seeing and clicking a url.  No spelling necessary.  Even if you discover it offline, it’s probably written down somewhere.

Examples: tumblr, xanga, scvngr, disqus

2. It should be easy to say clearly.

This is more important than being easy to spell.  I had a company (Scribnia) that was hard to say clearly.  It was a huge headache especially at loud events/conferences.

That said, it has its advantages as well.  Something unique will stand out and may stick in people’s minds.  People never really remember the name of something the first time you tell it to them anyway.  They usually need to write it down.

Examples: readwriteweb, behance, scribd

3. It should be descriptive.

In some cases, using a name that provides some insight into the context of the company will make it easier to get the concept across. It makes it  easier for people to grasp what you do.

This one really doesn’t matter in the end. There are countless examples of companies with names that have very little to do with the actual service, at least not on a simple level.

Examples: google, foursquare, amazon, zappos

There are many other little things to take into account when creating your name but in the end, I’d argue that it really doesn’t matter that much.

Following the usual advice may help you a little bit, but none of these things will make or break your company.

My only advice would be to think about the emotion that your name gets across.  A name can make you look cheesy, professional, cool, boring… Find a name that feels like aligns with your brand and go with it.

What do you think… does a name really matter?