But knowing what to look for is only half the battle.
You need to brainstorm ideas. You need to twist and manipulate words. You need to use every method at your disposal to find a name that’s inspiring, informative, relatable and original.
And luckily, we’ve got the right tools to help you do it.
They’re all free and easy to use – and they could help you cut through the time-consuming search to find the perfect name that you never knew existed.
Here are 5 of the best idea generating tools to help you get started with naming your business:
1. Mash up new names with Wordoid
If there’s one thing that’s sorely lacking from the average business name (or product name), it’s originality.
And Wordoid is fantastic tool to help you combat that.
Like Frankenstein sewing up body parts, you can take a word or partial-word of your choice and insert or fuse it into other bits of words according to the rules of the language and the parameters you choose.
You get a brand new word that (hopefully) doesn’t exist yet. And if you’re lucky, it’s one that looks good and rolls off the tongue in a refreshing way.
Let’s take a simple example:
Suppose you’re looking for a new name for your book shop or online book store. By plugging in the words ‘book’ and ‘read’, you’ll get suggestions like these:
- Bookini (from ‘bikini’)
- Bookery (‘bakery’)
- Bookah (‘hookah’)
- Sacread (‘sacred’)
- Gready (‘greedy’)
- Readium (‘radium’)
They’re not perfect. But they are original.
With a long list of mash-up words to choose from (with controls for their maximum length and how ‘realistic’ the new words are), you can get inspiration for new imagery and emotions that you might never have thought of by yourself.
2. Tweak and flip well-known idioms and phrases
If you want to create the kind of imagery that really resonates with people, you need to dig into the things that everyday people hear and say all the time.
The Free Dictionary’s Idiom Tool is perfect for this.
After plugging in the word of your choice, you’ll get a list of the most common sayings, proverbs, and colloquial phrases containing that word.
Most of these will be far too long for a business or product name. But with a little manipulation (and some imagination) they can serve as creative springboards to guide you to something useful.
Let’s use the book shop as an example.
Between a search for ‘book’ and a search for ‘read’, you’ll get some of the following idioms – and they could inspire you to create some of the following business or product names:
- do something by the book (‘Buy the Book’)
- have one’s nose in a book (‘Nosy Reads’)
- be in someone’s good books (‘Bad Books’)
- read between the lines (‘Between the Lines’)
- read the small print (‘Small Print Books’)
- read something cover to cover (‘Cover to Cover’)
For any type of product or industry that’s got a little history behind it, there’s usually a huge list of idioms available for the common keywords you search for.
But if your business revolves around something new (like iPad repairs or Blockchain), you’ll have to dig a little deeper to think of some relevant search terms.
3. Get creative inspiration from iTunes and Spotify
It’s never a good idea to shamelessly copy from others.
But it is a good idea to look to them for inspiration.
There are tens of millions of songs, albums, and band names listed on places like Spotify or iTunes. And lots of them have the sort of wacky pairings of everyday words you might never have come up with on your own.
A quick search for ‘book’ and ‘read’ on Spotify gives us a huge list of unusual song names, which could be twisted into new ideas for a business name:
- Books from Boxes (‘Boxed-up Books’)
- Scrap the Book (‘Bookscraps’)
- The Book Was Better (‘Better Than the Film’)
- Born Ready (‘Born Reading’)
- Reading in Bed (‘Bedside Books’)
- Fast Reading (‘Read Fast, Die Young’)
Just remember: you’re looking for inspiration, not a name to copy directly. You don’t want to one day be accused of copyright violation or plagiarism.
4. Dig deep into industry glossaries
Sometimes, you can feel limited by the building blocks you have.
It’s all well and good brainstorming a list of words to help you come up with ideas for a name. But why waste time doing that when it’s probably already been done for you?
For most common industries, there are extensive web pages dedicated to glossaries of the terms they use. A quick Google search for ‘book glossary’ leads to a monumental list of book-related words and professional terms, and you can use the same method for just about any product or industry (‘fashion glossary’, ‘accounting glossary’, etc.).
Here are a few unusual terms that jumped out at the start of a glossary site for books. They’re unexpected, they’re original, and with a bit of imagination, they could all be twisted into a unique name:
- All edges gilt (when page edges are trimmed with gold leaf) – ‘Gilty Reads’
- Buckram (a stiff cotton fabric used to bind books) – ‘Buckram Books’
- Chapbook (a slim book or pamphlet, often containing poetry) – ‘Old Chap Books’
- Dust jacket (a removable paper cover that protects the book from dust) – ‘The Dust Jacket’
- Edition de luxe (a specially printed edition of a book) – ‘Deluxe Edition’
- Flyleaf (a blank page found near the beginning of a book) – ‘Flyleaf Paperbacks’
5. Make sure it’s safe, unique, and available
Once you’ve got a few promising ideas down – or even just one you’re completely smitten with – you’ll need to run them through a few quick checks to make sure you’re not treading on any toes.
First, you can use the international safety checker over at Word Safety.
This is especially important if you’re hoping to attract customers from outside of your own country (and just by being online, this probably includes your business).
Here’s an example:
Plugging in the name ‘Gilty Reads’ that we came up with earlier, we’re told that ‘gil’ is Polish for what ends up on the tissue when you have a runny nose – which might make your brand new business name sound ludicrous to a customer in Poland.
You might prefer to stick with a name that has no known dubious translations. Or you might decide that one or two mild and uncommon strange meanings is acceptable. Either way, it’s always better to know early on rather than finding out when it’s too late.
Second, you can use the Companies House name checker to see if your name has already been registered with the government.
And finally, you can use our own UK Domain Name Checker to see if the domain name you want is available – and if you’ve found the name you love, we can help you secure it quickly and safely.