I posted about struggling to finish my latest project a while ago and one of the toughest challenges has been selecting a name. There are so many routes to take when deciding what to call…anything. Do you go with a single esoteric word or a combination of words that describe what it does clearly? Here's what I've seen as the pros and cons of each option.
Option 1 - Vaguely Related
Examples: Medium, Uber, Peach, Amazon, Apple
Personally, I really like these names but I think they're super hard to establish and pick right. They also have the added downside of usually being difficult to gather the SEO authority for your product rather than the original meaning. I think it's a lot easier for venture-backed companies to go this route, especially when it comes time to buy domains and create social media accounts. On the positive side, they are super easy for potential customers to remember, there's no potential for spelling errors and it just sounds great when it works.
Option 2 - Simple & Descriptive
Examples: ProductHunt, Microsoft, SoundCloud, Github, NomadList, 200WordsADay
These are a lot easier to get right I believe. It's easier to pick two words that somewhat describe your product than a single one. They also instantly explain what your product does when done right. You only need to hear the name ProductHunt to make an accurate guess about what the site does. With the right combination of words acquiring domains and social media accounts will be a lot easier. The downside for me would be these are less memorable and can easily be confused for any similarly named products.
Clearly, I lean towards option 2 in most cases. Particularly as an indie maker I think it's the more prudent method to select a name and it's easier to pick the right name this way. But I think if you've found a name in option 1 that works and you can afford it, go for it, just focus on more long tail keywords than just the name.
So for my next project I've finally decided on a name and I've gone with option 2. It's called WaveRadio. I'll be sharing more about it soon.