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From the ITA Archives- How to Name An App: The Dos & Don’ts of App Naming

By Sara Angeles on September 5, 2017 / 5 Comments

Fame. Money. Power. It’s all in the name. So you can avoid making any noob naming mistakes, here are some Dos and Don’ts when it comes to finding that perfect name to christen your app.

Dos:

1. Be unique.

Would you like to be confused for another app? Or even worse, would you like to be sued for copyright or trademark infringement? Your app’s name has to be special, just as your app idea has to be unique. For starters, you don’t want to unintentionally take another person’s app name. Second of all, you’ll be offering yourself and your team a favor – the more exclusive your application’s name is, the simpler it will be to claim it on social networks and register it as a domain. Google will be your closest companion here, so put your Google caps on and get to… Googling.

While you are googling, you should learn from what is already out there. This is especially important for those looking to enter crowded app categories. Take a look at what similar apps are named and the emotions and images they trigger. What do you think works? What doesn’t?

2. Be easy to pronounce.

You know how you go into an Ikea store and you can’t pronounce anything? Don’t do that to your app. It frustrates people. At Ikea, learning how to pronounce furniture names (and finding out what they mean) is half the fun. At the app store, there’s I-don’t-know-how-to-pronounce-this-but-it’s-fun-to-say-anyway (Bahndr, pr. BON-DER), then there’s I-don’t-know-how-to-pronounce-this-and-it’s-freakin’-annoying! (e.g., app which shall not be named). Don’t be that app.

3. Be easy to remember.

If users can’t remember your app’s name, they probably won’t remember to use it either. Longer names are harder to “stick,” so keep it short and simple. Unless your app’s multi-syllabic name is related to its functionality (Remember the Milk, Cut the Rope), cut it down to two syllables to keep it snappy and memorable (Mime-Me). Otherwise, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. (No one will ever remember ‘Chucking/Launching/Propelling/Scattering Birds’ or ‘Birdies Thrown at Piggies,’ but ‘Angry Birds’? WIN.)

Remember to be clever, but not too clever.

4. Be relevant.

An application’s name and icon are the first connections one will have with your application. It is your application’s first opportunity to establish the correct impression and inspire an image or feeling to urge somebody to become a user. To recognize the kind of symbolism or enthusiastic reaction you need to give clients, you first need to distinguish the reason for your application and its targeted audience. You’ll need to invoke various sentiments in users for a social application than a financial application.

One approach to come up with a unique but relevant name is to reflect on your app’s core features. Immediately, users will judge your application based on their first impression. They usually do this without even reading your application’s description. Hence, having a name that clarifies the highlights of your app can give you significant leeway in these cases. It is quite possible that you can’t get a specific word that portrays your application, so, differentiating it slightly can give you a memorable twist and free you up to more options.

If you have a gaming, social, or healthcare app, you can probably have a creativity pass for this one. If you have a business or utility app, its name should be somewhat relevant to its functionality. Users are less likely to check out an app if they have no idea what the app is for. This doesn’t mean your app’s name has to be boring (sorry, calculator apps, that you get names like Calculator+, Calculator•, Calculator#, and Calculator!, but you’re kinda the exception here). It just means your app’s name has to paint a picture of the functionality associated with it (Travel Wallet). Be creative, but make sure your app’s name also gives users an idea of what it actually does.

5. Be Available.

There are few things more shameful than choosing a name for your app that you are unable to reserve a web domain for (http://www.get<appname>.com will never sound right). Remember, the number one marketing tool for any app is its web site, and if you can’t reserve a web domain that matches the name of your app, you should probably find a new name for your app. Now if you have a name that you absolutely love, but the .com is already taken, then it’s time to get creative. An increasingly common trend in the web world is to use lesser-known web domain suffixes like “.ly”, “.me”,  “.be” or “.at” to break apart a name across the url. Ever heard of  “about.me”? Chances are the founders of that service landed on that name because “aboutme.com” was already taken. Check out this complete list of top-level web domains to see how you can keep your cool app name by using lesser known web domains.

Don’ts:

1. Be a jerk.

Don’t register a dozen names you’re not sure you’ll actually be using. Name squatting is illegal at the App Store. (Okay, not really. They give you 120 days to upload your binary before they give your name away, but there’s no need to be a you-know-what and go on a name-registering rampage and take perfectly great names other developers could have used)

2. Be a keyword-stuffing nut.

“But keywords are great for SEO!” True. It can also give you really long and even nonsensical names that people can’t or won’t care to remember. Or get you blacklisted. Unless your madd SEO skillz conform to the Dos above, your app’s name is not the place to get SEO-happy.

In other words, optimize your app name for application store searches but do not use keywords. Pick the most pertinent and high search traffic keywords to place in your name and application’s description. Use them, yet do so sparingly. This can help support your positioning in application store search results, making it more detectable to users. Rehashing and pluralizing keywords won’t support your ranking. Search for keywords that perform well and are beginning to perform well with little competition. Google Keyword Planner is an incredible free tool to begin your keyword research.

3. ­Be a victim of name generators.

Remember: name generators are there to give you buzz words and ideas. They’re not there to do your naming for you. Besides, they give you sucky names anyway
(recipes + food = “recifood”?)

4. Be a brand-destroyer.

Your app’s name is your brand. If you develop a portfolio of apps, it represents your brand. What you name your app makes or breaks your app, and maybe even your brand. Don’t let a crappy name ruin an otherwise incredible app and an equally amazing brand.

Your app is your baby. You don’t want it to be ignored or teased. Give it a great you and your app dynasty can be proud of.

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