In an era where people are searching for your brand on their phones or typing in your domain in their browsers, having an easy-to-spell business name is more important than ever. After all, the last thing you want is for your customers to feel like they’re in the final round of a spelling bee every time they’re looking you up.
When looking at spelling, consider the following:
Sound vs Spelling
When people hear your business name out loud, it should be as easy for them to deduce how it is spelled.
Words, or combinations of words that can be confused for other words.
MarketHear – When said out loud, could sound like “MarketHere” or “Marketier” or “MarketEar”.
Names consisting of words that have multiple spellings:
Discreet vs discrete – two different spellings of the same word
Letters that sound the same.
Carqumo – Uses both q and c, with same sound
This applies mostly to invented names. Like plaid and plaid, some letter combinations just don’t fit well together. This could be because they make the name hard to pronounce or feel unnatural. Some letter combinations are almost always a no-go, such as:
Xk, Nm. Xz, Qd, Bm, Vb, Bv
For some letter combinations, whether or not they work or not depends on their placement in a name.
Lrang.com — Lr combination is awkward and hard to pronounce at the beginning of a name.Vs.Ranglr.com — Here the Lr combination works, because it is at the end of the name.
If you are a native english speaker, it will probably be obvious to you when a letter combination doesn’t work in a name. For non-native english speakers, you should make sure to run your name by an english speaker!
Letter combinations can also be problematic when they violate english spelling rules. For more English spelling rules, checkout this great resource.
Example: Qintoa.comRule violated: Q is always followed by a u.
Example: Peintola.comRule violated: “i” before “e” except after “c”.
Example: Duranj.comRule violated: Words do not end with the letter j.
Remember, your business name is also going to be your domain name. If your business name is more than one word, you need to consider how the two words will read when put together. Names where the first word ends with the same letter the second word begins with can potentially be confusing.
This is hardly a dealbreaker, but it is something to keep in mind.
Misspellings or Quirky spellings
If your business name is a misspelled version of a keyword, make sure the intended keyword is still obvious when read, and that the name is pronounced the same.
Keyword: Catch Good Misspelling: Katch Bad Misspelling: Catkh
Keyword: Finder Good Misspelling: Findr Bad Misspelling: Fider
When it comes to misspellings, you want to keep it simple. Obviously, a misspelling isn’t going to spell exactly like it pronounced. But a good rule of thumb is that you should be able to clear up confusion with a simple aside.
It’s _____ with a ______.Not:It’s ______with a_______and also change the _______
Although domain names can use hyphens, that doesn’t mean you should. In fact, it’s best if you could avoid these at all costs. Many professionals believe that a hyphen makes the site look cheap and unorganized. There have also been studies performed where hyphenating the domain name to accentuate keywords had no real effect in search engines. In fact, these sites performed poorly against sites with the same name without a hyphen.