A while ago I started using Sqwiggle with a client. It’s an app that helps remote workers collaborate. I like it and found it useful, but that’s another story.
I tweeted about it, and one of the founders of sqwiggle replied, which got me thinking a bit more about naming.
@aidanf we're no Google, but I imagine they had the same sort of feedback ;)— Eric Bieller (@ericbieller) February 13, 2014
I remember back when Google first came out. I remember recommending it to friends and having to spell it out to them - the double-o and single-g would regularly catch people out. But their search was so much better than the alternatives at the time that the name didn’t particularly matter. People sought it out.
If it’s not obvious how to spell something, its much harder for your target audience to remember it. If upon hearing it you’re customers don’t immediately know how to spell your name, they are less likely to go to your website.
A bad name will kill your ability to spread via word of mouth. All those tech meet ups where someone recommends your app to someone will come to naught, as they struggle to remember it, or struggle to find it because they don’t know how to spell it.
If you are constantly spelling, or explaining your name to people, then take that as a warning sign - it’s probably not a good name. The most important features of a name are that it should be memorable, easily spellable and, as a bonus, descriptive. Unless you’re Google of course.