This is the usual process I take when coming up with a name and url for a website or web service. Should be useful whether you’re naming your start-up or just a web toy.
Brilliant dictionary that I’ve been using for a really long time. Main reason being it lets you do wildcard searches which is great when coming up with domain hacks and such. Straight forward example, let’s pick whatever the TLD of the month is and get some inspiration. We do a search for *am and then click on common words only. There’re quite a lot of results and we have a few ways to narrow them down.
We know we don’t want a really long name so often instead of using * I’ll use ? which is a single character wildcard. We can do searches like ?????am to get nicer sized words.
These methods are great for random inspiration but you’re probably trying to name something you’ve already got an idea for. In that case you can search for words related to another word. A search for *me:music gives us results including chime, metronome, volume and rhyme. Leading us onto..
Descriptive vs. Identity
You may want your name to describe exactly what you do, a “what it says on the tin” approach. However you must remember that your name is your brand. If you’re a start up do you want the name to be something just to get some better SEO results?
Descriptive names can also be harder to remember and probably easier to mix up with competitors names, plus you’ll be fighting for the top search result with established websites when people search for you specifically.
Always ask for feedback on names, people have lots of connotations with words that might not of crossed your mind before. This is especially true if you plan on the name being used in different markets.