What’s in a name? Naming strategies for mobile apps.

What’s in a name?  Naming strategies for mobile apps.

“A rose by any other name,” William Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet, “would smell as sweet.”  Flowers, of course, existed well before we ever got around to naming them, so it’s unlikely that the first person to have the pleasure of smelling a rose would have thought to call it dracunculus vulgaris or the “corpse flower.”  When it comes to naming your mobile application, however, you have the advantage of being able to name it before it goes to market, and it turns out that coming up with an effective name requires a lot of thought.

Ideally, you’ll want a title that maximizes your app’s exposure to potential customers, a process known as “search engine optimization,” or SEO.  There are two ways to go about this: the first involves riding on the coat-tails of more established apps by including terms already made popular by those apps.  Distimo recently compiled a list of the most popular search terms used by consumers looking for apps that included the following:  wallpaper, live, guide, news, theme, ebook, clock, travel, app, sexy, game, world, dictionary, map, calculator, radio, love, girls, widget, English, hot, puzzle, football, pocket, and city.  Of course, we know Graeme McMillan of Techland was kidding when he suggested launching an app called “Sexy Hot Pocket Puzzle Radio City,” but the point here is to make your app’s name appeal to the broadest possible spectrum of consumers.

Of course, it’s equally important that your app’s name reflect its function.  This requires a little bit of digging and a lot of common sense.  Cindy Krum of Mobile Moxie posted some excellent strategies for naming apps last February, to which we would add the following:  for whatever name you’ve come up with for your mobile app, search for it in the app store and see what you come up with.  Using Google’s Adwords tool (or any other keyword search tool of your choice) is also likely to help you understand the kind of demographic to which your app is likely to be exposed.

The most important consideration in application development is, of course, the quality of the app itself, but the second, and only slightly less important, is making sure your customers know about it.  Most customers will find your app using a search tool of some kind, so you need an effective naming strategy.

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