Making a Side Project, Part 5: Picking a Name

Mubashar Iqbal
Make Side Project
Published in
6 min readNov 11, 2017

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

Have you read Part 4 of the Making a Side Project series?

As maker who does Computer Science a lot, I completely agree with …

“There are two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors”

Phil Karlton

Naming variables name, classes, packages, anything really in Computer Science is hard.

Now lets imagine we starting a new project, and have to pick a name. A bad name in computer code can be confusing and misleading, the same for your project, but even more a bad name could mean the end of your project before it even has a chance to get started. Oh the pressure to get it right.

Naming projects basically falls in two categories: Something literal, that describes what the project is or does; and something that is unique to the project, it may or not contain some keywords.

The former works well for SEO purposes, the user will be searching some or all of the words in the name, and so is more likely to find your project without even knowing that it exists. If you need to pivot your project in a new direction later, the name might not apply anymore. So you need to be very careful in your selection.

The later is better for differentiating yourself from all the other projects out there, but you’ll have to work harder at getting organic traffic. You’ll need to educate visitors more, about just what your project is and does.

Once you decide on a name, you’ll have to run a trademark search to make sure there isn’t a company already using your name. Yes even a word from the dictionary is something you might need to avoid. Just try naming music or tech company Apple and see how quickly the Beatles or Apple Computers sends you cease and desist.

I’ve used both approaches in the past, and both have worked well.

I recently helped to build and launch WillRobotsTakeMyJob with Dimitar Raykov. You don’t need to be a genius to figure out what that website does. Answers one question, quite well! Very key word heavy, and in a…

Mubashar Iqbal
Make Side Project

2016 @ProductHunt Maker of the Year. Making side projects for fun and profit.