After learning the ins and outs of domain name1, I thought I was equipped for the next step: brainstorming. I quickly realized that there is a gap between knowing some guidelines and picking the perfect domain name. Believe me: it is not easy to come up with a good idea (that isn’t already in use). Here goes the genesis of CogitActive.com.
A long-term vision
Having an existing offline name may make the brainstorming process easier, but what if you don’t have any? Just to remind you, it all began when I decided to start a podcast2. Launching myself into this venture brought me here: creating a website.
You may wonder, then, why I did not use the name of my podcast. After all, this is the recommended way to go, and it was hard enough to find it3. Why so?
Because I didn’t want to limit my options. What will happen if I decide to start a second podcast? Suppose my activities are not limited to podcasting. Should I end up with several unrelated websites with different domain names? Not a good idea.
I was looking at the big picture right from the start. Hence, I had to find a domain name that encompasses all my activities – present and future – not limited to podcasting. I had to start creating my brand identity.
A domain name is your identity.
My own brainstorming
How to find something original, catchy and with the potential to build brand value over time?
Keyword-based domain names
Given that keywords can give visitors an idea of what your site is about, I first looked for a keyword-based domain name. Naturally, I focused on keywords related to my subject matter and tried to generate some variations around them.
To boost my inspiration, I even used some domain name generators, which are tools
to help you find the right domain name. I don’t know if I should blame my inputs (keywords) or their algorithm, but their suggestions were absolutely useless.
A word of caution: using an alternate top-level domain (TLD) because the desired .com domain name is not available is a bad idea.
This strategy was going nowhere. Moreover, all the obvious choices were already taken. I should have known better, though; I had already been down that road (when I was looking for the name of my podcast).
A name that standouts; easier said than done!
You can read all the guidelines for choosing a good domain name you want, the fact is that coming up with a truly good idea is hard. Actually, these guidelines are more constraining than inspiring. How to generate good ideas then? I could gather few extra tips to widen the field of possibilities:
- Don’t be afraid to make up a word.
- Mash two words together.
- Add modifiers to a word.
- Change few letters here and there.
- Experiment with the non-standard TLDs.
- Chose a name with no specific meaning.
- Combine words and random suffixes.
- Use a thesaurus to find synonyms.
Well, some of these tips are likely to go against the general guidelines1; nevertheless, they may help generating new ideas.
Inspired by my
personality and features
I just kept searching. However, nothing was good enough, or more specifically, able to cover the whole range of my activities. That was the problem; I couldn’t fathom what all my activities had in common. As pointed out by Isaac Asimov,
it is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time. The key was quite evident: me, or for that matter, my way of dealing with things (in my activities).
I am a researcher and problem solver.
Grasping what is so special – almost peculiar – about my approach was relatively easy. My modus operandi is to study every aspect of a problem – gathering and reading all possible information on the subject matter – before to take the most informed decision possible. This thorough approach requires the capacity to analyze, to think over… Verbs like “to consider”, “to ponder” were coming to mind. I started digging around those terms – thesaurus and dictionaries became my best friends – searching for synonyms, definitions … until I found this one4:
Use or exercise the mind or one’s power of reason
in order to make inferences, decisions,
or arrive at a solution or judgments.
That was it: to cogitate. I had my gemstone. It was time to express my creativity.
Back to square one
Where to start? Of course, there is Descartes’ formula
cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am). I searched for any derived forms – immediately rejecting the noun “cogitator”. I even looked for the Latin verb “cogitare” conjugated in all tenses for inspiration. Still, I came back empty handed.
I also started to have misgivings about my gemstone. The definitions for “cogitate” from other sources were not as befitting as the one previously quoted. Often, they referred to meditation. My activities have nothing to do with heightened level of spiritual awareness, relaxation or contemplation!
Something was missing. What?
The missing piece
Let me go over again. My modus operandi is subject to a dynamic process –
a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end5 and
characterized by constant change, activity, or progress5. It starts with gathering and reading all possible information on the subject matter, and it culminates with the “inferences, decisions, or . . . solution”; cogitation is across-the-board.
Wait! These “inferences, decisions, or . . . solution” may be the culmination of my cogitation, but my activities do not stop there. I am also active in sharing the outcomes of these cogitations via various methods of communication (e.g. podcasting). How to combine this with cogitate?
CogitateAndShare.com – what a dull domain name!
I went through tens of different combinations, trying to mesh these two parts (of my activities). I could not come up with anything catchy.
In addition, there was the unresolved issue with the meditation-like definition. How to eclipse this other meaning? Perhaps, I could use “active”, in the sense
preferring action to contemplation. Do I cogitate actively? Nonsense! Besides, this is not helping; there must be a form of active meditation. More importantly, this does not integrate the communication component of my activities (sharing the “inferences, decisions, or . . . solution”).
Yet, I liked the idea of being active as opposed to the (wrong) impression of immobility associated with cogitation. Further, this is somehow reminiscent, if I may risk drawing a comparison, with yin and yang. Cogitate (Yin) is the receptive and communicate (Yang) the active principle. Anyway, let’s not wander off the point!
After several days of brainstorm, I came up with “cogitate” and “active“. I was convincing myself that I was on the good track; this elusive domain name was within my reach. Yet, I had second thoughts – “cogitate” might be perceived differently than intended. What image will it convey? On the other hand, it was suitable for future proofing my domain name and extending its use later down the line.
All I had to do now was meshing “cogitate” with “active”. Despite some sound advices against it –
relying on puns, odd spellings . . . can make it difficult for people to remember6 – I found:
This is unique, memorable, and sounds like a brand, isn’t it?
Adopting an uncompromising and thorough approach, CogitActive integrates (Cogit) and shares (Active) knowledge with a unique voice.
Is it meaningful? CogitActive may not be descriptive or intuitive, yet, it matches what I am doing pretty well (some enlightenments being required, though).
The .com was a no-brainer. CogitActive.com. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
Going, going… GONE!
1 See A domain name. ^
2 See The CogitActive Saga. ^
3 Don’t expect any spoiler. ^
4 Definition of “to cogitate” from Vocabulary.com. ^
5 Definition of “to process” and “dynamic”, respectively (2010) Oxford Dictionary of English – Third Edition. Oxford University Press. ^
6 Who Is Hosting This (2018) Beginners Guide To Domain Names. ^