Choosing a business name and domain: a cautionary tale

Our beautiful business name and domain name attract much admiration, and we're often asked how we acquired them.

This is a cautionary tale. It starts madly and badly, but it has a happy ending. The journey was all about words and communication and reading habits: just like all web content.


Old Quality Web Content logoQuality Web Content was one of Rachel's first business web sites, founded about 1998 (I think), and it still exists as an archive of articles. In effect, QWC was Rachel's first blog. The logo on the right is an early version of the QWC logo.

This web site has two domain names: and Why not webpagecontent dot com? Well may you ask. That's a porn site, or was when I last looked. See the problem when the business name is not the domain name? (Wisdom in hindsight is easy.)
Quality Web Content: archive of Rachel's old blog articles

Contented logo.
Enter QWICKIT. In 2006 Rachel started a new online training enterprise using the name QWICKIT. After Alice joined the company, we continued using the same name for about a year.

QWICKIT was an acronym for Quality Web and Intranet Content Kit, dreamed up in the labyrinth of Rachel’s poetic brain. But it was a crazy, silly name, as it turned out.

  • Nobody could remember it.
  • Nobody could pronounce it.
  • Nobody could spell it. (Even Rachel couldn’t spell it.)
  • Nobody knew what it meant.

When we finally admitted we needed a better name, we had to start from scratch with a new logo, domain and web site. We risked losing brand awareness, links and customers in the changeover. Thank goodness we were still at an early stage of development.

Moral of the story: a company name and domain must be easy to spell and pronounce. (Vowels, by the way, are essential.)

That perfect domain:

Contented logo.
O happy day! We explored variations on the word content, and found a Canadian software developer had registered the domain We contacted him, and he generously gave us the name for a token fee because he liked the sound of our company.

All business documents are treated as content nowadays, so our business writing courses are all about content. And above all, we want our customers to be contented, and our customers’ customers to be contented too.

Alice and Rachel both have the contentment gene, and we wouldn’t be in business if it didn’t keep us contented. We tentatively think we may have found the recipe:

  • mutual respect and courtesy
  • shared goals
  • achieving a series of goals
  • celebration
  • careful communication (of course).

Now our name produces compliments instead of puzzled frowns—even though many people do misspell it as

Oh well, that’s OK: we are a contender!

Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


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