The Beginner’s Guide To Choosing A Blog Name
One of the most challenging things to do when starting a blog is choosing the right name. There are so many possibilities out there, but a lot of them have been taken already. How do you go about choosing a blog name?
Starting out with the right name for your blog really matters. Lots of bloggers end up rebranding after a time because they realize the name they first chose wasn’t a good choice. Maybe it doesn’t fit with what they’re doing or it’s too easy to confuse with another site. Whatever the reason, rebranding is a pain, and you’re better off getting your blog name right the first time.
This can be a frustrating process. You go through all the steps to pick a perfect blog name and…
Someone beat you to it. Domain not available.
It happens a lot.
Don’t be surprised if you go through a few names before picking one. I was lucky enough to have a lot of possibilities when I named my site, and while it’s probably not perfect, it has worked well enough for me.
Choosing a blog name that reflects what your blog is about and who you are takes several steps. This process may also help you narrow down your niche so that your blog is more focused.
Write down any blog names you come up with as you go through this process. Inspiration may strike several times for names, but they won’t all be good ideas. Still, you don’t want to lose that one great idea because you didn’t write it down.
I’m going to give you a lot of information here. Don’t let it overwhelm you or keep you from picking a blog name. You don’t have to follow every step. Just take this advice as far as it helps you pick a name and forget the rest. Don’t let this process slow you down as you start your blog.
Do You Want To Use Your Name?
Some people use their first or last name as a part of their blog name. It gives you the potential to make the blog more personal. Using your name can be great for branding.
But it can also be too personal. You may not want your real name out there so easily. This is why many bloggers choose a pen name for themselves and use fake names or initials for their kids. It gives a little privacy while still allowing you to be personal.
Make Up A Word
Many websites have done well with made up words. Think about Google, Twitter, and Pinterest. Choosing a blog name that is a made up word has some advantages.
The disadvantage to made up words is that no one has any idea what to expect from you. The name gives no expectations. You have to build those completely from scratch.
On the plus side, you have a better chance of finding your domain available if you make up a word. There’s no competition for it unless someone else had the same idea already. If you’re creative enough about it, that won’t be a problem.
It can also be great for branding. What that word comes to mean will depend entirely on what you make of it. That can be powerful.
Consider Your Blog Topics
What is your blog about? Have you given your blog topics enough thought?
It’s easy to say that you’re going to create a general blog, one that covers a wide range of topics. You have so many interests you’d like to write about, and surely there are enough people with similar interests that you can make it work, can’t you?
I would urge you to think carefully before choosing this option. Yes, I write on a pretty broad range of topics. They all relate to stay at home parenting, but it’s a broader topic than I would recommend in most cases. You may be smarter to tighten up your niche.
There have been times when I have considered breaking this site into smaller topics. I even broke off the home business section into a new site for a time. But eventually I put it all back. Keeping up with multiple sites was too much trouble, and there was still overlap between what I wanted to do with each site.
Write down all the topics you want to blog on within your niche. If you have a few niches to consider, use a page or column for each one so that you keep the ideas separate.
One or more of these words may be something you want to use in your blog name. Others you absolutely won’t want to use. Cross the unusable ones out and think harder on the ones that have possibilities.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Start thinking about who you hope to attract with your blog. Men, women, what age range, interests, education and so forth.
Next, consider why you want them to come to your blog. Will your blog be informative or entertaining? Are you trying to make people laugh or make them think?
Your blog title must work to attract your target audience. For example, if you’re creating a blog about parenting tips for dads, and you’re trying to keep it informative, which of these titles do you think will work? Which will keep your target audience away?
- Family Antics
- When Mom’s Away…
- [Familyname] Family Adventures
- Daddy’s Time To Play
- The Kingdom Of Dad
- Geeking Out With Dad
- The Kids Did What?
- Active Dad
- Attached Father
- Father Knows Stuff
- Effective Parenting For Dads
- Daddy Days
- Tired Dad, Wild Kids
- Playgrounds, Tools, And Trees
- Some Random Dad
- Tool Sets and Toy Boxes
What you may note about these is that some have the obvious “Dad” or “Father” keywords and others don’t. You don’t have to use keywords, although they can help. But sometimes it makes more sense on the marketing side of things to have an interesting name rather than one that is focused on the right keywords.
Your blog name is about attracting your target audience. Pick the blog name you think will best attract readers, not just search engines.
Read Similar Blogs
No matter your niche, there are probably a ton of other blogs on the same topic out there already.
I mean a ton.
Read some of them, especially the ones that are doing well.
What does this have to do with naming your blog, you ask?
It’s called inspiration.
Reading what others have written in your same niche gives you more than just ideas for blog posts. Sometimes you can pull a blog name from it.
It may not be obvious. You don’t want to copy their name, after all. But they may post something that triggers an idea for you. If you get an idea, write it down.
Your long term goal in reading related blogs is to figure out how you can do better than they do. They’re the competition, after all. But in the early days when you’re learning, they’re great for inspiration, not only for naming your blog, but also for topics you will want to cover as you go.
Try A Blog Name Generator
There are sites out there that will generate blog name ideas for you. This can be incredibly helpful if you’re struggling with choosing a blog name.
I would treat these blog name ideas the same as any you come up with on your own. Write them down and think about it a little. You don’t have to commit to the name in that instant. You might even combine a generated idea with ideas of your own.
Here are a few blog name generators to consider:
These generators will give you lots of ideas for blog names. Most won’t be what you’re after, but you might strike gold with the perfect name.
You usually don’t want to buy your domain name from one of the generators. What’s available there is the same as is available anywhere. Besides, you need to give things a little more thought before you register your blog name.
Start Playing With Your List of Blog Name Ideas
Now is the time to have some fun with the ideas you’ve come up with so far. Consider blending two ideas into a new idea. Spin one blog name idea into something entirely new.
Write down all the ideas you get, good and bad. Even names you know you won’t use will sometimes trigger a better idea.
Don’t follow just one blog name idea to the bitter end. Follow several ideas and see where they take you. Fall down the rabbit hole for a little while. Inspiration needs time to strike.
Don’t hyphenate your blog name if you can help it. People hate typing hyphens.
Using hyphens also means someone can have the unhyphenated version of your blog name. You don’t want that. The unhyphenated version of a domain is always more memorable.
Eliminate Blog Name Ideas That Won’t Work
This is something you can do as you go but can wait until you have a bunch of ideas.
There are a lot of good reasons to eliminate possible blog names. Start out with the ones you immediately don’t like.
Some names can be eliminated because they won’t age well with your blog. If you’re starting a parenting blog, for example, referring to babies in the title may not be a good idea unless you plan to always focus on babies, regardless of the ages of your own children.
A domain name can also be too limiting. It can imply that your niche is more limited than you want it to be. If your cooking blog name focuses on desserts, but you post recipes for all kinds of meals, you’ll confuse your readers. They may forgive you, but it’s not great for marketing.
Others won’t work because someone else is already using something the same or too similar already. Check trademarks and available domain names. If the name you want is already in use, cross it off your list. If there are any potential legal issues with a name, cross it off your list.
While dot coms are generally considered better domain names, people are getting more used to other extensions. Just be careful when using a name that someone already has the dot com version of. If it’s in active use, it will be confusing for readers, who are more likely to type in the dot com version of a domain name.
You may also want to confirm whether your blog name is available as a username for your preferred social media sites, such as Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter. Your marketing will be more effective if you can be consistent across as many platforms as possible.
Don’t forget to consider how a blog name reads. There’s the infamous example of penisland.com… which is the domain name for Pen Island. You don’t want your blog to have that problem.
Run The Name By Your Friends
Talk to friends and family about the names you’re most serious about. Get their opinions.
Someone who isn’t emotionally attached to the project can sometimes see problems more clearly. A name you’ve fallen in love with might have a problem that someone else can see. Better to find that out before you register the name.
You want to know how they would pronounce your domain name. Do they get any other words or meanings out of it, especially anything objectionable? You also want to know if they think people will be able to remember the name.
This should help you avoid the problem of readers misinterpreting the kind of blog you’re running when they see the name. No guarantees, of course – it can be surprising what different people get from your blog name.
Register Your Domain Name
When you’ve settled on your blog name, it’s time to get the domain registered. Most people register their domains wherever they’re hosting. It’s easier, but not a requirement.
Namecheap is a popular choice for domain names. They’re very affordable. They also offer hosting, but you don’t have to get your hosting there. It is a good idea, however, to get your hosting taken care of as soon as you get your domain name. You should be about to get things moving with your new blog, after all.
I host with A2 Hosting, not with the company I register my domains at. I like A2 better for hosting.
Shop around not just on price for your hosting, but on quality. The cheapest host is rarely the best. A slow site won’t do as well with the search engines and will annoy visitors. Read reviews and make sure you’re getting high quality hosting before you sign up with anyone.
While you’re at it, sign up for your first social media accounts for your blog. It’s usually more effective to have your blog’s social media separate from your personal social media.
Get Your Blog Running
Once you have your blog named, registered and hosted, get moving on it. Write your first posts.
You have things moving. Now is not the time for procrastination or fears.
The sooner you really get started, the sooner you can build good blogging habits. In addition to writing your first posts, you should be creating images for them, and sharing your posts on social media.
Don’t expect great things right off. It takes time.
Experimentation is a part of writing great blog posts and making your blog something others want to read. Test different writing styles, images and so forth to figure out what it is that people want from your blog.
Make time as you go to learn how to make a social media strategy. Figure out what works best for marketing your blog. There’s a big learning curve, and you’re just at the beginning.