Are you planning to start a new blog this year? One of the trickiest decisions you will have to make, and one of the most important will be what to call it. Here’s how to choose the perfect blog name…
One of the first decisions you will have to make when starting a new blog is what to call it. This is a tricky decision and one of the most important you will make. Many bloggers choose their name on a whim and only later realise that their name is difficult to spell/pronounce, limits what they can blog about, or is downright cringeworthy!
I recently asked the bloggers in my Productive Blogging Community about this and the majority of them said that they didn’t like their blog name or would change it if they could go back in time.
On the flip side, though, naming your blog is also a huge opportunity. Choosing the right name can mean appealing to the right people, getting recognised and remembered, and even be a big boost to your blog’s SEO – as I found out to my advantage with my food blog Easy Peasy Foodie!
Of course, you can always change your blog’s name at a later date, if you’ve realised you’ve made a mistake – but that can be a major headache and potentially cause you to lose followers and domain authority. Much better to get it right first time! Here’s how to choose the perfect blog name…
1. Consider what your blog will be about
Before you can decide on your blog’s name, you will first need to decide what your blog will be about. In other words, you need to decide on your blog’s niche. Choosing a specific niche for your blog is important as it will help you appeal to the right people, make more money and develop expertise in a specific area – and so become a go-to person for that topic.
Trying to choose a name before you’ve chosen a niche is like trying to put the cart before the horse!
2. Bear in mind your target audience
But it’s not just your niche that’s important. Two blogs can be about the same topic but target very different audiences.
For example, let’s say your blog is going to be about travel in France. Your blog would probably have a very different name depending on whether you were trying to target men or women, younger people or older people, the budget or luxury end of the market, off the beaten track travellers or city break travellers etc. etc.
Different names appeal to different types of people. Some like a ‘does what it says on the tin’ type name (like Easy Peasy Foodie or Productive Blogging!), others will naturally prefer a ‘prettier’ but less obvious name, while others will prefer a more personalised name, like Eb’s Kitchen.
Consider your target audience – who are you hoping will read your blog and what type of name are they most likely to identify with?
3. Check out the competition
Once you have a good idea of your blog’s niche and target audience, it’s time to check out the competition. Google blogs in your niche and find out what sort of names they have. This will tell you which names have already been taken and give you an idea of what kind of names are appropriate for that niche.
It will also help you work out what kind of names you really love (and what kind of names you really hate) as well as giving you loads of inspiration!
4. Brainstorm potential name ideas
The next step is to let your creative juices flow. Take a large piece of paper and just start writing. In this phase try to be as creative as possible. Write any and every name that comes to you. Don’t cross any out yet. Don’t worry about if they are good or bad ideas. There are no wrong ideas at this stage. Just generate as many ideas as you can think of!
5. Create a shortlist
Next, start to whittle down your ideas. Cross of any that are just plain silly or don’t fit your niche/target audience. Come up with a shortlist of ideas that you really like, and you think your audience will like too.
6. Check if it is easy to spell and pronounce
Check through your shortlist and cross off any which are difficult to say or spell. Your blog name might be brilliant but if people can’t spell it, they won’t be able to find it!
A blog name which is difficult to say or which people just don’t know how to pronounce can also be off-putting. It will stop people from sharing your blog by word of mouth too.
7. Make sure there are no hidden rude words!
Write down all your top ideas as URLS (i.e. www.YOURBLOGNAMEIDEA.com) to quickly check if they contain any rude words which appear when the words are run together.
Consider a blog called ‘Miss Expert’ or ‘Dish it up’, for example! They look fine as a title but the ULRs would look like this www.missexpert.com and www.dishitup.com – did you spot them?
You definitely want to avoid hidden rude words in your URL (unless you are targeting a very particular audience, I suppose!)
8. Make sure the domain name doesn’t limit you too much
This is another important check – while it is important to niche down, you don’t want to restrict yourself too much. Think about the names you still have in the running – which ones give you a bit of wiggle room and which ones really limit the scope of what you can blog about.
This does depend a bit on how convinced you are that the niche is the right one for you. If you are absolutely 100% convinced that you will never change, then a really tight niche-specific idea is actually really good, as people will instantly know what your blog is about and you will attract the right people. It can also help with SEO (for example a blog aimed at vegans which has ‘vegan’ in the domain name will certainly help you perform well in search results).
However, if you are not 100% sure, or if you know you are the sort of person who changes their mind a lot, it may be a good idea to go for something a bit more generic to give yourself room to change direction at a later date.
9. Check if the domain name is available
Now it is time to check if the names you like are still available as domain names. To check that your preferred blog name doesn’t already exist run it through the checker on siteground.com* (or whichever blog host you’ve chosen!).
It is always best to try and get a .com ending, if possible. Generally speaking, endings like .biz or .tv just look weird and spammy, and will put people off, and country specific endings like .co.uk can limit your audience. If you have your heart set on a name and it isn’t available as .com, you could at a push try .net or .co, but personally, I’d keep trying ideas until I found a .com I liked.
10. Make sure your blog name is not the name of an existing business
Also, make sure no one has virtually the same blog name and/or it’s not the name of an existing business. Easy to check. Just run the name (not the domain – i.e. Productive Blogging not ProductiveBlogging.com) through Google. If you don’t get a business or blog with that name coming up, you are good to go.
Bear in mind too, that you can’t use trademarked names within your blog name/URL. So, for example, you can’t call your blog facebookexpert.com or amazongirl.com.
11. Ask around
Hopefully you still have a few names in the running! Now it’s time to ask around. What do your friends and family think about your chosen blog name(s)? Just one caveat here, you will probably get some wildly different opinions! So take what people say with a large pinch of salt and also consider how close to the target market your friends and family are. For example, if you are aiming your blog at women in their twenties, pay close attention to what your 20 something female friends say, but worry less about what your male friends or your mum thinks!
And don’t just ask your friends and family if they like the name, or not – ask them what it makes them think of, how does it make them feel, what images does it convey, who do they imagine this blog is for (and not for!), what do they imagine the blog will be about…
This will be much more valuable information than just like/dislike – it will help you understand if your preferred name(s) conveys the messages you want it to convey or not.
If you want some friendly bloggers to help you decide, then why not hop over and ask in my Productive Blogging Facebook Community Group? We’d love to help you (though I can’t promise we’ll all agree!).
12. Check if the social media usernames are available
Ideally you will want to be able to have social media names which are all the same and which match your blog name exactly. This will make it easier for your potential followers find and / or guess your blog name. In reality this might not be entirely possible. But it is a great way to help you choose a blog name, if you are down to just a few ideas.
13. Sleep on it
Once you are down to the final idea, it’s a good idea to sleep on it. If you spend that night worrying that someone might get in before you, it’s probably the right one! If you are still undecided in the morning, it might be worth going through the process again. You really want to LOVE your blog name, so if you are not 100% about it, that might be an indication that it is not the right blog name for you.
14. Bag that name before someone else gets it!
Once you are sure about the name you want, go get it ASAP – and all the social media usernames too. You will be kicking yourself if you don’t do it right away and then the name has gone by the time you get round to it! Go onto siteground.com* (or whichever blog host you’ve chosen!) and register that name before you lose your nerve!
Eeek – have you done it? Did you choose your name and get it registered? If so let me know in the comments below – or come on over to the Productive Blogging Facebook Group and let us all know – we’d love to cheer you on your blogging journey!
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