It’s your brand.
It’s how people refer to you.
It’s what your loyal readers know you as.
That’s your blog name.
Needless to say, you know how important it is to get it right.
But, the REAL question is: How to come up with a blog name you and your audience will love?
More importantly, something that you won’t regret later on.
Just think about your favorite brands and how they probably got their names.
Apple, Hershey’s, M&M’s, Nike, Amazon and Coke.
Is there some magic formula you can use to choose the ideal blog name?
But, by the end of this aritlce, you will know everything there is to know about choosing your blog’s name. You’ll learn the most effective naming strategies there are around. And, be aware of critical pitfalls that can ruin an otherwise perfect blog name.
Let’s get started.
What is a Domain Name?
If you take a closer look at your favorite blog’s URL, you’ll see it resembles the one above. Of course, that is, with a different name.
The thing is, all blogs need a UNIQUE DOMAIN NAME.
Like your home address, it allows the internet and your website’s visitors to find you. If there were more than 1 blog with the same name, then it would be much harder to do that.
So, as a blogger, it’s important to understand the different components of your blog’s URL, so you can choose the best name for it.
Here are the different parts of your blog’s URL.
- The protocol: This is the http:// or https:// in front of your blog’s name. Today, you want the one with the “s” at the end. That’s because Google ranks websites with the “s” higher. Https essentially means your domain has SSL encryption. In simple terms, that means any information that goes through your site is encrypted. This makes passwords, emails, credit card information and home addresses safe for you, your visitors and customers.
- Your blog’s name: This is the name you choose. Theoretically, you can choose anything you want. But, there are limitations because it, combined with the TLD, has to be UNIQUE (in the entire internet) in order for people to know where to find your website.
- TLD (top-level domain) or Extension: These come after your blog name. They come in many forms including .com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov and so on. In many cases, they can also identify what country the blog was registered. Here, you want the .com.
- Domain name: This is the combination of your blog name and the TLD. In my website’s case, it’s willblogforaliving.com. For yours it will be different. The combination of the 2 components need to be UNIQUE. Otherwise, if someone else has registered that combination, you won’t be able to do so unless you purchase the domain name from the owner. This limitation is what can make finding a blog name tricky, since other people may have already thought of the name you want.
Why Your Blog Name Is Very Important
Now that you understand what goes into a blog/domain name, you probably have a better idea of why choosing the right name is so important.
Here are a few of the top reasons why you want to get your blog name right from the start.
It Is How Anyone Is Going to Find You
Your blog name is the quickest way your readers can access your blog via their laptop or mobile phone. Thus, you don’t want to make it hard for them to remember your blog name.
Likewise, it isn’t a good idea to make them go through the hassle of having to type something difficult on their smartphones.
It Represents Your Brand or Identity
In the beginning, nobody’s really going to care much about your blog.
Sadly, that’s just how the world works. People only notice you when you succeed or ‘make it’.
The same is true with blogging.
That said, as your blog grows so does your brand.
And, when it comes to your brand, the two most important elements are YOU and YOUR BLOG’S NAME.
Those are the two things people remember most.
Your Domain Name Sets Your Blog’s First Impression
The first thing people will notice about your blog is its name.
As such, your blog’s name, how it’s pronounced and spelled all play a role in creating the first impression people have of you and your website.
If it’s something memorable or positive, you can make a lasting impression from the get-go.
Similarly, your blog’s name sets expectations.
For example, if your blog’s name is UsedCars.com, people who visit your site are likely going to expect something about used cars.
If they arrive and see that it talks about anything other than that subject, they’ll be scratching their heads trying to figure things out.
This is also sometimes why it can be harder to start with an ambiguous blog name, especially if your brand isn’t established yet.
Just imagine seeing a something like Amazon.com, when it was just starting out.
Would you have thought it was selling books online?
It Can Help Your Site Rank Better in Google
One thing not many beginner bloggers know is that adding keywords to your domain name actually helps it rank.
A few years ago, EMDs or exact match domains were all the rage. That’s because having your exact keyword in your domain name helped improve your ranking.
This is why many older websites have names like BestYogaMats.com or PassiveIncomeTraining.com. Heck, even one of Pat Flynn’s earlier niche sites is called SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com
That said, Google has made some adjustments to its algorithm over the years. And, according to Backlinko’s list of Google’s 200 ranking factors:
- While it still helps in providing relevancy (something Google values), keywords in the domain name don’t boost your site’s ranking as much as it used to
- Having the keywords at the beginning of your blog name provides an SEO advantage over sites that don’t have the keyword in their domain or include the keywords later in the domain name.
That said, before you run to register a domain with your niche’s keyword in it, do consider how the blog name sounds.
You don’t want your brand to sound spammy in any way just to squeeze that little ounce of SEO by including your main keywords in your domain name.
Adds Visibility and Professional Credibility
One final thing that your blog name gives you is visibility online. In some cases, this provides professional credibility as well.
Nowadays, people expect businesses and brands to be present online. If you’re not, they may assume that you’re not well-established.
Changing Your Blog Name: It’s More Work Than You Think
One of the biggest reasons why you don’t want to just slap on any name to your blog is because it isn’t that easy to change your name.
Sure, you can do so.
But, doing so is like changing your legal name.
You not only have to go through all the paperwork and technical set up, but you also need to change everything else that had your original blog name in it. This includes your social media handles and letting your readers know as well.
So, it’s a good idea to come in with a mindset of choosing a name that’s going to be PERMANENT.
Just in case you were wondering what goes into moving your blog from one domain name to another, here’s a video to give you an idea.
If something comes up in the future, say you merge with another brand, then that’s when going through the hassle of making the changes will be worthwhile. Not because you didn’t think things through in the beginning.
So, just to be thorough, here are the reasons why you want to CHOOSE the RIGHT blog name from the very beginning.
- Traffic. Changing your domain can run the risk of losing traffic. This happens when the migration isn’t done perfectly. More importantly, if your blog already receives a lot of traffic, that downtime when you perform the migration and make adjustments to get things right often means your visitors can’t access your website.
- Links. While you can redirect all the links from the old site to the new one, it does take some work. More importantly, you need to be very meticulous. Otherwise, you can miss redirecting some very high-value backlinks that will hurt your blog’s authority. This can mess up months or even years of work, which can result in a loss of traffic because your blog post rankings go down.
- Extra costs.You’ll need to register another domain. This is one of the lesser consequences. That is, unless doing so forces you to upgrade your hosting plan. If that’s the case, you’ll be paying a few extra bucks a month as well. Still, no biggie!
- Technical skill. While it isn’t a huge hassle to redirect things and make the changes, you’ll probably want to hire a tech guy to do the backend stuff. This is especially true if you aren’t a fan of the more technical side of your blog. Spending for tech support is well worth it because doing it incorrectly has huge consequences in terms of traffic and authority in the long-term.
- Change your social media accounts. Besides your blog, you’ll also need to change your social media handles. Some platforms will let you change the name that’s displayed on your home page. But, many won’t let you change the URL. So, you’ll need to decide if you want to keep using the old one or move to a new one. The problem with the latter is that you can’t move your followers from one social media account to another. So, this strategy only works if you have less than 1,000 followers.
How to Come Up with A Blog Name
Now that you know the importance of choosing a good blog name, it’s time to brainstorm a few.
Here are some blog naming strategies that will help you come up with the perfect domain name you and your readers will love.
What Is Your Blog About?
This is one of the most popular ways of naming a blog because it’s simple.
And, it will let any new reader know what your website is all about.
When it comes to this naming strategy, the GOAL is to BE DESCRIPTIVE.
The formula here is:
[Adjective or Superlative] + your niche
You can likewise reverse the formula to make it:
Your niche + [Adjective or Superlative]
Some examples of this blog naming strategy include:
- Nerd Fitness – Steve Kamb’s blog about fitness
- Smart Blogger – Jon Morrow’s blog about blogging.
- Digital Photography School – Darren Rowse’s blog about Photography
See the pattern?
The most important thing here is to know your niche. And, that you’ll be sticking to that topic. Otherwise, once you pivot to another subject, the name ceases to be relevant to your blog.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
This strategy is somewhat tangent to the first. But instead of focusing on your niche, you look towards your audience.
Because you’re targeting the audience, this gives you more leeway to pivot in case you want to change the direction of your blog later on. As long as you stick to the same audience, you’ll be able to keep your blog name without having to make drastic changes.
A couple of examples of websites using this strategy include:
- Parents.com – Yes, its articles are for parents.
- Art of Manliness – Brett McKay’s blog about men’s interests, particularly helping men become real men.
So unlike the first strategy where you’ll be brainstorming things in your niche, you’ll be more focused on including your audience in the blog name.
Here’s a simple formula:
[Adjective / Verb / Superlative] + Audience
This lets you target moms, entrepreneurs, bloggers, single parents or gamers alike.
Combine Words That Describe What Your Blog Is and What You Do
Blog naming strategy number 3 combines two words that are related to what your blog is about or things that you do.
This is somewhat similar to the two previous strategies except it gives you more freedom of expression.
For example, you can truncate words and combine them. Here are a few examples:
- Brunch = breakfast + lunch
- Webinar = web + seminar
- ShAmy = Sheldon + Amy (for the Big Bang Theory fans out there)
Similarly, you can just use the entire words. While using your niche or audience in the domain name helps, you don’t really need to do so.
This gives you more creative freedom as long as you don’t try to get TOO CLEVER. I’ll discuss that risk later below.
Here are a couple of examples:
- ProBlogger – Again, Darren Rowse’s blog. But this time it’s about helping people become “pro bloggers”, get it?
- Paleo Hacks – this is a GREAT blog name because once you see it, you know exactly what it’s about.
Using your own name is probably the easiest blog name to come up with.
It also comes with the benefit of being the MOST VERSATILE option around.
Think about it.
You can talk about anything. You can write about one topic or go multi-niche.
And, if you want to pivot, you can do so.
That said, by using your name, you’re essentially making yourself the face of your brand, like Oprah and Ellen.
So, don’t be shy to put up a lot of personal photos and talk about yourself.
Will you be building your brand around your blog name?
Or, will the blog be for a company?
If that’s the case, then you can use your company or brand name as your blog’s name.
The biggest benefit to this strategy is that you already have fans, customers or readers from your existing brand or company.
By giving your blog your company’s name, people who follow your brand instantly connect with your website. This gives you immediate visitors.
That said, this strategy only works if the blog will be about or for your company.
If it’s for a completely different purpose, then you’ll want to try using some of the other naming tactics in this list.
We all know these brands by their abbreviations.
While the examples above are all from companies, it doesn’t necessarily have to be so.
You can use your nickname and last name or a combination of your first, middle or last names as well. One successful implementation of this is Ryan Robinson’s blog, ryrob.com.
RyRob is definitely much catchier than saying this entire name. Plus, it has 2 syllables and uses a play on alliteration which makes it very memorable.
Create A New Word
If you’ve got your creative juices flowing, why not create a new word.
This is the case for Google, which is actually a misspelling of the word googol.
Just in case you were wondering, googol is a mathematical term for the number 1 that’s followed by 100 zeros.
Nope, I’m not going to type 100 zeros here.
Anyways, the biggest advantage of doing this is that you’re unique. If you’re able to come up with a name like Sergei Brin and Larry Page did, then it would be short and memorable as well.
The downside is that you’ll need to explain to people what your site is about.
Because the name won’t represent the niche or what you’re doing, you’ll need to build the brand name yourself.
Make a Play on Words
This is another creative variation of coming up with your own words. But, in this case, you can make a play on words, use puns or some other cool way to make them fun to say.
One example is Greatist.com.
The site’s name is a play on the word Greatest. But, because it’s referring to people and trying help you “live your best life”, they turned the last part into “ist”.
This makes it very easy to remember and definitely makes a nice initial impression.
But, it does come with a risk, of sorts.
In the beginning, and even later on, you may have to keep reminding people how to spell the name.
For example, I know many people mistake Greatist.com for Greatest.com especially if they’ve never heard of the brand.
Now you don’t want your potential visitors going to another site and then saying, “Hey, I went to the site and it wasn’t what I expected.”
That’s because they ended up in the wrong blog since they mistyped or misspelled your blog’s name.
Important Reminders When Choosing A Blog Name
When using the strategies above, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. That’s because a potentially good blog name can turn bad if you overlook some of these things.
Make Your Blog Name Easy to Spell, Pronounce and Remember
As a blogger, one of the most important things you’ll be doing is promoting your blog.
That means mentioning your blog’s name.
You’ll not only be spelling it out but also saying it out loud.
This means your blog’s name should be easy to convey. More importantly, you shouldn’t have to spell it out for them each and every time.
For example, if you were one of the founders of Tumblr. This is probably how you would’ve have introduced your site to them.
“Hi, I’m the founder of Tumblr. That’s T-U-M-B-L-R, no E between the L and the R.”
Odd spelling or mispellings can easily cause you to lose visitors, especially in the beginning. That’s when they’re hardest to come by.
Shorter is Often Better
Shorter blog names are also easier to remember. Plus, one- or two-syllables roll off your tongue much better as well.
The other benefit of short domain names is they’re more convenient to type.
This works out well considering that the majority of people access the internet via their mobile devices. Small devices make it harder to type longer words, sentences, and paragraphs.
This is why people use lots of acronyms when texting.
It is also the reason why the emails you send via your smartphone are often very short compared to those you write on your laptop.
Bottom line, you don’t want your readers to have to type a long blog name on their mobile phones or tablets.
Get a .com Domain
One of the things you’ve probably noticed about websites is there can be a number of variations of the same blog name. But, they carry different TLDs (top-level domain).
That means if your blog’s name is mycoolblog.com, there’s a chance you might see websites that are named:
- and so on.
So, unless you’re going to buy all the other domain names with different TLDs (that’s what Google did, try typing google with all sorts of TLDs), you’re going to have to live with it.
And, that’s ok.
This happens to pretty much everyone, except the big companies who can slap lawsuits on you for using their name (which they have trademarked).
What’s important is to grab the .com version of your name.
While it’s not obligatory that you do, it simplifies things for your readers.
Just think about it, when you type in a website, it’s almost automatic that you end it with a .com
Remember, unless you’re a celebrity or someone well known, when you’re starting out, nobody knows you.
So, you want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to find you. And, using a .com just takes out the guessing or trying to remember what comes after the dot in your domain name.
One thing I’ve learned in blogging is that your audience always comes first. As such, it’s your job to make everything as easy as possible for them.
And, more importantly, it’s your duty to SERVE them!
If there’s one thing you want to take away from anything you’ve read in my blog, it’s just these 3 words:
SERVE YOUR AUDIENCE.
That’s it! You get that part right you’ll be on your way to be a successful blogger.
So, getting the .com simplifies everything. It eliminates confusion and doesn’t force your readers to have to think.
Don’t Use Hyphens, Numbers or Other Special Characters; Stick with Letters
One way to tell if a blog has been around for a long time is if it has numbers, dashes or other special characters in its name.
Numbers and dashes were used once upon a time, long ago.
- Numbers were used as a clever play on words. For example, “4” often replaces the word “for”.
- Hyphens helped make longer domain names more readable. For example, build-a-home-for-your-family.com. (Can you imagine typing all those dashes every time you want to visit the site?)
But, the problem with using dashes, numbers and other special characters is that you need to explain how to spell your blog name.
In addition, it also increases the risk that potential visitors to your site misspelling the domain name. And, once that happens, they’ll likely just go elsewhere or do something else.
While it may be tempting to add keywords to your blogs name or use something clever, do consider its long-term consequences.
That’s when your blog becomes a brand.
Just imagine, 5 or 10 years from now, you’re doing a TED talk or you’re being interviewed on the Today Show and FOX, what would you like the host to call your blog?
You don’t want to hear them say something like, “Here’s John, the founder of BestTelephoneDirectories.com.”
Instead, take your cue from the big tech firms when it comes to branding. Here are just a few:
- Huffington Post
Notice how their blog names roll off your tongue?
Be Careful About Being Too Cute / Clever
When it comes to your blog name, keep it simple.
Cute or clever names can work. But they can often be misspelled or pronounced incorrectly.
Say for example you have a tech-related blog named bigbytes.com
That’s actually not all that clever. Yet, it can become troublesome.
Imagine telling a friend, your blog’s name is bigbytes.com. Odds are they might think it’s a food blog or a restaurant.
Even when you explain it’s a tech site, you’ll still need to make sure that they spell “bytes” with a “y”.
See all the hassle that goes into that?
Avoid Brand Names and Trademarks
This one can be very costly.
Brands whose names have been trademarked will come after you if you use their names or any portion of their names.
For example, if you have a blog that specializes in helping people grow their Facebook followers, naming it FacebookHelper.com may make sense.
But make no mistake, Facebook will come calling.
And, they’ll probably want to slap you with a lawsuit in the 6-figure range unless you take your site down or change its name.
Make Sure It’s Available
No matter how great the domain name you’ve thought of is, you need it to be available.
That is, nobody else has registered it.
See, the deal is, only one website can be named as such at any given point in time.
So, even if you wanted to get google.com for example, you can’t. Not unless you buy the domain from the owner.
And, since you want a .com, that also eliminates the other variations like .net, .org, and so forth.
To check if the blog name you want is available, go to Bluehost then click on Domains in the main menu and enter your blog name in the screen below.
Check Social Media as Well
In addition to making sure that your blog’s name hasn’t been taken yet, you may also want to check social media handles.
This isn’t a deal-breaker. But, it may force you to add a few words or change your social media URL a bit.
That’s not a big deal, as long as the brand itself stays intact.
Privacy is always very important, be it on- or offline.
So, it’s crucial to know that once you register a domain people will be able to see your personal information.
This is your blog’s WhoIs information.
Basically, it gives the searcher the ability to see who owns the domain name.
WhoIs information will include your name, home address, email address and phone number among other things.
The good news is, you can prevent this information from being visible to the public.
To do so, you’ll want to get Domain Privacy.
This is an add-on to your domain.
Depending on where you register your domain, this privacy feature may be free or not.
Some domain registrars will include the cost with your registration. But, others will charge you for it.
In the image above, notice that the name, address and telephone numbers are of the Domain Protection Service and not of the owner?
That’s what Domain Privacy does.
Otherwise, the information you filled in with your domain registrar or web host is what comes out there.
Check Your Blog’s Name When the Words are Stuck Together
When you have the perfect blog name in mind, try spelling it with all the words sticking together. That’s how your domain name will look when the .com is added to it.
Basically, it has to look, spell and sound good, right?
Here’s why it’s important to check.
I enjoy art as a hobby. So let’s say I create a blog that teaches people how to draw, color and paint. After 20 minutes of thinking I decide that the name “I Dream of Art” would be amazing for my new blog.
But, there’s a problem. Notice what happens when my new blog’s name is put into URL format?
It becomes idreamofart.com.
Did you see that?
Some people may see “I dream of art”. But, others may pronounce it as “I dream of fart”.
Here are a few other unfortunate instances where this has happened in real life.
While this isn’t a deal-breaker, you may want to avoid it if you can.
So, the most important thing to remember is to take your time.
Ideally, your blog’s name ought to be permanent.
That means it’s ready for the long-term and is brandable.
Blog Name Generators
Just in case you find yourself having a hard time coming up with the perfect blog name, here are a couple of domain name generators you can use.
They work very differently from one another.
This way you get to see which one helps more.
Wordoid comes up with blog name ideas based on a set of characteristics you give it.
Among them include the preferred length of the blog name, whether it contains certain words, even from other languages.
From there, you’ll be able to go through the different domain name ideas to see which ones you like most.
Name Mesh, on the other hand, works like a search engine.
You enter words that are related to your niche and it will create all sorts of combinations.
While it’s fairly useful, you’ll have to sift through quite a bit of useless names along the way.
Do beware of the premium domains which are costly.
And, if you do choose from the SEO category make sure the name doesn’t sound too spammy.
You blog name is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.
It’s how everyone will refer to your blog. Now. And. Forever.
So don’t make the mistake of just slapping any name on there.
In a few years, you might just regret it.
Even worse, your potential readers may not like it all. Thus, driving them away.
By following the different blog naming strategies and reminders above, you’ll be able to choose the perfect blog name you and your audience will love.
… and avoid any possible pitfalls for disaster.
Let me know what your blog’s name is, why you chose it and how you came up with it.