Whether it’s your first day at school or a new job, there’s something to be said for starting off on the right foot. Launching a new blog is no different.
Think about it – in the coming days, weeks and months, you’ll be devoting hundreds of precious hours to this thing. You might as well give it all you’ve got right from the get-go, right?
This is where the value of a name comes into play.
Though you weren’t physically around when your parents began brainstorming about what name to give you, odds are extremely high that there were a few conversations – some of them more heated than others, for certain – about the nominal identity you’d carry with you throughout the course of your life.
Eventually, time went on, and a name was chosen. Hopefully, their decision has served you well.
Likewise, a sizable portion of your blog’s success or demise will come down to its name. Seeing as how this first step is so important, you’d think more writers would devote a greater amount of time to the brainstorming process.
Unfortunately, they don’t.
The end result? Disaster domain names like this – www.speedofart.com.
Yup, that’s the link to Speed of Art’s official website. Pretty crazy stuff, huh? And yes – that’s a real domain name, by the way. Feel free to give it a click, if you like.
So, if coming up with a unique, long-term name for your blog were as simple as a quick three-step process, everyone would be doing it.
Looking to launch a new blog or rebrand an existing one?
If so, commit now to making sure you discover the perfect name.
Though somewhat of a lengthy, painstaking process, by following each of the 9 steps below, you’re sure to experience a light-bulb moment of sorts as the perfect blog name is found and a new blogging brand is built.
The Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Small Business
1. Explore your blog’s many topics
To get things headed in the right direction, sit down with a pen and paper and consider the topics your new blog plans to cover. Write them down.
Though the general idea should be fairly easy to pinpoint, take things a step further, focusing on the specific, more intricate parts of what you’ll be covering on your new blog.
This might seem silly, but jot down anything and everything that comes to mind. For example, if you’re starting a website on recreational cycling, at least initially, you’re likely to write down terms like bike, pedal, or helmet.
But here’s the thing – don’t limit your creativity when doing this activity. Keep going with terms like head tube, eleton, echelon, streamline, aerodynamics, etc.
As you write, it’s likely that the majority of the words and phrases you write down won’t work.
It doesn’t matter.
The more you write, the more likely you are to spark a thought stream of blog-specific branding goodness.
Once a list of 10 to 20 items is created, circle the ones you feel could potentially work for your blog and cross off the rest of the bunch.
2. Hone in on your editorial tone
Next, take some time to think about the tone of your new blog.
While tone will certainly play a more important role when it comes time to start creating content, if there’s a disconnect between the title of your blog and the content you’re regularly producing, your readers will take notice.
With that in mind, how would you describe your blog’s content? Is it smart and serious? Fun and light-hearted? What about simple and straightforward?
It doesn’t matter – blogs of all tone types can succeed, but there needs to be threads of commonality running through the center of everything you and your blog do.
You’ve already created a list of potential blog names. To go along with it, you’re now crafting a secondary list of words that describe your new blog.
More than likely, these words won’t make their way into the title of your blog, but what you’re most concerned about is the feeling that your blog’s new name transmits.
When all is said and done, does it align nicely with the list of descriptors you’ll have made? If not, you haven’t found the right fit and should keep going.
3. Focus 100% on your ideal reader
Have you ever read or seen Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland? If so, you might recall the part where, deep in the heart of Wonderland, Cheshire Cat speaks to a lost and wandering Alice.
“Which road do I take?” asks Alice. “Where do you want to go?” responds Cheshire Cat. Uncertain of where she’s headed, Cheshire Cat counsels Alice, saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
As crazy as it might sound, Cheshire Cat’s words have a great deal to do with naming your blog.
No, you’re not headed to any literal location, but attracting your ideal reader is definitely a kind of destination in its own right.
And here’s the tricky part – unless this project involves the rebranding of a pre-existing blog, you can’t be for certain as to the type of reader who will frequent your site.
That said, it’s easy for you to know who you want to target. In fact, all you really need to do is consider a few of the following:
- Demographic Makeup – Age, gender, geographic location, income level, education, etc.
- Mode of Thinking – Personality type, attitude, values, lifestyle, etc.
- Common Pain Points – How will your blog’s content lend a helping hand?
- Desired Action – Read, share, comment, purchase, etc.
More than anything, you’re looking to ensure that your blog title resonates with what your ideal reader holds near and dear.
Clearly, the posts you publish will ultimately be what matters most, but a solid title and branding strategy will often be the thing that brings a new reader to your blog in the first place.
4. Research other blogs within the space
There’s no plagiarism or editorial thievery, here.
Seriously, more than anything, you’re on the hunt for creative inspiration. It just so happens that there are no finer hunting grounds than blogs within your specific niche.
Because of this, open up your laptop and read through your competitors’ blog titles, taglines and even a post or two – there’s nothing off limits.
It does you no good to mimic someone else’s branding strategy, so don’t think twice about it. What you need is something unique, memorable and on point with your end goal.
Thankfully, when your brain is tired of thinking and your hand of writing, some leisurely investigatory work might be just the thing you need to find the right name.
5. Begin working with a small list of potential titles
Having made it this far, you should have a couple of pages of notes. As is customary, there are probably a few scratches and scribbles you’ve included during the ideation process, but things probably look pretty good.
At this point, it’s time to take your jumbled mess of notes and form some concrete ideas. Generally speaking, to get the ball rolling, you might try combining a few of the terms and characteristics you wrote down earlier.
If that doesn’t work – and rarely is it that simple, to be honest – take something you’ve jotted down and work with it until you’ve created a word or phrase that’s entirely unique to you.
And there’s no need to limit yourself to the dictionary when coming up with a new name for your blog. Keep combining, inventing and discovering until you’ve created a miniature, more polished list of potential blog names.
Struggling to get there?
Take a break. Forget about it. Spend time with friends and family or get outside and go on a walk.
Naming the blog you plan to work with for a great deal of time can be a heavy undertaking.
It’s a labor of love.
Melissa Culbertson of BlogClarity.com put it best, saying, “It’s a process of elimination and refinement.”
Be patient. Soon, an idea will stick.
6. Check for domain availability and conflict
Finally! You’ve made it!
Not only have you finalized a list of potential blog names, but you’ve chopped it down to size and have the most perfect, groundbreaking blog name the World Wide Web will have ever known!
With the heavy lifting now over, you’re in the clear, right?
If only it were that simple …
Here’s the thing about digital originality – with upwards of 3.17 billion people on the planet having regular access to the Internet, there’s an incredibly high chance that you’re not the first person to have thought of what you thought was a one-of-a-kind blog name.
As such, it’s likely that the domain you’d need to launch your blog has already been taken. Keep your fingers crossed and check your domain name’s availability here.
Ideally, you’ll want to scoop up a .com domain. However, if you’re really attached to a name you’ve come up with and the .com domain isn’t available, check to see if a .net domain is a possibility. You could even give a new topic, or location-specific domain a go, like .travel, .family or .nyc.
In spite of what you might think, there are successful blogs with a .net domain. Who knows? Perhaps yours is the next one to make it big!
On the flip side of things, if the .com version of your domain is available, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good to go.
Keep digging to find out if any .net or .org domains exist that are similar to yours. If you discover that a name has been trademarked, avoid it. You’ll save yourself a world of hurt having done your due diligence right from the start.
But in all seriousness, the last obstacle you want disrupting your blogging career is a cease and desist letter from a furious business. Needless to say, the legal warning might put a dampener on your day.
7. Determine the evergreen nature of your new name
As far as the evergreen nature of your blog’s new name is concerned, the title must deliver on two fronts – relevance and potential.
First and foremost, the name needs to be relevant not only by today’s standards, but by those that will exist in five to 10 years, too.
Newsflash – no matter how much of a Nostradamus you consider yourself, you have absolutely no idea what will be taking place in the world in that amount of time. Sure, you can take a stab at it, but it’ll be little more than a mere guess.
Thanks to this harsh reality, it’s best if you avoid using any sort of slang, familial position or geographic location as part of your blog’s name.
Just as fads come and go, so too does being a “young mother” and the location of your family.
In short, if the longevity of something is completely out of your control, it’s best reserved as part of an upcoming blog post, and nothing else.
The second thing here is potential. Does the name of your blog allow for some wiggle room should you decide to alter your focus in the future?
There are benefits of having a name that’s 100% specific to your specialty, but don’t venture into this kind of branding territory unless you’re sure you won’t make any changes in a year or two.
Relevance and potential satisfy the demands of both, and blog with peace of mind moving forward.
8. Share your blog’s name with others
Your blog’s new name might make perfect sense in your head, but that doesn’t mean it’s destined for jaw-dropping success.
Be real with yourself for a moment – have you ever worn bell-bottom jeans? Shaved your head? Maybe collected Beanie Babies? That’s right – you’ve had bad ideas before, and this could potentially be another one of them.
Launching a blog, brand and image takes considerable time and energy – not to mention a bit of cash. So, before immersing yourself in the blogging world, ask your spouse, best friend or coworker what he or she thinks of when you say (insert potential name of blog).
You’ll get an honest response, and while this is certainly a subjective exercise, you’re likely to receive some feedback you’d never considered before – both positive and negative.
Whatever your friends and family members say, know that you’re the one in charge.
Repeat the new name out loud a couple of times, make the best, most educated decision you can and move forward with faith.
9. Make a decision and get to work
Naming a blog is by far one of the more sexy parts of the blogging lifestyle.
Everything else? It’s enjoyable, but it’s not nearly as attractive.
No joke – if you thought naming your blog was an arduous process, wait until it comes time to maintain a series of social networks, build an email list, drive traffic and develop your own products to both promote and sell by way of your writing mastery!
But wait! Let’s not forget the most important aspect of the blogging lifestyle – the continual creation of strong, engaging content!
Listen, blogging isn’t for everyone, but if it’s for you, the challenge of coming up with an exceptional name for your blog is one you’ll welcome with open arms.
Besides, if all goes according to plan, the name will be associated with the one your parents gave you for years to come!
The time is now yours to become part of the conversation. In the comments section below, briefly present the steps you took to come up with your blog’s name.
Simply put, the more help bloggers can acquire, the better!
Guest Author: Lucas Miller is a Freelance Copywriter and Founder of Echelon Copy. When not writing, tweeting or attempting to play pickup basketball, he’s working tirelessly to perfect what he claims is the “World’s Greatest Pompadour.” To get more tips on how to start your own six-figure freelance copywriting business, join his free newsletter.