Choosing a name is probably the single hardest part about starting a blog. This is the thing that feels the most permanent.
It’s easy to change your focus, it’s easy to get a new design, it’s even pretty easy to move to a new platform (usually). But picking a single word, phrase, or label that represents your entire online space is HARD and SCARY. Plus, it’s something you want to avoid changing down the line.
Should your name represent your blog topics?
I think this is one of the biggest points you need to consider. Should your name describe the things you talk about on your blog? Or should it be unrelated?
There is no right answer.
Think about the future: will you be boxing yourself in?
I chose a name that does not relate to what I discuss on the blog. This is because I know my topics will change over time. I started out blogging about books. While I still do that now, I do it a lot less. I also talk about WordPress, design, coding, business, and stuff going on in my life.
I want to embrace the possibility that my topics will change yet again somewhere down the line. Having a name like, “Ashley Reads Books”, or “Ashley’s Library”, or “Badass Coding for Girls” would lock me into one topic. What if my blog moved in a new direction and the name was no longer relevant?
I like a name that is timeless and can fit any topic. This allows me to grow and change my blog without also having to worry about changing my blog name.
But is this the right choice for you?
We’re all different and we all have different priorities. I know many bloggers who want their blog title to have “books” in there somewhere because they want to create a book blog. For some people, it’s very important to them that their blog title reflects the content within. This is a very personal decision and no one can make it for you.
So what do you NEED in a blog name?
I generally think there’s a lot of room for creative freedom when it comes to blog names, but there are a few MUST HAVES if you want your name to be recognized and remembered.
Your name MUST be easy to spell.
You want to be able to say your name to someone out loud and give them no doubt as to how to spell it. They should be able to type it into their web browser with confidence and without any mistakes. Some common mistakes might be:
- Is that an “s” or a “z”?
- Is that “ey” or “ie”?
If people are busy fumbling with spelling, they’re either not going to remember your blog name at all, or they’ll remember it but type the wrong URL into their address bar.
Don’t make it hard for people to find or remember your name/URL.
Avoid dashes in your URL
If you have dashes in your URL (like www.nose-graze.com instead of www.nosegraze.com) people will probably forget to put them in at some point. The “default” in the online world is no dashes, so that’s what most people try first.
If your name isn’t available without dashes, then that might be a good indicator that the name isn’t unique enough and you’ll be competing with another blog/business.
Always go for the .com
Dot com is the internet standard. It’s the first thing everyone will try when they visit your site. People remember nosegraze.com more than nosegraze.org or nosegraze.co or nosegraze.me.
I’m a huge advocate of .com because it’s the easiest to remember and it’s the one that most people choose by default. If the .com version of your name isn’t available, that’s another good indicator that there is competition for that name. You want a name that’s unique, not a name that 5 other people are already using.
Visuals help with remembering
If your name invokes imagery then it will be that much easier for people to remember. That’s why it helps if your name has powerful nouns or verbs. If someone can associate a picture in their head with your blog name, they’re more likely to remember it.
A free worksheet for choosing your blog name.
Let’s go through a little exercise to come up with your perfect name. I’ve put together a PDF you can use to brainstorm ideas for your blog. We’ll try to find a common, emotional theme, brainstorm key words, and then combine and conquer (yes that’s a thing too)!
Free DownloadDownload “Naming Your Blog”
naming-your-blog.pdf – 23 KB
Stuck between 5 choices? Write them out.
If I have a lot of options and need to narrow them down, the first thing I do is open up Photoshop and create mockups of different logos. Even just typing them out in a nice font can make all the difference.
Being able to VISUALLY see your choices and how the letters form can help you make your decision. With some names, the letters form together gracefully. Other names might have more awkward character placements/combinations that don’t look as elegant or ‘clean’.
Spend A LOT of time thinking about your blog name.
I’m a big fan of the “let it sit” approach.
Once you’ve narrowed your names down to a handful of options, write them down and save them. Open up the document once a day or even just once a week and re-examine them. After a while of this, I find that I can start scratching more options off the list. Or I may even realize that I no longer like any of them, so it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Choosing a name is a huge decision and you shouldn’t rush through it. Take your time. It’s better to get it right the first time than have to worry about changing your blog name later (but don’t worry, I have a post that will walk you through that too 😉 ).
Let’s talk about blog names!
What kind of names really catch your eye? Do you like names that relate to the topic of the blog, or do you prefer a more universal name?
Coming up next: rock that effing about page.