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Wondering how to come up with a blog name that is memorable and accurately shares what you do?
Picking the right name can ensure potential readers know exactly what your site is about and properly calibrate expectations. This clarity can help set you up for future success.
If you’re wondering that is right for you, here are the best things to think about along with what NOT to do.
Your ‘s name is the equivalent of an elevator pitch to potential readers, letting them know what to expect, the tone of your , and whether it’s something that would interest them.
Get it right and potential readers will know exactly what your is about. Get it wrong though, and you could potentially confuse and turn off the very readers you wish to visit your site.
Remember also, a name isn’t something easily changed once it’s gained traction. Sure, when you only have a few hundred or so readers, changing your name won’t mean much. However, after a few years operating and thousands to hundreds of thousands of readers, changing your ‘s name might be impossible.
You must get this right the first time.
Own The Yard, pictured above, is a public niche site case study. It contains a lot of outdoor and backyard product reviews and guides. The domain name conveys this well and is very memorable.
To help you select the right name, ask and answer these questions to better inform the selection process.
This may seem simple on the surface, but once you dig deeper it can become more complex. What is your really about?
Go past the basics of “it’s a political ” or “it’s a site about golf clubs.” Focus on the details such as what most of your articles will be about and what specific topics you are going to cover.
Using our example from above, instead of a site about golf clubs, you might describe your as a site about the best Callaway club sets released each year.
By understanding the core of what your is going to cover, and understanding also what you won’t be covering, you can better find a name that describes your purpose.
After nailing down what your is, it’s also important to correctly identify who your is.
Creating a name that appeals to your potential audience, and accurately describes what it is you do, is essential. This will minimize potential confusion so that the right people find your website.
Taking the of a golf , if you are writing for beginner golfers, the name “Golf for All” might not be optimal. It doesn’t clearly state what you do or who you are targeting and may leave more advanced golfers that find your website unsatisfied with the beginner-focused content.
However, the name “Getting Into Golf” might be a better option. It lets people know exactly what to expect and who your articles will be targeted towards.
It’s essential therefore to understand your exact audience and have more than just a broad understanding of who you want to target.
This may be hard to answer now but you need to have a general of whether or not you will ever want to expand the focus of your website.
Maybe you started a site talking about Callaway golf clubs, but later on, you decide to start covering other brands. If your ’s name is “Callaway Club Review” you are going to have to completely rebrand and risk losing your established readership.
However, if you pick a more general but still specific name such as “On Point Club Reviews”, then you have room to grow and expand in the future.
While you don’t want to go too broad if you ever plan on expanding the focus of your , leave yourself some room to maneuver.
While it’s impossible to predict the future, you should at least have an understanding of whether or not your audience may change in the future.
Don’t think of this as individual people changing, because that is most certainly going to happen. Instead, think about the types of people changing.
An example of this is if you run a golf about improving your swing. It’s likely that even if your entire readership was replaced with new people, they are going to have similar views and reasons for visiting your .
If you run a about movie reviews or pop culture, however, you may find that your audience will change quite regularly. Along with these changes they may hold different values, ideas, and beliefs than your previous readership.
In the case of the golf , you could have a name like “Making The Hole In One”, and it would be appropriate over the years as new readers join your .
However, in the case of the movie site, a name like “Millennial Movie Reviews” may not be the best option for a general movie review site as new readers from other generations join up. Choosing a name like this may narrow your potential readership and can limit growth.
There are some things to consider before you start brainstorming for your .
Some of these considerations deal with the practicalities of naming a such as not using numbers or special characters. Other considerations, however, deal more with legalities such as checking for copyrights.
Make sure to keep each of these in mind when thinking of as they are all important and will improve your odds of picking a good name.
You should be doing this anyway if you want to run a . However, if you didn’t do a thorough analysis before getting to the naming stage of your , then do so now.
A analysis will tell you everything about your chosen field including who your competition is, your audience and what they want, and more. It will also help you to better set parameters for what will make a good name.
For example, maybe you are starting a about golf tourism and you find out that a large percentage of your potential readership will be from English-speaking countries. It’s probably a good not to pick a name that is in a foreign language and difficult to pronounce for an English speaker.
A thorough analysis will help you to better understand your and identify the different segments of your potential audience.
Target market research is taking analysis one step further. While thorough analysis can reveal to you who your potential target market is, it won’t go into the specifics of what they like and don’t like.
To do this, you need to take the results of your analysis and do a bit of a breakdown of the you come up with. Take a look into cultural factors that may influence them such as religious, political, and societal norms.
Using the example of a golf tourism from the analysis section, let’s say you discover in your analysis that a large amount of your potential traffic will come from Chinese visitors researching golf in other countries.
Upon further research into the market, you find out that there are many superstitions around certain numbers. If you use one of these numbers in your name, you may end up alienating a large amount of your potential readership.
After you have an of your target market from your analysis, make sure to do a bit of research into each segment so you can avoid potential missteps when naming your .
Remember that your name will be used as a URL and will need to look good and appropriate when smushed together into one .
Part of this is aesthetic, meaning you don’t want some long string of words as a URL like “bestgolfclubsfornewgolfers.com”. Another factor to consider, however, is whether your name means something inappropriate when put into one .
Quite a few businesses have been on the wrong end of jokes due to their URL being inappropriate. Take, the website IT Scrap, a website about the information technology industry. Put those two words together into a URL and you have itscrap.com (It’s Crap).
Another example is Teachers Talking, a website now for sale but formerly for teachers to find support for teaching languages. The domain for the website came out to be teacherstalking.com (Teacher Stalking).
There are numerous examples of this, including some that may get your business in trouble with your target market.
Some of the best traffic that you will get to your is going to come from -of-mouth referrals. Imagine one of your readers excitedly telling a friend or stranger about your website and how your URL will sound when that person later goes to search for it.
Is it easy to say your website name? Are there any words that can confuse the spelling of your to someone trying to type it in later in the day after hearing it spoken?
Let’s take a fictitious toy called Toys Are Awesome. When one of the ’s readers tells a friend, there may be some confusion about how this is spelled when they go to find the later. Is the domain toysareawesome.com or is it toysrawesome.com?
This is becoming less of an issue with search engines being the prominent method for people to find new websites. However, if your is newer and not yet showing up for brand-based, this needs to be considered.
So, for the above Toys Are Awesome, a better name might be something like Awesome Toy Reviews with a URL like awesometoys.com. Clear, concise, and without any words that can be confusing when typing them from memory.
When selecting your name from scratch, it’s important to consider whether or not the username will be available on the major platforms such as:
When people try to find your ’s accounts, the first thing they will try to search for is your ’s name.
The last thing you want is something like this for your user :
This inconsistency will make it difficult for your readers to find your ’s accounts on different platforms. It also creates missed opportunities for them to share with their friends and followers about your publication.
You don’t have to have your exact name available as a username. However, whatever username you choose needs to be available across platforms.
Taking the example of the Toys Are Awesome, a good username might be @awesometoysblog. Try a few different combinations when looking for .
If you can’t find a username combination that makes sense and is consistently available across platforms, it may not be the wisest choice of .
In the same way that words with multiple spellings can easily fail the spoken test, so to can numbers and hyphens.
Because numbers can be either spelled out or written numerically, it can be difficult for them to pass the spoken test. Hyphens, on the other hand, are just plain bad for .
Take the name Awesome Toys from above. When purchasing the domain, the owner of the found that awesometoys.com was taken by a domain broker and being sold for too much. So, they decided to use awesome-toys.com instead.
This would create a lot of confusion for them with people unsure of the exact domain. It also doesn’t pass the spoken test because many people may not mention the hyphen when saying the domain to other people.
Stick to simple that use complete words and avoid numbers, abbreviations, or hyphens when choosing your domain name.
This one is huge and can land you in legal hot water if ignored. Do not use a name for your that is already being used by someone else and/or has already been copyrighted.
Always check any potential name you are thinking of in your countries copyright database or respective source.
For people in the United States, you can search the US Governments copyright database to find information.
If you find the name you want has already been copyrighted, it doesn’t mean you can’t use it. The determining test here is whether or not your name will create confusion in the minds of consumers.
An example of this is Delta Faucets and Delta Airlines. Both use the name Delta but there is little chance that consumers of Delta Faucet’s products will be confused by Delta Airlines or vise versa.
Should you have a name that is already copyrighted by a company in a different industry, consult with a copyright attorney to avoid any issues. If consulting an attorney is out of the question, it’s best to choose a different name.
Knowing now what to do and not to do when selecting your name, it’s time to brainstorm some ideas.
There are many different methods you can use but not all of them may be appropriate for your specific . Look through this list and try different options to help maximize your odds of finding a name that works.
While a personal name isn’t going to work for all blogs and all people, it can be a good place to start if you are running a .
This is especially true if you are a person who already has some name recognition and level of celebrity. Anyone like an actor or politician or influencer that people will be searching for by name.
Make sure though when using your name that it isn’t the same as someone else more famous. If your name is Brad Pitt, and you didn’t star in box office hits such as Fight Club, then you probably shouldn’t go with that as your name.
Using your name when it is the same as someone more famous will create confusion with people looking for the website of that other more famous person, likely leading to a higher bounce rate . It will also make ranking for your name a more difficult and maybe impossible.
Some of the most successful companies in existence have like Google, Sony, Kodak, and more.
One of the main upsides of using a meaningless name is that it isn’t likely to be copyrighted. It can also be more memorable as it isn’t associated with anything else. However, this isn’t always the best option for new bloggers.
The primary upside here, that a meaningless doesn’t have any association, is also a major drawback for newer businesses. Many of the aforementioned companies spent millions of dollars on advertising and to have these meaningless words associated with their companies.
If you have a large ad budget, using a meaningless or made-up term for your can be a good way to go. However, if you are working on a shoestring budget, this may not be the best option and keyword-based may be a better option.
Drawing inspiration from your competition can be a good way to start when creating your initial list of potential .
One exercise is to take the of your competitors and create different combinations. An example of this that I came across recently was for cloud hosting websites Cloudways and Runcloud.
Both of these are cloud hosting companies with similar, but not exact, offerings. Even their is similar. However, both are highly successful despite these similarities in product offering and .
Don’t violate someone else’s copyright, but don’t be afraid to play off your competition when brainstorming for your .
There are numerous and business name generation websites that can help you get started if you are feeling stuck.
Many of these allow you to enter keywords into the generation tool and will come up with a list of from there. While you may not strike gold, these tools can inspire and give you ideas to work from.
Acronyms can be a good option as a substitution for a longer name. A popular example would be WordPress regularly being shortened to WP.
The main thing to consider here is that a long acronym won’t necessarily replace a long name. If your acronym ends up being more than four or five letters it may just be confusing to readers.
Also, using an acronym can create the same issue as using a random meaningless name. You may need to spend on advertising to connect with your and ensure the name becomes associated with your .
English is well known as a language the borrows words and expressions from other languages. In the same way, your can borrow words from other languages to use as its name.
This can be a good way to circumvent copyrights or in the event your favorite name is already taken. Keep in mind, however, that it may not be the best route for all . Using a from another language is only a good if your will readily recognize that or expression.
If it isn’t a or phrase they would readily recognize you run into the same issue as acronyms and meaningless words. You will need to spend on advertising to create a association in the minds of your , which can be expensive.
Mind mapping is the of taking a core and then breaking it out into smaller ideas or associations. This can be a great way to find different topics or words associated with your ’s main theme.
If you are having trouble finding a name for your , try creating a mind map like in the picture below and see if you can come up with some unique ideas.
Using a thesaurus can be a great way to find for naming your . A dictionary can be used to find combinations of words or complimentary words that you can put together for the perfect name.
You don’t want to get too hung up using either tool. It’s easy to spend hours going through a dictionary trying to find an exact combination of words or phrases. However, remember that naming is only one part of the and creating of your .
Keep your eye on the overall goal and minimize time spent on any one activity to no more than necessary. This will help you avoid getting stuck and losing momentum. It will also help you avoid spending too much time on tasks that don’t directly lead to revenue generation.
A final tip is to check out to see if one will make a good name. The benefit is twofold in that you will already have the domain name picked out and it may help SEO.
are domains that were previously in use but dropped or were not renewed for whatever reason. Be warned that you don’t want to use just any expired name you come across. Some were previously used for spam sites or adult content sites.
Check the history of any you purchase to make sure the link profile is clean and previous websites attached to the domain won’t mess up your reputation.
All of the above tips on can be broken down into three easy steps:
Remember that picking your name is just one part of the . While it is highly important, it shouldn’t take you days and weeks to figure out. Other areas will contribute more directly to you being a , such as creation, where time is better spent.
You don’t want to settle on a bad name but, you also want to make sure you are spending your time where it counts when trying to create a .
In this ODYS Global review we discuss starting with an expired domain – it’s not the best idea for everyone, but for some, it works really well.
Lastly, for more tips, see this post on how to choose a domain name.