So you’re thinking about starting a blog. You have several important questions you need to ask, like what platform will you use, how often do you intend to post, etc. One other significant question is what are you going to name your blog?
Names are important, especially in the blogosphere. Having a memorable name can go a long way toward generating traffic for your site. Choosing the right name can seem daunting, but these 7 tips should help you in that process. Get a notebook, pen, a good place to work, and follow the steps below.
Begin your blog naming process by answering these questions:
- Does your blog have a specific theme? For example, you may be hoping to blog about being a parent. Startup Daddy was developed by a man who stays home with the kids and uses his blog to talk about that and to share his knowledge about small businesses.
- Who is your target audience? Make a list of different types of people you hope to reach. If your blog is about building amazing creations from Legos then think about places you’ll find your target market. Lego forums? Legoland? The Brothers Brick picked a good name that should appeal to their target audience.
- Will you be blogging for hobby or for dollars? How you name your site can have a big impact on traffic and that is important if you’re planning to be blogging for dollars some day.
- What are some of the main blogs out there addressing this topic or targeted to this audience? You can do a search by going to Google Blog search and typing in your theme. Another great blog search tool is Technorati. Or you could consider the names of other blogs you like. Are the titles playful and fun, like the blog White on Rice Couple? Or do they communicate a theme like the Pioneer Woman?
Now for the process of selecting that name.
- Start Your Engines. Now that you’ve answered the questions above, it’s time to get the creative juices flowing by doing some brainstorming. Do you know the rules for brainstorming? Me neither, but I know one thing: when you’re brainstorming there are no “bad” ideas. Get your notebook and write ideas for your blog name. Tell your internal critic to take a hike right now because you’re all about quantity here; put down any words that come to mind. Oh, and tell your task master to take a hike too. (Yes, I often name and talk to the internal voices in my head. I recommend it!) If you start to think about the groceries you need, start a separate list to get that off your mind.
- Free Associate. Focus on some of the words you’ve written down in your brainstorming list and begin to build on those. If your blog is going to be focused on how to be a master gardener (if so, please send me a link to your blog….I need help), you might have written the word “garden” on the list above. That’s a great place to start. Now you can focus on that word for awhile. You might come up with additional words like: green, flowers, caterpillars, sun, growth, rose, green thumb, etc. Then you can pick a word from that list and focus on it for awhile too. You can include concepts, songs, movies, and food, and more. The sky is the limit here! Hmmm, sky would be another good word for this list…you get the idea.
- And the Winner is? Go back over your free association notes and circle words that strike you as interesting. Maybe from the words written above you like green, caterpillars, sky and growth. This is a great start!
- Paring Down. Create a list of your top 20 blog name ideas. Maybe it’s Green Sky, Caterpillar Keys, or Green Caterpillars.
- Building Your Domain. Initiate a search of domain names. One site that can help you do this is Go Daddy where you can type in any domain name to determine its availability and cost for purchase. If your goal is to have lots of traffic, experts on search engine optimization (SEO) like Chakkravarthi recommend having a .com domain address free of punctuation if possible. So if you liked the domain name greencaterpillar.com and you looked it up on Go Daddy, you would discover that the domain name is available. Yipee! But before you send out a press release, notice that it’s listed as a premium domain name. It’s going to cost you nearly $1,000 to purchase it. Or you could purchase greencaterpillar.info for less than $1, but that might cost you in building traffic. You’ll need to decide how important having a .com address is for your site. Go Daddy will also offer alternative suggestions such as mygreencaterpillar.com.
- Graphically Speaking. Remember when selecting your domain name that you’ll want to have a logo or some kind of graphic representation as your header for the site. Of the names you’re considering, is there one that inspires a picture as well? You know what they say, a picture paints a thousand words!
- Input. Talk to others about ideas for your blog name. Do you have particularly creative friends? Other bloggers? They would be great people to ask. You can also talk to friends, colleagues, relatives, or others who will give you trusted, honest feedback. You might find out that green caterpillar is actually code for some illegal drug. You want to consider the kind of traffic that a domain name like that could draw to your site.
For those of you with domain names already intact, do you have any tips for others to add to this list? How did you pick your domain name? Have you ever changed the name of your blog? It can seem a little overwhelming finding the right name, but you’ll thank yourself in the end for taking the time to pick out the best name for your site!