Guide to Naming Your Blog or Website

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Naming Your Blog or WebsiteNaming your blog or website can be a stressful process and is one of the common stumbling blocks I see people stuck with after deciding they want to start a blog.

Everybody wants the perfect name for their blog or website and often this means coming up with hundreds of ideas only to find the domain name is already taken or someone out there is already established with a name that’s too similar.

Choosing a good brand and domain name involves taking a lot of details into consideration but after reading this article you will be better equipped to make a decision without wasting precious time and continually putting off starting your blog.

Your Niche

You can use the niche or the subject matter you plan to write about on your blog to help you come up with ideas for your blog name in a couple of ways.

Firstly you can list out words and synonyms that relate to the content you are publishing as a good way to find unique and catchy words and phrases that might work as part of your blog name (more on that later).

I used the word “Press” in my brand because this website is largely about digital publishing and WordPress is one of the essential tools I use for the majority of my online businesses. I used the word Maze because my plan is to help people through the labyrinth(synonym) of learning how to build a thriving online business.

Another way to use your niche to guide you is by taking a look at the names your competitors have chosen and see if this helps with some words you could use as well as names that are already taken and not worth competing with or encroaching on.

Let’s face it, even if you can make the name slightly different you are going to be better by differentiating entirely by going in a fresh direction rather than have people confuse you with another brand and blog in the same or similar space.

Ask yourself the following:

  • What is your blog about?
  • What problems will your blog solve?
  • Who is your audience?

Answering these 3 simple questions will help you work out the overall theme your blog name should portray.

Simplicity

If you are a regular reader of this site then you will be familiar with the K.I.S.S principle, Keep It Simple Stupid.

The reason this is especially important when it comes to naming your blog should be pretty obvious.

Long and overly complicated names suck and are difficult to remember.

Here are some tests you can apply:

  • Ask 10 people to read it out. Do they all pronounce it the same? If not this may impact your verbal marketing.
  • Are you using words the average person will recognize?
  • Is it too long? Check your competitors and other popular website and be honest with yourself. Is it longer than the average? If so shorten it.
  • Stick to two words, or three if they are short and it is still catchy.
  • Avoid two words where the last letter of the first word and the first letter of the second are the same. Like nowwoman.com You will forever be telling people it’s “two w’s”

Here are some examples of good domain names.

  • thewirecutter.com
  • lifehacker.com
  • thenerdist.com
  • Buzzfeed.com

The best domain names are the ones that are easy to remember, so make sure when you choose your blog name that it’s catchy and memorable.

Relevancy & Keywords

It can be helpful if you include a primary keyword in your blog name and domain for a couple of reasons.

Firstly this tells your audience what you and your website are about immediately without them having to decipher your home or about page and secondly, it can still have some minimal impact on your search rankings, likely because Google can easily categorize you without you writing much content to help guide them.

Back in the day of grey and black hat SEO adding your keyword to the domain name was a fast track to page 1 rankings but this is no longer the case thanks to Google’s constantly improving algorithm that rewards high-quality content above gamable tactics like which words are present in your domain name.

My advice on using a keyword in your blog name is to use it only if it looks good, sounds good and doesn’t make your name too long and wordy.

Also when it comes to blogs, you may want to shift your topical relevance over time and opting to put keywords in your name that seem relevant today might not be in a few years time.

Thesaurus & Search

Use search engines and websites like Thesauraus.com to help you brainstorm synonyms you could potentially use.

Looking at synonyms of your target keyword will increase your chances of securing a dot-com domain which should be your priority unless you are only planning to target a local audience.

Start with some seed words, maybe words that inspire you, words related to your subject matter and then go through the options combining them with modifiers and adjectives to see if you can come up with some good and unique blog names.

Of course while doing so be sure to check the domain name availability on GoDaddy or another domain registrar services before getting too excited when you think you have found the perfect blog name. You might find it is already taken.

Also, make sure to check if the words you are looking at have double-meanings or some cultural significance in a different country.

Recently ConvertKit attempted to rebrand to Seva only to find out that Seva is also a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service”.

This backfired and they ended up going back to ConvertKit, which I think made a lot more sense anyway since they have a product that is technical and ConvertKit is actually a really good name for what they do as an autoresponder service provider.

Alliteration

Alliteration means the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the start of adjacent or closely connected words.

Examples include:

  • TeamTalk.com
  • Google
  • Twitter
  • Paypal
  • YouTube
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Coca-Cola
  • Krispy Kreme

Admittedly most of the above aren’t blogs but it shows the power of alliteration when such major brands use it to ensure their names are memorable and that’s why I chose them to help me illustrate the point.

Try and think of how many other big ones there are out there.

Also notice there are different ways of achieving alliteration, either by having one letter the same in two words or within one word and using two or more letters to create similar sounds or any combination of the above.

Get Creative

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Why not add a new word to the popular lexicon?

  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • Goop.com / Technically this one can also go under Personal Branding, but it’s created a new phonetic brand name. See more further down.

None of these words existed until their founders coined them, now they are household names.

Don’t limit yourself to the dictionaries and thesauruses of generations past, why not break the mold.

Uniqueness

It will always help for your brand to stand out and ensure you avoid being mixed up with other blogs if you opt to choose a blog name that is unique.

There are many “run-of-the-mill” and copycat blog names out there that lack character because it’s obvious they were influenced by another larger and pre-existing blog or brand.

Avoid getting hidden in the shadows of a much larger brand, pick something that allows you to carve your own path to glory.

I hear you, it’s hard to be original on the world wide web now that there are billions of people all over the world able to self-publish but it pays to try and there and if you take a little time to think outside of the box I’m confident you can find something that works.

I believe in you.

Say it Out Loud

Once you have an idea it’s important not to just read it in your head but to say it out loud, and ideally ask others to do so as well.

This is especially important if you are creating a domain name in English and it’s not your native language. Ask a friend or colleague who is a native speaker to check it and ensure it reads properly and doesn’t sound like broken-English.

The same goes for English speakers trying to launch a website in a foreign country but my guess is that’s a less common occurrence. Just a hunch.

Personal Branding

One of the most overlooked approaches is to just use your own personal brand. That means your birth name or some variation of it.

This is ideal if you can’t come up with a good brandable name or don’t serve a specific niche and want to keep your options open.

Opting to use one of your names or your full name can be a great way to establish yourself as an individual and an authority on the topics you want to write about.

If your name is common or you don’t like one of your names you can get creative and change it from “laurasmith.com” to “learnwithlaura.com” or “iamlaura.com”.

Simply add a modifier before or after your name to make it more brandable and unique.

  • huffingtonpost.com / huffpost.com – Arianna Huffington
  • garyvaynerchuk.com / vaynermedia.com – Gary Vaynerchuk
  • tim.blog – Tim Ferriss
  • TomsHardware.com
  • Goop.com / According to Paltrow, the company’s name “is a nickname, like my name is G.P., so that is really where it came from. And I wanted it to be a word that means nothing and could mean anything.” See Wiki.

If your business and blog are just you and you can build stronger relationships this way then personal branding is likely the best way to go.

It’s also true that people can more easily relate to a human being than a faceless brand.

If you prefer anonymity then why not consider creating a nom de plume aka an assumed pseudonym to write under, this means you can still benefit from the approachability of using a human name whilst still remaining anonymous.

I know many bloggers and authors that do this, some of them purely because they don’t like the cadence of their own names others because theirs already someone well established with the same name.

Fun fact: I share the same birth name as David Bowie, and we both changed it for the same reason. It’s too common to brand or stand out.

Trademarks

Sure, MarketingJedi sounds like an awesome name, I knew someone who owned one similar many moons ago, only to find out that the word Jedi is, in fact, a trademark of Lucas Arts.

As a result, it wasn’t something they could continue using once they were sent a cease and desist order and requested to immediately change their name and refrain from using the trademarks.

This meant they had to go back and start all over again branding something new, an expensive lesson learned but fortunately they escaped any legal ramifications by submitting post-haste.

There are lots of sites you can find via Google to perform simple and free checks for trademarks and copyrights so you know which words to avoid.

If you have an idea and you are unsure if it’s trademarked, do a simple search online before buying the domain to save yourself the headaches.

Domain Name Tips

I have mentioned domain names several times in this article as they are a vital part of the brand name selection process in the 21st century.

These days it’s not much use choosing a brand name if you can’t buy the corresponding virtual address to go with it.

So each time you write down a potential name for your new blog the next step is to check the domain availability.

Let’s imagine the name that you have come up with is “CakeQueen” but you find that is not available but also not actually being used.

After searching further you find nobody seems to be dominating the brand CakeQueen.

You could then look at adding a modifier to try and get a good domain name that is available.

Ideas could include:

  • Keyword+Blog (CakeQueenBlog.com)
  • Keyword+Diary (CakeQueenDiary.com)
  • The+Keyword (TheCakeQueen.com)

These are just a few examples of how you can increase your chances of securing an on-brand domain if you have to deal with cyber-squatters who have registered your ideal domain name and are just letting it go to waste in domain limbo.

In the case of the domain cakequeen.com someone does own it but they are 301 redirecting it to a blog with an entirely different brand name. This means the cakequeen brand name is wide open if you were to register a similar domain and go for the dot-com.

Here are some universal domain name tips worth keeping in mind:

  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Ideally, register a .com over other extensions. .net and .org are also top-level domains
  • Make it memorable
  • Make it easy to spell
  • Check to see if it was registered previously and what it was used for. You can check the Wayback machine for this. You want to avoid any sites used for spam
  • Ideally, it will give some idea as to what the blog or website is about
  • Avoid numbers, this can confuse people as they may put the written version in
  • Avoid trademarks
  • Avoid foreign words
  • Don’t hyphenate words
  • Check Spellings before registering your domain

I know there are quite a few things to look out for but I am writing this guide because over the years after working on hundreds of websites and blogs I have seen clients make every mistake imaginable.

Sure it might only cost you $10 but the time and setback can amount to hundreds and even thousands in lost revenue if you have to start again months later.

Domain and Blog Name Generators

If you are running out of ideas and want some additional inspiration fear not, you can use bots on the internet to automatically generate different blog name ideas for you.

I can’t comment on which is the best as there are literally hundreds out there, however, Shopify has a good business name generator tool as does NameMesh. These are two I have used.

Beyond that, you are likely best searching on Google and trying some of the many options out there for yourself.

These name generator tools allow you to insert seed keywords about your blog idea, niche or topics and then it scans a large database of words and synonyms to come up with different variations that might work.

The key with these tools is to try and find something that is brandable and contains a relevant word.

Likely you won’t find anything perfect but it might help point you in the direction and give you some new words to work with.

Once you have some ideas you can then check them on a domain name registrar to for availability and see if you just found the ideal domain name for your blog.

Naming Your Blog – Give it Time

You might need to think it over for a while, it’s best to think it through thoroughly before committing because once you choose your name you will be:

  • Registering a domain/spending money
  • Creating a brand and logo
  • Creating lots of visual content

The last thing you want is to be wasting time going back and having to re-do these time consuming and sometimes costly steps because you chose a name too quickly and didn’t think it through.

Reach out to friends and ask for their feedback, either at the start or after you have already come up with some of your own ideas and just want help narrowing them down.

In this day and age, a lot of the good and short domains are taken, many of which however are not even being used, people who do this are called cyber-squatters and not favored by the majority of website builders out there.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities available though, and while I always prefer a .com or other TLD like .org or .net there are other options like .co and if you are only planning to serve a local audience you could opt for a country-specific domain.

Choosing a great blog name is the first of many steps in creating a successful blog and while you shouldn’t ponder it for too long and suffer from paralysis by analysis it’s also not a decision to be rushed.

Now you know everything there is to know about naming your blog, where to next?

How about our complete guide to blogging to find other tutorials to help you on your journey.

How to Name Your Blog or Website Tips

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David

Web Designer, Digital Marketer & Entrepreneur with over a decades worth of experience helping small and medium sized businesses evolve and adapt to the modern digital marketplace.