When I announced my name change the other day, one thing that surprised me was how many bloggers were going through (or about to go through) rebranding of their own. So I thought a little guide to choosing a blog name might come in handy.
Whether you’re starting a brand new blog or rebranding an existing blog, choosing a blog name is no easy task. Soooo, I can’t promise you “THREE EASY STEPS!!!!” to naming your blog. IF ONLY it were that easy. It’s a process to get to a blog name that you’ll truly love. But doesn’t a little sweat, frustration, tears, & I’ll-never-pick-a-good-one whining make that light-bulb moment all the more satisfying?
To get to a blog name that you won’t regret down the line, try breaking the naming process down into two phases:
- Part 1: Explore the Foundation of Your New Blog
- Part 2: Vet Your Blog’s Name
In this post, I’ll tackle the first part of the process. And tomorrow, I’ll show you how to vet your top contenders to ensure you pick a blog name you won’t regret.
So grab a notepad, some markers (or even a black ball point will do), and let’s go.
Explore the Foundation of Your Blog
1. Write Down Your Blog Topics
I imagine if you’re starting a new blog, you already have an idea of what you want to write about. If you’re rebranding, this might mean you’re narrowing your focus, expanding your focus, or doing what I’m doing, which is leaving my focus the same.
Jot down the topics you’ll be writing about and then any words associated with those topics. For example, if you had a food blog, you might write down obvious words like “cooking” or “kitchen” but go further and think: utensils, cooking methods, fave ingredients, how food/cooking makes people feel (comfort, enjoy), how people describe food (delicious, savory), etc.
Brainstorming all these words helps spark blog name ideas, so write down a word even if you know you wouldn’t use it for your blog. You’d be surprised how just writing words down can springboard into more words (one of which just might end up being part of your blog name).
Look at your words. Are there words you know you definitely want or don’t want in your blog name? Circle the definites and cross off the “no ways.”
For example, I knew that I wanted the word “blog” or “blogging” in my name. However, I DIDN’T want “blogger” because I didn’t want to chance people calling me by “__blogger” rather than my name.
2. Explore Your Blog’s Tone
Next, really give some thought to your blog’s tone. A good blog name should align with how you want your blog to feel. The mood you want to exude (oooh I can rhyme). Is your writing sassy? Serious? Hilarious? Sarcastic?
In Blog Design for Dummies, I cover tone and voice as a part of getting to know your blog better. For example, I describe my tone as being approachable, casual, and simple. And with a touch of humor.
Even if you write about many topics, your tone brings it all together.
Write down some words that describe your tone. What words would you want your readers to use to describe your blog? These words may or may not be a part of your blog name, but they’ll help you pinpoint the feel of your blog. And a good blog name should match that feel.
3. Consider Your Target Audience
Who is your audience or potential audience? Are they mostly women? Mostly men?
Why do they come to your blog (or if you have no blog yet– why do you want people to come to your blog)? To be entertained? To laugh? To learn something? Because they’re curious about your life? You can have more than one answer.
Is there an audience you want to attract, but aren’t at the moment?
List some characteristics of your ideal target audience. You want your blog name to resonate with them. For example, if your blog readers love that you make them laugh, then a bland name won’t be as effective as a name with a tinge of humor.
4. Research Blogs You Like (and Even Similar Blogs)
No you’re not trying to steal their name, or even play off of it. But looking at blogs you like can spark creativity that leads you in the right direction. Read through their taglines, sidebars, and a post or two. You don’t have to spend much time on this, but if anything, it can get you in the creative spirit by looking at other creative blogs.
The “Clarity” part of my blog name came from a sentence smack in the middle of someone’s blog post about productivity. It was a blog for entrepreneurs and one I’ve never visited before. I wasn’t even THINKING about my blog name at the time. I simply clicked on a link to read an article. “Clarity” was one single word in the middle of a sentence and the post had nothing to do with blogging, but as soon as I saw it, I KNEW “Blog Clarity” was it.
5. Start Writing Down Blog Name Ideas
Once you’ve done those three steps, look at the words and notes you jotted down in the previous steps and then start writing down name ideas. You might pair two words together. Or start with a word and add something to it (like -ista, or -ed).
Even if you think your ideas suck, they might pave the way to THE ONE. Give yourself permission to explore ideas and words, rather than feeling you have to go down one path and one path only.
At first, I thought incorporating a designy word to my blog name since I wrote Blog Design for Dummies. One idea had the word pixel like The Blog Pixel or something. But I decided that made my blog sound like it had a narrower focus than it did (plus lots of people use pixel in their name). I also explored playing off my popular course’s name, Content Brew. But Blog Brew was taken (and sounded too masculine) and any word plays off of coffee just sounded so ordinary.
Once you get names and ideas, a name idea might pop out right away. Or you may have to sit on it. Try writing down some ideas and see if they stick. Remember it’s a process so
6. Whittle Your Ideas to a Short List of Names
Okay good. Now we’re getting somewhere. Take a look at your names and consider your topics, tone, and audience. Circle the one (or ones) you think might work.
When you have one you really, really love (or a few you’re considering), it’s time to analyze the names. That’s when you mosey along to STEP 2: Vetting Your Blog Name.
Adjust this process as you need to in order to work best for you! Remember there’s no ONE way to come up with a blog name; this is just a way you could approach the naming the process.
For those with blogs, do you love your blog name? Any fun story about how your name came about?
Starting Your Blog from Scratch?
Here are five basic things you need to start a blog:
WordPress.org is the self-hosted platform of WordPress, meaning that I pay to have it hosted somewhere as opposed to having WordPress host it for me (WordPress.com). You’ll get the most control with self-hosting your blog.
I used Thesis for years but I've been a Genesis girl for a few years now. Why? I wanted a particular eCommerce shop and it had easy integration with Genesis. Genesis is cleanly-coded and you can customize the heck out of it. Bonus- it's super easy to add Rich Pins for Pinterest with Genesis.
I don’t need to tell you that knowing how much traffic you have and where it’s coming from is important (unless you’re just writing for yourself and don’t care about growing- if that’s the case, carry on). See pageviews, top referral sources, and more.
I purchased my domain name from GoDaddy. In case you’re wondering, you don’t have to host your blog at the same place you buy your domains so don’t worry about keeping them together.
HostGator HostGator is reliable, affordable and fairly easy to use. They also seem to really get what it means to have good customer service too. I’ve had to use their live chat feature a few times and they’re super fast and helpful. If you move from another host, they’ll even help you move! I’ve been quite happy with HostGator’s service and prices.