Choosing a blog name is hard, y’all. But so rewarding when you have that ding ding moment and say “This is IT!” and proceed to do a dance around the room.
In Part 1 of choosing a name for your blog, I covered exploring the foundation of your blog: topics, tone, and audience (among other things). In Part 2, I walk through how to vet your potential names to ensure you pick a name you won’t regret down the road.
Vet Your Blog’s Name (So You Don’t Regret It Later)
1. Check Domain Name Availability and Potential Conflicts
There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve come up with the BEST BLOG NAME EVAHHHH, then finding out someone is already using that blog name. Oh wait, one thing’s worse. When someone owns the domain but is doing absolutely NOTHING with it.
Before you even take one step further, check the domain name’s availability.
If the .COM isn’t available, it’s back to the drawing board. Yes, there are successful blogs with .NET names, but you really don’t want to start your new blogging life with a disadvantage. Plus, the owner of the .com might have their name trademarked. You don’t want people confusing you for that person, and you most definitely want to receive a cease and desist letter.
And I’ll tell you a little secret. Sometimes not getting your first choice of name is a blessing. Even if you thought “Oh that was a great name,” you might find that having to continue the creative brainstorming process leaves you with an even better name. That’s what happened to me, anyway.
If the .COM is available, you aren’t done yet. Check the .NET and .ORG to make sure there aren’t any existing sites or organizations with the same name. Then Google the name to make sure another blogger doesn’t have a similar name that could make someone mistake your blog for theirs. Then head over to uspto.gov and check for any trademarks on the name.
2. Consider How It Looks as a Domain Name
When you scrunch your potential name into one word, a la yourblogname.com, how does it look? Could someone read it differently that how you intended? It’s not the end of the world if so, but something to consider. Of course, it IS the end of the world if it turns out something like penisland.com. That’s PEN ISLAND, you dirty kids. No seriously, it’s a real site.
3. Consider the Name’s Staying Power
By staying power, I mean 2 things: relevance and potential.
Relevance: Could the name be outdated in a couple of years? Of course, you don’t have to pick a name that’ll last for the next 25 years either. But don’t go with “Happy Mom to Bryce” if you’re planning on having more kids. Or resist including your location in your name unless you’re pretty sure you aren’t moving anytime soon. Is a word in the name too trendy? Using a word that’s trendy at the moment (like YOLO- you only live once) may make your blog name sound outdated down the road.
Potential: What about the name’s potential? Does the name still work if you tweak your focus down the road? If not, are you still cool with that? If you’re rebranding, does your new name cast a wider net that could lead to more opportunities and increased readership? For example, I knew that changing my name to Blog Clarity opened up the blog to a wider audience than Momcomm, which made the main focus mom bloggers.
4. Determine if the Name Needs a Disclaimer
What do I mean by that? Well, I knew it was time to change from the name Momcomm when I found myself adding a disclaimer: “Well, it’s not really just for moms.” In talking with some close friends, they had sometimes recommended my blog to someone with the same disclaimer. Not good.
When you tell someone your blog name, you shouldn’t have to say “… except for” or “…but it’s really…” Your blog name should be able to hold its own. Inspect your potential names and see if they all pass the test.
Keep in mind this isn’t the same as your blog name piquing someone’s interest in learning the meaning behind the name. THAT is a good thing. Having to say “well my name is THIS but really I blog about THIS” isn’t so great.
5. Run the Name by a Few People
The first blog name I came up with, my husband kind of gave me the side eye. Honestly, something didn’t quite feel right to me either but I liked the way it sounded and the design potential. While I didn’t necessarily cross that name off the list right that instant, it did make me think more critically about the name. (And another name I had too).
When you have a name or two you think are THE one, ask a few close people their opinion. Don’t post your blog name ideas to a 500-member Facebook group. You’ll get mixed results. But a few people who really know you will know if the name feels like you or not. This doesn’t mean you need their support to move forward, but if they’re wishy-washy on the name (or hate it), inspect the name a little deeper and try to get to the root of why they don’t like it. Is they don’t like it, does that mean your target audience won’t like it? Not necessarily, but it’s good to do some extra vetting of the name.
6. Say It Out Loud
No, really. We might blog in an online world but eventually you’re going to tell someone about your blog…. using those vocal cords of yours. Say it out loud and make sure it doesn’t feel awkward to say. Trust me, some of the names I considered just felt weird when I actually said them.
7. Make a Final Choice (or Start the Process Over)
Whew- that’s exhausting work! You might even do as I did: end up empty-handed at first then start all over. It was only when I saw that word Clarity that it clicked THIS WAS THE ONE. When I vetted the name, I still loved it every bit as much.
Wherever you are in the blog naming process, good luck with picking out a name you’ll love!
Did vetting your potential names lead you back to the drawing board or solidify your choice as “the one”?