A blog about naming your blog
Running your own blog is a great way of getting thoughts and observations out of your head and into the world. And it can also be incredibly fulfilling and rewarding to share knowledge and interests, make connections, and even build small communities of like-minded people.
There can also be a commercial edge to blogging - if you’re lucky enough to get good levels of traffic, your site can be valuable real estate for advertisers. Needless to say, this is a line that should be approached with care. Intrusive advertising can detract readers as quickly as the content attracted them.
Nice idea, but what about the name?
For anyone who has a great idea for a blog, one of the first hurdles to overcome is, “What shall I call it?”.
In theory, this should be easy - you know what you want to share and write about, and have a good idea of who your readers will be. Surely the obvious, natural name will present itself automatically? The problem almost everyone faces in this situation, is that the obvious name - the name that this blog absolutely should be called because it makes so much sense - has been registered as a .com domain by someone else.
This is where budding bloggers discover what they suspected already - that there are countless millions of blogs already (some active, most not), plus many millions more non-blog websites. This means that virtually every obvious name, and domain name, has been taken. and this is what drives bloggers to devise clever, sometimes witty names that give readers a clue about the content.
The difference between a name ...and a brand name
As a branding guy, it seems to me that, generally speaking, bloggers seem to have an instinctive understanding of branding – far more so than their commercial business-world counterparts. Names that cleverly allude to the content and style of the blog are commonplace, as are names with wit and sideways references. Perhaps this is because people ‘loosen up’ when they’re creating a blog, and play it far too safe and cautious when naming a business.
This means there are thousands of excellent blogs with great names (and lots of crummy blogs with great names too!). here some example os blogs with great names:
- SwissMiss (a pseudonym of the blogger herself)
- AllThingsConsidered (a thoughtful blog about art and printmaking)
- BoingBoing (the 'directory of wonderful things')
- Bakerella (yep, it's a fun, upbeat blog about baking)
…and of course everyone has their own favourites. Great bloggers with excellent names set a very high benchmark.
But if you are looking to create a name for your own new blog, where do you start?
Set the right tone
The right blog name will meet your readers’ expectations. If you’re a source of irreverent opinion, your name ought to have a certain edginess. If you’re a genuine thought-leader in your sector, your name should reflect this gravitas. If your blog is all about fun and celebration, its name should aim to raise a smile.
Who is your audience?
Men? Women? Or both? Kids? Tech-heads? Fun-loving travellers? Retro style fanatics? Photography nuts? Well-heeled foodies? The more targeted you are with your blog’s name (and your content of course), the better chance that people will recognise themselves in it. Know your audience!
Only a knitter would recognise what a blog called KnotStitch.com was about. Certain printers, graphic designers or ephemera collectors would understand that HalfCanadian.com was a blog related to printing. A fitness fanatic would instinctively know that a blog called IntervalRepeat.com was for them. Consider terminology and phrases that your audience, and only your audience, will get. This is branding at its most targeted.
Conventionally, blog names tend to describe - or at least allude to - the content of the blog. You should not, however, use common keywords, as this will make your name hard to remember, and even harder to find online. But using non-obvious descriptive words isn’t the only way. It’s also perfectly OK to create a name that just SOUNDS like the kind of name you’d expect. For example, Farthingale.com is a name steeped in tradition, and could set the perfect tone for a blog about history. Synadia.com sounds like an imagined place, and could make an evocative name for a travel blog. Don't make hard-and-fast decisions at the outset, and be open to left-field ideas.
Play around with words
There are several tried-and-tested methods for creating interesting names, so try the following:
- Aliteration: names like KnittingNancy, ShutterChic or MoonlightMechanic tend to be easy to remember.
- Portmanteau words: Brangelina, Labradoodle, Podcast, Freakonomics are all examples of combing word-parts to create new words - tough to achieve, but a great way to create a genuinely original name.
- Re-spelling: for example, Popskope.com would be great name for blog focussed on popular culture. A real (and brilliant) example of this is The Ethicurian. You know exactly what this blog is about before you even visit the site. By the way, its tagline is Chew the right thing. Perfect.
It's all about the domain
Like it or not, the .com domain is still king. And by default your blog exists only on the internet - so if you’re serious about your blog, you really should have the .com - and without any compromises like hyphens. This objective will make finding a name for your blog even harder, as many of your best ideas will be registered by someone who got there first. On the plus side, this hurdle will push you to identifying a name that has originality, rarity, and possibly even uniqueness.
However you get there, deciding on the right name for your blog is important, and it could play a major part in its success. And re-naming your blog later would be a real pain, so take your time, enjoy the process …and then get writing!