“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Welcome to the second chapter on The Definitive Guide to Starting a Successful Blog!
This chapter is all about your name. As you know from personal experience, your name has a huge impact on your identity and how other people see you. It may also influence how you see yourself.
Your blog name is exactly the same. Naming a blog is an incredibly important step. It can frame the next few years and influence how your audience perceives you and even how they interact with you.
That’s a lot of responsibility for a couple of words!
If you’re struggling to come up with a blog name, you’re not alone. That’s why we put this chapter together.
We will walk you through some questions you should ask yourself when selecting a name, how to come up with a blog name using some simple tricks and how to work around the fact most of the good domain names have already been snapped up.
Table Of Contents
Key Questions to Ask Yourself When Naming a Blog
Unless you’re exceptionally lucky and already know what you’re going to name your blog, you’re likely going to spend as much time coming up with a name as you are setting up the blog itself.
It can be incredibly difficult, which is why articles like this are so popular.
Before we go about generating blog name ideas, we should ask ourselves a couple of key questions to put our blog into perspective.
- What is your blog going to be about?
- Who is your target audience?
- What’s your style?
- Is the name for just your blog or are you naming a business too?
- Is the name easy to spell or say?
- What if you want to change your niche?
What Is Your Blog Going to Be About?
As we covered choosing your blog niche in chapter 1, we’ll assume you already know what you’re going to be writing about.
Your blog doesn’t have to be linked to your niche but it helps people understand what it’s about if it is.
A descriptive name linked to the topic helps set expectations for visitors and helps your SEO. Both are key considerations if you want to be a successful blogger!
Who Is Your Target Audience?
The target audience played a part in selecting the niche but you should take any opportunity you can to refine what you consider your target audience to be.
If your target audience is young and vibrant, your name should reflect that to increase engagement. If your target audience is corporate or older, the name should reflect that.
What’s Your Style?
In an ideal world, your niche and target market should reflect your writing style. This will be backed up by the blog design.
Younger audiences tend to prefer relaxed and informal writing styles. Older or more corporate audiences seem to respond better to slightly more formal, authoritative styles.
If you already have a defined writing style, it needs to tie in with your niche and intended audience. If it doesn’t, you’re likely going to need to learn a new style!
Is the Name for Just Your Blog or Are You Naming a Business Too?
Which came first? The business or the blog? If you already run a business, your blog could use the business name or a variation of the name.
If you’re setting up a blog with a mind to making it a business, the name should offer scope to become a brand.
Is the Name Easy to Spell or Say?
Most top performing blogs use simple names that you can immediately understand.
Ideally, you want the same for yours. Don’t just concentrate on how it looks on screen, say it out loud too. If the name works, use it. If there is any potential for misunderstanding, reconsider or refine it.
It’s a small thing we know, but it has a huge impact on usability. Try to avoid using hyphens where at all possible. Nobody likes typing a hyphen into a browser!
What if You Want to Change Your Niche?
Nobody can see into the future but considering the possibility of changing your niche is a sensible precaution.
If you name your blog ‘Tales of a Fortnite gamer in Hyderabad’, your niche is fairly specific. If you suddenly get into photography and want to blog about that instead, your blog name isn’t going to work.
This is another tough question to answer and isn’t essential when setting up a blog. Having it in the back of your mind could come in useful though.
If you can answer all those questions, you may already have come up with blog name ideas. If you haven’t, read on!
Naming a Blog
You should already have a fairly clear idea of what your blog is going to be about, who your target audience is, what kind of style you want to write in and whether you want to turn your blog into a brand.
Now let’s outline those tips for naming your blog.
Use one or all of the following to come up with a blog name or create a shortlist of potential names.
Use Your Name or Business Name
This is perhaps the most obvious way of naming a blog.
Using your personal name in your blog will work if it’s going to be a lifestyle blog, a hobbyist blog or one where your name will work for your target audience.
Neil Patel is perhaps one of the most recognizable names in business and named his blog after himself.
A business name is better if you’re going to be promoting products or services or are looking to appeal to a corporate audience or want to build authority.
Look at the Competition
Competition analysis is a useful way to see what works and what doesn’t in your niche. It’s a legitimate tactic in business as long as you use the competition for inspiration and don’t just copy what they do.
Looking at the blog names of other websites in your niche is a great way to get an idea of what works, what seems acceptable and what names have already been taken.
Each is linked to its niche but doesn’t necessarily reflect it exactly. You could do the same.
Use Expired Domains for Inspiration
A very popular way to secure a great blog name is to use expired domains. There are websites out there that have lists of hundreds of recently expired domains you can buy. Some are expensive but most will be accessible.
An expired domain is one that was bought and either never used or used and allowed to expire. Once bought, you can transfer it to your web host and use it in the same way you would use a ‘new’ domain.
Expired domain websites include:
Take Inspiration From Media
Read books? Watch movies? Go to the theatre? Have a favourite fictional character?
Published works can all provide inspiration for naming a blog. Just be careful to not directly copy titles, characters and anything likely to be included in copyright though!
In the image above, you can see a quote from Alexander McQueen mentioning ‘a new era in fashion’. You could use this to come up with ‘New Era Fashion Blog’, ‘Fashion for the Post Waste Era’ or something else. You get the idea.
Did you know that Taser is taken from a classic book? It’s the initials of Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle from 1911.
Look at the World Around You
The world around us is full of inspiration if you pay attention. Whether you live in a town, city, by the sea, in the mountains or somewhere completely different, your surroundings can provide ideas for naming a blog.
For example, we had high winds where I live last week that blew a tree over. So ‘Leaning Tree’ came to mind. Or at Christmas, ‘Tree of light’ is a play on words of the tree of life.
Look around, take a minute to really see your surroundings. You might be surprised at just how inspirational it can be!
Use a Naming Formula
There are a few formulas around that can help generate blog name ideas. One of the more accessible ones is the topic + goal formula.
It goes a little something like this:
Your blog name = the niche or audience + the goal or action
For example, TechRadar, a blog on tech with the radar meaning they pick up all the news. Howtogeek, a how-to blog on tech that uses a positive spin on geek for its target audience.
Play With Portmanteaus
Portmanteaus are two words smashed together to make a new word.
They are a very popular way of coming up with blog name ideas. It can combine a couple of words relevant to your niche, suggest the idea that you will be blogging about two topics and work around the fact that most primary domains have already gone for most cool names.
Examples of portmanteaus include:
- Podcast – a combination of iPod and broadcast
- Bollywood – a combination of Bombay and Hollywood
- Infomercial – a combination of information and commercial.
There are thousands of portmanteau opportunities. Just get a pen and some paper and write lots of ideas down. Them smash them together to see what you come up with.
Try the Name in Another Language
If you have some words you want to use but are already in circulation as blog or business names, why not try a different language?
How does the name sound in Italian? In Latin? French?
Just make sure to keep the translated name short, concise and easy to use. Also, double check that it isn’t regarded as offensive in any culture before you commit!
Drop a Letter
You can come up with some cool words just by dropping a key letter here or there. It’s another way to generate a blog name but also secure a domain name if the full word is already taken.
For example, Flickr, Grindr, Blendr and others all dropped an ‘e’ to come up with their name.
When choosing what letter to drop, you need to leave the first part of the word intact to communicate the meaning. Once the word is clear, you can experiment with dropping different letters.
You can also go the other way and add letters to words to make them different while retaining their meaning. Current favourites include adding ‘i’ to the front of something or ‘ly’ or ‘ify’ to the end.
Think iPhone, iPad, Bitly, Spotify, Optimizely, Postcardly and so on.
Be careful with some of them, especially the ‘i’ one as it can sound a little weak unless you’re Apple!
Use a Dictionary or Thesaurus
A dictionary or thesaurus is an old school way of generating names that can be surprisingly effective.
- A dictionary is most useful if you want the name to begin with a certain letter.
- A thesaurus is most useful when you have an idea of a word but want alternatives.
Some dictionary websites can lead you down the rabbit hole with suggestions, lists of trending words, word games and other features. All could be fertile ground for blog name ideas.
Alliteration means words that start with the same sound that are repeated in a phrase. They are often used in naming and can provide inspiration when naming a blog.
Examples of alliteration include:
- ‘The boy buzzed around as busy as a bee’
- ‘Janie read a book by the babbling brook’
- ‘The barbarians broke through the barricade’
- ‘Your friends will flip-flop fast when facing trouble.’
Alliteration is like purposefully putting poetry in a line of prose to produce perfectly pleasant processions of phonemes for the purposes of publishing posts. 😉
Experiment With Abbreviations
Abbreviations can work well for naming a blog. If there are too many blogs out there using all the cool names, you could abbreviate them or abbreviate a combination of them to come up with something unique.
For example, abbreviations in common use for names include:
- BMW – Bayerische Motoren Werke
- CVS – Consumer Value Stores
- M&M’s – Mars and Murrie
- HSBC – Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
- FIAT – Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino
These are just some of the hundreds of well known abbreviations used as names. We’re sure you can come up with lots more!
While a blog name should ideally link to its niche, it isn’t mandatory. If you know some cool words that slide off the tongue and are easy to type, why not use them?
Random is fine if the word or words you use are memorable and make some kind of sense. Don’t fall into the trap of many businesses who use animal colour combinations or make up words out of random letters though.
Think Blue Banana, Purple Turtle, Adecco, Sodexho and so on. None of those work and now tend to work against the company instead of for them.
Using humour can work exceptionally well for the right kind of blog. As long as you’re not going for a professional audience, you can use humour if done right.
Some great humorous blog names from other existing bloggers that can serve as a great source of inspiration as you look for a blog name are Cake Wrecks, Generation Meh, and one of my favourite, Life Without Pants!
Just make sure that your version of humour isn’t offensive to others, including other cultures first!
If you’re looking for more inspiration to help you come up with a humorous blog name, you can go through this article by The Brand Boy. It has over 179 examples of funny but witty blog names ideas that can help you get your creative juices flowing.
Use a Blog Name Generator
We left using a blog name generator until last because we think you should only use one of these when you have exhausted every other avenue.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with blog name generators. We just think that you should name your own blog and not rely on an app to do it.
That said, there are some very good name generators out there that can provide inspiration even if they don’t provide your actual blog name.
Some examples include:
There are hundreds of blog name generators out there, we’re sure you can find inspiration from one of them!
Testing Your Blog Name
Once you have a name or shortlist of names, it’s time to put them to the test. There are a few tests your name should pass. Your name(s) should ideally pass each of these tests if it is to be a success.
The tests include:
- The Google test
- The speaking test
- The spelling test
- The translation test
- The memory test
- The friend test
- The domain test
The Google Test
Run your blog name through Google to see what comes up. If the name is taken, move on. If there are blogs or businesses out there with similar names, be wary of using it. If there is nothing quite like it, you’re good to go.
The Speaking Test
Say your proposed blog name out loud. What does it sound like? How does it make you feel? Consider these when deciding if the name is workable or not.
If you feel positive and the name sounds okay, you can move on to the next test.
The Spelling Test
A good brand name is easy to spell and remember. It is also not easily mixed up with other words and does not look similar to unsavoury words. Check your name for spelling and consider if people could easily misspell it to arrive on someone else’s blog.
The Translation Test
The translation test is vital in a global economy. You need to check your blog name doesn’t translate into something offensive or dumb in other languages. Make sure there is no cultural reference either. Google can help a lot with this test.
The Memory Test
Is your blog name memorable for the right reasons? Is it easy to remember? The worst possible name for a blog is one that visitors forget a minute after leaving your site.
The Friend Test
If you have a friend you trust, run your shortlist of selected blog names past them. Ask for their opinion and to give constructive feedback. One thing you quickly realize is that you can spend so much time digging into your name that you can miss something obvious.
That’s what friends are for!
The Domain Test
The domain test is probably the most difficult test to pass. Has the domain for your name gone? Can you come up with a variation of your blog name with a TLD still available?
TLD is Top Level Domain. That’s .com, .net, .org, .gov, .edu and so on. There are now hundreds of generic extensions available too but we don’t suggest using those just yet.
Consider your own browsing habits. Would you automatically trust a website called naturephotography.com? How about naturephotography.wild? Or ride.horse?
While generic extensions can be fun, the vast majority of web users don’t trust them enough yet. While you are free to choose whatever domain you like, we strongly suggest sticking to TLD wherever possible.
If a TLD isn’t available, your local domain could work. Local domains include co.uk, .au, .ca, .in and so on.
What Do You Do if the Domain Is Already Taken?
As securing the domain is the second most difficult aspect of naming a blog, we think it’s worth adding a few tips here.
You will find the vast majority of TLDs have been taken. Your task now is to find a variation or otherwise secure that domain name for your own use.
- Buy the domain – If the domain is taken but there is no website, you may be able to buy the domain from the owner. Use Whois.com to identify who that owner is and contact them. They may sell it.
- Add a word – If your blog name is taken but you’re set on using it, add a word to see if that’s available. For example, the car company Tesla was originally TeslaMotors.com because the main domain was already taken. You could do the same.
- Revisit the options above – If the domain and ones like it are all gone, it’s time to revisit the techniques above and try to come up with a new name.
How to Come up With a Blog Name
Hopefully by now, you should have a list of great blog name ideas to work your way through. If all else fails, the blog name generators we link to should help.
Once you have a name, you can move on to choosing a blogging platform. You’ll probably be pleased to know that this process is nothing like as difficult as naming a blog!
Do you have any suggestions for naming a blog? Any creative ideas for generating blog names? Tell us below if you do!
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