Every blog needs a name, but coming up with the right one isn’t always easy! I’ve personally found finding a name one of the hardest parts about starting a new blog. It just seems like such a big decision, so final. You want to do it right from the beginning. If you’re struggling like I have in the past, this post is for you!
Your Name Vs. A Brand Name
If you decide to use your name, rather than a brand name, then the decision is basically made for you. But is it the right decision? I’ve personally never been compelled to use my own name as my brand, but I feel that it’s because I want to put my name to so many things. I’m also very introverted and private, and I suppose I like the separation of me and my brand name – even though, in all real ways, I am my brand.
By the way, I have a worksheet and checklist to help you come up with name ideas and to evaluate your ideas once you have them. Just click the button below to get it!
If you’re comfortable being your brand, then choosing your own name could be a good option. Before you decide, you’ll want to check whether there are any people with the same or very similar name as you. If they’ve already got a strong presence online (make sure to Google it!) then you might want to adapt your name slightly. For example, you could use your first and middle name, initials + surname, or your name + descriptive word (like “writer”).
You might also want to consider whether your name could change in future. When my husband and I got married we merged our names to create a totally unique surname, but my clients new me by my maiden name. I simply carried on using my maiden name and was happy with that, but it’s worth considering.
Whether or not you do want your name as your website URL, please go and register your name right now. I don’t use my name URL, but I do make sure I constantly renew the domain name in case I want to in future.
Brainstorming Name Ideas
Assuming you don’t opt to use your own name as your brand then it’s time to get brainstorming. This is the step that takes me the most time, but I always surprise myself with just how many names I manage to come up with!
Here’s how I go about it:
Step 1: Your Target Market
Hopefully you already know what you want to blog about and who you want to serve. If not, spend time on this before you come up with a name.
Step 2: Brain Dump
Once you’re clear on what your website will be about, write down any and all ideas you have. This includes full name ideas, or even a list of words you think describe what you want to do.
Step 3: Thesaurus
Now try putting some of those words into the thesaurus and see what comes up. I’ve come up with some great ideas this way!
Step 4: Name Generation Tools
If you don’t have enough ideas yet, try some domain name generation tools. I used Nameboy and Name Mesh. Wordoid and Panabee are also fun tools to help you come up with fun ideas based around the words you came up with in steps 2 and 3.
Step 5: Play Around!
Now you have a list of words/ phrases, play around and try combining different variations and see what works. Something might click right away, but if not you can try techniques like alliteration (each word starting with the same letter/ sound), abbreviations, or even foreign language versions of some of your favourite words.
Step 6: Talk to People
Lastly, don’t forget to just talk to other people. It’s important to run your ideas past other people – ask them what they’d think of when you tell them your proposed name, to see if it’s a good fit. And you’ll probably find they have some ideas you hadn’t thought of, too!
Found something you like? Don’t forget that you also need to check whether it’s available! My free checklist will also help you make sure it's suitable…
Available Domain Names (& Social Usernames)
Brainstorming ideas is easy… finding something that isn’t already taken, not so much! Namechk is an easy way to check whether your name ideas are available, and this will quickly narrow down your choices. It even lets you know whether the matching social handles are available, which is almost as important! It’s also worth doing a quick Google search just to make sure someone isn’t using your name, even if the exact domain name is available (it’s unlikely, but it can happen!)
If the domain is available, make sure that it’s a good domain name. A good domain name…
- Isn’t overly long
- Is easy to read and pronounce when written as a URL
- Doesn’t accidentally spell something rude when the words are combined (a famous example is Pen Island – look at their domain name penisland.net – EEK!)
I have come up with countless “amazing” ideas only to find them already registered and established. If you find the same, you have a few options:
- You could use an alternative extension (e.g. .co.uk or .co instead of .com)
- You can add hyphens between the words (this makes your domain less intuitive for people to type)
- Or you could add extra words
Think very carefully through all your options – you may decide that none of them really work as well as the original idea, and that it’s best to go back to the drawing board.
Thankfully, longer domain names, and domains with less common extensions, aren’t as big an issue as they used to be, since people are less likely to type your specific address into their browser. People are more likely to search Google, or click through from Facebook/ emails to reach your site.
Action Step: When you find something that is available, go ahead and register the domains and all of the social media profiles right away, even if you don’t plan on using them yet.
Changing Your Name In Future
Of course, nothing is set in stone and there’s nothing to say you can’t change your name in future! I’ve done it with an established business, and I’ve seen many bloggers and business owners do the same. I do think it’s important to think carefully about your domain name before you get started, as changing it down the line does take effort. But it’s not the end of the world!
Don't forget to grab my blog naming worksheet that'll help you come up with lots of juicy ideas, plus my name evaluation checklist to make sure the idea you choose is a good one! Just click the button below…