Picking a great blog name (or name for your online business or tool) can be a difficult task. So many names are taken and it often seems that there’s nothing good left. The good news is that there are some strategies you can use to find creative blog names and then you can move on to building your awesome business.
Why Blog Names Matter
The benefit of having a good blog name is that it’ll stick with people as you begin building a brand. If you have something that is memorable or fits with your industry, your fans will remember it and be wiling to spread the word for you. Also once you build up brand recognition it’ll be easy for people to google your brand and find you on the web.
Why a Name DOESN’T Matter
As much as a perfect name may be helpful, it actually doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things. There are absolutely things you can do wrong (which we’ll cover below), but spending too much time or money on a name won’t really make your business a success. Google is one of the most widely known brands and has even become a verb, but really… if you had never heard of the company, you’d probably think that wasn’t a great name. It’s the business behind it that makes the name great.
What to Avoid
First off, when picking a name you can pretty much break any rule if you’ve got a good reason to. In most cases though, you’ll want to follow these rules (and definitely don’t break multiple rules):
- Try not to pick names with domain names where words start & end with the same letter (for example gooddoggames.com is incredibly hard to read)
- Avoid names that when put together in a domain can be read differently (for example Experts Exchange as a domain is expertsexchange.com – read that a couple times if you don’t get it at first)
- Unless you’ve got a ton of marketing money, you’ll benefit from picking a name that is unique. A name like Apple is great, but if they were just starting off today they’d have a really hard time ever ranking for the word Apple in search. Using a combination of words can solve this (they used to be called Apple Computer).
- Pick a name that fits with your category. If you’re building a small blog pick something that relates to the content of the blog. If you’re building a bigger company, maybe you want to go less ‘on the nose’, but consider sticking with a word that fits with your mission. For example Google is all about engineering and the name is taken from googolplex (a number).
- Say your name out loud a few times and make sure it’s not confusing. If you can tell the name to someone and they can spell it out correctly that’s a good sign.
- Keep it short. Typically you want to keep the name to 1-3 words, or maybe up to 4 if they’re short words. If you’ve got multiple long words it’s going to be a real pain for anyone who wants to type in your web address.
Getting Started with Blog Name Ideas
A great way to get going on finding the perfect blog name is with word lists. By building a word list you’ll increase the speed of idea generation. Start out by listing the obvious words related to your business and then try and expand out to less common words. For example for a dog site my list might be:
Then try putting some of those words into thesaurus.com and look for synonyms that you missed to add to the list. By putting in dog, I also found fido & pooch.
You can also create a complimentary list for words that may be a good match to your main subject. These work well in combination with the primary word to create a domain that is more likely unique. Often these additions work for all sorts of sites. Consider words that describe what your service does and add them (is it fast? powerful? smart? easy?). For the dog site this list might be:
Building a List of Creative Blog Names
Now that you’ve got some ideas to work from it’s time to start building a name list. The goal here is to generate as many ideas as possible. Don’t worry about which ones are the best to begin with or if the domain name is available, just keep going until you have a long list of ideas. Feel free to keep adding to your lists we created above if you come up with new words.
Start off by looking through your topic words and combining them with the other words. These names may not always be the most creative but they’ll get you going. For example DoggyDaily, WoofJournal, or ThePawPress.
For more creative blog names, try using alliteration (the same letter or sound in the beginning of words) to come up with even more ideas. For example DoggyDuo, WoofWeekly, or PuppyPlayground. These types of names are extra catchy and it’s easier to come up with more words you can use.
You can even try merging or altering some of these words to come up with name ideas (think Pinterest or Instagram). For the dog names these could be Pawesome, Woofly, or Intellipup.
Checking Your Name List
You should now have a pretty decent sized list of ideas for creative blog names. I’d recommend going through this list and either sorting or marking a bunch of them that you think are the best ideas. We’re going to check and see if these names are available and I’d recommend not getting too attached as there are going to be a ton that aren’t. But this will give us a good place to start checking.
Next take this list and check if the domain names are available. You can use any hosting company to check these (Godaddy for example). I typically go with .com domain names. The reason for this is that people will often just assume a site is .com if they’re typing it in. But feel free to go with other TLDs (.net, .ly, .info) if you’ve found a great name as much of your traffic will come from links and google. Just be aware this can be a disadvantage in some cases and I’d check what is currently at the .com for that domain to make sure it’s not a competitor or something you don’t want your visitors stumbling across.
On sites like Godaddy you’ll also find domains that are taken, but are available to buy for a higher price (often thousands of dollars). Unless you’ve got some financial backing or money you don’t mind spending on this, I’d recommend against it. The perfect domain name is nice to have but it doesn’t really guarantee success and usually when starting a business there are other areas to spend your limited money that are more important.
When I find domains that are available to buy I put a note next to them. When I find a domain unavailable I’ll cross it out, or if I really like the name, I’ll try some additional variations. This can be simple as adding an extra word to the domain (e.g. DogNews.com becomes DailyDogNews.com). This process can be a bit painful as it seems like a ton of your great ideas are taken, but that’s why we (hopefully) generated a ton of ideas up front. And, if needed, you can always keep adding more ideas to the list.
Selecting Your Name
You should now have some creative blog names selected that have available domain names. You may have a strong feeling about which one you’d like to go with, or maybe you’re not sure. First off, try applying the rules for what to avoid (listed above) and see if that helps make the decision. Say the names over in your head and see if one sounds better.
If you’re going to be doing more than blogging (like selling a product or starting a larger company), you can check to see if anyone is doing business under that name. Try googling ‘business name search’ and your state (these lists are held by the secretary of state), or use LegalZoom to check a name.
Pick your name and commit to it. Remember in the grand scheme of starting a business this is just a minor part (and you can even change it later), don’t get too hung up on this step as the execution of your business is what really counts!
Awesome, now that you’ve got a name check out this guide to starting a WordPress site.