Probably the most challenging and frustrating part of starting a blog is choosing the name. I’ve been blogging since 2007 and I’ve started a number of blogs over the years, and picking a blog name is always my least favorite part of the process.
I’m not very creative and I really struggle with blog names and domain name ideas.
But picking the right name is a critical step that you shouldn’t rush. In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at the process, along with some tips that should help to make it easier for you and help you to get a great name for your own blog.
While it’s possible to re-brand and re-name your blog later, it’s always best to get it right the first time and avoid headaches later.
For the purpose of this article, I’m talking about your domain name (for example, VitalDollar.com) as well as your blog name (Vital Dollar).
Ideally, your domain will match your blog name. If it doesn’t match, visitors may forget your domain name and you could be missing out on traffic.
So the advice in this article is based on the assumption that your domain name and blog name match. This means that you’ll need to find a name that has the .com available. That can be challenging because most of the ideas you have will probably already be taken.
By working through the steps in this article you’ll be able to come up with a good name that is available.
The Process of Picking a Blog Name
When you’re struggling with naming your blog, try these steps.
1. List the Topics That You Will Write About
Before you can name your blog, you’ll need to know what your blog will be about.
You’ve probably already chosen a niche or main topic for your blog (like travel, finance, health & fitness, weight loss, crafts, food, etc.), so now you want to think about the primary topics that you want to cover on the blog.
Keep in mind that your blog will evolve over time, and the topics you cover could change to some extent. But the most important main topics will probably remain the same.
At this point, your task is to write down the topics and keywords. Just make a big list of whatever comes to mind.
For example, when I was trying to decide on a name for this finance blog, my list was something like:
- personal finance
- managing money
- making money
- side hustles
Now, take a look at your list and see if any of the words or phrases would be good to incorporate into your blog name.
From my list, I chose “finance” and “money”. I knew I wanted to cover a broad range of financial topics on the blog, so names that included words like “saving”, “investing”, “retirement”, and “side hustles” were probably too specific and wouldn’t be an accurate description of the content that I planned to publish.
Hopefully, after completing the first step you’ll have a few words that seem like they could be good possibilities for you to use in your blog name.
→ Related reading: Blog Post Checklist: 20 Steps to Extraordinary Blog Posts
2. Consider Your Approach to Blogging
Is your blog going to be personal? If so, you may prefer to simply use your name for the domain and blog name.
Natalie Bacon’s blog is personally-branded, so her domain name is simply nataliebacon.com.
Or you could incorporate your name or something about you into the blog name, like Nomadic Matt.
The domain name and blog name can be important for branding. If you want to build your brand around yourself, incorporating your name is a good option.
If you don’t want to brand the blog around yourself, it would probably be better to avoid incorporating yourself into the blog name.
Here at Vital Dollar, I do write about some of my personal experiences, but I’d rather brand the site around the content that I publish than around me personally. One of the reasons is because I publish a lot of content from other writers, so I don’t think it makes the most sense for me to brand the blog around myself.
Another factor to consider here is if you think there’s a chance you would want to sell the blog in the future. Branding it around yourself might make it more difficult to sell.
Also think about whether your approach to the blog will be serious, informational, lighthearted, or funny. Your domain name can be a good fit with the tone of your blog.
Bitches Get Riches is not your typical finance blog, and that’s obvious just from the blog’s name.
One of the best ways to get people to care about your blog is to take a unique angle. Think about how you want your blog to stand out. You may be able to incorporate your angle into the blog name in some way.
Hobby to Pro is my online course that teaches you how to build a money-making blog around your hobby. It's the same approach that I've used to make more than $1 million with photography blogs. The course includes 90+ video lessons and you can get it for free when you start your own blog.
There are a lot of blogs that cover topics related to making money, but with Side Hustle Nation Nick Loper has taken a unique angle by focusing on things that you can do in your spare time.
3. Think About Your Target Audience
Who will you be writing for? Think about things like the gender, age, income, and interests of your ideal readers. Is there a way that you can connect with your target audience through the name of your blog? What will appeal to them?
Bible Money Matters is a finance blog written from a Christian perspective. Visitors who are Christians will immediately feel a connection because of the blog’s name.
4. Look at Other Blogs in Your Niche
Browse through other blogs in your niche and pay attention to their names. Look at the blogs you visit on a daily basis, or browse through a directory like Best of the Web.
Look at the names of these other blogs and see what stands out to you. Some of the names may spark ideas for your own blog name.
Pay attention to the keywords that are used in other blog names. Are there words that you could use in your own blog name?
Of course, you don’t want to copy other blogs or make your name too similar to theirs, but looking at names of other blogs can be a good way to boost your own ideas and creativity.
When I was trying to come up with a name for my own finance blog I looked at other finance blogs, and I saw a few common keywords. Words like cents, dollar, wallet, wealth, and budget showed up in several different blog names.
5. Look at Blogs Outside of Your Niche
While looking at the names of blogs in your own niche can be helpful, blogs in other niches can be helpful too. These blog names may not give you ideas for keywords that you can use in your own blog name, but they can give you ideas for other words that you can use, or simply spark your creativity.
For example, if you look at the name Blogging Wizard it may give you the idea to pair “wizard” with your own keyword.
Photography Life may give you the idea to pair “life” with one of your keywords.
6. Write Down Any Ideas That Come to Mind
As you’re going through this process, write down any words or full names that come to mind. Even if they are not great and aren’t likely to ultimately be your choice, the process of getting a few names written down can help to inspire more ideas and creativity.
Plus, when you’re thinking about a lot of different words and names it’s REALLY easy to forget that great idea that you just had. You don’t want that to happen, so write it down before it’s too late.
7. Check on the Availability of Your Best Ideas
Once you have a list of possibilities, the next thing you need to do is check on their availability. You don’t want to waste hours trying to decide which name is best, only to find out later that the .com is already registered.
Go through your list of possibilities, see which ones are available, and then you can decide from there.
There are a lot of different places you can register a domain. You could register the domain with a web host, SiteGround or Bluehost for example. Or you can register it at a registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap.
I used GoDaddy for years and still have some domains there, but I’ve been using Namecheap for new domains and I’ve transferred a few from GoDaddy to Namecheap. The main reason is that it’s cheaper to register a domain with privacy at Namecheap than it is at GoDaddy.
The Easy Way to Find a Domain Name
If you’re struggling to find a name, this is the approach I take with most of my sites.
Start with the main keyword and then add a supplementary word.
For example, when I was trying to name this finance blog I started with the keywords “finance” and “money”, and then after looking at other blogs in the niche I also considered the word “dollar” as a possible keyword.
Then I looked for available domain names that included one of those three keywords as well as one other word, and I wound up with Vital Dollar.
A lot of other blogs take a similar approach. Here are a few examples:
Two Incredibly Helpful Resources
When you’re looking for words to pair up with your keywords, there are a few resources that are extremely helpful.
Easily find synonyms and increase the number of possibilities and get new ideas with the help of Thesaurus.com.
List of 500+ Domain Name Ideas
I compiled a list of supplementary words that you can use along with your main keywords to create great domain names. You can see it here: 500+ Domain Name Ideas. Regardless of what niche you’re in, this list will help you to find a good name for your blog.
Tips for Choosing the Right Name for Your Blog
Now, let’s take a look at a few specific tips to keep in mind when you are deciding on a blog and domain name.
Of course, these rules are generalizations and you can find examples of good sites that break each of these rules. They are not hard and fast rules that you absolutely must follow, but in general they will put you on the best path.
1. Go with a .com
There are other options like .org, .net, .co, and many others, but I recommend choosing a .com. Visitors are more likely to forget your name if you use one of the other extensions, or they may just type .com out of habit without even realizing it.
You want to make your name as easy to remember as possible, so go with a .com.
2. Keep it Short
In general, shorter is better. Longer names are harder to remember and the more words you use, the more opportunity visitors have to get those words mixed up.
While I’m not absolutely in love with the name Vital Dollar, I do like that it’s short and easy to remember.
3. Avoid Hyphens
You may find that the domain you want is already taken, but if you add a hyphen between words you can find an available domain.
My recommendation is to avoid hyphens. Many visitors will forget the hyphen.
If the site without the hyphen is a competitor you definitely do not want to be sending traffic to them simply because visitors forget the hyphen in your name.
4. Use Words That Are Easy to Spell
Avoid big words or words that are tricky to spell. Make it as easy as possible for people to remember your name and to type it in. If people can’t spell one of the words in your name they may not make it to your site.
5. Read it Carefully
Read the URL of your domain name as it would appear in the browser with all lowercase letters. Sometimes domain names can look confusing or can appear to be other words.
Here are a few examples:
- penisland.com (Pen Island)
- whorepresents.com (Who Represents)
- kidsexchange.net (Kids Exchange)
For more examples, see this list at Bored Panda.
6. Avoid Misspelling
Sometimes when the .com that you want is taken you may be tempted to change the spelling of one of the words. This is definitely a good way to find .com’s that are available, but you’ll make it harder for people to remember.
Register Your Domain and Get Your Blog Online
Once you have found the right name for your blog, make sure you register the domain name before someone else can get it.
When you’re ready to set up your blog please see my article How to Start a Blog, which walks you through the simple process of setting up web hosting and installing WordPress.