How to Choose a Blog Name; 8 Rules to Remember
So you want to start a blog. Do it! It was the best decision of my life. But when I started blogging, way back in 2010, long before I made my first $1m blogging, even long before I knew just HOW bloggers make money, I made one huge mistake when it came to considering how to choose a blog name. And to this day, it hurts my blogging income, my blog traffic, and awkwardness EVERY SINGLE TIME I try to tell people the name of my blog!
Table of contents
- How to Choose a Blog Name; 8 Rules to Remember
- My blog name MISTAKE
- RULE 1: AVOID NUMBERS AND HYPHENS
- RULE 2: Don’t Trap Yourself in a Niche
- RULE 3: Think SEO
- RULE 4: Social Media
- RULE 5: Competition
- RULE 6: Buy Multiple Domains
- RULE 7: Keep it short & simple
- RULE 8: Research Help
- RULE 9: Try to stick with .com
- RULE 10: Get A FREE Domain; DON’T PAY FOR IT!
- Final thoughts on choosing your blog name
My blog name MISTAKE
My blog, OneStep4Ward, is actually a bad name for a blog. The idea is cool, my full name is Johnny Ward. So One Step 4…. WARD (my surname, get it?) is smart. Too smart for me actually, a guy who used to sit opposite me in my only ever office job came up with it. But I made a big mistake using a number 4 in the URL. And it haunts me to this day! I cover that error in the tips below, in Numero 1!
RULE 1: AVOID NUMBERS AND HYPHENS
Oh, the irony. You’re reading advice on how to choose a blog name on my blog, and rule number 1 is a rule I broke! Eurrrgh. Don’t make the same mistake as me! So yeah, when you choose your blog name, don’t put numbers in there. It’s confusing. Even worse? Have one number using the digit and one number spelled out (like me ONEstep4ward.com – moronic). That way when people are searching for you, there isn’t any confusion in how to spell your name. 1 step 4ward? one step forward? 1 step forward? one step4ward? Anyway, you get it, it’s confusing.
Also, using numbers for abbreviations is so 2010. It’s outdated. And it makes me cringe. But I’m stuck with it. Don’t copy my errors.
RULE 2: Don’t Trap Yourself in a Niche
This is MASSIVE. Obviously, I’m in the travel niche, so I’ve seen a lot of bloggers flounder by trapping themselves in a niche that they grow out of. And then what? Using terms like ‘traveling in your 20s’, or ‘poor backpacker’ etc are dangerous. Soon you won’t be in your 20s, and hopefully, you won’t be poor anymore either! You, as a human, will grow. Choose a blog name that will allow your blog to grow alongside you.
For all the stupidity of me choosing a number in my blog name, the actual concept of ‘taking a step forward’ is great. It can be anything – family life, business, travel, lifestyle. It represents progress, rather than any specific niche. This means I can redirect my blog into pretty much any future niche I choose without having to start with a new URL. Aim to do the same.
RULE 3: Think SEO
If you don’t know much about SEO, don’t worry. But if you want to be a successful blogger, you have to learn the basics petty soon. It’s not as complicated as people will lead you to believe! Anyway, SEO means Search Engine Optimisation. It basically means when people google stuff, does your blog finish on Page 1 in the search results? Or page 101? You NEED to be on Page 1, or no one will ever find you.
So, when I say ‘think SEO’ what does that mean? It means that if your blog title is about the topic you will blog about, it will help you rank better moving forward. But remember Rule 2. Don’t niche yourself too much. If, however, you know you’re only ever going to blog bout fitness, or food, or hiking for example, then it makes sense to use related keywords in your Blog Name.
Sure, using your name is great from a personal branding perspective. Johnnyward.com is great for a public speaker or whatever. But johnnytravels.com would be much better if I’m starting a travel blog. Having the word ‘travel’ in the URL is a great help. As would johnnyhikes.com if I was only ever going to blog about hiking. Also, it’s a huge signal to your potential blog reader that they’re going to read a blog post from an authority on the subject.
RULE 4: Social Media
A SUPER easy rule, but one that you CANNOT forget. Once you’ve come up with your new genius, funny, catch, intelligent blog name, before you press purchase on Blue Host just hold on a second. Now you’ve got to hop on to Instagram as a minimum, but probably also FaceBook, Twitter, Youtube, and Tiktok.
Is the name of your blog available for your new social media handle? I have onestep4ward.com, I also obviously want my Instagram to be instagram.com/onestep4ward. It’s more professional, it’s consistent, and most of all it means people can find you easily when they look for you.
If the social media handles aren’t available, you have to think long and hard about whether that blog name is the right choice. You can always tweak the social handles a little BUT NOT TOO MUCH.
RULE 5: Competition
when you check if the social media handles are available. if they aren’t, why not? Does someone else have them Are they your competition? If yes, you don’t want to be pitching up alongside someone with almost the same brand name as you. Steer clear!
Check close spellings and synonyms of your potential new blog name to make sure that ‘hikeswithjohnny.com’ isn’t already in existence under a similar ‘hikingwithjohnny.com’. Of course, people exist in your niche, and that’s ok. But almost identical names? That’s not ok.
RULE 6: Buy Multiple Domains
Now, this isn’t just how to choose a blog name, but also how to go about things once you’ve already chosen your blog name.
Once you’ve chosen your blog, buy the URLs ‘around’ your blog (before it’s too late). Me? onestep4ward.com. I should have bought 1step4ward.com, onestepforward.com, 1stepforward.com. Then I would forward all these to my actual blog @ onestep4ward.com. It stops people from starting something with almost the same name as you. But I was too late. And now they try to sell me the domains for tens of thousands. Learn from my mistake!
RULE 7: Keep it short & simple
In short, longer blog names aren’t great. 2 words together, or one alone works best. And kept it simple. Nothing too difficult to spell. Try to avoid “MyblogwhereIwillrecordmythoughtsthankyoubye.com”. There’s plenty of space within your blog to write everything you need, you don’t need a whole sentence for a name!
Staying on that simple theme. Is it easy to spell? If there are potential misspellings, revert to Rule 6 and buy the other provisional spellings of your blog and auto-direct it to your actual blog url.
RULE 8: Research Help
It may sound obvious but don’t jump into anything too quickly. Hopefully, this is going to be a whole new avenue of fun, adventure, and revenue for you. You don’t need to think of the new name in the next 60 minutes. So, take a deep breathe, step back and research,.
Research how I hear you ask? Dictionary, thesauras and related words.
Here are some EPIC tools to help:
Related Words: I’m sure you can work it out, but it’ll help you find words that you can use for your blog.
Word Hippo: Something similar
Reverse Dictionary: You type in an idea/concept, and it gives you words.
RULE 9: Try to stick with .com
I know, you’ve found a great URL and blog name BUT the .com isn’t available, so you’re thinking maybe you can use .co.uk, or .travel or .blog. Don’t do it. .com is the most trustworthy by a long way. Generally, although google doesn’t admit it, the algorithms for the SERPs always seem to priorities ‘.com’. The only exception would be if you’re writing a Thai blog, in that language, and all your traffic will come from people in Thailand, in that case, you could use ‘.com.th’ (for example). But an easier rule is to just steer clear. Stick with .com!
RULE 10: Get A FREE Domain; DON’T PAY FOR IT!
Once you have gone through the 8 Rules on how to choose a blog name above, hop on to Blue Host to get your Domain Name for free. If you host with them, they waive the fee of buying the actual domain! Pretty amazing deal to be honest.
Final thoughts on choosing your blog name
And that my friends, is that. Starting a travel blog was THE BEST DECISION of my life. It has allowed me to meet amazing people, and undertake projects I never thought would be possible. It’s made me a millionaire, allowed me to start building my dream house in Thailand, and helped me travel to every country in the world. And it all started the day I thought “Should I start a blog”. Just do it.
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