Ughhh, that was me trying to choose names for my first few businesses. I just couldn’t figure out whether I should name them something creative and catchy or name them after myself. By the time I launched my clothing line biz I was so exhausted with the topic of names altogether, I thought I’m going to pick any name and just get out there with it. This naming thing had me tripped up and I so desperately needed to move on!
If you’re stumped with what to name your blog or business like I was, or have been putting your biz entirely on hold simply because you don’t know what to call it, I put together this list of tips and strategies that will help you choose a name for your blog with ease so you can unleash all your great ideas!
1) First, try not to stress
Don’t let your name make you loony the way mine did! Your brand name is a big deal and not a big deal at the same time. Let me explain. I know you want to find your dream name, that perfect name that rolls off your tongue and captures everything about you, your brand, and your audience. That’s the holy grail of names, right? But what’s even more important is what your brand stands for. People are going to care less about your name than you think (trust me!) and care a whole lot more about your why, your mission, your values, and your vision. Those are the things that actually define your brand, not the other way around. It all starts with the You in your brand. Your name, tagline, logo, colors – all of that is pretty packaging for your brand. You may think there’s some better name out there, and truly, there may be. You can always change your name when your brand becomes hugely successful, and you know it will!
2) Give yourself a time frame
This is absolutely key, because you can easily fall into a rabbit hole and wind up putting off all your great ideas, simply because you can’t decide on a name. Get in the habit of working within a deadline and then try hard to hold yourself to it. If you feel like you’re close to deciding or maybe you’ve narrowed it down to two or three names and you’re almost there, bravo! Why not give yourself until the end of the week and then call it? If you need more time to discover what your brand is about, that’s okay too. It’s just important to set goals and reach them. You always want to be moving forward and there are so many other areas of your business where you can get stuck. Don’t let your name keep you from getting out of the gate!
3) Define what your brand stands for
This is a must-do if you’re going to feel great about your name for years to come. When you know the foundation of your brand, naming it is a whole lot easier. Plus, you’ll probably come up with some great descriptive words you can use in your name.
- What value does your brand provide?
- Who is your ideal customer, and how do you help? What’s the one problem you solve for them?
- How do you want people to feel when they interact with your brand?
- What is your brand all about? What products do you sell? What blog topics do you cover?
- What other brand names are out there that you love? Why do you like them? Do they make you feel upbeat or happy? Is their name easy to remember? Does it roll off you tongue easily?
- What is your brand personality and tone?
- What is your brand mission? Where do you see your business 5 years from now?
4) Explore using your name or a product name
Should the name for your blog or business be your own name, or a product name? This one’s a biggie for a lot of people, including me. There’s really no right or wrong answer, but of course, we can try! Think about how you want your name to make you and your audience feel. Does your own name feel more authentic to you? Or do you love the idea of using a product name? I would try to avoid choosing a name simply because it sounds clever or catchy. You want to choose your name from the inside out. Your “perfect” name is the one where you can express yourself transparently, without hiding behind anything. You want that when people interact with your brand they see and feel a real human with flaws and talents, someone they can genuinely connect with.
Some things to keep in mind when deciding this:
- Look at your answers from step 2 to get clarity on your industry and your vision
- When you look down the road, can you see taking on a partner or even selling your biz? It may be better to go with a product name then. If you’re a coach, consultant or blogger selling your expertise, it might be easier for you to express yourself freely and connect with your audience authentically when you use your first name.
- If you’re unsure where your brand is going just yet, don’t get too specific either way. We can always experiment with a combo of your name and a product name. I’m thinking of “That might be a great way to keep your name open-ended until you figure it out.
- There can be a tendency to be fearful about using your own name, especially when you’re starting out. You may feel safer using a name that bolsters you up a bit, kind of makes you sound larger than you feel. Just be careful that the real you doesn’t get buried behind your name. You will connect with your audience more authentically when you expose your “humanness”.
So have I convinced you to use your own name? If so, you’re done, friend! Get out there and share your brilliance with the universe! If you’re still scratching your head for the perfect name, read on…
5) Write down some words that describe what you do
You know what your brand stands for, now it’s time to do some brainstorming. Make a list of words that describe your brand. For example, maybe you want to create a DIY fitness blog that inspires people to get in their best shape ever. You’ll be sharing at-home workout videos and tips for how to eat right without dieting or counting calories. Some words you can pull from that are: fitness, nutrition, shape, work it out, best life, no more diet, energizing, fun, flat abs, 20-minute workout. Then use a thesaurus to find even more ideas. Maybe it’s the songwriter in me, but I love discovering new words! I’m a closet thesaurus junkie, for sure.
A few random thoughts about your words:
- Don’t use a word just for the sake of adding in a keyword. That’s called “keyword-stuffing”. I’ve noticed better rankings when you have a keyword in your domain, so there is something to it, but you don’t want to start there. If there’s a term that fits your brand and also makes it easier for people to find you, I say go for it!
- Get creative with your list and have some fun! Change a word to make a new one, put two words together, search for similar words and pair them up all over again.
- Walk away for a few days, and then come back and tweak, edit and refine your list.
- Is it too clever? In the next step you’ll see why I said that!
6) Make it simple and memorable
Remember when I said Don’t hide behind your name? A few years back I came up with “Moxiphiz” for my clothing line. I bet you’re wondering how to say it and what the heck it means, right? It’s pronounced “moxie-phiz” and it means “the face of courage”. I thought it was so super cool (and it was!) but people had a hard time saying it. It took a while for me to understand that I was the only person who knew what it meant. I can’t even remember how many times I had to explain it to people!
So take it from me, a simple name is better than a clever name. Don’t try to impress people. People should feel good when they say it and when they see it, and you should too! Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is your name short and easy is to remember?
- How does it sound? Words have a rhythm and melody to them and if you can make yours sing, you’re halfway there!
- When you picture your name across the web, can you see it a cool logo or maybe an interesting play on fonts in there? Maybe one or two letters that would make an awesome icon? Your dream name should give you tons of design ideas.
7) Finally, check that it’s available
So you’ve got a name for your blog that you love, head over to GoDaddy and type in your name idea to make sure it’s available. If it is, grab it quick! I’ve seen available names get scooped up in the time it takes to refresh my screen. Don’t wait until later!
If your name isn’t available, try thinking of ways you can change it a bit. Experiment with reversing the words, making it plural or singular, adding a hyphen or short words like “to”, “a” and “the”. Also, you may want to visit the site to see if your dream domain is actually being used just to be sure the brand isn’t too similar to yours. If it is, you may want to change your name entirely.
You might see your name available as a “.co” or “.net” instead of a “.com”. I’ve seen people use both of these but there are disadvantages, mostly because when people think about your website, they think “.com” We just kind of expect to type in that domain extension rather than “.co” or “.net”. I recommend altering your name to get the “.com” version.
What ideas do you have for your brand name? Are any popping out at you that you want to share? I’d love to hear!