When a coaching colleague asked me for some advice on naming their blog, I said, sure, I’ll send you some comments. That was a week ago and I have a phone conference with that colleague in just over an hour from now, so I need to come up with some useful observations on the topic.
I did some web research on the topic over the weekend, but found little of use and nothing to inspire me.
So blogging about it seemed a good way to get my thoughts clear and hopefully garner a few comments with observations by others.
The most detailed blog I found on or related to the subject is Elliott Back’s report on the analysis he did of blog names – ‘What Do YOU Call Your Blog?’. Perhaps not surprisingly, he found that the most frequently occurring name in blogs is – ‘blog’. This blog of Elliott’s has been cited several times in various blogs, so I won’t re-produce the various, quite interesting lists he has drawn up. In his comments on his findings, Elliott seems to suggest that if you want a more popular – i.e. more visited, more highly ranked – blog you should look to including some of the more frequently used words in the name of your blog. Hmmm.
Phil Ringnalda’s post ‘You’re a Handsome Blog: What’s Your Owner’s Name?’ is not directly about naming your blog but about encouraging bloggers to include their name in their feed. I can relate to what he’s saying – I tend to think first of bloggers-whose-stuff-I-like-reading rather ‘than that blog by whatsaname’. Phil says he adjusts the name on his Bloglines page so he can see quickly whose blog it is.
But not everyone uses Bloglines and for me it is only one of several newsfeed providers I use. I just had a look at my Newsgator online listings and I can see that it could get to be very confusing, trying to remember whose blog is whose.
Here’s what Steve Rubel does with his Micro Persuasion: he has the title – Micropersuasion – and underneath, in a smaller font size, the subtitle – ‘Steve Rubel blogs on how weblogs and citizen journalism are impacting public relations’. So he has lots of keywords and his own name in the subtitle.
Paul Chaney, another prolific blogger, just has his business name as the name of the blog, with no subtitle – Radiant Marketing Group (Update Nov 6, 2006: link removed as site has evidently been closed: Paul Chaney is now at Blogging Systems).
Andy Wibbels, blogging evangelist and trainer for entrepreneurs, has his blog name as Easy Bake Weblogs, with a subtitle of – ‘Instant online publishing, blogs and internet marketing for entrepreneurs and small business’. Informative, but not including his name – then again, he has his photo on the main page and some info about himself. (Update Nov 6, 2006: the Easy Bake Weblogs site has changed since this item was posted in 2005 – Andy has his eponymous Andy Wibbels site.)
There are of course blogs which are more corporate or group blogs rather than the creation of one person. One of my favourite bits of blog titling in this space is Gizmodo (all the latest gizmos) with the quite informative subtitle: ‘The Gadgets Weblog’.
What I believe does not make sense for a business blog is a title that’s cutesy or vulgar, unless perhaps that fits with your marketing strategy and branding.
But if you want to be taken seriously as – say, a business consultant or coach – it is probably not a good idea to call it “Old Charlie’s rambling blog about whatever comes to mind” or some other frivolous title.
I suggest your blog name should be or incorporate part of your brand, or at least be harmonious with your brand. And I believe it’s worth taking time to choose a name you think you will be comfortable with when your blog is hugely famous.
Probably the item that I’ve found most interesting in this little research exercise is the working document image linked from the article ‘How to name a blog? A document’, which records some names the people at Business Week Online came up with before settling on Blogspotting. The image also records, implicitly, a process any business owner might adopt: write or type some words about the owner’s reasons for setting up a blog, the aim of the blog, the target market etc and then start brainstorming some names and jotting them down on the page as they come – even better if you can get a trusted colleague or friend to collaborate.
I believe strongly that once you’ve worked out the title you want, you should register the domain, even if you don’t immediately make that url for the blog. And if the domain is not available to you, maybe you should re-consider whether that would be such a good name after all.
Another thing I do is that if I think of a new blog idea, I work on a title and then register the name. I now have a handful of domain names that could keep me busy creating blogs for the next six months. Some people still seem to think registering domain names is expensive but you can register a .com name at GoDaddy for less than $10 for a year.