Coming up with a name for your brand or blog can be a real challenge. Sometimes it takes me weeks to come up with a solid name I’d be proud to use. Not to mention, most of the easy to remember TLDs are usually taken when you go to register them. This is why I always suggest to write your blog articles before launching your blog. It will give you time to think about a name that you won’t hate in 2 weeks time. Never buy a domain on impulse! Always give it some time to see how you feel about it later.
When choosing your brand name, you essentially have the following two options:
1. Use your real name
I generally advise against the first option unless you are a celebrity, freelance writer, or someone who intends on being the only person involved in their brand. If you want to use your own name, then make sure it’s easy to remember and spell. That’s not to say it can’t work to use your name as a brand (see Lauren Conrad and Melyssa Griffin for example), but long term it’s much harder to pull off.
Furthermore, brands with the individual’s name attached are much less likely to sell outright to companies because, well, without YOU there isn’t really a person behind the name anymore! Right now, you may say to yourself, oh I would never sell my company to someone else, but if you were offered enough money 10 years from now, you just might! It’s important to think long term.
2. Choose a unique brand name
As for the second option which I greatly prefer, choosing a unique brand name gives you the flexibility to define your niche right away, and expand if you need to in the future. Personally, my process goes as follows for coming up with brand names:
I start out by writing a list of words that will influence my brand. The list includes descriptive words, verbs, adjectives, and literally anything that comes to mind which could represent my brand.
From this list, I start to put words together that I like as names.
My ideal brand name is:
I usually generate 5 or so brand names this way. At this point, I’ll head over to Namevine to see if the domain name and social media handles are available. Namevine is great because it searches domain availability and major social media network usernames in one swoop!
Do you need a .com and all social handles to build a brand?
This is a common question. In an ideal scenario, the .com will be available as well as the Instagram and Pinterest handles. I’m less concerned with Facebook and Twitter, but that’s just me! I think it’s definitely possible to build a brand using a different domain extension than .com. Brit.co has been branded very well, for example. I think it’s best to have one of the following: a .com with a few different variations on social media, or a .co or .net with all the same social media handles. This is just my opinion though, and at the end of the day, if you’re serious about building a strong brand, then your customers will make a point to find you despite the small differences in your online presence.
If your research totally fails, and none of your top choices are available, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. I still keep my original list handy in case I come up with a variant on something I like from it.
At this point, I’ll take my original word list and use one or more of the following tools to help me come up with a name that’s catchy and available:
Bustaname is an awesome tool which combines multiple words to see what domain names are available.
Expired Domains is great for looking for domain names that have been previously purchases but are now available. Why does this matter? Well, domain age is an SEO factor, so the fact that your domain’s “birthday” happened already is a good thing in Google’s eyes!
Lean Domain Search gives domain suggestions based on words that interest you.
Name Mesh also looks for domains based on words of interest in a creative way.
It sounds like a straightforward process, but it’s not at all. This research phase can take days, weeks or even months depending on your creativity. I’d say it’s best to take the process slowly than make a rushed decision you’re not totally happy with. The right name will come to you if you keep thinking, keep reading, and keep discovering! See what’s working for other bloggers. Don’t copy them outright, but there’s no law against taking some inspiration from current bloggers!