Picking your brand name can be just as difficult, if not more than what blog topic to write about.
Generally, you will want to pick a name that’s tied to your niche or your own name. There’re pros and cons to going with niche words vs. your name. If you’re just starting out, my suggestion is to go with niche words, because it’ll build awareness faster than your name (unless you have a name personally in your own niche).
I’m not going to get too much into the how of picking your brand name, because there are many good resources out there already. Check out Tungsten Branding’s article How to Come Up with a Brand Name.
Even though name is important, much like the blog niche topic, it can change. It’s great if it lasts for generations, but it also won’t be the end all be all. You’re just starting out and for your brand name to be worth anything, you’ll need to offer products and services that give the brand name value.
Start by generate a list of names that you like. Shopify’s blog has a list of 10 business name generators that can help jumpstart your name search.
Brainstorm a bunch of names and start narrowing down any that immediately just feel wrong. We’ll get into non-emotional ways of cutting names next. For mow, any that sound or feel wrong can go out here.
Narrow down the list of names
Once you have a list of some names, you’ll want to narrow it down.
The first thing to do would be to check online to see if anyone else is using those names. It’s not an emotional process here, so should be “easier” to take names out of the running. If the names are being used by someone else, you can’t use it yourself.
Google is the first step. Put those names into Google and see if there’re any others using those names. You can also check the United States Patent and Trademark Office USPTO for any registered trademarks with those names. it’s important to spend the 10-15 minutes on Google and USPTO’s sites to search for others using those names on your list.
If you want to, you could also do a quick domain name search to make sure the domain is available. I’ll cover that in the next section.
Through the searches, you might’ve narrowed down your list and made your choice easier. If you’re having a tough time deciding between the remaining names, test the names on yourself, friends and family.
Sleep on those names. See how you feel tomorrow and the next day about the names. Ask your family and friends what they think.
Once you’ve narrowed down on one name (maybe two, it’s ok, it’s a hard decision), you’ll want to see the actual availability of domain names and social media usernames.
Sign up for sites
Here’s where I differ from many of the “how to start a blog” guides out there. I’m going to tell you it’s not just the domain you have to sign up for.
I’ll get more into it in future articles, but I look at the Blog as your business, not just some website. You have to look at your blog as the product and service you’re selling. That’s how you’ll need to think about it as you drive traffic to the site and generate affiliate revenue.
Once you have a name, you’ll want to check to see if the domain name is available. If the name is a common word, you may need other descriptive words with it. A nice site that I’ve used is Instant Domain Search. They’ll generate and offer different options for you based on your search.
There are also many TLD options nowadays, not just .com. There’s .net, .org, .blog, etc. What you should go for is the .com as that’s the most well known and what people will put in first. If someone knows your name, but can’t remember the TLD, they’re going to put in .com, which would now lose you the traffic. You want to try and keep it simple for users. There’s also a .co TLD and other short ones if you can’t get the .com, but those will require more work for memory.
The next thing after you have a domain name picked out is to check username availability on the main social media platforms that you’re going to use. You’ll want to see if you’re able to get the same username as your domain name. Or at least not have large variations across the sites. You’ll want something that’s easy for your audience to remember.
To check multiple social media sites, I use Namechk. They also can check domains, but Instant Domain Search is better for that.
An example of how advantageous having the same username is across your domain and various marketing channels is my site: producerinyou.com. The username producerinyou is the same across the main social media platforms:
- Domain: producerinyou.com
- Facebook Page: producerinyou
- Facebook Group: producerinyou
- Twitter: producerinyou
- Instagram: producerinyou
- Pinterest: producerinyou
When I first came up with my blog name, I knew that I wanted to use the word Producer. The in You came because I needed to add extra descriptive words to show what I wanted to talk about, which is to discover the Producer in You. Plus, producer.com wasn’t available of course.
Depending on your niche and your marketing strategy that I’ll discuss in later posts, you won’t use all the social media channels. That’s ok too that you’re not using. Don’t spread yourself too thin just yet. But, you do want to get the usernames to ensure you have it for when you want to use it in the future.
While it’s not easy to just come up with a name, you also don’t want to spend weeks on a name either. Names can change.
Now that you have your brand name, let’s start setting up your domain and signing up for a web host in the next post.
If you haven’t yet, check out the other parts of this series on being an Entrepreneur and starting an online business:
- How to be an Entrepreneur – Are you sure you want it?
- How to Start an Online Business – Overview – Part 1
- How to Start an Online Business – Find your Niche – Part 2
- How to Start an Online Business – Pick your Brand Name – Part 3
- How to Start an Online Business – Setup the Blog Domain, Web Host and WordPress – Part 4
- How to Start an Online Business – Design Your Blog Website – Part 5
- How to Start an Online Business – Creating SEO Rich Content for Your Blog Posts – Part 6
- How to Start an Online Business – How to Successfully Market Your Blog or Business – Part 7
- How to Start an Online Business – Choosing Affiliate Programs – Part 8