blog brandingWhether you’re an individual or a professional content marketer thinking about beginning your first blog, branding is far too important of a factor to neglect during this process. Developing a reputable and successful blog requires a considerable amount of time and attention spent to craft a blog worth reading. Before you impulsively pick a name like “business blog,” put some time towards branding and selecting the perfect title.

1. Strategy for your blog

Before you begin to brainstorm blog name ideas, you’ll want to think about your blog itself. Take some uninterrupted quiet time to focus on your blog. Envision the blog after a couple years of publishing, and ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the focus or topic of my blog?
  • Who are my readers? What are they like as professionals, individuals, family members, or members of society?
  • What questions will I try to answer for my readers? What motivates my readers to return to my blog, convert into leads, and become blog subscribers?
  • What unique perspective or information will I bring to this blog that other writers on this topic don’t have? What is my brand’s unique value proposition?
  • What tone or personality do I want my blog to convey? How do we fit into the framework of existing blogs in our niche?
  • How frequently will I post?
  • Will I be creating all the content, or will I have several regular contributors or guest posters?

Once you have answered these questions and have an understanding of your ideal blog, you can begin performing research on external sources.

2. Researching titles

You probably already have some potential titles crowding your mind. For now, jot them down on a piece of paper, then set it aside. It’s okay not to pay attention to those right now. If more ideas come up while you’re researching, go ahead and write them down; but the focus in this stage is not on generating your own titles.

This is the time to research how other people have named their blogs. There tend to be naming conventions that run in waves. Look at the blogs you most enjoy. Are the writers including their own names into the blog title, such as Seth’s Blog? Are they using blog names that provide a straightforward description of their topic, such as Perhaps they are using industry-specific terms, if they write a business blog, or references to a musician’s song lyrics for a blog about that artist.

Sometimes it’s a title of personal significance to the writer, a name that conveys the personality of the blog without specifically being about the named object. Confusing or non-specific blog titles can work (think of Marcus Sheridan’s blog, The Sales Lion), but you may find yourself spending several years explaining the meaning of your blog title to other indivdiuals if you allow yourself to go too far off the mark.

3. Brainstorming titles

As you’ve explored the ways in which others have chosen to name their blogs, you’ve likely run across some which sparked your interest, and some whose names you definitely don’t like or care to replicate. Don’t bury these preferences! There’s a reason you think some are fantastic, while you dislike others. Use these preferences as a guide as you make notes, play with synonyms, and explore word choices. Allow yourself a few days to explore your options before making a final commitment.

Enlist the opinions of people you trust. Chat with people whom you know read blogs on similar topics, people who are familiar with your writing style and perspectives and your colleagues who thrive on big picture discussions and those who remain detail oriented. While you don’t want to risk “committeeing” your blog to death before it’s even created, you want to develop a diverse pool of creativity in which to nurture name ideas.

4. Making a decision

Once you have a list of marketing-sound, high-quality ideas, it’s time to make a final decision about what to name your blog. Create a fresh, short list of likely candidates.

  • What traits do the titles have in common?
  • Which words or full phrases “sizzle” with that just-right feeling of pure awesome?
  • Consider your brand. Which options align most closely with your existing brand as well as your projected brand?
  • Are you comfortable being referred to by your blog name at conferences and in other offline, professional capacities? (examples: The Pioneer Woman, The Bloggess, and “What I Wore” by Jessica Quirk)
  • Can your title be optimized for organic search (SEO)?
  • Are any of the titles too trendy or do they reference any passing fads or slang?
  • Is it easy to spell, read and say? Are there alternate spellings (or misspellings) that could cause problems when readers attempt to visit your site?
  • Consider your competition. Are there similarities with their names or messaging which could cause confusion or unwanted attention for your blog?
  • How likely are your options to resonate with your ideal reader?

After reviewing these ideas, you should have the list narrowed down to just two or three options at most. Perform due diligence before committing; if someone else is using a variation that’s too similar to yours, you’ll likely want to tweak or discard that option. If there’s a title that excites you above the rest after all your efforts, you’ve probably identified the title of your new blog!

This is the time to do web searches to ensure that the name is available for domains, social media accounts and more. Congratulations, and happy blogging on your new, well-branded blog!

Have you successfully branded (or rebranded) your business blog? Share your tips, recommendations, and wins in the comments!

image credit: rupert ganzer/flickr via creative commons

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