What's in a (Blog) Name?

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There's a lot to think about during the beginning stages of a new blog. What platform will you use? What will you blog about? Who will want to read it? And what will you name your new masterpiece?

Coming up with a compelling blog name is pretty important. In fact, I'd argue that in the beginning it's even more important to find a good name than to write good posts. Your content will improve over time (and the old posts will get buried in your archives). But if you have an awful, uninspired name or you keep changing your blog name, then few people (except perhaps your mother or spouse) will bother to read your posts or check back for new ones.

Ideally, you'll find an awesome name and stick with it.

Unfortunately, that's not what I did. I originally dubbed this blog The Urban Redhead, which felt sassy and modern but had nothing to do with writing. A week or so later, I renamed it The Urban Muse. And while I love that name, there were other a couple of other considerations I failed to factor in. Read on to avoid my mistakes.

1. Alphabetical placement. It's worth thinking about, because most people's blogrolls are arranged alphabetically and many readers start clicking from the top down. I'm curious how much more traffic I might have gotten had I named it An American Muse or A Boston Writer Writes or something else closer to the beginning of the alphabet. Not that those are better names, but given a choice, I'd choose the one closer to the beginning of the alphabet.

2. Similarly named blogs or businesses. Much as I love the name I chose, it does create a bit of confusion, because there are a few other blogs with similar names, not to mention a day spa in New Jersey! Ideally, you'd choose a totally original name like Men with Pens or Copyblogger so that when someone googles your blog, all of the search results point to you. Of course, with so many blogs and websites already in existance, this can be tough. Jot down some keyboards relating to your topic and think about creative or unexpected combinations and variations that still communicate your blog's focus.

3. Extra words add confusion. When I started out on a Blogspot domain, UrbanMuse dot blogspot was already taken, so I chose theUrbanMuse instead. Most people forgot to include "the" when typing my URL, so I dropped "the" and added "writer" when I bought my own domain from Google. That's better because it includes "writer" as a keyword, which clues in readers and search engines. Avoid using "the" in your URL, because people usually forget it.

What about you? How did you arrive at the name for your blog? Would you have done anything differently?

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