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8 factors to consider when naming your blog

Blog nameHamza Mikou (@hamzamikou), COO of Boostsquare and veteran blogger, shared yesterday 3 tips for the naming your blog.

With a little commentary from me, here they are.

  • Create a name that indicates your blog focus. I’ve always told lawyers to think of hornbooks. Trelease on Water Law. Prosser on Torts. There was little confusion when reading the spine of the book on what it’s inside. Don’t make your readers guess and don’t leave Google guessing. After all, Google knows you by how other people describe you (the text in the link to your blog from other sites). Nothing confusing about China Law Blog, Connecticut Employment Law Blog, or Chicago IP Litigation Blog. I’ll be the first too acknowledge exceptions such as Marler Blog or Popehat, two very good law blogs.
  • Use an easy, simple and notable name that’s easy to remember. Unless you reach compelling status, I’m not sure many folks remember a blog’s name, they’ll remember you the lawyer. If I asked the readers of this blog what’s its name, I believe the majority would not know and just say it’s your blog. Having said, it’s nice if your blog is easy enough for folks to remember.
  • Blog name should match your domain name. Some bloggers ignore this rule probably because they’re excited about getting a domain that will garner more blog readers, whether because of search or people just keying in the domain. Poor idea. Getting a domain name that matches the name of your blog is the best way to get more readers. It shows that you’re a professional, as opposed to lame. There’s also no confusion for Google. Google considers the title of your blog, the text in the links pointing to your blog (same as title of your blog) and your domain, among other factors in measuring the influence of you and your blog as well as the search performance of your blog. Google doesn’t like to be confused and can penalize you for it. Finally, assuming your blog is set up right, anyone looking for your blog will Google for it by the name they recall, your name, or the subject and easily retrieve it.

A few other factors you ought to consider:

  • Don’t get wigged out by the name of your blog. The name will not make or break your blog. An engaging blogging style on a niche subject for which you have some passion and expertise is 80 times more important than the name. This is what brings people back and gets hundreds or thousands to share your posts overtime. If you’re in a LexBlog blog strategy session with me and you’re fixated on a name, I’ll tell you there are 10 or 11 things to focus on in launching a blog and the name is about 22.
  • Do come to like the name of your blog. I did with my own. You’ll be introduced as the author, editor, or publisher of XYZ blog when you’re speaking. You’ll list your blog name in your email signature line, in LinkedIn, and in your website bio. People and publications will link to the blog – hopefully for you, major publications someday. You’ll see the title when you hit the publish button and you want to feel proud and a little excited.
  • You don’t need to have the word ‘Blog’ in the title. Florida Probate Litigation is fine. Harvard Business Review didn’t feel compelled to call itself Harvard Business Review Magazine or Harvard Business Review Journal. It was cool and innovative to include the word blog in the title a digital publication 8 or 9 years ago. There were not that many blogs, let alone law blogs. A lawyer with something called a blog was viewed as a head of the pack. Review, monitor, insider, journal, and other names newspapers and magazines use are all appropriate.
  • Keep it as short as you can. Don’t think of the title on your browser. Think of the title on my iPhone on an app such as Flipboard, Zite, or Reeder. 4 to 7 words max, maybe 2.
  • Avoid tag lines if you can. A good title is descriptive and doesn’t require a tag line to help people know what you’re blogging about. ‘Field and Stream’ is pretty obvious for a magazine on hunting and fishing. Don’t make the mistake of creating a blog title and tag line by consensus. Consensus can mean reaching the lowest common denominator – “It’s not too good, but everyone was appeased.” The result is a long title trying to cover as many points as possible or a tag line that reads something like “A blog offering news, information, insight, and commentary on California Labor and Employment Law for employees and employers.” Tag lines also don’t appear where the most influential people are reading your content–on apps on an iPad or other mobile devices.
  • Name your blog and then look at domains, not vice versa. Playing the domain name game is a time suck and pointless until you have a blog name. You title a book, then you set up the bar code. Despite what you think, all the domains are not gone. LexBlog has worked worked with lawyers on blogging for going on 10 years. Domain names are rarely, if ever, a problem.

Having said all this, the name of your blog–boring or exciting–descriptive or vague–is not going to mean success or failure. Good blogging with a clear goal in mind will enable you to enhance your reputation and build relationships that’ll grow your legal practice.

When naming your blog, sure spend time on it, but not too much, and certainly don’t let the naming process slow you down from the more important stuff like getting your blog live.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Larry Page.