How to Name a Blog: Easy Steps That'll Help You Find the Perfect Name: a step-by-step tutorial, starting with how to generate ideas for blog names.
Is your current domain getting you down? Are you limited in the scope of the topics you can talk about? Is your blog name just a collection of generic keywords? It might be time to change. This is not an easy task or one I recommend doing on a whim. But if you decide to change, here's how you can make the process less painful.
Finding good names for blogs is a lot harder than it was ten years ago. You’ll need to be creative with the title. Two-word domain names with the word travel in them are scarce. My advice is to pick a brand name rather than a keyword-match domain. Brand names are easier to find and you can pick anything you like. Having ‘Travel” in the title used to be important but Google ignores it these days. Catchy and unique travel blog names are easier to remember.
There are hundreds of thousands of travel blogs on the Internet. And many of the travel blog-related name ideas have been snapped up long ago. You might think it doesn't matter – why not pick any name you like? Let me explain why you should give a lot of thought to your brand name long before you start writing. We'll also look at how to find the best travel blog title and domain name to maximise success.
If you are thinking of becoming a travel blogger and need some advice on getting started, check out this complete step-by-step guide to starting a travel blog!
How to Find The Best Travel Blog Name
It's worth pointing out that there are very few good dot.com domains left. Everyone wants one and cyber squatters have eaten up the last remaining good ones. Domains can go for a lot of money. $20,000 for anything with “travel” is not unreasonable (or maybe it is, depending on which side you're on).
Before you go through the process of searching for a domain name, consider bypassing the whole process by buying a brandable asset from SEDO's database of domain names. Many of these domains come with backlinks that will give you a huge SEO boost when you're just starting out.
Step 1: Generate name ideas
It's time to find a name for your blog. Naming a travel blog shouldn’t be an afterthought. Your brand name can often play a big part in the success of your travel blog. Use these tools to get travel blog name suggestions.
I like to use Lean Domain Search to find lots of different name suggestions based on a single keyword. You can filter the results to show your keyword at the start of the domain or at the end.
Search for travel blog name ideas on Namecheap's domain name generator.
DomainsBot provides suggestions for lots of other Top Level Domains (TLDs) such as .net, and .info. I recommend sticking with .com until you find the one you want. DomainsBot shows available domains and also domains for sale and the asking price.
NameMesh finds literally thousands of variations with options such as SEO (for keyword matching) and Similar (thesaurus based searches).
Step 2: Check the Social Account Names
Social media is important and it won't make sense if all of your preferred blog names are taken by others on your favourite social media channels. It's always a good idea to be consistent so try to match potential account names on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest with your target website name.
Use Nameck.com to quickly scab through social media platforms to see if your chosen name is available
Step 3: Do Due Dilligence
You'll need to do due diligence on a domain name to make sure it's not going to cause you problems in the future. Domain name registration services have been around for 30 years or more. There’s a high possibility that your chosen domain has been registered before. And if someone used it to spam or perform black hat SEO tactics, especially in the recent past, you’ll take on the negative impact of this unsavoury history. If Google believes that your domain is untrustworthy, you’re already at a disadvantage.
The final step before buying the domain is to make sure that that the domain hasn’t been used before as a spam site. Domains change hands regularly. Some expire, some are used by spammers. Others are penalised by Google for old school SEO tactics. If you buy a domain that has been penalised or used as a spam domain recently (within the last couple of years) then the negative SEO value will still be attached to the domain. Many beginners buy domains without checking them thoroughly and end up with a website that Google is suspicious of. This is not a good way to start your blogging journey. You’ll need all the help you can get, especially from the search engines.
- Check with Majestic or SEMrush to see if the domain has a history of spammy links. Ask an SEO or marketing professional for their advice about the results. If the site has lots of links coming from dodgy-sounding websites, then that’s a good sign the domain has a problem. Majestic shows a metric called Trust Flow. If Trust Flow is low (under 15) and Citation Flow is high (above 20) it’s a bad sign.
- Check on the Wayback Machine at archive.org to see what the site was used for in the past. Go through each snapshot and verify that the domain hasn’t been used as a link portal, or a gambling site, or anything that looks suspicious.
- Use Google search to check the domain name. Don’t put the domain in the address bar. Type “yourdomainname.com” (including the quotes) to see what comes up.
- Most importantly, let Google know that you’re changing domain. This is a very important step. Do not skip it unless you want to see your rankings and traffic drop to zero.
- Add 301 redirects to the old site
- Change social media profiles. Hopefully, you checked to see if the social profiles are available. Twitter.com/yourdomainname, facebook.com/yourdomainname, etc
There are too many steps to list here but if you need help changing your brand or domain name, reach out to me. I've done it at least 10 times with my own websites and client businesses.
Pick a domain name that is easy to pronounce, understandable, and most importantly, one that you like saying. When you're starting a travel blog the most important thing is to start. Do something! Branding can change later.
Step 4: Keep Your Options Open
If you plan to talk about worldwide travel, don’t name your blog EuropeanTraveller.com or something similar. This is another reason for using a brand name. A very specific niche-related name can be awesome but you'll find it harder to branch out into other areas once you've outgrown the niche.
Travel Blog Names, SEO, And Brand Name Power
According to Search Engine Journal, “Google has always given brands preferential treatment”. SEJ also says that it's easier for brands to rank, with fewer backlinks than competitors with a weaker (or nonexistent) brand. And this trend is increasing.
“Your domain name doesn’t matter”, they might say. Ignore them. Look at Uber!” But that proves my point in one way. Uber uses a 4-letter domain that everyone can pronounce, anywhere in the world. It’s easy to remember. It’s a brand, rather than a specific niche. I'd imagine the owners paid a ton of money for that. If Uber had been called SharingEconomyCarRentalService.com do you think they would have grown as fast? I think not.
Google has always given brands preferential treatment – Create a brand!
People Will Type Your Domain Into Google Search
A good signal to Google in organic search is how many times people put your brand or name into the search bar. If we look at all the big travel brands in the world, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, etc. I’ll be that a large percentage of the traffic to these websites is through brand searches.
Many people type lonelyplanet.com into Google’s Search box. Almost 1000 searches a month, in fact.
According to Similar Web, around 80% of the traffic to Lonely Planet is organic. But the top keyword for the site is “Lonely Planet”.
People recognise the brand and search for it by name. This signal of trust to Google is something I believe they put a lot of weight on. If we take the case of a random niche site with no personality but one that focuses on long-tail keywords and pure SEO, we see a different story.
Exact Match or Keyword-based examples of travel titles for blogs
The Price of a good name
The owners of SumoMe, spent 7 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to buy Sumo.com. They eventually agreed on a sale and handed over 1.5 Million. Was it worth it? Wasn’t their company doing well without the matching URL? They felt that the domain URL and brand they wanted would help them.
Levels, the founder of Nomad List, ran his website for digital nomads on nomadlist.io for many years. He bought the dot.com version a few years after launch. He obviously found worth in a merged brand for his baby.
For geeky reasons I took the top 500 website domains in the Moz 500 and did some excel wizardry to find the average length of the names. It was even shorter than I expected at 6.7 characters.
Correlation is not causation, and the likelihood is that these domains have been around for a long time and they’ve grown huge. Big companies have invested in the domains too. But it shows that the existence of “long” domain names is rare at the top.
There’s also talk about Google demoting exact match domain (EMD) names in the search results. Why would they do that? To stop people from attempting to use domains like best-travel-packs-for-2019.com
Even back in 2012, Google’s search guy, Matt Cutts announced an algorithm change to penalise low-quality exact match sites.
To Nomad Or Not To Nomad
According to DNSlytics, there are almost 40,000 domain names with the word nomad in them. 25,000 of those are dot.com top-level domains. The “nomad” moniker will not help you stand out any more. It’s been done. And although I found some catchy domain names that included the word, I decided against using them. Nomadic
Then there are some truly ridiculous domain names
- travel-destinations-travelpackages.com. If that’s not trying to use old-school SEO tactics then I don’t know what is.
- travelfamilytravel.com. Saying something twice makes it at least 100% better.
- travelutionpoweredbybreakawaytravel.com. Speaks for itself.
These examples are all expired domains, but someone paid money to register them one time. And who knows, they might have even tried to make a business out of them.
The name escapes me but I did see a couples travel blog called The Engaged Travellers (or something very similar) once. I'm sure you can spot the potential long-term issue with this.
Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) September 28, 2012
Examples of great travel blog names
Nomadic Matt – Matt Kepnes stamped his own brand on his blog. While it does limit the potential to sell the blog, Kepnes has built a personal brand that people love.
Expert Vagabond – Matt Karsten's travel blog name is instantly recognizable and catchy. It's pretty from the title that the content is based around travel and the word “expert” shows authority. Before you even click on the website, you somehow feel like the information will be in-depth and trustworthy. An example of brilliant marketing in two words.
Think about the different types of travel topics you would like to write about. Think long-term and go wild with your goals. Would your domain name tie you to a tiny niche? The owners of blogs called “US Dog-loving travelers” (doesn't exist) can’t really expand. Under Thirties Travel or Twenty Something Travel are blogs with an expiration date, for obvious reasons. The “Solo Travel blogs” have ‘niched' themselves into a corner. Nothing wrong with a niche. In fact, creating a niche is very important. But what happens if you marry and have kids? Your brand name might not “allow” you to expand.
There are many advantages to niching down and I'd recommend that to anyone looking to fast-track their blogging success. But if you want to keep your options open and create a brand, rather than a specific (narrow) topic-focused blog, go a little more “generic” with the name.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do domain name generators work?
Domain name generators use algorithms to cycle through thousands of available URLs and make suggestions based on yiur selection. This process is much faster than a human can do so they can offer a lot of choices. However, computers are not as good as we are at discerning “good” brand names. These tools are a great first step to finding the perfect name.
I already have a travel blog but want to change the name. How can I do this?
Changing blog names is not as difficult as it used to be. In fact, by following a simple set of steps, anyone can rename their travel blog.
Where is the best place to register a domain name?