In November 2021, I wrote a post titled “Don’t Name Your Blog After Yourself!” In that article (which you should read, print off and pin to your fridge), I argued that most entrepreneurial bloggers would be better off not naming their blogs after themselves.
Three months later, Sara emailed me. Below is a redacted and lightly edited copy of our conversation. I’ll let you listen through the keyhole.
Ok … So Maybe Do Name Your Blog After Yourself?
Sara’s First Email
“I wanted to comment in one of your blog posts, but there wasn’t a comment section. Shame on you! 😉 😀
However, [since] I enjoyed your posts enough, I don’t mind taking the momentous step of emailing you. Oh, AND I subscribed to your mailing list. How’s that for trust?
Thank you for your post “Don’t Name Your Blog After Yourself.” That is how I found you, 4 clicks deep into my Google search (I am persistent when I want varied opinions). I read through many of your posts which were helpful as I am still a noob at blogging.
My blog is on the process I developed and used to manage a shopping addiction in order to reach FI. I am a clinical psychologist, so I write from a personal and expert perspective.
I do have a couple of questions … To entice you, perhaps there is potential for a case study based on my questions?”
My 1st Response:
I am absolutely tickled pink!
I feel like Horton in Horton Hears a Who – “See? The
speck Reader does exist!”
As new/small/poorly optimized as FLUB is, I’m surprised it even landed on Google Page No. 4! Hats off to you for venturing into the Google shadowlands.
(Now that I have proof of human contact, I feel like I should go back and fix all my spelling errors …)
You have my ear. Although I have no idea what kind of questions you’re about to ask. Fire away!
P.S. One of my blogging rules is never start a website without an email list subscription box. Which is why FLUB has one. But honestly, I’ve never sent out a monthly email for FLUB yet! Guess I should change that habit, shouldn’t I?
Sara’s Second Email:
Here is where my question comes in. I will try to keep it succinct.
Should I continue blogging under FITE Addiction, or should I switch to blogging under my name? I was trying to apply your points from your post but still was not entirely sure. Here are some of the major factors I am taking into consideration:
- I started off anonymously, but have recently come out of the shadows.
- My final goal will be selling e-books, courses, programs, and coaching on overcoming shopping addiction.
- I don’t think my site would ever be sellable as it is such a mix of my personal story on how I have overcome the vice of shopping addiction, in addition to my expert perspective.
- It seems many people (especially coaches) eventually convert to blogging under their own names if they don’t start that way.
- I am still early enough that if I planned to make the switch, now would be a good time.
- However, I am still extensively “no one” and the blog name has some memorability to it.
- If I stayed with the Fa brand, it sounds like this would be similar to what you are doing with Flub.
- No matter what, I will probably buy and hold onto my name domain for future use (plus the domain with the common misspelling of my name as “Sarah”).
My 2nd Response:
I think you need to determine what comes first, and what comes second: Is your desire to be a coach, or a blogger? Is your blog just a content marketing arm of your future business, or is the blog THE business, and coaching just another revenue stream?
Put it another way: Are you going to become a “guru”?
Take NeilPatel.com. He sells himself as a guru. So it makes sense to market everything under his personal name, whether he writes it or not.
On the other hand, take Ahrefs.com/blog. Arguably the writers for Ahrefs are just as knowledgeable as Neil Patel about SEO, if not even more so! But the blog is subservient to the Ahrefs business. So no gurus. Just authors.
Personally, I don’t think either decision is wrong. It just comes down to your vision. If you want to grow yourself into a brand, where you generate revenue through coaching and teaching, then I think it makes sense to brand as your name.
I disagree that your website could never be sellable. Maybe not as-is, but with a little re-packaging, any topic is transferable.
I would definitely buy yourname.domain. That’s cheap insurance. And if you ever change your mind, it’s not that hard to pivot. For example, what if you hit 100,000 page views and decide you really want to become a full-time coach? Well, it’s not that difficult to migrate URLs or use yourname.domain as a parked domain (or vice versa).
Your URL is only one component of your branding. If I was in your shoes, I would continue with the FA domain. That keeps the future option to pivot to more personal branding. But if you jump the gun and switch to yourname.domain now, then it’ll be difficult to backtrack.
Sara’s Third Email
The question of whether I am a blogger or a guru first is a really good one. My first reaction was, “I’m a coach.” But, I started off as a blogger. The coach piece is only a more recent development. So, I think that makes me 50/50.
You are right, I can always switch to myname.com in the future. But to revert back to Fa if I changed my mind would be way too messy. I am going to stay the course of Fa for now. We will do a virtual toast when my blog hits 100,000 pages per day!
I am going to buy and hold onto my name domain and the wayward “Sarah” domain too!
I do think it would be a helpful post for you to write, posing the question, “Is your blog just a content marketing arm of your future business, or is the blog THE business, and coaching [consulting, other similar prospects] just another revenue stream?” I think this question distills it down to the key, singular point.
It may be a bit redundant from your post “Don’t Name Your Blog After Yourself.” However, I think this is such an important nuance your (future droves of) readers would appreciate. All I found before I reached your post were individuals who changed to their_name.com and why. Your question brings the bigger picture into play.
So, Should You Use Your Own Name for a Blog?
Well, I’m taking Sara’s advice. I’m writing a follow up. But she distilled the pros and cons of her decision so well that I simply had to share her emails with you!
In preparation, I too, ventured into the Google Shadowlands to Page 4 of the SERPs and beyond. I wanted to refresh my memory as to why some people choose to market and publish exclusively under their own name.
The essential argument for naming your blog after yourself is: “It’s easy, it builds trust, and it helps your blog stand out.”
I don’t disagree with any of those things. However, I think that an authority site – rather than a personal blog – is even better for building trust and standing out.
Naming your blog isn’t a zero-sum game. Sure, you can build a killer brand and share personal stories on a personal blog at your_name.domain – but you can do the same thing on an authority site, too!
Like I said to Sara, where a personal blog shines is when you’re marketing yourself as a coach, tutor or consultant. Which is an entirely different business strategy compared to building a diversified portfolio of semi-passive income-generating info websites, which is what FLUB (and myself) are about.
Blogging Under Your Own Name Isn’t An Excuse for Distraction
Some bloggers-to-be seem to think that if you blog/publish/market under your own name, you get to write about whatever you want.
Writing about your personal interests is called keeping a diary. And while your boyfriend/girlfriend might be dying to get their hands on your personal confessions, the rest of us are consumed by our own problems.
It’s a rare wordsmith, journalist or comedian that can entice people simply with his or her own observations. (If you’re the next Jerry Seinfeld or Tom Wolfe, please, ignore everything I just said and march ahead!) But for the rest of us, success comes with specificity.
Correlation Isn’t Causation
Big Guys and Girls tend to blog under their own names. Pat Flynn. Joe Rogan. Mr. Beast. Seth Godin. Darren Rouse. Tim Ferris. Malcolm Gladwell. I take my hat off to ‘em.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that correlation equals causation. If you don’t have your own Wikipedia page, why do you deserve your own URL?
You Should Always PUBLISH Under Your Own Name
Don’t misunderstand me – I’m a firm believer in publishing posts under your own name!
- Don’t publish content anonymously!
- Write from a quasi-first-person perspective.
- Reference your own experiences.
- Include an Author Box with a picture and bio.
You should absolutely weave your experiences and expertise into your writing. Your experiences are unassailable. People can demean your education, your background, or your conclusions, but nobody can question whether an experience actually happened. It’s bulletproof credibility.
So … What Should I Name My Blog?
To be honest … it’s not that big of a deal.
(That’s right. I just wrote a 1,000-word blog post on a question that, quite honestly, you could have answered in the time it took to read this post.)
Guys … one of the biggest YouTubers in the world goes by the moniker PewDiePie. Häagen-Dazs, the ice cream brand, is a completely made-up Danish-sounding name. Do you really think a name alone defines success?
If you feel a strong, deep desire to blog under your own name, go for it! Some people feel more obligated/proud of their blog if it’s tied to their name. If that psychology works on you, I’m jealous! Take advantage of it.
Otherwise, think like a business, and build a brand that can be easily scaled and (possibly) sold.
And if you bet on the wrong horse, then may I suggest a 301 redirect?