I am not a blogger. Nor am I much of a blog-reader. Up until this week, my experience of blogs was limited to clicking through to friends’ blogs which appeared in my Facebook newsfeed (mostly out of politeness) or ending up at a blog by chance when I was reading some other form of web media. As I started to explore the wonderful world of blogging for this week’s assignment, I started think about what attracted me to some blogs and not others. I came to the decision that one of the most vital tools to attract recalcitrant users such as myself, is the actual name of the blog. And what kind of names work? I have identified 5 different categories that work to attract users in very different ways.
Top 5 categories of catchy blog names:
1) Explicit or self-explanatory
…….I don’ t mean X-rated here, rather that the name gives the user all the things they need to know to judge whether it is of use to them or not. In it’s simplest form these have geographical, individual, demographic etc identifiers which explain their relevance. An example here is one of the few blogs that I do visit regularly, 510Families.
As I am sure you have guessed, this is a resource for people who live in area code 510, who have families.
2) Existing brand names
These are names of blogs where the hard work has already been done by an existing brand or organization name. From my forays into the healthcare blogs on WordPress.com, the most obvious of these was news@JAMA.
Any healthcare professional will already know what JAMA is and how their blog may be relevant.
In order to lure readers into your blog, you can title it with a name that shows your idealogical views on the subject you are writing about. This has the advantage (or disadvantage) of attracting readers who feel strongly either way about the issue. My example to illustrate this category is Amanda’s blog about vaccination, which is entitled The Vaccine Advocate.
4) Clever or funny
For personal blogs, this seems to be the most popular type of name to choose. One that is inherently amusing, or just a play on words. When these are really good they develop into their own brand name, such as Jezebel or Lifehacker.
5) Just plain odd
The final category are those names that are entirely incongruous and attract readers just because they want to click through and see what on earth the blog is actually about. I think this is a dangerous category as it can fail spectacularly and these names are often easily forgotten. My example here is the new Global Health blog from NPR which was launched this week, under the name of Goats and Soda. Their entire first post was dedicated to a complicated explanation of the name and how it was relevant to Global Health. I think it is a good advice that if it takes more than 500 words to explain the name of your blog, then you may want to rethink your strategy!