Choosing a Name for Your Blog

The perfect time to name your blog is after you’ve blogged for a while and really developed a personality around your site. Only after a few months of regular blogging will most agents be ready to give their website a name.

However, the time necessarily to develop a personality (before a name!) doesn’t coincide with the reality of Project Blogger or Google. While it is kind of like putting the cart before the horse, the reality is that the first thing we had to do was develop a name (that included an available URL!).

So, how did we end up at

Here are some of the ideas I planted with Madison to pounder:

  • First brainstorm on ideas, and then (after you’ve assembled a bunch of ideas!) check to see if the URL is available.
  • Make sure it has a community focus (i.e. we’re building a community destination website!)
  • Take yourself out of the URL… Make sure that you’re creating a site that others will want to take part (Don’t name it after yourself or your business!)
  • Think of the niche you want to create with your blog… who are you trying to reach?
  • Are there any local names you can capitalize on? (things like local high-school mascots, community nicknames, community centers, etc.)
  • Keep the URL short and sweat

A good name for a community blog will make a “local” think, this website “get’s it” and at the same time, won’t alienate people who are not local.

After many emails back and forth, we decided to capitalize on the name for Malibu (“the bu”) that is used by the locals (as in, “we’re heading back to the bu”).

However, was already taken (and doesn’t convey any “actionable words” that really tell you what the website is about), so we started thinking of other ways to connect the website name to the community. In Madison’s case, our plan is to have the blog focus on the unique aspects of Malibu. I happen to think that the beautiful beaches and the celebrity element of Malibu are going to be huge drivers of traffic and links into the future.

We tried a whole bunch of different words like “connect” and “community”, and combinations like “BuLife” and “LiveBu” but I happen to think that “inside” conveyed both the exclusive nature of the community along with the opportunity for insight that only a real estate agent can convey. Hence: We decided to go with

Maybe the blog will change focus into the future and the name will “feel” wrong, but thanks to the fact that we’re already seeing some LinkLove (in particular from celebrity bloggers), we’re going to have to live with the name and URL into the future!

Next up: Setting up a WordPress blog from scratch… (I’ve been taking thorough notes! πŸ™‚ )

40 thoughts on “Choosing a Name for Your Blog

  1. I love the name – it’s very catchy and will make sense to your locals. I had the same problem (being one of the apprentices of Project Blogger as well). But came up with a concept that I hope everyone will like and is also very local. I look forward to reading the rest of your progress, it’s awesome how so many people are benefiting from this competition.

  2. Great name, Dustin and Madison! Limiting though…what about Westside? Santa Monica? Does he seriously only want to talk to people “in the Bu”?

    Hmmm He could have several blogs…I think “L.A.Confidential” would make a great “Transparency” blog. Revealing inside the market stuff, that was previously very “Hush, Hush” as Danny DeVito’s character might put it πŸ™‚

  3. Hmm… You bring up an interesting issue, Ardell… In my seminars, I try to go into painful detail about the scope of the community that an agent should create, and I’m a huge fan of going “micro”.

    Under most circumstances, I actually think that an area the size of Malibu would be a little *too* big to cover for an agent. Malibu is a little bit unique, but given a choice for most areas, I’d focus on a neighborhood within a city.

    The reality is that I bit off more than I could chew in creating a “Seattle” blog in that I’ve never done a good job covering the Seattle real estate market. Had a chosen to focus on the “Ballard” real estate market instead, I think I would have been more effective in creating a website that the local community could take part in. I’d be able to cover all the developments, events, and community issues to create a comprehensive site, but I’ve come to learn that such detail is not possible for a small group of contributors! In other words, we’ve done an excellent job creating a community on RCG that speaks to the real estate community (and speak they do!), but we’ve never created much of a dialog with people from the local Seattle community.

    Not only is our focus okay for RCG, but it probably reflects my personal interests (as a blog should!). However, I think most agents would benefit from a much more local focus!

    And that doesn’t mean that a “community destination website” (my terminology) can’t talk about issues that are in nearby cities (in this case, Santa Monica)… It just means that the blog should look at those issues from a “local” perspective! πŸ™‚

  4. My Apprentice blogger said something last night. He was talking about an agent in his area, can’t remember the topic exactly, but he said: “Isn’t that Soooooooo 15 years ago!”

    It made me realize how many of the things in real estate, agents think “Soooooooo 15 years ago” about. Working “a neighborhood” is soooo 15 year’s ago, from a real estate agent perspective, Dustin.

    I know where you are coming from on that, but did Anna really get to pick exactly where her business would be coming from, down to an exact neighborhood? Those days are really pretty much gone. Maybe because an agent couldn’t survive on just the sales from one neighborhood. They would have to have a HUGE market share for that one neighborhood.

    And then you have that “Oh no, we’re not Ballard…we’re Crown Hill” thing to deal with. I think in Santa Monica it gets down to WHICH side of Montana are you referring to? LOL “Pigeon-holing” just doesn’t work well for real estate.

    It’s great for Blogs, and I love Kirkland Weblog and other community based blogs. But how practical is it to advise a real estate agent to have an all Kirkland blog, as if Kirkland agents don’t sell Seattle and Redmond and Bellevue and…I’m looking at the files next to me that I’m working on today and there’s a Bothell, a Ballard, a Federal Way, another Ballard, and a Lake City.

    Neighborhood blogs are great, but not practical for today’s real estate. Bloggers, and people who read blogs, have a much broader geographic base then “Ballard”. I try not to do south of Downtown Seattle. But look at my list…there’s a Federal Way in there. It’s my client from Bellevue buying an investment property in Federal Way.

    You can’t always push the business into the little box you would like it to be in. That’s always been true in the real estate business, but even more true for bloggers who depend on people who read blogs. Sticking to one neighborhood? You might as well door knock and have a cartoon coloring contest πŸ™‚ Blogs and small…I don’t think it’s a match for real estate agents. For Mommies…yes. But not for agents.

    My $.25

  5. Ardell, I definitely think you’re missing the point because I’m not trying to box anyone in… You do a horrible job covering the issues that are most important to the people in Federal Way, Ballard and Lake City. (ad so does RCG)… There are lots of things that are going on in each of those communities that you simply do not know about and cannot cover. With that said, you do a great job coving “buyer issues” which is more national in scope, but works for you within a RCG context.

    However, many agents are very involved in their local communities and could care less about the issues that are important to you. When I see sites like the West Seattle blog do a wonderful job covering the issues that are important to that community, I can’t help but think that this type of role is VERY appropriate for most real estate agents. I am not saying that these agents can’t talk about larger community issues, but that it is very appropriate (if not eminently doable!) for many agents to be a leader in building on online community around their local communities.

    It is the same reason that the Ballard Newspaper, even if it feels quaint sometimes, can do a better job covering the issues that are important to the local community than a Seattle newspaper (and definitely better than USA Today!).

  6. I agree for someone like say Broker Bryant. He is neighborhood based, and that suits his particular area. But L.A. has some agents from “The Westside” selling in “The Beach Cities” and some from “The Beach Cities” selling Beverly Hills. I’m sure Brentwood agents sell Malibu and vice versa.

    Here in Seattle, many people who read blogs are also people who support Alternative Business models and lower fees. As for “my doing a terrible job in Federal Way”, it depends on what someone is hiring me to do. In the “Federal Way” transaction, the buyer is doing a “Microsoft Redfin” deal, as in 25% of the commission to me and 75% of the commission to him. He wanted to do all of his own legwork in finding the property and everything up to the point of making the offer…and then some. No hand holding needed or wanted. He didn’t want me to “do it all” and he didn’t want to “pay for it all” either.

    People who read blogs in our area, often are also people who want more choices, particularly with regard to commission structures. That means broader, not narrower, geographic base. Look at Redfin. They list and sell all over the place, and people appreciate that they do.

    The times they are a changin’ Dustin. Some people want that full service, full fee, I know every house in the neighborhood stuff. But others want less for less too.

    I didn’t mean to ruffle your feathers there, Dustin. I just know how hard it is for someone to “break into the Bu”. It’s like trying to work ONLY Manhattan Beach and not Torrance or Redondo. It is done all the time by those who started there 20 years ago. But for a young person trying to get a foothold, a larger base, or several smaller ones, just fits the real estate part of the equation better.

    Had a guy doing a “Westwoodian” blog call me wondering why he didn’t have a broad readership. Depending on a small area to be “blog readers”? Sure it works great if you are doing a local paper like “The Beach Reporter” or “The Kirkland Courier”. But technology + real estate = bigger, not smaller.

    Again, just my $.02

  7. Interesting debating here…

    I agree with both of you to a certain extent. I think that if there’s an opportunity to go micro, it’ll work better from a blog perspective. At the same time, you would not want to be too limiting.

    Malibu is truly a community in itself and is very different from Santa Monica, Palisades, etc. And, I do believe that there’s more than enough local content to truly fascinate πŸ™‚ and dominate the area.

    However, certain locales and towns are so tiny that it wouldn’t make sense to focus on only them.

    I’m sure that there’s a happy medium there someplace.

    Dustin, can’t wait for your wordpress from scratch…

    BTW, if any of you have ideas for blog names for Pasadena CA, I’m open to suggestions. πŸ™‚

    Many thanks in advance!

  8. I am so happy to hear this discussion and it has opened my eyes to different scenarios. My example is a lot like Ardell describes but I do think both viewpoints can meet somewhere in the middle (or maybe not). I live in a small town within Miami called Miami Shores, I love writing local content for The Shores but would die of hunger if I only farmed Miami Shores. We decided to go MIAMI, which is huge, because our business goes beyond little Miami Shores. Can’t I keep blogging about Miami Shores, include events in the rest of Miami, and call my blog MIAMI? There has to be a way to combine the logistics of real estate and blogging, no?

  9. Ardell, I just want to clear up that I never said you did a terrible job “in Federal Way”, but rather “covering Federal Way”… That’s an important distinction because I don’t doubt for a minute that you give super high-quality service to each client you represent. I just don’t think your style of blogging adds much value to the typical community member in Federal Way. Interestingly, there are almost definitely more than a few real estate professionals who have the on-the-ground knowledge of development issues, community events, etc. and *could* add a lot of value to the Federal Way community if they organized a blog around the topic.

    Nonetheless, it does not surprise to me that we both agree that there is a huge technology shift going on and blogs are definitely part of it. I happen to agree with your idea that “technology + real estate = bigger” but not for the reasons you state. I happen to think the technology is going to allow for a lot MORE bloggers covering the local issues that matter most to their communities. Into the future, there is going to be bigger and better real estate information for consumers thanks to the technology, but not because one blogger covers a huge geographic area. It will be because some tech-savvy agents will claim their piece of the local online community in the virtual land-grab that is going on today on the internet. Managing a local community is tough, time-consuming and not always appreciated… But I strongly believe those real estate agents that “own” a local online community will have an essential tool to stay successful for many years into the future.

  10. Irina, I’d be happy to brainstorm with you… What do you want your Pasadena blog to be about? Pasadena is a huge area to cover, but like Malibu, there are definitely some characteristics that have created a recognizable community.

    When I think Pasadena, I think Rose Bowl, Bruins (as a young teenager, my aunt was a student at UCLA and she used to take me to sit it the college section for UCLA football games… that was awesome!), The Rose Parade (I had a friend who lived right off of Colorado and as a kid, we’d almost always walk the parade route well into the night on New Years Eve!), the revitalized downtown area, the Huntington Library in amazing San Marino, beautiful historic homes like the Gamble House by Greene and Greene… I’m sure there is a ton more.. Is there something about Pasadena that attracted you to the place?

  11. Dustin, thanks! I’ve been playing with several names, but keep coming back to including “roses” in the blog name. Most people know Pasadena because of the Rose Parade, the little old lady from Pasadena (ok – don’t think that she has anything to do with Roses, but just thought of her :-), Rose Bowl. I don’t think that I want to do anything sports oriented – USC and UCLA are too rivalry for my taste and even though my husband is a pro hockey player, I’m not into sports.

    Any ideas on how to make a name with roses in it sound a bit more trendy and less stuffy?

  12. A Rose theme is perfect for Pasadena! It really is!

    Not to confuse the “theme” concept, but if you use a WP blog, then there are already lots of “rose” themes to go along with your rose themed blog! πŸ™‚

    It seems like the next step is to put some type of “action” word around the rose concept… For Malibu, Madison went with “inside” and for Seattle, I obviously opted for a “guide”… Other “universal” options include words like “voice” or “connection”.

    However, your choice really depends on the type of blog you want to run… If you want it to be a very “flowery” blog about the “best of” Pasadena, then I’d choose a “beautiful” action word, but if you want it to have a little more kick to it and be able to take on controversial issues, then I’d try to throw some irony into the rose metaphor.

    At the moment, I’m not coming up with any great ideas and instead I’m just rambling… Let me put some thought into some “Rose” ideas and I’ll try to follow up. Feel free to brainstorm a bit more with me as it might lead to something good! πŸ™‚

  13. Hi Irina, how about Pasadena’s Rambling Rose Real Estate? Gives you the freedom to “ramble” on about whatever captures your eye or your audience’s eye. Or maybe Pasadena Real Estate’s Rambling Rose, too bad your name’s not Rose!

    Dustin, you were “just rambling” but it sparked a thought! LOL!

  14. Dustin, Debbie – thank you for all the wonderful ideas!

    I don’t want the name to be too flowery since that’s just not me… I’ve been racking my brains on the “irony into the rose metaphor” and so far am not getting anything. Maybe… I’m just overthinking it.

    I’m hoping to put a list of names together soon and send it to you for your opinions.

    Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend! Have fun whatever you do!!!

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