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What’s Your Name and How to Use it for a Site or Blog?

Hello! My name is John Smith! You can call me agent Smith. What’s your name? Come on! That’s an innocent question, isn’t it?

OK, I admit it! I tricked you. My name is not Smith. It could have been though. There are so many of them!

My real name is truly bizarre for most English speakers and no person can really pronounce it let alone memorize it. When you’re a secret agent on the Matrix it’s hard to blend in with that one.

Why Using Your Real Name May Be a Problem

Do you get my point? You most probably can’t simply use your name for a website or blog. Even when you are John Smith you will face difficulties.

Why not come up with a cool name like Neo, Trinity, Morpheus or even Cypher instead? They may already be taken too.

You have to actively decide what your name is or come up with a nickname, business name or brand name. Then you can start a blog or create a website.

In this post we will learn how to choose a name for your blog, website, business or even yourself. Then we will see how that name or names will fit onto your blog or website.

What’s in a Name? How to Put it There?

When you started out on the Web in the late nineties it was liberating. You could communicate with people all over the world in an instant! Hooray!

The times when you were stuck with schoolmates or neighbors who weren’t interested at all in you or what you love were over. You could find like-minded individuals all over the planet now!

Now that it was possible to connect with Europeans or Asians there was a new issue. They needed to be able to know who you are. It was not just the cultural background (where you were born) but also who you actually were now (your self chosen identity based on interests).

Prejudice didn’t matter as much anymore as before the Web.

  • Religion
  • Skin color
  • Political affiliation

Who cared as long as you had the same hobby online?

on the Internet nobody knew that you’re a dog!” – Peter Steiner

We didn’t even use avatars in those early days on the Web and real names weren’t the norm until Facebook convinced most of us to give up anonymity roughly ten years later.

For most services short and crisp nicknames were required, the same applied to mail addresses and website names or domains.

The Web has changed a lot ever since but names pose still the same challenges now.

  • Do you really want to use your real name? Can it work?
  • Do you need a name for your business, website or blog or does a generic description like “x-services-atlanta” suffice?
  • Is calling a blog simply “blog” good for memorability?
  • Why do people need to memorize your name at all in times of Google?

As you see, there are a lot of questions that we have to ask ourselves before going online. Your nationality, ethnic or even religious background are contained in your name.

You may have a beautiful name like Goldberg but because it’s Jewish some people may be affected by their prejudice against Jews. Prejudice affects other religions and ethnic backgrounds too. That’s the sad reality.

A personal or business website should deal with the topic you choose not automatically your birthplace or parents. You can still be who you choose to be on the Web!

Should You Use Your Real Name for Your Site?

Are you one of the few lucky people who have the perfect online name from birth? It needs to be less common than John Smith but more memorable than my outlandish name. It also needs to be more unique than John Smith so that you can register a domain name like ideally .com for it.

As you may imagine johnsmith.com is already registered. At the same time my name is still available. Would it be a wise decision to use it for a website though?

Even in case you’d decide to use your real name for a domain it would be very easy to get mixed up with all kinds of people with the same name when you’re John Smith or have some other common English name.

Many Asian bloggers and website owners face the opposite issue. They have very long names with uncommon character combinations so that people in other countries can’t read, pronounce or memorize their names.

Only use ethnic sounding names when they really matter. Think kosher food or Chinese restaurants.

The founder of Namecheap – the company behind EasyWP who pays for that post – has both a unique and memorable name: Richard Kirkendall. Yet he chose to name the company after the main product – domain names.

The second part refers to pricing obviously. it worked well for many years. Yet down the road with many new products and services added the name was also limiting. what about premium products? They aren’t cheap.

Even when owning a domain name for John Smith has its drawbacks beyond being too common. Most people outside English speaking countries can’t pronounce or sometimes even spell the English “th”. Let me summarize:

real names alone are rarely a good option for a domain or website name.

You have plenty of name options for everybody who hasn’t the perfect real name. Also remember that marriage and divorce can change you name significantly so that using your real name for a website or business is not always the best option even when it works fine initially.

How to Choose a Website Name Without Embarrassing Yourself

Screenshot from Namecheap.com

What’s your online name then? Is it a business name or personal name? When your personal name is too complicated you may choose your business name for a website or you may have to come up with a business name in the first place.

You may also combine personal and business name. For example you can use a nickname for a business as well. When Web was still new many people at first experimented a lot with nicknames. Online most of the early adopters used a lot of different and often bizarre nicknames.

Some of them mimicked existing names or brand names. Others were ambiguous and some completely made up. Many early nicknames led to some embarrassing misunderstandings sooner or later and felt awkward when people would address you by a name that was not really yours. It felt like a fake.

Many of us ended up with a fully made up nickname. Ideally it’s also a pun. Make sure your website is

  • short
  • unique
  • simply spelled
  • easy to understand
  • memorable

unlike John Smith’s name to make it work well on the Web. Even Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz and SparkToro has similar advice for you.

Some people even use programming or coding languages to come up with names for their sites. JavaScript is often used as inspiration.

A site or blog with such an ambiguous and very specific name is which is also a so called “JavaScript event handler” is called onfocus.com – it’s name matches its subject matter (photography) perfectly and thus I remembered it even after many years. It’s not just a pun it also has actual meaning related to whit it covers. Yet even that was not unique enough. Another site called onfocus.news is up by now.

As you see it’s hard to come up with a name that will last for many years to come but as long as it does for a few years you are already pretty good.

When you just want to set up a personal website for the rest of your life you may want to prefer your actual real name. Ideally you have both, a personal site with your name and a business site with a made up specific name to stay findable and visible online for as long as possible.

Sometimes the Best of All Options is a Combination of Them

Even a great name like Rand Fishkin or Brian Dean is not always the best option as it’s original meaning is lost. Rand has nothing to do with fish, Brian is not a dean and John not a smith. Ideally you also express what you do in your website name!

What can you do then? Combine the best parts! Name things you cover or offer by name not just yourself!

  1. What’s your first name?
  2. What is your primary topic you cover or business you’re in?
  3. Where are you or your visitors based?

For a local business that’s easy and most small business business are still local in nature these days. John’s Bakery Brooklyn may perfectly suffice and even lead to more search visitors looking for a baker in Brooklyn!

You are planning to expand in future? Maybe limiting your domain name or website to a location is not a good idea then! John’s Bakery may be too broad then. What’s your specialty though? John’s Vegan Bakery maybe? That’s already pretty unique again.

When you add a blog to it something funny would be more memorable than just a mere “blog”. johnsveganbakery.com/thedailybread

This is almost perfect for more than just a local audience. A blog is read all over the place not just around the corner so it’s a good fit!

You could also make it the other way around. Brooklynsveganbakery.com would draw even more local customers. It’s about long and descriptive though. Again a pun or ambiguity could help. Thedailybread.blog could also work well as a standalone domain name.

When it comes to real names you can also put them elsewhere in your site. My favorite places are the title tag that’s only visible when you look for it or the about page. Instead of a generic about page you can add the real name to the address right away. example.com/about-john-smith

You Can Choose More than One Name

No matter how long you search for the perfect website or domain name you won’t find the silver bullet.

Sometimes it’s better to register more than one domain and redirect the secondary names to the main one. This way you get the best options all in one. You can use both your real name, a nickname and a made up name along with the descriptive domain name then.

In our example it could mean something like this:

johnsbakerybrooklyn.com
thedailybread.blog
johnsmithbakernyc.me

could all lead to

brooklynsveganbakery.com
johnsbakerybrooklyn.com 

would redirect to them homepage.

thedailybread.blog would be rerouted to the brooklynsveganbakery.com/thedailybread address.

johnsmithbakernyc.me could send visitors to the about-john-smith page.

All of these are fine but quite long so at the end of the day you may want to also find a short domain name as well o redirect to those. Something like jbbny.com would make the cut. There is even a similar domain name out on Web for many years: jfbny.com

No matter what name you decide to choose make sure to focus on promoting one address in future and not changing it unless you have really compelling reasons to rebrand or rename your site.

When all else fails you can just use something completely unrelated! Do you think that’s crazy? The biggest tech and online brands use names that have no connection to their business whatsoever. They are not even metaphors!

  1. Amazon doesn’t sell trips to the Brazilian rainforest.
  2. Apple isn’t into agriculture at all or fruits in particular.
  3. Google hasn’t been associated with goo despite its name.

When coming up with a website name or brand for a startup you may want to be less descriptive and rather memorable like those corporations.

No matter what website and domain name you choose one thing is clear. You still need one despite Facebook and all the other tools that try to replace personal and business websites. Here’s why:

This is an infographic by Mike Blumenthal that has been published years ago but which is truer than ever. Your name and your website are the core of your online presence. Facebook and other tools are marginal and can’t replace it.

Once you have come up with a name for your site or blog you can decide how the rest of your address will look like. Make sure to think about that first! Here is some help: an article of mine explaining ways to structure WordPress permalinks.

The post What’s Your Name and How to Use it for a Site or Blog? appeared first on SEO 2.0.

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To Pop Up or Not to Pop Up

With all the websites out there, you’ve likely by now stumbled upon a few riddled with frustrating pop ups. These sudden, unwelcomed blurbs asking if you need help, to subscribe or to download a whitepaper disrupt your reading and either startles or annoys you. Why do companies use these on their websites? Are there any purpose or effectiveness to a pop up?

While many marketers have become aware of the displeasure pop ups cause to visitors to their website, they are still nevertheless used. This is because pop ups get conversions. According to Sumo, the average pop up gets a 3.09% conversion rate, with the top 10% of pop ups getting a decent 9.3% click through rate. The very best pop ups that are near perfect in every way can get an astronomical 50% conversion rate! This means that pop ups certainly don’t hurt your marketing efforts. The conversion potential of pop ups can be huge with adequate time and effort.

To understand how to best utilize pop up ads, it helps to understand that not all pop ups are equal and that its success is dependent on the appropriate wording, context, location, size and timing of the pop up. For instance, the top performing pop ups such as those with a 40% conversion rate appeared on pages with corresponding, relevant content and only 8% of the top 10% of pop ups appeared for less than 4 seconds.

Types of Pop Ups

There are three main types of pop ups: the new page pop up, the in-browser pop up, and the full page pop up.

New Page Pop Up

Like the name indicates, a new page pop up creates a new page in a new tab or window. The use of this type of pop up has pretty much gone by the wayside as these pages are often blocked by a user’s computer’s built-in pop up blocker. If the pop up page is not blocked, the configuration is poor as it gets covered behind the main window and won’t come back up again after the user closes it. New page pop ups are also poor on the small screens of mobile devices. This type of pop up, however, stays open even when the web user goes to a different website on the main window. As these pop ups aren’t commonly used, there aren’t many cases of their effective usefulness.

In-Browser Pop Up

In-browser pop ups are the most commonly used type of pop up. These pop ups are the small dialogue boxes that appear either along the side in the form of a chat box, as a floater on the side or as a tiny text box when one hovers their cursor over a “trigger” word. These types of pop ups are more effective than new page pop ups and are less distracting and disruptive than full page pop ups. Some of the benefits of in-browser pop ups include:

  • They are small, contained and only fill up a small part of the page
  • Does not force a user to take an action or even to open it
  • Acts as a single, stand-alone element
  • Its content is context dependent, with the content in the pop up relating to the content either of the page or “trigger” word

These types of pop ups are great for subscriptions, remote, on-demand chat help, and free download offers.

Full Page Pop Up

Full page pop ups are the ones that make one cringe as they cover the whole page and prevent the user from reading the content or navigating the website unless an action is taken. These are common for subscriptions and appear when a user is about to navigate away from a webpage. These specific types of pop ups are often overused and misused by advertisers and third parties and have contributed to a poor online experience for the user.  Because of their disruptive, distracting nature, they should be used sparingly. Instances with license agreements and payment processing are the most appropriate uses for full page pop ups.

Pop Up Advantages

Now that you know that each type of pop up has its purpose and place, here are some of the advantages pop ups have in general:

  1. Catch visitors’ attention
  2. Remind visitors of important/urgent information
  3. Can keep a visitor on the page longer and stop them from exiting
  4. Engage the visitor and encourage interaction
  5. Interrupt “attention blindness” of visitors
  6. Encourage conversions
  7. Are effective in gathering small amounts of information that can be used as a stepping stone to sales and marketing conversions
  8. Are good gateways that require visitors leave information in order to proceed

Pop Up Disadvantages

Each type of pop up has its advantages and appropriate time and place to be used. However, pop ups in general have some great disadvantages that warrant their careful, sparse use. Some of the top disadvantages include of using pop ups include:

  1. Pop Ups Are Annoying. Regardless of the size and location of the pop ups, the vast majority of website visitors find them annoying and unwelcomed. Some web users will be so annoyed by them that they will immediately exit the site once the pop up appears.
  2. Pop Ups Can Distract and Confuse Visitors. In addition to pop ups being annoying to site visitors, they can also distract, confuse, frustrate and scare site visitors if they have irrelevant messaging or if the messaging appears at the wrong time on the buyer’s journey or appear on the wrong page of the website. This is most commonly seen in pop ups with asks that are either too small or two big based on the funnel stage.
  3. Pop Ups Can Lower Your UX and SEO Rankings. Some pop ups can slow down your website’s load time which annoys and frustrates impatient, time-crunched site visitors who will likely exit your site to visit a competitor’s site if the page doesn’t load quickly. Page load speed is also a ranking factor Google uses in its search results page ranking algorithm. Slower loading websites won’t appear high in the search results which means less website traffic.

Conclusion

The best pop up for your marketing strategy will depend on a variety of factors including your company’s buyer’s journey, market, brand, the objective of the marketing strategy and purpose of the pop up. JustUno has some excellent examples of different pop ups with different personalities, asks and purposes to help spur those creative juices.

While pop ups are commonly looked down upon by consumers, they can be an effective way to boost one’s marketing and sales campaigns if used appropriately. There are three main types of pop ups with each having a specific purpose as well as pros and cons. If you’re thinking of implementing a pop up on your website, take time to consider the purpose and goal of the pop up, the pop up’s messaging, size and page location. Keep the user’s experience in mind when rolling out a pop up.

If you need help with brainstorming and implementing pop ups on your website or need additional help in other areas of your marketing or SEO campaign, contact us at SEO.com. We are a full-service online marketing firm that has extensive experience in online marketing campaigns and we’d be glad to help you get the leads and conversions you’re looking for.

The post To Pop Up or Not to Pop Up appeared first on SEO.com.

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New Keyword Tool

Our keyword tool is updated periodically. We recently updated it once more.

For comparison sake, the old keyword tool looked like this

Whereas the new keyword tool looks like this

The upsides of the new keyword tool are:

  • fresher data from this year
  • more granular data on ad bids vs click prices
  • lists ad clickthrough rate
  • more granular estimates of Google AdWords advertiser ad bids
  • more emphasis on commercial oriented keywords

With the new columns of [ad spend] and [traffic value] here is how we estimate those.

  • paid search ad spend: search ad clicks * CPC
  • organic search traffic value: ad impressions * 0.5 * (100% – ad CTR) * CPC

The first of those two is rather self explanatory. The second is a bit more complex. It starts with the assumption that about half of all searches do not get any clicks, then it subtracts the paid clicks from the total remaining pool of clicks & multiplies that by the cost per click.

The new data also has some drawbacks:

  • Rather than listing search counts specifically it lists relative ranges like low, very high, etc.
  • Since it tends to tilt more toward keywords with ad impressions, it may not have coverage for some longer tail informational keywords.

For any keyword where there is insufficient coverage we re-query the old keyword database for data & merge it across. You will know if data came from the new database if the first column says something like low or high & the data came from the older database if there are specific search counts in the first column

For a limited time we are still allowing access to both keyword tools, though we anticipate removing access to the old keyword tool in the future once we have collected plenty of feedback on the new keyword tool. Please feel free to leave your feedback in the below comments.

One of the cool features of the new keyword tools worth highlighting further is the difference between estimated bid prices & estimated click prices. In the following screenshot you can see how Amazon is estimated as having a much higher bid price than actual click price, largely because due to low keyword relevancy entities other than the official brand being arbitraged by Google require much higher bids to appear on competing popular trademark terms.

Historically, this difference between bid price & click price was a big source of noise on lists of the most valuable keywords.

Recently some advertisers have started complaining about the “Google shakedown” from how many brand-driven searches are simply leaving the .com part off of a web address in Chrome & then being forced to pay Google for their own pre-existing brand equity.

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WordPress robots.txt: Best-practice example for SEO

Your robots.txt file is a powerful tool when you’re working on a website’s SEO – but it should be handled with care. It allows you to deny search engines access to different files and folders, but often that’s not the best way to optimize your site. Here, we’ll explain how we think webmasters should use their robots.txt file, and propose a ‘best practice’ approach suitable for most websites.

You’ll find a robots.txt example that works for the vast majority of WordPress websites further down this page. If want to know more about how your robots.txt file works, you can read our ultimate guide to robots.txt.

What does “best practice” look like?

Search engines continually improve the way in which they crawl the web and index content. That means what used to be best practice a few years ago doesn’t work anymore, or, may even harm your site.

Today, best practice means relying on your robots.txt file as little as possible. In fact, it’s only really necessary to block URLs in your robots.txt file when you have complex technical challenges (e.g., a large eCommerce website with faceted navigation), or when there’s no other option.

Blocking URLs via robots.txt is a ‘brute force’ approach, and can cause more problems than it solves.

For most WordPress sites, the following example is best practice:

# This space intentionally left blank
# If you want to learn about why our robots.txt looks like this, read this post: https://yoa.st/robots-txt
User-agent: *

We even use this approach in our own robots.txt file.

What does this code do?

  • The User-agent: * instruction states that any following instructions apply to all crawlers.
  • Because we don’t provide any further instructions, we’re saying “all crawlers can freely crawl this site without restriction”.
  • We also provide some information for humans looking at the file (linking to this very page), so that they understand why the file is ’empty’.

If you have to disallow URLs

If you want to prevent search engines from crawling or indexing certain parts of your WordPress site, it’s almost always better to do so by adding meta robots tags or robots HTTP headers.

Our ultimate guide to meta robots tags explains how you can manage crawling and indexing ‘the right way’, and our Yoast SEO plugin provides the tools to help you implement those tags on your pages.

If your site has crawling or indexing challenges that can’t be fixed via meta robots tags or HTTP headers, or if you need to prevent crawler access for other reasons, you should read our ultimate guide to robots.txt.

Note that WordPress and Yoast SEO already automatically prevent indexing of some sensitive files and URLs, like your WordPress admin area (via an x-robots HTTP header).

Why is this ‘minimalism’ best practice?

Robots.txt creates dead ends

Before you can compete for visibility in the search results, search engines need to discover, crawl and index your pages. If you’ve blocked certain URLs via robots.txt, search engines can no longer crawl through those pages to discover others. That might mean that key pages don’t get discovered.

Robots.txt denies links their value

One of the basic rules of SEO is that links from other pages can influence your performance. If a URL is blocked, not only won’t search engines crawl it, but they also might not distribute any ‘link value’ pointing to that URL to, or through that URL to other pages on the site.

Google fully renders your site

People used to block access to CSS and JavaScript files in order to keep search engines focused on those all-important content pages.

Nowadays, Google fetches all of your styling and JavaScript and renders your pages completely. Understanding your page’s layout and presentation is a key part of how it evaluates quality. So Google doesn’t like it at all when you deny it access to your CSS or JavaScript files.

Previous best practice of blocking access to your wp-includes directory and your plugins directory via robots.txt is no longer valid, which is why we worked with WordPress to remove the default disallow rule for wp-includes in version 4.0.

Many WordPress themes also use asynchronous JavaScript requests – so-called AJAX – to add content to web pages. WordPress used to block Google from this by default, but we fixed this in WordPress 4.4.

You (usually) don’t need to link to your sitemap

The robots.txt standard supports adding a link to your XML sitemap(s) to the file. This helps search engines to discover the location and contents of your site.

We’ve always felt that this was redundant; you should already by adding your sitemap to your Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools accounts in order to access analytics and performance data. If you’ve done that, then you don’t need the reference in your robots.txt file.

Read more: Preventing your site from being indexed: the right way »

The post WordPress robots.txt: Best-practice example for SEO appeared first on Yoast.

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