I had lunch with Evan Schaeffer in December and told him that I loved his observation that lawyers used Black’s Law Dictionary as the prime source for blog names. He’s even listed obscure Latin legal phrases that no one has taken for blog titles and offered them as suggestions. Evan and I, and perhaps a few others, think that this is a hilarious observation.
I chose the name of my blog for two reasons. First and foremost, I conceived of this blog as an experiment in writing, where I could write in new ways and find a new audience. I didn’t do a lot of thinking about blog strategies or marketing uses of my blog – I just knew that I had to have a blog – in its way, it was my next form of art. As a result, I didn’t want to pick a title that limited what I could write about, as a title that reflected legal technology or technology law might. An example to consider: Marty Schwimmer of The Trademark Blog is one of the funniest, most brilliant people I know. You can pick some of that up from his blog, especially his wildly popular SpongeBob posts. However, it is very difficult for Marty to write about topics outside of trademark law on “The Trademark Blog.” On DennisKennedy.Blog, I don’t have those kinds of constraints.
Secondly, my friend Kevin Buckley kept saying to me that I was known because of my website, writing and speaking as “Dennis Kennedy” and that my name was a kind of brand and that it was crazy to try to create a second brand for myself when I could “build out” an existing brand. Adding the “dot blog” to the end was a little burst of inspiration I had one day that I’ve grown to like a lot.
My blogger friends hear from me all the time that they need to get their names on their blogs. I convinced Jim Calloway when he named his new (and excellent) blog, but others are a tougher sell. I’m getting some traction on the subject, though. At LegalTech, people said to me, “Hey, Dennis!” I was always introducing other bloggers with a subtitle like “The Nonbillable Hour” or “Inter Alia.” It’s interesting how people can be huge fans of a blog and not be familiar with the name of the blogger. When you see name changes to titles like “Matt Homann’s Nonbillable Hour” and “Tom Mighell’s Inter Alia,” you will know that I’m starting to have some influence.
That said, if you name your blog after yourself rather than using a clever name, you may later sacrifice sales of T-shirts and other items (e.g., a Blawg Channel t-shirt would be better than a DennisKennedy.Blog t-shirt), but people will know you by name. In my case, course, I was relatively well-known in legal tech circles before I started my blog and if you are relatively unknown, you might want to take the approach of the catchy name. In that event, I still recommend a “Your Name’s Clever Blog Title” approach.