Blogger's and Seller's 101: What's in a Name?

If you are a parent, think back to when you were pregnant.  Do you remember all of the discussions you had with your family members about what to name your baby?  As a teacher this is especially difficult because invariably someone will suggest a name . . . a perfectly wonderful name, but . . . you once had a student with that name.  Let's just say you don't want daily reminders of your time spent with that student.  

Even naming a pet isn't just as easy as 1, 2, 3.  There are discussions and negotiations before consensus is reached.

Are you a teacher who has decided to take the plunge and set up a TPT store and/or blog this summer?  One of the first things you will be asked when setting this up on TPT and the blogging site is about the name of your store/blog.  You will confuse your followers less, if the name of your blog and the name of your store are the same.

Just like you spent or would spend a considerable about time before you would name your child or pet, spend time looking at names before you set up your store/blog on the sites.  Google, google, google, google, google, google, google, google, and then google the name again.  Is there any blog or store that is similar?  Similar sounding?  Similar spelling?  If there is, go back to the drawing board until you find something that is YOUR OWN!  When you were a child, were you ever in a class that had 2 or 3 other students with your name or a similar sounding name? 

 I promise you this is a true story!  I once had 3 boys named Christopher/Chris, and girls named Christina, and Krista.  So, while the spelling for Chris, Christopher, Christina, and Krista may have looked DIFFERENT to the person who created my class list, when you are living the life, it is not easy!  It works the same way with blogs. 

Imagine if you will, a hypothetical discussion in a teachers' lounge, Ms. LoveIt says I just found a new blog that you should check out.  Ms. LookingForNewStuff ask what the name is.  Ms. LoveIt says, "I think it is Teach123."  Ms. LookingForNewStuff leaves lunch a little early so she can go google the name Teach123.  But, if more than one Teach123's show up in her search, how will she know which one her friend was talking about?

If you spend hours upon hours upon hours writing blog posts, pinning the lessons on Pinterest, and sharing ideas on Facebook so you can build up followers, do you want people to get confused by a name?

If you google a name or type in a name on TPT's search, you will often see similar sounding names.  Obviously, one of the sellers had the name first.  There could be two reasons why a  sellers/bloggers named their store/blog with a similar sounding name as an established seller.
  • The seller/blogger made a newbie mistake and didn't research the name.  Search on TPT with names your considering and google it, too.  Don't just look at the name.  Say them out loud so you will know if they sound almost alike.  You do not want your future followers to confuse you will someone else.
  • Shortcut:  When you line up your class, if your students don't have assigned spots, what is one of the complaints you hear most often?  "Ms. Teacher, he/she cut in line."  There are a small number of sellers/bloggers who thinks it is a marketing advantage to name their store and blog similar to an established one.  As a child, did you like the kid who cut in line and didn't wait for his/her turn in line?  Pigging backing off of an established seller/blogger's time and effort to build a following is the cyberspace's version of cutting in line.  

The teaching blog / TPT sellers community is unique, in that you will often see bloggers and sellers collaborating together.  

  • TPT has a sellers forum where sellers share ideas and help each out in many different ways.  I wished I had discovered that oasis of information when I was a newbie.  I could have saved me hours of searching for help on the internet.  Don't forget to visit the section called collaborative Pinterest boards, linky parties, giveaways, etc. 
  • When I was a student teacher, my cooperating teacher gave me some valuable advice about school politics.   Alliances and loyalties are invisible and it takes a while before you get the big picture.  One year, our principal hired a first year teacher who unfortunately was not given this advice.  At recess duty one day, she was complaining about the lack of support (in her opinion) she was getting from her mentor.  What she didn't realize was her mentor and the teacher she was talking to - although they taught different grade levels at this school - once taught the same grade level at a previous school.  Not only that, but they went through their first few years of teaching together which bonded them.  She was new, hadn't seen them talking at this school, because they teach different grade levels so they had different prep periods, lunch, and recess times.  What she didn't know was they belonged to a group of once a month happy hours.  The end result was not good for the first year teacher.
  • I have never seen a sales circular with Target and Walmart joining together to advertise their Back to School sales.  Yes, they could probably share some printing and shipping cost if they did that.  But, they are competitors.  The teacher blog/seller community is special because you will often see us collaborating/marketing together by giving links to each other's blogs, donating lessons to another blogger's giveaway, pinning each other's blog posts, joining together for blog hops and Facebook hops.  
What do loyalties, alliances, and collaborating with other bloggers have to do the title of this post?  If you either didn't do your research when you chose your name or you thought you would "cut in line" by choosing a name similar to an established blogger, do you think established bloggers would want to collaborate with you?  It is not just the blogger whose blog's name is similar to yours that you offended.  It is all of that blogger's friends who are offended on their friend's behalf. Teacher bloggers who have been blogging for a number of years and have built a following, have formed relationships with other bloggers and are loyal to their friends.  

My daughter helped me set up my blog because she is more techie.  She took my computer and began setting it up without asking me what I wanted to name my blog. Why she didn't ask me, I don't know.  I guess it was a middle school thing.  Here's a screen shot of the blog she originally set up. Please note the key word originally.

My daughter named it Sunny Days because we were always having "talks" about looking on the sunny side of life.  She is a glass is half empty kid.  As you can see by the URL, above, the site allowed me to name my blog Sunny Days. If I wouldn't have done my research, I might have assumed that there wasn't any other blogger named Sunny Days.

Meet Denise, the ORIGINAL Sunny Days blogger.  If I wouldn't have googled Sunny Days to check, and began blogging under the name Sunny Days, do you think Denise would have wanted to become my friend or collaborate with me?  When I began my blog, I did not know Denise.  But, over time, I have gotten to know Denise and am so thankful that I took the time to do my research.  Denise is a really great person and blogger!

In the TPT sellers' forum, I often hear new sellers say they wish they had a mentor like they did when they began teaching.  I am going to start a series of posts called "Blogger's and Seller's 101" where I will share a few things I have learned since I began this journey. I have made many mistakes along the way and hope you can learn from them.  I enjoyed mentoring student teachers when I was in the classroom.  Unfortunately, I do not have the time to mentor a blogger/seller.  I hope you find these posts helpful.  

Here is a copy of some of the information from this post that you can download.

Click HERE to download the printable.


Lovely Nina said...

Great Post!
-Lovely Nina

Kathy said...

Good advice!!

First Grade a la Carte

Karen Constantino said...

Great post and a nice reminder. I spent a lot of google time before choosing my blog name. I look forward to your future posts.

Jennifer Larson said...

Nice job! I agree wholeheartedly.

The Teacher Next Door