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Name Swapping: Why Displaying a Different Name in Your Header (or Logo) than Your Domain Can Hurt Your Website

Keller Hawthorne | April 9, 2010 | 19 Comments
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Name Swapping: Why Displaying a Different Name in Your Header (or Logo) than Your Domain Can Hurt Your Website

Just to be clear, in this post I’m referring to the name someone adds to the header or logo of their website – not the title tag displayed in the browser window.

Recently, I’ve noticed a growing trend with blogs – the owner displays a blog name in his/her header that differs from their domain name. I refer to this as “name swapping.” So, why are they doing this and is it a good idea?

Fake Example:

Name in Header/Logo: Best Blogging Tips

Why Name Swap?

1. Search Engine Optimization

The main reason I believe webmasters name swap is for SEO purposes. They want to add their target keywords to their site. If we look at the example above, we can see that this webmaster’s domain name isn’t exactly great. It only includes one of their target keywords (“blog”). But the name they’ve added to their header is fully optimized for search engines. It contains several keyword terms, including:

  • “best blogging tips”
  • “best blogging”
  • “blogging tips”
  • “best tips”
  • “blogging”

In regards to SEO, I can certainly see why this webmaster prefers “Best Blogging Tips.”

2. Clarity

The second reason I believe some webmasters choose to name swap is to help their visitors better understand what their blog is about. The name “Keller’s Blog” doesn’t tell you what the website is about. But “Best Blogging Tips” tells a visitor in a quick and direct manner what type of content they can expect to find.

The Problem with Name Swapping

Though name swapping can be beneficial for SEO, it can seriously hurt a blog’s repeat visitor traffic and brand development.

Repeat Traffic

Guess what a person will do if they like your site? They will bookmark it, sign up for your RSS, or REMEMBER the name of it. With all three of these methods, name swapping poses a problem as the chance of confusing your visitor becomes likely.

If I see “Best Blogging Tips” at the top of a website, I’m going to remember that as the name of the site. If I want to revisit it, I will either type that name into my web browser, search for it in Google or look through my Bookmarks. If I see “Keller’s Blog” in my Bookmarks or the search engine results, I will most likely pass over it as it won’t ring a bell.

Brand Development

If you’re into blogging for the long haul and have plans to create a brand for yourself, offer your own products in the future, and gain a little fame and notoriety, you want to ensure you’re as clear as day about the name of your website.

Yaro Starak of admits his domain name is long and complicated, yet he keeps it as is in the header. Why? Brand development and name recognition.

If you owned a restaurant titled “Bob’s Diner,” you wouldn’t hand out cards that say your name is “Best Diner in Texas” would you? You could definitely add that as a tagline, but name swapping would guarantee a loss of traffic.

If you’ve decided on the domain “,” you need to push that name as hard as you can – get it to stick in the minds of your visitors, create a mood around it and make it well-known. Don’t leave your visitors confused as to what the name of your site is.

Tip!A growing trend involves including your domain’s extension in your logo. For example, in my logo you will see This is definitely one of the easiest ways to imprint your domain in the minds of your visitors – you’ve spelled it out for them.

Alternatives to Name Swapping

1. Do Your Keyword Research

Before you ever register a domain, you should perform keyword research to better understand what terms your target market uses to search for your type of website. By doing your research in advance, you can avoid registering a meaningless domain name.

Tip!In my free report, Fresh Start for Your Online Business, I offer a section devoted to Choosing Your Company Name and Domain. If you need help with this, download my report.

2. Change Your Domain

That’s right – if your existing domain isn’t good, change it! Of course, this is only advisable if your site is young and lacks rankings and traffic OR you have enough brand recognition that your audience will help with your domain change.

3. Add a Tagline

Yes, add “Best Blogging Tips” as the tagline for your blog. Use it in your header, title tags and footer copyright – right after the REAL name of your blog.

Keller’s Blog – Best Blogging Tips

4. Make Sure Your Visitors Know What Your Website Is About

I recently published a post that describes EXACTLY how you can ensure your visitors know what your website is about. There’s no need to name swap – check out the article: Do Your Visitors Understand What Your Website Is All About?

What Do You Think?

In my opinion, the only time name swapping should be used is if you honestly don’t need repeat traffic or brand recognition. If your site is a one-click wonder, then I suppose this post doesn’t relate to you. But what do you think? Do you name swap and has it helped or hurt your site in any way?

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