Blogging Q&A: What’s in a name?

ABM-blogging-Q&A-R2-05It's probably pretty obvious that we love blogging, right? And over the years we've had many readers and Blog Life students ask us questions as they work through their own blogging journeys. Oftentimes we get similar questions again and again. So we thought it would be fun to share some of these FAQs in a new series. Today's question comes from a Blog Life student:

"My #1 problem right now is coming up with a blog name. Holy smokes… how does everyone do it? It seems like such an important decision, yet so hard to find something that suits me, my brand, and isn't already taken. I know this is a very personal decision, you guys can't just hand me a lovely blog name. Do you have any advice on getting a good name that makes sense, isn't too silly, and isn't taken?"

This is a great question, and also feels like SUCH a daunting task when you're going through it. There is no magic formula to coming up with a great name for your blog or brand, but here a few thoughts to consider:

1. Choose a name that represents the feeling you want your brand to have. Is your blog going to be crafty, light-hearted, high-end, delicious, colorful, calming or contemplative, over-the-top, down-to-earth, friendly, professional, etc.? There will probably be many terms that could describe the type of blog you want to write, but try to narrow down the list to your top three words you want people to use to describe the feeling of your site. Then work on brainstorming a name that communicates this. Don't do this in a vacuum; if you have a partner, work with them, and if you don't, then bounce your ideas off your friends or family. It could be that a certain name sounded perfect to you, but then you tell three friends and they all say it sounds like a very different site than you intended – what helpful (although yes, a little frustrating) feedback! 

2. Google any potential names to see if they are already in use. Ideally you want to find something that you can buy the clean url to, like abeautifulmess.com. If you come up with a great name but the domain is already in use (especially if it's already being used by another blogger), then I would avoid that name. If your name is the same or very similar to another brand or blogger, then it could become confusing to readers.

3. Social media handles. Check to see if the social media handles are already taken for your name. Again, ideally you want to be able to get your name as cleanly as possible. If you can't get the name but you can see that whoever has it isn't using it, then you may be able to get something similar, like adding "official" or "shop" or "blog" to the end of the name. These are options, but if you can find a name that isn't being used at all, this is ideal. 

4. Trademarking. You don't have to get your blog or brand name trademarked, but it's not a bad idea to at least look into this from the beginning. If you discover someone else already holds the trademark to the name you'd like to use, then you may want to reconsider. Most of the time trademarks are held within certain categories. So if someone holds the trademark to a name you'd like to use but they use it to, say, sell automobile parts and you want to use it to blog, then it may be OK (as there would likely be very little to no confusion since the purposes and subjects are so different). But if part of your blog plan is to sell clothing or accessories and you see that another company owns the TM to the name for selling clothing and they currently do so online, then I would reconsider that name. Above all, consult a lawyer or use a reputable online legal service (like Legal Zoom) when you have legal questions, as we are not lawyers. So we can only offer our opinion with regard to experiences we've had in the past. 

5. Remember that no name is perfect. Choosing a blog or brand name is like getting a tattoo. Yes, you should be deliberate and thoughtful about the process. But no matter how hard you try, probably in a few years or ten years from now, if you had to do it again, you'd pick something else. That's OK! It's not the end of the world – we promise. Names are important, but don't get so hung up on it that it stops you from moving forward with the rest of your goals for the project. If we had to pick our name all over, we probably wouldn't pick A Beautiful Mess. But we like the name and it does communicate the overall message our blog is all about. So even though we don't feel our name is perfect, we know it works and ultimately that is what matters most. 

What about you? Do you have any naming tips you'd like to share as well? Or do you have other blogging questions you'd like to ask that we may get to in later Q&A posts? 

If you're wanting to get serious about blogging, you can check out our best-selling course, Blog Life. You can also sign up for our newsletter in the sidebar if you want to be notified about course sales and other promotions we run from time to time. 

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman and Elsie Larson. Photo and design: Sarah Rhodes and Mara Dockery. Some questions have been slightly edited (including shortening, misspellings, or removing individuals' names) from their original form. 

  • What an interesting question. I think the perfect name for a blog doesn’t exist, because a blog will always be evolving. I really like the spontaneous feeling you have in A Beautiful Mess Name.

    When I decided about the name of my blog, Be Frenchie, is was really reflecting my personnality : I’m a belgian living in Provence making a bilingual blog. I think this name represent my double culture and willing to do something in french and english.

  • The timing of this post is really funny to me because I’ve been working to rename my blog. The name I currently have was randomly suggested by my husband years ago and it has nothing to do with my blog at all. So I’m renaming and going from a free blogger website to a .com address. Thanks for the reminder that there’s not going to be a perfect name!

  • If you could re-choose the name of your website, what would it be?

  • Honestly, I’m SO glad we already have a name. I have no idea what we would name it again if we had to do it over. I actually really don’t like naming new ventures as it always feels like it takes SO long and feels so stressful and in the end it’s never perfect anyway (or it never feels that way). We do really like the name A Beautiful Mess, as it clearly communicates that our site is about creativity and also that it’s going to be light-hearted and not geared toward everything being perfect. We like that, feels approachable, which is certainly something we want readers to feel as we’re really trying to invite the whole internet to be creative and make stuff along side us (if you want, or you can just watch, but that’s not nearly as fun now is it?). So, we like the name, but at times we feel like maybe it feels too young or too cheesy. But that’s probably just our own insecurities. Who knows.

    What’s in a name, anyway. πŸ™‚

    -Emma

  • I would also add that when you choose a name everyone is going to ask why your blog is named ________. So be prepared πŸ˜‰ I wish I had a fun meaning for mine, but it was just a name I randomly liked and sometimes I wish I had a fun story behind it.

  • I’ve also been thinking to rename my site/ blog, but realized that even if I rename it now, I’m pretty sure that in a year, I’ll feel that I could have picked something better/ more appropriate. I absolutely agree that it’s probably a question everyone faces because of how fast blogs evolve and our interests change and grow. I named my site Zoya and Me after my little corgi girl, Zoya. I thought it was cute and different.

    Could you please write a post about search engines and what you do to increase your traffic?

  • This post is perfect timing for me! A lot of the info can translate to many different types of businesses.I have a clothing line that I’ve been wanting to rename/rebrand for years as the clothing line has matured/evolved a bit and the name doesn’t seem super fitting. Recently have been making lists of words/names that might be a good fit. Thanks for the tips.

  • I started a new blog and it took me a while to name it but because it’s about travels and adventures I though Wanderer Girl would be the best name. As I feel it represents wandering through my life, the things I do an especially as I’m taking a gap year. Thanks for a great post.

    http://www.wanderergirl.com

    – Becky x

  • This post is so helpful and insightful! It really is stressful and hard to come up with a name for a blog that reflects your personality, that isn’t already taken. When I chose my name I went with something a little more personal – my middle name and my significant other’s middle name because I love the way they sounded together, and the blog is mostly based around us and our life. I think if you find a name that is personal or special and sounds good – go for it!

    Future question! How long does it usually take to write or draft up posts and format them with photos and other content?

  • Great post! Coming up with a name for anything is honestly so difficult – I can’t imagine having to name a kid later on! Guess that’s where middle names come into place.

    I chose “Angelina Is”, because that way I wouldn’t have to pigeonhole myself into one topic. I can write about whatever I want, and my blog name reflects that! Although writing the phrase “Angelina Is is a blog…” can get a little clunky.

    Angelina Is|Bloglovin’

  • My craft site is fronted by a fictional character, Jenny McKendrick, who leads a slightly more chaotic and interesting life than me. She creates something every week that includes at least one element that has been salvaged, something that has had a previous life or would otherwise go to waste.

    I had originally wanted to call it JAM Salvage (her initials and the reference to the salvage projects) and was so disappointed when I found it was taken by a car salvage company but I settled on Salvage Box which seems appropriate since Jenny does have a box of items that have the potential to have new life breathed into them.

    I managed to get the .co.uk url, the Facebook page and the Twitter handle. So far it’s working for me but I’m only a few months in so it’s all feeling very new and it’s good to know that probably somewhere down the line I’m going to wish I had a different name!

  • Great blog post. I had my blog name: Stylebitsandbobsofme.wordpress.com for a long time. In September my blog is going to be 3 years old and I have been thinking about changing or shortening my blog name for some time now. What do you think about changing blog names and how can I make sure I don’t lose subscribers? I’m still at a lost for what I want to change it to because I like my blog name but maybe it is too long. πŸ™‚

  • Loved this post. I so want to know what you guys would name it now if you could change the name ;)?

  • Good tips! I didn’t even check social media handles when I came up with my name, I just rolled with it. Luckily it worked out! I remember last year when I was trying to come up with a name for my blog. It was annoying lol. Add that to my Type A over analytical personality and…whew! lol luckily another blog that I was following at the time had a helpful guide. Once I found that I came up with a name almost in an instant.

    http://thequirklife.com/

  • These are some really good tips. I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a little while now but finding a name has been really difficult as I keep changing my mind and nothing ever feels right. Something I found was namecheckr.com which shows the availability of both domain names and social media usernames. This was a resource I found really helpful

  • I believe the name should be catchy.. When I first started blogging I spent a lot of time trying to get a name. I did but now I am planning to rebrand and will definitely change the name.

  • It’s sooooo hard to find a good name that hasn’t already been taken!
    I also came up with the name a Beautiful Mess, haha, you girls already took it. Now I have the domain http://www.mywanderingmind.nl
    I’m looking into changing it to a .com website, for SEO purposes.. but the .com is already taken for this name. What do you think about
    thisismywanderingmind
    discovermywanderingmind
    exploremywanderingmind

    It’s all too long, right? Any ideas? πŸ™‚

    Anyway, thanks for the tips. And I love your blog, keep up the good work πŸ™‚

    • Hi Jose.. .
      I have the same problem too… which is why I’ve decided not to adopt the .com and use something like .life or .design
      I know it is not yet a popular move but I think considering more and more people are starting to blog… very soon all .com would have been taken up… this way… you won’t have to worry about not getting the name you wanted ^_^

  • Thank you for a great post. It’s easy to start a new blog, but it’s not easy to make a good name for your blog. A good name will be a new start for your blog.