It'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 fitness-4all.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?
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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.