Choosing a name can be one of the most difficult tasks in starting a blog. I racked my brain for weeks trying to come up with a couple words that accurately reflected my business. I wanted a name that was simple, yet descriptive. Familiar, but one of a kind. Personal, but gave me room to grow.
Whether you're a brand new blogger or you're going through a rebrand, you've probably experienced the same name game frustration. While there is no 3-step solution to finding the perfect name, here is a helpful guide for finding a memorable blog name you truly love.
1. Make a list
After a couple weeks of this series, you should have a good idea of what you're going to write about. You've narrowed your focus, found your niche, developed a mission statement, worked through content, and considered your audience. If you've done your homework, you already have several lists full of ideas and descriptive words. Pull out your notes from these past few weeks and start another brainstorm to get the creative juices flowing.
Begin writing down any and every word associated with your blog. Even if you're 99.9% certain you would never use a particular word in your blog name, it might springboard into a new clever word that you hadn't considered before.
Think about your blog topics, your tone, and your audience, then jot down words associated with them. If you're starting an interior design blog, you might write down obvious words like "space" or "interiors", but push it a little further. Think about fabrics, upholstery, colors, patterns, how a room might make someone feel, treatments, furniture, interior design terms, adjectives that describe a room, etc. Include both broad and descriptive words.
This might not be a "sit down for an hour and crank it out" kind of ordeal. If you're like me, your greatest ideas might come while you're driving down the interstate or meeting a friend at Starbucks. Carry around a small notebook and give yourself a couple days (or in my case, a couple weeks) to come up with new words.
Once you've exhausted every word option, go through your list highlighting the yeses and crossing off the no-ways.
2. Keep your purpose in mind
The point of a name is to summarize your blog in a nutshell, so what key elements of your blog are the most important for you to communicate? As you begin to weed through your long list of words, keep your mission statement and your purpose in mind. Size up the items on your list in light of them.
3. Make one more list
Once you've done all of the above, start a new list for blog name ideas.
Pair two words together. Take an item on your list and add -ista, -ly, or -ed at the end of it. Consider making up a new word by piecing together the syllables from a couple words. Think about creating a name that sounds similar to a word on your list. Sometimes the most memorable names are made-up words that no one has heard before. Like your last list, don't nix ideas before you write them down; they just might spur an idea that will lead you to "the one." Give yourself creative freedom to explore all the options.
For example, I knew that I wanted my own name somewhere in the name of my blog. While the last name "Hooker" is definitely memorable, I just couldn't bring myself to include it in my blog/business name. I randomly wrote down the name Elle as a play off of the "L" in my first name (Lauren) and the "El" of my middle name (Elizabeth). It sounded feminine, which would appeal to my audience. It was a name, so it was a little more personal and gave my space some character. And it was classy, which played into the more professional feel that I was going for.
4. Consider these questions
Once you've come up with some viable options, consider these questions:
- Is this name too literal?
- Is it too obscure or confusing?
- Does this name give me room to grow and expand down the road?
- Is it easy to say and spell?
- Does it reflect the tone of my blog?
- Will this name appeal to my ideal reader?
When I was going through these myself, I began to think through my business goals to make sure my name would align with them. One of my goals was (and is) to grow. If I ever have the opportunity to bring more people on board with Elle & Company, I want my name to remain the same. And if I ever decide to add another facet to my business, I want my name to be able to encompass it, too. Hence, Elle and Company.
5. Do your research
Now that you've exercised your creative freedom and worked through the questions above, do your research. Look into other businesses or blogs who might have already taken the names you've come up with. Try out possible domain names to see if they are available and make sure that your name won't interfere with any current trademarks or DBAs. It would be awful to have your heart set on a name, design a pretty brand around it, and put it on everything only to find out that it has already been taken.
6. Test it out
Have you settled on a name? Run it by other people and get feedback before you make the jump. They might bring up a different perspective that you may not have considered before.
Like I said before, there is no perfect process. The steps above are just one way to approach naming your blog, so make adjustments as you see fit to find what works best for you!
For those of you who already have a blog, how did you come up with your name?