The idea to start a blog first came to me in the summer of 2016. Despite the fact that I had a full-time writing job in an interesting industry, I felt like I was only exercising one part of my creative mind. Maybe it was the fact that I was writing meticulous snippets of copy about chaises and chandeliers all day when I was dying to explore topics of greater personal and existential importance. Maybe I wanted to connect with other people through the power of vulnerable, authentic storytelling. Maybe I just wanted to create something that I felt proud to sign my name to, knowing that every part of it was mine: each story; each photograph; each thoughtfully chosen turn of phrase.
At any rate, the version of Feather & Flint that you see today is exactly what I envisioned in my very first post last September, Chapter One: Why I’m Starting a Blog:
In spite of the staggering number of hours that I’ve clocked in pursuit of degrees, good grades, promotions, raises, and other accolades, my most salient moments as a writer haven’t happened in school or at work. These meaningful moments have happened when I’ve worked up the courage to share my personal, just-for-fun writing with the kindred spirits that I’ve crossed paths with over the years. This kind of raw honesty has been nerve-wracking but undoubtedly worth it, time after time.
Storytelling continues to surprise me in its capacity to connect me with new friends who have their own wisdom to share. It continually reminds me that while my words have the power to make complex science relatable or compel customers to open an email, for me, the most fulfilling writing is intimate, authentic, and vulnerable.
So, that’s why I’m starting a blog: To tell my stories, and to hear yours. To share the lessons that I’ve learned so far; to explore the beauty of everyday life; and to connect with present & future friends about life’s yet-to-be-answered questions. From break-ups to weddings, recipes to photographs, introversion to perfectionism, building a home to hosting a dinner party, I’m ready to share my story as it unfolds.
Having the idea to start a blog is one thing—but taking the steps to bring that idea into existence is infinitely more complex than I ever imagined. The first step alone can seem insurmountable: How to choose a blog name that’s simple and memorable, but encapsulates the entity that you want to bring into being; that’s alluring to a wide audience, but original enough that it’s not already in use; that represents the topics that you want to cover, but can grow with your blog as it evolves and matures.
Knowing how much I agonized over how to choose a blog name last September, I wanted to share my very best tips for those of you who are just starting out—and also tell the story of how Feather & Flint got its name.
How to Choose a Blog Name
Step 1: Brainstorming
My first step in figuring out how to choose a blog name was to make a list of all of the words that evoked the aesthetic that I was imagining. A few words that were on my short list: Wild. Ink. Feather. Honey. Spark.
I also chose a format: [Noun] & [Noun]. I wanted the combination to feel earthy and authentic yet evocative and aspirational, working in concert to express my perspective and personality—not like two random objects that I connected with an ampersand.
I pored over the names of other lifestyle blogs to find ones that inspired me. A few that I loved: Nectar & Stone. Saffron Avenue. The Chronicles of Her. Wit & Delight. October Ink. Grit & Virtue. Kindred. Deeply Rooted.
How to Choose a Blog Name
Step 2: Developing a Short List
After gathering my inspiration, my second step in figuring out how to choose a blog name was methodically pairing the words I’d chosen. Working two by two, I looked for combinations of words that were cohesive and pleasing to the ear. I found that names with alliteration and a 2-syllable word + a 1-syllable word sounded best to me.
After eliminating any combinations that didn’t resonate with me, I further narrowed down my short list of potential names by quickly verifying whether they were already in use online. To my chagrin, I found that many of the names I loved were already taken—a reality of establishing a brand in 2016: Spirit & Spark (owned by a psychic medium in Las Vegas!). Feather & Ink (in use by a graphic designer, a makeup artist, and a calligrapher). Honey & Ink (which turned out to be a tattoo shop in Australia!). Peonies & Ink (Peony + Ink was already an established lifestyle blog).
Next, I wrote my top 15 names on index cards and discussed the pros and cons of each with a handful of friends. This was one of the most important steps that I took, because it forced me to view each name through others’ perspectives and eliminate any that I felt silly saying out loud. It also made it clear that there were names that I felt more protective of than the others, which helped me to further narrow down the list.
Last, after eliminating several more names from my short list, I chose the top contenders and officially investigated whether the domains and social handles were already in use.
How to Choose a Blog Name
Step 3: Making a Decision
I ultimately chose the name that I had found myself rooting for all along: Flint & Feather. However, I ended up having to switch the order to Feather & Flint, which wasn’t yet being used by anyone else; Flint & Feather turned out to be a board game, as well as a husband-and-wife folk duo. (Maybe I’m biased, but I now think that Feather & Flint was the better name all along!) Featherandflint.com was already taken, but I was so invested in the name by this point that I decided on the domain featherflint.com instead, and I’ve never regretted it once.
Finally, I registered my domain, created all of my social media accounts, designed some graphics, and published my first blog post on September 13, 2016!
What Feather & Flint Means to Me
So, why “Feather & Flint”—beyond the fact that the words sound nice together? A feather, like the word itself, is delicate; graceful; poetic. Meanwhile, a flint is a stone used to spark a fire; both the object and the word are earthy and unyielding. This pairing of hard and soft, masculine and feminine, ethereal and down-to earth appealed to me—especially as someone who aims to be seen as both graceful and capable of sparking a fire at any given moment.
What has made me the woman and the writer that I am is my ability to be both deeply sensitive and undeniably strong at the same time; to be affected to the core by the world around me, but to let that fuel my desire to connect with others over vulnerable, honest, brave stories. That’s the mission that drove me to establish Feather & Flint a year ago, and it’s what keeps me invested 365 days and 41 blog posts later.
Last, I wanted to pass along some wisdom from three other bloggers who prove that the work you put into choosing the right name is always worth it. However—this is just as important—you shouldn’t let the process of figuring out how to choose the perfect blog name prevent you from getting your blog off the ground in the first place.
How Other Blogs Got Their Names
Bria of Tendril Wild:
“For me, blog names are deeply personal. When starting and naming a blog, I always begin with a feeling first. Next, I go to words. Finally, I combine the two in a way that evokes the experience I want a reader to have when they stumble upon my blog. With Tendril Wild, I wanted someone to feel the warmth, safety, and support of an online community for introverts. Most people think of introverts as meek and shy, but I believe there is a wild potential inside us that is just begging to be set free. Introverts are like a tendril of a vine: We are able to grow and flourish when given the right support and encouragement. I created Tendril Wild to help other introverts celebrate their quietness instead of being ashamed of it, and I wanted the name of my blog to be a constant reminder of this small, safe haven I’ve created.”
Amanda of The Light Owl:
“I’ve tried to start many blogs in the past but always gave up on them for lack of inspiration. One night, I realized that I would love to write a blog inspiring people to pursue personal growth, self-love, mental health, and healthy relationships. But every time I started a blog in the past, I’d always get stuck on the blog name. Inspiration struck this time, though, and The Light Owl was born. I wanted a name that embodied inspiration and wisdom. The Light Owl is a play on the phrase ‘Night Owl.’ My blog name reflects my mission to inspire my readers toward a life of authenticity and positivity as I share with them the knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained in my own life and my career as a mental health counselor.”
Fay of Balancing Lemons:
“I put off starting my blog for the longest time because I knew that the name had to be perfect. I wanted it to be catchy, witty, and fun, but also relatable and representative of who I am and what I have been through. After months of excuses, I finally sat down one day and started writing down words that related to my life. The phrase ‘when life hands you lemons’ really resonated with me and very much depicted what I wanted the overall voice of my blog to be. Life will always present challenges and roadblocks, but it’s how we handle and balance these lemons that truly allows us to live a wonderfully passionate life that we love.”
Do you have any tips on how to choose a blog name? How did you choose yours—and are you happy with it today? I can’t wait to hear your stories!
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