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Choosing the Perfect Blog Name: Paper and Salt

From Talking Covers to The Importance of Being Serbian, we always enjoy hearing from bloggers about the clever names they come up…

From Talking Covers to The Importance of Being Serbian, we always enjoy hearing from bloggers about the clever names they come up with for their blogs. Today, we’re chatting with Nicole Villeneuve, who writes about food and literature over at Paper and Salt.

Paper and Salt header

Tell us the story behind Paper and Salt.

Since I knew I wanted to write about the intersection of food and literature — specifically, what authors like to eat — I knew I wanted a name that brought those two things together, too. I tend to gravitate toward alliterative things, puns, or wordplay, so I think the first thing I came up with was something like “Authorized Kitchen.” I wrote an email to my boyfriend and he (kindly) told me that it was terrible. I’m glad he did.

Did you have any other close contenders?

I started just throwing a bunch of food- and writing-related words down in a notebook: spoon, kitchen, book, library — whatever I could think of — and then finding matches between those. I almost called it Spoon and Pencil, but then I thought about salt and pepper and… that clicked.

Was there any particular reason for not going with the more obvious Salt and Paper?

It was taken! By a very cute company that makes stationary.

Most people don’t end up getting the paper/pepper connection on first (or second or third) read now, which I kind of like. It’s always fun getting a note from someone who made that connection, like it’s our little secret.

I’m kind of fanatical about saving money, so I knew that if there’s one thing that would keep me going, just making the tiny investment into getting my own custom domain would do it.

Your site has a custom domain (paperandsalt.org). Why did you decide to have one?

I knew I wanted to have my own domain from the beginning, in part because it made the blog seem more legitimate and would help with SEO (search engine optimization). But, probably more importantly, I saw it as a commitment to myself to continue blogging… at least for the rest of the year.

I’m kind of fanatical about saving money, so I knew that if there’s one thing that would keep me going, just making the tiny investment into getting my own custom domain would do it. It’s the same way I feel about belonging to a gym. (That’s especially helpful now, since I’m always testing recipes and eating the results.)

As for the .org — .com was taken. Finding something no one has ever done is hard!

What advice would you give to bloggers searching for an original blog name?

Especially for people like me who get caught up in puns and stuff, it can be liberating just to free-associate and pick a name for the way it feels in your mouth and in your ear, instead of going for a gimmick or a joke that you might not think is so funny in a year or two.

Also, share your possible names with other people! They’ll be a great testing ground, so don’t take their feedback personally or be afraid to kill an idea. It’s also a smart way to see how much your name sticks — you’ll want one that people keep coming back to over and over, without having to Google it.

Share your possible names with other people! They’ll be a great testing ground, so don’t take their feedback personally or be afraid to kill an idea.

Does your blog name have a presence on other platforms or social media?

I have the same name on Facebook and Pinterest, where I share some photos of upcoming recipes ahead of time, and also link to some related stories about food and books as they come up.

A couple of years in, do you ever have second thoughts about choosing Paper and Salt?

The nice thing about the name at the time was that it felt expansive enough that I could write about whatever food and book topics I wanted, whenever I got bored writing about authors’ recipes. Luckily, there’s been so much neat stuff to discover that I haven’t gotten tired of that yet. But if I ever want to wander off into other areas of food writing or book criticism, it’s reassuring to know that the name still works.

Thanks for the chat and for the insight, Nicole!

Tip from The Daily Post: If you’re interested in buying a custom domain, use a tool to see if the name you want is available. If you’re interested in learning more about custom domains, visit the All About Domains support page, as well as these handy posts:

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  1. I am a lover of the good, old fashioned pun…
    I am currently cycling up through Spain, after completing a cycle tour through Morocco last week. My blog is called Morocc ‘n’ roll and throwing Espagna in the works. I’ll finish in France… France the night away?

  2. I love reading how people chose names! Thank you. Yesterday I just posted a (humorous) piece on choosing blog names…. I even linked to a blog name generator and people are having fun commenting on the names it spits out for them. It kinda has a dirty mind! I am addicted to puns and rhyming titles too. I.e. yesterday’s post was titled The Lame Name Shame Blame Game! Oy.

  3. I liked this post! I am happy with my blog name but did feel a bit silly when I ran into a someone who asked me for it recently. The look of confusion made me want to say, “WAIT! You should read the sticky post and find out WHY I named it…blahblahblah”

  4. This is so interesting. I chose the name eastelmhurstagogo for my blog because I lived on the borderline between East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights until I was around twelve years old & because I’ve always been abnormally obsessed with the 1960′s . Is that ever distinctive reasoning or what?

  5. I love this. I really struggled with finding my name… Beautease comes from beauty, i think we tease ourselves with beauty and of course others…. I like fun names that make people think

  6. Really interesting to see how blog names are chosen. It gives a face behind the blog kid of. Mine just happened and over time it has developed into its own style. I discuss it in a recent post called total ellipsis of the heart if you have time to read.

  7. We really like your blog name. Sometimes, we make things too complicated. We went back and forth with our name and then just finally said the heck with it. Let’s go with this.

  8. I’m so glad you profiled Paper and Salt. I hadn’t come across it before but it is such a perfect blend of all my favourite things – history, food, literature. I’ve just spent close to 2 hours reading through it!

  9. I think paper and salt is good, it rolls off the tongue better than salt and paper.

    I chose mine to give an idea where I was and to give the idea that my posts aren’t always a calm and serene ride. Same with cloudsmovingin. Most people abbreviate me to roughseas or just rough :D

  10. This is one of my very very favorite blogs. I have made the food and referenced it on my own blog. I am so happy to see it featured here. A true star.

  11. Salt and pepper, so simple and yet so nice. Love it. I hope my blog will justify my name too. Sincerely yours, friendsoulmate.

  12. Choosing a blog name outside on ones won can be challenging. For me it was a love of the pen name and a combination of what I would discuss. My blog name has two meanings actually. I will be discussing everyday matters and for one to keep in mind that Every Day truly does matter. Thus it became my blog name.

  13. The power of the name ;-) I have come across some great names for blogs and am always impressed. For me ‘its all about a bit of this and that’ (and whatever else springs to mind) was because I couldn’t make up my mind what I wanted to blog about, whether it be my cycling, volunteering, running, charity work or being a Mum. Enough to go on I know, but then I found photography. I finally knew what I subject I wanted to stick with. The name also stayed the same, because I then wanted to photograph anything and everything so it still seemed appropriate! :-)

  14. My name is Alienora – which, as some of you may have spotted, breaks down neatly into Alien and Ora. So, as I have always felt I was more than a bit of the former and, being a tad psychic, not entirely unfamiliar with the more conventional spelling of the latter, I now call my blog:
    ALIEN AURA’S BLOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!

  15. Now I’m thinking my blog will be redundant on returning from my travels, the holiday level will be lost. It will have to instead be a boring run down of the things I do each day! Great read though and a great story behind it!

  16. I was the go to girl for a story. Everyone knew I could write a story on any topic at anytime. I felt like A ghost writer for so long. Until one day I saw the movie National Treasure. Loved it. Thomas jefferson aka Silence dugood. I loved The name, I felt totally hooked. My name Became Silent Dugood.

  17. The name of a blog is really important.. especially because people have to be able to remember it! All of my favorite blogs have short and sweet names that are catchy and memorable. They also fit their blog content well which is important. I like the name Paper and Salt for that reason. My blog is “An Olive Daily” which is simply me (Olive) and my daily life.

  18. I like this post! I threw around some names as well but decided to go with something daring and funny that almost doesn’t make sense unless you know me personally. First I asked a few people to see what response I got though! I like pepper and salt because it goes against what your used to saying.

  19. The pun is so adorable! As you can tell by my name, I am very into them.
    Also, wow is your blog topic ever the niche one. I hope to fall into some sort of pattern one of these days…

  20. I started my blog out of spontaneity. Now I hesitant to change my blog name as it will affect all my other social media account, past photos I uploaded with my site copyright text and etc.

  21. I am a new blogger and it took me like 6 months to finally decide the blog name because i wanted to write on every burning issue! lol! love the name paper and salt!

  22. I love the name ‘Paper and Salt’. Very creative! As for me, I swear by wordplay AND anonymity (which is a blessing, given the personal and sometimes scandalous nature of my posts), so choosing a name for my blog was pretty obvious!

  23. It is a great name, especially when you read the story behind it. I think it is important to be brave and true to yourself. And even if someone tells you it is not a good name or that they just don’t get it, stick to your heart’s desire.

  24. Paper and Salt is a pretty cool name. I love reading what clever things other people have come up with, but I’m not witty enough to think of one myself. And I didn’t want a name which had any kind of identity pre-attached to it, as I know I wouldn’t be able to keep up a blog with one focus, so I just preferred to use a name with no particular meaning, then I could have a few different sort of things I do with it, and let my blog’s identity form completely from the content. I’ve used this name before, and I still like it, so why not?

  25. Interesting on hearing how you developed your blog name. I struggled with mine as well and came up with Life is a Melting Pot because of the various activities I am involved with and my blog will cover a variety of topics, not just one area.

  26. I didn’t get the pepper/paper connection until I had read it in the post a few times. Maybe if I had been reading it aloud I would have caught it. It’s a very cute/sleek name for the blog. Well done!

    My blog is Saddle Seeks Horse partly because I have a sad saddle in my garage that needs a horse to give it purpose again, and partly because I didn’t want it to be too obvious to my husband that I’m scheming to get my next horse (hey, the saddle needs a horse!). I’ve wondered if I will one day have to change the name once the saddle has met its perfect match.

  27. I really enjoyed the post. My blog post name, everyone can Montessori, is sort of turning the Montessori [method of teaching] into a verb, and saying that everyone can do it! At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but as I thought about it more and more I really like how it rolled off the tongue. And it kind of like “clicked”, as was said for Paper in Salt in this post. :)

  28. Paper and Salt is a great name! I write a blog about religion, geekery, politics, feminism and so on so I wanted to relay the secular world into my name. I went the alliteration route and named it The Secular Songbird. A little cheesy, maybe? But I’m still happy with it months later! A hint of relevance is a good thing, to me :)

  29. Thanks Nicole for sharing your story. I love the name Paper and Salt, it rolls nicely on the tongue and I see it, just like the ladies having tea in the picture, in black and white. It’s delicate somehow, it’s as if I can hear the crisp sound of a good quality old page being turned in a book… Beautiful!

    A few months ago I started my own blog Stockholm Serendipity. I love the word serendipity, for its meaning and also for the way it sounds and look on paper. I knew I wanted my blog name to include a city which I identify with, which for different reasons would be Stockholm, London, New York City or Tokyo. Stockholm Serendipity was a perfect match! To my eyes, my ears and my tongue. And my mind :-)

    If you want to read my blog post on how my thoughts were going about the name serendipity, you can find it here http://stockholmserendipity.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/on-the-topic-of-serendipity/ I’d love to hear your comment, and I look forward to following Paper and Salt!