One of the most frequent inquiries that I receive is from people who are thinking about starting their own blogs. They’re looking for insight and a little bit of advice on where to begin. I’ve decided to start a multi-part series on the subject in case more people are interested as well. I’ll be covering eight major lessons that I’ve learned along the way… today I’m focusing on the importance of a name.
The first and possibly the most important thing you should do before starting a blog – commit to a name. A lot of people think they can pick out a quick name and then decide later on a permanent option. This is could become troublesome for so many reasons. Your blog URL address should include your official (and permanent) blog name. If not, it’s confusing to readers when they try to find your site (especially if you haven’t developed a solid readership). In addition, it can be quite the headache to switch your posts over to a new URL if you’re not knowledgeable of the process. Additionally, with all of the new social media platforms, it might prove difficult to move over followers/fans to a newly named account. Avoid the issues – stick to a name, and commit to it!
Of course there are bloggers who have successfully rebranded. I’m just suggesting it’s more work than beginning bloggers might bargain for.
So how to do you come up with a name for your blog if you’re unsure? Brainstorm, people. Write down colors, adjectives, synonyms… any word that you’d like associated with your blog or embodies your personal view point. From there start combining words into phrases, and make a top five list. To whittle down those five name options: 1. Google to see if any of the names/URLs are already taken; 2. Cross out any that aren’t short and sweet; 3. Establish which one is most memorable; 4. Get feedback from friends and family.
Now you’ve got a name, reserve that URL immediately. After all that brainstorming for your blog name, you don’t want to just sit on it and have someone scoop it up before you. Even if you’re not ready to actually post yet – reserve the URL. In fact, go ahead and reserve the Facebook Fan page, Twitter handle and Pinterest login if you plan on using social media. Then, once you’ve gotten your first couple of posts mapped out along with a social media plan, you’ll be ready to post worry-free.
Does anyone have anything they might want to add? Anyone with a personal experience in changing URLs and blog names?
I cannot even get over this illustration that was sent to me by Destiney Powell, one of the readers. She picked a photo from a recent outfit post of mine and created this amazing mixed media version. I’m beyond flattered and over the moon with her artistic abilities.
Destiney uses a mixture of prismacolor markers, colored pencils, oil paints, pastels and even eye shadow. She attributes her father as her biggest inspiration when it comes to illustration. She grew up watching him draw and mimicked his hobby in her own sketchbook. (Love that.)
Similar to this drawing, Destiney currently offers commissioned illustrations for birthdays, anniversaries and weddings. How beautiful would an illustration of a bride be, right? She says the best part of being a custom illustrator is becoming more versatile and the ability to network and socialize. Seriously, such an energetic and creative mind!
Click to email Destiney regarding commissions.
or visit Destiney’s Tumblr
*This post actually gave me the idea to start a reader feature. If you have art, a product or something you want to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured.
I haven’t talked to much about the house lately, so I thought I’d show some of the details of the living room. The entire room is not finished by any means – I still have a gallery wall to complete, and the hunt for the perfect couch is still ongoing. But hopefully, these shots will give you an idea of the overall feeling I’m trying to achieve. These are all of my favorite parts of the room. I love how they each come together and play off one another:
The first photo is my Anthropologie rug. I waited
impatiently patiently on this sucker to go on sale. It did, and here it is now underneath my pallet coffee table project. I’m still stuck on whether I’m going to add another pallet on top, add a cushion top or leave it as it. I guess it all depends on the couch…
Number two is my recently repainted and re-hardwared (did I just make that word up?) armoire. It sat in the living room a long time while I pondered what color to paint it. I started with a slate Annie Sloan paint… wasn’t working for me. So I went with black instead. I added the large brass door knockers to give it a Hollywood Regency feel.
While in the Jonathan Adler store in NYC, I fell hard for his embroidered pillows. I walked out of the store without one only to order the one in picture three when I got home. Typical. It wasn’t so much the phrase on it that sold me, but the colors – they work perfectly with the rug. Although, it’s probably not a coincidence that it seems to keep me from eating in the living room.
And lastly, my curtain poms. Yes, they’re in the dining area, but they also made it into the living room. You may also find curtain poms in one of the guest rooms too. They really never get old. I’m thinking of adding them to the bottom of hand towels as well…
I posted about JessLC a couple of weeks ago, but I did not mention the brains behind the brand… or multiple brands. Jess Lively is also a business consultant helping businesses all over the country. Through her blog JessLively.com and her consulting site BusinessWithIntention.com, Jess inspires her readers to live with intention.
I have to admit, I had sort of an epiphany reading some of her posts, and even signed up for her weekly email. So insightful and makes me consider and then reconsider some of my own decisions. If you have a small business or are considering one – it’s a must read situation!
Here are Jess’ responses from our short Q&A:
What are five things you are looking forward to this Fall?
Since there is so much “new” in my life since getting married, I’m excited about a lot of the activities my husband and I are doing like:
1) Having a friend bash to celebrate our marriage. Since we eloped for our wedding, we are having our friends get together in September for a rooftop party and build-your-own mini-burger bar.
2) Moving into our new apartment! This one is a biggie. Come October we will be moving into our first official home (apartment) together. It has more room then my current apartment which is overflowing with boxes of Jess LC inventory, so that will be a welcome change. And of course, there is always the decorating, too.
3) Getting a puppy! Again, extremely exciting. We are getting a Westie puppy this fall and cannot wait to see him or her running around our home. It will be a lot of work too, training and so on, but totally worth it.
4) Thanksgiving weekend. For our families to celebrate our marriage we are having them over to our apartment over Thanksgiving weekend. It will be a crazy affair with two big families, but totally awesome at the same time.
5) Christmas. This holiday might be the first time we have our own Christmas in Chicago as a family, or we might fly to Philly to stay with my parents. We aren’t sure on the details yet, but I’m excited about the holidays wherever we are.
How do you describe your personal business outlook?
My personal outlook on business is that we all have special gifts to share with the world to help others. And the more we can tap into what those gifts and talents might be, the more we can help people and improve our financial lives at the same time. It can be tempting to stay a safe course that doesn’t involve risk, but if you go with your gut and evolve along the way, amazing things can happen. Life, and business has a way of working out for the best.
What surprising person/place do you look to for inspiration?
For design inspiration for Jess LC I look to my first love: interior design. I love taking interior trends and translating them to accessories or jewelry. And now, I’m actually also designing home goods themselves via collaborations which is a ton of fun, too.
What’s the biggest joy you receive from blogging?
For me, blogging has allowed me to reach people and help them. So when I hear that something I have shared has made someones life or day better, I am deeply grateful.
What piece of advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
I would say: start where you are and just keep going! That is all anyone in business has ever, ever done.
Photos courtesy of Tate Tullier Photography
Pretty sure after this shoot, all my outfit posts are going to seem a little boring. 🙂
Dress from Forever 21; Chanel clutch; shoes from Target (obsessed!); spiked bracelet from ASOS; Zara knuckle ring; vintage gold earrings and bracelets; Ann Taylor cateye sunglasses; Michael Kors watch.