Nicole Villeneuve, who writes about food and literature, talks about how she chose her 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 with for their blogs. Today, we’re chatting with Nicole Villeneuve, who writes about food and literature over at Paper and Salt.
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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