Need some advice on self branding

OK, now looking at the title, I now see that it reads like some kind of kinky masochistic thing. But I’m going to push on.

So, I’m at a point now where I need to start thinking about putting together a portfolio page. To do that, I need a web site, which means I need to choose a name. Obviously it needs to be something professional sounding, that gets the point across and something available that I can use across platforms.

Any ideas? Obviously, my identity of “ksjazzguitar” doesn’t work.

If I think of a name for the title bar of the web page, something like Kevin Smith Web Development. It seems long to me. Kevin Smith Coding? That doesn’t sound professional to me. Does Kevin Smith Programming sound too old fashioned? I considered going with Kevin Smith Development because “development” can also refer to nonprofit fundraising where I also work as a grant writer, but maybe it’s best to keep them separate, and that’s dying down anyway. I suppose it doesn’t have to have my name in it. I don’t know, something like Blue Onion Web Development could work? (Just picking a name at random there.)

I’ve looked at domain names and unfortunately is already taken by domain squatters.

Maybe I’m over thinking this, but once I decide, I’m kind of stuck with it.

Any advice?

Mine is just my name…I didnt want to get too fancy or too specific with my domain name because I wanted to have it forever and to be as flexible as possible, no matter where I am in life. Also, I figured…if someone is trying to remember my website, all they need is my name. But I can tell you right now, that only sounds great in theory. After 10 years, family and close friends still tell me they forgot my website url, and when Im like…its my name…my name!! And you have my business card too…like 5 of them! They then say ooooh thats right! Only to ask me again later. Not a gripe, I find it funny actually. :smiley:

Anyway,I feel you…I think I tossed around a million ideas hoping to come up with something super creative and just perfect before I gave up and decided to just use my name.

Why not Jazz Guitar? To me that suggests, creativity, art, free-form improvisation etc. These are good qualities in a web designer aren’t they?

Maybe firstname + middle initial + lastname? Keep in mind you don’t have to use “.com” either and can take a different domain like “.net” or “.io” if you want to use that kswebdev name.

But if your name is really Kevin Smith, then I can think of one good reason why you shouldn’t use it, which is because that’s the name of a semi-famous filmmaker who’s made some popular movies and you wouldn’t want to confuse your visitors (well that and the name Kevin Smith is a really generic-sounding name anyway—I’m sure there are tons of other people with the same name too!).

So in that case it might make a lot of sense to use your initials instead, or come up with something really different. Not that it needs to look like a formal business name, you can just come up with an alias and use that as the name for your online presence.

Hello there!

I personally think that whether or not having your name in the domain name depends largely on your target audience. I’m inclined to think that purely your name, or variations of your name, is “preferred” if there is a chance that you will use it for some of the following manners:

  • Your name is the brand itself
  • If the site showcases a substantial amount of your skills that are not related to web development
  • To use it mostly as an electronic complement to your resume that is aimed at larger companies whose core focus is not technology

Including terms that are not your name, but related to web development, is perfectly fine if the sole purpose of the website is to demonstrate your skills in web development—and that you want your target audience to interact with you because of web development.

Other than that I think you can just pick words that you like, can relate to, and are relatively neutral (Jazz Guitar is a bad idea if a person lands on it finds that it has almost, or absolutely nothing, to do with jazz and/or guitar). If the domain name can be reflected with your personal style (of design) it’ll be a plus.

I also live in my own little world where I think that cool people and cool employers shouldn’t judge you base on your domain name as long as it’s not offensive or illegal. If worse comes to worst, and if there is no financial constraints, you can always get more than one domain name. :slight_smile:

Disclaimer: these are personal opinions based on the thought process I went through when I got a domain name late last year (before I could do any web development).

Train of thought coming through…

Why not?

I actually like it. But depending on your target market, “Development” may sound too technical? Maybe a small biz owner may think it sounds expensive…

Blue Onion Web Builders – shorter. But what’s a Web Builder?

Blue Onion Website Builders – sounds more focus on what your company does. They build websites! And the company is Blue Onion.

BOWB - abbreviation for company. or maybe B.O. – sounds like body odor. who cares.

Blue Onion Website Builders #bowb is your twitter hashtag is your facebook page (sorry, somebody already has /blueonion is available as a domain name

I really like how that domain name sounds —


To answer some questions:

Yes, my name is “Kevin Smith” which makes an impossibility.Also, it’s kind of a boring name. And I don’t really think of my name as “the brand itself”. I would prefer something a little memorable,

Yes, this web site would be devoted to web stuff - that would be the point. I already have for my guitar playing. I would want something separate.

And thank you owel for the logo idea. That made me smile.

I’m more and more liking the idea of something whimsical like Blue Onion. My wife and I were kicking around Blue Monkey (I’ve always had a thing for monkeys.) One of the favorite band names I ever came up with was The Swing Monkeys - it told people what we played and it imparted a sense of whimsy that made us affable. I saw a band once in New Orleans called Voodoo Dog and always liked the name. I could also go with something that expresses my personality - I love jazz, classical, chess. I love Barcelona and that is my eventual hope - to get work that I can do remotely so we can move there - maybe something on that theme.

I agree that “web development” might be too technical for a layman. “Web design” would be more clear to most people, but I was worried that “designer” has lower prestige than “developer”. I guess “websites” would would be clear too. I thought “webdev” had the advantage of being less verbose, but that may to too inscrutable.

But I think I’d definitely need those extra words for clarity. I don’t know how much I need for people to remember web site addresses and email addresses nowadays - most people get to them through searches or links so there isn’t much remembering anymore.

But keep it coming, this is good. Whatever I choose I’m going to be stuck with it so I want to put some thought into this.


There already is a “Blue Onion Web Design”. And a “Blue Monkey Web Design”. There’s also a “Bluenote Web Design” (would have been a nice dog whistle to musicians).

I do like the idea of “web design” instead of “web development” - easier to understand for laymen and anyone that knows the difference is going to base their opinion on the portfolio.

Would it be wrong to use a name already in use? It is a global market and there are only so many common words.

I like “blue” and I like “monkey”. Any other ideas? Something memorable and playful while not sounding too unprofessional?

I’m not a lawyer, just playing one on TV – If the name is registered or trademarked in your country, and you used it, and the other party found out about it, then you may get a cease and desist letter.

“Blue Onion web design” seems to be just a facebook page by someone, can’t even find a URL on their FB page, or google. Last post was back in 2011, and updated the cover image last 2015.

Wow, good research. That was my next step. Another plus for blue onion.

Why not Swing Monkey Web Design? It fits the musical band you like, your logo could be a monkey with a sax playing on a laptop.
It’s different.