As I’ve slowly transitioned from blogging as a hobby to blogging as a job, I’ve found myself looking more and more at data. In our age of instant, abundant data, it is easy to get lost in the numbers.
Page views, searches, blahblahblah. And that’s after I’ve spent hours diving into baby name use statistics, so … yeah.
I’ve been looking at the most popular names on the site for years, as fuel for March Madness, our annual, basketball-free showdown between the names getting the most love here on AppMtn.
But until recently, I haven’t looked at the most popular posts or search terms. And as I pulled them together, I thought it might be fun to share the results with you.
Ever wondered what the most popular searches are here? Or which articles are most-read? Read on, and all of your questions shall be answered …
Favorite Baby Names: Search Terms
The biggest topic that leads searchers to AppMtn?
Nicknames. I’ve written about embracing nickname-rich names and skipping the formal name in favor of the short form. And lots of people search for some variation of the nickname question and land here. I can argue both sides – though I’m Camp Nickname-Rich myself.
- For girls, three-syllable names, names ending in ‘o’ and names ending in ‘ia’. Interestingly, girls’ names ending in ‘lia’ aren’t nearly as popular.
- For boys, there are two big categories. First, virtue names – which you’ll see reflected in the popular posts below. (I’ve written about it an awful lot!) And one-syllable names for boys. I’ve called that as a trend in years past, but I’m not sure it’s widespread enough to qualify, especially when we’re seeing lots of boys named Sebastian and Oliver at the same time.
Favorite Baby Names: For Girls
An irrefutable fact: girls’ names generate far more traffic than boys’ names. Parents probably struggle slightly more when naming their sons, but when it comes to thinking about names and reading about them, most of us are Team Pink.
This reflects the numbers – American parents use a wider variety of names for girls, and that’s not a new trend. And yet, I do wonder if I fuel that by writing about more girls’ names than boys. (I don’t have a count, but there’s no question in my mind that I do.) So one of my 2015 resolutions is to add more boy name posts!
Here are the favorite baby name posts about girls’ names in 2014:
- Adalia to Zinnia: Girls Names Ending with ia – Far and away the most popular girls’ names post – but is it because I’ve written about so many names in this category?
- Fresh Three Syllable Names for Girls – Just slightly behind #1, and one of my favorites – who doesn’t love a category that covers everything from Dorothy and Rosemary to Bellamy and Valancy?
- Twyla, Esther, and Luna: Night Owl Names for Girls – First came Stella. Then Luna. Now lots of parents are looking to the night sky to name their children. I should really write a post about night names for boys!
- Ellington, Anniston, Hollis: Surname Names for Girls – Not a trend lots of readers here love, but definitely one with currency in the wider culture … Taylor and Madison have been Top Ten names, proof enough that many parents prefer this style for their daughters.
- Coco, Willow & Marlo: Girls Names Ending with O – I feel like this trend has arrived, but maybe it’s still new outside of name nerd circles. And my 2015 predictions were headlined by two ends-with-o names for girls: Marlowe and Monroe.
- Unexpected Christmas Names for Girls – Do lots of parents actually give their children Christmas names, or is the kind of fancy that crosses your mind when you realize you might be spending your holiday in the maternity ward? Our son was actually due on December 25th, and a friend of mine called him Alexander Noel. Looking back, I rather wish we’d considered Noel as a middle name!
- Campbell and Collins: The New Unisex Names for Girls – I’ve written lots of posts about tailored names for girls, but the surname ones are still the most popular reads.
- Ooh La La: French Names for Girls – The oldest post on this list, originally published in July 2008! French names continue to have their moment. It makes me think of that Audrey Hepburn quote: Paris is always a good idea. A French name for a daughter is always a good idea.
- Lily Names: Lily, Liliosa, and Liliane – I’ve written tons of posts like this, focused on Addie and Ellie and Max. But this is – far and away – the most popular.
- Helen, Ruth, Rose & Esther: 1930s Names Ready for Revival – Maybe the comeback of so many 1930s names is something I should have called for 2015? It definitely feels like some of these are on the rise!
And the favorite posts about (mostly) boys’ names:
- Prosper, Sage, Merit: Virtue Names for Boys – Remember what I said about virtue names? This is the #1 boys’ name list at AppMtn!
- Single Syllable Names for Boys: A to Z – Again, the most-searched topics are clearly reflected in the post rankings.
- Chase and Sway: Action Verb Names for Boys – Such a fun list! We talk about nature names and noun names all the time, but verb names don’t get much press – and yet there truly are some great possibilities.
- Unexpected Christmas Names for Boys – I wrote this post because I grew weary of seeing Rudolph suggested as a name for a boy born on December 25th. Instead, how ’bout Drummer, Frost … or maybe Rudy?
- Lennon, Jagger & Hendrix: Rock Star Names – Not strictly for the boys, but mostly masculine. Cash and Everly are the most popular on the list, but my heart belongs to Bowie and Costello.
- Ten Unexpected Nicknames for Charles – I was surprised to find this one on the year’s best list – it was only published in August! But that’s the power of nicknames. I’m mulling over the possibility of a series like this .. Unexpected nicknames for Alexander, for Penelope, for Elizabeth …
- Noah, Luca, and Cuba: Boys Names Ending with a – Conventional wisdom says that girl names end in ‘a’ and boy names end in … any other letter. But with Noah on top in the US, and lots of other a-ending names trending upwards, that’s just not so.
- Fox, Pax & Felix: Boys Names Ending with X – Speaking of other letters, boy names ending in X are a stylish bunch. From conventional Alex to dashing Fox, it’s a long and appealing list.
- Haven, Noble & True: Modern Virtue Names – Here are those virtue names again! Just like the rock’n’roll post, this list isn’t reserved for the boys.
- Nico, Nicholas, and Nicosia: Nick Names – More Nick names, but this time actually names that contain the ‘nic’ sound, or are related to Nicholas.
It’s so interesting to see which posts are most read – the old favorites, the new ideas. I’ll definitely be looking at this list while thinking about what to write in 2015.
Please feel free to leave a comment if there’s anything you’d like to see on the site in the coming year!
You say French names for girls continue to have their moment, but I’d argue that French names have always been fashionable in the US – all that changes is which names are in vogue. A sampling from the top 200:
1900: Blanche, Josephine, Marguerite, Genevieve, Sophie, Marie
1940: Jacqueline, Suzanne, Annette, Jeanne, Rosalie, Claire
1980: Michelle, Nicole, Danielle, Monique, Denise, Renee, Desiree, Adrienne
I think you have to look beyond the top 200 these days to really see the French trend, but certainly many parents seem to be enchanted by names like Vivienne, Eloise, Evangeline, Juliette, Genevieve, Giselle and Camille, and the baby name forums I occasionally visit seem to be filled with people swooning over Sylvie, Elodie, Delphine and other lesser-used French names.
Have you done a post on French names for boys that might be wearable in the US? I suspect they tend to perceived as too soft or feminine by many American parents. Scandinavian names for boys are definitely a trend – take the rising popularity of Axel, Jensen, Soren and Gunnar, and Magnus entered the top 1000 for the first time last year. If you haven’t done a post on those yet, it might be an idea!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to the Virtue Names for Boys list; I’m afraid I probably account for more than half the hits. 🙂 It is filled with many of my favorites- Sage, Prosper, Valor, Bright, Noble, North, Sterling- and guilty pleasures like Harbor, Arrow, Remember, Reason, Revere, and Wrestling. Thank you for putting together such a great list.
I’m very excited for more boys names in 2015, and I would love to see a night names for boys list.
Sara A. says
I’ve kinda fallen into the Jazz Age/30s naming thing. This style has sass, spunk and pizzazz! Not to mention, personality. They also pass the “yell test,” I used to love pretty pretty names, but it’s harder to yell Lilliana than Helen.
I would like to see more German and Anglo-Saxon names. It seems that there are VERY few baby sites that give in-depth information: origin, history, and amount of uses. I see a lot of British names, Greek/Welsh/Gaelic/Cornish mythology, but none on German/Nordic/AngloSaxon mythology-gods and just names in general. Many are equally just as clunky, archaic, and charming,- much like the counterpart names from the above named cultures, but the German/Nordic/Anglo-Saxon names get no love! 🙂
Now that’s a challenge! Let me think on that one … I’m sure I can find some possibilities to highlight in 2015!