Domain Names: Choose them wisely!

Who are You? – Picking out a domain name

Building a presence on the web can be very important to an artist’s success in the music industry.  Sure, there are lots of music selling services like iTunes, Amazon, and even CD Baby, but having your own personal website with your own domain is useful for several reasons:

  1. ACCESS:  Why make fans search for you on various music store websites when they could go straight to your content?
  2. VARIETY OF CONTENT: With your own website, you can provide your fans with all kinds of cool information and you get to choose what they see.
  3. CONTROL: On your own website you call the shots, you engineer the experience, and you own the relationship with your customers and fans.
  4. PERSONALITY: With your own website you get to determine how you and your art are presented. Here you may shine as an artist, show off who you and sell your music and your art.

Getting started: Check for availability

When picking out a domain name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available first!  Only one person can own a domain name at a time.  You might think of a domain name like a telephone number for websites: there is one number for one person.

Keep in mind that domain names have some rules:

  • NO SPECIAL CHARACTERS ALLOWED: only hyphens (“-“) are allowed
  • NO EXTRA PUNCTUATION (sorry no periods besides the ‘dot’ in the extension)
  • NEEDS DOMAIN EXTENSION (.com, .org, .net, etc)

To see if a domain is available, you’ll need to perform a domain name search. There are many domain name search engines out there.  NameCheap has a pretty good one available here:

Be Careful What You Wish For – Pick your names wisely

Even with the restriction of 1 owner per domain name in place, there are a large variety of domain names out there.  Just be careful what you choose. We often get domain requests that are a bit confusing or could be misread. Here is where reading, and analyzing your domain name can be really important.  Let’s look at a few examples to show you what I mean:

Let’s say I own a consulting firm, and wanted to make a website to exchange notes among these experts.  One domain name could be “Experts Exchange dot com”, as it points out the idea behind the site: exchanging of experts and information.  However, if you read the domain name as it would show online:

expertsexchange.com

That can be misinterpreted as “expert sex change”.com, which is really far from the original idea.  Some more funny examples can be found here.

So, as a good rule of thumb, read out your domain name after writing it down on a piece of paper.  Some of the most innocent and chaste of ideas can be transformed into something completely different.

How to Fix up Domain names

So you have a domain name idea that’s great, but it’s either taken, or it looks odd in writing.  There are a few things you can do to hopefully fix it up.

  1. Add a word to the beginning or end of your domain name: recklessarrowsband.com instead of recklessarrows.com
  2. Try a different domain extension (.org, ,net, .us, etc)
  3. Try adjusting the conjugation: from our earlier example, expertsexchange.com could easily have been replaced with expertexchange.com if it was available.  The theme and idea behind the website is still intact, and the name is far less likely to be misinterpreted.

Final Tips

  • Keep it simple: You want your website to be easily recollected by memory.  A domain name like “vegetableargonautsasparagus.com” would likely be available, but would be difficult to type in every time someone visited your site.
  • Acronyms are okay:  The key is to make your domain name easy to type in and remember.
  • Make it represent YOU. After all, your website is your online storefront and persona.
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