The task of choosing a domain for your musician website is an important one.
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Choosing a Top Level Domain Extension
Choose top level domain (TLD) extension carefully. Among all the TLDs, .com is a popular choice and often seen as the gold standard. However, it’s not the end of the world if .com is taken. There are other increasingly common ones to choose from, such as .band and .hiphop.
Incorporate Targeted Keywords
Search engines like Google use your domain name to understand what your site is about and to help determine search rankings. Therefore, it’s essential to include keywords if and where possible. Google keyword planner is a great tool for this step.
Make Sure Your Domain is Easy to Pronounce and Spell
You want your domain name to be original and memorable, but be mindful that novelty isn’t always a good thing. If you modify the spelling of a common word just to get a .com extension (or simply to be cute), you will very easily confuse your audience.
An example of this would be DogTrainer.com is taken, so you choose Doggtrainer.com (using double “g”).
People can easily miss the double “g” and end up on the non-related site. The double lettter is easy to miss, but not so easy for people to remember the double “g.”
While word-of-mouth advertising is powerful, it only works when people can actually pronounce your domain. This also makes the name easier to remember, increasing the odds that people will visit and pass the site along to their networks.
Some domain names that are not as easy to spell are eidos.com, submit-me.net, and hisel.com. In particular, hyphenated domain names are often problematic. The natural tendency is to pronounce the name as if it were not hyphenated.
Avoid Hyphens and Doubled Letters
Using hyphens may seem like a creative way to get the domain name you want, but they’re tough to express verbally (imagine yourself saying “dash” or “hyphen” out loud). They also make the domain more difficult to type. This can create a poor User Experience (UX) from the start, leaving a user frustrated. Even worse, they may give up entirely and end up on someone else’s website.
While there are exceptions, when you’re brainstorming domain name ideas, it’s best to avoid anything that isn’t a letter. This includes replacing letters with numbers, which make the name a lot easier for people to mistype.
The same goes for doubled letters (as just mentioned in the Dogg example)– it’s asking for typos. Doubled letters are hard to read and even harder to type correctly. If mistakes happen often enough, you may end up with someone typo-squatting and stealing your traffic.
Keep Your Domain Name Short
There are several reasons short domains work better. First, they’re easier to remember and faster to type. Therefore, they are more likely to support a positive UX.
This is especially important as more and more people are browsing the internet on mobile devices. A short domain name means fewer opportunities for mobile users to get blindsided by autocorrect.
Stay Unique and On Brand
A unique domain name can help your website stand out and potentially help you avoid legal trouble. It can also contribute to your marketing efforts. In fact, if your site represents a larger brand, you would be wise to consider your domain name as you’re creating the brand name itself.
Pick a Domain Name That’s Flexible
Your domain name is one area where you don’t want to put yourself into a box. While you should be specific enough to attract an audience, you don’t want to be so precise that there’s no room for your website to grow.
For example, “shutter.photography” might be perfect for a photography blog. However, if you decide to write about other art forms in the future, you’ll be stuck with an inaccurate domain name.
Use a Domain Name Generator
Chances are you’ve brainstormed a list of potential domain names by now. You may have even thought of the ideal one. However, sometimes your perfect domain name might not be available.
Once again, there’s no need to panic. You can always get creative and slightly modify your domain. If you’re having trouble finding inspiration, you can use a domain name generator like Domain Wheel.
Check the Domain History
You might have your sights set on a completely fresh domain name. However, there’s also a possibility that the domain you’d like to purchase had a previous owner.
It’s best to investigate the domain’s history as this could affect your site’s search engine rankings. There are a few tools you can use to check on past owners, such as Wayback Machine and Whoxy.
This can be very useful information. For instance, you wouldn’t want to buy a domain name that was previously running an unethical business, as it might hurt your reputation.
Research Social Media Handles
If you have plans to engage with your visitors or customers, chances are you’ll want to create social media accounts that are linked to your domain name and website. Therefore, it’s wise to check your preferred social media sites to see if your domain name is available in handle form. Alternatively, you can check to see if a variation of your domain name is available.
If you’re not planning to use too many different social media networks, you can easily do this manually. However, if you want a bit of help, Namecheckr.com is a great way to see all available social media handles at a glance.
This handy tool can provide you with useful information about trademarks. It can also help you manage dozens of social media accounts.
Don’t Miss Out on a Deal
The reality is that no matter how big or small your business is, you likely have a budget. What’s more, if you’re launching a small business or you’re self-employed, it’s probably pretty tight.
Domain prices can vary depending on how popular an option is perceived to be. In most cases, your chosen domain will qualify for a low introductory price. In other cases, your desired domain could be considered “Premium” and go for hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars.
If you think you’ve stumbled across a “premium” domain at a deep discount, don’t hesitate to act!
Protect Your Brand with Multiple Domains
Even if you manage to snag a coveted .com address, you might consider purchasing other TLD variations and setting up redirects. You can even go a step further and buy common misspellings of your domain name — that way, you’re not missing out on traffic lost due to “user error.”
You can apply this strategy to social media as well. Even if you don’t think you’ll use Twitter, you might want to grab a decent handle if one is available. That way, you’ll be ready if you ever decide to tweet, and you’ll prevent anyone else from taking that username.
It’s easy to overlook some of the steps involved in choosing a domain name for your musician website, but it’s definitely a task worthy of careful planning. The process may seem cumbersome, but I’m here to help you. If you have doubts or questions, feel free to ping me via email or social media.
Good luck choosing your musician website domain name!
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Mentioned in this Episode
How to Choose the Right Domain Name (blog post by Dreamhost
See the latest deals from Dreamhost
Domain Wheel domain name generator
New Gods Part 2, by Robonzo & Peter Rand (music video)
Subscribe to Robonzo’s artist YouTube channel
Free vs Paid Hosting For Musician Websites (Ep 239)
Why Do I Need A Musician Website? (Ep 237)
New Gods Part 2 Co-Writer Peter Rand (Ep 205)
Stay in touch!
Leave voice feedback on Robonzo’s Speakpipe page
The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs, by Robonzo
Music Marketing Method – The program that helps musicians find fans, grow an audience and make consistent income
Podcast Startup – The podcast learning platform for creative voices
Bandzoogle – The all-in-one platform that makes it easy to build a beautiful website for your music
More Resources for musicians
Pardon the Interruption (Disclosure)
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This episode is brought to you by Bandzoogle.
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