I would consider it a bad move, yes. Domain name branding is an important part of seo (search engine optimization.) You are your brand. People know you by who you are. They know your brand. Your trademarks. Your look. Your style. Your logo. Your brand name. Not having a domain name url that matches your brand is a huge mistake.
Domain name branding is also one of the few things that helps you to increase your organic search engine optimization.
Branding is something I stepped into by accident. I had not set out to brand myself or become a brand. I had not set out to be a business or make money online. It was something that happened on it's own over the course of time.
I started using the name EelKat in 1978. When I joined the internet in 1997, I used EelKat as my username, simply because it was easy to remember and all my friends and family knew me by that nickname, making it easy for them to find me online. It wasn't a business move when I did it, because back then, I was unknown and unheard of.
Or so I thought. I would eventually discover I was a lot more well known then I realized. Since the 1970s, there have existed rumours, that I had no idea where out there, until I encountered the people who believed them.
Since 1997 I have been "EelKat" online.
2007 I started getting paid for the tens of thousands of words I wrote online each month. After 10 years of not seeing a penny and not knowing writers were paid.
Ten years of being "EelKat" everywhere, people around the internet (strangers) also started to identify me as "EelKat" everywhere, the same way offline family and friends had done.
I was EelKat everywhere.
Except for 1 place.
Can you guess where that one place was?
I was EelKat everywhere. And nearly 20 years and 600+ social media and forum accounts all named "EelKat" later, in 2013, one of my readers asked me a very important question...
"How do I find your website?"
I answered back.
She replied back:
I said, "Because it was a location the book series I was promoting at the time (1997) was set it."
"But I never read those books, so how would I know that? Why aren't you on EelKat.com instead?"
A week later I bought EelKat.com and transferred my old site over to it.
Because she was right. People looking for me online Google the search term "EelKat" not "SpaceDock13".
The change of the url did amazing things to my traffic. I went from 300 page views total across ALL pages per month, to 300 page views per page, per day.
People were searching for "EelKat" not "SpaceDock13"
It was the same website.
The only thing that changed was SpaceDock13.com was renamed EelKat.com instead.
BOOM. Traffic that stagnated at a few hundred a month, shot off to thousands a day.
Branding has always been a big part of my life. Only thing was I didn't know it. I had no business training.
I have agoraphobia. I've had it sense I was 8 years old.
I also have PTSD. Had that since I was 8 as well.
I was born on a UFO cult compound.
They called themselves "Heaven's Gate". You might have heard of them. They killed 39 people in a mass murder suicide under the shadow of Comet HaleBop.
An extremely isolated community. Completely off-grid. Preppers. Waiting for the end of the world. They did not believe in tv, electricity, radio, plumbing, schools, birth certificates, or anything else Americans consider "normal" and I was in my 30s to 40s before I discovered the existence of most of those things. I was 31 years old before I set foot off the farm and discovered there were people out there.
The Americans (referred to by the 400+ cult members I grew up with as "The Humans" because they do not believe themselves to be Human, though I'm not entirely sure what it is they consider themselves to be.) The Americans were the most bizarre, barbaric, viscous, violent, utterly savage creatures I had ever encountered.
The Americans dress strange. Act strange. Talk strange. Do strange, often violent and immoral things, thinking them normal. They obsess with sex, drinking, smoking, and guns, while running around half naked.
The clothes of the American women are the most outlandish things I've ever encountered. More then 90% of the American female population are transvestites, with their women proudly cutting their hair short and wearing pants like men.
American women are the most bizarre creatures I've ever encountered. Loud. Noisy. Rude. They never shut up. They never get permission from their men to speak. They talk back. They scream. They yell. I'd never seen anything like them. They are terrifying beasts, more monstrous then any monsters in fiction.
The excessively violent nature of American women did not inspire me to want further contact with them. And thankfully the FBI agrees and is currently trying to find the crazed psychopath who built a bomb, blew up my house, and cut my cats heads off.
In my mind, the Americans are viscous, violent, immoral, lewd, rude, and insane. It is how the first Americans I met branding their race.
Everything you do, brands you.
Everything you wear, brands you.
Every word out of your mouth, brands you.
Your brand is how you present yourself.
The American brand is sex, guns, and violence.
Because it's what they do. It's how they live.
And while I saw the Americans in this light, I found that throughout southern Maine there were rumours that there existed in the forest, a strange creature they called "The Sea Witch of Old Orchard Beach" - a feral child, raised by feral cats, according to the rumours. And that her name was EelKat, and she was me.
It astounded me, the wild rumours that existed about me. The fear, these creatures, these blood thirsty, gun toting, sex crazed, violent beasts that called themselves "The Americans" had for me...an elderly woman who had not set foot off her farm since 1978.
This is branding. I'm branded by the locals as some sort of cryptid creature, like Big Foot or Unicorns, a thing to look for ans hope to get a glimpse of, before I scurry back into my swamps in the Ross Forest.
I didn't brand myself this way. Strangers did. Strangers branded me this way, because of how I live:
I wear long dresses, and cover my head with a veil. I raise roses and l've off my gardens, never needing to go to the stores. While I have cars, I rarely use them for transportation, instead building sculptures out of them.
Moral women who don't dress like prostitute sluts are so rare in America, that Americans brand us as crazy for not parading our breasts on display.
Non-violent people who shun violence, protest guns, war, and animal abuse, are so rare in America, that we peaceful ones are branded as insane for our lack of blood lust.
Because I dress in clothes that are not trying to compete with American immorality, because I do not drink, smoke, or do drugs like the Americans do, because I prefer the company of quiet, peaceful, non-violent cats to the high strung,m temperamental, violent, gun toting Americans, because I have sex with only one man instead of falling into bed with every man on the street, for these things... I am branded as bizarre, strange, and a hermit deserving of having her house blown up with a bomb, by self righteous Americans, who left a giant white cross behind, then nailed my cats heads to a door.
But what was it that made me famous? What is the #1 brand I'm known for?
Why do people search for me and not know I'm an author?
I'm the founder of the Proctor & Gamble Boycott.
Once upon a time, I was the little 12 year old girl who went head to head against one of the biggest cooperation on the planet.
I HATE animal abusers with a vengeance.
For 40 years I've been known as the most outlandish and most outspoken Animal Rights Activist on the planet.
THAT's what people know me for and why people Google the search term "EelKat", it's also why when haters came knocking they targeted my cats and cut their heads off.
Your lifestyle is your brand.
How you treat others is your brand.
This is true of business and it is of lifestyle.
Everything you do represents who you are, what you stand for, and who your business, culture, and country are as well.
The residents of Old Orchard Beach have branded the Americans as gay-hating, house bombing, cat murdering, book banning, raving lunatics who run around in white hoods, beating up crippled elderly women while screaming "kill or be killed, all transsexuals are alike, remember Saco Shaw's" while burning white crosses in people's yards.
Every violent act committed by one American, is another black eye in the face of ALL Americans. Because that ONE American, acts as America's representative to us non-Americans.
Business is no different. How your business presents itself, tells people what you stand for, who you are, and what they can expect from others like you in your field.
Branding, is how people see you, what they think of you, what they identify you with. And me, people brand me as "EelKat", the mysterious hermit of Old Orchard Beach.
I did not set out to do branding when I created all those online accounts all with the username EelKat, because when I created them, I had no online business. I was just using them to talk to friends and relatives in various online places, but in the course of doing so I meet several tens of thousands of new online friends, people I never marketed too, people I just talked to on forums and chats... people who over time came to know me as "Hey, that's EelKat"
And so when I did move to online business, EelKat was the brand name people knew me as. It was therefore logical for people who searched for me, to do so, by searching for "EelKat" and not anything else. In most cases the searchers did not know my real name or my book titles, so had no reason to search for me by them.
Now, back in 1997, SpaceDock13 seemed like the perfect site name because the site at the time was promoting those books. However, in the 20 years since then, my website evolved, and those books got pushed to a single page in the archive, while the site went on to focus on me, my life, my career, my books, my cars, my family history, etc. And so over time, SpaceDock13 was no longer a meaningful url for my site. It no longer made sense.
When I got my website url in 1997, I wasn't thinking about domain name branding, in fact I had never heard of domain name branding back then. I don't know, did the concept of domain name branding even exist yet back then?
The way I look at it now, is the site is an extension of my business, my career, my brand. In the entertainment industry, your stage name is your brand, your business, and thus, should be your site url as well. While any topics within your site, can be organized on a page level, via the keywords in the url.
My url is my brand name (EelKat), then each page is my keyword
People looking for me, search "EelKat", whereas people searching for my new book, search by typing the title of the book. Having the url being my brand name, and the keyword long tail being the book name, Google sends BOTH types of searchers to the page, resulting in more traffic coming my way.
Each keyword, has dozens of relevant similar keywords, resulting in LOTS of pages about 1 topic, which in turn alerts Google to the fact that this site is about one topic, because the topic is all over the site, in headers, page titles, text body, etc, rather then just in the url.
For example, I make a page for the book series, then a page for each book in the series, then a page for each character, then a page for each question asked by readers, and then create an index for just that group of pages.
The home url (EelKat.com) is the Tier 1, the Topic Index is the tier 2, and the pages linked from that index are the tier 3 pages. By creating a separate index for each topic, you create a pyramid structure, which makes it easier for Google to index your pages. In turn making it easier for customers to find you.
And by making it easy for Google to index your site, you've also made it easier for your clients to find your business, by finding your site through Google search.
For example, let's pretend you are a cat groomer in Maine, your business name is Sudds. The best url for you would be sudds.com and then make each page keyword named, with pages titled stuff like:
When you look at that list, can you see how important domain name branding becomes? Every page on your site, is your brand name repeated in a link on the internet some where.
The url being named the name of the company, makes it easy for customers to find the URL. (People who search for you using the brand name "Sudds") And it helps people who don't know you yet, find you by topic (People who search for the topic "cat groomers near me")
Every page having a long tail keyword, makes it easy for your customers to search within your site to find the page they are looking for.
Every page of the site being long tail keywords also tells Google your topic is Cat Grooming In Maine. It helps Google index your site in the proper categories and helps get the correct traffic to you (people who live in Maine and are searching for local cat groomers)
So, in the end, my advise to you on this, is to think about what you business name is, will people be searching for you by that name?
Ask yourself, how will people find you? what search terms will they use? Will they search for your brand name or will they search for your product? This is organic search engine optimization, meaning people are searching for you by brand name. Organic search engine optimization is the most powerful type of seo out there, in terms of rank.
For some businesses, especially very small ones, it may be better to have a topic based keyword. For others, that may be a bad choice.
Company name branding should be part of you brand management marketing strategy, with domain name branding being top of the list priority to help increase brand identity.
I'm an author. I write Dark Fantasy novels. But very few people who visit my site, know I'm either an author or know the titles of my books. The keywords "Dark Fantasy" or "Quaraun" (the name of the books) are not what people search for to find me. No. People search for the "brand name" EelKat instead.
Think of it this way... when you want to go shopping at your local WalMart but it's late and you don't know if they've closed forr the night yet... so you head to Google to find out...
Do you search for:
"hours of my local super market"
"hours of Biddeford, Maine, WalMart"
The first search will tell you the hours of HUNDREDS of stores in a 50 mile radius of your current computer location.
The second ones sends you straight to WalMart.com, to the page for the store in Biddeford, Maine.
Now if WalMart had a url that was anything other then WalMart.com, do you think, that exact search for that exact brand name, would have resulted in that exact site being #1 on page 1 of Google?
Brand name in url is why.
It's what domain name branding is all about.
Google knew you wanted WalMart.com when you searched for "walmart" and so that's what Google gave you.
In short, the brand name url makes it easier for customers to know WHAT to search for and at the same time it makes it easier for Google to index you and give customers what they are searching for.
Brand name in url is the thing I would have done differently. I started my website in 1997 with the url SpaceDock13 and never had traffic. I changed it to my brand name EelKat in 2013 and have had lots of traffic ever since. Just think how different things would have been, if I had started out with EelKat.com in 1997 instead of waiting until 2013 to change it to that?
I personally think band name in your url is one of the top, possible even the #1 most important thing, you should do when starting your business.
This article was originally written on: April 25, 2017
This page last updated on: April 25, 2017