Space Dock 13
also known as
EK's Star Log
have changed hosts and url names multiple times before finally settling on EelKat.com in 2013
The reason for settling on that url was obvious - it's my name.
In the early days I was using a place name from one of my books. (Space Dock 13 is a space station in one of my novels). By 2003 fans were call me "EK" and referring to my blog as a "Star Log" (a term from Star Trek) so in 2003 it was renamed EK's Star Log and some people still call it that.
If you are asking about names to try to figure out your own name...
It's actually best practice to create a brand name of under 8 letters. When I say brand name, think:
eBay.com (4 letters)
Amazon.com (6 letters)
Tumblr.com (6 letters)
BuzzFeed.com (8 letters)
Reddit.com (6 letters)
ProBlogger.com (10 letters)
FaceBook.com (8 letters)
Twitter.com (7 letters)
Zazzle.com (6 letters)
Yelp.com (4 letters)
Google.com (6 letters)
Bing.com (4 letters)
Yahoo.com (5 letters)
In every case a made up "gibberish-type" (on first appearances) name with no connection to the site topic at all (until you read the About page that tells how they came up with the name and go: "wow, that's actually makes sense!"). But easy to remember, easy for visitors to manually type, and unique enough that it's hard to mimic.
My own SBI site? In 2013 I was changing hosts and changing urls. The niche seed word topic I originally started out with is: "How to be a better a writer", which then evolved to "How to write dark fantasy novels".
So, you'd think my url would be either:
how-to-write-dark-fantasy-novels.com (31 letters)
So what is my current url?
EelKat.com (6 letters)
Because 6 letters is easy to remember and promote.
For the first 3 years of my site I had bot-blockers in place and refused to all Google, Bing, etc to index my pages. Instead relying 100% on organic traffic instead of search traffic. (organic traffic means, the visitor typed the url directly, as opposed to typed a search term and found the url). How did I get traffc those first 3 years?
My website is painted on my car as can clearly be seen in these pictures of my car:
and as you can see I repaint it every year so you never know what it'll look like from one picture to the next.
It's also painted on my motorhome, as seen here:
As you can see the letters on the side of the motorhome are over a foot tall and can be seen from quite some distance away.
Now, think of how hard it would be for to paint how-to-write-dark-fantasy-novels.com in foot tall letters across my mototorhome, verses EelKat.com instead?
We being carnival Gypsies, the RV gets parked at festivals, carnivals, fairs, side shows, etc all over New England, and why have a plan white RV when you can have a 22 foot long neon pink billboard that screams EelKat.com across the side?
Bigger then on the side of my motorhome is the "billboards" in my yard. (currently 3, they change constantly) and are made out of queen sized bed sheets:
Because I live on a beach
in a town that gets 2 million tourists every June/July/Agust, and as many as 10,000 people walk by my driveway/car/motorhome on their way to reach the beach, that means, a lot of people see the url eeklat.com and wonder "what the heck is that?" and search it on their phones while sitting on the beach.
Now, think of how hard it would be for eople to remember how-to-write-dark-fantasy-novels.com verses EelKat.com instead when it comes to typing it in on their phone once they get set up on the beach?
Because I am a retail merchandiser and travel 100+ miles a day to multiple WalMarts, walGreens, & CVSs all over the state, my car is seen by a lot of shoppers as well.
Because I'm an author who CosPlays my novels' characters at gaming/comic book conventions
and, just around town when going shopping at walMart, eating at McDonalds, etc and stuff because I'm OtherKin
(Yes, that is how I dress every day, 24/7 - since 1987)
this results in me handing out 100+ business cards a day, as people are constantly running up to me asking to get a picture with me and my car, and wanting to know where they can find out more about me, my car, and my over the top outlandish costume, and I just hand them a business card.
Now, try to imagin what how-to-write-dark-fantasy-novels.com looks like printed on a business card - long and clunky, vs EelKat.com instead, short and sweet. I mean think about it... on a business card, you ain't got much room to work with... most companies have a limit to how many characters per line and the limit is usually 18 characters or less.
Yie! :( :o :shock:
That means if I had gone with how-to-write-dark-fantasy-novels.com (31 letters) instead of EelKat.com (6 letters)
I wouldn't be able to print up business cards, due to the fact that a 31 letter url is longer then the 18 character maximum space limit per line.
To get business cards with a long url, I would have had to break it up putting half the url on each line!
THAT^ it was that looks like! To fit that url on a business card, it would need to be broken up into 3 lines! Look at that poor lonely "m" all by itself.
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So, when choosing a url you need to consider too, any promotional issues that may come up, like is your url too long to print on a business card?
What about buttons, pens, mugs, postcards, t-shirts, etc? (Yes I use those as well. When I said I do heavy duty offline promoting, because offline promotion brings in way more traffic then is possible with online promotion... I mean I REALLY do a LOT of super heavy duty offline promoting... my url is printed on more than 200 different types of products, thanks to Zazzle.com's ability to make your own promo materials on everything from sneakers to yoga pants to dogfood bowls to shower curtains... yes, my url is on shower curtains and yoga pants! I think most people don't realize the level of offline marketing I do, and think it's just limited to handing out business cards.)
Then there are design features. Yep. That's a thing.
Have someone write out your url in fancy hand painted calligraphy. What does it look like?
I know, it's not a thing the average site owner thinks about, but it's a thing I thought about, because I'm the type of person who likes to think of every possible angle. :P
Well, it turns out, in calligraphy, my url looks like a dragonfly, so, I went and had a calligraphic dragonfly shaped logo made up and started using it on t-shirts and yoga pants as an all over print. You know, the way Coco Chanel made the double "c" logo everyone knows as soon as they see it?
Short urls can easily be made into logos. The longer the url, the more difficult it becomes to turn the url itself into a logo.
This offline promotion resulted in my site consistently have around 14,000 page views a month, right out the starting gate, all of them 100% organic, manually direct typed url, without any traffic coming from search engines at all.
Then there is online promotion. I have 300+ social network and forum accounts. I'm member of tons of online writer groups and chats and message boards. When ever I add a new page on my site, it gets promoted to various ones of them, depending on the topic of the page and the rules of the group in question. My site adds 1 to 3 new pages every day.
Now, just think of how tedious it would get to type how-to-write-dark-fantasy-novels.com/long-tail-keyword-page-topic 30 or 40 or 50 times a day vs eelkat.com/long-tail-keyword-topic-of-page?
Keeping in mind that I'm not just randomly spam posting links to my site on these paces either, but rather I'm writing long posts (like the one you are reading right now) answering someone's question. I write at minimum 10 of these long forum posts a day, and only 1, maybe 2 of them will contain a link back to my site.
I have never bought ads or traffic for my site, and have always done my own offline and online promotions (mostly offline). And having a short 6 letter url has made it a lot easier for me to get my marketing done, because I'm not having to constantly try to remember "Now did I put a hyphen there are an underscore; did I use a or the between them?" etc. With a simple, easy to remember, 6 letter word for my domain name, I'm able to get my marketing and promoting done easy.
I ending up gaining 16,000 backlinks (mostly from page viewers sharing pages on Twitter, FaceBook, Tumblr, and Reddit) from casual viewers linking back to me. The power of organic link building can be seen in search engines later. By keeping the site blocked from bots and search indexes for the first 3 years, and by having nothing but manually typed traffic and social network backlinks, when I removed the bot blockers, Bing indexed 500+ pages of my site in less ten 48 hours of it having access to do so, and Google had 700+ pages indexed in under a week.
Neither Bing nor Google will index a site under 6 months old, so your first 6 months you aren't being indexed anyways, and Google actually puts meta data around new urls (under 3 years old) to force them very low in search results (because 90% of all websites get shut down within 3 years by a webmaster who looked for instant online income and gave up; and thus Google classifies every site under 3 years old as not worth indexing because it has not yet proved it'll stick around). Which is the reason for blocking bots the first 3 years, because once the site is 3 years old, it no longer is at risk of being forced down in search results just for being too young any more, and it's easier to NOT get dinged by Google in the first place, then it is to convince Google to unding (I've been building websites since 1997 btw, so that's why I knew to block bots right out the gate when starting my SBI site in 2013.) But that's me going off topic again...
Back on topic...
The point is, people don't like to be made to think, when it comes to finding info. If they wanted to think, they'd do research, and would not be on the internet to begin with. If a person is searching the internet for answers instead of heading to the library to do real research in books, then that person is only looking to be told something, they want a canned food answer, not a home cooked meal, they want Ramen noodles in a cup not a thanksgiving dinner. They want the internet to spoon feed them answers so they don't have to do the work and find out for themselves.
People looking for hard core research are NOT on the internet looking for fast answers.
That brings us to the reason behind short urls.
The type of person who heads to the internet searching for help writing a novel, is also the type of person who'll never write a novel, because they can't even be bothered to type a long url. Authors are readers in addition to writers. They will read a long article and be upset by anyth page under 2,000 words.
Whereas the person who is just looking for the easy road to fast cash via novels, doesn't really want to learn how to write a novel and they will NOT take the time to read a 4,000 word article on how to write a novel, because they can't even be bothers to type a long url.
This means a lot of people on my site will leave soon as they realize they actually have to do the work of reading my how to write a novel articles (which are 20,000 words PER page long - the text count on my site is massive.) And it's okay by me for them to leave and go look for quick fix answers elsewhere because if they can't take the time to read, they certainly don't have the time to write a novel.
But... this is an example of the mind set of the average internet browser who is looking for the quick fix of someone else doing the work for them, not a lot of people read long articles, and they are the same people who don't type out long urls, and they make up the bulk of the internet traffic.
We who run websites, we want the readers who read our article, but we also need traffic.
If you are living off AdSense, you want those fast click away types as well as the readers, because it's the fast click away types who click those ads that Google puts on your site. So while we want readers to read our content, we also want the fast paced browser who clicks away as well. And to pay the bills, we actually want more of those, thus we need a short url to attract them to us.
So we as webmasters give them the processed baby mush they ask for: urls of 8 letters of less.
Let's go back to amazon for example.
What is their site topic?
international online book seller
so, had they named their url after their topic, their would be have had
international-online-book-seller.com (38 letters) instead of amazon.com, right?
Well, those people who make up the bulk of internet browsers... you know, the ones who want instant noodles instead of a 5 course meal? How many of them do you think would take the time to manually type out "international-online-book-seller.com" (38 letters) every time they wanted to buy a book?
The answer? None of them.
Do a search on Google and Bing for that search term. (international online book seller) and you will find that there are millions of booksellers online who ship internationally. MILLIONS. And yet, most of them are unheard of and rank low in search results.
Because most of them are using long tail urls as their primary domain name.
Because most of them have 4 or 5 words domain name urls of 20 to 50 letters and nobody is going to type that out. It takes less time to cook Ramen cup o soup noodles then it does takes to type out the domain names of some of those sites.
Think of it this way: if you can pour water over instant noodles faster then you can type your domain name, then your domain name is too long, no matter what your topic is.
And THAT is why sites like Amazon reign king, because it's easier for lazy browsers (who make up the majority of internet browsers) to type "Amazon.com" then it is for them to type "international-online-book-seller.com". Amazon's domain name is the instant noodles url of booksellers.
My site was started in August 17, 1997, so just crossed the 20th anniversary this year.
I checked in August of this year (2017) and at that point it now has 9,772 posts. However that number has gone up obviously.
It'll cross 10k posts before the end of the year.
Gradual growth over time. I've never really done anything to promote in before 2010 and by that point is had already had a post go viral (in 200