Your Website Name Doesn’t matter
Ladies and gentlemen…. The Beatles! And the crowd went wild. People screamed their name and forever after that moment and have bought their records over and over again. People call them the best band ever and it’s not a stretch. They practically invented the modern rock band and many popular song-recording techniques. They wrote hundreds of songs in many styles and OWNED the top of the charts with record sales and radio singles. However, think about their name: The Beatles. No, REALLY think about it. It is a really bad band name. It’s a pun; a play on words. Not beetles, but Beatles. You see, ’cause they’re a band and they have a good beat. And what about Radiohead? It’s a radio on your head? Their head? These are bad names, but our brain looks past that and only knows these names as what we connect to them. Once you remove the connection between the name from band do you start to see how your brain can connect bad names to each object without damaging the reputation of what the bad name represents.
I think is was on a Bill Cosby stand up routine that I remember him saying the word “spatula” over and over again. He mentioned how weird the word is and how we don’t notice anymore. He kept on saying “spatula, spatula” and eventually the word even stopped existing as a word with meaning and it was just a reason for Cosby to make funny faces. Try it yourself. Take any noun and repeat it out loud twenty times. Notice that you stop hearing the word itself and instead try to find patterns or rhythms in the sounds you are making? Or maybe, the word you repeat over and over again makes you aware of your own speaking pattern or the way you form your vowel sounds? Either way, the word itself lost all its power as a noun after less than twenty repetitions. Last Saturday’s edition of ReSound spoke about this phenomenon during a piece about playing some abstract repetitive music to listeners to get their reaction.
It took me months to decide on a website name for some of my projects. Good ideas would pop in my head and I would run over to the computer to type it into godaddy.com and see if they were taken. They usually were. I became so frustrated with finding a “good” name that wasn’t taken that I came up with what I thought was a witty idea to call my site allthegooddomainsaretaken.com, but when I typed that into godaddy.com I got this ironic answer back:
I was lucky enough to find a few names I like, and I’m glad I have them, but looking back on the process, I can see how irrelevant that decision is. Most people find your site through other sites and most likely click on a link to get there. If they want to visit again, they will most likely bookmark it. At this stage, your website name starts to become a mental pointer to what content you have on your site and things that your visitors have learned while visiting. Your name will most likely become mostly irrelevant as your visitors become desensitized to the meaning.
So, how do you pick your site name? The best you can ask for is to find a name that you like that isn’t offensive. Most two word combinations are probably taken and literal URLs like digitalcameras.com are boring and squatted. Try using phrases. Try a sentence or a statement and it’s way more likely to be open. ilovedigitalcameras.com is open. Wowyourepretty.com is also open. No need to make it super short. When is the last time you typed out a URL? Go crazy and get manohnmanmysiteissofantastic.com. Just as the Beatles overcame their less-than-great band name because of their great music, the content of your site should triumph over any URL. Just have fun with it.