Your website can be a powerful tool to help get your campaign across the finish line. But how do people find your website? The first and simplest way is your domain.
A good domain name is vital to a successful website.
Here are some simple tips on picking a domain name.
Shorter Domain Names Are Better
As a rule of thumb, the shorter the domain the easier it is to remember and type without mistakes.
Many times your name alone can be a great domain. If your name is common the domain may be taken. Or if your full name is hard to spell you may want to use just your first your last name, whatever is easier.
Let’s just say your name is James Smith, but all your friends call you Smitty. Unless “Smitty” appears on the ballot leave it out of your domain name.
You may think your nickname is friendlier, or it’s easier that trying to find a domain for a common name, but there are generally better options.
It’s best to use the name that appears on the ballot. Some jurisdictions will let you add a nickname. But if your legal name is all that appears, its probably safest to stick to all or part of that name.
This may seem obvious, but we’ve seen it before. Play it safe.
You have to be able to say it
There’s a balancing act between length and pronounce-ability. Before you buy a domain, say it out loud and see if it makes sense. If you were telling someone the domain would they understand it the first time?
This usually means staying away from initials and abbreviations. Some common abbreviations may be fine – like the name of your state.
Skip the numbers
This follows closely with being able to say your domain name. For clarity, we would avoid using the numeral 4 to replace the word “for.” Unless you have no other options, we wouldn’t advise this.
Every time you say it out loud your going to have to clarify “vote – the number four – my name dot com” and it really cramps your style.
We’d also advice skipping the numbers that indicate the year of your election. We’ll explain more in the next section about why it’s better to keep your domain broad.
Keep it broad
Avoid adding the year of your election, or a very specific reference to the office your running for.
If you ever want to run again, for either the same office or a different one, it will be out of date and you’ll need to get a new domain. Google and other search engines prefer domain names that have been around for a while and have a lot of links and historic traffic. It can be helpful to have a domain with history when trying to get your website to rank in google. If you need to get a new domain, you’ll be starting over at square one.
Instead of naming your specific office, you can always say your state name. Even if you’re not running for statewide office, no voter will care.
Stick to your name, and if that’s not available, add a word like vote, elect, team, or go.
Stick to .com or .org
There’s now a lot of available fancy domains, like .vote or .gop. The problem is that people aren’t used to these. Many times these can be tempting if your preferred domain is taken.
Some percent of people are still going to add a .com instead because that’s what they are used to. Worse, some of these less common domains can come with extra fees, or are only available through some domain resellers that can make it hard if you ever want to transfer your domain.
Stick to the classics. It’s worth it.
12 Domain Name Ideas
All of these are general rules. If you need help coming up with ideas for a domain, here’s a few. Let’s pretend the candidate’s name is John Candidate, and he’s running in New York.
Picking a good domain name is part of having a great website that can help your campaign win. With other campaign website builders, you have to purchase a domain name separately, and pay extra fees when you renew.
Buying a domain name separate from your website hosting can mean complicated set up: changing DNS records, pointing to the right IP address, and making sure that it’s all secure from unwanted attacks.
Ryvall makes it simple, with a free domain name included with your website. No renewal fees, no worrying about technical details. We’ve help candidates across the country build their own website in minutes.
Ryvall makes it easier than ever to launch your campaign without any website experience. And the best part is you can try it for free.
This is a guest post sponsored by Startup Caucus. Their support helps keep Best Practice Digital free for our readers.