a couple of years ago

Marketing Hack #10: How to pick a good URL

How do you spell that?

My first corporate email address was ridiculous. Something like 862xq34_44o0O@myemployer.com. There’s no way on earth someone could remember that.

Today my email is photography@depuhl.com. My website is depuhl.com, my blog is blog.depuhl.com and my twitter account is @photosbydepuhl. (See a pattern here?) Since your website is one of the few places online, that you can and should control and that you actually can own get your own URL and host your website(s) – there’s nothing more amateurish than a business who’s email is mybusinessnam@hotmail.com or @gmail.com or @bellsouth.net. Get your own domain name! It’s not difficult. It’s not expensive and it’s something you gotta do. I use 1and1 internet as my web host and have done so forever. They do a great job at a fair price and have tremendous customer service.

What should I call it?

Think SEO when choosing your domain name. Consider your brand. What are people expecting, what are they searching for? Are you a product like apple.com or should it be your name like depuhl.com Whatever you decide, make your URL memorable? And do this as soon as you think about it. It costs next to nothing to own a domain name, even if you’re not doing anything with it.

Get something you can say. Something that makes sense. My domain revolves around my last name Depuhl, and although I have to spell it every time I say it, if you know me you know my website. In addition to looking professional, controlling your own domain also means controlling your email addresses. No more Kathy372@email.com.

Make your domain name part of your due diligence, before you commit to a legal name for your business. When we were thinking about ideas for names for my Afghan documentary, one of the things I looked at where domain names – fortunately, the film industry standard is NameOfMovieFILM.com so that made it a little easier, but I secured the domain name as soon as possible. You can watch the movie at OnWingsOfHopeFilm.com. See? That’s easy to say, it’s easy to read, it’s easy to share and you know what you’re getting yourself into. Oh and make sure your domain names auto renew, otherwise a lot of your hard earned work is for nothing when you let them lapse.

Tech Tip: customize your link shorteners.

If you want to share content that you don’t own, like the video of my TEDx talk, for example, use a link shortener; but PLEASE customize it, since you won’t remember if it was bit.ly/1FJjslH or bit.ly/1fJjslH and yes those are different links. That’s why the short link to my TEDx talk is bit.ly/TEDxPascal easy to remember, easy to share, easy to embed.

[UPDATE: If you’ve clicked on the last link, you’ll be disappointed. TEDx decided to change the underlying links, so my nice human readable bit.ly link is dead. I figured well that’s easy – you just change the underlying link and you’re back in business, unfortunately, bit.ly makes it pretty expensive to make that change happen. My favorite link shortener is mine no more. So bye bye bit.ly and hello to rebrandly. Rabrandly lets you change the links for free and even better, you get to make your own link shortener if you’d like. So my TEDx talk is now to be found at pbd.li/TEDx and if the people at TEDx decide to rearrange their links again, that’s no problem – now I can keep my shortener and no one will run into an ugly redirect.]

This Marketing Hack is valuable, because …

… you don’t remember the first email I had at work, right? But you do remember the bit.ly site for my TEDx talk or the URL for my film. Make your URL work for you. It needs to work for your marketing, your SEO and you need to be able to share it easily.

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