“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
I’ve got a really bad habit which I must confess to you today. I’ve been trying to get it under control for over 20 years now and, apart from that bad night in 1998 when I awoke at 6am to a new business idea and bought over 16 of these things, I’ve largely succeeded.
Yes, I have to say it out loud, my name is Nicola Cairncross and I’m a domain name addict.
Unlike ole Will, and his rather insipid heroine Juliet, I don’t believe that (domain) names don’t matter! I don’t believe that a website would smell as sweet with a rubbish domain name.
Worse, I’m a domain name suffix snob, too.
Only the dot com (or more recently the dot eye oh) will do for me.
Not interested in the dot co UK, even though I live here mostly. Never been interested in the dot info, or dot org or dot business – and don’t try and tempt me with the confusing and impossible to remember dot UK.
I’ve occasionally been tempted by a dot club when I was creating a club, like ‘The Money Gym’ TheMissingChapter.club but looking at it now, I dislike the domain as it looks clunky and unsophisticated. Luckily I never have to share it in public, just quietly link to it occasionally, cloaked behind some keywords.
I’ve managed to get a lid on my addiction to some degree by only buying names for a year, two if I’m really in love with them but by NEVER, NEVER, NEVER setting them for auto-renew. That way, as the daft orphan domains come up for renewal and I realise, to my shame, that they have never been loved or built on, I can quietly let them slip away, to free up the $10.00 or so per year they would have cost me to keep. I shudder to think of the money I’ve wasted in the early years, when I couldn’t bear to let any of them go.
Even the stories of the mighty Michael Saylor of Microstrategy and his one-word domains sold for millions back in the day, don’t tempt me nowadays, because one-word domains are rare as hen’s teeth and like gold nuggets in value now. He owns Michael.com for heaven’s sake.
(I’ve just really pissed myself off , because thinking about Saylor I just went and searched Nicola.com and while no website comes up on it, it’s registered – of course – but not before 1996, which was ONE WHOLE YEAR after I got online. So I could have had that, if only I had searched it at the time.)
To some degree, I know that the suffix is becoming less important, but I always want the dot com, because that’s what most people type by default, when looking for a website.
More important by far, though, can be the actual words in the domain name.
This is a hangover from the days before Google and Facebook Ads could drive traffic, before YouTube and LinkedIn and Instagram and TikTok and all other methods of content creation and links back to your website from those platforms.
In those days, search engine optimisation (SEO) was all-important because if you didn’t pay at least minimal attention to SEO, your website got no visitors. Still true now, actually, unless you have a big audience or mailing list, are going to blog every day, or pay for traffic, or consistently create content on social media.
You had to pay attention to not only what your company name was and the solution you were offering to solve a problem, but the actual search terms your potential visitors were typing in the search engines, to find you (or someone like you).
You still get better search results if you are branding you and your domain includes your name. If you are selling a product you’ll get better results if your domain includes the problem keywords or those of the outcome people search for.
Mine are NicolaCairncross.com for my home ‘umbrella’ site (now known as a personal branding site) and TheMoneyGym.com for my first book site (always get the domain for a book). As I developed this business, ClicksAndLeads.com became the main home for my digital consultancy site. These are the ones that have survived the annual cull anyway.
So why SwaggerAndSoul.com for my personal blog site then? Why not just blog on TheMoneyGym.com or NicolaCairncross.com? For those answers, we’ll have to dive down the rabbit hole and don our pointy hats for a minute…
Because in their wisdom, since 2003 both Google and Facebook have outright banned TheMoneyGym.com from being advertised, shared and certainly won’t send traffic to it. My organic traffic dropped from 8000 a month unique visitors in around 2000 to under 20 in 2006 and it’s never recovered since. Initially, I thought I had just got really rubbish at marketing…
They deemed it ‘get rich quick’ and you’ll see the same happen to anyone who tries to educate ordinary people about investing and wealth creation. What happened to Denise Duffield Thomas and the Wealth Chef? Pumping out content but nowhere to be seen on mainstream social media. Don’t mention Martin Lewis the ‘Money Saving Expert’, who is ‘controlled opposition’ and, you’ll notice, focuses on keeping people poor with helping them find loans and credit cards while searching for lower interest rates. I wonder how much he makes from the Affiliate Links on that site?
NicolaCairncross.com is also now shadowbanned from Facebook, I can’t advertise anymore or even share the URL or my email address, after years of using it with no problems. No idea what I’ve done wrong on that URL although there’s a high traffic blog post critiquing a very successful multi-level marketing company so I might have ruffled some feathers there.
OK, pointy hats off everyone!
ClicksAndLeads.com is not a high-level focus of mine anymore, so I don’t really want to attract too much traffic to that and so SwaggerAndSoul.com it is.
As I’m going to be talking about all sorts of things; life, love, mindset, success thinking, recovering from grief and creating a new life for myself, not to mention my travels (assuming we are allowed to do that easily again one day), it feels right to do it all on a new home.
And I’m not going to be promoting it with advertising or social media, then good old SEO and word of mouth will have to do.
I have no goals in mind with this blog, it’s very much an exercise in turning up and seeing what happens. I’m open to whatever the Universe has in mind for me next.
While I will endeavour to email out links to the new blog posts every day, that pre-supposes you are on my mailing list. You can do that by opting in using the box under this and hopefully every post.
And, if you enjoyed this post, may I ask that you forward it to a friend who might enjoy it? That way I can grow my readership organically and never have to rely on the vagaries of social media behemoths again.