I was asked a question recently, from a lovely lady Sue, who was wondering how she goes about choosing a domain name for her art site, when she creates with more than one medium – I thought I would share my thoughts here with you as I think it’s quite a common query when you are on the cusp of branding and setting yup your website.
Q. I need a bit of advice on website /domain etc, I currently do art in a variety of mediums including coloured pencil but I am also into textile art and doing pieces with both original art and textiles combined in the same piece, and now also working on surface pattern design as well. My dilemma is do I keep my art brand with my name as it is, or come up with a new name to incorporate all strands which I would like to build into my business. If I don’t get this bit right, it’s going to impact my website planning, emails etc, currently I just have a Gmail account. Any advice gratefully received.
OK, so firstly, don’t worry too much about your domain name having to reflect exactly what it is that you do. Years ago it was quite important in terms of where you ranked in the search engines, ie. if you were called CarMechanicLeicester.com – and someone Googled ‘where can I find a car mechanic in Leicester, well Google would bring up that site as a good result.
However, that might not be a good match, it could be a site that is just selling car related items, or an affiliation of something else – or has god awful reviews. So nowadays, Googles algorithms go far, far deeper than a domain name, as they are interested in the content and making the right match for their customer.
Your Domain Name Doesn’t Have to Reflect Your Service or Products
So with that in mind, your domain name is more useful to let your potential customers know what your site contains, which will be art, so I would be inclined to stick with your Sue Higgins brand and build from there. People who like coloured pencil work may not be so taken with textiles and visa versa, so don’t put anyone off visiting by confusing them with Sues Coloured Pencil and Textiles Emporium.
So back to content. As I said, Google is looking at content, so as long as you have clear categories within your site and it’s clearly laid out for easy navigation, there is no reason why you won’t show up in searches for both mediums that you do.
Don’t Always Send Traffic to Your Homepage
Years ago, everyone (and still to a certain extent now) promoted only their home page, but when you Google something specific – how often does Google bring up the home page? It’s far more likely that it will take you directly to a page within a site that can answer your query, so it’s important to be promoting your posts and page content within your site rather than sending traffic directly to your home page – which of course means that it’s absolutely fine to be exhibiting more than one medium on your site.
In terms of the gmail account, no one sniffs at it, but if you were wanting to provide some sort of newsletter (always recommended), I would suggest you use a mailing host like Mailchimp, Constant Contact or Aweber (there’s lots more) so that you are fully protected with GDPR/privacy laws etc. Once you start self hosting and keeping peoples details on your own premises, you have to be all over the data protection rules – plus it’s just easier and they have lots of marketing tools for you to build your mailing list (a whole other post).
To sum up, keep your overall brand under the banner of ‘art’ and then just make sure your website is clearly labelled and tagged with categories so that people can find exactly what they are looking for quickly.
Besides, you never know if another medium will take your fancy down the line too! In which case, you can just introduce it to your existing brand without having to open another site called Sues Pencil, Textiles and Fuzzy Felt Emporium 😉
(I used to love Fuzzy Felt……happy days!)