I’ve owned a lot of domain names in the past and I’ve successfully optimized about 7 of the lot over the years. This was during an era where people were still skeptical about the importance of having a website or own their own domain names.
We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?
So, I basically know my way around picking the right domain name, lay out the inner workings of META tags for search engine optimization and ranking, write appropriate and ‘keyword rich’ content, submitting articles and links back to the sites, and then promoting the hell out of it.
Of course, after Friendster, MySpace and Multiply came around, I also fanatically read and learned up on promoting your website, albeit more subtly, on social media sites. Oh, it was called Web 2.0 back then. Heh.
It’s funny. I threw away a dated book that I thought was really good – about using off-the-walls marketing strategies to promote a website, while I was sifting through my ultra-packed shelves. What a waste. I bet some of those age-worn tactics would have made a comeback.
So, knowing what I/we know now, why did I purchase a domain name that had none of the following words in it: ‘marketing’, ‘content’, ‘writing’, ‘writer’, ‘socialmedia, ‘digitalmarketing’, ‘seo’, ‘searchengine’, ‘backlinks’, ‘copywriter’, ‘copywriting’, etc?
If I wanted to, there are a lot of ways to get a domain name with those words in them and for the same price!
So, why Marsha Metta?
Use a Domain Name as a Branding Tool to Help People Understand what You Stand for
Metta means…meditation focused on the development of unconditional love for all beings.Google Dictionary
I’m no bard so, leaving religion out of it, let’s focus on the last part of the description above – unconditional love for all beings.
Having unconditional love is actually a very sacred part of human life. We love, we work through hard times, we endure the harshest of conditions with each other, find solutions together, judge each other, argue, maybe even blame, and then embrace every moment of it together, understanding that going through ups and downs of life is a part of the real deal.
It’s the tiny sliver of light we see in stark darkness.
Unconditional love also means not giving up, requires a lot of tolerance and mutual respect. This is the pact that humans make with each other.
Choosing the Right TLD, Top Level Domain Name
So, let’s get back to using the right domain name, Top Level Domain Name, also known as TLD, to brand and market yourself, your company, products, services, building, park, etc.
Most of us back in the 1990s and 2000s would have chosen a really generic domain name that contained our preferred keywords in them like womenshandbag.com, carpartsonline.com, besttumblerintheworld.com, buyprintersonline.com, or kidstoys.com.
It’s worth mentioning here that if you owned a domain name buycomputerspeaker.com, while it used to rank highly with most search engines (including defunct ones like Altavista and Excite), it would be a horrible vehicle for branding purposes today. How would you differentiate yourself as a seller of computer speakers with OTHER computer speaker sellers out there on the internet now?
Google created a tsunami when it changed its algorithm in 2012. In its defense, a lot of people were snapping up keyword-rich domain names and promoting it for reasons other than the reason they’re supposed to use the domain name for.
With that simple update, a large number of websites tanked.
Everyone one of us, genuine domain name owners, writers, marketers, online businesses, affiliate marketing blog writers, EVERYONE, were MIGHTILY pissed off! In one easy, smooth stroke, Google delivered a fatal back-breaker move that eliminated everyone, from bad to good. Every single one of us minions.
The good news is that it’s changed the internet ethos. Coming up with, developing, marketing and promoting a website with a good domain name requires polish, parity, creativity, commitment, a lot of blood and sweat, and, of course, money.
Google has turned things around so that every one of us have to pump a little harder, jump a little higher, at trying to be ‘remembered‘ instead of using blackhat tactics.
Come to think of it, they were just as tired as we were.
With .coms running out, believe it or not, we can now be a little more creative with domain names like flowers.online, order.pizza, bestinternet.biz, ice.land, Another alternative is to specify your location in the domain name like .us for the United States, and .my for Malaysia.
Working Together to Build a Powerful, Memorable Brand with a Simpler Domain Name
I believe that that’s the way humans should work together, not just live together with each other. The extent we’re willing to go to preserve a relationship with other human beings should extend to our work life as well.
By understanding, teaming up, conceptualizing, trying, failing, trying again, faltering, enduring, retrying…and hopefully, succeeding, we’ll have a winning formula.
A big part of what I do for a living is writing. Suffice to say, if I was incapable of stepping into another person’s shoes, without trying my best to understand what the company does or what their corporate culture is like, there would be no way for me to produce anything credible.
I used to sing for a living and I say the same thing – you’ve just got to close your eyes and put yourself completely into the song, lyrics, melody, tempo, band members and the audience. Everything. Immerse yourself.
Like a human body, everything’s got to be on the same page. I am digressing but I am trying to make a point here. Thanks for bearing with me.
Writing and Marketing has Changed so Much, it is Literally a Brand New Beast
And I love it!
The reason behind the name MarshaMetta is to highlight the fact that marketing needs more understanding, endurance, patience, strategy, belief, emotional leverage, and multifaceted tactics.
And writing has got to be more compassionate, down-to-earth, realistic, human, personal, and transparent.
I mean, humor me. Let’s just take a look at least year’s best-selling books. The best-selling books of 2018:
- Becoming – Michelle Obama – it’s a revealing personal story of her life and work that sold more than 3 million copies the moment it hit the shelves. “Obama writes with refreshing candor, as though her keen awareness of her celebrity is matched only by her eagerness to shed the exhausting veneer that helped enable her husband’s political rise” – Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic
- Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gatherings – Joanna Gaines – the book sold 1.3 million copies fresh off the press and it is filled with Gaines’ warmth and passion for serving her family and friends at her home. It’s all about being a family member and a friend. “Gaines comes across as so likable, approachable, and real on TV, and her charm and grace translate effortlessly to every page of Magnolia Table.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)”
- Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who you are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to be – Rachel Hollis. It’s a book from the founder of TheChicSite where she reveals all the misconceptions about life and how often they hold us back from living as joyfully and productively as possible. She etches the words with such honesty it might even hurt. “With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them” – Amazon
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid #13: Meltdown – Jeff Kinney. Well, it’s a teen genre so, I’ll leave it at that but from the reviews on Amazon, it’s got 5 stars so…not too shabby with the tweens and teens.
- Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House – Michael Wolff – This is an inside scoop extravaganza book by renowned award-winning author, essayist, journalist, columnist, and contributor to USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, and GQ. Everyone, whether you’re an American or not, wanted to know who was the real person sitting behind that desk in the Oval Office. And they bought the book.
All of those books, (yes, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid) are books that are either deeply personal, offer an inside view, or touches on a topic everyone can relate to.
There’s now a deep-seated need and demand for transparency. Even in a cookbook, the author/cook, Joanna Gaines, offers insights into her life, work, and family through her recipes.
Fine Examples of Successful Digital Marketing People & Campaigns
I’ve long been a follower of digital marketers who are transparent to the point of being rude and obnoxious. The first one who comes to mind is, of course, none other than Gary Vaynerchuk, also popularly known as Gary Vee.
I’ve never seen or heard (since his content is mostly in video format) an online marketer who swears as freely and unapologetically as he does. He just doesn’t give a sh-t because he wants to make a point, has an opinion, and believes in what he’s saying.
He also personally makes phone calls to people despite his busy schedule (he’s coming to Malaysia, BTW), offer content and advice for free, and admits that he’s a shameless salesman at heart.
The other would be Neil Patel who is also another force to reckon with when it comes to video content, except I’ve never heard Patel utter a single bad word except to raise his voice a notch or two when he’s excited. And he gets really animated which is really enduring and relatable. Whatever you want to say about Neil, accordingly, he’s worth about 7 to 10 million USD right now, so…whatevs, right?
The CEO of Single Grain, Eric Siu, was a little unexpected. To me, he emerged like thunder through a pin-drop silent room. I’ve never heard of him until his name was tied to Neil Patel during their bite-sized marketing podcasts on Growth Everywhere. He also interviews and talks to entrepreneurs and business owners on his Youtube channel. He offers to speak to anyone for 15 minutes, no matter where you are, if you meet his requirements, for free. All one needs to do is to email him (I dread to know how many emails he’s getting on a daily basis – don’t tell me, thank you) and he’ll set up a 1-on-1.
The last I’ll mention here is not a person, but a company – American Express. Realizing that the core of their business is made out of not just everyday consumers, but also businesses and corporate leaders, they joined the big ole game of ‘online communities’, bringing us all the way back to 1998.
Don’t laugh too hard yet because…it worked.
They created a community that had immense value for business owners and leveraged on the ideas and expertise on industry experts. Without providing the content themselves, American Express was pulling in the numbers by inviting guest authors who had knowledge about running online and offline businesses, search engine marketing, and financial wisdom.
The Better you Brand Yourself, the Further You’ll Go
After the noose-tightening on Exact Match Domain, EMD, the importance of branding, content, and social media activities rose in ranks. Actually, when I thought about it, it made more sense.
I’ve had many domains expire and then snatched out from under my nose because I owned a couple of domain names and did not commit to a single one. An expiration notice went unnoticed because I neglected to check my emails. It’s a smack in the face I’ll never forget.
After deliberating for years, single-mindedly and single-handedly focusing on just updating my personal blog, I’ve decided to create a brand for myself. With a combination of my name and what I stand for.
Although I wished I included some keywords in the new domain name, industry experts have this to say about starting afresh with a domain name and website:
- Easy to remember
- Good for your brand
- Make you stand out in the crowd of competitors
- Be consistent
- Avoid using hyphens. It’s not only desperately spammy to search engines, imagine saying it out loud face-to-face to a new friend or business partner. ‘That would be ‘awesome, dash, surfboard, california, dash, beach, dot com’.
If you’re not as willing as me to get up-close-and-personal, consider using Google Adwords and its Diagnostic tool to help you decide on a good domain name.
“For example, if I was building a city guide for London I might go for a domain like londonvibes.com over londoncityguide.com. That way I am including a keyword in “London” but I’m prioritizing a good brand name over spammy SEO.”Gillon Hunter, SEJ
I tend to agree with this train of thought. If you’re targeting a specific region or country (especially if you’re using a local language on the website), it simply makes more sense to invest in a .jp for Japan, .my for Malaysia, .uk for the United Kingdom or .pl for Poland. They tend to perform better in search engines.
A TLD like .com is more general, applies all across the board and can sometimes appear more trustworthy.
Individual Brands Developing their own Unique Branded Domain Names
One good example of why some companies or brands decide to have a different domain name for each of their products, service or packages would be companies like Unilever and Procter & Gamble. They own a massive number of brand names including the likes of Bounty, Ambi Pur, Whisper, Crest, Fairy, Head & Shoulders, Pampers, Mr. Clean, Tide and many more.
If they want to launch a mega project aimed at parents, a new domain name that combines several relevant products under the website would make more sense than to use their main website to promote each of these categories.
“Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.”Eric Schmidt
The best way to brand your domain name is to use the name of person(s) directly related to the product, service, or company (Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard), describe the service or product (Nike), lets consumers go wild with what they are about to experience (Sprint, Virgin), is made out of a completely irrelevant word (Google, Apple, Twitter, Starbucks), or uses a combination of two or three words that are easy to connect with and remember (Coca-Cola, Hundred Monkeys, HubSpot, BuzzFeed, Tweetcaster, Facebook, Linkedin).
The key factor that people like Jeff Bullas found was that branding a domain name goes hand-in-hand with a good logo, color scheme, website layout, offline marketing campaigns, the company’s overall image, and a memorable caricature.
It’s something to chew on.
Creating a Brand New Brand with my Domain Name
I’ve always loved the word ‘Metta’ because of its Sanskrit meaning but I just never found a really solid reason to purchase a domain name for it, launch a new website or brand it the way I am heading with MarshaMetta.
I was living in a bubble.
And if I were really honest about it, I am no programmer. Heck, I tinkled around with CMS the way I tinkled around with Adobe back then. Completely blindfolded. Half the things I touched scared the hell out of me.
But I look forward to rebranding myself and my website in the future. Digital marketing is in my blood. It’s been coursing through my veins since I was introduced to the infinite world of possibilities back in 2000.
There it was – computer to computer (as slow as it was) – the possibility of connecting everyone with a personal computer in their homes/offices (reminder: this was the 1990s) was so encapsulating that it consumed me. I jumped at the chance to help companies discover the ever-changing landscape of search engine optimization and email marketing and I’ve not looked back since.
And you know what? Whether I make money from or with this website is completely irrelevant. I will continue to brand it the way I will a paying client until I no longer can because I believe in and stand by it.
I’m doing it because I should, I can, and I want to.
Note: If you find something offensive, inaccurate, spelling/grammatical errors, or other faults of any kind, please contact me at marshamaung at gmail dot com.