Picking A New Website Domain Name
This article is part 2 of a series entitled: “Your Website Is Screwing Up Your Haunted Event”. Look for links to previous and next articles in the series at the bottom of each post!
Now that you’ve decided that your event really does need a dedicated website, it’s time to choose a good one! Hopefully you’re a new event and you haven’t settled on a name for your haunted attraction yet, but if you have, you may want to see if your existing name fits in these guidelines. If not, that may be fine, but it’s a decision you’ll have to make carefully.
Choosing a Great Event Name
Starting a new event, rebooting an existing one, or re-branding your attraction for whatever reason is a difficult task. A name should be memorable – and more important – easy to remember, while conveying exactly what your attraction is and what you do, while being a name you can print in any publication and say on the air when advertising.
Here’s a list of things to try to get when choosing a name:
- Don’t use words that are fictitious (made-up) in a name. Avoid words that are hard to spell, or words that are intentionally misspelled. If your customers can’t Google part of your name and find you, you will lose them to other attractions! Avoid offensive words as well.
- Haunts tend to move around from time to time – and keep their brands. Sometimes it works if the brand was location agnostic to begin with, other times it’s a big mess. And no one wants to re-brand their haunt, so just avoid it in the first place. Haunted forests should avoid the words “Forest”, “Woods”, “Trail”, etc when choosing a name – ESPECIALLY if they plan on ever moving to a warehouse. Same thing goes for attractions with buildings – avoid “Warehouse”, “Funeral Home”, or other names that don’t move to different locations well.
- Be original! There are tons of haunts around this country with the same name. Don’t add to the mess. All it takes is a simple Google search to see if anyone else is using the name you are considering. If your heart is set on something that another entity is using, be careful not to violate trademark or copyright laws. Getting confused with another event does not help yours – you are the haunt on the block, so any confusion will likely benefit your competitors – who are already well established and well known.
Have you got a good name for your event now? Great! The last step is to choose a domain name to use. GoDaddy has a lovely tool to check to see if a website domain name is available, and it’s located here: https://who.godaddy.com/ There are other WHOIS tools (these simply query the internet registrars to see if a domain name is used, and by whom), and they can be found by searching for them if you don’t want to use GoDaddy’s WHOIS tool.
A few tips when registering a domain name:
- Find the shortest possible domain name you can get that accurately identifies your event. The longer the domain name, the less likely people are to remember it.
- When choosing a domain name for your website, do NOT put the YEAR in the domain name. HauntedHouse2015.com is completely worthless by January 1st of the next year.
- Try really, really, really hard to avoid city or state names and abbreviations in the domain name, unless you know for sure that your haunt is never going to leave that geographic area (it probably will, quit lying to yourself).
- One hyphen is okay if absolutely necessary, but it’s better to avoid it.
- .COM addresses are still the best addresses to get if you are running an event. If you are non-profit, consider a .org as your primary domain name… but get the .com as well.
- Are the .net and .org variances available, too? If so – BUY THEM.
Again, hire a web hosting provider to help you get your website setup. Check back for the next installment to ensure you don’t make common mistakes on your haunted house website.
Continue reading in this series next time when we talk about some of the worst things we see haunt owners doing with their websites.
Previous: Part 1 (Websites)
Next: Part 3 (Very Bad Things)