So, you’ve decided to run for office or mount a campaign for change. You’ve invested the effort in designing a website for your effort and now it’s time to decide on a URL. What you may not realize is that the choice you make is a very important one and should be considered carefully before settling on the address you will send current and potential supporters to. Here are 4 rules to keep in mind when you weigh your options.
Rule #1: Easy To Remember
First and foremost, you want to make it easy for others to find your website. So it make sense to grab a URL that folks can easily remember and that is easily recalled. If you’re an individual, the easiest step is to go with your full name. If you have a long name (say Apu Nahasapeemapetilon) you may want to only use your first name. In Canada, “.ca” addresses are usually available, but if you can grab a .com, then even better. If it is a campaign you are working on, the same rules apply. Make is a statement that fits directly with your cause but doesn’t take a notepad to remember.
Rule #2: Reinforces Your Message
In many ways, your web address is a billboard for your cause. Whenever anyone types in that URL, you want it to reflect what you are trying to achieve. If possible, the URL campaign name should be the name of your campaign, period. Or it should reflect an action you want visitors to take. So, as an example, www.stoptheoilsands.com is preferable to www.stopthepollutingofalberta.com. Choosing a URL is not the right time to be clever or mysterious. You can do all of that with the website design itself.
Rule #3: SEO Worthy
If you are a candidate, people are likely to search you out by name. It makes sense to actually have you name in the web address of your website. That may seem obvious, but I have seen many candidates who have chosen URLs like www.therightchoiceforward25.com or www.gettingresultsinottawa.ca. Your first and last name .com or .ca is always the better choice. If taken, a first name will work (especially if unique) or you can find another creative way (www.meetjoesmith.com, www.electjoesmith.ca) to get your name into the URLs. Same applies for campaigns: your campaign name should be included in the URL. If that isn’t possible, keep the subject matter and the action you need visitors to take in the web address for best results.
Rule #4: Shorter The Better
I’m sure you have committed supporters, but do you expect them to type out youramazingcandidateforward26.blogspot.com each time you want them to visit your site? Shorter URLs are easier to remember, easier to communicate and easier to accommodate on print collateral or other promotional materials. Why make it more difficult for people to find you? Simplicity is the key factor here.
Purchasing a URL is one of the most important decisions you will make in creating an online presence. Following these rules may mean you have to be more creative the web address you arrive at, but it will may off in making your site more memorable and more accessible.