Site Build It! day 5 is a relatively short day, but an important one.
This day is where you decide what sort of voice your site will have, what it’s spin will be. What makes your site different from any generic site out there in your niche?
The importance of having a personality online, of having a voice, cannot be stressed enough. You must be someone to your visitors. They take action not based on your flawless logic or perfectly researched information, but based on how you come across, who they feel that you are. The most successful bloggers know this, and develop an online personality. John Chow, for example, cultivates his reputation for being “evil”, even though most of what he does is old news to people who have been in Internet Marketing for a while.
Day 5 is also the day you choose your domain name. Normal Internet Marketing wisdom would have you pick a keyword based domain name for a niche site. So if you were writing a site with board game reviews, you’d try to get boardgamereviews.com. Common wisdom is to avoid dashes, because it’s a pain to try and tell someone the URL in person.
The Site Build It! guide also recommends a keyword based domain name, but from there diverges a bit from common wisdom. They suggest adding on to the domain name a word or two that reflects the spin your website puts on the niche. They also suggest using hyphens, especially if you do the vast majority of your business online. A hyphenated domain name is just as easy to click as a non-hyphenated one, search engines don’t care, and the hyphens help people reading the link online easily parse the words embedded in the link.
So the board game site might use, when following SBI!’s advice, board-game-reviews.com. The advantage of using hyphens is that those names might still be available, where boardgamereviews.com might not be (especially if it’s a good niche keyword). Adding in your unique spin also helps you to use the keyword based name you want even if it’s taken, by adding in a word or two. For example, if you create an online personality named Sam who is writing all the reviews, you might use board-game-reviews-by-Sam.com.
It’s an interesting approach to domain names, and it’s hard to argue with the numerous success stories linked to throughout the guide.
The Search It! tool makes it convenient to check to see if anyone has a trademark registered for your domain name. Legally, you can be forced to give up a domain name that is registered as a trademark to someone else, so this is an important step that’s easy to skip. SBI! makes it easy to check.
Domain name registration is included with your Site Build It! fee, and is automatically renewed for you every year at no extra charge. Registration is quick and easy and done entirely through your SBI! membership area.
Day 6 is about using their Site Builder! tool to create the site. I’m pretty excited about some of the Web2.0 functionality the tool has, but don’t expect to use that initially. I expect creating the first pass of the site will take a far longer “day” than day 5 did, so will report back when I’m far enough along to get a feel for the tools.
I’ve been talking about the process that the SBI! action guide takes you through in these review posts. I recently discovered that there’s a public version of the action guide, so you can read through it yourself to get a more in-depth feel for the SBI! process.