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Taking Yourself Seriously
By Jodi Krangle - 06/21/2001 - 10:41 AM EDT

2001, Jodi Krangle.
First printed in the Just Plain Notes newsletter (Volume 1.95 June 20, 2001) - http://www.jpfolks.com/JPNotes/index.html

There are lots of things you do every day that reaffirm your commitment to being a great songwriter and/or musician. If you want to improve your craft, you work at it. You practice. You speak with others and get their opinions on your progress. You take their criticisms seriously but you take yourself even more seriously. There's a survey online at The Muse's Muse now about the difference between "constructive criticism" and "pulling you down" that might be an inspiring and helpful read. That's at http://www.musesmuse.com/surv-critique.html .

But that's not really what this article is about.

What IS this article about, you ask? It's about your commitment to having a web site. If you're on the web, decide whether or not you're there to stay - and take yourself seriously. What do I mean by that? I mean, don't forever park yourself in a free web hosting service that has tons of pop-up windows, forced banners at the top and a domain name as long as your arm. Now, I'm NOT saying that such places can't be great for learning. But when you've decided you're around to stay, PLEASE invest a small amount in your professional image. Get your own domain name (you can now get a domain name for only $15 / year through The Muse's Muse. Check this out!). With a web hosting service (see http://musesmuse.com/domainreg.html for some suggestions). Maybe even learn a little html. It really isn't that hard. Believe me - if I could figure it out, anyone can. I'm far from the programmer type. ;)

There are several reasons I believe purchasing your own domain name could be one of the smartest marketing moves you make for your independent songwriting/musician career.

YOU'RE EASIER TO FIND!
This is really the most important reason. It's not unusual for people to type "yourname".com (whatever "yourname" happens to be) into their internet browser after meeting you, hearing about a
show, hearing someone else talk about you, etc., and being interested enough in what you're doing to look for your web site. If you have already purchased the domain name of "yourname".com - it's super easy for them to find you. It's also super easy for them to remember how to find you once they have. Let's face it - the longer your domain name and the less it has to actually do with you, the harder it is for someone to remember it. Even if it's not your own name, keep the domain name you get as short as you can - or as memorable as you can. It's true that some names, even though they're long, can be rather unforgettable. Be creative, sure, but keep in mind that the more someone has to type, the less likely they are to do so. I'm afraid that's just a fact of human nature.

For an interesting way to decide what domain name you might like if you decide against using your own name or the one you want is already taken, see Dotster's handy "NameSpin" feature: http://www.dotster.com/register/namespin/default.asp .

SEARCH ENGINES & DIRECTORIES WILL LIKE YOU
I'm giving them more of a personality than they deserve ;) but the fact is that search engines MUCH prefer domain names that have nothing to do with free web hosting services. Directories do too.
Even more so, actually.

(There is a HUGE difference between a "search engine" and a "directory". See http://www.musesmuse.com/3.1-April00.html#article for more details.)

While they still accept free web hosting urls, they are much more likely to categorize a domain name that is not with a free web hosting service. The reason for this? Unfortunately, the free web hosting services don't have a great reputation for quality web sites. The assumption of poorer quality web sites may or may not be accurate, but it's the reputation you need to worry about more than anything else. And frankly, when you make tools available so that just about anybody can put up a site without any training or knowledge whatsoever, some of what results will be... less than inspiring. I'll leave it at that.

IT JUST LOOKS MORE PROFESSIONAL
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. How many times have you heard that one? Well, at least in web marketing, it also happens to be true. And for printing on flyers or on your CD, your own domain name just can't be beat - especially if it's particularly catchy or happens to be your own name.

The bottom line? If you want others to take you seriously, you need to do the same for yourself. I'm not saying that purchasing a domain name is for everyone, but if you're truly interested in using your web site as a marketing tool for your independent career, a professional site with its own easy to remember domain name is the way to go. When I say "professional", I don't mean jazzed up to the hilt with all the latest gizmos, either. All I mean is that your presentation is easy to navigate and pleasant to spend time within. (You can see more of my ideas on this subject at http://www.jpfolks.com/Mentors/Articles/krangleflash.html .)

On the web, as with much of the music industry (unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), it's all about image. Present the right image and you'll have a head start. When there's no one to market you but yourself, that sort of head start can be crucial. Don't underestimate its value. Use it to stand out from the crowd and you'll be well on your way to being an internet success story.


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