I wear a number of hats outside of my 9-to-5. One of those (very flexible) hats: yoga teacher. Even though I consider it a “side gig,” I take the personal brand I’m building as a new yoga teacher very seriously.
I have yoga-specific business card that I pass along to prospective studios, students and fellow yoga teachers. It features my email address, phone number … and this very, very, very long LinkedIn URL:
I hate this domain name. It’s ugly. It's long. It's one that nobody will remember, much less have the patience to type into a browser. And it looks terrible on my business cards. Absolutely terrible.
I’m not interested in building a professional yoga website just yet, but I needed a place to highlight my credentials, a.k.a. my “yoga resume.” So LinkedIn was the quickest solution, even if it wasn’t the ideal.
Then inspiration struck.
A URL branding boost
Over the past few months, through my work with Name.Kitchen, I’ve interviewed numerous entrepreneurs who are getting creative with their website addresses -- thanks to hundreds of new "not-com" domains entering the Internet namespace. This expanded choice gives people opportunity beyond ‘dot-com’ (.com) and ‘dot-net’ (.net). New options range from ‘dot-agency’ (.agency) to 'dot-photography' (.photography) to ‘dot-guru’ (.guru). Click here for an expanding list.
One of the people I interviewed was Amanda Coffee. She seized a “not-com” domain to add creative 'oomph' to her professional brand. The domain she chose: Amanda.Coffee.
While Coffee has aspirations to someday build out a professional website on this domain, she meantime uses it to redirect to her LinkedIn profile page. It basically serves as a creative "digital front door" to her very, very, very long Linkedin URL. The 'dot-coffee' (.coffee) website address is the one she features into social media bios and dolls out to new contacts.
As she relayed her story to me, it sparked an idea. Why couldn't I do the same thing? Didn't I want to mask my hideously long LinkedIn URL without having to build an entirely new website?
I decided to follow Coffee's lead: I, too, would craft a cool "not-com" domain and use it to redirect to my yoga teacher profile on LinkedIn.
Choosing my "not-com"
Selecting my domain was a no-brainer. I knew that I wanted it to include my name and highlight my business category, yoga. Lucky for me, 'dot-yoga' (.yoga) is one of the newest category-specific domain options available. There's a "not-com" option to suit pretty much every field. Choices range from 'dot-legal' (.legal) to 'dot-marketing' (.marketing) to 'dot-dental' (.dental). Even plumbers have their own domain with 'dot-plumbing' (.plumbing)
But 'dot-yoga' worked best for me. I seized my perfect domain for less than $40:
This domain name tells people 1) who I am; and 2) that I'm about yoga. It's much more descriptive, creative and innovative than 'EricaBray. com' -- which wouldn't highlight my focus in a way that would immediately resonate with new contacts. (And for those of you who are non-technical types like me, it was super easy to set up via GoDaddy. It took about five minutes. Painless.)
The result of that five-minute and $40 investment: I now have a memorable "yoga" URL that'll pop on my new business cards and in my email signature -- and ultimately prove a cool conversation starter within the yoga community and beyond.