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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Different Domain Names for Different Specialties
Matthew OHaren, Photographer
Harrisburg | PA | USA | Posted: 11:57 PM on 06.27.12
->> I’m currently in the process of restructuring some things for my business and looking for some insight. I currently have two websites, one for my sports and photojournalism work (matthewoharen.com) and the other for my portrait, commercial and youth/high school sports photo work (matthewoharenphoto.com). I was recently talking with my friend, who is in marketing, that suggested that I merge the two sites together to make it more user friendly.

Now this is where I’ve thought long and hard about the two sites compared to one. I do most of my freelance work in sports and photojournalism, however, I do portraits, commercial and youth/high school sports as well. Is it fair to put all these different specialties on one site and still be taken seriously by future clients? Obviously, if I decide to do the one site, the galleries and information about each type of photography would be separated. My friend also recommended that if I do only one site, that I choose the shorter of my two domain names (matthewoharen.com) because it’s shorter and easier for clients to remember. While I do like having my name as the domain name, I’ve also thought that by using matthewoharenphoto.com, the client knows exactly what I do. Though, how long is too long for a domain name? That opinion will also vary between two people. I’ve done my fair share of searching this site and have seen some short and some long domain names.

Any feedback would be much appreciated.
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Angel Valentin, Photographer
Miami/San Juan | PR | | Posted: 8:26 AM on 06.28.12
->> Matthew, I recently created a landing page where folks can decide whether to view my editorial or wedding site as well as my blog. I struggled with what to do for a while since I never wanted to merge the two sides. I also had separate blogs and biz cards. Now I have one blog which features everything I do, I don't have an issue doing that. The design of the LP is very simple but it gets the job done. This is the URL www.angelvalentinphotos.com
I actually think you can merge both sides of your business into one site though.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 11:57 AM on 06.28.12
->> Matthew,

I agree with your friend. My thoughts, FWIW: ** KISS - Keep It Simple Sir ** A lot of folks will laugh, but your really should put a lot of thought into choosing your domain name.

Obviously, you are wanting to brand your name. It is fine if you have two or more domain names, but that increases your cost of doing business, keeping them registered. Think of your PJ work as one product and your portrait work as another product.

In your case, if I wanted to have multiple domain names to distinguish between product/services, I would registered the two domain names mentioned above plus a couple of others and have them all pointing to one webpage much like Apple has ipod.com, iphone.com and their other products as links to their main website page.

As for the length of the domain name. KISS again. Keep it simple and as short as possible. If your last name is prone to misspellings and mispronunciations you might consider a different name, one that describes you business activities or some extension of your personality that is easy for the common man/woman/teen to remember. The less the client has to type in, the less likely they are to fat-finger or misspell your name as "oherin" or "ohearen" or "ohearin" ... you see what I mean, right? Unless you live in a small town where your family name as been around for decades then you might want to consider using "business name".

Recently, over the loudspeaker at an All-Star game, the announcer explained that official photos could be found on the photographer's website. His last name is pronounced "cardinal", which is how most people would spell his name not knowing it is actually written Kardinal. So those people who happened to remember the name, wrote it down or typed in their iphone would have likely recorded kevincardinal.com and not kevinkardinal.com. If I was Kevin, I would register the common spelling and have the domain point to his main page.

At the state finals events Visual Image Photography is the official event photography company for our state high school tournaments. Unfortunately, they did not think out their web presence very carefully. The average mom or pop looking for photos would search most likely enter visualimagephotography.com or visualimagephoto and in both cases end up in the wrong place as they would if they typed in www.vip.com trying to locate the service. Their actual domain name is www.vipis.com. I'd bet my bottom dollar they are not getting all the traffic they should to their site and thereby losing revenue.

My name plus the word photo or photography, would yield over 96 possible spelling combinations. Clark is spelled is also spelled with an "e" on the end as with my last name. My name could also be inverted to Brookes Clarke. Using my name created several limitations. Looking at the long term, it was a smarter decision to choose photonews, with only four possible, logical derivations for a domain name (thank heaven, sportcam was already used by someone else).

Another consideration is search engine optimization (SEO). The longer you retain a domain name, the more weight it is given in search engine return position (SERP) with Google and Bing. Choose one that you can use for decades.

Also, managing everything on one domain, may improve your SEO. The more often you update and change content, as I have found out with Google, the more weight that given to your site in the SERP.

FWIW, I think your friend has you thinking on the right track. Good luck.
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James Hendrix, Photographer
Olathe | KS | USA | Posted: 1:21 PM on 06.28.12
->> I too have been struggling with the same issue.

The workshops I have attended thru PPA says to keep them separate as a sports client would have no interest in seeing baby images and a mom would have no interest in sport images.

I am still not sure what the best way is. Both arguments make sense.
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David Scott, Photographer
Portland | OR | US | Posted: 3:13 PM on 06.28.12
->> I have 3 sites. One for Corporate/Ad/Editorial. One for portraiture. One for Glamour (rebuilding).

People find me via search engines at each site for their respective services. They are all very dissimilar clients so I market to each separately.

Works for me.

-- Dave
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 3:26 PM on 06.28.12
->> James,

"... keep them separate as a sports client would have no interest in seeing baby images and a mom would have no interest in sport images."

The only reason I would disagree with this statement is because, the mom may have a future athlete or current athlete she may want photographed. A client could be looking for a wedding photographer or someone to shoot his/her parents 50th wedding anniversary now or in the future. They may have child who is a junior or senior in the market for senior portraits.

A well-designed landing page (aka homepage) is the key. A logically designed site so that whether a sports client, mom or high school senior hits that page, they need one two clicks or less to get to the info or photos they are looking for.

What isn't good is taking more that two clicks for either potential or current clients to reach the content they are seeking.
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James Hendrix, Photographer
Olathe | KS | USA | Posted: 4:39 PM on 06.28.12
->> -> Agree that too many clicks will turn off a client.

SEO is important to me and when I have a niche I want to go after, I design the page for that niche, including using the heck out of SEO. I have been succesful when I tackled a niche. For over a year, I ranked #1 when searching Olathe Wedding Photographer when I kept the SEO up.

But if my landing page is to cater to several niches, I feel the SEO efforts would not be as effective (maybe?).

Also, another thing that was taught in the SMS class was to find a niche and rub with it and do not try to be a full-service studio.

Still confuses me as to which path to take. I need to get something going as I have been taking workshops and researching for over a year and still have not implemented anything (well, I did just sign up with PhotoShelter and and hoping to get results with that)
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Tom Ewart, Photographer
Bentonville | AR | USA | Posted: 6:20 AM on 06.30.12
->> I agree with the same site with a good index page that could send them to two totally diffrently designed part of the same site. And Directing them where you want them to go. I think this would be less confusing than finding two sights on google for you and the customer potentially choosing the wrong one for them. The only reason I would do two completely diffrent site is if they would turn off some of your clients like going after Boudour Photography and Church Directory clients at the same time. I'd also tend to go for shorter URL's when they make sence. I bought at URL that was shortened with the ending .co just for using a CR code and putting a moble site there. (the more characters you use in a CR code the more dense the graphic is and harder sometimes to scan. I understand not wanting to buy the MWPhoto.com URL for close to $4K but maybe MWphoto1.com might work as well--someone will probably scoop that up as well after reading this... I have found what seems to be a realy nice hosting company in Arvixe, go to my home page at nwaphoto.com and click though to them at the bottom of my home page. Inexpensive and seem to be pretty solid and resonsive to request on the tech side.
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Thread Title: Different Domain Names for Different Specialties
Thread Started By: Matthew OHaren
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