Choosing a name for your art website is a lot like choosing a business name, and it’s a decision that needs careful consideration.
U nfortunately, for most artists, this means procrastination, hand wringing, hair pulling, and asking everyone “What should I do?”
I get asked about this a lot, and not just by artists; I get asked by all manner of business people, so this conversation is one I’ve had many, many times, and in many different industries.
I’ll explain the broader concepts, and how I applied choosing a name for my art website, as well as the times I’ve chosen to break the rules.
First, the the terminology
A website’s name is called it’s “domain name”, or “URL”. For example, my domain name is “pencilneck.com”.
The domain name/URL is ‘the name of the website’ that’s typed into the address bar of your web browser.
The web browser is the program you use to get onto the internet – Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc., are all web browsers, which are used to “browse” the web (get it?) 😉
Say What It Is
I’m a big believer that when choosing a name for your art website – or company for that matter – to the greatest extent possible, that the name should also explain what they do.
Is there any question about what business they’re in at DiscountCruises.com, or PestControl.com? I don’t know if these are real websites or not, but if I was in each of those businesses, make sure to check out if these names were available.
The problem a lot of artists have when they embrace their businesses is that they feel they have to show the maximum amount of creativity in every possible situation.
Unfortunately, what happens most often is that things get too fancy, or tricky, or complicated for their own good. So going after a website such as energy.com because your art deals with healing or chakras might make sense to you, someone else might be looking for alternative energy sources, or information on jobs in the oil industry.
You should also consider that, to a certain extent, the name of your website may help your search rankings in Google, though this isn’t as important as it used to be.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”
The Pencilneck ®
If possible, it’s nice if your domain name is YOUR name.
In my case however, people always misspell it, so using my name as my web address would actually be an impediment to have people get there. It’s not that my name is hard to spell, it’s just a variation on the most common spelling.
A lot of non-Anglo names have the same problem.
Here’s an example: I’ve had the same mother-in-law for something like 200 years, and her family is from Poland. Her maiden name is so crammed packed with consonants from the latter portion of the alphabet that I find it impossible to spell. Not that anyone in her family are artists, but as an example, the name KonnieKondraczynski.com as a website is perhaps more of a hurdle than one would prefer when trying to get people to visit one’s website.
I’m not suggesting anyone change their name (though for 25 bucks down the courthouse, it remains a bureaucratic bargain) and it could be pointed out that Arnold Schwarzenegger did well for himself with an unlikely name. Even so, due to branding and positioning, his last name was minimized. If someone was to come to you and say “I just saw Arnold getting into a limousine!”, you’d know exactly whom they were speaking about.
And Arnold’s website? Arnold.com
An easy fix…
and the one I recommend to anyone using their own name, is to also register the common misspellings of their names, and have them automatically redirect people to the correct site. For instance, BrianJohnstone.com should also have BrianJohnson.com redirect to BrianJohnstone.com.
Registering names are cheap; typically less than $10 a year.
Too Common is also a Problem
Your name can also be a problem on the other side; if you have a relatively common name. At last count, I know four Brian Johnson’s, and two Brian Johnstone’s. I’m the only Owen Garratt I can find, but there are two Owen Garrett’s in the UK, one of whom seems to have gone to jail (eep!).
The Best Bet for Most Artists
Often, a good solution may be to combine your name with your artistic vocation: BrianJohnsonSculpture, BrianJohnsonPhotography, BrianJohnsonGlassworks, etc.
For most artists, combining your name with what you do (difficult spelling notwithstanding) is likely the best and safest bet.
For most artists, combining your name with what you do (difficult spelling notwithstanding) is likely the best and safest bet.Click to tweet
A quick note: I don’t recommend you use hyphens to separate words in a URL. Some people will tell you that by separating the words with hyphens, Google can identify the individual words better, and is able to reward you with higher rankings because it can connect those words with what people are searching for, but this is not as important as it was in the past.
Also, it makes it just that little bit more difficult for people to type in, and it invites errors.
When you go to Go Daddy, or wherever, to search the availability of a name, they will suggest hyphenated alternatives, but I rarely recommend that option.
Because if it’s hyphenated that mean somebody likely already owns the non-hyphenated version, and people trying to get to your site, but forgetting the hyphens, will end up on someone else’s site!
It goes without saying, but this should be avoided…
Some suggest hyphens because it can make the web address is easier to read, which may be true, but what I recommend is what is called “camel case”. This means you capitalize the 1st letter of each word in the URL, as in MarketingToolsForArtists.com, and should be how the URL is shown in text on business cards, brochures, etc.
Of course, use common sense and look at the URL beforehand to make sure the camel case works in your situation, and you should also avoid URLs with the letter “A” as a word, or short words like “in”, “to”, “at”, etc., or initials in your name, as it can get a little funny looking.
Stick to “.com”
For the same reasons, I’m also a firm believer that artists should stick with.com for their web addresses and not go with “.net”, “.org”, “.biz”, “.co”, “.info”, “.ca”, “.co.uk”, or any of the other naming conventions, if at all possible.
If “.com” is not available, choosing “.net” is usually worse than just finding another name altogether, because “.com” is so ingrained in the public conscious that most people looking for you will type in “.com” the, which means you’ll be sending people to someone else’s website.
And in a certain hard to define way, “.com” feels more legit, more permanent, and more trustworthy than the alternatives.
Why I Did What I Did…
“Okay this makes sense so far, but why did you go with pencilneck.com instead of something like: OwenGarrattPencilArt.com, or something?”
I went with Pencilneck out of a long thought-out process concerning branding.
After reading Jimmy Buffett’s “A Pirate Looks at Fifty“, it struck me how effective his branding was, especially how his fans refer to themselves as “Parrotheads”. I wanted a name that somehow touched on my art, my personality (specifically humor), was memorable, and that I could make identifiable in various situations.
It took 3 years, but I finally got it, and when I did, it was so obvious that I got angry I didn’t connect the dots sooner!
Pencilneck was perfect. The pencil component fitted my art, of course, and the geek connotation was offset by my 6 foot, 280 lb frame – it’s like calling the bald guy “Curly” – which touches on the humor.
No, not everybody gets it, and that’s okay…
Most importantly, Pencilneck is memorable, much more memorable than Owen Garratt, and it’s easier to spell.
So I searched pencilneck.com and found that it was taken!
Rather than buying a hyphenated or alternative to “.com”, I spent $3000 (though I would have paid much, much more) and bought the name from the chap who owned it. Then I made Pencilneck ® a registered trademark through the US patent office.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that you go through the hassle and expense of buying a domain name from someone else, but I shouldn’t rule it out for anyone either.
If Your Name is Taken. Or unsuitable.
If your name is already taken, or is unsuitable, a common solution is to create a “studio name”.
Early on in my career, my business name was “Birchwood Art and Litho”, and BirchwoodArt could’ve been a domain name…except that it really doesn’t mean anything, does it?
Again, it’s pretty important that the domain name “says what it is”.
My friend Roxy Ruchert does brilliant pencil art of horses and uses the name BridlewoodArt.com, which does a nice job of the pre-positioning what her art, and her website, is about. Using the word ‘bridle’ in the domain name lets people know that horses are involved.
If I were specializing in horse art, I might try SaddleSoreArt.com! 🙂
“I’ve made some mistakes with this – how do I fix it?!”
If you already have your website up and running, it’s okay to change it – though I’d be hesitant too if you’re getting lots of traffic to your existing site).
You can use what’s called a “redirect”. A redirect means, when someone types in one domain name, you can automatically have them taken to another one – just as in the case where you register various spellings of your name.
For years my original website was ThatPencilGuy.com, and when I got Pencilneck ® rolling, I just had anyone who typed in ThatPencilGuy.com taken directly to pencilneck.com.
This means you don’t need to change your entire website if you decide to change your domain name.
If you use WordPress, here’s the plugin I use for redirects: https://wordpress.org/plugins/redirection/
This is important: under no circumstances should the name of your website/URL contain your hosting service!
What do I mean?
Your hosting service is where your website “lives”. It could be WordPress.com, it may be a site like Shopify, or Wix, or dozens of others.
So your website should NOT be: yourname.shopify.com, or yourname.wix.com, or yourname.wordpress.com, or anything else!
This screams a lack of professionalism. Having your own URL is the cheapest thing you can do for yourself, and not having your own URL announces loud and clear that you’re not a serious artist.
Harsh words, but true.
I’ll have an upcoming article on hosting, which is choosing a company or place to set up your website.
Your Action Task
In the meantime, go to either GoDaddy.com (see the camel case?) or Namecheap.com and then enter your choice of a web name in their “web checker” box and see if it’s available. Don’t be distraught if your favorite isn’t available; very few obvious ones are left. Come up with a short list of 2 or 3 in see how it goes.
Even if you don’t have a website, or aren’t quite ready to have your website, you can still go and reserve the name: you can buy it and sit on it so no one else gets it!
GoDaddy is who I use, and they are the Big Dog in the industry; somewhere around 70% of all Internet registrations go through them.
They built their name on low-cost domain names and now dominate the industry.
They also have terrific customer support, and I’ve never failed to get my questions asked and answered on the phone quickly and easily.
Namecheap is the big tough new alternative.
Easier to use, tremendous support, and overwhelmingly used by people in The Know.
The next name I register will absolutely be with Namecheap.
Now go get your name…!
P.S. A Final Tidbit: All other things being equal, the shorter URL will be more effective than a longer one!
Great article – as usual :)!
I’ve struggled with a website name for ages as there’s another lady artist with the same name, although she’s in the US (I’m in Australia). Most people can’t spell, “Laurie” anyway – I’d go broke buying all the variations. Been racking my brains re other identity things to play on words like you have e.g. twin, favourite colour & on & on.
Tempted to settle on “AussiePencilArtist.com” or “AussieLadyPencilArtist.com” – the latter is a mouthful! People may think I only draw specific Australian topics though…
Thanks for your article
Have a good one
I think the AussiePencilArtist is the stronger of the two, and I think it’s about you, not the subject matter. Remember, this domain name isn’t what they’re searching for – unless they already know you! So choose the name that helps them get back to you…easy to spell and remember!
Hi Owen, very nice well done, helpful Article. Thanks a lot. Look forward to what You Come Up With Next.Billy Dillard
Thanks Billy! I look forward to seeing what you come up with too! 😉
Thanks for sharing your insight into a tricky topic. I had a lot of trouble with my website name as I wanted to use MY name as it is signed on the bottom of my paintings. People have always spelled my name with an ‘ie’ as in Leslie instead of ‘ey’ as in Lesley so what one should do is buy both domain names and have the odd one redirected to the good one. I also included the ‘au’ ending as I am in Australia and I think it’s a good idea that people know where your art is coming from.
Very much looking forward to your next installment.
I’d definitely buy both domain names and redirect. I’m not as sold on the .au, because it excludes everywhere else before “the hook can be set”! If your art is strictly Australian and for Australians, then maybe. But if you want to sell anywhere else, it can interfere with that vital “is this for me” instantaneous questioning that happens. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, it can even go so far as to be a barrier to locals!!!
By pidgeonholing oneself as local, it presupposes that one ISN’T one with a wide reach. As the Brits say “an eagle away, a crow at home”. The expert is always from somewhere else.
I sell much, much more art in Calgary (2.5 hours away) than I do in Edmonton (12 minutes). Why? I’m not that special in Edmonton, because I’m local. Were I to live in Calgary, these numbers would be reversed, even though both cities are within 10% of each other in population.
I’ll need to do an entire article on the perils of being a “local artist”, and it does suck that locals don’t get any love, but it’s not just in the arts. Go to any small town lawyer, electrician, plumber, doctor, or anything else and they’ll tell you the same thing: the expert is always from somewhere else.
“WAIT! If you’re saying that artists are seen as experts when they’re from somewhere else, then doesn’t that mean we SHOULD be using URLs that position us as being from somewhere else, like Australia?!”
Excellent Grasshopper! 🙂
Here’s the difference: they’re evaluating in terms of who you are in relation to where THEY are. Americans seem to be especially sensitive to non-American stuff. If it’s not American, it’s not as intriguing. Overwhelmingly, Americans only watch American movies and television. They’ll accept British actors, but only in American shows. They won’t watch a detective show set in London, say, as readily as one set in NYC. Hence the once-okay-but-now-faltering “reimagining” of Sherlock Holmes in New York.
They’ll buy Chinese merchandise, but only from an American store or website.
I think it has to do with social proof; “If it’s in WalMart, it must be okay, because everyone’s buying it”, but they’d never go to a Chinese website to buy the same product, even at a cheaper price because of the unknown elements. But they’d buy it from Amazon.
(before our American friends begin hoping up and down, please understand that non of this is meant in a spirit of dungeon, merely observation!)
Of course, these phenomena apply to varying degrees around the world, but the overarching point is that client’s decisions are made instantaneously, at a barely conscious level. People are willing to buy art from other places, but if the process of buying that art isn’t seen to be as inclusive, then they resist even looking. Irrational, yes, but a Very Real Thing.
.com = mainstream appeal and legitimacy
.somewhere-else = smaller, for a specific place, but may also deflect locals who feel more comfortable with mainstream!
Yes, there are lots of exceptions. But not as many as we’d like to think…
Yes, of COURSE they need to know where their art comes from – just be sure to tell them in ways that fascinate the connection, not inhibit it! Usually, that means not leading with it…
A helpful and timely article as I’m wondering whether to change my website/biz name when my website gets updated soon. I may keep the web name as Artistswindow but make my actual name more visible on the site. I also have a strap line under Artistswindow that reads ‘Artwork inspired by Greece & the mediterranean’ , which sort of spells out what I do but is all a bit, well, long! What do you think?
Artwork Inspired by Greece & The Mediterranean!!
Hey Gill! I think that if your art is inspired by Greece and the Mediterranean, then the tagline is important!
It’s the artistswindow that’s the disconnect (don’t hate the messenger!!!) 🙂 It’s catchy, but indistinct, and says nothing about you or what you do. GillTomlinsonArt would be better, I think. And most people would assume that Gill is short for Gillian, you may want to buy GillianTomlinsonArt and redirect it too. A simple check in Google Analytics would show you if it made any difference after a year, if it didn’t, you can drop it.
Good advice above btw. thanks. Hope you do one on social media 😉
I recently decided to rename myself and try not to emphasise the connection between old name and old art and new name and new art direction so (short story) I don’t want to make an announcement. But that means starting afresh on social media to build new friends largely from scratch. I realise this is off topic. cheers
Great article with some useful info, especially for “net newbies”.
Just one thing – the site you linked to for Arnold Schwarzenegger is a commercial site selling supplements.
His official site is http://www.schwarzenegger.com/.
Also, your assertion about .com being the best option, only applies in the US. I’m in the UK and over here people have grabbed and run with other domain suffixes, which seem to work just as well (except, perhaps, for some of the more obscure ones that are emerging onto the marketplace).
Glad you are getting the message out regarding finding the best url to promote an artist’s work. I struggled for years with finding the right name for my sites, and am still not sure they are appropriate!
All the best
Sure, in the U.K. and possibly Australia, the local variances MAY be preferred IF only dealing with local/regional clientele. But if you’re hoping to sell to the U.S., you’d better use .com. You can still redirect to .co.uk, or whatever, but the point was that using regional URLs psychologically excludes everywhere else. Of course, in some cases, that may be preferable – if you specialize in British seascapes for instance – but the decision should be made acknowledging how markets think, rather than how we’d like them to think. You’ll never go wrong with .com, but regional ones can be exclusive. Here in Canada, a .ca hoping to appeal to non-Canadians is like climbing a greased rope. In fact, even among Canadians, unless it’s a specific pro-Canadian thing (like, for instance, a CDN-centric restaurant), the .ca subtlety says “small time, not a contender”. Unfortunately.
Good catch on the Arnold site. Arnold.com IS licensed via Arnold – it’s his line of supplements, and he’s more than willing to sue to protect his name. years ago he sued Arnold’s Gym and won.
Good old Arnold – he doesn’t miss a trick!
I take your point about the regional tldn issue.
It is a thorny topic in some circles!
It sure is! 🙂
The greatest marketing lesson I ever learned was from one of my best friends, who’s now a Major in the Air Force.
He once said (over some occasion which escapes me) that “There’s the way it should be, and then there’s the way it is. And THIS is the way it is!”
Over the years I’ve found countless things that I found to be irrational, irritating, unjust, and just plain stupid…but I’ve learned that it’s much easier to work within the parameters of “the way it is” in terms of purchasing psychology than it is to try and change minds. (save the changing minds fight for things that matter).
“A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still” Ben Franklin
This is a helpful article that I will pass along to my fellow artist friends. Since my first name is so unique and easy to remember. Thus I put my first name in the url. However Pippin.com was taken, so Artpippin.com it is. It’s also important to use that url name all my social media accounts. Such as Art Pippin Facebook, Art Pippin Twitter, etc. Go Daddy is a great service and have used them for over ten years to host my site.
Have a stellar day!
Thanks Pippin! You may want to try PippinArt as a redirect name – it might be how people accidentally remember it. You could redirect to the proper site, and over a year look back at your analytics to see how many times people have gone to “the wrong one”. If it’s no one, then drop the name, but if it’s even one a month, for less than $10, they found you.
Thank you Owen. I used GoDaddy, but have really battled setting up my website. Maybe 75 year-olds should get someone else to do it. However I found your article very helpful indeed. If a domain name is made available by auction, is that the only time that it is available??.
I wanted my name.com and now it is being offered at an opening price of $84. I don’t understand this. Perhaps I should just stick with what I have.
Thank you for putting it simply – in language which I can understand.
I can be a real drag getting things set up – but pick up the phone and call the company’s service number. Most of them are really terrific, and in some cases will do the stuff for you while you’re on the line!
Yes, the auction means that someone must be sitting on the domain, but $84 sounds quite reasonable…again, give GoDaddy a call and ask them any questions 🙂
I wanted to ask your advice…I have a longish name (two last names), and I am struggling to know which is the best domain name. I have 3 variations in mind. First, simply my name with the camel case – BrendaIsaakTakao.com. Would like to add Artworks at the end, but this is probably too long, no? And my third option is a bit of a play on my initials – lilBITblueArtworks.com. Any thoughts or advice for me?
Thanks in advance!!!
I’m afraid I don’t have any breakthroughs for you; you recognize the problems: too long, too hard to remember, too prone to typos, etc. For all too many of us, choosing a name is less a matter of picking The Best One, and more of picking The Least Confusing…
Usually camel font helps but this is an example of an exception: the capital “I” looks like a small “l”, so your name looks like Brendal…!
The third option is too cute/clever without working any better (tough love!) though the initials may help, maybe along the lines of BITart.com? Or something?
It’s a problem 1000’s of artists have, me included. But simpler is almost always better.
Aah! Sorry, wanted to ask you also…is getting the email address through GoDaddy the only way to have your own url in the email address?
Nope, if you own the domain name, you can set it up in gmail or whatever email service you want. GoDaddy is just one place you can buy domains, and once you buy one, say ABCART.com, you own that name, and can now set up your email to be (for instance) Brenda@ABCART.com instead of brendaIT@gmail.com.
I spent 10 seconds on Google and found this article on how to set up your gmail account: http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/how-to-setup-a-professional-email-address-with-gmail-and-google-apps/
Thanks so much for the timely help Owen…going to give the domain name some thought…and I am so glad I am not roped in to paying extra for my own email address.
My pleasure! 🙂
You may still need to pay a nominal fee for hosting/keeping the email account set up…I’m stuck paying $12 a month to Network Solutions (no, I don’t recommend them) for the privilege of using my own URL, even though everything goes through Gmail! Bah!
Yes, I can change it, but WP Engine doesn’t host email accounts, so I’m leaving it where it is…
I am an emerging artist (photographer, but I use other media too). Retired. A local artist has been bugging me for a couple of years to get my work out there – so I did – to Calls for Entry, and I now have pieces hanging in juried shows all over the US (FWIW). Haven’t sold anything. So its time to get more serious about marketing.
I am torn between being real obvious (“Art by Jerry”) – which is common and not particularly inventive, to what I’ve been using for some test portfolio pages (“You’re In My Light”) – I like the non-obviousness of that, and its me, but it doesn’t even hint at what the page is about, so it’s bad for the customer. I have that domain name purchased (several years ago – different spellings too). But my local artist friend hates that latter suggestion – he says I need something that shows value to the viewer and gives a hint of what I do. That is much like you say – interest and value to the viewer. Last night, after digesting your materials, I had the idea, “From the Mind”. I have pages and pages of concept names – brainstorming if you will – but “You’re In My Light” really speaks to me (and that’s probably the issue LOL).
Feedback? I understand that the viewer is paramount, but I have to be comfortable with the name as well.
Hey Jerry! Um, you could just use your name…! 🙂 JerryRanchPhotography for instance. It says what it is, it’s easy to remember and spell, and it’s not too cute. Save the other titles for the individual galleries/categories of photography you do…
appreciated Owen…I will have to execute on your suggestion and deal with the discomfort I have with that concept – it seems self-serving to me, but I understand that customers would be served by that name, and that is the point
Self-serving? Hardly! It’s being clear and easy to find. Or maybe do you mean “self-aggrandizing”. Honest, it’s not. Remember, people expect artists to lead, to climb above the treeline and slay the dragons. We’re supposed to show the world what we’ve learned. And we can’t do that tucked away in obscurity…! 🙂
I get it Owen. I am a retired scientist, and in my career I have led my discipline several times by being the non-conformist and challenging the status quo. Artists are no different. No one knows my art better than me. I know how I want to organize and present web content, it was always a question of finding the proper identification of me, the artist.
You help is appreciated
We’re here to help! 🙂
Enjoyed the various comments and your answers.
Mary Lou – mlcarpenter.com
Thanks Mary Lou! 🙂
Hi Owen, My spouse doesn’t think there’s any massive difference in the traffic I’d get if I paid a chunk of money to someone who is selling the premium .com domain I want vs the .net and .ca I currently have. Do you have any info that can help me in my cause?
It’s not about getting the traffic per se; it’s about avoiding confusion.
For instance, I get around a dozen emails every month intended for the owners of pencilneck.ca, but they type .com by force of habit.
If you’re getting no one coming to your site at all, then maybe it doesn’t matter. But if you’re around here for very long, you soon understand that the Big Impact a website has ISN’T the random folks who find you online…it’s the folks you’ve met elsewhere who’re looking or you – or trying to show your stuff to friends and family, etc.
People being what they are, if they type .com and you’re not there, not very many will think to try any of the zillion other suffixes.
Cost is relative. What’s a chunk of money? I spent $3000 on pencilneck and felt it was a bargain.
You’ll have to decide that for yourself. How many pieces will you have to sell to recoup?
Conversely, how many sales are you losing because they can’t find you…?
Hi Owen, thanks for this most helpful site. Two years ago I retired and have started painting seriously and would like to build a new site showing my work. My main interest is in wild life and conservation.
Previously I used the name of my farm eg http://www.eastertonequine.com which was fairly successful. I am wary about trying domain names as suspect the minute you try a name someone buys it so feel I need to be well prepared before even testing it.
The use of the capital letter is new to me and makes sense
My possibly thoughts are just mynameart.com eg http://www.AnnHuntArtist.com or possibly the name of our beautiful new property as a studio name http://www.OwlsEndArt.com (I have been doing several different owls along side other species). Look forward to your thoughts.
Thanks Ann! I understand your suspicions about doing name searches and they get scooped up after. I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow they’re watching what people are checking for and then grabbing them if they’re not bought right away. I think it’s the same for airfare; unless you’re ready to book, don’t even bother looking. Unless you specifically set up a “watch this flight” that some online agents have (like Hopper) you’ll never get that cheaper price again. Even an hour later. Bah!
One way around this is, of course, to buy multiples. You can direct them all to the same place, and it keeps others from getting sites “close” to yours and avoiding confusion. Just a thought.
Owl’s End is a great name, but not necessarily for your art. People will, of course, think it’s just owls.
Hard to go wrong with either mynameart or mynameartist. Your name is very succinct and easy to remember and spell. But it’s not entirely unique. I personally know two other Ann Hunts, so hopefully, your choices are still available (they’re not artists!)
The struggle is real.
ADVANCED TIP: consider also buying AnneHuntArt and/or AnneHuntArtist as it’s likely a very common mispelling. Then just have them automatically point to the proper site.
Thanks for taking the trouble to write all that. It’s brilliant. Really concise ,clear and VERY helpful!
Thank you Cindy! 🙂
So my first name ends with an A, and I’d like to use my maiden name, but that too ends in an A.
Married name :
And the last names are long.
Married vs maiden name – which is the name you actually use for business? That’s the name you should use for your site. TatianaArt seems best when spelled with a camel font (as you did), if it’s available, grab it!
So glad to find your article. I paint and sculpt, my married name has many “s” that gets to be mistaken by “f”!I could use my maiden name, but looking at Facebook it seems to be popular!what if I use my first name with initials of my maiden and married name (RoyaMHfineart)?
My Instagram is ArtbyRoya, does it sound good for website? Thanks
ArtByRoya.com sounds fine! 🙂
And it’s always a good idea to keep things consistent over different sites/media too…!
Once again you’ve hit the target – your articles are all helpful and real world authentic. My son’s site uses his name which proves relatively short, somewhat unique [except for some rich fella on the left coast with the same name] but we chose “.art” rather than “.com” – the “.com” was taken and I hate “.net.” His email is simple and is not “hosting service” indicative – firstname.lastname@example.org. All seems to work except there remains a strong predilection for folks to type “.com” – arghh. Perhaps in time this little aggravation will become mute. Thanks again for such excellent insights.
Very helpful article, and timely, as I’m trying to choose a domain in the next couple days. I’ve had stonge.studio.com for years, but no longer have that website. Should I keep that name, or go with PatSt.OngeArtist? The “.” in St.Onge confuses computers, but hey, its my name. I’m stumped.
Hey Pat! Yes, I’d be careful of the period after St.; I can see how it’d cause problems. Perhaps use Camel Font – where the first letter of each word is capitalized. It’ doesn’t affect the typing in; people can type in caps or not, but it visually helps. StOngeStudio.com? PatStOngeStudio.com?
Thanks for this article, really made me rethink a lot about my website name.
I wanted to use my name but for reason it gets misspelled a bit often, especially when not putting the H at the end (Dinah). Its a bit funny since its a name that sort of familiar with someone famous but not too popular in recent times. I thought of using art or arts in the name since it already on my social tags (dinahcarts) but think its a bit too broad for what I do, which is mostly digital drawings.
Came up with DinahCIllustrations.com, which yeah, is a bit long than just DinahCArts.com. I sort of just used my last name initial to try shortening it but I wonder if that’ll make it difficult to find or not.
I had other ideas but some didn’t make too much sense with my current aesthetic style I’m aiming for or relate to how I work, which was Blazing Brushstrokes studios, and it just sounded weirdly tacky to me.
If it helps, my style sort of going towards urban fantasy with a cosmic flare and focused on character illustrations and concept art. Hope for
I like DinahCarts.com especially if you’re already using it in your social media!
HI thank you so much for the tips
My facebook page name is Unfoldlotus but later I realized it doesnt say anything about art, but favorite flower is Lotus so wanted name around it , can you please suggest some modifications around it to add a word art
Um, you need to make your own decisions on this..! 🙂 LotusArt? That’s not great, and if you’re not making art of lotus plants it may be confusing. Instead of forcing the name lotus into something about your art, can you use the lotus in some kind of logo?
Your article touches on many vital points!
Further, I think you have rightly pointed out a link between business name and website name.
These days, you’re more likely to navigate your way from website to website via links and simply “highlighting, right-clicking and opening” websites more often than actually typing out the website name in the search bar.
I think this means that an artist website that includes a name, (either first or last name or both) being in the website name is important for marketing and branding self on social networks.
Would you recommend using “FirstnameLastnameArt.com OR FirstnameLastnameArtist.com? Trying to decide between using the word “art” or “artist” in the domain name.
Hey Jennifer! Either is fine; type it out with camel font and see which looks best.
Don’t overthink it!! 😉
Found this article very helpful I am yet to find a domain name and was thinking of using something unique. I now realise that trying too hard will leave me in obscurity. I have a fairly common name so adding artist will help but I also want to showcase my poetry too. Poetic artist or artist poet?? Janespoetry&art? Janegibbsart&verse? Any advise will be helpful.
Thanks Jane! This is always difficult, but I suggest separating the art and poetry. I struggle with this too. But as Confucius said, “The person who chases two rabbits catches none”. Set up your poetry on a separate site. It’s perfectly fine to try a little cross-pollinating in, say, your email newsletters, but if there’s ONE thing that’s been proven in web design over the past 20 years, it’s: One Site = One Thing. One Page = One Message.
Think back to the later 90’s websites; they all looked like newspapers, didn’t they. And the effect on the visitor was “What the heck am I supposed to look at?!?!”
One website per thing, each page is one thing. So JanesArt.com and JanesPoetry.com are the nest bet(s), all things being equal.
Hi, Owen. Great article. I know I’m overthinking this and yet I can’t decide. Can I get your opinion?
– VictoriaPrimiciasArt.com – too long?
– PrimiciasArt.com – last name isn’t readily memorable
– VictoriasSeaArt.com – I paint mostly horizon landscapes (mostly ocean) but I also have some land terrain; a play on VictoriasSecret.com and therefore memorable?
– PrimiArt.com – short and sweet?
– ArtistVictoria.com – too generic?
– PrimaVictoriaArt.com – a play on my last name and primadonna
I’m partial to VictoriasSeaArt.com It says what it is, and they shouldn’t have to look up any spelling. 🙂
I just wanted to say many thanks, Owen! I really appreciate your feedback. 🙂
My pleasure! 🙂
Great advice! My name is KK Willson. I often have to explain that my first name is “two initials” (not kay kay) and always that my last name has “2 L’s”. I have been considering kkwillson.com or kkwillsonart.com. BUT, I will always have to explain the spelling.
I understand I could buy the domain of most common spelling for wilson, but KK would still be a problem. Any suggestions? My husband suggested kkwart.com but that looks like KK Wart! Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
I have a similar problem with my last name; it’s spelled ‘att’, not ‘ett’ like everyone thinks it is. And it’s why I didn’t use it in my domain. KKWillson is perfectly fine, but I’d suggest that you ALSO purchase the alternate spelling, so when (not if) someone tyes in the wrong spelling, it automatically takes them to the correct site! Hoo hoo ha haa!
I had a website based on my nickname, that was basically just an online portfolio of my work. It wasn’t set up for sales, it was primarily just a showcase.
I ended up moving a long distance, did not renew my site or domain name, and now I’m starting over from scratch. My Facebook and Instagram are all with my (old) website name which was Mermade Studios. My nickname is Mer, and I make stuff. Haha. That’s why I chose to go with that. Am I better off changing it to my real name instead?
If you already have something, keep it! 🙂
Hi Owen, Could you please advise. I need to create domain name for my “art portfolio” website. As you can see, my name is difficult to read and pronounce in the west since I am from an Asian country. Now I think,
niharikasrivastava.com – long! no one would know where to take pause
artbyniharika.com – even my tutors in the UK get confused where to pronounce “a” and “i” and then they swap r and k.
artofsrivas.com – word srivas should actually be spelled as shri but written as sri…so i don’t know! confusion.
nsartportfolio.com – initials of my name+art portfolio
and when I try to shorten the last name, there are so many existing social media handles. Its tuff…please help! Thanks
This is a tough one. It kind of seems like a “least worst” choice instead of a best one. 😉 In this case, you may want to explore a different name entirely, as I did with pencilneck.com.
I also tried to come up with some random names like “niksbrush.com” but it can be confused with nix/nicks/nics !!
I really don’t know I will explain to my own. I use the number with my name, 99 is my birthday. Here I open my mind to select maybe with,
My art is about abstract paintings, I’ll try to explore the idea of nature and moment, I think arctic blue was related to colour and expressions. And Abstractfully was given to full in the abstract. So many thanks, Owen.
Hey Selly! I think Abstractfully.com is terrific! (it doesn’t need the SS at the end)
Better hurry and get it before someone else does! 🙂
Thank you owen
Hi Owen, Your article has been incredibly helpful as I’ve been trying to figure out this very issue, and have been playing with words and available URL’s all day for a new website that will showcase my art portfolio (metal sculpture). Long story, but several years ago I created a website for my artistic gates and railings with an awkward URL (fusionmetalssf.com) that has always bothered me, so I want to avoid the same mistake this time (the double SS constantly needs to be explained/ the SF at the end stands for San Francisco etc).
I’m looking for a great URL to represent my metal sculpture and metal wall art, but my name poses some issues. Here are a few I’ve come up with that seem to be available:
hengelman.com (ok, but does not mention art and seems kinda boring, has at least 1 common misspelling)
hilaryengelman.com (has common misspellings, 2 L’s in Hillary, and the “el” in last name being reversed etc)
metalartbyhilary.com (long but it does say what it is, 1 common misspelling)
hilzmetalart.com (my nickname is Hilz and its used on my social media accounts but I think it may get spelled wrong or cause
confusion, but it’s short and says what it is)
Camel Font will help some of these, it’s just so hard to know which will best represent my website and art. Please, if you have any thoughts/ opinions of the one(s) you may be most drawn to, I would very much appreciate your time and opinion. Thanks in advance!! -Hilary
Of the ones listed, my pick would definitely be HilzMetalArt.com – especially since you’re already using it in your social media accounts! Here’s a tip: if you know there’s one or two common misspellings, go ahead and buy THOSE urls too, and have them automatically point to the proper site. Namecheap sells them for next to nothing, so you needn’t worry about missing out!
I’m an emerging artist/photographer/musician and wondered if the .art ending is a viable one in terms of ease of remembrance and identifying as an artist? Also wondering about using my name vs the studio name. I do not have a website yet but I thought to get my domain name first. Also can I use Wix or Vistaprint website makers or do they want to generate their endings on everything?
Yes, the recent .art websites are certainly good branding: is says what it is. They’re also cheaper, typically, though I cringe as a point of order at doing things strictly out of cheapness. And yes, website makers generally want their own branding on any sites they build – unless you cough up a premium. If you’re coughing up a premium, you might as well get a better site!
I like the weepeggys.art, but how does it tie to your name? (that’s the kind of thing customers will wonder too!)