Before I get into how we picked a domain for my wife’s new small business, let me colour in the lines with a little backstory.
Taking advantage of Automattic’s distributed work culture my family and I moved to Halifax from Toronto last June. I spent 11 years in Halifax during and post-university years and despite my wife, Katie, not being from the region, Halifax is quite comfortable for us. It helps that she is from Boston! Us Newfs would say Halifax fits us “like a smack in da mouth”.
After settling in, getting the kids acclimated and integrated into school, sports, and extracurricular activities, Katie got the itch to go back to work. She has many years of experience in online marketing and website quality assurance. But before jumping back into the workforce, she had a modest list (cough, cough) of criteria for any potential job. It included:
- Must be enjoyable.
- Can’t work before 9:00am or after 2:30pm. Katie loves to drop off and pick up the kids from school. It is the best part of her day.
- Can’t work evenings or weekends.
- Can’t work Professional Activity days for teachers (no school for kids).
- Can’t work Wednesdays. That is day Katie has chosen to spend with the little one, who she takes out of daycare to go skating, swimming, to the library, bake, and play.
- Can’t have deadline type pressure.
In other words, family and the kids mean more to Katie than anything (God love her for that!) and therefore her work criteria does not make her an ideal candidate for most jobs. But we also know she needs to stay busy. Working contributes to our household economy and is also important for mental health.
Enter my sister. Sis, who lives in the Southern US, has been telling us for years we should start a greeting card company…but with a twist. Greeting cards for your lawn. It is appealing to the masses, unique, fun, work your own hours, and can become a nice little second income. After researching the heck out of it and determining that placing a lawn greeting on someone’s lawn has no patentable intellectual property, we were sold. The timing was right, our location was perfect — with thousands of families in nearby subdivisions — and Katie has a background in building, maintaining and marketing websites.
Now it was time to pick a domain, so Katie asked our in-house expert. That’s me, by the way! I have started a few businesses in my day as well and with over 12 years of experience directly in the domains space, this would be easy, right? Not so fast…
Katie should build her business on a .blog domain. We could find something short, memorable, intuitive and she could blog regularly about her experience starting the business while being Mom, creating unique rich content for search engines to eat up. Despite my best sales efforts, this was not appealing to Katie. She was envisioning something more traditional, starting with a brochure site and expanding it with added functionality over time. Maybe eventually using it to franchise her home business to other people throughout Atlantic Canada, As hard as it was for me to not insist, it would be her business, so it was her choice.
To get us on the right track we made a list of criteria to find the perfect domain name for her. Katie wanted her domain name to be the business name as well so this even more important.
- memorable / catchy
- easy to spell
- does NOT require global appeal, only local and Canadian
We agreed it would not have to be a .com and whatever it turned out to be the .blog equivalent would be also be registered so she could eventually start a blog with it and cross-link the sites.
Next, we broke down her business into the following keywords.
- greeting cards
- special occasions
On our respective laptops, we entered variations of the keywords into WordPress.com’s domain search and suggestion tool. These included things like:
- greeting cards for your yard
- yard greeting cards Halifax
- yard greetings
- greeting cards for your lawn
- lawn greeting cards Halifax
- cards for your lawn
We spent hours searching, finding options, trying them on and testing them with different mediums. Nothing was sticking so we walked away from our computers to sleep on it. The next day Katie and I agreed we had nothing, so we talked through the business once again to simplify it. In short, Katie would be renting out greeting cards in the form of letters, decals, and emojis, and placing them on people yards for any required occasion. It will only serve Halifax and surrounding areas to start but should be able to scale and possibly franchise.
Focusing on .ca and .blog searches only, we narrowed it down to these available options:
These had to be submitted in order of preference to the government to ensure the business name a was not taken in Canada. After submitting them and waiting a week the results came in the mail. Inside the envelope was a domain Katie would build a small home business around.
And the winner was lawncards.ca. I think it is absolutely perfect, filling all of the criteria for her business name. I am proud to say that in just 4 short weeks Katie launched her business and is now filling orders on a regular basis. Though her blogging is yet to start she said it will become a focal point of her online strategy.