Last week I shot this video with my friend Gini Dietrich about changing your domain. The quick six-minute interview covers both the motivation for making a move and some of the best practices when doing this. There’s been some interesting debate in the comments and I thought I’d clarify and expand my thinking for those of you who may be considering a change.
As readers of this site may remember, as far back as November of the year 2011 (oh, the good old days) this site was MichaelSchechter.me and had been for three years. To say I had done a crappy job with it over that time would be an understatement and since committing myself to doing it right in April of that glorious 2011 era, I felt the pull to make a change.
Before I get into why I think changing to A Better Mess was a good move, let me touch on why I thought sticking with MichaelSchechter.me wasn’t. There are two reasons to use your name as your URL:
You are going to use this site primarily to share personal stories and insights.
You are at the center of your business and this is a platform for spreading awareness and driving leads.
Neither of these are my primary goals for the site.
While I share personal stories, their purpose is always to emphasize the idea of being a Better Mess, not my personal life. I’m not talking about the day-to-day joys and challenges that come from raising two young children. I’m not talking about my marriage and how I could probably be a lot better at it (sorry honey, I love you). I don’t really dive that deep into my job, my industry or what it is like to work for a family business. It’s not that I think these aren’t areas worth examining and it’s not that I don’t pull from these experiences, it’s just that sharing my personal stories isn’t going to keep me writing. Had I made it my focus, I don’t think this site would be valuable enough for others or to me for that matter.
As for my business, while I frequently write and discuss my industry online, this is not the hub for that writing. I certainly write with the intention of being a better person and a better worker, but I always try to take a firm step back to make my own professional insights useful to others. And as for the family business aspect, well… I’m probably saving that for reality TV. As for turning the blog itself into a business, while I’m no stranger to affiliate links and may consider ways to monetize in the future, this site will always be more a part of my life than my livelihood.
There are also a few minor reasons. I wanted a fresh start, even though I did keep all of the content from my initial three-year journey. Also, Schechter is not the easiest name to spell or remember and “Michael Schechter: A Better Mess” isn’t something I’d want to look at every day (no matter how true it may be).
Now, when someone comes to the sight for the first time, it’s pretty darn clear what this is all about. It’s helped focus my efforts (no easy task) and keeps me from straying too far from the ideas I want to examine here. It sets a tone that I am still working at this; I’m no expert and I was concerned that “Michael Schechter: How Even You Can Be A Better Mess” would have come off as preaching rather than sharing what I’m learning through my own struggles. It also aligns me with several of the sites that serve as the inspiration for my own writing.
In truth, the name probably won’t matter much in the long run. I will either write good, useful content and a few of you will stick around or the value just won’t be there and it really won’t matter what I call the site. Just as many will feel more comfortable with a specific type of pen or some “write better” when using a specific application, I can’t help but feel more at home at my own site after making the change. Which is ironic when you consider that it actually required taking my own name off the site in to feel that way.
Note: If you haven’t read the original Spin Sucks post, check it out. There’s some great counterpoint in the comments.