It’s been nearly 10 years since my wife and I had the opportunity to venture east, visiting the scenic natural beauty of them thar hills and mountains of West Virginia.
Ten years ago, we excitedly watched our friends take the plunge into marriage. Fast forward a decade later, 6 kids in between our families, and a timely football game between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Longhorns of the University of Texas at Austin.
The day came for my beautiful bride and travel companion to journey from Austin to West Virginia by way of Houston and Pittsburgh.
As we boarded the first leg of our flight, I stumbled upon a somewhat interesting domain as we both indulged in a fresh smoothie from JuiceLand.
Waiting on a cool and healthy beverage to arrive, I noticed a business card displaying an interesting domain: DelawareNorthListens.com.
We’re certainly not in Delaware was my first thought, yet I would later discover Delaware North manages and provides food and beverage concessions, premium dining, entertainment, lodging, and retail at many large venues and special places — sports stadiums, entertainment complexes, national and state parks, airports, and casinos.
DelawareNorthListens.com is an extension of the base brand domain, DelawareNorth.com, allowing customers to share their service experience via a customer survey (see image below)
With my frothy mango beverage in hand, we happily boarded for the first leg of our trip to Houston. Once we arrived in Houston to board our final plane, I encountered a few more domains, even a subdomain.
The encountered subdomain, Houmaps.fly2houston.com, allows visitors to navigate a mobile-first website to find gate info, turn-by-turn directions, estimated walking time, and driving and shopping, to say the least.
In my opinion, this given subdomain itself is too long to type and remember . It qualifies as a domain that doesn’t pass the radio test, using the numeral two and a word/number collision of 2 instead of to.
I did discover FlyToHouston.com is available for purchase, listed for $9.995.00. In addition, I researched and discovered the following domains available and likely suitable options:
While I understand the use of subdomains because Houston has two different airports to support, I often recommend directories instead of subdomains — the general public is more aware of directories than subdomains.
So, instead of using houmaps.flytohouston.com, one of the following directory-based URLs could be used:
While either subdomains or directories likely work the same, it would be good to A/B test to see which one resonates the most and is consistently easiest to recall with end users.
Moving right along, it wasn’t long after encountering HouMaps.Fly2Houston.com that I encountered a few more domains.
The next domain was displayed well on a large landscape ad promoted by MD Anderson Cancer Center, highlighting MakingCancerHistory.com.
I love when businesses, especially businesses with 3 or more words contained within their name, choose to use a phrase to represent their brand rather than their default website.
Using an alternative domain allows for ad measurement of ROI, and the phrase is likely more memorable, seeing that the right phrase is selected.
I expected MakingCancerHistory.com to redirect to MDAnderson.org. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a well-designed informational microsite designed to generate leads as well as educate visitors about Dr. Jim Allison, Nobel Laureate in Medicine, and his breakthrough in immunotherapy, which earned him the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Cancer impacts everyone at some point in their life, whether directly or indirectly. Cancer is a painful experience, no matter who is impacted.
Hats off to MD Anderson in their efforts to generate awareness using a meaningful phrase domain to transform cancer care with groundbreaking research that saves countless lives and gives more hope to patients and their families.
As nature began calling on a few steps after passing the MD Anderson ad, I saw a great 4L .com domain being used by the largest independently owned title company in the United States: CTOT.com.
It’s always great to encounter companies that “get” the value and presence of a short, memorable domain name.
I certainly can remember CTOT.com rather than Capital Title of Texas, knowing the average person could struggle to decipher between Capital and Capitol.
After a couple of hours in the air, we finally made it to Pittsburgh International Airport with a one-hour drive into Morgantown remaining.
As we gathered luggage en route to securing our rental car, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a .site domain, Sift.Site, in use to display a virtual exhibition of artwork curated from the Pittsburgh Artist Registry, a program of the Office of Public Art.
In short, Sift connects regional artists with new audiences and showcases their work on a world stage.
I don’t recall ever encountering a .site web address in the wild before, but there’s always a first time for everything. 😉
While the .site domain extension is an option, I recommend the following domain extensions as a better non-.com alternative in their respective order:
I prefer .com, but I could certainly see the case made for using Sift.art as a more descriptive domain that resonates with the art audience.
We finally made it to West Virginia around midnight to our friends’ welcoming hugs, treats, and conversation, calling it a night with the big game before us only hours away.
West Virginia, especially Morgantown, is an interesting place to be as a Texas fan entering the enemy’s territory.
As we made our way to the tailgate with our friends, I spotted a few confused Texas flag buyers displaying their flags upside down (bless their hearts!) and a few more domains as we approached the stadium.
Nevertheless, outside of a few drunken “Horns Down” yells from youthful college-age folks from afar and a small child that ran up to me with horns down hand gestures, most West Virginians welcomed my wife and me without insulting gestures.
Even after Texas managed to fight their way to a win, many West Virginian fans were classy in expressing a congratulatory “good game” gesture and wishing my wife and me safe travel back to Texas.
Overall, it was a great trip, a scary game, and a win for the Hook’em Horns! And while I didn’t discover gold in them thar West Virginian hills, I did find hospitality and domains, especially seeing WVLottery.com plastered at every turn of the way.
Thanks for reading, and that’s all for now!