Do you find yourself frustrated because people are continually misspelling your studio’s name? It’s a common refrain. In the dance world, we have alternate spellings for many words, alternate spellings that can not only fool a customer, but could potentially harm your business.
For example, a dance studio called ‘Figtree Dance Centre’ may half the time be spelled as ‘Figtree Dance Center’ by those not intimately connected with the studio. ‘Anna’s School of Theatre Arts’ is in danger of being typed as ‘Anna’s School of Theater Arts’. And a studio named ‘To the Pointe Dance Academy’? Well, what we in the dance world think of as a funny pun will likely fly right by the parents of young dancers. A check made out to that studio would quite likely be made out to ‘To the Point Dance Academy’.
When it comes to checks, it’s not much a problem (in great part because they’re rarely used anymore). Banks are used to misspellings and small variations of a business’ name and would take a mispell in stride.
Such is not the case online, however. If you own Figtree Dance Centre, and your website address is ‘www.figtreedancecentre.com’, what happens if a new prospect hears of your studio from a friend and types in ‘www.figtreedancecenter.com’? Most likely, they’ll see: “No results found for ‘www.figtreedancecenter.com’”. What does this mean to them? Do they figure your studio has NO website? Or worse yet, do they wonder if the studio is now closed?
If a dance parent misspells your domain name, their next step may be to go to Google or another search engine and type in your city’s name plus ‘dance studio’. What normally shows then is a map of your town with all dance studios highlighted, along with a list of dance studios in your area – yours plus all of your competitors. Your prospects have just gone from looking specifically for your studio’s website to being presented with all the studio options in your area – this is not the desired outcome!
If the possible misspellings of your dance studio are readily apparent to you, I’d recommend a quick and relatively inexpensive solution to the problem. You can buy secondary domain names (website addresses) through any reputable domain name company, and point them to your true website address. For example, say your studio’s name is ‘Dancin’ in Step’ and your website address is ‘www.dancininstep.com’. You know that 1/3 of your customers consistently say and write ‘Dancing in Step’ when referring to your studio, which means that a large percentage of people will likely be typing in ‘www.dancinginstep.com’ when they look for you online.
The solution? Buy the domain name ‘www.dancinginstep.com’ and redirect it to your real address. Then, when anyone types the misspelled version into their browser’s address bar, they will automatically and instantly be taken to your actual website. It’s an easy and speedy fix that costs around $15 a year, at the most. If you gain just one new dancer for owning the misspelled version of your domain name, you’ve earned more than 10x your investment.
How do you forward a domain name (website address) once purchased? Once you’ve purchased the new website address, look in your account area for ‘domain forwarding’ (or type that into the Help search box if it’s not readily apparent). You should find there easy instructions on pointing the new domain name to your actual website.
Taking my own medicine:
Our website design company, Studio of Dance.com, has what seems to be a simple and easy to spell website address – ‘www.studioofdance.com’. However, I’m aware that it’s very easy to drop one of the ‘o’s in the middle of the address (I’ve done it myself many a’time). Writing this article, I’ve actually managed to inspire myself to action. I’ve just bought ‘www.studiofdance.com’, with just one ‘o’ instead of two, and redirected it to our true address.
Give it a try if you’d like — go to www.studiofdance.com (one ‘o’), and then when the website pops up, look in the address bar at the top of your browser. You’ll see that the address is now spelled properly (two ‘o’s), because you were automatically taken to the correct address/site. And while you’re on the site, feel free to sign up for our free Studio Marketing Newsletter. It only comes out about 4 times per year, but when it does, it’s filled with lots of good information and tips.
Money saving tip:
Oh, one more thing! When purchasing a domain name, always do a Google search before making payment. Type in the name of your domain name company plus the words ‘promo code’, and behold! 9 times out of 10 you’ll find a (sometimes significant) discount off the price.