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Does Your Website Pass the Radio Test?

When you say your website on the radio can listeners find it? Can they spell it? The radio test is not just important for the radio. Anytime someone talks about your website you want to make sure the listener goes to the right site.

Here are 7 tests to see if your website passes the radio test.

Test 1 – Numbers?

When you say a number over the radio it will fail the test. 12Step.org sounds just like TwelveStep.org. Only one site will help you with addiction recovery.

  • 12Step.org (fail)
  • TwelveStep.org? (fail)

How to get around this pitfall: Buy both domains then have one forward to the other. So if your book title was 8 Ways to Save Your Marriage I would buy both 8WaysToSaveYourMarriage.com and EightWaysToSaveYourMarraige.com. Point one at the other.

Test 2 – Similar Sounds?

I used to run a website called cgames.com. It was short but it fails the radio test. Is it SeeGames.com or SeaGames.com? It is hard to tell. I would end up spelling it out loud every time I talked about it. To make matters worse, the letter “c” sounds like half a dozen other letters.

  • cGames.com (fail)
  • SeeGames.com (fail)
  • SeaGames.com (fail)

How to get around this pitfall: Before you buy a domain, call a friend and tell them what domain you want to buy. Ask them to spell it back to you.

Test 3 – Acronyms

When your website is an acronym instead of a word, you say the individual letters. The letters “b” “c” “d” “e” “g” “p” “t” “v” and “z” all sound the same over a bad radio connection. Buy domains with words not letters whenever possible. Not only this but an acronym can make your website harder to remember. Two words are easier to remember than four unrelated letters.

  • ccsa.info (potential fail)
  • cbsa.info (potential fail)

This not a universal rule. YMCA.com will work. If people know the acronym or what it stands for you can sometimes get away with it. Do you have the marketing budget to make your acronym work?

Test 4 – Underscores?

Avoid underscores at all costs. They are cheesy and they take too long to say over the radio.

Test 5 – Dashes?

Most listeners don’t know what a dash is or how to type it. They also get confused with the difference between a dash and a hyphen.

  • FreedomForGamers.com (pass)
  • Freedom-For-Gamers.com (fail)
  • Freedom4Gamers.com (fail)
  • Freedom-4-Gamers.com (epic fail)

Test 6 – Text Speak

Just because “u” means “you” on a text message does not mean it will work for your domain. HelpForU.com sounds cheesy and it fails the radio test.

  • HelpForU.com (fail)
  • HelpForYou.com (potential fail)

I would  avoid the word “you” in your domain. If you must use “you” in your domain make sure to buy both versions and direct the “u” version to the “you” version.

Test 7 – Weird Spelling?

The problem with UmstattdMedia.com and ThomasUmstattd.com is that no one can spell “Umstattd.” If the word is not in the dictionary it will fail the radio test. If it is in the dictionary and a 5th grader can’t spell it, it still fails.

This test is one of the major reasons I renamed Umstattd Media as Author Media. I was tired of spelling “Umstattd” to everyone.

How to get around this pitfall: Buy common misspellings. The first time I went to Amazon.com,I was 14 years old and I typed in “Amizon.com” because that is how I thought to spell it. Guess what? Amazon.com owns “Amizon.com” and points it at Amazon.com for the bad spellers of the world. Smart move Amazon. Are there any common misspellings of your website that you can buy?

Tweetables:

  • Does your domain name pass the radio test? Just ask these 7 questions. Click to Tweet!
  • I just found out my domain name passes the radio test. Does yours? Click to Tweet!
  • Wondering if your domain name idea is a good one? Try this test. Click to Tweet!
  • If your domain name can’t pass the radio test, don’t use it. Click to Tweet!

What do you think?

Have you ever been confused with how a URL sounds? How about your domain? Does it pass the radio test?

About Thomas Umstattd

Thomas Umstattd Jr. is the CEO of Castle Media Group the parent company of Author Media. You can follow him on Twitter @ThomasUmstattd. and on Google+ He loves helping people use technology to change the world.

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6 Responses to Does Your Website Pass the Radio Test?

  1. Related, but not exactly on topic, I have seen businesses grab typos of their website URL. For example, if their site is TheWebsite.com, they also grab TehWebsite.com and forward it.

  2. Andrea #

    this is very helpful…I'm excited!

  3. marloschalesky.com = UGH! Thanks for this tip at Mount Hermon. I'm so glad to have some new URL's to point to my site!

  4. malcolmguite #

    Thats hekpful, thank you. The trouble with test 7 is that those of us with wierdly spelt names are stuck with them. I usually say "Guite is like guide, only with a 't' " and then it turns out that actually people cant spell 'Malcolm'!

    • As an Umstattd I totally feel you. The plus side of uncommon last names is that they are more likely to be available.

  5. Great advice! My site passes all those tests I believe. adamdekroon.com

    Also I would recommend not using “u” instead of you (or “r” instead of are) in text messages even. It’s horribly improper and it takes absolutely no time to type you.

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