4 min read

More and more candidates are registering domain names for their campaigns and websites. Even more, cybersquatters are doing the same for “up and coming” political stars so they can resell it back to the candidate when they seek higher office. Reserving a domain name for the Internet should be a simple issue and if you follow these rules, it will be:

Don’t Wait to Reserve Your Domain Name! Even if you’re not ready to build a website yet or establish your presence on the Web, go ahead and reserve your domain name. It’s inexpensive and it could save you money later. Reserving a domain name will typically cost around $70, but some companies will charge as little as $60 and others will charge as much as $100. It can be worth it to pay a little more if some consulting comes with it. But if you know what you want, you should be able to get it for $70. Keep in mind that you are only purchasing a one or two-year license for the name, but you have the right to renew it after that period should you choose. Most Internet design companies will reserve the name for you and there are numerous places on the Web to reserve it yourself with a credit card.

Choose a name that is easy to remember and will stand the test of time. Don’t make your domain name complicated. If you run into a voter on the street and they ask where they can sign up to help, an easy to remember domain name is critical. I generally recommend to candidates that their political domain name be the same as their given name. In other words, if your name is Rand Paul, then reserve the name www.randpaul.com or www.randpaul.org for your web domain. The reasons are simple: first, if people can remember your name, they can find you on the web. Second, no matter what office you seek or what year you run, it can travel with you. Finally, if you succeed and get elected, you can also transform it into a constituent site for your office – something that can’t be said for a campaign-related domain name (like www.electrandpaul.com). For those three reasons, I see no reason to complicate the matter further.

If the domain name you want is unavailable, keep it simple. Sometimes www.randpaul.com is not available - especially if it’s a common name. As Mick Jagger would say, “Sometimes you don’t get what you want, you get what you need.” So, choose a domain name that is also simple and portable through different offices and years. Consider a name like www.randforusa.com or www.randonworks.org.

Once you have an effective domain name, let everyone know about it. It’s not enough to have a good domain name, when you make it an integral part of your election effort, be sure to advertise it properly. Consider these mediums as you pursue your name identification.

Some candidates now are putting their domain names on their yard signs: JohnSmith.com instead of the standard Vote for John Smith. I have mixed feelings about this, but you saw some of this with signs in the Presidential campaigns this year. Register your domain name with all the big search engines. There are over 900 search engines these days, but only about 30 – 40 that really matter. Many companies have services that will register your website for a low fee. It’s important to have this done at least once a month for four months. Display your domain name prominently in your direct mail, literature, notepads, radio ads, print ads, and television ads. It will raise your individual name identification while creating an effective tool for organizational politics. The bottom line is simple: In politics today, you need a domain name. Don’t wait, Ted Cruz wishes he had moved earlier to get www.tedcurz.com.