What’s in a name? Tourism web site succumbs to proper spelling

The Haywood Tourism Development Authority announced some good news last week for all those miffed by the incorrect spelling of “Smoky” on its official Web site’s address.

The TDA has put up $14 to buy a new URL, www.visitncsmokies.com, to eventually replace the old address, www.smokeymountains.net. Jay Sokolow, who helps market the TDA, said the new URL is advantageous for multiple reasons.

“It’ll be much more recognizable, memorable,” Sokolow said.

For starters, there’s the use of an action word “visit.” Another improvement is the phrase “NC.”

“It really reflects and addresses a concern of the TDA that the Smokies are more heavily associated with Tennessee than North Carolina,” Sokolow said.

But the improvement that may stick out most to sticklers for correct spelling is the nixing of “Smokey” in the site address — which incorrectly boasts the letter “e”.

“They don’t want people to think we don’t know how to spell Smokies,” said Sokolow.

Having a .com ending rather than a .net is also beneficial since most of the well-known Web sites have that suffix, Sokolow said.

Until the new site is fully set up, visitors to www.visitncsmokies.com will be redirected to the existing site. The TDA will soon begin to use the new site address in its marketing materials, literature, and the visitor’s guide.

In addition to news of the new URL, Sokolow said his marketing company would try to decrease dependence on Google Adwords while optimizing SEO terms. In plain speech, that means the TDA will try to help online searchers find its site more easily with tactical placement of keywords, rather than via pay-per-click advertisements that show up at the top of Google search results for those very same words.

Still, the TDA will have to continue paying to show up on top when it comes to such generic terms like “Smoky Mountains,” and even “Smokey Mountains” since there are so many business names and Web sites that include those particular words.

Other keywods the TDA has purchased in the past include “Ghost Town,” “North Carolina Mountains,” and “NC getaways.”

Sokolow said while Google Adwords clients must only pay up when someone actually clicks on the link to their pages, it would be best to pay nothing and have the page show up “organically” in search results.

According to Sokolow, the TDA has spent a ceiling of almost $2,500 a month on Google Adwords alone.

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