The Domain.com Blog

A Guide to Your Domain.com Control Panel

Hey there, are you new to Domain.com? We’re happy you’re here. Thanks for choosing us! Perhaps this is your first time purchasing a domain name or maybe you’ve transferred from a different registrar. Either way, we want you to feel comfortable navigating your Domain.com account. We’re here to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have.     Let’s explore a Domain.com account together. In this post, we’ll start by showing you what it looks like once you’re logged in. We’ll go through the toggles and options you’ll find in your account’s Control Panel and discuss what they mean. By the time you’re finished with this post you should have a great understanding of your Domain.com account. Understanding your Domain.com account options To start managing your domain name and update your Domain.com account you’ll want to navigate to Domain.com and click Login in the top right corner of the page. Then, type in your username or domain name and password and click the red Log in button. And you’re in! The first screen you’ll see once logged in gives you an overview of your domains. You can switch to see an overview of your hosting plans by clicking on Hosting toward the top left on the page. The domain names you’ll see on this page are all of the ones associated with the particular Domain.com account you’re logged into. You can filter by All Domains, Active Domains, Expired Domains, and even opt to show your subdomains on this page.   Is there a particular domain name you’d like to manage or want to know more about? Go ahead and click on the blue Manage button underneath it to access more information on that domain. Your domain name summary page Here’s what that page looks like. We’ve numbered the different sections so we can go through them and make sure you understand what you can do with your domain name. Section 1 – Domain Settings The domain settings area of your summary page offers a quick, convenient look into your domain name. Here, you can see if your domain Is set to Auto-renew. Your domain name represents you online. Do you really want to risk having someone else swoop in and purchase it if you forget to renew your domain?No surprise charges. We’ll always email you prior to automatically renewing your domain name. Is locked. It’s always in your best interest to keep your domain name locked unless you are actively transferring it.A locked domain name prevents unauthorized domain transfers and prevents any changes from being made to the domain’s settings. Is encrypted with SSL. You want your site visitors to trust you, right? Let them know right off the bat that your site is secure with SSL. Is your primary domain. By default, your primary domain is the first one you registered or transferred. Your primary domain is the one you want representing your site or business. This domain is the default when accessing FTP (file transfer protocol) or configuring mailboxes. Turn any of these settings on or off by clicking on the toggle icon next to it. If the toggle is entirely grey then the item is turned off. If the toggle is green then the selection activated. Section 2 – Domain Information This section provides a brief overview of your domain name. It lists your domain, your registrar, the date your domain was registered, and when it’s set to expire. If you have auto-renew enabled then you’ll also see your renewal date listed in this section. Section 3 – Domain Privacy + Protection Domain Privacy + Protection keeps your personal information out of the WHOIS database and away from prying eyes. Whenever a domain name is purchased, the person or company registering it is required to supply their legal, accurate personal information. ICANN mandates that this information be made publicly available via the WHOIS database, but that means it can be scraped by spammers for unwanted emails and phone calls unless you enable Domain Privacy + Protection. It also helps keep your site and domain secure by running malware scans and working to prevent your domain from getting blacklisted. If you already purchased Domain Privacy + Protection then you’ll see something else for Section 3 on your summary page. This is what it will look like. As with Section 1, when the toggles are green that means that those items are activated. You’ll want to click on the arrow next to SMS Notification Settings to make sure the information there is correct. Here’s what you’ll see. Section 4 – Email Accounts If you haven’t set up a professional email address to match your domain name then you can do so right here! An email address that matches your domain name establishes credibility, supports your digital identity, and looks professional. If you’ve already purchased email, then Section 4 will look a little different for you. This is what you’ll see. Section 5 – Account Settings, Billing, Log Out This is an important part of your account. If you need to update your personal information including phone number or address, or if you need to add your EIN/Tax #, you can do so right here. First click, Account Settings from the drop down menu and on the following page click the three dots next to Contact Information like you see below.   Beneath Account Settings in the drop down menu you’ll see Billing. This section should be pretty self-explanatory, but you can click here to update your payment method and billing address. You’ll also find the option to log out in the drop down menu under the Billing section. Section 6 – Advanced Tools If you’re looking for more information on your server or perhaps FTP, then this is where to go. Section 7 – Help Stuck on something in your account? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. We’re here for you 24 hours a day 7 days a week by phone or live chat. If you click on the Help tab you’ll see a menu pop out on the right hand of your screen. From here, you’re able to search for what you need help with, view some popular articles, and connect with our team via live chat. Section 8 – Option between Domain and Hosting Summary You can click between the Domain or Hosting options seen here to view either summary page. Section 9 – Summary Menu This summary menu provides a quick, easy way to access everything you need for your digital presence. Here’s a close up of what you’ll find in that menu. From here, you can learn more about our options for easy website creation by clicking either WebsiteBuilder, to learn about our easy to use AI-powered builder, or WordPress. If you’re looking for email and productivity solutions, click either G Suite or Office 365. You can learn more about site security by clicking on SSL Certificate and SiteLock. Next on the menu is Pointers & Subdomains. Your domain pointer determines how you intend to use your site (you can point it to your home directory, a URL, or even park it.) Need to edit your DNS & Nameservers? Click on the appropriately titled link in the menu and have at it! DNS stands for “Domain Name System.” The main concept behind the DNS is that people have an easier time remembering names than numbers (could you imagine typing strings of numbers for IP Addresses instead of a quick domain name?). In essence, the DNS is an extensive directory that’s regulated and contains information on all the unique, one-of-a-kind domain names that exist and the IP addresses tied to them. And in order for people to type in your domain and arrive at your site, there needs to be a nameserver attached to it. Be careful when editing this section and ask for help if you need it. We’re available to assist. And while we’d hate to see you go, if you need to transfer your domain name you can do so through the Transfer link. Looking for the WHOIS contact information for your domain? You can find that by clicking on Contact Information at the bottom of the menu. This information should always be current and your legal information — no aliases or pseudonyms. Navigating Your Domain.com Account We hope this guide to your Domain.com control panel and account is helpful and that it’s pointed you in the right direction. Whether you’re looking to build your domain name portfolio, claim your online identity, start a website or a business, you can do it all with Domain.com. And if there’s something you’re looking for and can’t find, let us know in the comments below! The post A Guide to Your Domain.com Control Panel appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

3 Ways to Make Your Website Festive this Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and of course, shopping. As the air gets chilly and carols take over the radio, people look to complete their holiday shopping. How can you take advantage of the season and convince more people to purchase from your e-commerce site versus a competitor’s? In this post we’re going to cover 3 ways to make your site more cheerful and less bah-humbug so you can generate more sales this year. 3 ways to ready your site for the holiday season Be a trusted resource for your site visitors. How often have you heard someone say that the person they’re shopping for “already has everything they need” or is “impossible to shop for”? Take the guesswork out of shopping for your customers. By compiling a gift guide (or a few) for your site visitors you can direct them to the products that are the best fit for their needs or highlight products that you most want to sell. Your gift guides should be clearly titled. There should be no confusion as to whether your gift guide is best suited for someone’s grandmother or great-nephew. Make sure to use keywords and details in your product descriptions to give people enough information to make an informed decision. And remember, appearances matter! As much as you might want to throw together a list of goods in a Word doc then post it to your site, it’s not 1999 anymore. When so many retailers are clamoring for attention and sales you need to stand out. There are many free graphic design sites and tools that can help you craft a good-looking gift guide. Check out Canva or do a quick internet search to find the tool you like best. Give your site a festive facelift. When was the last time your website got a little TLC? People don’t keep the same clothing or hairstyles forever, and there’s no time like the holidays for updating your site, too. You don’t have to overhaul your website, but consider updating your main banner image to something better-suited to the season. Coca-Cola is a great example of a company who updates their look and feel for the holidays. If you look at their website right now, you’ll see they’re already highlighting a seasonal product, Coca-Cola Cinnamon, and their banner image has been updated to support that. The days when you’d need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for good photography and imagery to use on your site are long gone, so don’t let that be a concern of yours. When creating your new banner image, consider adding a highly-visible coupon code to attract holiday shoppers. Check out this article for free image resources you can use to spruce up your site. Be a little less Scrooge and a little more Santa We’ve talked a lot about shopping this holiday season but that’s not entirely what it’s about. Your customers are looking to purchase gifts for the people they care for as an act of consideration and love. Help them know that you’re on the same page by dedicating a certain percentage of your holiday sales to charity or a non-profit organization. Even a very small amount, like 1-2% of your profits this time of year, can add up to make a big difference in someone’s life. Don’t be shy about letting your customers know that part of their purchase is going towards a good cause. It could be the differentiator you need to stand out from the crowd and convince someone to purchase from you instead of your competitor.   Happy holidays to you and your site The holiday season is a great time to update your site. Give your visitors what they’re looking for with gift guides, updated seasonal imagery, and another reason to feel good about themselves with a donation to charity. Do you have other ideas for giving your website a holiday look and feel? Share them with the rest of us in the comments below.  The post 3 Ways to Make Your Website Festive this Holiday Season appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Website Hosting for the Holidays

Ah, the holidays — they’re upon us! We bet you’re making your lists and checking them twice, nailing down who gets what, whether they’ve been naughty or nice. You’re probably planning to spend time with family and maybe you’re this year’s host. What does it take to be a host for the holidays? Quite a bit! You should be able to provide food and drink and most importantly, have a place that’s large enough to accommodate all the friends and family coming over to celebrate. No one wants to have Thanksgiving at Uncle Jimmy’s house where there’s standing room only (but no one has the heart to tell Uncle Jimmy.) Why are we discussing website hosting this holiday season? Well, website hosting is a lot like regular hosting. We’ll explain. Your web host is the physical location where your website lives and your domain name is the address that leads to that location. When people visit your site it’s just like people visiting your home. If they can’t all fit inside then some will end up waiting, others will leave instead of waiting or being uncomfortable, and they will have a bad overall experience. So this holiday season, if you’re planning to run sales and offers to attract more customers, consider reviewing your hosting package first. Make sure all the extra visitors can “fit” into your site to ensure that your website doesn’t go down during this critical time. Domain.com’s hosting packages Here at Domain.com, we offer multiple hosting packages to make sure you have the best fit for your site. Our hosting is powerful and reliable (over 99.9% uptime!) and the plans are scalable so they can grow with you and your site traffic. Our Basic Hosting plan is perfect for a simple website and one domain name. If you’re not expecting much traffic to your site this holiday season and not running an e-commerce site, this plan is a good fit for you. You’ll still receive unlimited storage, free SSL, and more. If you have multiple sites or are planning on creating multiple sites as you grow your business then you shouldn’t settle for anything less than our Deluxe Hosting plan. This hosting plan also comes with free SSL, unlimited storage, 25 databases, and 25 FTP logins. Are you a web pro or are your sites heavily trafficked? Our Ultra Hosting plan is the best solution for you. You’ll receive an unlimited amount of websites, storage, scalable bandwidth, free SSL, and more. Check it out on our site today. What if I prefer WordPress hosting? You’re in luck because we offer that, too. You can create your site with WordPress and enjoy unparalleled speed, security, and support with Domain.com. When you choose one of our WordPress hosting packages you’re choosing to make life easier on yourself. That’s because you can select from any of our curated selections of mobile-friendly themes, pre-installed plugins, and a customized user-friendly control panel. Our WP Starter plan offers unlimited storage and bandwidth, a customized control panel, and the aforementioned themes and plugins. When you choose our WP Essential plan you’ll also receive maximized site speeds, SiteLock professional security, automatic malware removal, and WordPress expert support. Make sure everyone has a seat at the table Optimizing your website hosting for the holidays ensures that everyone has a seat at your holiday table, or in this case, website. You don’t want your site to come crashing down during the busiest sales season all because too many people were trying to enter it at once. So get your domain name and website hosting from Domain.com today, and be the talk of this year’s holiday season. The post Website Hosting for the Holidays appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How to Create a Holiday Marketing Plan

‘Tis (almost) the season! It’s the end of October, folks. Can you believe it? Soon, we’ll need to put away the pumpkins, shelve the broomsticks and black cats, and prepare for the holidays to come. Do you know what to expect? Cats and jack-o-lanterns scream October and Halloween. It’s one thing to deck the halls with boughs of holly, but another to prepare your website and marketing plan for the holiday season. Today, we’ll explore why you need to participate in the holiday cheer, how you can plan for holiday sales, and ways to engage your site visitors and customers.  Create a holiday marketing plan for your website According to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast, holiday sales are projected to exceed $1.1 trillion dollars from November to January. Of the $1.1 trillion dollars in holiday sales, $144-149 billion is expected from e-commerce alone. And the Pew Research Center states that “Today, 79% of Americans say they make purchases online.” So if you’ve been dragging your feet on creating an e-commerce website, or have been putting off giving your website a festive facelift, there’s no time like the present.  Holiday gift. As October wanes and the days get shorter and darker, people are on the hunt for the best deals and gifts to complete their holiday shopping. Let’s discuss how you can identify your goals so you can finalize your holiday marketing plan and attract these online shoppers. Holiday goals for your website Stop and think through your goals before making any changes to your site. What outcomes do you most want to see from your holiday campaign? Are you looking to: ·      Drive new business? ·      Increase repeat business? ·      Focus on sales of a specific product? ·      Increase site traffic? ·      Something else? It’s important to remember that you can have multiple goals as they are not mutually exclusive. Once you’ve identified what’s most important to you, you can cater your holiday marketing plan to include campaigns that support your goals. November calendar with goals. Building your holiday marketing plan Your plan serves as the guide to moving prospects through your marketing funnel so they become customers. A marketing funnel represents the pivotal steps prospects take on their journey to becoming customers. Funnels are broken down into different sections. People start at the top of the funnel, drawn in by your marketing materials (like blog and social media posts), and proceed through to the last step of your funnel which represents a conversion. A conversion happens when the prospect takes the action you want them to take on your site (like making a purchase or signing up for your email list) and becomes a customer or subscriber. People moving down a large spiral staircase. Keep in mind that not everyone makes it all the way through your funnel. There are fewer and fewer people, or prospects, the deeper they go into your funnel. This is why it’s important to make sure your marketing plan is well thought out. You want to encourage as many people as possible through all the steps in your funnel.  Know what holidays to plan for Can you make a holiday marketing plan without knowing the key dates this season? We didn’t think so.  Here are some holidays to consider planning for: ThanksgivingBlack Friday Small Business SaturdayCyber Monday HanukkahChristmasKwanzaaNew Years EveNew Years Day Drafting your holiday marketing plan Have you stopped to think about your goals?  Good. Know what dates to plan for? Good. Let’s think through a holiday marketing plan together so you understand how to build your own.  What’s your first goal? For this example, we’re going to set a goal of increasing our revenue by $10,000 this December. Now that we’ve decided on a goal our next step in creating our plan is to determine the strategy we need to reach our goal. This strategy can actually be comprised of various different methods that can all contribute toward reaching the goal. If we really want to increase our revenue by $10,000 then a couple things need to happen. We should: ·   Focus on what products to highlight to drive more revenue ·   Attract more visitors to our site in hopes of converting them into customers Marketing tactics to include in your plan Stylized photo of the word, “Marketing.” Once you know the pivotal actions you need to drive (for us, we need to increase site visitors and decide on a product to focus on to drive the additional revenue) you can figure out the tactics to do so. Consider the following: ·      Blog posts ·      Social media posts ·     Email marketing ·      Coupons and discounts ·      Contests and giveaways But here’s the thing — just listing out your tactics isn’t going to cut it. As you think through your tactics try setting smaller goals for them, like in the following example. Instead of saying, “I’m going to run a social media promotion offering 20% off my top-selling product to new customers” try setting a more specific goal. This goal could look something like, “I will use a coupon code for my top-selling product to drive 200 new customer acquisitions by XX/XX/XX date.” This is called a S.M.A.R.T. goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.) Go ahead and create S.M.A.R.T goals for all the tactics you’ll use in your holiday marketing plan. Creating your offer Once you have your overarching goal and the S.M.A.R.T. goals for your marketing tactics identified you can get down to the business of creating your offer(s). It’s vital that you have a good understanding of your ideal customer and the audience that you’re looking to attract. Sure, you could run a contest where the winner receives a free weekend getaway to the Poconos, but if you sell financial planning consultations then what’s the point? You’re likely to have folks across all spectrums enter your contest and there’s no telling if the person who wins will be your ideal customer and continue a business relationship with you post-getaway. Your offer should be relevant to your audience. So if you do sell financial planning consultations on your site, consider running a contest where the winner receives a free planning session to help get their finances under control in the new year. This offer is more relevant to the people who are in your audience. Man making an online purchase. Make your offers look good As a professional, we’re sure you want to be taken seriously. In that case, presentation matters. Instead of writing a normal Facebook post to announce your offer, consider creating materials specifically for your offers. There are many free tools you can use like Canva. You can “use Canva’s drag-and-drop feature and professional layouts to design consistently stunning graphics.” Don’t miss out on getting new customers by using outdated graphics when you have free options to make your business and offers look good. Measuring your marketing success Google Analytics SERP screenshot. In order for you to understand the success of your marketing campaign you need to implement a way to measure it. Google Analytics is a great way to measure your website’s performance and figure out what campaigns are working and what might need to be tweaked for better performance. You can check out our guide to Google Analytics here. Ready for the holidays? We bet you are. We wish you the best of luck in creating your holiday marketing plan and running your marketing campaigns. Let us know what has worked for you and what hasn’t in the comments below. And if you have any other tips or tricks for making the most of the holiday season on your site, let us know!       The post How to Create a Holiday Marketing Plan appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How to Build an Email List to Increase Your Online Sales

Email: If you’re like most of us you use it every single day. So, are you taking advantage of that fact to get in front of your audience? We hate to break it to you, but if you’re not, you’re at a disadvantage. In this post we’ll explain why your website needs email marketing and how you can use it to boost your online sales. Email marketing and your website Are you finding that despite your best efforts you aren’t making the profits that you’d like from your website? It’s a tough reality that many business and website owners face. And it’s understandable considering you probably don’t have a six or seven figure marketing budget. How are you supposed to compete with the big guys? We recommend using email marketing and adding a sign up form on your website. According to MarketingSherpa, “More than seven in 10 (72 percent) U.S. adults indicate a preference for companies to communicate with them via email.” There’s a lot of opportunity in that number, so don’t miss out. Why use email marketing? Let’s consider why people are visiting your website in the first place. To start, they have to be interested in you, which is great. They’re visiting your site because they want to learn more about you or they want to purchase from you. By providing an email sign up form on site you’re giving them an opportunity to stay connected with you after they leave. You’re also giving them an easy way to keep you top-of-mind so they can come back to your site in the future. Oh, and did we mention that email marketing has a return of $38 for every dollar that you spend on it? Tips to increase sales using email marketing Here are our three best tips if you want to make the most of email marketing on your site. Make your sign up form easily accessible.Having a sign up form for your email list on your homepage is great. But having it available across all the pages of your website is even better. Many people arrive at websites after finding them in an online search. Oftentimes, these people aren’t taken to your home page, but land deeper within your site, like on a blog post. Don’t miss out on capturing their email addresses by only providing a sign up form on one page of your website.Communicate value.Big, blocky letters that scream, “Sign up for my list!” aren’t cutting it anymore. By providing more context and value in your call-to-action (CTA) for people to join your list, you better the chances that they’ll be interested and driven to sign up. Wouldn’t you be more inclined to sign up for a list that promised, “Discounts, deals, and insider info — for subscribers only!”?Use a template.Consistency is key. You want your subscribers to immediately recognize your emails and know who they’ve come from. Don’t change your colors, logo, and branding on each and every email as your customers won’t know what to expect and may unsubscribe from your emails thinking they’re spam. Pro-tip: Make sure your website name and domain name match, too! The more consistency you can provide for your customers the better they’ll remember you. What should I include in my emails? If you’re wondering what to put in your emails to drive sales, we can help with that. Here are some ideas that you can use to help strengthen your relationship with your email subscribers so that they’ll be more invested in you and your site. Coupons and offersEveryone loves to feel special. Let your subscribers know that they made the right decision to let you into their inbox by giving them a special discount or coupon to use on your site. Expertise and know-howAre you the expert in your field or about what you sell? Show off those smarts! Use your email to convey interesting, valuable information about your products or services to capture your audience’s attention and inspire trust in you. ImagesUse images in your emails to help convey what words can’t. If you’re selling products and talking about them in your emails then showcase a few. Clear CTAUse buttons in your emails to provide clear, distinct call-to-actions. Want someone to purchase a product through a link in your email? Label it “Buy Now” so there’s no confusion on their part about what you’d like for them to do. Email marketing and websites work together to increase business Your website will benefit from email marketing, so don’t hesitate to add a sign up form to your site and start building your email list today. Looking for more advice on your e-commerce site? Check out this post. The post How to Build an Email List to Increase Your Online Sales appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How to Start Selling Goods and Services Online

How frequently do you shop online? If you’re like most people, you’re no stranger to online shopping. Each year the number of online shoppers climbs higher and higher, and we don’t see that trend declining any time soon. According to Statista, “Retail e-commerce sales worldwide are forecast to more than double between 2018 and 2023, surpassing 6.5 trillion U.S. dollars in 2023.” Those statistics make starting an e-commerce website pretty appealing, don’t they? And if you need any extra motivation, think about how nice it’ll be to be your own boss, make your own hours, and be able to work from anywhere in the world. Starting an e-commerce website How do you start planning for your online business and creating your e-commerce site? Before we discuss the elements every e-commerce site should have, let’s talk about getting your other ducks in a row. In order to build the best e-commerce website you can, you’ll need to consider: Your ideal customer.Your products or services. Your differentiator, or what sets you apart from the competition and makes people choose you over them. Sourcing your products. Inventory.Shipping.What you’ll name your business and online store (hint: it should match your domain name for consistent branding.) Once you’ve spent some time on those items, you can get down to business creating a website to sell your goods and services so you don’t miss your piece of the e-commerce sales pie. First impressions matter Have you ever landed on a website to browse and do some shopping only to scan it and think, “This doesn’t look legitimate,” and then exited the site? What gave you the impression that the website wasn’t genuine or could be a scam? Typos and bad grammar, no product descriptions or photos, a lack of contact information, an unsecure website connection, and cluttered design are all reasons we’ve heard for people leaving a website without making a purchase. Elements every e-commerce website needs When someone lands on your website, they shouldn’t be driven away by any of the reasons we mentioned above. You want to inspire trust in your site visitors and help them through your marketing funnel so they’ll become customers. What elements does your e-commerce website need to inspire confidence in your site visitors? SecurityThe threat of having your personal and financial information exposed or hacked is real. With SSL, a secure connection is established between your site visitor and your website. That means any information passed from their end to yours (like billing details) is encrypted and kept safe from prying eyes. Cluttered designWebsites are visual things and humans are visual creatures. You can try creating your own website with code, or make life a little easier on yourself by using a website builder. Domain.com’s WebsiteBuilder offers specific themes already optimized for e-commerce and you can drag and drop elements within these themes to customize your site. Product photos and product informationAgain, humans are visual creatures. You need clear photos that accurately represent your products. You also need a clear description of what you’re selling. If not, you risk people not purchasing or purchasing, being disappointed, and leaving bad reviews for your new online store. Here are some tips on how to photograph the products for your e-commerce store. Typos and bad grammarIf your online site is full of typos and errant punctuation, you run the risk of someone thinking it’s a fake site that’s set up to phish for your personal or financial information.  There are many free online tools, like Grammarly, that can help you perfect the spelling and grammar for the writing and copy on your e-commerce website. Contact InformationWe know you’re doing your best. Even so, mistakes can happen. On the off chance that there’s an error in an order, your customers will want to know how to contact you. Make sure that information is apparent and available from the moment you launch your site. From a consumer perspective, your e-commerce site needs these things. Without them, you’re doing yourself and your online business a disservice. Are you ready to start building your online store? Check out Domain.com’s Website Builder today! With WebsiteBuilder, you don’t just get highly-customizable templates. With our business plan you’ll receive dedicated e-commerce features in your builder like: E-commerce shopping cartSell your products across web and mobile devices.Inventory managementTrack your inventory and stock.Payment processingChoose from Stripe or PayPal.Coupon codesYou’ll have the ability to offer coupon codes to your visitors and customers to drive more sales. So what are you waiting for? Get your domain name and start your online store today! The post How to Start Selling Goods and Services Online appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Secure and Protect Your Domain, Website, and Personal Information

Do you want everyone with access to the Internet being privy to your personal information? No? We didn’t think so. Read on to find out how people can get your information and what you can do to stop it. Domain Privacy + Protection: Keeping your personal information private If you’re looking to purchase a domain name, or if you’ve already purchased one, you’ve surely seen mentions of “Domain Privacy.” But what does it mean? How is Domain Privacy + Protection any different? Let’s explore that. Whenever a domain name is purchased, the person or company registering it is required to use their legal, accurate personal information. ICANN, the international governing body for domain names, requires every domain registrar, like Domain.com, to maintain a publicly viewable “WHOIS” database. This database displays the personal contact information for every registered domain, which includes phone numbers and email address. It’s important to know who’s behind the websites you visit and trust the most, and where you get your information from, so there is a reason for having that information be available. However, there are a lot of bad actors out there who take advantage of the public WHOIS database and they scrape the base for numbers and email addresses. Has your phone number ever made it onto a telemarketing list before? If not, take it from the rest of us, it’s not pleasant. How about your email address — do you like spam? Ready for some good news? You can maintain the privacy of your information When you purchase Domain Privacy + Protection you’re making the decision to keep your details out of the WHOIS database and instead, provide the database our information. We have the teams and resources to deal with any spam volume that amounts from having our information on the database; this way, your precious time and information remains yours alone. Domain Privacy + Protection can save you a lot of headaches, just take Shiloh’s word for it. Go beyond maintaining privacy with protection Every domain registrar, like Domain.com, offers some kind of privacy product for your domain names. However, we thought we’d take it a step further and provide protection for your domain, too. In addition to keeping your information private, you also have to worry about the threat of hackers and human error to your domain and website. Domain Privacy + Protection helps to keep you safe from both of those things. Our protection services are powered by SiteLock and provide malware scans and blacklist prevention to maintain your online reputation. When domains get blacklisted, their site traffic and marketing will suffer. Stay confident that your domain name has a good reputation by using Domain Privacy + Protection. We’ll alert you if anything should happen so you’re able to take quick, corrective action. You’ll still own your domain name One question we frequently hear is, “Do I still own my domain name if my information isn’t shown in WHOIS?” Yes! You do. You still maintain full control and ownership over your domain name. Domain Protection + Privacy helps to prevent identity theft, unwanted spam, and the sale of your personal information to make owning your domain name a little easier and worry-free. How can I get Domain Privacy + Protection? Although you can add Domain Privacy + Protection before or after registering a domain name, we recommend doing it before. This way, your personal information is never made public in the WHOIS database. If you wait to purchase Domain Privacy + Protection, your information could be made public for a while and there’s no telling who will have seen it. It may take some time for all the WHOIS websites to clear their data caches and remove your information from public view if you choose to purchase it after your domain name. Ready to purchase your domain name and take your idea to the next level? You can do that right here. And let us know if you have any questions, we’re here to help. The post Secure and Protect Your Domain, Website, and Personal Information appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Should You DIY or Outsource Creating Your Website?

When it comes time to create a website, you’ll face one of two options: DIY or outsource? Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and that’s what we’ll discuss in this post. So stick around and let’s explore your options for website creation together. Website Creation: DIY or outsource? That’s a great question and we’re glad you’re asking it. It shows you understand how valuable your website is and that you want to create it the best way possible, and rightfully so. Your website is the hub of your digital presence, it’s where customers go to find you, interact with you, and hopefully, convert. (That means they take whatever action you’d like for them to take on your site, like making a purchase or signing up for the email list on your blog) If your website is slow, clunky, or hard to navigate then your website visitors won’t be making any purchases or signing up for any lists; instead, they’ll bounce. If you have a high bounce rate, search engines will take note, and your website won’t show up as high in search results moving forward. So it pays to create a good site with your visitors’ preferences and needs in mind and to maintain your website. If you don’t, your site can get buried in the depths of the Internet. Let’s consider the following points to help determine whether you should DIY or outsource the creation of your website. What’s the goal of your website? Have you stopped to consider your website goals? Now is definitely the time. If you don’t consider your goals, how can you create a plan for success? If you’re a blogger your goal might be to increase the number of visitors to your site and the number of subscribers to your email newsletter. Why? Because those two things can help influence your bottom line by attracting advertisers or companies who’d like to work with you. If you aren’t sure what your goals are, or how to achieve them, you may want to consider outsourcing your website to someone with experience building similar sites so they can guide you. Or do you have clear-cut goals and understand how the layout and build of a website can influence them? If so, it sounds like you’re ready to DIY your own site. Have you created a website before? Creating websites isn’t as difficult as it was 5, 10, or 15 years ago. You don’t need a 4-year degree and a thorough understanding of JavaScript or any other programming language. If you’ve created a website before then we have faith that you can do it again! And if you haven’t, we have faith in you, too! Nowadays, there exists these handy tools called website builders. Website builders, like ours, turn website creation into a quick and painless process. Once you have your domain name and hosting, you can choose a theme for your site. The themes are varied and highly customizable, so you don’t have to worry about your site looking exactly like every other Dick and Jane’s site. You can customize themes by dragging and dropping different elements (like call-to-action buttons or about pages) exactly where you want them. What you see as you build your site is what you’ll get for a finished product. Are you nervous about creating a website? Don’t be. You can practice by using our free website builder that allows you to create a 6-page site (it’s free with every domain name purchase.) If after some practice you decide that you’re a website-building rockstar then good for you! As your business grows you may find that you need a larger site, so you can always upgrade your builder and hosting package and continue rocking those site creation skills. What if you decide that website creation isn’t for you? That’s ok, we can help with our full-service offerings. We understand you may not have the time to devote to a website, so we provide a service that encompasses the following. Professional Website Services Custom 5-page website including content creation for up to 3 pages.Drag & drop site builder so you can make changes to the site if you’d like.Professional branding because you deserve to look like the pro you are.Full website functionality including blog setup, photo gallery, and contact form. And if that’s not enough, we’ll even help with your marketing. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)Managed Local Lift — working with online listing publishers like Yahoo! to make sure local customers are finding you.Content marketing. We’ll write articles and create content to support your organic search rank on major search engines. Monthly consultations with an expert because we’re here to help you succeed. Do you understand the time investment and maintenance a website requires? As much as we wish websites were set-it-and-forget-it, they’re not. (Although it’d be great, wouldn’t it — having one less thing to worry about?) Alas, we can’t change the way websites and the Internet work for you, but we do our best to make it easier by providing all the options you’ll need to secure and maintain not just your site, but your domain name, too. There are some bad people and automated programs online and you need to guard your website against them. You can run manual scans and attack the threats one-by-one, but the fact is, there are a lot more automated bots and programs than there are of you. If you’re new to building websites, you might not realize how essential domain privacy and site security are. Domain.com offers SiteLock Security products, domain privacy + protection, and more so that you can keep your site free from danger without needing expert advice. But if you’d rather not take any chances and have someone else worry about it, then outsourcing your website is a good option. A 3rd party can help you to build your site, maintain it as needed, and advise you as to the best security options and plans for your site. If I choose to outsource or purchase a DIFM (do-it-for-me) website package, am I stuck with it forever? It’s a valid question, and we don’t blame you for wondering. No, you won’t be. If you need help getting started with your website, don’t have the time to devote to a website right now, or would prefer someone else maintain your site, then outsourcing is the best solution for you right now. But that doesn’t mean things won’t change. Maybe you’ll hire some new people soon and have more time available to focus on your website and marketing; in that case, you can take ownership over your site again. You can switch plans with us at Domain.com for a self-managed site or make sure to ask any 3rd parties about future arrangements prior to outsourcing your site. There are many ways to build a website With so many options at your disposal, you really don’t have an excuse for not having a site in this day and age. Your website is the heart of your digital presence and your domain name is what leads people there. So don’t delay, get started today!  The post Should You DIY or Outsource Creating Your Website? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How to Create A Website

Have you made the decision to take your business or passion project online? Congratulations! It’s a big step, and we’re excited for you. Create a website: From planning to execution Is this the first website you’ve created? Or has it been a while since you’ve made one? Either way, we’ll help you understand exactly what to do. Follow along as we discuss how to plan and build your website. Planning Your Site Not all websites are created equal. Depending on your needs and goals your website may consist of only a few pages, or it could be a large e-commerce website. Before investing too much time in your design, or jumping straight into website creation, ask yourself the following questions to help plan your site. What is my business all about?This is question #1 for good reason. Your website exists to support your business needs. Your website will be a means to an end, it will be a means to support and further your business goals. If your site will be a blog, or to support a passion project, you should still clearly define what your goals and needs are to support your vision. Then consider how your site will support those. What will success look like?For bloggers looking to monetize their site, they might consider site visitors a key performance indicator, or KPI, of their site. The more visitors they receive, the greater the likelihood of getting better partners and adverts on your site. For e-commerce sites, you’ll want to think more along the lines of conversions (when a site visitor becomes a customer, or takes the action you want them to take on your site.)You need to have a clear idea of what success will look like for you and the KPIs you’ll use to measure it so that you can design your website properly. If you’re trying to drive on-site purchases, but have no call-to-action buttons on site for people to “Buy Now” or “Checkout Here” then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Identifying what your success will look like helps you build the website to get there. Who’s my target audience?Websites need visitors to thrive. But if you attract all the wrong people to your site, and they don’t end up interacting with your site or purchasing anything, then what does it matter?Your target audience consists of the people in your ideal market. They’re the ones who your service or goods are designed to help and benefit. Cater your website to these folks, and you’ll reap the rewards. Do I have the right domain name?Your domain name is the address that leads people to your website. It should be easy to understand, easy to spell, and hopefully, memorable. Think of it this way: If someone were to hear your domain name without ever seeing it, could they spell it and get to your site?If you don’t have the perfect domain name yet, you can find one here. Now that you’ve asked yourself these questions, you should have a better idea of what type of site you’ll need to create. Creating a quick, beautiful website Ready to design and create your site? You can quickly and easily create a website to suit your needs using something called a Website Builder. What is a website builder? A website builder is a lot like it sounds — it’s a tool to help you create a website easily. Website builders usually come with drag-and-drop functionality, offer pre-made templates, and leave less room for error when creating a site. You don’t need to have a 4-year degree or advanced understanding of code to use a website builder, but that doesn’t mean they’re strictly the purview of website novices. Many advanced web designers use website builders, too. Domain.com’s Website Builder and Full Service Design We offer a website builder to help you get up and running in no time at all. You can put together a quick, simple site in under an hour, or create a larger e-commerce site to sell your goods. No time to create a site? That’s no problem. If you would rather have some one-on-one dedicated assistance in creating a site we have options for you, too. We offer a full service design and marketing plan to help you get up and running, and you’ll receive a dedicated account manager who’ll reach out every month to make sure all is well and review your marketing campaigns. What are you waiting for – create your site today! Creating a website has never been easier or simpler. Take some time to plan your site — identify your target audience and set your goals. Once you know what purpose your site will serve it’s easier to design it. Need a hand or have any questions? Let us know! The post How to Create A Website appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How SiteLock Security Protects and Guards Your Website

The Internet is big, like, really big. Besides that, it can be an intimidating and scary space. Lately, news of online hacks and data breaches abound. You wouldn’t think that hopping online to buy a new sheet set from a major retailer could jeopardize your private and financial information, but for many of us, it’s happened and it’s a hassle. So what can you do to reassure your website visitors and prospective customers that your site is a safe place to transact? Wouldn’t it be helpful if there was some kind of visual indicator? Rest easy, because there is! SiteLock Security is a website must-have It’s called the SiteLock Security Seal and you can proudly display it on your website with any purchase of SiteLock Security. That’s not the only benefit SiteLock Security provides. In fact, by the time you’re done with this article you’ll wonder how you ever published a site without it. SiteLock Security can be purchased through Domain.com Let’s take a look at why you need SiteLock Security on your site. Malware Scanning – What is malware? It’s a portmanteau, created from the words malicious and software, and it strikes fear into the hearts of Internet users the world over. Ever heard of viruses or Trojans? How about ransomware or spyware? These are a sampling of different types of malware. Viruses spread from infected files to clean files and can cause extreme damage to websites. Trojans, a lá their namesake, are discreet — they create “backdoors” that allow other viruses into your computer, server, and security. Ransomware and spyware are what they sound like — one can hold your computer and its contents hostage while the other spies on your every action. Depending on the SiteLock Security plan you choose we offer both daily and continuous malware scanning so you can relax in the knowledge and comfort that we have your, and your website’s, backs. Automatic Malware Removal – All those nasty types of malware we just discussed?— yeah, we’ll automatically get rid of those for you if they’re detected by SiteLock Security. If you don’t have the time to manually scan and remove malware yourself (and who does?), don’t fret because we’ve got you covered. Blacklist Monitoring – There are a lot of good lists out there that you want your name on, like the VIP list for that fantastic new eatery opening up around the corner. But a blacklist? Not so much. If you find yourself on a blacklist your bottom line will feel the negative impact. So what is a blacklist and why is appearing on them detrimental to your site and business? We’re betting SEO and where your website shows up in Google search results is important to you. (If not, it should be.) SiteLock’s Blacklist Monitoring will help ensure you don’t get put on one of Google’s blacklists, which would damage your domain and site reputation, and keep your site out of search results.  Block Automated Bot Attacks – Bots, also known as Internet Robots, come in a variety of forms and perform numerous functions. Some bots are good, like the spiders and crawlers Google uses to search websites and determine the best results for people’s search queries. These are not the bots to worry about, and not what SiteLock protects against. SiteLock Security protects your site from bad bot attacks. Bad bots exploit issues on your site and aggravate the effects of any malware on your site. Put simply, bad bots do bad things. Their functions run the gamut from logging keystrokes (that means they track and record the keystrokes your site visitors make — including when they enter sensitive and financial information and login credentials) to sending spam that can land you on blacklists. Not all bots are as nice as Wall-E. DDoS Protection – What’s DDoS? It stands for Distributed Denial of Service. DDoS Protection prevents your site from succumbing to a DDoS attack, which can render your site unusable for the duration of the attack. DDoS attacks are a particularly ugly form of bot attacks. What happens during a DDoS attack? It’s when multiple compromised computer systems (usually ones that have fallen prey to a Trojan virus) maliciously band together to flood your website and server — rendering your site unreachable because it’s overwhelmed. Sometimes DDoS attacks can last a few minutes, or in particularly bad cases, they can last for days. What would happen to your revenue if your e-commerce site was rendered unusable and unreachable for days on end? Nothing good, that’s for sure. Advanced Web Application Firewall – You’ve probably heard of firewalls before as they’ve been around for a long time. Basically, firewalls are another way your site and server are protected from bad actors trying to infiltrate them. Think of a firewall as a bouncer, and an advanced web application firewall (WAF) as the biggest, baddest bouncer around. When bots and other malicious entities try to reach your site and server to wreak havoc, your WAF won’t let them through the door. Keep your website up and running with SiteLock Security When it comes to Internet security, it pays to be safe. Running an unsecured website is like playing Russian roulette with your digital livelihood. Don’t become a victim, unable to use or monetize your site due to DDoS attacks or Trojan viruses; instead, use SiteLock Security. SiteLock Security is the guardian your website needs — never sleeping, always on, and always working in your best interest. If anything malicious is detected on your site you’ll receive email and account alerts, and you’re guaranteed a quick response time should we at Domain.com need to jump in and help with anything happening on your site. So what are you waiting for? Safeguard your site today!  The post How SiteLock Security Protects and Guards Your Website appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

SSL: How Does it Keep Your Website Secure?

SSL: Just another silly acronym? Hardly. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and you need it if you want your website visitors and potential customers to trust you and your site. Stick around as we dive into the details regarding SSL — you’ll learn what it does, how it can affect your SEO efforts, and how it influences people’s trust in your site.  What is SSL and how does it work? What exactly is a Secure Sockets Layer? Dictionary.com defines SSL as “… a protocol that uses encryption to ensure the secure transfer of data over the Internet.” In a nutshell, SSL is a technology that keeps your website visitors’ personal information private (and away from hackers) when they submit it on your website.  Fun fact: The original SSL technology has since been replaced by an updated version, called TLS or Transport Layer Security, but the collective Internet is so used to the term SSL that we keep using it. Think of it this way: Whenever someone fills out a form or submits information on a website their information has to digitally travel from point A (where they submitted it) to point B (where it’s stored). Getting from point A to point B. If the website they’re using isn’t secure, or doesn’t use SSL, then hackers can intercept and read the information being transmitted. This is called a man-in-the-middle attack and you won’t know it’s happened until it’s too late.  Secure websites, or those that have an SSL certificate, are less likely to fall prey to any MITM attacks. When SSL is used, the connection between your computer and the other site is secured and heavily encrypted, making it nearly impossible for hackers to snag any information being passed back and forth.  Put yourself in your site visitors’ shoes. If you like to do online shopping or banking, wouldn’t you feel better knowing your information is transmitted via a secure connection? We sure would. And a survey by GlobalSign found that “85% of online shoppers avoid unsecure websites.” That’s a lot of business you could be missing out on.  How to identify a secure site.  Websites can’t hide their security status. In fact, most browsers will alert you to a site’s security status in the URL bar.  How do you know if a site isn’t secure? If you use Chrome, you’ll see an alert that looks like this: If you click on the information icon, you’ll get the following message: What will you see on a site that has SSL enabled? On Chrome, you’ll see a little padlock icon to indicate a secure site.  If you click on the padlock icon, you’ll receive the following message: Alternately, you can look to the website’s full URL in the browser’s address bar to find out whether or not it uses SSL. Not secure websites: URLs will start with “HTTP://…” Secure websites: URLs start with “HTTPS://…,” where the S stands for secure. Secure websites perform better in search engine results Since 2014, Google has said that they use HTTPS as a ranking signal in search results.  What does that mean for you? If your website has SSL then it’s more likely to show up higher in SERPs (search engine result pages) than a site that isn’t secure. Even if you’re not collecting visitors’ information on your website, you need SSL so you aren’t penalized in search results.  Google has pledged to “continue working towards a web that’s secure by default,” so we don’t think HTTPS importance will decrease any time soon.  How can you add SSL to your site? It’s easy with Domain.com — we offer a variety of SSL certificates to fit your needs. Here are the plans and details so you can identify the best option for your site.  LetsEncrypt Free SSL – If you have a basic website and don’t collect any sensitive information from your visitors, then this option should suffice. Search engines and visitors will see that your site is secure and that will increase their trust in you. Before getting SSL for your site, you’ll need to make sure you have your domain name and hosting. Then, you can log into your account to turn on your free LetsEncrypt SSL.  If you actively collect customer information (even if it’s just an email address) on your site or manage an e-commerce site then consider purchasing a more advanced SSL offering, like one of the following, all powered by Comodo SSL. Domain Validated SSL – Secure your customer information, help boost your Google search rankings, and receive the TrustLogo® Site Seal to display on your site. You’ll also be backed by a warranty from Comodo SSL for up to $10,000 to protect the end user. Wildcard SSL – Our Wildcard offering will give you all the features of the previous plan along with the ability to protect multiple subdomains. You’ll receive a warranty of up to $250,000 to protect the end user with this plan. E-Commerce SSL – This is our best SSL plan and is ideal for those with e-commerce websites, and offers a green “trust” visual bar for your site, like you see in the image below, and up to a $1,750,000 warranty for the end user.  Rest easy knowing you’re secure with SSL The importance of having SSL on your website is only going to increase.  Google is without a doubt the most popular search engine, and they aren’t pulling any punches when it comes to making the Internet a safer place for all of us. If you don’t have SSL you risk having your site pushed down in search engine results and losing your site visitors’ trust. Get SSL today, and turn your site into a trusted resource.  The post SSL: How Does it Keep Your Website Secure? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Blogging and Email Marketing: A Powerful Duo

Hey bloggers, is email marketing part of your blog strategy? It should be. Email marketing takes your blog to the next level: They’re a match made in heaven. Email marketing and blogging: The perfect pair. Have you ever seen one of those couples so perfectly in love it’s hard not to be jealous? They’re in tune with one another and everything they do is in pursuit of a common goal. They bring out the best in each other. That’s the type of relationship email marketing and blogging have. Why do you need email marketing on your blog? If you have a blog then email marketing is right for you — no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Do the following questions sound familiar? How do I build online relationships with my audience?How do I encourage loyalty in my readers and blogging community? Email marketing, my friends. The answers lie in email marketing. Email marketing is all about relationships. Once upon a time, you could build a relationship with your audience entirely on social media. That’s not the case anymore. Every time a social media site updates their algorithm it seems to go against small businesses’ or bloggers’ best interests. What are your options? You can pay to play with the big boys and advertise your blog or have your posts buried in favor of people’s friends and family. In this, your hour of need, email marketing can step in and help out. It isn’t just a perfect partner for your blog — it also encourages and supports other relationships your blog should have, like with your audience. Think about it: Blogging isn’t a one-way street. You can type, post, and publish all you want, but if you don’t have any readers for your blog then no amount of work on it will do you any good. You need to capture the attention of your readers and any future readers your blog receives and turn them into repeat visitors. It’s not as tough as it sounds. If your blog posts are informative and satisfy your audience’s needs (and we’re sure they do) you’re more than halfway there. Your next step? Add an email marketing sign-up sheet to your blog. It’s probably the easiest thing you can do to create repeat readers. If someone comes to your blog once there’s no guarantee they’ll be back a second time. However, if they sign up for your email list then they’ll see your content again and that keeps you and your blog top of mind.   How do you add an email sign-up sheet to your blog? There are a variety of ways, and it will depend on the email marketing tool you use. Don’t fret though, it’s an easy task no matter how you go about it. How do you encourage loyalty in your relationship with your audience? Quality content. Few things end a relationship faster than dating an absolute bore. Don’t be that person in your relationship with your audience. If your content is a snooze-fest, you’re in trouble. Deep trouble. Your blog (and therefore email) content must be quality content. An email composed of memes won’t inspire trust and will do more harm than good. We have nothing against a good meme, but remember to prioritize substance over a cheap laugh. When your content is high-quality and relevant to your audience’s needs they’ll want to open your emails and come back to your blog where they can find even more awesome information (so don’t forget to include links in your emails!). Need some inspiration? Try one of these 5 types of email ideas, all of them put together specifically for bloggers to send to their subscribers.   You can also try sending: Your best performing blog content.A guide or other freebie for your most loyal readers.A coupon or discount if you sell any products or services. Whatever email marketing service you use should offer you some kind of click tracking. That means that every time someone clicks on a link in your email it’s recorded and then added to a report for you. By reviewing this report, you can figure out what type of content resonates best with your readers and cater future emails and content accordingly. Email marketing statistics for bloggers. Still not sold on adding an email marketing sign-up sheet to your blog? Or not convinced that the (minimal) amount of work is worth the effort? Perhaps these statistics can convince you otherwise: 99% of consumers check their email every day.For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38.Emails related to hobbies have some of the highest open rates.Including a call-to-action in your emails can lead to a 28% increase in your click-through rate. Market your blog with email. It’s time to take your blog to the next step, isn’t it? You know what to do to start a blog and have a plan figured for how to monetize it … now you need to woo your audience. You can do that with quality content and an email sign up form on your blog. Capture your readers’ attention and email addresses, and never lose touch. Provide valuable, actionable information in your emails, and maybe a sweet deal every now and again, and watch your relationship with your audience bloom. Our final tip? Make sure the email address you use when sending your emails matches your blog’s domain name. Remember, the goal here is to engender trust with your audience and build your relationship, not have them mark you as spam because they don’t know who flyii_boi99@hotmail.com is. The post Blogging and Email Marketing: A Powerful Duo appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

What Should You Know about Starting a Blog?

Are you thinking about starting a blog? According to Statista, there are around 31.2 MILLION bloggers in the USA alone. So if you’re ready to start blogging, you’re in good company. If you’re curious as to how to start blogging then stick around as that’s the focus of this post. We’ll be discussing: Starting your blog with the right tools.Planning for your blog’s long-term success. And the best practices to help you get there. How do you start a blog? Before we jump into how to start a blog, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what a blog is. Blogs have been around since the dawn of time about 1994. Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines a blog. Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word “Blog.” If you’re like most of the people who reach out to us when starting a blog, you’re probably wondering, “What’s the difference between a website and a blog, and which one do I need?” Here’s our answer: All blogs are websites, but not all websites are blogs. You definitely need a blog, but not necessarily a website. If your plan is to primarily share written content with the internet-at-large, then a blog will suffice. If your blog is meant to support a product, e-commerce store, or even a nonprofit, you’ll need a website and your blog should be part of that larger website. (Otherwise, where are people supposed to purchase your products or learn more about your cause and donate?) Starting a blog: The tools you need. What things do you need to get a blog off the ground ASAP? Depending on who you ask, you may end up with a laundry list of suggestions. We don’t want to overwhelm any aspiring bloggers, so here are the essentials you need: A domain nameIf you hope to make money from your blog, sell your products, or grow a cult following, your blog needs to be memorable. One way to do this is with a brandable domain name. What’s easier to remember: yourname.someotherwebsitesnamehere.com or yourname.com? You have a plethora of domain extensions available to you, like .com, .blog, .co, .design, and more, which will only serve to strengthen your domain name’s memorability.   Pro-tip: Your domain name should pass the “radio test.” If someone were only to hear your domain name, and not see it, would they be able to spell it and find your blog? Ix-nay the dashes and creative spellings. Website, or blog hosting.Your blog has to live somewhere. Your host is where all the files and data for your blog reside, and hosting makes it possible for people to view and interact with what’s on your site.A content management system, or CMS.A what? What’s that?Content management systems give you the power to manage your digital content. They’re what gives you the ability and control to format and publish your posts, videos, images, etc. Ever heard of WordPress? It’s a free and open-source content management system, and the most popular blogging service to boot! Check out our site, where you can get the perfect domain name and WordPress hosting (and lots of free, mobile-friendly themes) for your blog. Those are the three things you must have when starting a blog: A memorable name, hosting, and a content management system. Now that you know what you need to get a blog started, we should discuss what it takes to take your blog from meh to marvelous. If your blog isn’t good people won’t visit it, and it won’t be worth your time or theirs. Tip and tricks to plan for a successful blog. It’s tempting to say, “I’ll feel it out and see what my blog needs,” or “I’ll create a plan next week (or the one after that …)” but if you don’t take the time to plan for your blog’s success, you’re doing yourself a disservice.  No one wants to visit a terrible blog, much less website. If you aren’t going to put the time and effort into creating a good blog, why should people spend their time visiting it? So, let’s talk about what you should consider and plan for to create a good blog. Best practices and questions to ask when starting a blog. How much time can I devote to my blog?There’s no sense in biting off more than you can chew. Go into creating your blog with a solid understanding of how much time you can devote to it. If you can only devote a few hours each week, an everyday posting schedule will leave you with too much work to complete in the allotted time. What am I passionate about? And how can that fuel my blog?If you don’t care for the topic you’re writing about, it’ll show. If you have a passion, share it! One big caveat: Your passion should be something others have an interest in, too. Unfortunately, there aren’t many people interested in the finer aspects of clown décor so don’t make that the focus of your blog. If there’s no audience for the subject matter then your blog will be poorly trafficked and a poorly trafficked blog is hard to monetize (if that’s your end goal.)What does my voice sound like?We know, we know, no one will actually be able to hear your blog. But that’s not what we mean anyway. Your writing has a voice: Your word choice, sentence structure or syntax, and punctuation will all inform how people read your posts. We’ve got nothing against the passive voice, but it doesn’t really belong in a blog post. Use it in moderation. Instead, write using the active voice. Active voice grabs your readers’ attentions and helps them stay focused on your writing. How technical am I?Blogs live in a digital world. While you don’t need a ton of technical knowledge to start a blog, a little does help. If you run into any snafus, you’ll need to know how to address them, or know where to go for help. Many content management systems have tutorials or knowledgebases where you can find your answers. If your CMS doesn’t, you may need to rely on your own technical abilities.  How will I provide value to my readers?When was the last time you willingly spent time on something you considered a waste? Can’t think of a time when that happened? Yeah, we’re having some difficulty with that, too. People don’t spend their time on things they consider to be wastes, and if your blog doesn’t provide value in some way, you can bet they won’t find it worth their time to read and peruse. Can you help someone solve a problem? Provide encouragement or respite for them? The value your posts provide will vary based on your goals and subject matter, but always keep value in mind when working on materials for your blog. How are people going to find my blog? “If you build it, [they] will come.” That strategy was great … for Kevin Costner circa 1989. But now? Not so much. There are a lot of blogs out there all clamoring for peoples’ online attention. You should think about how you’re going to get your blog in front of your desired audience’s face. Have you heard of SEO? SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of positively influencing your search engine result rankings, thereby increasing the quantity and quality of your website traffic. Here’s an article we wrote about SEO that explains how it can help get your blog in front of the right audience.How will I measure the success of my blog?Here at Domain.com, we frequently ask ourselves, “What will success look like?” before venturing into new projects. We recommend asking yourself the same question I regards to your blog. Keeping in mind that success may look different from one blog to another, and that it largely depends on your specific goals. You may want to consider using things like bounce rates, purchase volume, or user engagement as Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, of success for your blog. Get your blog up and running with Domain.com Becoming a blogger doesn’t have to be a daunting task. When in doubt, start at the beginning. To get your blog off the ground you’ll need a great domain name, hosting, and a content management system. From there, make sure you know what your goals are and who your audience is. Write with them in mind, and turn your blog into a valuable resource they’ll want to visit time and time again. Our last tip? Once your blog is thriving, consider monetizing it to make a little extra income — if you’re already putting the time and effort into it, you should get something in return. If you have an active blog share it with us in the comments below and let us know what has and hasn’t worked for you! The post What Should You Know about Starting a Blog? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Blogging for a Living: Earning an Income from Your Blog

Blogging for a living … is it possible? Seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought too, so I turned to our resident Marketing Guru, Bethany, who manages our Customer Lifecycle Marketing Program (CLM), and runs a kickass blog on the side.  Now, from 9am-5pm Bethany sits right next to me in the office, but once those office hours are over she focuses on her passion — running. Like most people, she thought it’d be nice to try and get a return on her investment in her passion, so she created a website and focuses on her blog. Her venture has paid off, literally. In addition to her regular income, her blog generates an additional revenue that continues to grow month after month. What does she know about blogging that the rest of us ought to? Person running steps. I sat down with Bethany last week to ask for her best blogging tips to help you not just start a blog, but earn an income from it, and she didn’t disappoint. Here’s what she said.  Blogging Tips to Earn an Income from Your Website and Blog Pick your niche or topic FIRST.Bethany’s blog focuses on her passion, running. Running is pretty popular so there’s a big audience for that topic. You need to make sure that your blog will have enough of an interested audience, too. If it doesn’t, you won’t be able to monetize it and earn that income. So before spending your precious time blogging about the anatomy and history of the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, spend time researching your options and audience size. This means doing some light keyword and search volume research. Here are 10 free tools, courtesy of Ahrefs.com, that you can use for keyword research.  Bethany’s advice: Don’t let this step paralyze you. Too much research can quickly turn into “analysis paralysis.” Give yourself a time limit and commit to making a decision within that “time box” or timeframe. This way, you can move forward with your best idea and quickly. Get the right domain name for your website and blog.Your domain name is the first thing people will see and associate with your blog and digital presence. It should be memorable and brandable. You can choose to go with the always-popular .com, the topical .blog, or any other number of SLDs (that’s the part of the domain name that comes before the .com, .net, .blog, or whatever extension you use.)Bethany’s advice: If your goal is to do this professionally and earn an income, you’ll want to choose a website builder that allows for a great deal of customization. She recommends WordPress: It’s free, it’s flexible, there are plenty of amazing free (or paid) theme options, along with tons of plugins that will help you throughout your blogging journey. Pro tip: You can purchase a domain name and WordPress hosting with Domain.com!Manage your time wisely.When you’re starting your blog, time is going to be your biggest blocker. You must use your time wisely. That’s not to say you have to do everything perfectly the first time around, it just means you have to do something instead of overthinking or wasting time on non-essential tasks.Plan your content & generally speaking, plan 1-3 months out, but be willing to pivot (just not too often). Spend less time planning and more time executing. Bethany’s advice: Pick a time-management method that works for you. Some bloggers like the Pomodoro time management method, or hybrid versions of it, but even simple time-blocking can do the trick. (She works in 20 minute “bursts” — where she sets a timer for 20 minutes and focuses on one task during that time … no social media, no checking email, etc.) Editor’s note: We can attest, Bethany knows how to get things done!Test & Learn Mentality:When you decide to start a blog to earn an income, you’re deciding to embark on a journey to become an entrepreneur. This journey requires a growth mindset and a “test and learn” approach. Oftentimes, there won’t be an obvious right way to do things. Don’t get frustrated. Instead, you’ll need to test and find out what works for you and your blog.  Bethany’s advice: Things will probably go wrong before they go right, so be patient, be persistent, and stick to it for the long haul! Person typing at computer. Ready to start your blog and earn additional income? Starting a blog has never been easier.  With a little planning, time management, and a great domain name, your blog can thrive. You’re probably not going to start off earning revenue in the six digits, but little bit by little bit your blog will grow and so will your opportunities for making money from it.  Take Bethany’s advice and choose your topic wisely, give yourself time constraints for getting things done, and learn to be ok with testing and failure. It’ll make you wiser and help you learn what’s best for your blog.  Get your domain name today and launch your blog! Any questions? Let us know in the comments.  The post Blogging for a Living: Earning an Income from Your Blog appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Develop Your Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy

When I was a kid my father would tell me, “Never brag about yourself. If you excel at what you do, others will brag for you.” If you think about advertising, it’s a lot like bragging, isn’t it? Except, in this case, you’re paying to talk about yourself and get your differentiator in your audience’s face. Sometimes, prospective customers get tired of hearing us talk about ourselves and if that’s the case, what alternatives do we have?  Enter word of mouth marketing. If you don’t have a word of mouth strategy already defined, you’ll want to do that after reading this article.  Get a memorable domain name so others can easily remember it and share it with their friends. What is word of mouth marketing and why should I invest in it? You’re probably wondering, “What is word of mouth marketing and how can it help me brag less about myself while inspiring others to talk about my business?” Dear internet reader, we’re glad you asked.  Entrepreneur’s Small Business Encyclopedia defines word of mouth as: Jay Baer, of Convince & Convert, takes it further and breaks word of mouth down into two buckets: proactive and reactive. How does he define the two?  Reactive word of mouth: You can think of reactive word of mouth as similar to referrals. When someone is looking for a solution to their needs, they may ask their friends and family for a recommendation. Their family and friends react to their question by recommending a solution or business that they’ve used before and enjoyed.  Proactive word of mouth: Proactive word of mouth is generally unasked for. An example of proactive word of mouth is when someone is so happy with an experience or service they tell all their friends about it — even if their friends aren’t asking for those details and recommendations — they’re proactively sharing that experience or recommendation. Is one form of word of mouth, either proactive or reactive, better than the other? Both are great! Both will do wonders for your business. But if we had to rank them, we’d give the edge to proactive word of mouth. That’s because proactive word of mouth isn’t asked for — those people are willingly taking time out of their day to shout your praises and share your product just because they like you. When someone is that happy with your service, you know you’re doing something right.  Does word of mouth marketing make a difference to my bottom line? Developing a word of mouth strategy for your business can affect your bottom line in two ways. Saves you money on paid advertisingRemember, if you make your customers’ experiences great, they will brag for you and about you. (Subpar and good experiences won’t cut it. Work to impress.) This could lead to a reduction in how much you spend on traditional advertising. Brings in new business.In his study, Chatter Matters, Jay Baer discovered that “83% of Americans are more interested in purchasing a product or service when they’ve received a verbal recommendation from a friend or family member.” You need to kindle those conversations and make your business worth talking about! How do I increase word of mouth about my business? That’s a really good question, and we don’t blame you if you’re stumped. You can smile and thank every customer that walks in your door or visits your site, but that’s not enough. You can give them a good shopping experience, or a good website experience, yet that’s not enough either.  In order for people to talk about your business, they need a good reason. Better yet, they need a great reason. Pleasantries and run-of-the-mill good experiences aren’t noteworthy — they’re expected. Ready for some good news? You don’t need to deck your store or site out in wall-to-wall neon colors and pull outrageous stunts to get attention. All you need to do is create a “talk trigger.”  What’s a talk trigger?  Jay defines a talk trigger as “a strategic, operational differentiator that compels word of mouth, reliably creating customer chatter on an ongoing basis.” Your talk trigger should be something you do, not something you say, to set yourself apart and make yourself, specifically your business, a worthwhile topic of conversation.  In his book, Jay uses DoubleTree hotels by Hilton as an example of a business with a great talk trigger. Whenever someone checks into those hotels, they’re given a fresh chocolate chip cookie. What does this one action do for them in return? It gets about 25 thousand customers talking about their hotel on social media, in a positive light, per day. If you’ve ever found yourself talking about DoubleTree’s cookies, we hate to break it to you, but you were the walking talking advertisement for the hotel. And we bet you were happy to do it! What makes for a good talk trigger? To explain, Jay lays out the four Rs: Remarkable – Give them something worth talking about, and remarkable doesn’t necessarily mean BIG.Relevant – If it’s not relevant, it’s not memorable.Reasonable – You get a car! And you get a car! And you get a car! Doesn’t sound so reasonable now does it?Repeatable – Talk triggers don’t work if only one or two people talk about them. They must be repeatable.  Get a memorable domain name so others can easily remember it and share it with their friends. Can I create a word of mouth worthy experience on my website? We believe that you can, yes. However, in order to create a word of mouth worthy experience on your website, you’re going to have to cover your bases. Here are our some of our top recommendations to make your website worth talking about.  Design your site with your user’s experience in mind. How will they navigate your site? Are all the buttons visible and working on both desktop and mobile? Taking the time to work through these little kinks improves the end user experience, and will make them think more kindly of your site.Provide good content.Good content is what keeps people on your site. A lack of it won’t inspire conversation. Make sure you have the right hosting package.If you expect a lot of website traffic, don’t choose the skimpiest hosting package. The more traffic your website receives the more bandwidth you need to provide a seamless, glitch-free experience to your visitors.Know your audience. You can’t provide a relevant talk trigger (remember the 4 Rs?) if you don’t know your audience. Get to know what motivates them and what they enjoy, and you’ll find it easier to speak their language and market to them effectively.  What defines your word of mouth marketing strategy? Your word of mouth strategy will probably look a little different from your neighbors’ and your competitors’ strategies — and that’s ok! People don’t talk about things that are commonplace and mundane. So let your differences shine. Have you implemented any talk triggers or word of mouth strategies? We’d love to hear about what’s worked for you and what hasn’t. Let us know in the comments! The post Develop Your Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Why Does .design Matter?

What do you think of when you hear the word “design?” No matter where you look, design is all around you. It’s central to everything — from the way we navigate a commute to work all the way to every aspect of the technology and software that we interact with. There’s no doubt that design informs everything that we see or experience. Many companies, cities, and individuals have made design their unique differentiator, thinking about and planning around details that others do not. Just one frustrating shopping cart experience online can remind us that successful modern companies have prioritized user experiences to survive and grow. More “traditional” designers might be folks working in graphics, web design, UX design, fashion design, landscape design, and others that wed the practical with the artistic. But “design” has become such a catch-all word that if often means that your services are intentional and easy to use. For example, a stay-at-home mommy blogger may consider herself a lifestyle designer, helping others navigate their own paths with intention and elegance. Given that design is so pervasive in our lives and such a powerful commercial differentiator, it should be no surprise that .design is one of the most widely used new domain extensions. It’s also obvious that the sites and brands using .design tend to hold themselves to a higher caliber, showcasing truly inspirational work and unique visions. .design is the home of creative studios, digital storefronts, freelancing professionals, and everyone in between. Why use a .design domain name when you could use something like .com? When the .design TLD was created in 2014, design was THE most popular word in .com domain names. Imagine taking a long, clunky domain name like DeesDaringDesign.com and turning that into DeesDaring.Design — it’s shorter, catchier, and makes the words on both sides of the dot work for you. Indeed, the .design makes your branding pop, using the dot to separate who you are (your chosen domain/brand name) and what you do (.design!). It looks great on resumes, business cards, and is the first building block for a professional and unique email address. Despite what you may have heard about a certain domain name being “king,” it’s not about what others are doing and using, it’s about having the most memorable, relevant domain name. And with .design being a newer domain extension, chances are, you’ll have better odds of scoring the exact name you want. Get your .design domain name today! Build your brand and showcase your talents with a .design domain name. Of course, .design is the perfect domain name for your online portfolio. Looking for a new career? Or perhaps you’re not actively looking, but want to keep your work public for potential opportunities? Use a .design domain name to display your accomplishments, what you’ve created, and what you’re capable of. But remember, when launching your portfolio, don’t make perfect the enemy of good. Sometimes, all you need is one great image or rendering with a professional .design email address to look credible. When beginning a career in design, people feel they need to show every project they’ve done, when in fact the best and most successful designers know that their work and their portfolios are all about curation and editing. A .design domain name may be the kick in the pants you need to create an engaging website. Sometimes just picking up the perfect domain name (before someone else does!) is the first bit of momentum you need. The word design lends itself to creative thinking and problem solving. What part of over-used stock images and blasé text is creative? What about that is inspiring? Using a .design name will challenge you to live up to your domain name’s and website’s potential. Starting with the right domain name and brand vision will inspire you to flesh your site out with thoughtful content and engaging copy. What are you waiting for?! Get your .design domain name today! Whether you’re a graphic designer, UX researcher, or work-from-anywhere blogger, a .design name may work for you. They’re catchy, they’re relevant, and they’ll challenge you to create the best-looking website around. Don’t wait too long though, .design domain names are catching on — in fact, it’s the only new domain extension “to have major adoption by household brands.” Major companies known for their smart design and marketing are showcasing it on .design, giving their design departments a platform and making themselves that much more prestigious. There are more than two dozen brands like airbnb.design, uber.design, and even tacobell.design leading the way! Take a page out of the big players’ books by posting interesting content on your .design site and building a community of your own dedicated followers. Design touches our lives in some way nearly every moment of every day, so you can imagine how vast the industry is. here is a sampling of professionals that would relate to and benefit from the .design TLD. Get your .design today! The post Why Does .design Matter? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

What is Good Website Content?

What keeps someone interested in your website? Is it the striking colors you chose to use in your design? Is it the fancy way your website scrolls? Probably not. Good content is what keeps your website visitors engaged and interested in your site. But, “good content” is a little vague, isn’t it? We think so, too. That’s why we’ve put together the following tips for you. Follow these tips and you’re on your way to creating good website content. It all starts with a great domain. Get yours today. What makes for good website content? Know your audience and their goals. When you create a website, you’re not creating it for yourself. Yes, you’ll reap the benefits of having a good website: increased visitors that translate into increased revenue, but that’s not quite the same. Your website exists to help your desired audience learn about you, or specifically, how your product or service helps them meet their goals or needs. If you do a good job of convincing them that you have what they need, they’re more likely to purchase from you.  If you aren’t sure who your audience is, or what they want, how can you ever market yourself and your site to them? You can’t. At least not well. Before writing content that you assume will attract people, do your homework. Take a look at your competitors and see how they’re positioning similar products. What’s your differentiator? Highlight it in your content and on your website. Clear, crisp copy. Have you ever read a sentence worded so poorly that it physically made your brain hurt? Or one that’s left you cross-eyed as you try to figure out what it’s trying to convey? Don’t be that person and don’t create that kind of content for your website. If your website content causes people to stumble and falter as they read, there’s an issue. So what can you do to make sure that your website content is legible and most importantly, easily understood? Write for the average reading level, unless your audience is more advanced (i.e., if your website provides resources for lawyers, let the legal jargon roll. If not, refrain from the difficult vocabulary and syntax.) Did you know that the National Adult Literacy Survey results suggest that the average American reads at the 7th to 8th grade level? By using a readability grading tool you can score your writing to make sure you’re writing isn’t too difficult, or easy, for your audience. For example, after Microsoft Word reviews the spelling and grammar in a document, it can provide you with your writing score on the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level and Flesch Reading Ease tests. You can then use this data to refine your writing.  Mixed media. Do you enjoy spending time on websites that have nothing to look at but text? No photos, no images, just endless text. Good website content isn’t restricted to blog posts and the written word. In addition to the text and writing on your website, consider using videos or other graphics to share your message and value proposition with your audience. Concise, understandable CTAs. What actions do you want visitors to take on your website? Is it completing a purchase, filling out a form, or donating money? Whatever you desire, make it obvious to your website visitors with a clear Call-to-Action (CTA). If they don’t know what they’re supposed to do, then chances are they may not do it. Your CTAs should focus on one action at a time — don’t ask someone to do three different things all from the same popup — they’ll never remember everything and they’ll be driven away by the volume of your requests. When writing a good CTA keep these three things in mind: make it concise, clear, and actionable. SEO optimized. Good website content is SEO optimized. In a nutshell, that means it’s written in a way that’s attractive to search engines, and of course, humans. If your content is disliked by humans (perhaps indicated by a high bounce rate on that certain page) then search engines won’t want to surface it in search results. Search engines are in the business of getting people the information they’re seeking — quickly, efficiently, and accurately. To write SEO optimized content, do some research around keywords. If you know what your desired audience is searching for, you know what words and terms to include in your website content. That should give you a little boost in search engine results. There are many free tools that can help you research your keywords, so don’t hesitate to use them. A custom domain name helps customers find you and builds your credibility. How do you know when you’ve created good content for your website? If your content is good, you should see an increase in traffic, an increase in conversions, and increased activity on your website. Good content is rewarded by search engines and website visitors alike. Search engines will rank good website content higher in search engine results, and website visitors will be more likely to follow your CTAs and complete the actions on your website that you want them to take. Go ahead and take a look at the website content you have now. Do a content audit to see what material you have that performs well and what is lackluster. Use an online readability tool to score your work to see if there’s anything you can change to better it, and then revisit it in a few months to gauge how well your content is performing. As you practice our five tips to create good website content, let us know how it goes! If you have any other suggestions, share them in the comments below. The post What is Good Website Content? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Does My Brick-and-Mortar Business Need a Website?

How do people discover your business? Gone are the days when a copy of the bulky, softcover Yellow Pages would bring in the customers. Now, it’s as though your business doesn’t exist if you don’t have a website. People pick up their shiny cellphones and run online searches to find the business that fits their needs instead of flipping through musty old phone books and directories. Recently, I moved. It wasn’t a huge move, but it was far enough away from my old surroundings that I wasn’t sure what businesses existed in my new town. After what felt like years of hauling a never-ending stream of boxes down multiple flights of stairs, I arrived at my new place — and I was starving. I like supporting local businesses, so I located my phone amidst a jumble of papers and used Google to find some nearby restaurants to sate my hunger. What was so special about what I did? Absolutely nothing. In fact, according to SEO Tribunal, Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. Even a small sliver of that traffic could do wonders for your business.  Your website needs a domain name. We can help. Does having a website guarantee that my business shows up first in search results?  First off, if you don’t have a website you won’t be showing up in any search results. Secondly, your website has to be good. Search engines don’t reward bad websites with better placement in search results.  Creating a good website that performs well and captures customer attention is a lot easier than it used to be with the advent of website builders. Website builders, like ours, help you create a good-looking, sensible website in a short amount of time. They provide a large selection of customizable templates for you to choose from; then, you click on the item you want (photo placeholder, text box, etc.), drag it where you’d like for it to appear on your website, and drop it in place. You can customize those elements with your own wording, photos, videos, and more. Search engines favor websites with good, informative content. If your website isn’t appealing to customers, or doesn’t answer their questions, it won’t appeal to search engines either.  Do I need a website if I don’t sell products or services online? Yes! Not selling products online is no excuse to forego a website. Think of your website as the digital face of your physical location. You always want to put your best face forward because you never know who’ll see it.  Your customers, and potential customers, expect you to have a website as well. If they find you don’t have one, they’ll wonder why that is and could question whether or not you’re a legitimate business. Your website is a goldmine of marketing opportunities. On social media, you can’t control the conversation about your business. People can comment, like, react, or otherwise change your business narrative. But this isn’t the case on your website. On your site, you position your products and services (even if you don’t do e-commerce) exactly as you see fit, and tell your story the way it should be told. You can even derive insights from the actions your visitors take on your site — what are they clicking on? How far down are they scrolling on the page? And so much more! Apply these insights to refine your messaging, your marketing, all the way down to your products and business M.O., if applicable.  If you’d like to continue building a relationship with your site visitors after they’ve left your site, consider email marketing. Email marketing is a small investment of your time for a big return ($38 return for every $1 spent.) You’ll need to include an email marketing sign-up list on your website, but any good email marketing provider will give you premade options you can quickly add to your site.  How do I start creating a website? Good question! It all starts with a great domain name. You can think of your domain name as your website’s unique name and address. It distinguishes your website from all the others out there. Your domain name should reflect your business, and if possible, match your business name. If you can’t find an available domain name to register, consider purchasing a premium domain name to really solidify your brand.  Got your domain name? Good, let’s continue. Plan your website, then create.  It’s a smart idea to plan out how you think your website will be used, what pages should be included, and how to leverage content on your site. What you put on your site should be intentional and serve a purpose, whether that be to inform your customers or drive purchases.  Before creating your website, ask yourself the following questions.  How many people do I expect to visit my website each day?The amount of website traffic you expect to receive will influence what type of web hosting you need. Website hosting is where all the data and files that comprise your website live. It’s also what allows you to publish your website on the internet, thereby allowing people to find and visit it. You know how retail stores have a back room to store inventory for when it’s needed, and also a shop to handle customer foot traffic? Hosting is a lot like that, but digital.What actions do I want people to take on my site?Are you trying to drive purchase volume? Or provide educational content? When you’re creating a website you’re designing an experience for your site visitors, and the actions they take on your site should benefit your business.What should visitors see when they land on my site?Should they be greeted with your sale of the day? Your bright, beautiful face? Or an informative landing page? Again, think about what actions you want your site visitors to take, and about whether or not their first impression of your site will help lead them to that action.Am I providing them with a way to reach me if they have questions?You can provide all the relevant and pertinent information about your business that you want, but someone is still going to have questions. That someone may be your most valuable customer. If they have a question and need to get in touch with you, they should be able to easily and quickly find your contact information. A “Contact Us” page on your site should suffice.  So that’s it then, my brick-and-mortar needs a website? The bottom line is, yes, you really do need a website.  Creating a website for your brick-and-mortar business is a lot quicker and easier than it used to be. You can use a tool like WebsiteBuilder to create a site that reflects your business in the best light possible, and you can do it in less than an afternoon. However, remember that planning is half the battle in website creation. If you go into creating your website with clearly defined goals, you’ll have an easier time deciding where things should go and what information should be displayed. Your website will be the gift that keeps on giving — from visitor insights, to marketing opportunities, to new customers — so what are you waiting for? Get the perfect domain name today. You’re not on your own, Domain.com is here to help. Need an extra hand when creating a website? Or do you have some lingering questions? We’ve got you covered. Our teams are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you’re in need of assistance.  The post Does My Brick-and-Mortar Business Need a Website? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

A Guide to SEO Basics for Beginners

SEO: just another buzzword? If that’s what you’re thinking, we’re delighted to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. If you have a website, you’ve likely heard of SEO, and with good reason — it isn’t going anywhere. Understanding and implementing SEO fundamentals directly contributes to increased digital and business success, so it’s time you learned what SEO means and how it works. In this guide, we’re covering the SEO basics you need to know to help optimize your website. We’ll discuss: What is SEO?Why does SEO matter? How will SEO help me?The anatomy of a SERP. How to track your progress.Simple SEO strategies you can start today.What not to do with SEO.Where can I learn more on SEO? Let’s jump in, shall we? What does SEO mean? SEO is an abbreviation that stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the practice of positively influencing your search engine result rankings, thereby increasing the quantity and quality of your website traffic. To put it simply, SEO gets your website in front of more people on search engines (like Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo) without needing to pay for ads. Although search engine optimization sounds like you’d be making changes to the search engines themselves, the enhancements you’ll be making will be to your website, blog, or content. Why does SEO matter, does it affect my business? Need more convincing as to why you should implement a SEO strategy? Consider these facts gathered from Search Engine Journal: 91.5 percent: The average traffic share generated by the sites listed on the first Google search results page.51 percent of all website traffic comes from organic search, 10 percent from paid search, 5 percent for social, and 34 percent from all other sources. Over half of all website traffic comes from organic search — this is website traffic you AREN’T paying for, so refining your SEO strategy can save you money.4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information.~2 trillion: The estimated number of searches Google is handling per year worldwide. That breaks down to 63,000 searches per second; 3.8 million searches per minute; 228 million searches per hour; 5.5 billion searches per day; and 167 billion searches per month.~20: The number of times SEO has more traffic opportunity than PPC (Pay-Per-Click) on both mobile and desktop. Does SEO affect your business? Without question, yes. But exactly how much it affects your business is up to you. If you don’t do anything to optimize and edit your website and content for SEO then it can’t work for you. But if you take a few minutes to optimize your website, you’ll reap the benefits of SEO — an increase in the quantity and quality of traffic to your site due to improved search result rankings. SEO is uniquely different from other forms of digital marketing in that, with SEO, people are already searching for you. They need your services or products and they’re going to a search engine to figure out where they can get them. With SEO, you aren’t paying for ads in an attempt to woo fickle prospects back to your site — these people are already interested in what you’re selling, so help them find you by implementing an SEO strategy before your competitor does. The anatomy of a SERP What happens after you click “Search” on a search engine? You’re taken to the SERP, or Search Engine Results Page. (We’ve pulled the following SERP examples from Google because they dominate the search engine market worldwide with a 90.46% market share.) Depending on your search terms your SERP could include different types of results; however, there are some components on the results page that don’t change. Here’s what’s always included: Paid Ads (or PPC, Pay Per Click): These results appear first because the businesses they advertise have paid money for their top placements.Organic Search Results: Organic, or owned, search results aren’t paid for; instead, these results appear further up or down on the page depending on how well they’re optimized for SEO. Both paid and organic results can also display as: Basic search resultsThese results display as links with metadata (the description under the URL.) Basic results don’t include images, graphs, or shopping suggestions on the main SERP. Pro tip: If you do decide to pay for ads, avoid clicking on those search results yourself. You’ll cost yourself money since you’re charged per click on those results. Enriched search resultsThis is the most common SERP you’ll see, although it won’t always look the same. Enriched search results can include paid ads, organic results, sponsored links, local packs (local businesses that meet your search criteria), product carousels, and more. Google is always making updates and changes to its SEO algorithms to display the most relevant search results, so enriched search results won’t always show the same things.   If you click on a local search result it will take you to a page where you can find out more about those businesses. It looks like this: Pro tip: If you have a business, claim your “Google My Business” listing so you can control and edit information displayed about your business. “Add missing information” isn’t a good look when trying to attract visitors to your site. Before we continue, when was the last time you performed an online search to see how your business or website ranks? If you haven’t done that in a while, we recommend doing so. It’s a good idea to know where you stand in search rankings so you can better gauge your SEO efforts and improvements. Can I measure my SEO efforts? You certainly can! And with Google Search Console — it’s free. Google Search Console gives you deep insight into your website. You can discover how people are getting to your site — where they’re coming from, what device they’re using — and what the most popular, or heavily trafficked, pages of your website are. The Search Console allows you to submit your sitemap or individual URLs for search engine crawling, alerts you to issues with your site, and more. If you haven’t used it before, don’t fret. Click this link to get to the Search Console. Then, click “Start now.” On the next page you’ll need to input your Domain(s) and/or URL Prefix(es.) If you choose the Domain option, you will have to verify your pages using DNS to prove that you’re the owner of the domain and all its subdomains.Verifying your site and pages is for your security. Google Search Console provides great insight into your website and that’s information only you should have. By requiring verification, Google ensures a competitor won’t have access to your website data. If you choose the URL Prefixes method, you’ll have a few options to verify your account; you can upload an HTML file (a bit more advanced, and requires access to a site’s root directory), or if you already have Google Analytics set up you can verify your site on Search Console that way. This beginner’s guide to Google Search Console by Moz walks you through all the ways you can verify your site. What SEO tactics can I implement now? Here are three ways you can vastly improve your SEO. Write good contentGood content pays off when it comes to search engine results rankings. What makes for good content?It’s linkable. Search engines like content that can be linked to from other pages. If you create content, but have it gated (i.e. – you can only access it once you’re logged in or completed a similar action) then search engines won’t rank it as highly. They’re in the business of providing information to those who are seeking it, so make your content discoverable and linkable.Aim for at least 1000 words. Search engines reward robust content, so that 300-word blog post you’re hoping rises to the top of the search results? — that needs to be fleshed out, and with relevant, valuable content.Valuable, informative content drives demand. Search engines reward in-demand content with improved search result rankings. So if all you’ve done is write 1000+ words that no one cares to read, and doesn’t address your audience’s needs, you’ve wasted your time as it won’t rank highly in. You can figure out what your audience wants to know and what’s in demand by looking at keyword research. Use WordPress? There are many free SEO tools and plugins that can help you and provide suggestions as you work, like Yoast or ThirstyAffiliates. Keyword researchWhy is keyword research important? If you know what your desired audience is searching for, you know what words and terms to include in your content — thereby giving yourself a boost in results ranking. There are a variety of free tools that exist to help you identify trending keywords, like Google Trends. This tool allows you to search keywords and terms (and compare them against one another) to discover how well-searched those terms are. This information can influence what keywords you use in your content. If there’s a term that’s searched a lot and relates to your content, use it. Here’s a list of 10 free keyword research tools put together by Ahref, many of which provide an even deeper level of insight into the keywords you should use.On-page SEOMoz describes On-page SEO as “… the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.” So what are the optimizable components of your individual webpages? Content, which we touched upon earlier.Title Tag Title tags are important because they dictate the display title on SERPs (search engine results pages). It’s likely the first thing people will see when they scan their search results, so a good title tag can draw them in and get them to click on the result. Trying to write a good title tag? Avoid ALL CAPS, don’t stuff as many keywords as possible into it, and keep it under 60 characters. Some characters take up more space than others, so you can use free title tag preview tools to help visualize what your title tag will really look like. URL structureIt’s easy to make sure your URLs are working for you on search engines instead of against you. How’s that? Make sure your URLs display page hierarchy. By doing so, your URL is easily read by search engines and explains where the content or page can be found on your site. What does a good URL look like?www.domain.com/domains/transfer and here’s the breakdown of the page hierarchy: Now, imagine if the URL listed above looked something like “www.domain.com/int489/trans74087.” What does that tell the search engines? Not a whole lot, and definitely not where the page resides on your site. For more information on On-page SEO ranking factors, take a look here. What should I avoid when getting started with SEO? For every piece of good SEO advice out there, there are a few bad pieces floating around. No matter whose friend’s cousin’s uncle tells you it’s a good idea, avoid the following practices. Keyword stuffingSearch engines are constantly improving and refining their algorithms to make sure the most valuable content is surfaced first. You can’t fool them by stuffing your content full of keywords and calling it a day. Duplicate contentWhen the same piece of content appears on the internet in various places using different URLs, it’s considered duplicate content. It may seem like having your content available in more places, with different URLs, is a good idea — more ways for people to find you, right? — it isn’t. Duplicate content confuses search engines. Which URL is the primary or correct one for the content? Should they split the results and show half the searchers one URL and the other half another? What page, or URL, ends up getting the credit for the traffic? Instead of dealing with all of that, chances are you’ll suffer a loss of traffic because the search engine won’t surface all of the duplicates. Writing for search engines instead of peopleSearch engines are in the business of getting the correct and best information to the people who need it, or search for it. If you’re writing choppy, keyword-stuffed sentences they’ll be pretty painful for a human to read, so they won’t. If you don’t have people reading or interested in your content, there’s no demand. No demand = poor search result rankings. Thin contentYou should never create content for the sake of creating content. Make sure it’s quality content — relevant to your audience and at least 1000 words long — so search engines are more likely to surface it higher on SERPs. Where can I learn more about SEO? This introduction to SEO serves to get you acquainted with search engine optimization and lay down the groundwork, but don’t forget, the more you invest in SEO the better off your website will be. Once you’re familiar with the topics we’ve discussed here, challenge yourself to take it to the next level with these topics. White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO You know how in movies the bad guys are normally in dark, depressed colors while the good guys wear bright, or white colors? You can think of white hat and black hat SEO in the same way. Black hat SEO tactics may seem to pay off at first, but just like with bad guys, what you do will come back to haunt you (like getting blacklisted from search engines!) Google, for instance, is constantly updating and refining its search algorithms. If it notices questionable behavior (like keyword stuffing) they’ll penalize those behaviors in their updates — so that “hack” you discovered that allows you to rank on page 1 of search results? That won’t work once the algorithm is changed, and you’ll lose your authority. Good SEO habits, or white hat SEO, won’t put you at risk of being penalized by search engines, so your authority will continue to climb. Off-page SEO Unlike on-page SEO, off-page SEO (or off-site SEO) consists of tactics to improve your search engine result rankings that aren’t done on your site. There are a variety of things you can do, but link-building is the most well-known. The more links that exist to your site and content, the better (within reason, if you spam every website you can think of with your links in comments that’s not ok.) Link building happens a variety of ways; naturally, when someone finds your content to be relevant and links to it in one of their posts or pages, manually, when you deliberately work to increase the number of links that exist for your site, say by asking clients or associates to link to your content, and self-created. Self-created links, including links to your site or content on random social media posts and blog comments, can be good in moderation. Too many spammy posts or comments ventures into black hat SEO territory, so tread carefully. Putting it all together If you work on improving your SEO tactics, your website and business will thank you. A good SEO strategy increases the likelihood of your content and pages displaying higher in search engine results. When your content shows up sooner in search results you get more website traffic and better quality website traffic, after all, those are people already searching for what you have to offer. As you dive into SEO, remember to take stock of where your pages and content show up in SERPs today so you can gauge your progress and SEO results tomorrow. Use this introduction to SEO to help you write better content, create informative URL structures, and understand the SEO tactics to avoid. The post A Guide to SEO Basics for Beginners appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

6 Reasons Your Business Needs Social Media and How to Get Started

Does every business need a social media presence? With few exceptions, yes. In order to succeed and thrive in today’s digital-first world, you need to have active social media profiles. Despite all the negative attention Facebook has received in the news lately, Snap’s struggling stock price, and Pinterest’s recent filtering controversy, social media isn’t going anywhere. There are roughly 14,449,000,000 active profiles (that’s right, OVER 14 BILLION) across the top 20 social media networks — that’s a huge potential audience for your business. Today, we’re diving into 6 of the most important reasons why you need social media for your business. Then, we’ll explore some approachable ways to get started with, or “re-light”, your social media accounts. It all starts with a great domain. Get yours from Domain.com. 6 reasons your business needs social media 1.     Establish Authority & Increase Business Reputation Your social media profiles exist to make your business look good. They increase people’s faith in you as a possible solution to their needs. Use your profiles to share content from your website, industry news, and other materials that prove to your audience that a) you know what you’re talking about and b) you’re a trusted resource. Depending on your business, you may find that sharing news and content on Facebook or Instagram suffices, but don’t rule out other platforms like Quora or Reddit just because they don’t make the news as often. All platforms have loyal, active users — you just need to figure out which platform(s) your customers use. By sharing content and advice you can “win over” these users and hopefully, convert them into customers. As an added bonus, social media users can re-share your content which further increases your reach and authority. 2.     Audience Discovery Have you gone through an exercise to determine what your ideal customer looks like? If not, you should — like, yesterday. Identifying your ideal customer to create a customer persona will help you to refine your marketing messages and successfully sell to your prospects. You can use social media to give insight to your ideal customer persona. Search keywords, hashtags, and other tidbits relevant to your business and look at the people who are talking about those things and engaging with them. -What motivates them? -What concerns them and gets them talking? -What types of posts do they share? These are some questions you should be asking as you review your intended social media audience. At the heart of the matter is this: Understanding your audience and customers is the key to providing them with the best experience and winning them over … for life. 3.     Customer Service & Relationship Building Consumers aren’t willing to pick up a phone and wait on hold for answers to their questions and concerns. What do they do instead? Take to social media to ask for help or air their grievances. And if you aren’t there to respond, it’s not a good look. You can use social media to capture and address these concerns and posts, both to save face for your business and most importantly, help your customer. If your customers need to share sensitive information for you to best assist them, then nicely direct them to contact you via other means or take the conversation private, and explain why you need to do that. No one likes to feel like they’re being ignored or hushed, and you don’t want your customers thinking that you’re trying to hide any negativity from the public eye. By providing timely, good service and being there for your customers you’ll build your relationships with them. In fact, American Express states that, “US consumers say they’re willing to spend 17% more to do business with companies that deliver excellent service … [and] Millennials are willing to spend the most for great care (21% additional.)” Any wild guesses as to where you’ll find many a millennial? That’s right, social media. 4.     Competitor Analysis and Business Intelligence We’re going to bet that at some point in your childhood you briefly entertained becoming a spy. Perhaps your idols were James Bond or Harriet the Spy, but as you grew older, your interests changed. Well, here’s your chance to put your sleuthing skills to work. Social media can be used to “spy” on your competitors. -What products are they promoting? -How do they position their services or offerings? -What content did they share that got the most likes? -Have they posted anything that received any negative reactions? These insights will prove valuable to your business. You can use this info to refine your messaging, understand your differentiators, and position your products for the right audience. Not sure who your competitors are? Try searching keywords relevant to your business on the different social media platforms to see who the biggest players are in those conversations. 5.     Free Marketing A lot of digital marketing platforms are pay-to-play. Now, this can hold true for social media (most platforms offer a paid advertising option) but it is not the rule. Organic, or unpaid social media posts, can bring qualified traffic to your website. The content and links you share on social media should largely lead people back to your site. As more people interact with and like those posts, their reach will increase and they’ll be shown to more people. That increases the chances of more people making it to your website where they’ll (hopefully) get sucked in with your great products, on-point messaging, and then convert into paying customers. Many small businesses and fledgling business endeavors are tight on marketing funds, so free is always a win. 6.     Boost your SEO Depending on who you ask, you’ll receive different answers regarding just how much social media affects SEO, search engine optimization. However, one thing we can all agree on is that yes, it does affect SEO in some capacity. To get to the bottom of the matter, the team at Hootsuite conducted an experiment with their blog posts to determine social media’s effect on SEO. What were their findings? “…There is an indirect relationship between social media and SEO. That is, content that performs well on social will likely earn more backlinks, which helps boost search rank.” Go ahead and share your content and keep an eye on what performs well on social media. Those posts may just see an SEO boost, too. Now you know that your business really and truly needs a social media presence, but do you know where and how to get started? There are quite a few social media platforms out there and learning to navigate them all can be overwhelming. Tips for getting started on social media Here’s a collection of tips that our social media marketing manager put together to help you navigate any murky social media waters. Quality, not quantity. Don’t spread yourself thin by creating accounts on every single social media platform that exists. Start with one or two, and remain open to changing platforms in the future. As an example, if you run a fashion boutique, bakery, or other business that lends itself well to visuals, you’ll probably want to be on Instagram. Put some thought into your audience and desired customers — what platforms do you think they’re on? You should be there, too. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin FranklinApproach social media with a plan. Take into consideration any existing time constraints you may have, what content you’d like to share, and your ideal posting frequency. Do some research into social media customer service so you have an idea as to how to handle any interactions your customers initiate on social media. (There’s nothing like dealing with an irate customer on social media when you’re utterly unprepared for it.) Remember, what happens on social media ISN’T private — you’re on a stage for the whole world to see. Manual versus automated posting.It’s difficult to stop whatever you’re doing multiple times a day to source content and post it to social media. While it may only take a few minutes to find the material and post it, it can take a whole lot longer to regain the focus you lost when you were interrupted. Consider using an automated tool that allows you to schedule your content and posts far in advance. There are many tools on the market today and a lot of them offer free plans for small businesses and those just getting started. Some social media platforms, like Facebook, allow you to schedule posts natively, or within the platform itself. Automated alerts.Time is money. Have you ever caught yourself going online or checking social media for a specific reason, only to find yourself down a rabbit hole an hour later with no accounting for your time? Resist the temptation and avoid the distractions by setting up automated alerts. You can set up alerts to notify you when your business is mentioned, if a competitor is mentioned, industry news, and so much more. Two of our favorite tools are free: Google Alerts and IFTTT. Provide other avenues for contact.We can’t begin to count the number of times we’ve gone to a social media profile to find contact information … and there’s none to be found. At a minimum, make sure your domain name is visible! If your website is clearly listed, people can always go there to find additional information about you, or even better, make a purchase. It all starts with a great domain. Get yours from Domain.com. Give your business a boost by going social Once you get started with social media, you’ll find it provides a host of benefits to your business. From customer service, to free marketing, and competitive intelligence — the world is your oyster on social media. What other benefits can a business derive from having an active social media presence? Do you have any tips for those just getting started? Share them in the comments below, we’d love to hear them! The post 6 Reasons Your Business Needs Social Media and How to Get Started appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

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