The Domain.com Blog

What is Website Design?

In our digital age of smartphones, tablets, and laptops, a company’s website design is vital as it influences how long online customers browse their site. A solid, good website design is intuitive, easy to use, looks great, and suits the target demographic. On the other hand, a poorly designed website will frustrate and turn away potential customers. Make no mistake, good design is more than aesthetics; it can impact your search engine optimization, google rankings, site visitor’s behavior, and brand perception. So, if you want your online business to thrive, it starts with the foundation of your web design. We’ll discuss the key elements of web design below so that you can draw in more customers by enhancing the appearance, functionality, and overall experience of your website. What is Web Design? Website design used to mean creating websites for desktop browsers. In recent years, however, the importance of mobile and tablet browsers has moved to the forefront. Today, more people browse the internet daily on their phone than on a desktop, with 63% of all web traffic coming from mobile. There are a variety of aspects of web design, including: Web graphic designInterface designUser experience designAuthoringSearch Engine Optimization With that in mind, web design typically functions as a stand-in to describe the client side, or front-end design of the website. The front-end of your website is the part that your customers see, navigate, and interact with on their browser. The purpose of a well-thought-out design is to hook your customers’ attention, sell a product or service, and give a real sense of what your company is. Good design gathers ideas then assembles and displays them in a pleasing aesthetic — it utilizes various concepts and guiding principles based on human behavior and online consumer habits. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. 5 Elements of Web Design If you’re planning on building a website for your company or revamping your old one, it’s crucial that you take the time to understand the ins-and-outs of web design. Creating the perfect schema for your business website requires experimentation and trial and error. Finding the perfect mix of elements can be a frustrating and challenging process, but it will pay off in the long run as your customers and prospects spend more time on your site. It takes effort and patience to get it just right, but when you do, you’ll have a website you can be proud of. What are the main visual elements to focus on when designing your website? The top 5 are: Layout People make up their minds or form opinions in the blink of an eye, within 100 milliseconds. First impressions matter, especially for websites. In 2012, Google confirmed this with a study that found aesthetic design impacted users’ views towards the site in less than 50 milliseconds of exposure. A great visual design is hugely important, and it all begins with your layout. In short, a layout is the way text, ads, graphics, and media are organized and placed on a page. A good layout will make locating vital information as easy as possible. This includes: The company logoThe main navigation barThe search boxMain imageContentThe bottom of the website A good layout includes the following elements: Has plenty of whitespace – White space refers to the empty space on a page that separates the various parts including copy, margins, and the sidebar. Whitespace prevents clutter and helps direct the customer’s eye to the important features or messages. Intuitive – You do not need to reinvent the wheel. Internet users have been conditioned to expect certain fundamental aspects on any website. For example, the search bar is typically in the top right and the page navigation is top and center.  Draws the eye – Similar to how framing in art, photography, or cinema can subconsciously direct the viewer’s eyes to the point of emphasis, solid web design naturally guides the user’s eyes to the essentials.Grid-based designs – Recently, this type of web design has become increasingly popular. It involves intersecting vertical and horizontal lines that act as parameters for placing various elements. Grids keep the visual design simple, ordered, and organized. McDonald’s, for example, uses a grid-based design. Color Color is another facet that subconsciously triggers something in people, evoking emotions or feelings, whether or not they are aware of the fact. Modern day web design relies heavily on color schemes and thoughtful color usage to create a memorable and robust palette. Finding the right balance can be tricky. You don’t want to overdo it with colors since that can be visually overwhelming and create a distraction. Did you know that the vast majority of modern websites will only use two to three colors? For example, Bose’s website uses an off-black primary color with grey highlights. This keeps things simple and allows them to emphasize the colors of their headphones. If you go to Facebook or Amazon, you’ll see that they purposefully stick to a primary background color and an accent color. Color can catch a visitor’s eye but can also overwhelm if there’s too much or the colors aren’t coordinated. If you’re in this stage of picking your colors, experiment with different combinations, tints, and shades to find the color scheme that best evokes your brand’s personality. Graphics Many people forget the power of images in order to convey information or sell a brand. Just consider the logos for Coca Cola, Nike, or Apple. Their images sell their brand or service better than any commercial ever could. Approximately 65% of Americans are visual learners, so do not discount the importance of using images to help you succinctly express your message. The nuclear hazard symbol paints a picture far more eloquently than written warnings ever could Graphics encompass: PhotosInfographicsChartsLogosClipartIconsPage art All of these components can improve web design and help give your site personality and character. As with color, graphics should be used tastefully to complement rather than detract from the main focus of your site. Consider using a blend of text and graphics as it’s the best way to keep your website looking fresh while simultaneously sending a clear message. Fonts Typography is an ingenious way of communicating your message, style, and personality. You’ll want to find a typeset that matches your profession. A doctor or lawyer, for example, may want a timeless serif font, while a startup may be best served by selecting something more playful or out-of-the-box. The vast majority of web browsers are only capable of reading specific fonts, so make sure to choose web-safe fonts for your website. Some of the most popular fonts include: Sans-serif ArialCalibriGenevaHelvetica Trebuchet MSCentury Gothic SerifCambriaGaramondGeorgiaTimes New RomanBook Antiqua MonospacedCourier NewLucida Sans TypewriterMonacoConsolasAndale Mono Fantasy and ScriptPapyrusCopperplateBrush Script MTApple ChanceryChiller Your goal is to find fonts that are complementary your overall design but remain easy to read. You want your target audience spending time browsing your site, not wasting time translating hieroglyphics. Content Once you’ve laid the foundations of your web design, it’s time to fill your site with content. Content involves written pages on the website as well as blog posts and other media. Content should focus on several things, including: Search Engine OptimizationIncorporating relevant keywordsSelling the service or productConveying the brand’s experience and authority Illustrating that the brand is trustworthy You don’t have a lot of time to reel in customers, so content should be quick and to the point. Your content should be informative, point out a problem or a need, offer a solution, and provide a call to action. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. The Two Forms of Web Design When creating your website, you’ll likely have to decide between using a responsive or adaptive web design. In recent years, these two methods of web design have become staples. Responsive Design (RWD) – Websites are designed to adapt and change the size of the page in accordance with the various resolutions, screen sizes, and content. Content moves dynamically on the screen. The benefits include: Very user-friendly. Allows for flexibility with different screen resolutions and devices.Good for SEO since it’s all one page rather than 3 distinct pages. Lower maintenance costs since the operation program is universalAnd no redirection required between mobile and desktop.   Adaptive design (AWD) – Pages are created uniquely for each device. So there will be a desktop page, mobile page, and tablet page. Each space will correspond to the device’s screen resolution and pages will look different based on size and screen resolution. The website detects the screen size and selects the proper layout for the screen. There are six different screen widths commonly found:  32048076096012001600 The benefits include: Costs less because it is simpler to program and implement.Coding is less complicated and more time-efficient. Better compatibility with more intricate sites. Easier and more accurate in regards to testing. Adaptive is ideal for retrofitting an older site in order to improve its mobile or tablet friendliness. Responsive, on the other hand, is most commonly used on new sites since they are easier to maintain and give a more fluid navigational feel. Improving User-Friendliness In addition to the key components of web design that give the page personality, any good website takes its users into consideration. Designing a user-friendly web page can help you avoid needlessly turning away prospective customers. All too often companies choose to prioritize Google SERPs over their content. Don’t fall into the trap of emphasizing SEO or rankings over the user experience. Instead, optimize your website for the user and build a loyal customer base of recurring visitors to boost your rankings. Elements to consider include: Multimedia – Consider using video, audio, or music to improve the design, or sell your story. However, remember that many users don’t appreciate videos that autoplay with the volume on. Your goal is to bolster your message and not annoy your target audience, so be sparing with multimedia. Navigation – The architecture of the web pages and menus should be created with users in mind. It functions as a map of all the places the user can go. Design should be focused on making navigation intuitive and effortless; you do not want to overcomplicate movement or hide aspects. Confusing your new users will turn them away from your website. Mobile – Although desktop once reigned supreme, mobile and tablet are the way of the future. Your webpage should be compatible and perform at high levels with all the devices, OS, and browsers. Interactive – To create a thriving site and loyal user base, you want to build a community for users to react and interact. Consider adding comment boxes and the ability to share things on social media. Create an Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook account to help bolster your company’s online presence and clout.The Home Page – Don’t be scared of creating a longer homepage that draws the user in and forces them to scroll down. Making them interact with the site improves conversion and click-through rates. The home page could include:Value propositionSummary of the goods or servicesAn introductory videoProduct FeaturesTestimonialsSuccess StoriesResourcesAbout Us Getting Started If you need to create a fresh new website design, Domain.com has one of the best Website Builders that integrates all the elements you need to make your own website. This includes: Mobile responsive web options with a variety of fantastic themes and templatesPrebuilt sections and customizable designsDrag and drop webpage designNo coding, no installations, no pluginsCustomizable fonts, colors, and design elementsSEO tools Getting started is quick and easy. You don’t need to have the skills of a web design specialist, all you need is a solid website builder to get started. Reach out today and one of the Domain.com experts can help with web design or domain registration needs. If you’re looking to revamp your entire site, ask us about our full service web design services. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. Sources: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=587201 https://www.stonetemple.com/mobile-vs-desktop-usage-study/ https://ai.google/research/pubs/pub38315 https://www.theguardian.com/science/2006/aug/23/usnews.internationalnews www.domain.com The post What is Website Design? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

What is a Website Builder?

If your small business or brand is coming together, the next crucial and somewhat scary step ahead of you is to create a website. But what do you if you can’t afford to hire a developer and have no knowledge of coding? Fortunately for you, there is the website builder: a tool that allows anyone and everyone to build and create beautiful website design for a personal or e-commerce website. Want to learn more? In our thorough guide we’ll answer: What exactly is a website builder? Why do people use them? What characteristics are found in a good website builder?How do I get started? It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. What Is a Website Builder? A website builder is as it sounds; an apparatus that allows you to craft your very own site. This platform or software is typically engineered to have a user-friendly interface, with plenty of drag and drop functionality and preset styles and website templates to choose from. They allow you to build a website from scratch by using prebuilt structures. In this way, with a bit of invested time and some pointed tutorials, you can start creating your layout, style, and then integrating your brand’s elements and content. The code runs on the backend, but the frontend is a platform of digestible, easy-to-learn features which allow you to build your home on the internet landscape. This can be done in two ways: Online Website Builder An online website builder is a platform that you access through your web browser. Instead of downloading the builder’s software, it’s hosted on the cloud, which you can access anywhere there’s internet.   Offline Website Builder An offline website builder requires the user to download software and host the files locally on their computer. It’s a general rule of thumb that offline website builders take a bit more technical knowhow and experience, seeing as the files will have to be uploaded onto a web hosting platform once the buildout is finished. Why Do People Use Website Builders? To put it in perspective, many renowned web developers use website builders, like WordPress, to put together websites. These tools are not reserved simply for novice users within the web development space. Of course, if the website is going to need extensive coding with complex functionality and advanced security, then a standard website builder might not be the recommended option. But website builders are the perfect option for most small businesses and fresh enterprises. Here are some of the main reasons people use website builders: Creates a website in a snapLess room for errorThey don’t require technical knowhowAffordabilityLow Maintenance 24/7 Technical Support (offered by companies like Domain.com) A Snap of the Fingers In many circumstances, a small business needs scant more than a functional, good-looking website that is easy to navigate. Any web developer will tell you that a website builder can do this in the blink of an eye. They’re right. A website builder can create a good-looking, viable and functional site in a matter of hours. Less Room for Error Being that the website builder is pre-coded, there’s less room for error. The pieces you build, layer, and add together will work because they were designed to complement one another. You’re not creating new “pieces of a website” hoping they integrate perfectly, you’re integrating pieces that have been tested countless times before. Caters to Low Technical Skill Sets You don’t need to be a graphic design guru, web dev pro, or even understand HTML to use a website builder. One facet of website builders is their template catalogue. These templates come integrated with color theory, crisp designs, and functional processes. They do the work so that you don’t have to. Affordability It should be no surprise that it’s far cheaper to utilize a savvy website builder instead of hiring a web developer to do the work on your behalf. Truth be told, most of the web developers you hire will be using some sort of templatized platform—especially if your website does not require custom coding. Hint: most don’t. Little Maintenance Since website templates are pre-coded in website builders, there’s little need for upkeep and maintenance. Of course, the website should be continuously updated with fresh content for your audience to engage with, but this is another “plug-n-play” process of a good website builder. DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Support Many small business owners or brand creators want to go the DIY method when it comes to their website. They want to learn how the process works and maintain full creative control, and that’s understandable. For many online website builders, companies like Domain.com offer technical support along with the builder. This means if you run into any issues, you can call them for free. Now that you have a general understanding of why people utilize website builders, when you start your hunt, what features and characteristics should you be looking for? It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. What Makes for A Good Website Builder? What makes for a good website builder is often subjective due to the needs and experience of the user. What one web developer may qualify as “good” can differ from the opinion of another. Yet, there are some ubiquitous characteristics shared by website builders which most everyone agrees are measurements of their quality. You’ll find the most important features below:   User Friendliness The entire point of utilizing a website builder is for its ease of use. This is part of the “drag and drop” experience, as little else is required in reshaping your website other than dragging and dropping the pre-coded elements where you want them to be. These are also known as WYSIWYG web builders, which stands for “What You See Is What You Get.” Domain.com offers one of the best website builders that: Complements beginners and pros – The novice can learn how to navigate the platform quickly, and the pro can utilize its wide offering of features and functionalities.Allows the user to drag and drop nearly every element – This includes text, video, pictures, your logo, and more.Removes the necessity of plugins – You won’t need to download or install any 3rd party software. This further eases the process seeing as the entire platform is hosted by Domain.com. Templates & Customization A common fear with website builders is that the site is going to end up looking cheap. Another fear is that websites created using the same website builder might look too similar. Let’s put those worries to rest. Website builders allow you to customize a large wealth of templates so your website will look and feel unique to your business or brand. Features should include: A fully customizable design stack – This includes fonts, colors, layering, and graphic design.A fully customizable template catalogue – You don’t want to have static, stale templates — ones that seem to have been developed without the help of a professional graphic designer. This can indeed create a cheap looking website. Instead, you want a large selection of templates to choose from. Each one should be customizable (to an extent).Customizable images – You’re going to want to utilize a website builder that comes with an image editor. It should be obvious that the images on your website need to be purposefully selected, immersive, and engaging to the eye. Having a one-stop-shop image editor is the perfect way to simplify the process.Mobile responsive customization – It’s more likely that your audience will view your website via their smartphone than their computer, meaning it’s imperative to format a website for mobile. It is critical that the website builder you choose caters to mobile formats.   Analytics and SEO Tools One of the most important facets of a company’s growth is keeping track of their performance on the web. Today, with analytical tools, users can track every interaction a potential customer has with their website. Additionally, SEO (search engine optimization) tools assist with visibility on search engines, meaning a company has a higher likelihood of “popping up” on a given search. You may be reading this and thinking, “SEO? Analytics? This stuff is jargon to me.” Which brings us to our next point: a great website builder will integrate these elements as well as work to explain them to the user. In which case, a website builder should integrate: Analytic Tools – The most common you’ll see is Google Analytics, being that Google is the search engine every company wants to rank on.SEO Tools – A basic keyword generator and the integration of metadata with the possibility for further expansion. Extras Additionally, if you plan on shifting your business into an ecommerce platform or if it’s one from the start, then be sure that the website builder you choose includes tools to support your transactions. This includes but is not limited to: A shopping cart – You’ll want your website to support the shopping cart feature, as that’s the easiest way to purchase a given product.Inventory management – You’ll want your backend to have a one-stop-shop to track your inventory and stock.Payments – From Stripe, PayPal, to credit cards, you’re going to want your website to support online payments. While the ecommerce features mentioned above are standard, the integration of them is not. The key is to find a website builder that seamlessly integrates each feature, seeing as they will be the pillars of your ecommerce platform. How Do I Get Started? Before building your professional website, there are a few steps that must first be completed. For instance, for your website to exist on the internet you’re going to need a domain name, which will also be the name of your website. And before you purchase this domain, you’re going to need to choose a hosting platform and website builder. We’ll explain below. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. Starting with the Domain Name If you go to Domain.com, there’s a search bar in the center of the page. Just enter the name of your business or the domain you want and Domain.com will assess its availability and then provide pricing. Once you’ve found an available name, you’ll need to enter: Both the domain name and the extensionYour first and last nameYour email addressYour phone numberYour physical addressBilling informationAdministrative contact information Choose A Host Once you’ve obtained your domain, you’re going to have to choose a hosting plan based on your specific needs. Create, Create, Create Once you’ve settled on a domain name and chosen your host provider, now it’s time to utilize the website builder and start creating the website itself. Explore the large library of templates and then customize them. Try to evaluate exactly how you want to position your brand and what you’re trying to showcase, then find the perfect base template that complements your vision. Customize and Integrate Images Once you’ve laid a solid foundation for your website, it’s time to customize. Create a standout website by integrating stellar images that are brand-specific and original. Steer clear of anything “stock” or “filler-focused” and try to, if you can, place original content anywhere possible. This will further showcase your brand and add to the uniqueness of your platform. Add in Analytics Once your website is finished, adding an analytics tool is a fantastic way to measure its success on the internet. The data generated by these tools will allow you to understand how well you’ve positioned your brand, where to make changes, and where you’re succeeding. In today’s digital climate, it’s nearly impossible to compete with other brands without some sort of analytics tool. Build Your Own Website! A website builder is a tool that allows both novices and pros alike to create a professionally designed website. With pre-coded templates, user-friendliness, image editors, analytical tools, SEO tools, and more, it’s never been easier for someone with zero technical knowhow to build their own block of real estate on the internet. At Domain.com you can buy your domain, set up your web hosting service, and utilize their powerful website builder all in the same place. Better yet, they’re available to answer any questions you may have and guide your through the building process. Reach out today to get started on building your online presence! Sources: Domain.com Services www.domain.com WebSavvy Marketing. What is a Website Builder? June, 2017. What is a Website Builder? Website Builder Expert. Website Builders. Website Builders Debunked | What Are They And Who Uses Them? Website Builders The post What is a Website Builder? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Best Website Builders: What to Look For

In the early days of the internet, many businesses could get away with not having an online presence, especially since it required hiring a professional coder to create a website. However, a lot has changed. These days, thanks to the creation of website builders, even mom-and-pop-shops or at home bloggers can easily create their own beautiful website without having any prior experience. If you’re starting a new business and need an e-commerce site, or finally getting around to it with your current company, it’s crucial that you not only have a website but that it stands out amongst the oversaturated crowd. While visitors may not be able to explain in detail what makes a good website, they are more than capable of identifying a bad one when they see it. So, if you want to create the best website to showcase your business, keep reading to discover the best website builder features as well as tips for making a user friendly website. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. Questions to Ask Building your own website used to both break the bank and require specialized knowledge. Fortunately, we now live in a time with “drag and drop” website builders that allow you to make a fantastic website without knowing a lick of code. These are also called “WYSIWYG” editors, or “What You See Is What You Get” which makes the creation process very simple. By removing the technical barrier to entry, the cost in both time and money to create your own site has dramatically lowered. Since there are quite a few website builders on the market, there are a few questions you should be asking when shopping around. Today, for simplicity’s sake we’ will use Domain.com’s website builder as an example: How Long Has the Company Been in the Business? – It is important to find a company that has plenty of experience and business acumen. Using someone who is new to the game can end in disaster. Domain.com has been operating since 2000, and for nearly two decades, we have been at the forefront of domain registration and website hosting products and services. We specialize in: Website creationDomain namesVPS hostingWeb hostingProfessional web designSSL certificatesOnline marketing services How many users are there? – A happy and thriving user base is demonstrative of a useful good or service. Domain.com has tens of thousands of users who have used their services for domain registration, website creation, and web hosting. How much does it cost? – Obviously, cost is one of the largest factors in determining the best website builder for you. Domain.com has three affordable options, starting with a Basic Plan that is free with the purchase of a domain name.How’s the customer support? – You’re in for a headache if your website goes down or issues arise and you have no one to help fix the problem. Domain.com has a 24/7 customer support line ready to troubleshoot anything that happens. Best Website Builders: What to Look For There are a wide range of key features that must be offered in the website builder you choose. For instance, Domain.com is powered by WordPress and has three tiers of service that provide various website building features: Basic Features Basic comes with the purchase of any domain name. It includes the following: Drag and drop website builder – Create up to 6 web pages using the easy building feature. Drag and drop anything from text, pictures, videos, logos, and other page components. No coding or previous experience is necessary. Pre-built sections and pages – If you do not want to create everything from scratch, there are a plethora of pre-built sections and pages that you can select from. If you like them, you can keep them as is, or you can customize by simply adding or removing parts. You can also change fonts, colors, and a variety of other design elements. Mobile friendly website templates – Mobile is every bit as important as your desktop website; therefore, it is critical that you invest the time in ensuring that mobile works brilliantly. There are more than 100+ mobile-friendly website templates that you can choose from.SEO tools – Search engine optimization can make the difference in whether your online business fails or thrives. SEO tools allow you to add keywords and other such metadata in order to track and improve your SERPs, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Read here for current SEO trends. Stock image library – There is a massive library of stock images you can use to help tell your story. Images are an important aspect of messaging that many forget or underutilize. The wide selection of stock photos means that you are practically guaranteed to find the right pictures for your website. PayPal integration – Sell your goods or services directly through your website or Facebook page with PayPal integration. This service accepts credit cards and grants store access to mobile, tablet, and desktop users. Pro Pro allows for all the basic features as well as: Unlimited pages – No maximum number of pages or artificial limit. You have the ability to create as many pages as you want with the unlimited feature. Revision history – Your website may undergo various changes during its lifetime; some good, and some not so much. Revision history allows you to go back and see past versions of your website and revert to those versions if you so wish. Custom favicon – Favicons are “An icon associated with a URL that is variously displayed, as in a browser’s address bar or next to the site name in a bookmark list.” With Pro, you can create your own customizable favicon. If you want to know why favicons can help your business, read here.Google Analytics Integration – Google Analytics help you get to know your visitor and customer. It allows you to paint a clear picture of your website to gauge performance, marketing, products, and content. All of this information helps provide insight on ways to optimize your site and grow your business.   Business Business has all the benefits of pro and then adds various ecommerce features such as: E-Commerce Shopping Cart – The shopping cart allows you to sell your goods or services whether a user is on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device.   Inventory Management – With inventory management, you can track your inventory and stock. Payment Processing – You want to give your potential customers various means to pay for their purchases. With this feature, visitors can choose between PayPal and Stripe.Coupon Codes – Coupon codes provide a way to entice customers. Deals, even small ones, tend to drive sales. WordPress Live As time passes, you will inevitably run into issues that require some expertise and troubleshooting to fix. WordPress Live is a fantastic service that seeks to help you solve any of your website building or maintenance issues. If you do not have the money to have a website creator on retainer, WP Live is an excellent alternative as Domain.com offers three affordable plans: WP Live Lite, WP Live, and WP Live Pro. Benefits include: Guides – WP has hundreds of helpful guides on building your website. These tutorials help you save time as you create a beautiful site that not only looks great but functions perfectly.Expert Advice – As soon as you have a problem, you can turn to WP Live’s experts. Simply reach out via live chat, email, or phone to get immediate assistancehelp. They can help you: Utilize social media and integrate those features onto your site.Learn methods and means for growing your audience and building traffic to your site.Analyze data to look for weak spots or strengths in order to increase click-through and conversion rates.  Optimize videos and images on your site so that each page loads and responds in a reflexive manner. Screen Sharing – With this feature, you can get live step-by-step help on your website for any issues that cannot be solved over the phone. Whatever your issue, WordPress Live has a solution. Tips for Building Your Website As you go about the process of creating your own site, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind: Have a clear goal in mind – Websites serve different purposes according to their owner’s need. Whether you want to sell something, build an audience, or share your talent, your website needs to be developed with your specific goal in mind. Creating a generic website will waste an opportunity to generate a new customer or fan. Create Your Content – Even if you plan on hiring a writer to edit or polish the content on your site, you should have a thorough understanding of your messaging. The goal of your content should be to state your purpose briefly and then tell your audience why they need that specific product or service.   Use a call to action – Every page on your website should encourage the visitor to do something. Whether that be calling, signing up, downloading, or purchasing, you want to entice your audience to take what they’ve read and then act on it. Do not ignore mobile – According to Statista, 34.5% of all e-commerce purchases are performed on a mobile device. If trends continue, this number is expected to surpass 50% by 2021. As a result, it is vital that you create a site that is responsive and works flawlessly on mobile devices. A bad mobile experience with a website is one of the quickest ways to turn away potential customers.Keep it simple – Quite often, less is more, especially when it comes to web design. You do not want to clutter a page, overwhelm a new visitor, and detract from your message. Keep your pages simple and clean by sticking to minimal colors. Use photos and media sparingly as a means of highlighting or emphasizing your messaging. Utilize white space in order to create a natural flow and to break up sections. More and more we see simplistic design at the forefront of quality web design. Make navigation easy – Moving through your site should not be some sort of treasure hunt. You want the navigation menu to be easy to spot and use. It is critical that each page redirects back to the home page. Tell your story – It is important that you captivate your audience by telling them your story. A business is often a proposed solution to a problem the owner encountered at some point in their life. By highlighting the reasons behind building your company, you can connect to your site’s visitors in a much more personal way. People love to hear stories, so tell them yours. Invest in a logo – Although it may cost more than the website itself, hiring a professional to design your company’s logo is a fantastic form of branding. Logos are a simple way to spread your message with just an image. If you choose to hire a designer for this task, ask them to create it as a .PNG file so it has a transparent background. Doing so will help it blend in seamlessly with your website’s header. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. Don’t Wait The thought of creating your own website should not be a cause for anxiety. With Domain.com’s website builder, the process is stress-free. Simply sign up and you can get started immediately. If you have any questions about domains or building out your website, our experts at Domain.com are ready and willing to help. Just reach out and we can provide answers and help get you started! Sources Bider, A. Forbes. Important SEO trends to watch for in 2019. (2019). https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/01/17/important-seo-trends-to-watch-in-2019/#7e65f1b93737 Vellest, R. Web Designer Depot. What’s the Point of Favicons? (2012). https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2012/11/whats-the-point-of-favicons/ Statista. U.S. mobile retail commerce sales as percentage of retail e-commerce sales from 2017 to 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/249863/us-mobile-retail-commerce-sales-as-percentage-of-e-commerce-sales/ The post Best Website Builders: What to Look For appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

The Basic Expenses When Starting Your Own Business

Have you decided to start a business? Congratulations! That’s great news and an even better reason to celebrate. However, along with the excitement of a new venture comes serious anxiety. What can overshadow a new business owner’s elation? Concerns about money. Many of us worry about money and finances on a regular, if not daily, basis. But those concerns take on a new depth where starting a business is concerned. Fortunately, you can lessen those fears by learning about the expenses you’ll face as a budding entrepreneur and planning for them. Stay tuned as we discuss the basic expenses when starting a business and provide you with resources for planning. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. The Expense List At this point, you’re probably thinking, “My expenses can’t be the same as everyone else’s, my business is unique!” And you’re right — sort of. When you start a business, chances are it’ll fall into one of the following categories: Online Business, Brick-and-Mortar, or Service Provider. Each type has its own unique costs, challenges, and rewards. Here, we’ll list the expenses that will likely be common to all three business types. Legal Fees – Legal expenses can include things like incorporation fees, licenses, and permits. These fees are usually standard and can be anticipated.Technology – It’s not easy to run a business for a luddite. You’re going to need technology and it’s a good idea to prepare for those costs. Set aside funds for things like: a good computer, a website, and software to help you manage your customers and sales. Office or retail space – Obviously, a brick-and-mortar can’t exist without a physical location; but don’t skip over this as a service provider or online business. Unless you plan on working from home every day, you need to account for the cost of a work space for you and any potential employees. Employees – If you hire employees you’ll need to pay them and have money for payroll taxes, too. If you plan on offering your employees health insurance then that will be an added expense. Marketing and Consultations – Your business doesn’t exist in a bubble. To be successful, you’ll need customers or clients to bring in revenue. Plan on having funds to execute a marketing strategy. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top (so no jumping in with a nationally syndicated commercial on prime time TV.) If marketing isn’t your forte you should consider hiring a consultant who has experience with marketing small businesses. Budgeting and other tips As we stated earlier, every business will face its own unique expenses in addition to those listed above. The Small Business Administration created a helpful budgeting worksheet that breaks down additional expenses into two columns: one-time expenses and monthly, or recurring, expenses. Keep this document handy. Plan on starting your business with six months’ worth of expenses at hand. This is a great tip from the folks at Fundera. A lot can happen in six months, especially as you embark on this exciting business journey! Don’t count on customers flooding through your doors (either physical or digital) in the early days as a way to cover business expenses. We have all the faith in the world that you can be successful and will end up with more customers than you know what to do with, but don’t push your luck as you get started. According to a study done by Jessie Hagen at U.S. Bank, 82% of small business fail because they’ve mismanaged their cash flow. If you’re going to be a statistic, aim for a better one. Planning and preparation will help ease you through those first six months and beyond. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. Where to find funds If you don’t have six months worth of expenses at hand, don’t panic. We’ll let you in on a little secret — you’re in good company. The vast majority of people starting small businesses don’t have that kind of money in liquid assets or in savings. Depending on where you live, you’ll have a variety of lending options. You can get a loan from large national banks, smaller banks and credit unions, or even third party lenders. Make sure to read the terms of the loan and ask questions if you don’t understand what you’re signing. How much money can you expect to take out as a loan? Various things can affect the amount of your loan, like your personal and business credit history. However, we can look at reported average loan amounts, differentiated based on lender type, to get a ballpark number. The average small business loans in 2017 are as follows: Large National Banks – $564KSmaller Banks – $184KSmall Business Administration – $107KAlternative Lenders – $80K Do your research before taking out a loan to get the best financing and so that you don’t end up with a loan that’s insufficient to cover your expenses. It’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur Starting a small business is no easy feat, but it’s certainly rewarding, and there’s no better time to start than now. According to a U.S. Bank Survey, economic uncertainty is no longer small businesses #1 concern. So what are you waiting for? Crack open those spreadsheets (or paper and pencil if that’s what you prefer) and figure out what your exact expenses will be. Once you’ve determined that number you can start saving or seek out a loan. Do you have any other tips or insights for budding entrepreneurs and small business owners? Share them in the comments, we’d love to hear them. The post The Basic Expenses When Starting Your Own Business appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How to Tell If Your Business Idea is a Good One

Stop and take in your surroundings. Are you seated at your desk with a cup of coffee, pens, and papers splayed about you? Are you outside, reading this post from your mobile phone while a plane flies overhead? What do all of these things — the cup of coffee, pens, and planes have in common? Each of them started as an idea. Could you imagine what our world would look like if the Wright brothers hadn’t dreamt of sailing the skies and then carried their idea through to fruition? Without planes, maybe we wouldn’t have a global economy, or perhaps you’d never have met your significant other. Everything product or business begins with an idea, but that doesn’t mean every idea is good. Is the business idea you’ve been tossing around worth pursuing? Is your product idea worth pitching on Shark Tank? If you don’t know, don’t worry. We’re going to take a look at different ways to vet your idea so you’ll understand if it’s time to take it to the next level or if you should steer clear of pursuit. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. Determining the value of your idea What’s your value proposition? If you’re familiar with the business world then value proposition is a term you’ve heard before. You might think value propositions are the strict purview of business plans, but it doesn’t hurt to think of your value proposition early and often. A value proposition is a statement that clearly and concisely details the unique benefits your idea offers. It needs to convince others that your idea is better than others like it. Image courtesy of https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/value-proposition So how do you determine if your idea has an edge over the others? A good place to start is by researching your competition. You have the power of the internet at your fingertips — take a gander at Google, audit Amazon, and don’t forget Facebook. What makes your idea better than your competitors’ — can you put your finger on it? If you’re having a tough time identifying how your idea outshines the others then ask someone you trust to talk it over.  If you find that your idea doesn’t have an advantage over the others, then it’s probably time to set it aside and move on to the next. Talk it out “The ability to express an idea is well-nigh as important as the idea itself.” -Bernard Baruch Nothing flourishes in a vacuum. If you want your idea to succeed then you need to get input on it from other people. Consider asking friends, relatives, coworkers, business advisors, and most importantly, your desired audience. Think about your idea and ask yourself the following questions. Who will benefit from it? What does your ideal customer or client look like? Once you have a better understanding of what they look like, go find those people and get their feedback. If they have concerns, address them. If they have praise, thank them. Take their insights and feedback to heart and make the necessary adjustments to your idea. You’ll have a good sense of your idea’s tenability after talking to others. You’ll come to know if your idea solves a universal, or common, problem, or if it’s unrelatable to most people. If it’s the former, you’re in good shape. Use your findings to improve upon your idea until you find something that resonates, or if it becomes apparent that your idea isn’t well received, consider scrapping it. Know yourself and when to ask for help “One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Ideas are as varied as the people who think them. No one else on this planet has your memories, your experience, or shares your thoughts. This is truly your unique advantage. So what is it that informs you and the way you think? Is your idea born from your years of specialized study and training, or is your background somewhere else? If your experience is in computer science but you’ve been inspired to revolutionize animal husbandry, chances are you’re going to be a little out of your element. Your idea can be good, really good, but you need someone who knows the animal husbandry business to help you fill in the missing pieces that allow your idea to take root and grow. Don’t get defeated if you find yourself at a bit of a loss sometimes, there are people out there with the insight you need and the willingness to help. Consider taking a local class or finding online instruction. So what if you’re not an expert in something right now?— that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. However, if you’re not willing to put in the time and elbow grease required to learn and grow, you can give that idea a hard pass. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. All it takes is one idea One idea can revolutionize the world. Pasteurization, computers, social media — at some point these were mere ideas. Someone, somewhere, took the time to think them through, vet their potential, and bring them to life. Deciding whether or not your idea is worthy of pursuit is possible. Look to identify and explain the value in your idea, open it up for feedback and critiques, and examine yourself — does your expertise and skill set help you or will you have to seek outside counsel or classes? What other criteria or steps have you used to vet your business and product ideas? We’d love to hear about them, so make sure to reply below. The post How to Tell If Your Business Idea is a Good One appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

What is VPS Hosting?

Want to take your business online? First, you’ll need to find somewhere to house your website. To do this, you’ll need to find a web hosting plan and there are several options available with each designed to serve a different level of demand. If you are looking for the best VPS hosting plan, keep reading to learn more from our complete VPS hosting guide. This article will provide a VPS hosting comparison so you can find the best hosting solution for you and your needs. VPS hosting is essentially a combination of shared hosting and dedicated hosting. The acronym “VPS” stands for “Virtual Private Server,” which is intended to convey that nearly all of the advanced features that are enjoyed via a dedicated server can be had at a much lower price point, comparable to that of a shared server. Users who opt for a VPS package are graced with the computing power necessary to run a complex side or grow an online business. General research shows that the enlistment of a dedicated private server will likely cost upwards of $100 per month. For many small to medium-sized businesses, this is simply too expensive, so they must find a more cost-effective alternative that retains all the features necessary to run their website. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. How Does VPS Web Hosting Work? With VPS web hosting, the service provider essentially takes a single piece of hardware, the server, and virtually partitions it off into a number of individual hosting spaces, each with its own dedicated operating environment. Think of it like an apartment building, where every unit in the shared building is fully self-contained with all the same necessities as a freestanding house. Each space is completely customizable, subject to the needs and tastes of each occupant, and each unit has its own dedicated utilities which share a common source.   Why Should I Choose VPS Hosting? VPS hosting packages offer a number of advantages over other common hosting options. In comparison, VPS hosting is more reliable, flexible, and scalable than shared hosting. While VPS hosting does cost more, the jump in price is negligible for all but the smallest enterprises. In comparison to dedicated hosting, VPS offers nearly all of the same benefits in regard to customizability, scalability, and security that typically drive businesses to opt for a dedicated server. Reliability In the context of hosting, reliability boils down to the degree of confidence with which you can expect your website to run smoothly without downtime. In the case of a shared hosting plan, in which bandwidth usage is shared openly amongst every website housed on the server, there is risk of your website experiencing downtime due to what is known as the “bad neighbor effect”. This occurs when one of the “neighbors” on the server experiences unusually high traffic to their site, which places a high demand for resources on the server. When this kind of hoarding occurs, those resources become unavailable to other websites, causing them to slow or become unreachable altogether. Obviously, if your website is unreachable, that is bad for business. VPS hosting insulates websites from their neighbors by virtually partitioning them from one another and allocating resources for their sole use. In comparison, this makes VPS hosted websites very reliable, since no competition for bandwidth usage results in minimized downtime. Flexibility Flexibility and customizability are interchangeable terms here. In a shared hosting environment, any changes to the operating system or coding may have a direct effect on the other websites hosted on the web server and are thus not allowed. VPS hosting services allow you to customize your environment to the specific needs of your project without the risk of affecting your neighbors or stealing server resources. Scalability Another benefit of having both a dedicated virtual space and an assigned set of resources is that it makes scaling a simple matter. As your business grows, so will things like web traffic and the number of people you employ. VPS hosting allows the freedom to add bandwidth, storage, email accounts and more to ensure that your hosting can scale with you. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. VPS Hosting Features Once you have selected and registered your domain name, you will need to select the hosting solution that best suits your needs. Typically, a range of hosting plans are offered which include varying amounts of resources. As the amount of resources available in each package increases, so does the price. The services offered in these packages will include: Business email plansStorageRAMCPU powerData TransfersDomain Hosting What Makes A Good VPS Package? A good package will include enough RAM and bandwidth to keep your site running glitch free, as well as enough disk space to consolidate all of your files into a single digital storage space. A great hosting package will also have a sufficient number of monthly data transfers included in their base fee rather than nickel-and-diming you for additional transfers after you exceed the initial allotment. VPS hosting packages offered by Domain.com check all the boxes. Additionally, some packages at Domain.com boast unlimited offerings for resources like email and premium domains, which make them extremely attractive to businesses that expect to experience a lot of growth. Domain.com’s top packages include unlimited email accounts, domains, and MySQL databases with no setup costs or other hidden fees. Unlimited Email Having the freedom to create as many email accounts as you need is critical for businesses that plan to grow. Domain.com lets you create an unlimited number of email accounts with no additional cost, allowing you to scale your email accounts along with the rest of your business. Additionally, desirable email packages include plenty of storage for each individual account. Domain.com offers a rather generous capacity on each mailbox at 500MB, or 10,000 email messages (whichever comes first). Unlimited Disk Space A great VPS host will provide unlimited disk space to help you curate all the content you wish to have on your site. Contrary to what the name suggests, it is technically possible to exceed the allotment of disk space provided under an “unlimited” plan. However, upstanding web hosts will work closely with clients to consolidate or reduce the number of files they use in order to operate more efficiently. Typically, this only happens with customers storing tens of thousands of files at a time, so it is a relatively small concern. Large Bandwidth Bandwidth is the amount of traffic that streams between your business’ website and other websites on the internet, and a good VPS package will support all the bandwidth your website demands. By doing so, your host ensures that your website maintains optimum performance at all times. VPS hosting provided by Domain.com includes all the bandwidth you might need to operate with plans offering between 1000-2000GB. They are built specifically to handle the data transfer demands of all but the largest of big business. That is to say, large corporations like Amazon will not be hosting their data on a VPS server—they simply don’t provide the bandwidth to support that level of traffic—but smaller businesses will be well served. Management Services Setting up and managing websites on a private server requires a good deal of technical knowledge. One of the more convenient features of VPS hosting is that it does not require any technical knowledge on the part of the customer. In-house technicians will manage things like: the setup process oversight and maintenance of the host server installation of your operating system malware removal software other services such as security scans This allows business owners to focus on running their companies, without concerning themselves with IT. Security A lot of sensitive and valuable information is transmitted in the process of running a business online. Some of this includes information regarding your business finances or your customers’ personal information. Whatever it may be, this data needs to be encrypted and kept safe so that it isn’t stolen and used by anyone with bad intentions. One of the benefits of VPS hosting is that the physical server is kept in a location safeguarded against physical attack or theft. Additionally, the host company provides protection from malware and any other source or online attempt to steal your sensitive information. Security Tools There are a couple of security tools used to protect your information, like the Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, and another called SiteLock security. Any business that sells products or services online needs to have an SSL Certificate included in their VPS package to keep financial information confidential during transmission. Hosting plans purchased through Domain.com include a free SSL certificate upon signup, saving you money, as well as access to SiteLock. Customer Service Any great VPS host will provide top notch customer service. You want your web hosting provider to be responsive and available at any time of day. The experts at Domain.com pride themselves on providing the best customer service available in the industry. They offer live chat customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to address concerns, answer questions, and help you find solutions that serve your growing needs. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. Still Unsure? If you find that you are still unsure if VPS hosting is the right type of plan for you, then below you’ll find a comparison between shared and dedicated, the two other primary hosting forms. VPS vs. Shared Hosting Compared to shared hosting, VPS hosting offers a greater amount of resources available to website owners. In a shared hosting environment, your site is subject to the fluctuations and demands from hundreds or even thousands of other websites housed on the same server as your website. Lack of sufficient storage space means you might need to store some of your files elsewhere, while lack of sufficient bandwidth could make your site slow to load or unreachable altogether. Lack of security is another concern regarding shared hosting, as faulty coding or changes made to neighboring websites could negatively impact the performance of your site. VPS vs. Dedicated Hosting By offering unlimited disk space and bandwidth with their VPS hosting packages, Domain.com covers the primary demands that might prompt a complex or growing business to choose dedicated hosting in the first place. While you lack some of the custom perks that you would with a dedicated host, like choosing your operating system (ex: Windows), VPS hosting plans through Domain.com include installation of Linux with the ability to run PHP, Perl, and Python at a dramatically reduced cost. How Much Does VPS Hosting Cost? VPS hosting provides some of the best value out of all the available hosting options out there. Since it’s a bit of a hybrid hosting service it has features of both shared and dedicated hosting, so it follows that the price falls somewhere in between the two other hosting options. A few factors influence the price of a given VPS hosting plan: the amount of RAM, disk space, and bandwidth that you need. Additional features like management services and the inclusion of tools like a control panel may also affect the price. Domain.com’s VPS Hosting Plans Check out Domain.com’s VPS hosting options, offered at discounted introductory rates here:S Standard512 MB dedicated RAM20 GB disk space1000 GB bandwidthLinux: Cent OSPHP, Perl, PythonStarting at $29.70/mo. Pro1024 MB dedicated RAM40 GB disk space1500 GB bandwidthLinux: Cent OSPHP, Perl, PythonStarting at $41.60/mo. Premium2048 MB dedicated RAM60 GB disk space2000 GB bandwidthLinux: Cent OSPHP, Perl, PythonStarting at $67.95/mo. Conclusion VPS hosting is a fantastic option for nearly any small to medium-sized business looking to take their services online. It offers the power, flexibility, and stability of dedicated hosting at a price point that makes it extremely enticing. For those who are new to the online world and those who see large potential for future growth, the support and scalability offered by a VPS hosting package simply can’t be overlooked. Don’t know which type of hosting plan to choose? Contact Domain.com today to learn more about our VPS hosting services. As one of the leading VPS providers in the industry, we’ll be able to provide you with all the information you need to make the right decision for you and your website. The post What is VPS Hosting? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

What is WordPress Hosting?

Building your new website on the WordPress platform is one of the easiest and most expeditious ways to launch your new blog or online business. Depending on what type of web-based project you wish to launch, you will have any number of different hosting needs. Here you’ll learn about WordPress web hosting, the various options available, and how building a website with WordPress may be the best for your site needs. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. What is WordPress? WordPress is an open source content management system that allows even the greenest builders to design and create their own website. It can be used to build anything from a simple blog page, to e-commerce to business or portfolio websites. “Open-source” essentially means that it is constructed of elements built by and shared amongst those who use it. There’s a vast community of savvy web-designers out there who design and build useful tools to help others build websites on the WordPress platform that they would otherwise be incapable of creating. Many of these tools, known as plug-ins, are made to help you with every aspect of your site, from aesthetics to layout to content creation. What is WordPress Hosting? WordPress hosting is any form of web hosting that is specifically optimized to function with websites built via WordPress. Websites built on the WordPress platform have some unique characteristics that can cause functionality issues if not properly optimized — meaning certain elements may not load properly, increased load time, or the website could become unreachable altogether. When this happens, it is common for readers or customers to exit your site, costing you valuable traffic and potential sales. Shared Web Hosting For WordPress For those on a narrow budget, shared hosting is available to house your WordPress site. In this case, WordPress users share a server that isn’t necessarily optimized for the specific demands of the WordPress platform. As with any other shared hosting environment, resources such as disk space and bandwidth are shared amongst all accounts housed on the server. This can create competition for resources which may result in reduced performance and load time of your site. Technical Support For Shared WordPress Web Hosting Although shared hosting does come with some general customer technical support and a price tag that even the smallest business can afford, this form of WordPress hosting often fails to meet the needs of larger or more complex operations. Often, sites built on WordPress that are hosted in a shared environment share server space with sites that are built on other platforms. Because of this, the technicians who provide support for the server are expected to be able to service sites built on any platform, not just WordPress. This jack-of-all-trades expertise can cause the quality of technical assistance to drop noticeably. Additionally, there are  typically a very large number of websites hosted on each shared server. It makes sense from a fiscal perspective — when the price of the service is low, hosts need to pack a lot of clients into each virtual server space in order to turn a profit. However, the need to serve so many clients may cause a support team to be spread thin, which can have a negative impact on the quality of their work. Those who have a need for additional speed, enhanced security features and additional technical support will have to look elsewhere to fulfill all of their hosting needs. Security and Performance For Shared WordPress Hosting The shared nature of resources and lack of private space in a shared hosting environment creates challenges to both security and performance. Security is difficult to provide effectively for websites hosted on the same server due in part to the sheer volume of sites being hosted. With so many opportunities for malware or poor coding to take root, a greater number of scans must be performed in order to defend against them and root them out when they’ve taken hold. Also, much like when a pathogen is released in a space occupied by a large number of people, it is much more likely that an infection will affect other members in a shared environment. The same holds true in regard to performance issues. When one or more websites on a shared server begin to hoard resources due to traffic spikes, the negative impact on neighbors can be dramatic due to the sheer number WordPress users on a single web server. When a lot of websites are affected, it is the responsibility of support technicians to fix them all. With so many to fix, performance can be delayed for extended periods of time. In light of this, those who prioritize performance, enhanced security features and strong technical customer support over lower pricing may also want to look elsewhere to fulfill all of their web hosting needs. Managed WordPress Hosting Managed WordPress hosting, in comparison to shared WordPress hosting, tends to offer quite a bit more in the way of technical support and security. They also offer superior operating speed and performance with larger amounts of resources (and no competition) available for use by each individual client. Tech Support For Managed WordPress Hosting In comparison to the general support included with shared hosting, the support you receive with a managed host is much more in depth and more readily available. Technical support for managed WordPress hosting is well-versed in the specifics of the WordPress platform and thus is able to assist on a wider range of topics than you’d get with a shared package. Also, since a managed host server will have far fewer clients hosted on it than a shared server, those assigned to assist you have more time to offer and are more easily reached than those who oversee shared servers. Speed And Performance: Managed WordPress Hosting Managed hosts provide significant upgrades in both speed and performance over their shared host counterparts. As mentioned, direct competition for memory and bandwidth can cause sites on shared plans to become glitchy, and sometimes become unavailable altogether. With a managed host, not only are resources allocated for the sole use of each individual client, but technicians are on hand to monitor performance and rectify any errors that may occur. Also, since this support team is comprised of trained professionals, they are often able to correct any operational errors far more efficiently than the average Joe, maximizing uptime and the overall performance of the WordPress website. Security: Managed WordPress Hosting Under the oversight of a managed host, site and server security are much stricter than most users would be able to provide on their own. Protective tools are optimized for the specific needs of WordPress by virtue of features that take into consideration the unique needs of the WordPress hosting platform. Since all servers in a managed environment are running WordPress, all security measures can be standardized to apply across the board. This helps the hosting provider streamline their routine maintenance processes and leaves their technicians with more freedom to focus on other security measures like installing patches or upgrades as soon as they are made available. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. Domain.com WordPress Hosting Package Features A desirable hosting package for your WordPress site is going to combine elements designed to provide both convenience and essential performance at an affordable price. Elements designed to make operation convenient will include things like ample storage, plenty of bandwidth, an easy to use control panel, and various other bells and whistles that make your life easier. Features designed for optimum performance will include things like expert customer support, automatic malware removal and integrated security systems. Domain.com offers WordPress hosting packages that incorporate all of these elements at a great price. Unlimited Storage Acquiring enough storage space to house all of your files is a primary concern when considering a new hosting plan. For those of you looking to host a simple blog or small site, there is little risk of running out of disk space. However, for those looking to host an e-commerce site, or combine your blog with your e-commerce and web-based storefront, having a plan with unlimited storage is a huge draw. Not only does this allow you the room to get started, it allows you to scale as your business grows. Domain.com offers unlimited storage as part of both their Starter and their Essential WordPress hosting packages. Unlimited Bandwidth Another primary concern is gaining access to enough bandwidth to ensure that your site is able to run smoothly at all times. When websites have a slow load time or become glitchy, readers and customers tend to bounce from the site. This results in lost traffic, conversions, and sales. In some cases, lack of sufficient bandwidth can cause your site to become entirely unreachable. Obviously, if readers or customers can’t reach your site, they can’t consume the information you wish to provide or purchase the products you offer. Domain.com offers unlimited bandwidth across all WordPress packages to ensure that your site experiences minimal downtime and runs as smoothly as possible. Customized Control Panel A customizable control panel allows you to set up your space with convenient access to the tools that you use the most. It’s a fantastic way to streamline your everyday operations by ensuring that you waste no valuable time sifting through features that you don’t need. Bloggers have little use for e-commerce tools, and vice versa. Each is well-served by Domain.com’s customizable control panel. Pre-Installed Themes and Plugins One of the coolest features of WordPress is that it is open-sourced, giving you access to nearly endless themes and plugins designed to serve nearly any need. However, finding, researching, and choosing the best ones for your specific needs can be time-consuming, especially for the newbie. Domain.com’s hosting plans feature a pre-installed set of themes, curated to fit nearly any taste, and useful plugins like W3 Total Cache and Jetpack—some of the most functional and popular tools available. Free .blog Domain As one of the “bells and whistles” referred to above, Domain.com offers free .blog domains as part of both the Starter and Essential packages. A blog is another outlet that allows you to build brand awareness and recognition through periodic dissemination of information and offers. Domain.com lets you utilize this resource free of charge. Domain.com WordPress Expert Support Live support from WordPress experts is included with every WordPress Essential hosting subscription. Frankly, there is quite a bit to know about building a website with WordPress and having access to a real-life expert can simplify the process. There are plenty of online resources including our Domain.com blog and other forums to help you learn as you go, but sometimes it can be difficult or time-consuming to get the exact answer you’re looking for. Having a live expert on hand 24/7 is a massive boon to your learning process. Sitelock Professional Security and Automatic Malware Removal Domain.com offers complimentary access to Sitelock professional security and malware protection with every Essential subscription. Sitelock conducts daily security scans on your website to track down any malware or harmful code that shouldn’t be there. In the event that malware is detected, you will receive an alert via email and your control panel and the Malware Removal Tool will automatically remove it for you. How Much Does WordPress Web Hosting Cost? Web hosting for WordPress sites is remarkably affordable with the most basic packages starting under $5 per month. Packages that include more advanced features such as increased security, access to better tech support, or any number of other additions are still affordable at under $10 per month. Domain.com WordPress Hosting Packages Domain.com offers two fantastic web hosting packages for WordPress at some of the most affordable rates in the industry. Here are the details: WP Starter Unlimited storageUnlimited bandwidthCustomized control panelPre-installed themes and pluginsFree .blog includedPrice: $3.75/mo. WP Essential Unlimited storageUnlimited bandwidthCustomized control panelPre-installed themes and pluginsFree .blog includedWordPress expert supportAutomatic malware removelSitelock professional securityPrice: $6.95/mo. What is the Right WordPress Hosting Option for You? While there are a number of different options available to host your new WordPress website, it should be comforting to know that none of them is likely to break the bank. If you are simply looking to host your personal blog or an ecommerce site, then a cheap shared hosting plan might be just the ticket for you — serving all your basic needs and saving you a few bucks in the process. Those of you with more substantial needs should consider more elite options like Domain.com’s WordPress Essential package, which boasts performance, security, support, and a few bells and whistles all for a fantastically low price. Don’t know which hosting solution is right for you? Domain.com is one of the best WordPress hosting providers on the market and can help you build the website of your dreams. To learn more about our website builder or hosting services, please chat with or call one of our expert representatives today. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. The post What is WordPress Hosting? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Shared Hosting vs. Dedicated Hosting

When it comes to web hosting services, there are so many options to choose from that you may feel at a loss for where to start. To simplify things, this guide will focus on the two web hosting setups on opposite ends of the spectrum: shared hosting and dedicated hosting. By the end of this article, you should have a better understanding of what each of these web hosting options provides, and be able to make the best decision regarding where, and how, to host your website. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. Shared hosting vs dedicated hosting Both shared hosting and dedicated hosting hold the data for your website on a single server. When web users access your website from their browser, this server sends your data to them. The difference between the two hosting types is the type of server on which your website is stored. With shared hosting, your website lives alongside others, which are neighboring users utilizing the same server. With dedicated hosting plans, your website has a server all to itself. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both. Learn the difference between  shared hosting and dedicated hosting to choose the best option for your business. What is shared hosting? Shared hosting works by hosting multiple websites on one server. Some have compared shared hosting to a public bus system, because it is inexpensive to use, and involves sharing resources with other users. Hundreds or even thousands of websites can be hosted on a single server, which creates advantages and disadvantages. Pros of shared hosting The advantages of shared hosting are: Low costsLow technical skills required A huge factor influencing the use of shared hosting is its low cost. A single server’s maintenance costs can be distributed amongst its many users, driving down individual costs to customers. You also have the option to pay more to upgrade to hosting services that allow more traffic, and greater resources. Many people first launch their websites with shared hosting because it requires little technical skill, or in-depth knowledge of servers. Shared hosting plans come with a control panel to facilitate website management, and pre-installed programs to accommodate most general websites. Server maintenance, like installing updates and patches, is carried out by the host providers, so all you have to worry about is developing your business. Cons of shared hosting The disadvantages of shared hosting are: Shared server resourcesHigher security risks Shared hosting is great for new websites that require basic resources and expect low to moderate traffic. However, shared hosting does have its limitations. The most obvious limitation is the collective sharing of processing power, memory, disk space, and all other resources housed on a server. A consequence of sharing server resources is the possibility of the “bad neighbor effect.” This is where one website on a shared server hogs resources, causing other websites on the server to slow down. However, chances of this actually causing a noticeable issue is low, since professional hosting companies provide more than enough resources to accommodate their users. They’re also efficient in moderating highly trafficked websites, and suggest growing websites move to higher hosting services that provide additional bandwidth. Another risk associated with shared hosting is that your server’s IP address could be blacklisted if someone on the same server is sending out spam. To avoid having your emails dropped in the spam mailboxes of your recipients, make sure you choose a web hosting provider with policies against this abuse. Who uses shared hosting? Shared hosting is ideal for website owners looking for a beginner friendly, and cost-effective option. Personal projects, small businesses, and even medium sized businesses can benefit from the advantages of shared hosting. The disadvantages are inconsequential as long as website traffic isn’t too heavy, and the server is protected by reliable security protocols. When websites do outgrow the resources allotted in shared hosting situations, there are other hosting plans ready to take over. Migrating a website from one hosting environment to another is an easy process, and does not detract from your site’s efficiency. What is dedicated hosting? Dedicated hosting means your website is hosted on a single server that is dedicated specifically to your website. This cuts out the competition of resources associated with shared hosting, and results in more robust website performance. If shared hosting is like a public bus, then dedicated hosting is like renting your own car. You have more control where you take your car, how fast it goes, and what radio station plays. However, it also comes at a much higher cost, and requires more knowledge in order to maintain it. Dedicated hosting has very similar advantages and disadvantages. Pros of dedicated hosting plans The advantages of dedicated hosting are: Total utilization of server resourcesAbility to customize With a dedicated hosting solution, there is no server sharing involved which means no bad neighbor effects. All your server’s processing power, memory, and disk space can be committed to your website. In addition, no other user could expose your website to cyber threats or cause your server’s IP address to be blacklisted. Dedicated hosting allows extensive customization, giving you the ability to optimize your server settings. It also gives you root access so that you can modify software code. Server configuration is generally valued when a website requires a special application. Cons of dedicated hosting The disadvantages of dedicated hosting are: Very high costsRequirement of technical knowledgeMore labored maintenance It comes as no surprise that greater resources and control come at a greater cost. Renting dedicated servers can run between $60 and $350+ per month, depending on how involved the hosting provider is with maintenance and security. Usually a website that garners the traffic requiring dedicated server resources is profitable enough to afford dedicated hosting.   Another limitation of a dedicated hosting solution is that it requires a high level of technical knowledge, especially if you want to take advantage of the customizability. If technology isn’t your specialty, you could hire a server admin, or purchase a plan that includes management support, however, these add to your costs. Since much of the server maintenance is left up to you, a new burden is introduced. You’re responsible for updating and installing patches to your dedicated server, which may detract from your other responsibilities. Who uses dedicated hosting? Dedicated hosting is best for businesses with very high bandwidth requirements and highly specialized needs. For example, large companies with lots of valuable data would want to invest in the higher level of security that dedicated hosting provides. It also provide the most benefit to users who are tech-savvy enough to capitalize on the customizability. At a glance comparisons Here is an outline of how shared hosting and dedicated hosting stack up against each other in different areas. Flexibility and customizability Shared hosting does not allow customization because any changes to the back-end would apply to all websites on the shared server. Some hosting plans allow for flexibility in the features allotted to shared hosting users (like more FTP users or more cloud storage), but this is the extent of personalization. Dedicated hosting allows for complete customization. Since you don’t have to share the server with any other websites, you can choose the operating system, configure the environment to run specific applications, and optimize the amount of bandwidth and memory you need. Reliability The potential for slowdowns or downtime increases on shared hosting plans. This could be due to bad neighbors — websites on your shared server that experience high volumes of traffic and use up more of a server’s processing power — or due to faulty coding. Dedicated hosting is extremely reliable making it the preferred hosting package for businesses that experience large volumes of traffic. Security In terms of cyber security, shared hosting plans tend to be more susceptible to cyber-attacks than dedicated hosting. This is because the server is shared by multiple users, which opens more opportunities for security breaches. If the physical security of the server is a concern, make sure to host your website with a reputable professional hosting company you can trust to protect the server from break-ins or damage. Scalability In many cases, shared hosting is not scalable. However, some web hosts like Domain.com offer shared hosting with scalable bandwidth, meaning the amount of traffic and data that flows between your website and users is not limited. In the fortunate event that your website is successful and garners heavier traffic, Domain.com will work with you to move your site to a host server with more resources, ensuring optimum performance for all customers using shared hosting. Dedicated hosting is very scalable because there is no competition for resources on the server. This makes it possible to accommodate high growth. Costs Shared hosting is a clear winner when comparing costs. Shared hosting costs around $1 to $20 per month, whereas dedicated hosting costs can soar above $350 depending on the plan. Additional costs to dedicated hosting can arise if the server has a major problem that requires the web host to resolve it. Technical knowledge requirements Shared hosting is the most hassle-free hosting option. Since the server is shared by multiple users, the hosting company controls, and maintains, nearly all aspects of the server. Dedicated hosting can be prohibitive to parties with limited technical knowledge, since most of its advantages rely on administrative implementation. The middle ground of VPS hosting If you’re still unsure where your website’s needs fall within the spectrum of shared hosting and dedicated hosting, you may want to consider the middle ground option; VPS web hosting. VPS, which stands for virtual private server, works by housing multiple websites on separate virtual machines. One physical server typically holds only a dozen or so websites, and each website  has a reserved space with allotted server resources. Because of this setup, VPS hosting provides a balance of server performance and cost effectiveness. Since the resources are split evenly by fewer users, VPS hosting provides greater processing power, disk space, and memory than shared hosting. It’s also more affordable than dedicated web hosting since there are multiple users contributing to the costs of a single server. Additionally, it lends a happy medium in regard to flexibility, security, reliability and scalability. Flexibility: Since your website is contained within a virtual machine, you have the ability to modify your environment without disturbing the setup of other websites housed in the server. This makes it possible to customize more than with shared hosting.  Security: Having fewer accounts on a server decreases the vulnerability to cyber threats. This makes VPS hosting slightly more secure than shared hosting. Reliability: If one website on the server exceeds its resource utilization, that website may experience a slowdown, while your website is unaffected. This means the bad neighbor effect is eliminated. Scalability: You have more room to scale your website up with VPS hosting than with shared hosting. Your VPS hosting plan includes a certain percentage of resources available on the server, and you can simply pay for an upgraded plan to access a greater percentage of server resources. This is a huge advantage for users who want to start out on an inexpensive plan, but expect to grow quickly. Which hosting option is right for your business? Choosing the right web hosting plan can save you lots of time and money. If you don’t need immense bandwidth, memory, computing power, or control, then save your money by going with shared hosting. However, if your website requires lots of server resources, and your team can efficiently manage a specialized hosting setup, go with dedicated web hosting. If your website falls somewhere in between, choose VPS hosting. Once you have decided which type of hosting is best for your website, Domain.com can provide affordable packages for your specific needs. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. The post Shared Hosting vs. Dedicated Hosting appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

What is Shared Hosting?

Having a website with no hosting provider is like owning a car with no roads wheels. A car is useless if you can’t go anywhere. The same is true for a website that isn’t published on the World Wide Web. The most affordable and simple way to get your website public is through shared hosting. What is shared hosting, how does it differ from other web hosting plans, and what is the best option for your business? Let’s find out. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. What is shared hosting? Shared hosting, also referred to as virtual hosting, is a way to host your website on a single physical server that also hosts additional sites. Within the server, there are software applications that make managing and accessing your website easy. The shared hosting environment is like sharing a highway with other cars. Hundreds or even thousands of users can share the same server, which means they also divide the costs. This “collective” platform makes shared hosting the most inexpensive and popular option of all the web hosting setups. Many bloggers, startups, and small businesses use shared hosting to host their websites, since it’s so easy to get started. How much does shared hosting cost? The cost of shared hosting depends on the level of service a web host provides. Generally, you can expect to pay $1 to $20 a month for space on a shared server. How does shared hosting work? Shared servers are similar to computers in that they have hard drive space, a central processing unit (CPU), and RAM. These resources are shared with other users hosted by the server. This makes it possible to securely store all the saved files, data, and information making up your website. When anyone requests access to your website from their computer, the stored data of your website is sent from the server to the internet user. Shared hosting takes advantage of the most optimum utility of a server, since each individual website generates different amounts of traffic, at different times. Effects of sharing a server As stated, utilizing a shared server is like sharing a highway. You pay taxes to have highways maintained, just like you pay a small monthly fee to use shared hosting. Because many people contribute to the costs, individual prices for users are kept low. If you’re expecting low-to-moderate traffic on your website, then a shared hosting package is a fantastic choice, since it’s affordable and convenient. However, just as a lot of cars on a highway can cause congestion, your website can experience a slight slowdown if the computing resources you share with others are directed to a website that is experiencing an unusually high volume of traffic. Typically, reputable web hosting companies like Domain.com can easily support most web pages with very little risk of speed issues. If traffic to your site starts to pick up consistently, you can always upgrade to a higher tier plan. Characteristics of shared hosting Not all shared hosting providers offer the same experience. Some factors that may vary from one hosting company to the next are explained below. This should give you an idea of how to choose a reliable provider. Uptime: Uptime is a measurement of how long a web hosting system has been continuously running. The best shared hosting providers have high uptimes, indicating high reliability. Domain.com guarantees 99.9% uptime on all hosting plans.Traffic: If you already anticipate high traffic, shared hosting may not be an option. Web hosting companies generally have policies that prevent “bad neighbor effects,” which is when heavily trafficked websites hijack all the resources on a shared server. Make sure to read the policies to find a web host that can support your website’s traffic. Resources: Although shared hosting providers can accommodate many users, resources such as processing and memory are still limited. Some web hosts limit what you can put on your website so that more users can share a single server. Be sure to read and understand your web hosts’ acceptable use policy to ensure your website is compliant. Understanding shared hosting plans Many web hosting companies offer tiered plans for shared hosting. This is so you only pay for what you and your website need. These plans include some important features and possibly some unfamiliar jargon. Websites: You can choose a plan that allows you to host more than one website on a single shared server rather than buying two separate plans. This streamlines the management of all your different sites. Disk space: Disk space is the amount of hard drive space available to users. Most of the time, shared hosting plans provide more than enough space for small businesses or personal projects. Websites may run into issues if they include large images or audio files. That’s why companies like Domain.com guarantee unlimited disk space, so you never have to worry about reaching a limit.  Monthly bandwidth: Bandwidth is the amount of traffic and data your website can process. With low bandwidth, the speed at which your website functions can be impacted by higher traffic on a shared server. Typically, the speed difference is negligible. In fact, with well-resourced web hosting companies like Domain.com, your bandwidth is scalable, so you can seamlessly accommodate more traffic. FTP users: FTP stands for file transfer protocol, and an FTP user is someone with access to a domain. If you run a personal blog, one FTP user is enough. However, in a business with coordinating team members, multiple FTP users are better. MySQL databases: MySQL is a data management system that organizes data. Without getting too technical, if you want multiple independent sites on one shared account, then you need more MySQL databases.Subdomains: Wondering subdomains are and how they might influence your online presence? Subdomains are divisions of your domain that are useful for organizing your website’s content. For example, you could use a subdomain to separate a mobile version of your site from your full version. Email addresses: Your shared hosting plan may also include professional email addresses which enhances the image of your brand.Support: In case you run into any issues or have any question about hosting your domain, choose a web hosting company that has a friendly and helpful support team.   Shared hosting pros Here is a review of the advantages of shared hosting. Cost-effective: The cost to customers is kept low due to multiple users contributing to the costs of the server.Flexible: You can choose shared plans that fit the needs of your growing website. For example, if you find yourself needing another website, more cloud storage, or more FTP users, you can upgrade to a plan that provides it.Secure: Although the space and resources are shared on a server, your information is not. Other websites utilizing your shared server are not able to access any of your website’s data. Additional security features provided by some web hosting companies also defend your website against cyber security threats. Straightforward setup: Setting up your website on a shared server is quick and easy. Shared hosting experiences are designed to support the less tech-savvy so you can get your website running with maximum efficiency and minimum technical knowledge. Effortless maintenance: The shared server is maintained by your web host provider so you can stay focused on growing your platform rather than working out bugs, or installing software updates. Leave that to the professional technical assistants. Shared Hosting Cons Despite its cheap and convenient nature, shared hosting does have a few tradeoffs to consider. What makes shared hosting attractive is its painless nature, but these circumstances can happen:   Possible slowdowns: As previously discussed, the definition of shared hosting includes sharing resources like CPU power and memory. Because of this, it’s possible that a spike in activity will cause a lag in your website. Most of the time changes in speed is barely noticeable. Potential risks: Because shared servers host multiple websites, it risks potential compromises. To combat this, a reliable server host may include security features like SSL certificates. Limited customization: In order to uphold security, the backend of shared servers are locked down. This means that you’re limited to what the hosting company provides for programs. If you have special technical requirements, like running an alternative operating system, then avoid shared hosting. For the less tech-savvy individuals, this is actually a benefit because it means all the tools you need are provided in an easy to understand interface, and server maintenance is taken care of by your server host. Is shared hosting suitable for you? Shared hosting is most suitable for the person or business that: Has limited background knowledge of web hostingWants to save on costsValues hassle-free website managementRequires a simple website for small businesses or personal purposesIs interested in learning web design, coding, or WordPress Building a website is both exciting and daunting. Choosing the right web hosting setup is important to establish a good foundation for your website development. Unless you plan on going viral with a major marketing campaign, chances are shared hosting will handle your website’s needs. Once your website is up and running, you can get a better sense of where your website needs to grow, whether it be in bandwidth or data storage. Starting on a shared hosting plan allows you the flexibility to scale without hiccups. Shared hosting vs VPS hosting vs dedicated hosting If your website is on a shared server, and regularly uses more resources than what your host considers acceptable, then you may want to consider discuss upgrading your hosting package. VPS web hosting is typically the next step up when websites outgrow shared hosting. VPS hosting VPS hosting differs from other web hosting plans. VPS hosting stands for virtual private servers and it allots you access to more resources. VPS hosting tends to limit the number of websites on a single server, and provides a reserved space on the server for your website’s disk space and bandwidth. This means when using a virtual private server, your website won’t be affected if another website on your server has a spike in activity. There are also more customizations available to VPS hosting users. VPS hosting is perfect for sites that are too big for shared hosting, but too small to move to a dedicated server. Dedicated hosting If your website requires more resources than VPS hosting can provide, then you can upgrade to dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting is when a server hosts only your website. It is completely dedicated to you. This means your website benefits from increased privacy, security, bandwidth, storage space, and speed. The downside to dedicated hosting is that it is the most expensive web hosting setup, and requires a decent amount of IT skills to manage. However, if you value unshared resources, peak website performance, and greater control of programs and security, dedicated hosting is the way to go. Which hosting option is right for your small business? For most people stepping into the world of website hosting, shared hosting advantages outweigh its limitations. The low cost saves huge amounts for people still working out the scale of their website, and its simplicity makes it an accessible option for everyone, regardless of their technical know-how. VPS and dedicated hosting are alternatives you can consider when your website requires more processing power, storage space, and customization. However, they come at a much higher price. Save yourself from unnecessary costs by understanding what each web hosting package offers, and what your website really needs. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. The post What is Shared Hosting? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Help Your Customers Contact Your Business Faster with a .TEL Domain Name

Imagine visiting a website, and falling in love with a brand, right away. Everything they say, all of their photos, their videos, it all speaks to you on some level. You want to reach out to them – but you can’t. Maybe you want to find out where they’re located, maybe you want to give them a call to thank them for existing. Either way, a search throughout their website reveals their contact information is as well hidden an Indiana Jones artifact. They need a .TEL contact information page. Make it easy for your potential customers to find your contact information with a .TEL domain name, and gain other benefits, such as the spread of your name, or a boost in search engine rankings. It all starts with a great domain. Get your .TEL extension from Domain.com today. Make your contact information easy to find Some businesses like to put their contact information on the bottom of the page. That makes it easy for clients to contact you, but not everything can find in a tiny footer. Others list contact information on an about page, or a dedicated “Contact Me” page. A contact page helps, but what if you want customers to get that information directly, instead of clicking through a few different pages after landing on your website? Instead, create a warehouse for all of your contact information, site-wide. You can not only list the main numbers, and email addresses, for your business, but you can also list other numbers that wouldn’t fit on a footer, like sales, marketing, or brand partnerships. A .TEL contact page helps you store, update, and publish all your contact information,web links, and keywords in one easy-to-find place on your website.   Start sharing your contact details quickly and easily When you’re out on a business dinner, you want the conversation and any discussion to be as easy as possible. The same goes for sharing information. If you need to hand them a business card, but either have a hard time finding it in your massive, dad-sized wallet, or you need to write down a cell number on the back of your business card, clients get annoyed. Nobody likes to wait. A .TEL contact page is the same as a neat business card, flashed at the slightest mention of connecting in the future. That business executive who slides a business card across the table right as they’re talking about working with the client, is the one who gets the business. Put everything on a simple, easy to read .TEL contact page, so your team members and partners can share your contact information in seconds. A .TEL page is also easy to setup quickly, without any special web design tools, website builders, or nuanced hosting options. Gain more optimized search traffic to your business Google, and other search engines, like a place for everything, with everything in the right place. The more you can design an organized website, the better your website ranks in search engine results. A .TEL contact page lists all of your information in a neat, organized hierarchical data structure. That means, not only can search engine robots drill down to find the contact information they need, but so can your customers. You can even route customers to the right departments or locations within your larger organizational structure. If all of your calls and contact leads head to the same place, that one central employee  is responsible for routing all call traffic to the right location. That eats up a lot of time. Instead, help your customers contact the right team member directly with the online discoverability of a .TEL domain extension. Control all of your brand information online Sometimes it’s important to set something up online for your business, just so a competitor or bad actor can’t do it first. Imagine if a hacker created a .TEL contact page about your business before you could. All of those leads would be going to the wrong place, but the potential clients (and you) would have no idea. Your .TEL also helps you control what information is publicly viewable on the internet, and what remains private. If you don’t want the contact information of your CEO, or founder, listed online, simply leave it off your .TEL website. Instead, list a number for an assistant, or a separate number designated to incoming leads. Help new and old customers contact your business If your contact information is hard to find, that means your business is hard to contact. When you make it hard for your customers to connect with you, you make it harder to build a relationship with them. Your relationship has to start somewhere, so make it easy to find your contact information with a .TEL domain name, spread your business across the web, and enjoy a boost in search engine rankings. With everything working for your business, you can be more popular than ever. It all starts with a great domain. Get your .TEL extension from Domain.com today. The post Help Your Customers Contact Your Business Faster with a .TEL Domain Name appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Start Attracting Clients Without Spending All Your Money

Now that you’ve vetted your business idea, and have your website up and running, it’s time to grow your client list. The larger your list of potential clients, the better your chances at bringing in revenue. It can seem daunting reaching out to people you don’t know to ask for their business, but there are ways to make it easier. Learn how to get started below. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. Building client relationships is all about being social As great as your business idea is, it won’t go far on its own — you need the financial support only growing your client list can provide. But where do you find them? If you’re like most of the population, you have a free Facebook account. You can take that free tool, and start to leverage it to grow your client list. We bet you’re thinking, “But my Facebook Business Page doesn’t get much engagement with the miniscule percentage of my followers!” Well, yes, you’re right. Keep in mind that you’re not restricted to only using your Facebook Business Page for promotion. If you want to build relationships with potential clients then you need to find them where they’re already spending their time. If you provide local services then consider joining a local Facebook group for your town, or state. Don’t start bombing each and every local group you can find; instead, find ways to meaningfully contribute. Can you answer someone’s question and prove to everyone else who reads it that you’re an authority on the matter? At the root of every relationship is trust, so start building yours with prospective clients sooner rather than later. Content and SEO are your best friends SEO. It’s a pretty big buzzword, and it’s not going anywhere. SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization,” and it’s the process of tweaking your website for a great chance at reaching the top of organic search results – getting you more, and better, leads. There are many great resources where you can learn the ins-and-outs of SEO, like Search Engine Land. Content greatly influences SEO, so start a blog on your website. Write quality pieces that are relevant to your audience of prospective clients and current customers. Make sure to use the correct terminology and keywords. If your articles provide value then folks are less likely to bounce off the page, which also helps influence your search engine results ranking. Toot your own horn When you’re in business for yourself, you need to be your biggest advocate — never forget that. You don’t need to become a full-fledged braggart, but you do need to show off a little. Make sure your website has a complete “About Me” section, and it’d be a good idea to provide examples of work you’ve done. If someone is considering hiring you, then they need to know who you are, and the caliber of your work. There’s nothing more unprofessional that not taking the time to build your website for your business. Take the first step to growing your client list by getting social You can take the pressure off of growing your client list by trying the methods we discussed above. Nothing happens in a silo, so be social and connect with prospective clients where they enjoy spending their time. By building trust and relationships, you start building a client list too. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. The post Start Attracting Clients Without Spending All Your Money appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How to Create a Valuable Business by Doing the Minimum

They say, “what’s your business about,” and you say, “nothing.” I think we may have something here. Everyone is doing something with their small business these days, and while you can’t do nothing, you don’t have to do everything. Try starting with the minimum. You can combine two strategies to start your business without massive investment right away: creating a minimum viable product, and marketing to a minimum viable audience. It’s not a business about nothing, because your small business is everything to you. Learn more about these two strategies to create a product that grows as your audience grows at the same time. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. Create a product by doing the minimum Remember buying work software, like Microsoft Word, on cds? Every time the product improved, or an update had to be made, Microsoft needed to manufacture new cds. Now, software companies create what’s called a minimum viable product. After releasing an early version, companies send updates over the internet, constantly improving the product, and charging customers a smaller monthly or annual fee, instead of one big fee for a new cd set. Even if you don’t create products that can be updated over the internet, you can still release earlier beta products, and let your customers help you improve it over time. For example, even if your business sells handmade furniture, you can release a smaller line of products, a simple table and chair combo, and then let your customers tell you what they want next. Listening to your customers is easier than trying to predict what they want. Let them tell you what to sell instead. Keep your business running lean In the world of startup businesses, “Running Lean,” is a buzzword, but only because it works. Keeping your business lean means limiting major investments, in money and staff, until you have a proven business model. Instead of hiring a whole team of marketing staff, operation leads, and customer service, plan to do everything yourself for as long as possible. It may sound like a lot of work, but in the beginning your customer base is smaller. Take advantage of the smaller workload and invest the money that would have gone to a staff on productivity tools. The more you can automate and plan ahead, the easier it is to do it yourself. Speaking of investing, investing your revenue back into the business lets you grow without the help of outside investors, leaving you with more control. Look for a tiny audience to attract customers Once your products are ready to share with the world, then it’s time to find your customers. Instead of trying to yell out to the entire world, drowning out your message in all the noise, keep your focus as small as possible. Your messages become stronger when they’re directed at individuals, so it’s time to find your minimum viable audience. Your product won’t be loved by everyone. That’s fine. Instead of trying to convince everyone to by, your minimum viable audience is the group of people already looking for your product. Brainstorm your ideal customer, being as specific as possible. Why did you create your product in the first place? Your customers have a problem they need solved, so match your product messaging with the group of people already looking for the solution that you’ve created for them. When bigger isn’t better We all want the world. Just because you’re starting small, that doesn’t mean you need to stay small. Think about it like a bricklayer building an entire skyscraper. You can’t build a solid foundation by doing it all at once. You have to go brick by brick. Once you step back after focusing on the steady progress of laying each brick perfectly, that sturdy building can touch the clouds. Your business is the same way. If you get your products into the hands of a small number of customers, you can listen more closely to their feedback. That continual progress, making your products better and better, while at the same time, showing your customers that you truly listen, means your business creates a cult following. By the time you step back and look at how far you’ve come, your business will have a fleet of proven, customer-tested products, who want to support your business – and the owner behind it. Keep your focus small to miss small with your small business You can’t do everything right away and still have enough time, or resources, to accomplish everything. Instead of trying to do everything, but end up with nothing, focus your small business at the start to share your minimum viable product with your minimum viable audience. Your small business is everything to you, so keep it on the right track to succeed in both the short term and the long term. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. The post How to Create a Valuable Business by Doing the Minimum appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Why You Can’t Register a Domain Name With a Fake Name or an Alias

You have secrets. That’s alright – we all have secrets. Using an alias for certain websites and chat rooms is generally accepted, but does that mean you can use an alias to register a domain name? The internet is perfect for keeping yourself hidden, but keeping your real name hidden during the registration process, isn’t a smart idea. We’re not trying to be “Debbie Downers,” or bring unwanted attention to your private life, but there are a few reasons why it’s necessary to register your domain using your accurate, legal information. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. Help the right internet servers find your website   When you purchase a domain name, you’re purchasing it through a domain name registrar, like Domain.com, which is accredited by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. As their website states, “To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer … That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination, we wouldn’t have one global Internet.” ICANN is also “committed to implementing measures to maintain timely, unrestricted and public access to accurate and complete WHOIS information, subject to applicable laws.” Unlike ICANN, WHOIS is not an acronym, it’s a query protocol that searches independent registries and registrar databases to determine who owns a specific domain. When you register a domain name, your personal information is made visible to all WHOIS queries unless you choose to use domain privacy. You, the registrant, are responsible for giving accurate and reliable contact details, and maintaining the accuracy of that information. What happens if you’re forgetful? It’s a good thing we’ve got you covered. We’ll email you a reminder each year asking you to verify the accuracy of your information. Keeping your information current is an obligation, and part of every registrar’s Terms of Service agreement. What happens if you give the wrong information anyways? You may live life on the wild side, eschewing rules and regulations, but in this case, the stakes are too high. WHOIS states, “If you give wrong information on purpose, or don’t update your information promptly if there is a change, your domain name registration may be suspended or even cancelled.” Could you imagine how terrible it would be to find your domain name gone? Your domain name is the address that leads people to your website, so without the right information,  you lose both traffic and revenue. Help your customers find your business online Once you lose your domain name it becomes available for others to purchase, and there’s no guarantee that you can ever get it back. Let’s set the stage for a sinister scenario: You’re relaxing on the sofa watching a movie, resting after a busy day of work. You spent the day optimizing your website to show up higher on the search engine results page. This should bring more traffic to your website, and in turn, more revenue. During a commercial break you realize you forgot one little task, so you log in to manage your site. But something is amiss. Your precious domain name – that you matched perfectly to your business name — is gone. Your customers knew your domain name. They trusted it. What now? If someone decides to run a WHOIS query on your domain name and finds that you’re using fake information, they can report you. Who could have done such a thing? Anyone. Once you’ve been reported you have a short window of time to update your information, or you can lose your domain name. Maintain your privacy and still keep your domain name secure Don’t lose your domain name because of an alias. Instead, you can have the best of both worlds, privacy and security, using domain privacy. With domain privacy you never have to worry about coworkers discovering you’re the genius behind a Backstreet Boys Adult Fan Club website. You can rest easy knowing you’re also secure against any inaccuracy complaints that could cost you your domain name. So register your domain name today using accurate information – your secrets are safe with us. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. The post Why You Can’t Register a Domain Name With a Fake Name or an Alias appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Office 365 vs. G Suite

It you’re a business owner, freelance worker, or anyone in need of a digital office suite, you might find yourself at the crossroads of choosing between Office 365 or G Suite. This becomes exponentially more difficult if you don’t have experience with either. Worry not. Instead, learn how these two services match up on pricing, usability, and features. Read along as we discuss the pros and cons of Office 365 vs. G Suite in an effort to highlight which one best fits the needs of your specific business. Domain.com makes it easy to add G Suite for Business or Microsoft Office 365 to your domain name. What do G Suite and Office 365 do? Both subscription services are office suite productivity tools that allow you to go about most daily tasks, such as writing documents, creating spreadsheets, making presentations, and communicating with both clients and team members. Microsoft first created Microsoft Office Suite, a physical program for PCs that came with the now famous Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. In the last decade, Google released G Suite for the cloud to compete with Microsoft, which boasted an online collaboration center, word processor, spreadsheet processor, and presentation creator. Moving these services to the cloud completely revolutionized the capability of office suite tech, drastically improving cooperation and communication. Taking Google’s cue, in 2011, Microsoft pushed their popular service into the cloud, looking for ways to simplify and optimize their services to improve productivity.   What is Office 365? Office 365 Suite for Business comes in one of two main packages, Business and Business Premium. For both packages, you receive the applications in web version and desktop form, meaning that you get the hard-copy versions to load onto your computer to use even if you’re offline. Office 365 Business At $8.25 per user per month for an annual contract, Business is perfect for teams that need cloud storage and collaboration, as well as Office applications. It does not, however, include business email. The base Business level gives you the following: Outlook – Microsoft’s web-based all-in-one suite of email, tasks, calendar, and contacts lets you work productively and share attachments directly from OneDrive. It also allows you to schedule meetings, block out time to work on a project, or book a conference room directly from your Outlook calendar.  Word – Microsoft’s most famous application is its word processor. Word gives you the tools to write confidently and intelligently. With Suite, you can work with a teammate in real-time, collaborating on the same project. Excel – The original spreadsheet processor, Excel has been refined over the years thanks to new tools, charts, formulas, and templates that all improve data organization and output.PowerPoint – A presentation program that lets you create vivid and powerful pitches and presentations. With 365 collaboration, you can have several people working on the same PowerPoint at one time. OneNote – A digital notebook that helps you and your team take notes and get organized. Notes is especially great for tablets where you can write notes, doodle, underline or highlight sections. OneDrive – A file hosting service that lets users save files and photos to OneDrive and then access them on any device from wherever that person is. You receive 1TB of OneDrive storage and a license that covers fully-installed Office apps on five PCs or Macs, five tablets, and five phones. This may be a good option for small businesses. Office 365 Business Premium Business Premium costs $12.50 a month per user with an annual contract. This is perfect for businesses that require a business email, Office suite, and other Microsoft business services including: Exchange – Microsoft’s business version of Outlook is more powerful and comes with tools businesses need for their email services and calendaring. With an adaptive, intelligent inbox and a smart calendar, your ability to communicate and organize improves dramatically. Sharepoint – A browser-based document management and collaboration platform, this content management system and information portal can run via Internet, Intranet, or Extranet. Microsoft Teams – A platform that organizes chats, notes, meetings, and attachments whether in Office or on Skype.Business Email Hosting – Create a custom email domain address. Each user has a 50 GB inbox.Skype Call – Video conferencing for up to 250 users. Support – 24/7 phone and web support. What is G Suite? G Suite’s web-based service comes in one of three packages: Basic, Business, and Enterprise. G Suite provides businesses with more flexibility for payment,allowing the purchase of a subscription on either a monthly or annual basis. While the monthly may cost a few dollars more, it gives you the option to add or drop users, or to discontinue services. G Suite Basic For $5 per month per user, G Suite Basic gives you 30 GB of storage and access to G Suite’s baseline applications. Unlike Office 365, G Suite’s most basic plan provides  access to a business email, through Gmail. Other features include: Calendar – Set your schedule and manage your day with Calendar. Create, request, set, or invite other team members to meetings, or simply block out time where you’re not to be disturbed. If you share your calendar with teammates, they see your agenda, and can plan accordingly.Docs – Cloud-based word processor that lets team members edit, read, comment on, or share documents easily. With cloud-tracking in docs, you never lose a file or an edit, increasing accountability, and allowing you to go back to view older versions of the document. Forms – Create fun and simple polls or surveys with members of your team. Forms helps you get answers fast and then compiles them intelligently, making analysis easy.  Gmail – The most powerful and popular email service in the world. G Suite Basic lets you create a business email linked to your domain and powered by Gmail’s smart inbox tech. Google Drive Storage – Google’s cloud storage that lets you store any file, whether that is a video, doc, sheet, pdf, adobe, music, or photo file. Hangouts – Google’s video conference service, Business Hangouts, is a powerful and consistent tool that allows up to ten people to video conference at once.Sheets – This online spreadsheet tool helps you organize and compile critical data. Create a spreadsheet, collaborate with a teammate, and share with others instantly.Slides – Google’s PowerPoint feature lets you create beautiful presentations. G Suite Business For $10 per month per user, G Suite Business gives you all of the tools mentioned above and then boasts up to 1 terabyte of data storage per user for five or fewer users, or unlimited for more than five users. G Suite Business also includes: 24/7 Support by phone, email, and web messaging.Archive policies for email and chat.Audit reports that track user activity.eDiscovery for chats, emails, and other files.G Suite Data Regions.Set retention for email and chat.Smart search via Cloud Search. As the name suggests, Business is the model that most small to medium-sized businesses should utilize. The increased storage and search capabilities make it vastly more powerful. G Suite Enterprise For $25 per month per user, G Suite Enterprise is intended for large companies that require a ton of storage, advanced security, and more control. Google Hangouts is upgraded to Google Meet, which dramatically improves video quality, and allows 30 members to participate in a video conference. These include all of the features above as well as the following: Enterprise-grade security with Google Drive.BigQuery Gmail log analysis.Hosted S/MIME encryption to improve your mail’s security.Data regions for G Suite.G Suite Security Center.Email traffic scanning.Image scanning for text.Third-party email archiving.Data loss prevention for Gmail.Data loss prevention for Drive.Gmail logs BigQuery analysis.Automatic mobile device management.Suspicious activity detection. Office 365 vs. G Suite As you can tell, these services provide very similar products. Both are widely used, widely praised, and boast similar functionality. Selecting the right one depends on your business’ specific needs. Below, let’s compare and contrast some of the critical factors that distinguish the two:   Price Although their prices are not all that different, G Suite’s basic plan is notably cheaper and still comes with a business email. When you reach the Business and Enterprise levels the cost difference and services received are largely comparable. G Suite does give you more flexibility with the option for a monthly or annual plan, but Office 365 also provides your team with desktop versions of the app. This gives Office 365 a slight edge in what you’re paying and what you’re receiving at Business, or higher levels. File Storage When you’re talking entry-level plans, Office 365 1 TB of storage far exceeds Google’s 30 GB of storage that comes with the Basic G Suite. On top of that, G Suite counts email messages as a part of that 30 GB. That said, when you move up to the Business plans, Google’s plan beats out Microsoft’s plans by a large margin. If you have more than five users, G Suite Business offers unlimited storage which is significantly more storage than 365’s single terabyte.   Email Office 365’s Business plan offers far more email storage than G Suite’s Basic plan. However, it maxes out at 100 GB, whereas Gmail’s upper level inbox storage is limitless. When it comes to the functionality of these email services Gmail is simple, more popular, pairs with third-party apps, and makes message discovery easy. Office 365, on the other hand, is likely the more powerful of the two and has greater organizational tools, but a much steeper learning curve. Furthermore, Gmail is much more streamlined and aesthetically pleasing. Apps When it comes to the main apps, the discussion turns heavily in favor of Office 365. They were the original flagship programs for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and have perfected these tools over the years. G Suite’s Docs, Sheets, and Google Slides are streamlined, but lack some of the more advanced features you can find with Office 365. While G Suite’s simultaneous collaboration is a big point in its favor, if you rely heavily on word processing, spreadsheets or presentations, Office wins this fight hands down. Video Conferencing As with other features, on the surface, both G Suite’s and Office 365’s video conferencing apps are quite powerful. That said, the dependability, quality, and functionality of Hangouts are significant improvements on the bulkier and less reliable Skype. Hangouts also has a fantastic feature that magnifies whoever is speaking on the screen, which makes it easier to focus when having multiple people in the same video conference. Collaboration While both services allow for online collaboration, Office 365’s additional bells and whistles actually detract from the ease of working together. G Suite was created with collaboration as the main selling point, whereas Office 365 added this feature in order to compete with G Suite. G Suite’s simplicity and streamlined features makes collaboration more natural and more intuitive. It’s also much easier to navigate for the “computer novice.” Make the right decision for your small business needs Your business may care more about the desktop features and jam-packed desktop apps of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, or it might require the superior collaboration features and additional space provided by G Suite. The best tools depend on the specific needs of your small business. Regardless of which platform you choose, both services are compatible with Domain.com and can be linked to your custom domain. At the end of the day, both of these services are renowned software tools that aid your pursuit of success, no matter your goals Domain.com makes it easy to add G Suite for Business or Microsoft Office 365 to your domain name. The post Office 365 vs. G Suite appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Gmail Domain Setup: A How-To Guide

Many first-time domain owners are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of domains and their integration with other services, such as Gmail. For example, did you know that you can link your domain to your Gmail account so that your business can take full advantage of G Suite services? Boiled down, this means that you can connect a Gmail address to your domain name, and then access it from just about anywhere in the world. Let’s say that you have a domain called golfbropros.com and your name is Tom. With Domain.com you can easily create Tom@golfbropros.com as the email, and then have that linked directly to a Gmail account. If you don’t already own a domain, you can find one and complete the purchase process with Domain.com in minutes. This way, you get to keep a professional looking email and have the power of the G Suite at your fingertips as well.  Now, getting started can be a little daunting but finding a domain name and linking it to a Gmail is easy with Domain.com. Let’s discuss the steps to take to setup a Gmail and domain, plus  everything you need to know about Gmail for business.  Domain.com makes it easy to add G Suite for Business to your domain name. Obtaining a domain name Before you can have a Gmail domain name, you first must register a domain. If that step is already completed, just skip this section and move on to the G Suite section. For those of you that have yet to complete this vital process, fear not, Domain.com has made domain registration cheap and easy.   In order to claim a domain name, it must be registered with ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a nonprofit that keeps track of available, unused domain names. Because of regulations, a domain can only be registered with ICANN through a domain registrar such as Domain.com.  Domain registrars are afforded this privilege because:  They have received accreditation through ICANNThey have built up years of experience in the world of domainsIt helps centralize and track ownership and availability of names Purchasing a domain name Checking for a domain name’s availability at Domain.com is simple. Type the name you wish for in the search bar and then hit the magnifying glass symbol. If available, you can then buy your domain name. If unavailable, a list of similar names with slight variations to the domain name itself or the domain extension is presented. Once you have found that ideal domain name and confirmed its availability, you’re then required to submit the following information to Domain.com: The domain name and domain extensionFirst and last nameEmail addressPhone numberPhysical addressBilling informationAdministrative contact information After you file this information, Domain.com instantly starts the registration process, sending the request to ICANN, who then performs a WHOIS query to confirm your identity. As a note, you should be aware that domain registration does not last forever. It is similar to renting an apartment for a few years, with the option to renew that rent annually. With Domain.com, you have the opportunity to purchase a domain name for a span of one to five years. G Suite explained If you weren’t already aware, Gmail for business is not merely an email service. It is powered and enhanced by the G Suite tools. These applications are what really set Gmail apart from other mail services, and are a big part of what has propelled it into the spotlight as the most popular email service to date. Utilizing the power of cloud computing, they have revolutionized the way we work, edit, share and collaborate on the internet. These apps include the following applications: Calendar – Cloud-based scheduling software that lets users view a teammate’s calendar, share their own schedule, set meetings, or plan for the upcoming week or month.Cloud – Get rid of servers and protect your data with Google’s cloud computing service. Docs – Google’s cloud-based answer to Microsoft Word allows documents to be worked on, edited, shared, or viewed by anyone, with permission. This gives easy visibility and workability, all the while preventing loss thanks to automatic updates and the ability to track changes. Drive – Google’s cloud-based data storage center for all of your files, including music, video, text, documents, pictures, or any other vital data.  Forms – Collect and disseminate information like never before. Start a poll, create a survey, and get answers quickly. Forms gather, tabulate, and organize responses so that analysis is made simple.Gmail – Google’s mailing service is intuitive, powerful, and easy to organize. Users can have storage that is either 30GB, 1TB, or Unlimited, depending upon their package and the total number of users.Hangout – Video conference app that takes video chat and messaging to the next level. Depending on their subscription package, anywhere from 10 to 25 users can have a video conference at any given time.Meet – The high-resolution, high-end version of Hangouts that can support anywhere from 50 to 100 users on a single video conference at any given time. Sheets – Spreadsheets are brought to the cloud. Similar to Docs, Sheets can be worked on, edited, shared, or viewed by anyone on your team.Slides – PowerPoint creation has never been simpler. Slides has all the tools and templates you need to put together a high-end pitch or demonstration. Selecting the right G Suite plan  Before you link Gmail to your domain name, you should first choose the G Suite package that fits your business and its needs. While you may think you can just get by with the free Gmail account and Google Apps, that means you don’t have the ability to link your domain name to Gmail. On top of that, you miss out on all of the powerful tools that come with the G Suite subscription. The three types of G Suite Subscriptions include: G Suite Basic – At $5 per month per user, Basic is intended for tiny companies or home business owners. This plan gives you access to the G Suite tools and 30 GB of data storage.G Suite Business – At $10 per month per user, Business is perfect for small to medium-sized businesses. It comes with an enhanced version of G Suite, with additional safety features, search options, and reporting ability. If you have four users or less, you get one TB of data storage. If you have five or more users, you get unlimited data storage.G Suite Enterprise – At $25 per month per user, Enterprise is ideal for medium to large sized businesses. It gives a user unlimited data storage as well as premium G Suite safety, control, and analytics. This includes:Audit reports for user activityBigQuery log analysisGmail and Drive data loss-prevention featuresHosted S/MIMEGmail third-party archivingSecurity key enforcement How to setup Gmail with your domain Once you have decided the G Suite package that best suits your business, begin the following process: Go to Google Apps Gmail page, click the “Get Started Button.”Enter the name of your business and choose the number of employees or users.Pick the company’s location.Enter your email address, but know you can create a new business Gmail address later.You will receive a prompt that asks, “Does your business have a domain?” If, yes, enter it on the screen and click “Next.”Create your login information including username and password. Enter your credit card information and click, “Continue.”Confirm you’re not a robot, check the box, and click, “Agree and create account.” Now that the account creation is complete, you can begin to set up your Gmail account with your domain. First, though, you need to verify your domain name. Go to the Google Admin Console and hit the “Start Setup” button at the top center of the page.Hit the “Verify Domain” button then hit, “Next.”You will receive a message that says, “Verify your domain: Before you begin using apps and services we need to contact your domain host to verify that you own (your domain name). Your domain host can detect that sdrive-gmail-setup.net is hosted at Network Solutions.com.” Hit, “No.” A drop-down list will appear. Choose, “Other” then hit “Begin Verification.”The easiest way to verify a domain name is an “HTML File Upload.” Download the given HTML domain verification fileUpload the file to your domainConfirm successful upload by visiting the given HTTP:s-drive locationHit “Verify”Once you’ve finished, login to your Google Apps account and hit, “Users.”You will see an option to add new users including a custom email address. Congrats, you’re finished! Benefits of G Suite There are plenty of benefits that come from linking a G Suite Subscription to your Domain. They include: Domain-branded emails – A professional email name connected to your domain, and powered by G Suite signals to prospective customers that your business is legitimate. A stranger who knows nothing about your business trusts you infinitely more if you have a website, and an email tied to it.Storage – Even the 30 GB of storage provided by the basic account is a huge amount of securely stored data. For the Business and Enterprise models, you may never have to worry about storage again.Email marketing – G Suite allows users to create and facilitate high-level email marketing campaigns and grants you the ability to fashion up to 30 email aliases per user. Collaborate – G Suite cloud-based document creation uses cutting edge technology that lets teams work together, make alterations, and share their work no matter where they are located. A team member in Dallas on their PC can participate in a Hangout with a team member in Los Angeles on their mobile device, along with another worker in New York on their tablet. These three people can access the same document, spreadsheet, or presentation simultaneously, making changes and strategizing in real time.Document ownership – Thanks to archiving, it’s so simple to track changes to any file in Google Drive. You can see who made changes, when the changes took place, and what the differences were. You can access the earlier versions of the documents, or make notes about the current one. This method means that team members are kept accountable, and can take ownership of any edit.  Outlook sync – If your company or employees require the use of Microsoft Outlook’s email service, G Suite has a simple G Suite Sync with Outlook. Two-step domain verification – G Suite provides extra security by allowing admins to decide if a user needs to sign into their account with both their password and then confirm with their mobile device. This 2-step verification protects sensitive information, especially if you utilize Drive as the cloud backup. 24/7 support – G Suite provides a dedicated 24/7 phone, email, and chat support. So if you have any questions or need help troubleshooting, call, mail, or text the Google team and get an answer instantly. Setup Gmail to start talking to customers It’s never been easier to link your domain name with a Gmail account. As discussed, the benefits to your business are endless. Start using an email that’s custom branded with your own domain name to talk to customers and potential business partners like a professional.  Domain.com makes it easy to add G Suite for Business to your domain name. The post Gmail Domain Setup: A How-To Guide appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Gmail For Work: What You Need to Know

Gmail for Work, an app from Google’s G Suite, is a SaaS tool that can take your business’ emailing, calendaring, teamwork, communication, and document creation to the next level. Learn about more G Suite below, and find out how it can benefit your business. Domain.com makes it easy to add G Suite for Business to your domain name. The power of professional emails with Gmail for Work You’re probably all too aware that, these days, using a personal email for your business is not always the best way to hook in customers. Similar to having your own website, a professional email address grants a person or business legitimacy, signaling to customers that you’re a real and trustworthy operation. With Gmail domain integration, you can use the Gmail system for all communication from your custom domain email address. This way you get to have the best of both worlds, a professional email address that matches your domain name. Gmail For Work Business email aside, you likely already use Gmail’s complimentary service and apps on a regular basis for emailing or online writing purposes. While these provide plenty of horsepower for anyone who is using Gmail personally, for businesses, some of the basic features of Gmail for work are lacking or limited, especially when compared to Microsoft Office 365. Gmail for Work is the paid version of Gmail and was designed specifically for businesses of any size. With Gmail for Work and Domain.com, you receive a package of products and cloud-based services that allow you to communicate and collaborate seamlessly from anywhere on any device. Your company is armed with an intuitive and fantastic set of Google tools meant to improve communication and optimize workflow. Four features of Gmail for Work At their essence, the G Suite tools can be broken down into four categories: communicate, collaborate, store, and manage. Communicate The following G Suite applications help improve your team’s ability to act and react in real time, to share messages, or to stay in touch. They include: Gmail – The most obvious feature of Gmail for Work. A paid subscription via Domain.com grants you email access to your domain. Depending on the G Suite package you choose, this email address allows users to store data and messages, anywhere from 30 gigabytes to multiple terabytes. Calendar – This time-management and scheduling service lets G Suite users create and share a schedule, meeting, or pitch. With it, teams can plan out delivery schedules and due dates. They can also highlight important dates or times. Since it is cloud-based, you can share your calendar with other people at the company, allowing them to check your schedule for availability. Hangout – Google’s powerful video chat and messaging service lets ten users participate in a single video conference. Hangout is easy to use and far more reliable than a similar product such as Skype. For G Suite enterprise, as many as 25 people may join a low-resolution video conference.Meet – Recently, Google rolled out Meet, a beefier version of Hangout meant for medium to large businesses. This allows anywhere from 50 to 100 users to participate in a video conference call simultaneously. This version allows for phone dial-in, recording of the meeting, and high-resolution video. Collaborate Gmail for Work relies upon cloud computing in order to revolutionize the way work documents can be collaborated upon, edited, shared, and viewed. Each service comes with a plethora of easy to use templates. Any changes made to the document are made in real time, and saved automatically, preventing document loss while also keeping editors accountable for who wrote what, who made a change, or who made a note. These products include: Docs – Docs was Google’s take on a Microsoft Word in the cloud. As a result, documents can be edited, disseminated, and altered rapidly without any fear of losing files. Documents can be shared in either edit mode or view-only mode, so only the right people can make modifications to the material. Docs also work seamlessly with Microsoft Word, allowing you to convert a word file to docs, or vice versa.Sheets – Google’s version of Excel, this easy to use but extremely powerful spreadsheet service lets users create charts, graphs, tables, and formulas to both enhance and simplify your spreadsheet compilation. The dozens of templates allow a person to dive in immediately no matter what device they’re using. Open, create, and change your spreadsheets from wherever you work.  Forms – Forms allow a person to gather and optimize information, whether big or small. You can start an office poll, gather up personal email addresses, or start a survey. Forms help you get answers as quickly and concisely as possible. With a variety of templates and options, from multiple choice to fill in the blank, your Q&As can be set up in such a way as to provide you with the best and most pertinent information. Thanks to smart organization, responses are neatly compiled for optimal analysis. Slides – Slides is Google’s answer to PowerPoint. This excellent tool helps you give a pitch, create a presentation, or compile a slideshow. Make impactful presentations and tell inspiring stories anywhere, anytime.Sites – Google’s structured Wiki and Web page creation tool lets any user with access to G Suite create simple websites. File storage With previously unprecedented cloud storage , store lets Gmail for business users create, edit, query, and renew files from wherever. Drive – Drive is a cloud-based data storage center, which creates a haven for all of your data, including:SheetsDocsMusicAudioVideoExcelWordPowerPointSlidesAdobe videoPhotoshop Cloud – Google’s cloud computing service, Google Cloud allows for secure and high-performance cloud services. It enables a business to go serverless and provides a host of robust data and analytics tools. Features include:Virtual ComputingStorage  Space and DatabasesNetworkingBig DataData TransferAPI Platform and EcosystemsInternet of ThingsCloud AIManagement ToolsDeveloper ToolsIdentity and SecurityProfessional Services Manage Smart tools make it easy and straightforward to manage and secure your users, devices, and files. Admin – With admin privileges you can manage your Google Admin console with a variety of topics, such as:Admin rolesAnalyticsAuditAuthenticationBilling and SubscriptionsChrome devicesCommunication settingsCompany profileCustom URLsData migrationsDomain namesGroupsMobile DevicesPassword strength requirementPassword strength monitoringAPI AccessReportsServices On/OffService-specific settingsSingle sign-onSupportTwo-step verificationUsers Vault – Vault allows a business to keep, manage, find, and send data to increase archival organization and eDiscovery. Vault retains:Email messagesChats in HangoutsDrive filesConversations in HangoutsRecording in HangoutsGroups Mobile –  Gmail’s mobile app and suite features can be accessed from any smartphone or tablet, whether they are running Android or iOS. G Suite subscription Gmail for Work can be split into three categories and price points: Basic – $5 per month per user plan that gives users 30 GB of data storage space along with various G Suite tools. Business – $10 per month per user plan that gives four or fewer users 1 TB of data storage, and five or more users unlimited storage. Business comes with enhanced office suite with additional features such as audit reporting, cloud searching, eDiscovery, and access to Google Vault.Enterprise – $25 per month per user plan that grants unlimited storage with premium office suite advanced tools and analytics. Enterprise allows for:Audit reports for tracking user activityData loss prevention for Gmail and DriveIntegrated Gmail with third-party archivingBigQuery log analysisSecurity key enforcement Hosted S/MIME One of these plans should be ideal for your business, though the vast majority of companies find the sweet spot of price point and features with G Suite Business. These plans can be paid either monthly with the flexible plan, or annually with the fixed plan. Although the annual plan saves some money in the long run, the flexible monthly plan allows a company to add or remove accounts, and only pay for the accounts that get used. The flexible plan also gives you the ability to cancel a subscription if desired, whereas, with the annual plan, you pay for a year and get a year, whether or not you use the service. Getting the most out of Gmail For Work If you want to get the very most out of your Gmail for Work and Google Apps, consider the following: Set up your domain name to be hosted by Gmail – Doing this, you get to use Gmail for your Domain.com email inbox. You can also make custom emails for anyone who works for you or to delineate various aspects of your business such as press@ourbusiness.com, or help@ourbusiness.com. With Domain.com you do not need to toggle between separate mail systems or names, simply integrate your email with your domain. By doing so, you no longer have to search a domain name or register individual accounts. This benefits your company by allowing for quick domain ID, 24/7 customer support, and a custom Gmail for your domain. Create a signature – Having a personalized signature at the bottom of your messages makes every email look more official, and ties you or your employee closer to your business in the mind of your customer. Utilize the labels feature – You can label and categorize your inbox in order to simplify inbox navigation, or to highlight important messages or contacts.Take advantage of Customer Support – Google provides round the clock customer support for paying members. If you have any questions, queries, or problems, they’re a brief call, email, or message away.Group email addresses – A nifty feature of Gmail for Work is that you can catalog people or departments into groups for easier messaging. By adding the entire marketing team to a group, you no longer need to find and enter every email address. Verifying Your Domain Before you can start rolling with Gmail for Work, you must verify and register a domain to confirm that no one else is using that domain without your expressed permission. With Domain.com, verification is simple, letting you get to work in no time at all. To do this,  sign into your Domain.com account and add the record of Gmail for Work to your DNS records. To do this you need to: Have your Domain.com login info at hand. If you have forgotten, you can easily reset your password at the login section. Search for Domain.com’s Domain Name System settings.Copy that information and paste either the MX, TXT, or CNAME record of the DNS settings. Another option available to you is adding the meta tag or HTML file.This verification record does not affect your Gmail or website.Once you have this information, follow the Gmail Setup Wizard to verify the domain.If you have trouble accomplishing this, feel free to contact Google Cloud Support which comes with the G Suite subscription. You can also reach out to the team at Domain.com if you are having difficulty finding the MX, TXT, or CNAME records.   Getting started with professional tools from G Suite and Domain.com Gmail for Work is a powerful cloud-based tool that can help take your business capabilities to the next level. Thanks to its fantastic mailing features and real-time document collaboration, you can crush your work from anywhere at any time. Domain.com makes it easy to add G Suite for Business to your domain name. The post Gmail For Work: What You Need to Know appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

What is G Suite?

The rise of the Software as a Service (SaaS) model has, in recent years, become one of the main  reasons cloud computing is such a game changer. These innovative products have created a paradigm shift, dramatically improving your team’s organization, productivity, and communication. One such foundational SaaS product is G Suite for Google Cloud, which many consider the best email solution available today. Whether you have a small, medium, or large business, G Suite provides your team with a bevy of features, tools, and benefits that set it apart from other similar services. Learn below what G Suite is, and why these additional features matter to you and your business. Domain.com makes it easy to add G Suite for Business to your domain name. A brief history of G Suite For years, Microsoft Office was the industry leader in office suite products thanks to applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. With the advent of cloud computing, Google sought to challenge Microsoft’s supremacy with G Suite. Formerly known as Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for Your Domain, G Suite was created to be a software that provided productivity and collaborative tools, while utilizing the ease and universality of cloud computing. Up-to-the-second cloud computing means that any changes to a G Suite document are automatically saved the moment you type. These changes are tracked and stored so that you can go back through your revision history to see old versions of the same document, or see if someone else with access to the document made a change or left a note. Today, a baseline G Suite account gives you access to the following things: Gmail – Google mail is one of the most popular free email services in use today, and provides several gigabytes of Gmail data storage. With G Suite, you’re granted a Gmail account through your chosen domain name, which can be registered at Domain.com.Google Drive –  A cloud storage service that grants you the ability to store and share files without having to store them locally. This means you can store any type of file including videos, photos, .pdfs, .documents, and others. G Suite provides at least 30 GB of storage space on Google Drive for every user.Docs – Google’s cloud-based word processor takes the concept of Microsoft word and ushers it into the cloud era. Docs allows for smart styling, and simultaneous multi-user editing. Whether you’re on a computer, mobile device, or tablet, with Docs you can read, edit, create or share your documents no matter where you are.Sheets – Similar to Docs, Sheets is Google’s cloud version of Microsoft Excel. This powerful spreadsheet tool makes charting your critical data easy and intuitive. Whether creating, analyzing, or sharing spreadsheets, Sheets works seamlessly with Excel and Excel files, giving you access to your vital information from anywhere in the world. Slides – Google’s equivalent to PowerPoint lets you tell your company stories, or give an effective presentation from any device. With a host of tools and templates, Slides makes pitch creation and collaboration simple.Forms – Create quick and easy surveys or Q&As, and then display the answers in an easily digestible and actionable way. If you want to know whether your company wants Chipotle or Chinese, or if they’d prefer to have the work trip in Joshua Tree or Mammoth, you can find out instantly without having to poll people one at a time. Calendar – Scheduling and time-management service. Calendar allows users to create, share, edit, and display meetings, events, or special occasions. This tool enables a user to see what is on their team member’s agenda and pin down a time to meet without having to bother them or interrupt something important.Hangouts – Easier to use and more powerful version of Skype or FaceTime, you can use Hangouts to video conference with up to ten people at once, call any phone number, or create group chats. Hangouts’ video service is clear, crisp, easy to use, and intuitive. Why pay for G Suite? Now, you may be wondering why your small business would pay for these tools when all of these web applications can be used for free. What you likely weren’t aware of is that G Suite was created to arm businesses, especially small to medium sized ones, with additional business-focused capabilities and instruments. The time to get your small business on the cloud is now. G Suite is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get there. The free consumer version of these apps gives you the baseline features, but don’t grant the same access to organizational, analytical, and editing technologies that come with the subscription model. While we will dive into these features more thoroughly below, here are some brief points to remember: The ability to create a Gmail email handle that is linked to your chosen domainUser management and admin features with several usersCollaboration features that promise privacy and security Multiple level auditing 24/7 access to G Suite support Dramatically increased storage ability While baseline features may be good enough for some businesses, the G Suite subscription takes sharing, collaborating, editing, and data analysis to a whole new level. G Suite plans The three main G Suite plans available are Basic, Business, and Enterprise. Each of these plans gives you access to the range of tools mentioned above, but differ in their capabilities and intended user. Payment for all three plans can happen through either a flexible plan or annual plan. Flexible – Monthly bill for each user account. This gives you the opportunity to remove or add new accounts whenever you want, and to only pay for the accounts you actually utilize that month. While you pay a slightly higher rate per month when compared to the annual total, you have the option to cancel your subscription whenever you choose without incurring any penalty.Annual Plan – With the annual plan, you pledge to pay for the service for an entire year at a slightly lower rate. You have the option to purchase more licenses as needed, but you can only remove licenses once the year is up. If you cancel the annual subscription early, you still are required to pay for the entire year. Basic At $5 per month per user, Basic gives you access to G Suites tools and features, and provides you with a somewhat limited 30 GB of storage. Basic is ideal for a small business that has five or fewer people, especially if your business does not have demanding data storage needs.   Business At $10 per month per user, Business gives you access to G Suites tool, and additional features, like 1 TB of storage per user. For companies with more than five users, this storage upgrades to unlimited. Business also includes: Cloud search – Intelligent search navigation for all your files and dataGoogle Vault – Archiving tools meant for legal compliance and policy managementeDiscovery – Process of seeking information for legal or investigative purposesAudit reports – Keeps a record of actions performed by admins As the name suggests, business is the model that most small to medium-sized businesses should utilize. The increased storage and search capabilities make it vastly more powerful. Enterprise At $25 per month per user, Enterprise is meant for larger companies that want unparalleled storage, features, and management tools. Enterprise includes: Enhanced Google Drive securityEmail traffic scanning for specific content, such as credit card or social security numbersImage scanning for text Third-party email archiving Data loss preventionGmail logs BigQuery analysis S/MIME encryption for improved email security Automatic mobile device management Suspicious activity detection 30 person Google Hangout meeting limit, which can also be recorded Benefits of G Suite Although we may have mentioned some of these previously, let’s dive into the benefits of purchasing a G Suite subscription: Gmail domain name – With G Suite, you can link your email name to your business’ domain, giving you a more professional appearance. Customers are far more likely to trust you and respond to your business if your email is Jake@computerpros.com rather than jake1970@hotmail.com. Do not worry though, this email is just the professional version of Gmail, so employees do not need to learn how to use some new email system.Email grouping – For bigger companies with multiple departments and roles, you can send out messages or emails to email groups instead of having to select each member of that department. For example, you can create a single message and send it to everyone grouped in marketing, or everyone grouped in accounting. The number of groups you can make is unlimited, so it does not have to be limited strictly to departments.Ease of use – At this point, most people already use the free versions of Gmail, Docs, and Sheets. Because of this, very little basic training is required, allowing you to focus on the more advanced tools and methods. This basic functionality means that even novice employees can get to work on most tasks immediately.Uptime – Google is one of the best web services in the world when it comes to uptime and reliability. G Suite never has scheduled maintenance or downtime windows and exceeds an absurd 99.9% Service Level Agreement. Thanks to redundant data centers, G Suite guarantees nearly perfect uptime, so you do not have to waste time as the site gets tinkered with or fixed.Round the clock support – G Suite comes with top-of-the-line customer support, which is not available for the free Gmail version. If you have any issues or questions, just call, email, or create a live chat with customer support. This is especially valuable for companies integrating Google Apps for the first time. Unparalleled team collaboration – Thanks to real-time updates, your whole team can work on the same document simultaneously. Each edit is linked to the editor, allowing the team to see who made a change, what change they made, and when that change occurred. Editing capabilities can be granted or removed if you simply want someone to read and make notes about the document. Thanks to the chat system, you can discuss ideas or edits as you go. This is especially useful for teams that work remotely, or in offices scattered across the country.Document sharing – Whether or not you are in the same building, or using the same device, your whole team can easily access and share documents with just a click. Even if you only have your mobile device, just sign in and pull up any doc you need. Offline abilities – Although G Suite thrives thanks to cloud hosting, these tools can be configured to work offline too! This gives you the chance to be productive even when you have no internet access. Unlimited storage space – As mentioned, if you have more than five users on a Business account you get unlimited cloud storage for your photos, videos, music, files, emails, and docs. Thanks to data migration tools and services, it’s also easy to transfer data from your current storage spot. Improved data security – Thanks to Drive, all your data can be safely stored in the cloud. You no longer have to worry about saving files or documents locally or have to deal with lost data when a computer fails or crashes. This data is safely stored and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.Two-Step authentication – G Suite allows for two-step verification to ensure that the person connecting to your network has verified their authenticity, with both their phone and email handle. This keeps your company safe and secure from breaches or hackers. Is it time to get your business professional tools from G Suite? G Suite tools are the solution for many businesses, as it complements a wide range of needs, while continuing to innovate upon its software. From better collaboration, linking your professional email to Gmail’s platform, unlimited storage, to the various other features offered by G Suite, there’s a clear reason why its in the top two office suites on the market. You can’t go wrong with a service of this caliber, especially one offered at an affordable price point. Domain.com makes it easy to add G Suite for Business to your domain name. The post What is G Suite? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Design and Create The Right Business Logo For Your Audience

What makes your business memorable? Is it your catchy slogan or witty business name? How about your logo? What’s that, you say? You don’t have a logo?! Not having a logo is detrimental to your business. Now that you have a domain name and website it’s essential you design a logo. Photo courtesy of Merriam-Webster. Stop and think about some of the biggest businesses you know: Starbucks, Walmart, Nike. They all take great care in their logos. At a glance, these logos bring the business top of mind; if golden arches against a red background make you salivate, you’re not alone. Memorable logos aren’t strictly the purview of big business — your small business or side hustle can create one too! Let’s take a look at three things to keep in mind when designing your logo. Online success starts with a great domain. Find one for your side hustle at Domain.com. Color influences perception Choosing the correct colors for your logo is imperative. Various colors evoke different emotions, and you can leverage those to your advantage. What are some common connotations that different colors have? Yellow is associated with happiness, green with health and nature, and purple with royalty. Not all colors work with all types of businesses. If you’ve been stressed and want a soothing, relaxing spa to while away an afternoon, which one will you visit: the spa whose logo is composed of calming greens and blues, or one whose electric, neon-colored logo looks like Rainbow Brite got sick all over it? It helps to ask your friends or family for input on your logo’s colors. How do the colors make them feel? What do they think of when seeing those colors? Use their feedback to refine your choices. You can also refer to this handy infographic courtesy of FastCompany. Size matters in logo design Your logo should always be featured on your website, marketing communications, and other advertising. Be mindful of your logo size and complexity, as not all of your advertising takes place on a giant billboard. If all your advertisements were that size it’d make sense to create an intricate, hyper-detailed logo, but that likely isn’t the case. Your logo should be distinctive and maintain clarity when displayed on small phone screens, business cards, pamphlets, or wherever else you may advertise. Choose your typography carefully Just as with color, different fonts are associated with different emotions and business types. Think about a soft, rounded, swooping script. Would you expect to find that sort of typography used by an edgy, street-wise graphic designer? Probably not. In fact, Wichita State University did a study to determine if different fonts were associated with emotions or personalities, and scripted fonts were perceived as being feminine and casual. Before you decide on a font, consider doing some sleuthing. Are your competitors all using a similar font type? It may be a good idea to choose a like font, as your audience may have already created an association between that font type and your industry. Creating a good logo takes more than a cute design When creating a logo for your new website and business, keep these tips in mind. Color, size, and type are three indispensable components of logo design. Don’t get discouraged if it takes you a little while to come up with the perfect logo! After all, it’s one of the first things people think of when they think of your business, so it’s important to take the time to iterate and create something special. Online success starts with a great domain. Find one for your side hustle at Domain.com. The post Design and Create The Right Business Logo For Your Audience appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How to Start a Business Without a Ton of Money

You’re finally doing it. You’ve decided to start your own business, become your own boss, and break out of the daily grind. But then reality sets in – you have no money to help get your business off the ground. So what now? In any business, money is everything. You want to be prepared for unexpected expenses, issues with getting paid by customers, and anything else that might affect your cash flow. Starting a business with no money isn’t easy, and you’ll face some pretty large challenges as you work your way to success, but it is possible. Here are some ways to turn your big idea into your dream job. Online success starts with a great domain. Find one for your side hustle at Domain.com. Keep your day job You may want to throw caution to the wind, and throw yourself into your true passion, but great things come to those who are patient. The most important thing you can do right now is keep your job. Even though it may not be the most impactful role you could see yourself in, what it does offer is a steady source of business capital. You can even start a side hustle. Using aspects of your developing business as a side job can help you network with all the right people, and make connections in your new industry. If you don’t have a job and you’re considering starting a business with your new free time, bump up getting a new job to the first item on your business checklist. Is a conventional career not for you? That’s fine. Look into getting a flexible role, or a remote position, instead. Start your business using what you know When starting your business, one way to ensure success, and help avoid burnout, is to build your business around the skills, interests, and knowledge you already have. This could be anything people buy, from handmade crafts, to pet sitting, fitness coaching, or even big-ticket items like building custom computers, or restoring vintage cars. Going into business in the same industry as your day job gives you a leg up, since you most likely already know many of the ins and outs of the business. Until your business takes off, it’s wise to figure out where you might be able to save some cash and do most of the tasks yourself. Do you need to build a website? Do you need product photography? Do you need to actually make physical items and build up inventory? While some of these are short-term time investments, remember to budget time and money for other tasks like bookkeeping, taxes, customer support, and anything else that may become a consistent need for your business. If you were unsure about the need to build a website for your new business, the answer is that you absolutely do need one. Take the time to build a website, but also to create social media channels for your brand. Take advantage of free stock photography from websites like Unsplash or Pixabay. If you need product photography, it’s possible to replicate studio-quality product photography with minimal investment using the smartphone you already own. You can also find free photo-editing products, such as GIMP, which helps you get your products ready to sell.When you’re working with a tight business budget, every penny counts. Tell everyone who may be interested in your business If you’re starting a business, think about who you already know who can help you get the word out. Reach out to your friends, family, and even social media and networking groups. Remember to do this in a mindful, considerate way – your new business’ reputation now depends on it. You want your social network to be just as excited and positive about your business as you. Don’t pressure anyone to spend their precious time or cash unless there’s a valuable return for them. Your networking ability is your most powerful asset at this juncture of your business, especially if you’re targeting local customers. Be kind to them. This is your opportunity to get free feedback as well, such as if a product you created wore out too quickly, didn’t operate as expected, or had issues with shipping. Your social connections are more likely to be gentler about these issues since they know you, and they’re doing you a huge favor by letting you know about these problems so you can correct them. Speaking of your social network, if you don’t already have social media, now’s the time to take the plunge. Create profiles on the top five sites: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube. Social media allows you to control the image of your business, advertise new products, and engage with existing or potential customers. These sites also come in handy when it’s time to invest in paid social media. While it’s important to sell products and services on your own website, small business owners can also benefit from selling on Etsy, Amazon, Craigslist, or in local or interest-based Facebook sale groups. Once you have some visibility, marketing materials, and business cards, it’s time to network with other local businesses and see where you might be able to make some connections or referrals for free. If you’re opening a bed and breakfast, see if there are souvenir or gift shops in your area, and ask to leave some brochures. If you’re offering fitness classes, consider where people who are looking to get fit might shop – this could be as simple as leaving your card or flyer on a bulletin board at your local health-oriented grocery store. Try to figure out where your target customers might go before, or after, they make a purchase from you. You can also work with local media, business organizations, or community events. Figure out your actual costs Do you know the essential costs for your business? It may be more (or less) than you think. Now that you have a solid plan for your business, you need to figure out the running costs required to maintain your business. As a small business owner, you may be able to write off expenses at tax time, but you’ll still need to be prepared to pay them upfront. This may also change as your business plans change – if you started as a personal trainer traveling to the homes of your clients, but now want to channel your passion into starting a gym, you need a physical space. If your products are selling online, you don’t need a storefront – unless all your customers are local, or you live in an area that’s popular with tourists. As you ramp up your business, the cost of equipment, tools, or materials grows too. See where you can rent these items, buy them used at a steep discount, or buy them wholesale. Lean into your network of friendly business to learn ways to save money. Budgeting tip: If that sounds like a whole lot of math that you’re completely unprepared for, check out this free course in Accounting created by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Pay attention to your returns on investment If you need to generate cash flow quickly, focus on selling items or services with a high return on investment (ROI). This means your investment in the product is minimum, but the revenue you receive from each sale is maximized. Doing this might be harder in some businesses, but almost all businesses can find something to offer at a high ROI. For example, bath bombs for your spa business, or a fitness guide for your gym, can both be created quickly, but sold over and over again. Apps are another example, as digital items can be a huge source of revenue. If you create your own products, see if you can find materials of equal quality that are available in bulk, or research other ways to swap out your monetary investment for a time investment. A baker might make their own custom sprinkles, a gym owner might paint their own location, or an accountant might prepare their own spreadsheets and formulas. These are also examples of using what you know to help build your business. Borrow the money you need to get started There’s no reason to scale up quickly. unless you’re committed and are ready for it to work. If these tips have helped your business grow at a steady clip, it may be best to keep a bootstrap mindest, using revenue to grow your business, rather than an outside investment. Still, sometimes you need capital to reach the next phase in your business growth. You determine the metrics of your success, but some small businesses do have the potential to become big, and for that to happen your business needs to keep growing. At a certain point, it may become clear that your business can’t possibly grow without an influx of cash. If you want to jumpstart your business, and you’re ready to take the risk, it might be time to consider getting a small business loan. Before approaching a bank or lender, make sure to read reviews from other business owners who have worked with them. This should also be your last option. First, you need to have a solid business plan, a steady customer base, and steady revenue. Then you have a shot at getting approved for that loan. If you want to avoid a loan, consider approaching potential investors, or borrowing the money from your own savings. Your family may have seen the potential of your business, and may want to contribute to help you get to the next level. Be cautious. Loans, and dipping into savings, whether you own or your family’s, comes with a risk. Be careful not to overextend your business. Big things have small beginnings Did you know that some of the most wildly successful businesses went through the exact same growing pains your business is experiencing? Whole Foods, Nike, Apple, and Disney are some of the most well-known companies with small business roots. The founders of Whole Foods, John Mackey and Rene Lawson, actually lived in their first store when times were tough. Their seed money came from friends and relatives. In 2017, Amazon acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. The founders of Nike, Philip Knight and Bill Bowerman, started out by selling shoes from the trunk of their car. Today, Nike’s net worth is $126.4 billion. Disney was started in a garage. Today, Disney’s net worth is over $110 billion. Still don’t believe us? All of these businesses started with almost nothing: Dell – worth $90 billionHewlett-Packard – worth $57.9 billion Harley Davidson – worth $5.66 billion Mattel – worth $4.29 billion Yankee Candle – worth $1.75 billion (2013) You’re not alone in this All of this sounds like a lot of hard work, and it’s okay to be nervous as your new business takes its first steps, but stay optimistic. The potential growth of your new business, and the new challenges you’ll face, can also help you grow. Start working for yourself, make your own rules, and build a legacy that lasts. No matter what kind of business you’re starting, these tips can help you get enough money together to get started towards your goals. Online success starts with a great domain. Find one for your side hustle at Domain.com. The post How to Start a Business Without a Ton of Money appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How to Build a Network and Find Customers by Being Social

“Build it, and [they] will come.” Unless your name is Kevin Costner, or you’re some other 90s movie heartthrob, or you have a Hollywood budget, then stop right there — that’s not how you draw in your audience. “But I just finished building a shiny, new website and listed all my inventory for sale.” That’s great! It really is! We’re not here to rain on any parades, but we are here to help you do more business now that you’ve got the perfect domain name and your site is up and running. To do more business, you need to find the customers or clients interested in what you’re selling. Where are they? Let’s look at two different approaches to finding your ideal audience so you can turn them into your newest customers. It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. The right social media channel for your business Everyone you know, or could hope to know, is on social media. Except that one guy who decided to move off-the-grid after college. Obviously, this means you should join every single social media network there is, and blast the details of your new site, new products, and, of course, share pictures of yesterday’s lunch. Right? Please don’t do that. Your audience is on social media, that much is true, but they’re not on every single network so you don’t have to be either. Are you launching a new blog or ecommerce site? Consider using Pinterest where you can create and share pins that link to your site’s posts or products. The more your pins are shared, the greater your audience will grow. Pinterest works as a “visual discovery engine for finding ideas,” so make your pins look good. If you’re not a professional designer, don’t panic! There are many free tools like Canva or Unsplash that can fuel your creativity and make creating pins a breeze. If you’re selling products, or have a lifestyle brand, Instagram is a no-brainer. Be there, and be square (no, really, square images at 1080×1080 pixels look best on the platform, even though they’ve recently opened it up for vertical and horizontal images as well). To find your audience, investigate relevant hashtags, and incorporate them into your posts when applicable. If you’re still calling “#” the pound symbol, it’s probably time to upgrade from rotary to smartphone. Instagram tip: Describe your image, or share your story in the caption, but try posting your hashtags in a separate comment. It can influence the algorithm behind the platform and boost your post’s visibility, since posts with engagement (i.e. that comment on your post that’s full of hashtags) perform better. A social media search engine for finding customers What’s your favorite search engine: Google? DuckDuckGo? Mine is Twitter. If you’re searching for a passionate audience, look to Twitter. Most people search Twitter using hashtags, usernames, or keywords, but it’s capable of so much more. Let’s say you’re opening a local microbrewery, and you’re looking for customers. Search Twitter with an advanced search for people talking about beer in your geographic area using Boolean operators. If they’re already talking about your niche, the likelihood of them talking about your site or store goes up! Boolean operators are simple words and symbols that help to vastly improve your search results. If your search for local beer drinkers is turning up lots of local root beer drinkers, you may want to search “beer -root” (beer MINUS root) to better cater your results. Here’s a handy cheat-sheet including that operator and more. You should spend some time on each social network to find out where your audience is, but don’t invest all your time going hog-wild on each and every social network. Once you’ve identified where your online audience is, invest in those networks. What did people do to find customers before social media? Was it even possible?! Yes. Of course it was. In fact, it still is. Find your network offline If you haven’t looked into your local chamber of commerce, now is the time to start. You, your site, and your business don’t exist in a silo, and your local chamber of commerce can help you build connections to network in your community. Talk to other chamber members to discuss what has and hasn’t worked for their business. You can find a mentor and learn what sort of advertising works best in your area. Talking to other local business owners gives you an advantage that is harder to come by on social media: local word-of-mouth. According to research done by the team at Convince and Convert, Americans value word of mouth recommendations from friends and family a whopping 41% more than social media recommendations. By building relationships with other local entrepreneurs you can find opportunities for joint ventures, and when one of their customers has a need they can’t address, they can refer them to you. Build a network of the right customers and fellow entrepreneurs Identifying your audience doesn’t have to be a solo task, use the power of community to help. Establish your business on the right social media channel, use it to find customers, and expand your reach into the audiences of other businesses by networking offline. What other tips and tricks do you have to help identify audiences and prospective customers? We’d love to hear them, and we’re sure other entrepreneurs and side-hustlers would, too. Let us know in the comments! It all starts with the right domain. Get yours today at Domain.com. The post How to Build a Network and Find Customers by Being Social appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

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