The Domain.com Blog

A Checklist: Website Resolutions for the New Year

It’s January! You know what that means — it’s a new year full of opportunities for you to tackle and achieve success. Yet, it can be tough to decide on a resolution, much less multiple resolutions. Should this be the year you take up yoga or kickboxing? Have you been meaning to get into meditation? If you’re like most of the people we’ve talked to, you’re probably thinking of your resolutions in terms of personal improvement, but don’t stop there. This year, why don’t you resolve to improve your website? The following suggestions for your site can help increase your traffic and lead to more business. 10 Things Every Website Needs 1 – Contact Information You want your customers to trust you. If they don’t, chances are they won’t do business with you. What kind of image are you projecting if you don’t provide any contact information so they can reach out to you with questions? There are many ways to include your information on your site: consider adding it to the footer of each web page, creating a dedicated “Contact Us” page, or creating a pop-up form where people can submit questions. 2 – Security People will be alerted if your website isn’t secure and that leads to a loss in trust. Would you feel comfortable providing your personal or financial information to a site that’s been flagged as “Not Secure”? Websites that don’t have SSL enabled are marked as “Not Secure” across many browsers. If that’s not the first thing you want people to see when they type your domain name into their browser bar, invest in SSL. [Screenshot of unsecure site warning] 3 – Call-to-Actions Attention spans aren’t quite what they used to be. Instead of making site visitors guess and figure out what they need to do on your site, tell them what to do. Want someone to sign up for your email list? Ask them via a signup form. Want them to purchase your goods? Include a “Buy Now” button with your product descriptions. 4 – Domain Name Having the right domain name can make a world of difference for your website and your business. Make sure your domain name is easy to understand and avoid hyphens and creative spellings. If someone were to hear your domain name on the radio and not see it written out, could they make it to your site? If your domain name doesn’t pass the “radio test” consider updating it to something better. 5 – Content Content is essential to websites and the Internet as we know it. If you want to sell your goods, connect with your customers, and rank higher in search engine results then your website needs content. This can include a blog, notices and updates about your business, new product listings, and more.   What makes for good website content? We go into detail on that in this post. 6 – SEO Don’t let the name fool you, search engine optimization isn’t about optimizing search engines at all. SEO is all about optimizing your website so that it appears higher up in search engine results. Wouldn’t it be nice to see your site listed as the first result to a Google query versus having your site stuck on the third page of the results? Our beginner’s guide to SEO is perfect for getting started quickly. 7 – Reliable Hosting If your website is down you’re not doing business. It’s that simple. Don’t settle for a mediocre website host. You can’t afford to take hosting for granted if your business depends on online transactions. Do your research to find the best hosting package and website host for your needs. 8 – Social media How many people do you know of that aren’t on social media? Likely, very few people. Everyone is on social media these days and they’re connecting with brands and businesses through these platforms. Make sure your website includes social media buttons so that your visitors can connect with you after they’ve left your site, ensuring that you stay top of mind. 9 – Mobile Friendly Mobile traffic has increased by 222% in the last 5 years. Mobile internet users outnumber desktop internet users, and this is something you must account for when creating and designing your website. Good website builders offer mobile friendly website templates that you can use and modify to create your site. 10 – Internal Links Internal linking is part of a well-developed SEO strategy, but we thought it was important enough to single out. An internal link connects one page of your domain, or website, with another page of your domain, or site. Internal linking helps with the navigation of your website, gently pointing people to related content. It helps with your page authority and ranking power on search engines, too. If you’ve noticed, we’ve linked other relevant blog posts and website pages throughout this article and that’s what internal linking is all about. The post A Checklist: Website Resolutions for the New Year appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

SSL and HTTPS: A Technical Guide

How does information remain secure when it’s communicated over the Internet? In large part, that’s due to something called Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL. SSL is a technology that keeps internet connections secure. It encrypts and protects sensitive information and data as it’s sent between two systems (like your browser and another website or two servers). SSL stops bad people and bots from reading or changing the information being sent between the systems, like credit card information during an e-commerce transaction. If you have a website or are in charge of the web hosting for your business, you need to understand the importance of data privacy and securing internet connections. As you begin your research, you’ll come across the term “SSL port” and that’s what we’re focusing on today. What is an SSL port? Data can be communicated between systems (like your web browser and your favorite online shopping website) with or without SSL. But the SSL port number is what indicates whether or not your connection is secure. How can I tell if my connection to a website is secure? Look at the URL in the address bar in your browser. You’ll see that the URL starts with one of two things: it’s either HTTP or HTTPS. The HTTPS indicates a secure connection and it uses port number 443. HTTP, an unsecure internet protocol, uses port number 80. What is a port? Whenever you open up your computer to visit a website you’re quite literally docking into the Internet, like a boat would dock at a port. Internet ports are numbered differently to indicate what the ports are used for and what they offer. These ports are called “TCP Ports” and that stands for Transmission Control Protocol. If you’re diving into the world of websites and hosting, it’ll be helpful to know what the most commonly-used ports are and their assignments, or their purpose. How Are TCP Ports Used? TCP is pretty reliable. In order for TCP ports to work, there must be an “anchored connection” between Point A, where the data or request originates, and Point B, where the data or request is being sent. The only way that transmission of data will fail with TCP is if the connection between Points A and B is lost, like if you lost your internet connection. What are the more common TCP Ports? What’s the relationship between HTTPS and SSL? To understand how SSL and HTTPS work together, let’s first go back to the unsecure HTTP. HTTP and HTTPS aren’t that different. In fact, the only difference is that when HTTPS creates and maintains a secure internet connection, it’s doing so with SSL. How do I secure my website with SSL? You want your site visitors and customers to trust you. You want them to have faith in your site and know that the information they’re sharing with you during a purchase is safe and secure. The way to go from HTTP (a visual marker of an unsecure site) to HTTPS (the visual marker of an SSL-secured site) is to install an SSL certificate on your website server. This certificate verifies your site’s identity so that information can be passed securely from your web server to your visitors’ browsers. Is SSL a certificate or a protocol? SSL certificates and HTTPS protocol are two separate things. But together, they make for a mighty secure internet connection. Think of the HTTPS protocol as the physical structure that allows encrypted information to travel securely from point A to point B. SSL certificates are what encrypts the information being shared over that HTTPS structure. However, you must keep in mind that the SSL certificate itself isn’t going to do anything for you. It only works once you’ve configured and set it up on your server.   Isn’t SSL outdated? If you’re researching SSL then you’ve probably come across the term “TLS.” Is it really a new and improved version of SSL? What are we all doing still talking about and using SSL? Don’t worry folks, we’ll explain. TLS stands for Transport Layer Security, and it’s definitely a newer and better version of SSL. However, the term SSL is so well known that it stuck around even after TLS was introduced. So when you purchase SSL you’re in fact purchasing TLS (it’s like SSL plus). What are the differences between TLS and SSL? The original SSL was developed back in the wild & wooly 90s by a company called Netscape (remember them?). TLS isn’t too different, it uses many of the same technologies and protocol, but it’s been updated to withstand the security risks and issues of today’s world. TLS provides stronger encryption, but remember, it’s still referred to as SSL because that’s the more well-known name. Why does my SSL port matter? You need to configure your SSL certificate on your web server to get “HTTPS” to show in your website’s URL in the address bar. This indicates that you’re using an SSL port, which means the connection created between your site and someone’s browser is secure. People are growing evermore distrustful of seeing “HTTP” in their browser and for good reason. With the amount of hacks and data theft happening today, people want to know you’re doing what you can to protect their information. Your SSL port indicates there’s a secure, encrypted connection that will keep their data away from malicious prying eyes. Advantages to using SSL Faster web page loadingHTTPS loads pages faster than HTTP. Who waits around for a webpage to load nowadays when there’s always a competitor around the digital corner whose site might be faster? SEO ImprovementYour site is likely to rank higher in search results if you’re using HTTPS as opposed to HTTP. Stop hackers and bad actors in their tracksSSL encrypts the data transferred back and forth between two systems. Even if these bad people and bots could somehow see the data being transferred, they won’t know what it says. Maintain PCI CompliancePCI Compliance stands for Payment Card Industry Compliance. This is required by all credit card companies when making transactions online to further secure and protect against data and identity theft. Part of the PCI Compliance guidelines are that your site must use HTTPS, which means your SSL certificate needs to be configured on your site before you can accept payments via credit card for purchases. No scary alertsIf you’re using HTTP then chances are your site visitors are receiving notices telling them your website isn’t secure when they land on it. Frankly, this looks bad. It causes them to lose confidence in your site and odds are good they won’t be back. Where can I get SSL for my website? Domain.com offers a variety of different SSL certificates to suit you and your websites’ needs. Only need basic SSL protection so your customers see your site is secure and you improve your Google search rankings? We offer that. Do you have multiple subdomains that need SSL protection? We offer that, too. And what if you have an e-commerce site and require even more protection for your customers’ data? Yeah, we’ve got you covered. All of our SSL offerings come with a warranty ranging from $10K – $1,750,000 USD and a visual indicator that your site is secure. Take a look at our plans and let us know if you have any questions about those, or SSL in general, in the comments.   The post SSL and HTTPS: A Technical Guide appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

Guide to 2020 Social Media Image Sizes

Social media. It’s pretty pervasive. No matter where you look, someone is on their phone checking on their social media — updating friends, posting photos, or shopping via links businesses share. If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur and your business doesn’t have a social media presence, then it’s time to create one. Considering social media is one of the most cost-effective forms of digital marketing, you really don’t have anything to lose. Just as with websites, people want to visit good-looking social media profiles, and that’s where this guide comes in handy. Social Media Image Sizes In our social media image size guide, we’ll be covering what you need to create to run ads on some of the biggest and most popular platforms. Keep in mind that your business doesn’t need to be on each and every existing social media site. You only need to have a presence where your audience and customers are. It may take some trial and error to narrow down what platforms they’re on, but it’s worth the effort. Facebook Social Media Image Sizes Facebook is frequently updating its algorithms and making changes to its platforms. Often times this means tweaks to the way personal and business pages are displayed. Domain.com’s Facebook profile. Facebook Cover Photo Your Facebook cover photo is only going to appear on your page. It won’t be seen throughout Facebook or in other locations. It will display differently on a desktop than it will on a smartphone as Facebook crops cover photos to best fit the devices they’re displayed on. Due to this cropping, keep the focus of your cover photo towards the center of your cover image. Any important details or designs along the borders could risk getting cropped and not displaying on certain devices. 820 x 360 pixels (Facebook recommends 851 x 315 pixels but that’s the absolute minimum you should use. Any less and your photos risk looking distorted.)Cover photos should maintain a 16:9 proportion. Facebook Event Cover Photo Will your business be creating events on Facebook? If so, make sure your event cover photos are sized at 1920 x 1080 pixels. Facebook Profile Photo Your page’s profile photo displays at 170 x 170 pixels on desktop, 128 x 128 pixels on smartphones, and even smaller on feature phones. Your profile photo will appear cropped into a circle. We use a 400 x 400 pixel image for our profile photo and recommend you do the same. Instead of uploading a JPG try uploading a PNG for your photo. This ensures a better quality photo that won’t look pixelated or stretched. Facebook Photos Shared in Posts Facebook posts with images get a 37% engagement rate on average whereas posts with only text receive about 27%. Sharing a link with a photo? That image should be 1200 x 630 pixels. (This size is also perfect for Twitter and LinkedIn!) Facebook Stories Facebook Stories take up the entire display on mobile devices. Images should be maintain a 16×9 ratio. Images should be optimized for Stories at 1080 x 1920 pixels. Twitter Social Media Image Sizes Twitter updated most of its image sizes in 2017 and changed the aspect ratio of its header image (similar to Facebook’s cover photo, it’s the image at the top of your profile) in 2019. Domain.com’s Twitter profile. Twitter Header Image Size Twitter recommends uploading a header image at 1500 x 500 pixels.  Uploading a vector-based or line art image? Use a GIF or PNG file. Uploading a photo? Use a JPG or PNG file (although we recommend always using PNG.)Although Twitter says that your header image will be cropped into a 2×1 aspect ratio on mobile devices, that no longer seems to be the case as of summer 2019. Now, images still display at a 3:1 ratio whether on mobile or desktop. Twitter Profile Photo Your profile picture should be 400 x 400 pixels and it may be resized to fit. Profile photos display in a circular shape, so make sure to center your image on a larger background if you’re afraid of important details getting cropped out. Twitter Images Shared in Posts When sharing posts or links with a single image or GIF, Twitter recommends that they are a minimum of 600 x 355 pixels. However, if you want your image to be optimized when people click on it for a larger view, and still look good in your feed, we recommend 1200 x 630 pixels. Twitter Advertising Creative Specifications You can create and share a variety of types of tweets if you’re doing paid advertisements on Twitter. Here’s a link to their creative specifications page for advertisers so you can see your options and find the correct dimensions and specs for your images, GIFs, and videos. Instagram Social Media Image Sizes Instagram is a visual platform that’s great for connecting with your customers and followers. It was created as a photo-sharing app and was purchased by Facebook in 2012. Domain.com’s Instagram profile. Instagram Profile Image Size Profile images on Instagram display at small sizes. On desktop, they display at 152 pixels. On mobile, they display at 110 pixels.We recommend uploading a larger image of 400 x 400 pixels to avoid any issues with quality and so you can ensure nothing important gets cropped out of your photo. Instagram Shared Photo Size Instagram images aren’t restricted to squares anymore, but keep in mind that they will be cropped into squares when shown on your profile. Square images should have a 1:1 aspect ratio and be uploaded at 1080 x 1080 pixels. For horizontal, or landscape images, upload photos at 1080 x 566 pixels.For vertical, or portrait images, upload photos at 1080 x 1350 pixels. Instagram Stories Photo Size Images and photos uploaded to your story should be 1080 x 1920 pixels. People using phones with larger mobile displays may see cropped images, in which case, try uploading them at 1080 x 2340 pixels. Pinterest Social Media Image Sizes Pinterest is an image based social media platform. It inspires people to try new things and get creative with their ideas. Many businesses see good results from sharing their products and services on Pinterest, and by using it to connect with their audience and customers. Domain.com’s Pinterest profile. Pinterest Profile Image Size Your Pinterest profile photo displays at 180 x 180 pixels. You can do that or go a little larger, like 400 x 400 pixels, to make sure it’s good quality and doesn’t get overly cropped. Pinterest Board Cover Image Size Unlike most pins, board cover images are square. They should be at least 340 x 340 pixels, but we recommend going larger at 600 x 600 pixels. Pinterest Shared Pins Image Size Pinterest recommends creating pins using images in one of three sizes:600 x 600 pixels, 1:1 aspect ratio.600 x 900 pixels, 1:1.5 aspect ratio (according to Pinterest, this is the optimal size.)600 x 1250 pixels, 1:2.1 aspect ratio.When someone clicks on your pin it’ll display no wider than 564 pixels. Pinterest Profile Cover Image Size Some business profiles can now edit their Pinterest profile covers.This feature hasn’t rolled out to everyone yet, but keep your eyes peeled for future updates.Cover images should fit the 16:9 aspect ratio, or 1920 x 1080 pixels. LinkedIn Social Media Image Sizes Once upon a time, businesses primarily used LinkedIn as an HR and recruiting tool. Nowadays, the platform has grown into so much more. You can use LinkedIn to build your personal and business brands, create and raise awareness, and leverage the power of your connections. Muttville Senior Dog Rescue’s LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn Personal Profile Image Size LinkedIn recommends uploading an image between 400 x 400 pixels and 7680 x 4320 pixels. Images cannot be greater than 8MB.You can adjust your photo after it’s been uploaded. LinkedIn Personal Profile Background Image Size Background photos appear behind your profile photo. Don’t put any important details or design elements in the bottom left corner of your image as they’ll likely be covered by your profile picture. Recommended size is 1584 x 396 pixels.Files can’t be larger than 8 MB. LinkedIn Company Page Logo Image Size If you’re uploading your logo to your business page, make sure it’s sized at 300 x 300 pixels. LinkedIn Company Page Cover Image Size The minimum size that LinkedIn allows for a page’s cover photo is 1192 x 220 pixels, although they recommend uploading an image at 1536 x 768 pixels. LinkedIn Shared Image Size If you’re only sharing an image(s) to your personal or company page, make sure it’s sized at 1104 x 736 pixels. LinkedIn Shared Image with Link Size If you’re sharing a link with an attached image, then upload the image(s) at 1200 x 628 pixels. Snapchat Social Media Image Sizes Is a younger demographic part of your target audience? Hootsuite reports that as of 2018, around 71% of Snapchat users were under 34 years old. With around 188 million daily active users, Snapchat (rebranded as Snap in 2016) could be the perfect social media platform for you. You’ll need to create a Business Account only if you plan on using Snap’s advertising features. Snapchat Profile Image Size Unlike other social media platforms, Snapchat doesn’t allow you to upload your own profile picture. In the past you could upload a GIF, but now you must use Bitmoji. Snapchat Shared Image Size Images shared on Snapchat should be 1080 x 1920 pixels. YouTube Social Media Image Sizes If you plan on doing any sort of video marketing for your business or side hustle, then YouTube is the place to be. 2 billion people across the globe use and log into YouTube on a monthly basis, and it’s the most popular social media platform in the United States. In fact, 73% of U.S. based adults use YouTube. Domain.com’s YouTube profile. YouTube Channel Profile Image Size Although your channel’s profile picture only displays at 98 x 98 pixels, it should be uploaded much larger. We recommend using an 800 x 800 pixel image. Profile images display as circles, so the larger image means important details are less likely to be cropped out. You can upload JPG, GIF, BMP, or PNG files. YouTube Channel Cover Image Size Since people can access YouTube from so many different devices it’s important that your photo be optimized to display as nicely as possible.The largest your cover image can display is on a desktop at 2560 x 423 pixels. However, the smallest it displays is on a mobile device at 1546 x 423 pixels. Keep the focus of your image within the 1546 x 423 pixel area so it isn’t cropped out on mobile devices. This is the “safe zone.” YouTube Video Uploads Size Videos need to maintain a 16:9 aspect ratio when uploaded to YouTube.For your video to be considered HD it needs to be at least 1280 x 720 pixels. Create and Optimize Your Business Social Media Profiles Your audience is on social media, are you ready to find and connect with them? When creating your social media profiles, try to keep your usernames the same or as close to your domain name as possible. This helps carry your branding and name recognition from your website to the rest of your digital presence. We hope this guide for 2020 social media image sizes helps you optimize your social media profiles so your business is represented in the best light possible. Are there any social media platforms that weren’t included in this list that you’d like to see? Let us know in the comments! The post Guide to 2020 Social Media Image Sizes appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

What Are Smart Goals and Are They Effective?

What is it you’d like to accomplish in the new year? No matter what you’d like to do, creating goals is essential for both personal and professional progress. Goals help you to stay focused and ambitious to succeed, they help you stay motivated and keep your momentum going; and yet, so many people don’t set goals for themselves. Why? Put simply: Many goals are unhelpful from the start. That’s no reason to shy away from setting goals for yourself. The key to setting actionable, achievable goals that you can accomplish and be proud of is to make them S.M.A.R.T. What are smart goals? If you’ve never seen that term before you may be wondering, “What does smart goal stand for?” And that’s a fantastic question. However, let’s first look at the definition for a regular old goal. Business Dictionary defines a goal as “An observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe.” That’s a little vague, and procrastinators the world over know there’s nothing more flexible than a “more or less fixed timeframe.” (Amirite?) Smart goals take these wishy-washy, vague goals and turn them into actionable drivers of progress and results. A smart goal is Specific – clearly defined and identifiedMeasurable – quantifiable, able to be measuredAchievable – doable and realizableRealistic – practical and able to be completedTimely – clearly defined dates and times by which they’re done Why are smart goals effective? When you create a smart goal and use the parameters above to define it, you’re outlining a detailed path to success. Smart goals force you to think practically and realistically, and break down your lofty ideas into achievable action plans. They encourage you to focus your efforts on using your time wisely, and that’s something just about anyone can benefit from. What is a smart goal example? You didn’t think we were going to leave you hanging without an example or two of smart goals, did you? Let’s set the stage with a regular, open-ended goal (the type you’re likely used to seeing) and turn that into a smart goal. Francesca, an entrepreneur and blogger, decides that her goal is to finally give her blog and website the refresh it’s long needed. She’s hoping that by giving her site a facelift, she’ll be able to increase the time people stay on her blog and also increase the number of purchases they’ll make through her sponsored links and ads.   But where’s the accountability in that goal? Where’s the timeliness and measurability? There’s nothing in a vague goal like “refresh my site and blog” that sets parameters to help you achieve it. Let’s dive into how we can turn this large, indefinite goal into smaller smart goals that are easier to achieve.     How can we make the goal specific? What does “website refresh” encompass? Updating images and logos Updating social media links in the footerImproving the checkout processMaking contact information easy to find Changing blog layout How can we make the goal measurable? Include things in your goal that can be quantified. Here’s what we mean: Bad: Update images and logos on my website. Good: Update 5 images on my website every day and update my logo. You can measure whether or not you achieve that goal because you’ll know whether or not you actually updated 5 images per day. How can we make the goal achievable? How do you make sure your goal is doable? It’s time to revisit Francesca. What you may not know about her is that for her day job she’s an EMT and works crazy hours. Her technical know-how is limited, she’s not using a website builder to take the stress out of website creation, and she outsourced building her site to begin with. Is updating her website doable right now? Probably not. Let’s make it doable by including an element like: Switch to using a website builder. Website builders, like Domain.com’s, provide drag and drop elements to make edits and modifications to your site a breeze. They make a seemingly difficult task like “updating a website” very doable for those of us who don’t have a 4-year degree in computer coding and programming. How can we make the goal realistic? To make a goal realistic, consider setting time aside for it on a regular basis. “Update my site” is a lofty goal for someone who is busy and doesn’t have experience with coding websites. Switching to the website builder makes Francesca’s goal more achievable, but realistically, she needs to set time aside to do it. Here’s what she could add to her goal to make it just a little smarter: Set aside 30 minutes per week to work on the site. How can we make the goal timely? Francesca thinks that by saying she’ll update her site “in the new year” she’s being timely. But a year encompasses 12 months and that’s a lot of time to push off the task of updating a site. She can make her goal timely by giving herself concrete deadlines, like this: Update the contact information on my about page by the end of January. Putting the smart goal together. Ok, we’ve gone through all the elements of a smart goal and we’re ready to put them together to see what a smart goal looks like compared to a general goal. Original goal: Update website in the new year. Better, smart(er) goals: Set aside 30 minutes each week to update the contact information on my site to be completed by end of January. Using a website builder, dedicate 30 minutes each week to updating the images and logos on my site and to be completed by end of February. Smart goals keep you accountable. Smart goals don’t leave wiggle room for interpretation or procrastination. They make you think realistically about what’s achievable and what isn’t, and they’re time bound, so you can’t push your goal off until December 31st of next year. Looking for more inspiration to get on track next year? Here are 10 productivity tips to help you succeed. How else do you stay on track and motivated? Let us know in the comments. The post What Are Smart Goals and Are They Effective? appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

10 Productivity Tips to Get Yourself Organized

Did this year get away from you a bit? It’s ok, we’ve all been there. Now that we’re staring the new year in the face, it’s time to sit down and think about how you can be more productive in accomplishing your goals. There are only so many hours in a day, and as a small business owner or entrepreneur, we’re sure you can use every single one of them if not a few more. Let’s look at some popular productivity tips, tricks, and hacks so you can make the most of the upcoming year. Productivity tips for the New Year  Productivity is all about increasing your efficiency in getting things done. How many times have you hastily-scribbled a To-Do List on the back of an old receipt only to find that most of those tasks never get done? There could be a few issues at hand. Are you trying to tackle too much stuff in a day? A week? A month? Before reviewing popular productivity tips and tricks, make sure that you consider the time and resources you have available and how those could affect your plans. Even the most well-laid plans go awry when there isn’t the time or resources to see them through to fruition. Keep in mind that the productivity hack that works best for someone else might not be the best one for you. Maintain an open mind and understand that you may need to try a few tactics before you find what works for you. 10 productivity tips, tricks, and hacks you need to try. 1- Write it down. You’ve heard this before, we know. But if it hasn’t worked for you yet, consider this: You’re probably doing it wrong. The concept of the To-Do List is simple. Think of the tasks you need to accomplish, write them down, and cross them off when done. But that didn’t help when you scrawled your list across the back of scraps of paper, did it? When creating your To-Do List make sure you’re defining the tasks that need to get done with S.M.A.R.T. goals. These goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. By giving yourself S.M.A.R.T. goals and writing out exactly what you hope to accomplish and by when, you’re setting yourself up for success. They also help relieve some of the stress and anxiety you might feel when faced with a large task by breaking it into manageable chunks. The act of handwriting your list instead of typing it out will help you remember what needs to be done. The reason you can more easily remember something you’ve written is because of something called the “Generation Effect.” Thinking through what needs to be done and then generating a list based on those things helps to encode the information in your brain. “Encoding is the biological process by which the things we perceive travel to our brain’s hippocampus where they’re analyzed.” And that helps us humans remember our responsibilities. So write down what needs to get done, or risk forgetting your important tasks and brightest ideas. 2- Eat Your Frogs. Start the list (and your day) with your largest, most cumbersome tasks. If you put off the large tasks until the end of the day, odds are good you won’t get around to accomplishing them. Humans have a tendency to procrastinate, so get to the big tasks first instead of putting them off. Brian Tracy, an accomplished professional speaker, touches on this in his book, “Eat That Frog!” The title stems from a Mark Twain quote, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” What he’s really telling us is that if you get your biggest, most uncomfortable tasks done first then you can have the satisfaction of knowing they’re done the rest of the day. 3- Batch and break. Working non-stop for hours on end day in and day out is a great recipe for burnout. “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” So what can you do to avoid burnout and maintain your productivity levels? Batch and break. Group your routine tasks together and knock them off your To-Do List one after another. These could be tasks like checking and responding to emails or returning customer phone calls. Don’t waste time you don’t have by spreading these tasks throughout the day. Lump them together and get them done at once so you can move on to your other responsibilities that require more focus and thought. After you’ve finished a batch of tasks, take a break. By giving your brain and body a brief respite, you’re mentally preparing yourself to tackle the next thing on your list and you’re reducing your chances of getting burnt out. 4- There’s an app for that. Need to increase your productivity but can’t stay away from your cell phone? It’s ok, we understand the pull of technology. If you must keep your phone by you as you tackle your To-Do List, try putting it to work in your favor. Many apps exist for the sole purpose of helping to increase your productivity levels. They range from digital list makers to project management tools to social media publishing tools. Need some help staying focused while working on your tasks? Try an app based on the Pomodoro Technique. “The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method … [that] uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.” Some of these apps are complex and offer additional features, or you can use something like the Bear Focus Timer, a simple app to help you concentrate and stay focused. 5- Join the cloud. Is it distracting when you have to bounce from one program or software to another? Check your email here, write documents and blog posts there, and track inventory somewhere else entirely. While they’re not technically apps, G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 offer cloud-based solutions to help you stay on track. From a professional email address that matches your domain name to online meeting solutions, you can find what you need to take your productivity to the next level. 6- Turn off notifications. You might think that a minute here and a minute there don’t amount to much, but they really do add up. If you must have your phone accessible while you work then turn off all non-essential notifications. By turning off the notifications, you’ll remove the temptation to check them every time you see one. 7- The Eisenhower Method How do you decide what tasks are more important or urgent than others? If you’re struggling to determine what needs to be prioritized, try using the Eisenhower Method, designed by former U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower. “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower An example of how to identify your important and urgent tasks based on the Eisenhower method. 8- Learn to say “No.” “No” is a powerful word. You may not be comfortable saying no to tasks and requests, but you’ll never get it all done if you say yes to everything. Say no to distractions. Say no to non-urgent and unimportant requests. Say no to unnecessary meetings. Say no to preserve your sanity and leave time for your most important tasks and responsibilities. 9- Stop multitasking. Do you think you’re good at multitasking? Research says probably not. When you think you’re “multitasking” you’re likely just switching between tasks quickly, like checking your email and attending to a webinar. Odds are good that when you’re focused on one you aren’t truly attending to the other. David Strayer, PhD, is a professor of Cognition and Neural Science at the University of Utah; his research indicates that only 2% of the world’s population can truly multitask. These folks are called “supertaskers” and “the supertaskers are true outliers.“ 10- Fuel up appropriately. Everyone knows that sugar will give you a rush. That rush feels good as it happens, but everyone also knows that what follows is a crash. Instead of relying on sugary food and drink to give you quick but ineffective bursts of energy, try eating a balanced, healthy diet. Instead of energy drinks and candy, try a healthy meal. The Harvard Business Review writes that “Not all foods are processed by our bodies at the same rate. Some foods, like pasta, bread, cereal and soda, release their glucose quickly, leading to a burst of energy followed by a slump. Others, like high fat meals (think cheeseburgers and BLTs) provide more sustained energy, but require our digestive system to work harder, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and making us groggy.” Get productive and stay productive in the new year.  We have faith that you’re going to accomplish what it is you set out to accomplish this year. Whether you’re starting your online presence by getting a domain name and website, to taking your business to the next level, all your goals will be easier to achieve when you’re productive. Remember, write down what you need to get done and don’t be vague about it. Batch similar tasks and take breaks after they’re complete or at regular intervals. And instead of letting technology distract you from your tasks, use it to your advantage. What other productivity tips and tricks do you rely on? Share them with us in the comments! The post 10 Productivity Tips to Get Yourself Organized appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How Domain Names Play a Role in Voice Search

Are you ready for what it takes to survive in a voice-first world? With a few smart and effective strategies, you can manage to boost your website’s rank in the new era of voice searches. Domain Names and Voice Search Search engines are evolving at a constant pace making their user experience as simple and hassle-free as possible. The introduction of voice search has, in many cases, eliminated the need to type your queries. Every phone and computer is now powered by a voice assistant (such as Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and more). The presence of voice-first devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are now highly common. Voice search is all set to be the next big thing, and for good reason. Conducting a search through voice takes a lot less time than typing out a query and it even offers faster results. A user doesn’t even need to look at the phone or the device in order to get the answer. A revolution in the way people use search engines also requires a revamp of SEO strategies. Since users are asking questions differently, experts need to find better ways to be able to give what search engines will see as the best possible answer. Apart from SEO, there’s also a need for Voice Engine Optimization. What is Voice Engine Optimization (VEO)? Voice Engine Optimization is essentially the process of optimizing your webpage content, business listings, and brand information in order to improve your ranking in the search results. VEO is, in a lot of ways, similar to SEO. Users are widely using search engines to find on-the-go answers for everything from “Best restaurants that serve sushi” to “Will there be snow tomorrow?”. You may think that it’s too early to get into voice search but this is the perfect time to prepare for it. In fact, the sooner you get your VEO right, the better its benefits will be for your business. How can voice search benefit your business? Voice search optimization is a phenomenal way for small and medium businesses to attract potential customers to their website. This is especially true for local businesses. The more you strengthen your brand presence locally, the better you’ll fare in voice search. A lot of voice search queries are local such as “Where can I get the best burrito in Los Angeles?” Or “Best hair salons near Sunset Boulevard.” Therefore, highlighting the details of your local business such as the location, office hours, pictures, etc. can help increase the number of visits to your local store, office or working space. By properly implementing voice engine optimization, both B2B and B2C businesses can enjoy a variety of business benefits. Some of those are: ●      More website traffic. ●      Better brand awareness and visibility. ●      More foot traffic to your stores. ●      Stronger, more relevant connection with the users. ●      Enhanced user engagement. ●      Better chances of conversion and sales. How can your domain name help you win at voice search? A meaningful keyword-rich domain name can go a long way in ensuring that you win at voice search. Mentioned below are a few tips that can help you get the right domain name that is a perfect fit for this new search era. 1. Get voice-search-friendly domain names The right domain name can be a huge aid in performing well in voice search results. A domain name that is clear in its intent and incorporates the right keywords can enhance the chances of your website being picked up by the voice search assistant. To ensure you have the most voice search-friendly domain name, ensure it has the following characteristics: ●      It is short and simple. ●      It is devoid of hyphens, numbers, or creative and incorrect spellings. ●      It is keyword-rich. For example, let’s assume someone wants to visit your website. Between www.gothicskullz-stuff.com and www.gothicstuff.store, which website do you think will be more easily comprehended by a voice search assistant? A domain name can be your secret weapon in fighting the competition and ranking well in voice search. In fact, the use of new domain extensions such as .tech, .store, .online, .space, and more is on the rise and for good reason. They help optimize your domain name voice search. 2. Use natural speech patterns Text based searches are very different from voice searches. When people type their search query, they prefer to use as few words as possible. However, when they use voice search, they will phrase their query as if they were asking another person. Let’s imagine that you’re using voice search to look for websites that sell Batman posters. Here, a domain name such as www.batmanposters.online has a stronger chance to beat the other competing websites. That’s the benefit of having keyword-rich domain names. Just remember, instead of only using single, to-the-point keywords that sound robotic, ensure that the sentences and phrases used on your site and in your content are more conversational. According to a study by Backlinko, Google tends to answer voice search queries with short, 29-word results. This means that it is important that you keep your answers short, simple, and crisp and avoid any super technical jargon. 3. Optimize for local searches According to research, 58% of consumers use voice search to find local business information. Just think about the number of times you’ve searched for things that include the words “near me”. While the content on your website plays a crucial role in optimizing for local searches, your domain name can also be of great help. Domain names such as www.miamioxfordshirts.store or www.floridatacos.online are direct and to the point; they’re optimized for city-based voice search queries such as “Order tacos in Florida” or “Buy oxford shirts in Miami”. Localized searches are no longer just about the city or state, but also about particular neighborhoods or localities. Local businesses would do well to factor this into their decision making process when choosing a domain name. For example, www.queensapparel.store is a good, local VEO-optimized domain name for anyone looking for apparel in Queens, New York. With relevant domain extensions such as .store, .tech, .online, .press, and others, you can pick a short and definitive name that clearly highlights the nature of your business and where you are located. A relevant domain name coupled with your business listings on search engines will make it easier for customers to find you. Conclusion In many ways, the era of voice search is already upon us. Marketers, business owners, and entrepreneurs must identify this enormous opportunity to power such searches and take the necessary steps to optimize their content for a voice-first future. Author profile and bio: https://radix.press/alishabio The post How Domain Names Play a Role in Voice Search appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

A Guide to Your Domain.com Control Panel

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

3 Ways to Make Your Website Festive this Holiday Season

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

Website Hosting for the Holidays

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

How to Create a Holiday Marketing Plan

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

How to Build an Email List to Increase Your Online Sales

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

How to Start Selling Goods and Services Online

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

Secure and Protect Your Domain, Website, and Personal Information

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

Should You DIY or Outsource Creating Your Website?

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

How to Create A Website

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

How SiteLock Security Protects and Guards Your Website

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

SSL: How Does it Keep Your Website Secure?

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

Blogging and Email Marketing: A Powerful Duo

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

What Should You Know about Starting a Blog?

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

Blogging for a Living: Earning an Income from Your Blog

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

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