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Exciting New Domain Name Extensions in 2014!

Some big changes are about to hit the way we use domain names: hundreds of new domain name extensions will become available during 2014!

New Domain Name Extensions
The governing body which regulates the Domain Name System (ICANN) has approved the introduction of over a thousand brand new domain extensions. This will open many new naming opportunities and will make it easier to find the perfect domain name for your business or project.

Examples of the new domain name extensions which will soon be available for registration include:
.app
.blog
.city
.design
.food
.london
.tech
.web
.wedding
and many, many more!

The choice of domain names will be greatly extended, from the current domain extensions (TLD – Top Level Domains) such are ‘.co.uk’, ‘.com.’ ‘.net’, ‘.org’, ‘.biz’, ‘.fr’ etc (which will remain available) to include the new ones (which will be known as gTLDs – Global Top Level Domains).

These new domain name extensions are not immediately available for registration but it is likely a number of these will become officially available for pre-registration in the next few months.
The indications are that the process will provide trademark owners with a minimum of 30 days to register their trademark. After that, the new gTLDs will become available for purchase by anyone.

Information about costs of these new gTLDs hasn’t yet been released but it is thought that they will vary according to desirability – as you would expect!

More Domain Name Extensions News!
Nominet, the governing body for UK domain names, announced early December that from summer 2014, ‘yourdomain.uk’ domain names will be available to register, alongside the existing ‘yourdomain.co.uk’. The definitive launch date will be announced in February 2014.

Existing ‘co.uk’, ‘org.uk’, ‘me.uk ‘etc. domain name owners will be offered first rights to register and buy the equivalent .uk domain name. In cases where there are two domain name owners for the same name such as one who has registered the’ co.uk’ and another the ‘org.uk’, Nominet will be giving first refusal for the new ‘.uk’ domain name to the ‘.co.uk’ registrant.

These changes will provide a much larger choice of domain names and are likely to provide some great marketing opportunities for businesses!

Happy 2014!

 

Tips for naming a new business or project – and finding a Domain Name

Finding a good name for your business or project can be a real challenge. The name you choose will be the first thing people might hear or see about your business and you’ll naturally want the best name you can possibly find! Perhaps you already have some ideas but it’s fair to say that finding a great name usually takes time, lots of brainstorming, lots of sounding out sessions with business partners, friends, family and almost anyone you feel able to ask! Naming anything can be really hard.Here are a few pointers which could help you.

IDEALLY YOU SHOULD AIM FOR A NAME WHICH IS:

  • Memorable
  • Short
  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easy to guess the spelling of if you heard someone say it
  • Available on Facebook and Twitter
  • Without possible trademark conflicts – check trademark conflict
  • Ideally fairly unique, ie not too similar too loads of other names coming up with Google

YOU WILL ALSO NEED TO BEAR IN MIND:

  • The name you choose needs to sound right for your target market/readers/customers – ie who are they most likely to be? Young and trendy or perhaps older and fairly conservative? Fun or serious? Quirky or ‘no-nonsense’ people?
  • It will be useful to check the availability of the corresponding Domain Name on a major TLD like .com, .co.uk or .net. We can check this for you if you need help.
    It’s quite possible that your chosen name has already been registered, so you might have to think of similar alternatives. Your Domain Name does not have to be the same as your business name, but of course, it’s much nicer if it is. Perhaps you can think of a different spelling for your chosen name? In this case, you’ll need to ask yourself whether this misspelling will be acceptable in the context of your target market.
  • Your business/project name does not necessarily need to reflect your business – think of Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook etc… However, you need to think carefully because including a keyword related to your business or project could give you a head-start with Google when it comes to getting your Domain Name for your website.
  • You will also need to think whether the name you choose could be misinterpreted or misunderstood and conjure up something entirely different to what your business or project is about.

GETTING INSPIRED

- These websites could help you get started with creating new words and names:

- Checking prefixes and prepositions to create new words and meanings can also lead to some interesting names – Wikipedia is a useful resource for this:

- It can be useful to jot down all possible names – some may not be good on their own but can become useful when combined with other words at a later stage in your naming process.

- Try to think of related and (not always direct) aspects of your business or project which could make your name relevant and more subtle – this in itself could make it more original and therefore memorable.

BUT DON’T FORGET…

However, it’s worth remembering that although a ‘good’ name is likely to make you feel happy and positive about your new business or project, the success of your new venture is likely to have little to do with its name and will depend much more on your marketing strategies, your approach to business and actually on having a product or service which people want to use and pay for.

Tips for writing Social Media Posts

Social Media communication has its own set of rules. Here are the main ones:

KEEP IT SHORT!

Twitter has a limit of 140 characters and even though Facebook hasn’t got the same restrictions, keeping your message short and punchy is always best.

If you’re finding it difficult at first, write your message, read it again and remove any unnecessary words and ‘fillers’.

USE GOOD ENGLISH

Spelling and grammar are essential to make your business look professional. It’s always worth checking before posting!

START A DIALOGUE

Posts should sound like a dialogue, not like a marketing attempt. You should try to sound personal and engage your followers into a dialogue – when possible, ask for feedback and comments instead of promoting your business. Use a direct style, ask for actions (eg ‘check this video’) or answers (eg ‘what do you think of…’).

FIND YOUR LEVEL AND STICK TO IT!

It’s worth thinking carefully how you want your social media messages to sound. It could be fun and light or serious and informative, whatever suits your business and your style. Once you have adopted a certain ‘voice’, stick to it!

CREATE INTEREST

You can give links to videos, blogs, new events…  new ideas…  Keep your posts lively and interesting and people to check you again!

SEARCH ENGINES

Use keywords in your posts and link to your website to create ‘social links’. However, you should do this in as naturally as possible because overdoing it will make it obvious and will put off people – and search engines !

Starting a new Blog

Adding a Blog to your website is something that every business should consider:

-    A blog enables you to add information without making any changes to your main website or overcrowding it. You can do this yourself: it’s easy to create new posts, there is no need to learn HTML and this is one area of your website which you can maintain and update yourself.

-    A blog is useful for adding fresh and up-to-date information to your website. This shows your website visitors (as well as Google!) that your business is keeping up-to-date with was is going on in your sector of activity. Blogs are recognised by Google (and other search engines) as a rich source of specialist information. Note: A good blog doesn’t try to sell or advertise products or services, it is simply sharing valuable experience and information on a subject. A quality blog with regular posts giving useful information reflects expertise and a sustained interest in your field of activity – this is highly likely to lead your readers to check your website too, and perhaps share and bookmark your Blog!

-    Writing posts about your area of expertise is an excellent way to use keywords related to your business in a natural and informative manner. Your blog could become a useful ‘door’ to your website, drawing in more traffic! Every time you publish a new post, it gives Google another entry point to your main website. This adds to your site visibility.

-    Of course, you can link to your website main pages from your blog, which creates another incoming link – valuable for Google.

DOS AND DONTS!

-    You should aim to add posts regularly (every couple of weeks is a good average – do what I say, don’t do what I do!). You should aim to add new posts at a fairly constant rate. If you need to increase or decrease frequency, try to do this gradually.

-    Your posts must be relevant to your main subject and only give links to relevant areas/pages of your main website.

-    Blogs need to be useful, free information (eg advice and tips). Topics should be related and complementary to your main business website and likely to be of interest to your website visitors. A good post should not feel like an undercover marketing message. It should provide helpful information. People won’t want to read how good your business is, they’re just after what will help them get what they want.

-    Having your blog as part of your website (using your actual domain name) will help increase traffic to your website. If you host your website with Blogger, for instance, this will not be the case.

-    Don’t duplicate contents from your website onto your blog – write on complementary or new aspects of your business or expertise.

Happy Blogging!

About Google’s update of 4th October 2013

Google’s latest update, Penguin 5 (AKA Penguin 2.1) was aimed at removing low quality, spammy sites from the results pages. It specifically targeted low quality links and paid links. It appears to have affected around 1% of Google queries.

If your website was hit by this update, there will be a marked decrease in traffic either from the day of the update or from the next day – check your website statistics.

SEO experts advise that if your website has been affected by this update, the only way to bring its ranking up again is to remove all poor quality links and work at improving the quality of your website information, paying special attention to your external links – your website links MUST be relevant to your business/subject and should aim to give further useful information.

It is worth mentioning that this update was run as a ‘filter’, ie it is not running constantly in contrast with ‘algorithm updates’ which bring permanent changes to Google searches. So, if you need to take some action, do it as soon as you can and you’ll need to wait for the next time Google runs this type of ‘filter’ to see any improvement in your rankings.

We all value finding good quality information on the websites we visit – I hate following poor links which are just a waste of my time, don’t you?! This time again, Google is taking another step towards dropping poor quality/spammy websites from their search results.

Web Design: Making Information Accessible

The primary purpose of a website is to give information. However, if the information isn’t organised logically and labelled clearly, it probably will not get read –  most of us web-users   don’t like wasting time thinking too long deciding where to click next, so the next website in our search could be our next click!

The first step towards achieving a well organised website is to take time and think carefully about all the information we want to give to our website visitors.

The second step is to divide this information into logical chunks, starting with the main sections (pages). When a large amount of information is given, it is appropriate to use an ‘inversed pyramid’ style, ie top-level pages should contain the more general information and link to sub-levels pages giving more extensive information on more specific aspects of the main topic .

Web pages should ideally have a 400-450 word-count, for two reasons:

  1. This is thought a reasonable amount of text to include enough keywords related to the topic of a page so that search engines can index the page.
  2. In most cases, this is enough text to give sufficient information on the more general aspect of a topic. Further/deeper information can then be given by linking to other (sub) pages with more detailed information on specific aspects of the main subject.

Once the bulk of the information has been organised in sections, it is useful to draw a wireframe or diagram to see how all these sections are going to be connected: clear menus are an essential part of any website – a page/section which is difficult to find will not receive many visits!

For more articles and tips about website design, visit Woodham Web Writer’s Clients’ Resources page.