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sm4The key to every site’s success is through good marketing and promotion. Even if you have really good and substantial content on your site, you still need to promote it to avoid getting left behind the competition. In the internet community, the best way to achieve an increase in website traffic and revenue is to take advantage of social media. When used correctly, this tool can provide a platform for brand awareness, exposure, networking, and a huge boost in traffic & sales.

Since there are so many different definitions of social media, let’s clarify what we’re talking about here. Social media are primarily Internet- and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and "building" of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences.

Listening: Gathering intelligence on your market and your customer

  1. Build sentiment measurements – “showing how people feel about a subject and how those feelings are changing over time.” Listen on the web for people talking about your customers.
  2. Research into those bloggers that might care about your customer and their needs.
  3. Build conversation maps for your customers using Technorati.com, Google, Blogsearch, Summize, and FriendFeed.
  4. Search and collect bookmark statistics on social media success stories. Label them “social media stats”.
  5. Scan Summize.com for data listed in Twitter pertaining to your product, your space and your competition.
  6. Use WebsiteGrader.com as the first stop to understanding the SEO dynamics and on-page SEO quality of your website.
  7. Stop by Compete.com to help understand your site’s traffic. Then, compare it to your competitors’.
  8. Don't ask for too much information from your customers when giving away a freebie. Instead, spread it out and collect little bits of info over time.
  9. Track inbound links to your site. When they come from others blogs, be sure to comment on a few posts to develop a relationship with that blogger.
  10. Seek out those in your field and ask their opinions on your social media efforts. This is a great way to network and build relationships.

Talking: Engaging in a two-way discussion to get your message out (and get messages in)

  1. Build blogs and teach techniques for conversational marketing and business relationship building.
  2. Check out Twitter as a way to show a company’s personality. (Don’t fabricate this).
  3. Couple your email newsletter content with additional website content on a blog for improved commenting.
  4. Try out a short series of audio podcasts or video podcasts as content marketing and see how they draw.
  5. Experiment with the value of live video like via YouTube or Facebook on a cell phone.
  6. Don’t forget early social sites like Yahoo groups and Craigslist. They still work remarkably well.
  7. Practice delivering quality content on your blogs, so that customers feel educated, equipped, and informed.
  8. Turn your blog into a mobile blog site with Mofuse.
  9. Ensure you offer the basics on your site, like an email alternative to an RSS subscription. In fact, the more ways you can spread and distribute your content, the better.
  10. Research how NOT to pitch to bloggers. A great source of info: Susan Getgood.
  11. Try your hand at video interviews, video press releases and podcasts to build more intimate relationships.
  12. Use your creative vision (or enlist someone to help you) experiment with different lengths and formats for you video. Is a brief and entertaining video better than a longer but more informative one? Test features in more than one hosting platform, browser, OS, etc.

Energizing: Letting your customers give testimonials on your behalf (viral, word of mouth)

  1. Add social bookmark links to your most important web pages and/or blog posts to improve sharing.
  2. For every video project purchased, ensure there’s an embeddable web version for improved sharing.
  3. Learn how tagging and other metadata improve your ability to search and measure the spread of information. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metadata)
  4. Download the Social Media Press Release (pdf) and see what parts you want to use in your traditional press releases.
  5. Help customers and prospects connect with you on your various networks. Consider a Lijit Wijit or another aggregator widget.
  6. Help spread good tips, articles, solutions for customers; Retweet, Digg, or Bookmark them. Others will thank you.

Supporting: Getting your customers to support each other

  1. Build community platforms around real communities of shared interest.
  2. Help companies participate in existing social networks, and build relationships on their turf.
  3. Experiment with Flickr and/or YouTube groups to build media for specific events.
  4. Start a community group on Facebook or Ning or MySpace or LinkedIn around the space where your customer does business. Good source of information is, Jeremiah Owyang.
  5. Learn what other free tools might work for community building, like MyBlogLog.
  6. Remember that the people on social networks are all people, have likely been there a while, might know each other, and know that you’re new. It’s important to try new territories, but tread gently.
  7. Voting mechanisms like those used on Digg.com show your customers you care about which information is useful to them.

Embracing: Building better products and services through collaboration with clients

  1. Investigate whether your product sells better by recommendation versus education. Use wikis and widgets to help recommend, or use videos and podcasts for education.
  2. Try using the same tools internally that your already using externally and learn how this social media can impact your business.

The bottom line is that you want to have a clear objective, be a valuable resource, and use the social media services in the ways they intend to be used. Anything else will get you filtered out, unfollowed, banned or blacklisted and ultimately be a complete waste of your time.


which social media network is right for my businessSocial networks are a hot topic. With over 70% of consumers using online resources to find what they are looking for, it makes sense to step up your online presence. Many business owners have a website, an email address, and may have even started blogging. Networking is an important step to opening up your true professional potential.

Which site should I use?
What is the goal or problem you are trying to solve? The answer to this question may even mean that you completely change which social networks you take a look at. It may make more sense to create your own social media site or network (check back later for information on how to build your own social network). But for those of you interested in joining the pre-existing ones, here are a few of the more popular SNS, to serve your business well:

Social-Media/Social-Bookmarking Sites

  1. Reddit - Upload stories and articles on reddit to drive traffic to your site or blog. Submit items often so that you'll gain a more loyal following and increase your presence on the site.
  2. Digg - Digg has a huge following online because of its optimum usability. Visitors can submit and browse articles in categories like technology, business, entertainment, sports and more.
  3. Technorati - If you want to increase your blog's readership, consider registering it with Technorati, a network of blogs and writers that lists top stories in categories like Business, Entertainment and Technology.
  4. WikiHow - Create a how-to guide or tutorial on wikiHow to share your company's services with the public for free.

Professional-Networking Sites

  1. LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a popular networking site where alumni, business associates, recent graduates and other professionals connect online.
  2. Facebook - Facebook is no longer just for college kids who want to post their party pics. Businesses vie for advertising opportunities, event promotion and more on this social-networking site.
  3. Xing - An account with networking site Xing can open doors to thousands of companies. Use the professional contact manager to organize your new friends and colleagues, and take advantage of the Business Accelerator application to find experts at the click of a button. Market yourself in a professional context and open up new sales channels.

Image-Based Networking Sites

  1. Pinterest - Pin content from your website and repin others pins! Network by requesting others add to your boards, follow others and comment on pins.
  2. Instagram - If your business can deliver consistenly exciting imagery and content, Instagram will love you!

Set up your profile
Communicating works better when you have a good idea who it is you're talking to. Make it a point to add logos, company information, a bio or “about me” piece that identifies what your company does. Remember, social networking requires dedication. Most people set up a profile and then forget to go back to the site, to add friends, or to make use of it at all. Social networks are effective when you utilize them to the fullest. Your first objective in making your profile work for your business is to add friends; this virtual intro may take a little time but is well worth it if you are looking to grow your network. The second order of business is to use the site as your marketing resource. You should be active in posting blogs, commenting on profiles, and advertising your business.

Now that you know which sites to use, and understand what to do once you set up your site, keep in mind, that if you just jump into an established community with messages about how great you are, it can have exactly the opposite effect of what you’re saying. People inherently trust their peers more than messages from companies, so you’ll need to take the time to understand the community and the people who frequent it.


how-to-blogWith a bit of creative writing, a small business can have big results from a blog. Many of my clients often ask, "What do I blog about?" and to this I have a question for them, "What are they interested in?" Below are other ideas to spark that creative writer hidden within all of us.

What to write about - a mini-brainstorming session

  • Future developments in your industry
  • Newsworthy (industry related) items that affect your clients directly
  • Ways you are incorporating "Green Living" into your life or business (studies show internet buyers are most interested in purchasing/doing business with people who are environmentally conscious).
  • How is your business different from your competitors? Quality? Variety of Services? Price?
  • Articles that address ways your product/service can help/benefit your customers
  • Broadcast sales or promotions
  • Announce new services
  • Share links about your industry, new products in the industry, etc
  • Include photos and descriptions of your [new] products

Just to give you an example: A friend of mine is starting up a business for her husband who does carpentry, building furniture, etc. I told her she should put a blog on her site and received the typical, "Why, what would we write about?" My reply was this. If someone is looking into a reputable carpenter for building furniture, I would want to know more about the furniture, his skills, what makes his furniture of the quality I would want, or how his is different from something I could purchase at IKEA. This definitely was an "ah-hah" moment for the client.

Promoting your blog

    • Post each new blog on your site, then spread the word to Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Here you can create an account and post a link back to your website blog article. Email your friends/contact that you've posted it. They can then vote for it on StumbleUpon, Digg it, Reddit, etc. This gets the visitor to your site to continue reading, to help your SEO.
    • Add an RSS Feed to your articles so readers can stay abreast of new postings.
    • Monitor what people leave for comments too. Comment on their comments. Keep the communication going.
    • eMail (eNewsletter, eVite) Marketing can also be a valuable way to get out informational and educational blog articles out to potential clients. Start the article in your email and link back to your site for them to continue reading.

blog1In times like this many business owners are looking for creative new outlets to attract potential clients. I cannot stress the importance of starting a blog on your website NOW. Reasons for this: It is predicted that 100,000 new blogs are created every day! As they say, “Timing is everything.”

With the popularity of blogs rapidly increasing now is the time to jump on the wagon. This doesn’t mean you have to blog everyday or even have every topic be ground-breaking. What it does mean is that you are getting the information out there to be found and linked to by potential clients. Over time, these links grow exponentially and soon, your site will have many inbound links to it.

A few basics
Albeit tempting to create a blog at a dedicated blogging site like “Wordpress” or “Blogger”, this doesn’t accomplish the same results as having a blog located at your own domain.

Two reasons for this: it will drive more traffic to YOUR website instead of the dedicated blog site, and you will be able to track hits pertaining to what articles they are most interested.

WHY you need a blog
Blogs help you target and attract more of your audience for several reasons:

  • This is another outlet for potential customers that are going to search engines to locate you. You will be providing information based on what your customers are searching/shopping. If they came to your blog, then the must be interested in your product/service, right?
  • Think of a blog and your website as free advertising space. Sure you pay for hosting and the domain (like $60/year!?!), but what a great ROI if the visitors you are attracting are converted into customers.
  • Fresh content helps with your ranking. Frequently updated sites are “crawled” more often and therefore will rank higher. This is seen by search engines as being a worthwhile site with valuable content.
  • Visitors will be more tempted to bookmark your site and return to it if there is worthwhile content. More visits means better ranking in search engines.
  • Blogs allow for 2-way communication that brings a sense of knowing who you are working with.

PART II: How to start a blog


Submit your website to article directories for free publicity The number of online business successes are testimony to the fact that low budget internet marketing campaigns guarantee HIGH exposure at extremely LOW costs. To take advantage of the internet marketing opportunities, you need to use the correct tools to keep costs down. Listing your website on free directories’ is a sure-shot means to guarantee quality traffic!

Is your online business looking to:

  • Drive more quality traffic to your website?
  • Capture visitors as leads?
  • Convert leads into customers?

Try posting your website on these free directories today!

  1. Yahoo: With a Google PR of 9, it is a great place to submit non-commercial sites. [It does not accept commercial sites]
  2. Jayde is a quality link source. They are quick at adding submissions and you have a good chance of getting on getting on a decent listing page too! It is the internet's largest B2B Search Engine and one of the web's oldest business directories. Jayde was founded in 1996. It is an entirely human reviewed directory. According to the site, “The fast growing Jayde may be the most unique search engine on the internet. Are we better than Google? If you are a college student trying to find a research paper on mosquito's in the Amazon, probably not. It may take perusing thousands of search results to find that specific paper and that's not the way Jayde works. However, if you're a sales professional tying to efficiently find contacts within businesses, Jayde is better than Google!”
  3. WorldSiteIndex.com is a search-able web directory of English language sites organized by subject. However, you must note that free submissions are disabled from close of business on Fridays to start of business on Tuesdays.
  4. SoMuch is a SEO friendly free link directory where you can find the best human edited links sorted by topic and category. Their policy is to make it easy for you to find quality sites that aren't just filled with Google AdSense advertisements. They try to add web sites that ultimately have something to offer, and are constantly checking their links to meet that challenge.
  5. Info-Listings are sorted categorically to make it easier for people to find what they are looking for. If you cannot find an appropriate category for your listing, you can e-mail and suggest a new one.
  6. WWW Virtual Library is the oldest catalog of the Web, started by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of HTML and of the Web itself, in 1991 at CERN in Geneva. Unlike commercial catalogs, it is run by a loose confederation of volunteers, who compile pages of key links for particular areas in which they are expert; even though it isn't the biggest index of the Web, the VL pages are widely recognized as being amongst the highest-quality guides to particular sections of the Web.

Website directories are a great way for businesses to promote their websites. They help build back links, increase exposure and traffic too!


how to promote your website locallyFor those clients that need to promote their businesses locally, here are some helpful links and networking ideas to help grow your business and increase sales. The majority of these items are of no cost.

  1. Join your local Chamber of Commerce – generally they have online links back to your site, have networking mixers and are a great source of referrals
  2. Craigslist – have an “image ad” not just text and be sure to include your website link back to your site ALWAYS. Don’t forget one of the most popular sites online, Craigslist allows you to post free classified ads, on location(s) chosen by you.
  3. Yellow pages - just like the Yellow Pages only online so you can increase hits back to your site
  4. Yahoo Local despite Google being the reigning search engine, Yahoo! remains a popular option for its loyal users. Sign up on Yahoo! Local and grab all the free exposure your website can get!
  5. Google Local Maps create an account with Google and use Google Maps or Google Local to ensure that your business shows up in the search results on Google. When Google infuses these results on its page, it increases the value of its local search and maps application.
  6. Merchant Circle, Manta and Alignable are great ways to network locally
  7. Local.com Add your listing to a well traveled site that displays local favorites, reviews, maps, movie listings, and more.
  8. Kijiji free local listings on a site much like Craigslist
  9. White Pages are the same idea as the Yellow Pages but for businesses
  10. Connect with your local Economic Development Corporation. Generally they will be able to help promote your business and even offer a link back to your site as well.
  11. Send enewsletters – Email marketing is a great way to grow your client base by encouraging people to forward the email to a friend. Include a coupon in the email to entice new clients even more.
  12. Have postcards designed and printed and use them like flyers! Lay them at coffee shops, post them on cork boards at diners, automotive places, etc. People are more likely to notice them rather than a business card because of their size and are more likely to not discard it due to the nice printing and paper stock.
  13. Start a Blog and post on other blogs related to your industry or locale
  14. Start a Facebook ad and target your specific city, demographics, etc
  15. Post on forums specific to your city
  16. Yellow Pages ensure that you are listed on the online version of the popular phone directory. A basic listing comes free of cost.
  17. Yelp is another local venue for people to locate and review your business
  18. Get vinyl lettering for your back window. Keep the message simple with your business name, a couple of your services, phone number and website address.
  19. Leave business cards or tri-fold brochures at other local businesses
  20. Get social on websites like Facebook groups for your local areas or interact with local people in Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter.

seo1I am often asked what SEO is, what it isn’t, and what’s one thing my clients can do to help their SEO. As you will see Search Engine Optimization is not just one thing that will or won’t keep your site from reaching the coveted first page of Google. I’ll try to cover a good deal of what contributes to a site's Search Engine Optimization.

Ascertain competitors inbound links
Often by researching your competitors, you can find where their inbound links are coming from and, advertise/promote yourself at those exact links if applicable. While you are at their site, check out their keywords – you can maybe get ideas as to what keywords/phrases they are using that you may not have considered.

Blog
I can’t say enough about blogs and the effectiveness of blogging! They offer credibility to your site and your knowledge of your product/service/industry, they let your customer know you care enough to share this information with them, they promote two-way conversation by allowing visitor comments; then you comment on their comments, they allow for more opportunities for your website/keywords to be found.

Content

  • Body text, titles and headings (using appropriate CSS tags) and body copy should support and reiterate rich keywords, and be unique to each page
  • Bold keywords within the body copy
  • Web pages containing more than 2,000 words can rank higher
  • Utilize keywords in your H1 text (Headings)

Domain Name
Purchase your domain name for long periods of time. Search engines see that as a stable, notable site. Many spam or adult sites are “here today, gone tomorrow” and are therefore not ranked as high with search engines.

Also, a domain name with a name bearing your industry is much more effective. For example: instead of choosing “JoesStore.com”, select “JoesShoes.com” This is much more descriptive for the search engines. The downfall of this is that many good domain names are often hard to find or come with a high price tag and sometimes you are left with something that isn’t your first choice.

Email Marketing
Each time I send out an email marketing campaign, I receive calls from customers. Not just one call, but several – mostly that same day! Talk about great return on investment! This is because when you deliver an effective email campaign, you are keeping that communication open with your clients and reminding them that you are there for them. But probably the most important feature of email marketing is getting clients to "hit" your site. Link articles and other important information back to the pages on your site.

Feeds
RSS Feeds are quickly becoming an industry standard for potential clients to subscribe to your blog and being notified when new content is posted. Feeds bring more hits back to your site as well.

Google
The name is synonymous with web ingenuity.

  • Use Google Analytics to check visitor trending such as, keyword usage and adjust accordingly. Check ROI immediately by seeing visitors coming from referring sites, create a traffic funnel for how you want clients to navigate through your site, and MUCH more.
  • Create a free Google Local Ad
  • Google Webmaster Tools are a great way to see how often your site is being indexed, if a Sitemap has been uploaded, number of inbound links and more.

Honor thy Press Release...
by submitting them to PR Directories. Worthwhile news can be shared with others and offer more opportunities for inbound linking and others to find your site.

Indexing
In order for your site to rank well in search results pages, it's important to make sure that Google can crawl and index your site correctly. Uploading a sitemap to Google and Yahoo is particularly helpful.

Just say no to SEO killers

  • Don't use Flash, frames or DHTML on your site
  • Don't use images on your site for navigation, buttons or important information – search engines can’t “see” images.
  • Don't use tables on your site
  • Too many graphics, not enough content

Keyword Analysis
Focus on high-traffic, highly-relevant keywords. Give the search engines a few days to access your content and re-check your ranking based upon this. Tweek and refine as needed.

Links

  • Make sure links are representative of what they pertain to, as search engines pick up on links as being an important part of your site. For example, a link to a continuation of an article, instead of click “here” to read that article. Say something which is more descriptive for the search engine spiders to read, have it say “building valid links.”
  • Periodically check for non-functioning or broken internal and external links. There are many free link checkers out there.
  • Keeping the number of links per page under 100.
  • Don't belong to a weblink or link ring. They don't work.

Meta Content

  • Include meta-tags and keywords relative to page content
  • Titles and headings should support and reiterate keywords, and be unique to each page.
  • Don’t leave out or duplicate the title, description or keywords as search engines rely on these to “read” unique content on your site.The title is one of the most important things that Google and other search engines utilize when evaluating page content.
  • Keep descriptions, title and keywords to the specs below as specified by major search engines:

Title: max 70 characters
Description: no more than 150 characters
Keywords: 10 words/phrases per page is a good amount

Newness
Search engines are increasingly considering the age the site and how long the domain is registered for. To help this, register your domain for as long as you can (to let search engines know you plan on sticking around) and get an aggressive SEO program in place.

On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO
On-Page SEO pertains to the actual content (keywords, meta information, to increase searches) in/on the website. Approximately 25% of visits are based on this content.

Off-Page SEO pertains to driving traffic to site through linking (via social media, RSS reeds, directories, etc). Approximately 75% of visits are based on (inbound) links.

Page Rank
Google ranks websites based on how “valuable” a website is. Google relies upon the nature of the web and its vast linking structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value.

Having a higher page rank equates to higher probability of being at the top of searches. Links are the basis for page rank – those sites that are less known is because they aren’t as important and have few people linking to them. Those sites with thousands of inbound links, Google sees as being a worthwhile site.

Quantity of Inbound Links
Don’t fall prey to the link networks, or link webrings; nor ever pay anyone that promises to bring you links.

Repeat Visits (encourage)

  • Use at least one conversion form to get leads (keep the form short and sweet)
  • Increase hits back to your site by doing regular email/eNewsletter marketing campaigns
  • Add a "bookmark this page" to your site so customers can easily come back
  • Add an "email this page to a friend" link to your site
  • Your website address should be printed on all business and marketing items, and also your email signature
  • Start a blog - this helps in many ways: keeps the communication open between you and your visitors if you allow comments, search engines will index (and rank) your site higher when you keep uploading new content, shows potential customers that you care about their interests, offers more opportunity for search engines (and customers) to find you.
  • Email marketing with links back to articles continued at your site.
  • Keep a “running article” going on the site. For example, I have an article that is kept current with upcoming contests for designers and photographers. It’s a great way to get repeat visits.

Submit articles to directories and bookmarking sites
This ensures your website carries an extensive web presence outside of your own website. Furthermore it will allow more opportunities for prospects to find your company by adding greater visibility for your business.

Twitter, Technorati and the entire Social Media realm
Social media, Bookmarking, Article Submissions, Social Networking can and should be utilized to its maximum potential to market your business.

URL
Put keywords or phrases in the URL via the folder/directory structure or the HTML page name. Again, this offers more opportunities for search engines finding keywords.

Be sure to print your URL on ALL marketing materials you have (business cards, signage, brochures, etc), and in your email signature – MANY people use this link.

Valid or Quality Links
The more quality inbound links you have coming to your site, the higher your Google page rank will be.

Writing on forums, Q&A’s and other blogs
Many people will click on a forum signature in response to someone’s question. Be sure to take this opportunity when posting to well traveled forums, blogs and Q&A forums to have a “signature” that states your name and URL to your business.

XHTML
Utilizing such technologies as XHTML, CSS and PHP, ensures less page errors, faster loading times for your visitors and also eliminate the need for tables which can cause problems with search engines and accessibility.

XHTML limits the code size naturally and you end up with being simple to crawl for Google and other bots.

Yahoo, Google, Bing – Submit your URL
Though Google boasts the most searches per day, Yahoo! and Bing are also very well traveled. Regularly check your standing in popular search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) using keywords potential clients would be using to find your site.

Zap Spam - simple web guidelines from Google:

  • Don’t hide keywords on your pages or use too many in the metatags; search engines can see this as a potential spam website and won’t index it.
  • Don’t use hidden text or hidden links
  • Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords
  • Don’t create multiple pages, sub-domains or domains with duplicate content
  • Don’t use doorway pages.

online-marketingWriting and submitting press releases related to your business and service is an important aspect of online marketing campaigns today. Worthwhile news can be shared with others and offer more opportunities for inbound linking and others to find your site. We've compiled some of the hottest Press Release sites on the net. When writing, a good rule of thumb is to keep your press release between 350-400 words and include no more than two links with your complete URL in the body of the article. Be sure to grade your press release for marketing effectiveness before submitting it to the masses.


Front Cover smCongratulations on taking the step to advertising and marketing your website for free! Many of the tools contained in this download are what top SEO firms use to market your site to your target customers.

This information is intended for anyone that has a website and business to promote.

The download is chock full of ways for you to start promoting your website STARTING NOW, which you are sure to use again and again - FOR FREE!

 

About the Author
Michelle Crossley has been working in marketing and design for over 20 years. She's helped many clients achieve great results growing their businesses using proven tactics in this book.

Through the years, she's taught college design, internet skills and marketing while continuing to work in a freelance design capacity. She launched studio1c in 2007, hasn't spent any money towards online advertising and tripled her business during it's first year in business.


choose your domain wiselySo you’ve decided to expand your horizons to the World Wide Web – congratulations! Promoting your business online is one of the best decisions one can make in today’s times – the scope and reach are far greater online than traditional media outlets. The first step in establishing an online identity is choosing the right domain name. Here are five things you must consider before selecting one.

Is the domain name unique?
The trickiest part of choosing a domain name is ensuring that it bears no striking or passing similarity to another domain name, especially a trademarked one. At the same time, you also have to keep the KISS formula in mind for higher recall value – keep it simple/short, stupid. Though you will have great leeway in terms of character limit, it’s best to choose a shorter name because longer domain names tend to be confusing. Also, make sure that there is a distinct connect between the domain name and your business – keep unnecessary wordplay to a minimum. As soon as the visitor sees your domain name in search results or an online advertisement, should you choose to advertise, even before he sees the accompanying text or the metatag, he should get an instant idea as to what your business is all about. Also, ensure your domain name IS your website name.

Does it need to have a prefix in it?
If you want to add a definitive article (the) or add a personal touch to it (my), think again if it’s really necessary. Statistics show that the online audience tend to remember the most important part of your domain name and tend to ignore prefixes, especially “the”. If at all a prefix is required, make sure you promote your business’s domain name ALONG WITH the prefix. For example, if you’re a florist, and your domain name is thebouquet.com, remember to let even your offline audience know that your domain’s called thebouquet.com, and not bouquet.com.

Which suffix is best?
Studies have shown that of all suffixes like .com, .org, .net, .edu, etc., people tend to associate every domain name with .com, even if they’ve visited the site only recently and it was .org. Unless your business is very specific, and also to err on the side of caution, choose .com as your suffix.

Have you arrived at the domain name after careful consultation and consideration?
As with every business, make sure you do your research before you choose a domain name. Speak to your business partners, clients, professional contacts and friends about what they think is the best choice of a domain name for your business. Chances are they might surprise you with facets and aspects of your business that you might yourself have unwittingly neglected. Make sure they are active online, which will broaden the scope of arriving at a suitable domain name for your domain name.

Is it search engine friendly?
This is the most important part of choosing a domain name. A search engine has to be able to “catch” and “highlight” your domain name in its search results. For this, you will have to work with a search engine optimization expert, who will guide you and share his instincts which will go a long way in ensuring that your domain name choice is wise, smart and business savvy. And hence contribute to your online business expansion in a big way.

Good luck with choosing your domain name. Treat it as you would name your baby. Coupled with the points above, you will choose a domain name that will be the envy of your competition.


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