How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Business

How to choose a domain name for your business - Macaulay Gidado

When choosing a domain name for your business, you obviously want to get it right. A great domain name can make a big difference in your quest to make your business an online success.

How then do you choose the right domain name?

Many experts have come up with various tips on choosing a great domain name. Unfortunately, the sheer number of these tips has made it even more difficult and confusing to choose a domain. It’s now hard to tell which tips are the real deal and which ones are chaff.

You are not alone. Below, I have compiled some of the tips that have worked for Macaulay Gidado.

Your Domain Name Should Be a Branding Tool

Take hot-iron branding, for instance. People in the olden days used it to place marks of identification on things they own–for example, slaves and livestock. Hot-iron branding was all about identity.

Using your domain as a branding tool thus means using it to give your business an online identity. When people see or hear your domain name, does it remind them of your company? If yes, then you have succeeded.

Here are some ways you can use your domain name as a branding tool

  • Use your business name as your domain name. Just as Coca Cola, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook did.
  • Avoid names that are too generic.
  • Avoid including numbers in your domain. Numbers are not easy to remember.
  • Don’t use a name that sounds like that of a competitor.
  • You service coverage is limited to a specific location, then you might want to localise your domain name by adopting the country code top-level domain (ccTLDs) of that location. For instance, if your business only serves people in New Zealand, then consider using www.yourdomain.nz instead of .com, .org, or any other domain extension. This will improve your search engine optimisation and help your site rank higher for relevant searches originating from the country your business covers.
  • You might want to trademark your domain to safeguard it from competitors and squatters who might try to use variances of it.
  • You might also want to register your chosen name under various top level domains (TLDs) in order to prevent other businesses or people from registering them. For instance, don’t just register yourdomain.com. Also register yourdomain.org, yourdomain.net, and other domain extension you don’t want other people to register.

Make Your Domain Name Memorable

Make it easy for your customers to remember your domain name.

  • Shorter names are easier to remember.
  • Use a name that is easy to pronounce.
  • Avoid hyphens and numbers. They complicate things.
  • Avoid misspellings. Even though misspellings worked for Flickr.com and tumblr.com, they are tricky and can work against you.
  • Use a catchy name. Catchy makes for easy remembrance.

Never Use a Trademarked Name

Using a name associated with a trademark translates to cybersquatting. You will be basically infringing on another business’ trademark. You could end up in a lawsuit that will take away your domain and leave you paying damages to the trademark owner. Avoid trademarked names. Use this tool to check the trademark risk associated with your chosen domain name.

Is Your Chosen Name Available on Social Media

Before registering a domain name for your business, you might want to check whether the name is available on the top social media platforms. Why? Using the the name in your domain as your social media handle will help you:

  • Create a uniform online presence for your brand.
  • Make your brand easy to discover.
  • Improve your online credibility and authenticity.
  • Prevent other people or competing companies from stealing your brand’s identity on social media and doing God knows what with it.

Therefore, if your domain name is www.yourbrand.com, you might want to snag the Facebook and Twitter URLs www.facebook.com/yourbrand and www.twitter.com/yourbrand. Do the same for other social media platforms.

To check if your name is available on the top social media platform, use this tool.

Having acquainted yourself with the tips above, you mustn’t take all of them into consideration when choosing your domain name. However, making sure that your domain name conforms to some or most of them can improve your chances of snagging a domain name that makes all the difference for your business.

Protecting Your Personal Brand Online: Important Things You Need to Know

Protecting your personal online brand

Gone are the days when business owners and corporations are the only entities faced with protecting their online brands. That’s a truth that can’t be disputed. Individuals now need to protect their personal brand.

Of course, it’s easy to imagine that, since you don’t own a business, there’s no brand to protect. However, instead of imagining, first try to understand what a personal brand and brand security mean. How their absences can affect his or her personal life.

Personal Online Brand

Your personal online brand is your public image online. That is, what you represent online. How people perceive you online. It’s your online visibility. Your online authenticity. Your online authority. It’s that name you use across all online channels. It’s the opinion you share on various web platforms.

Online Brand Security

Online brand security, on the other hand, is all about protecting that image. It’s all about plugging all holes via which an unauthorised person can leverage or hijack your brand (or some aspects of it) as their own. Usually, such a person would be looking to achieve a dubious goal with your brand. Perhaps, one that profits them, harms your online reputation or presence, or even hurts you as a person.

Therefore, while you may not have a corporate brand to protect, there are still your online handle and image. If you think nobody could be interested in stealing them, then think again. The threats to a brand can come in many forms:

  • As a desperate corporate competitor looking for an edge over you.
  • A cyber squatter.
  • A scammer.
  • Even as a spammer.
  • It could even be someone that answers the same name as you trying to establish their own online brand. This can be especially damaging if the person posts ideas that go against your values.
  • Or as your abuse of the internet. For instance, what you post on social media today can hurt you tomorrow.

There are many other possibilities. And if one doesn’t poke a hole in your online image, another might.

Why Do You Need Personal Online Brand Security?

  • About 48% of recruiters check their prospective employees’ personal websites before deciding whether to hire or not.
  • Even if you have no need for a personal online brand today, chances are that the need will arise in the future. For instance, an aspiring writer could become a popular professional author tomorrow. It’s only reasonable to secure your name across all channels from the onset.
  • About 63% of recruiters use social media to learn more about prospective employees.
  • Secure your online name against cyber squatters.
  • Protect yourself from scammers.
  • Protect yourself from competitors.
  • About 8% of companies have laid off an employee because the employee abused social media

Hence, if your personal online brand is compromised, so might your chances at some great online and offline business or employment opportunities.

How to Protect Your Personal Brand Online

Secure Your Domain Name

Since you are looking to secure your personal brand, it’s ideal to choose a domain name that is closely related to your legal name. If possible, use your legal name. Thus, if your name is John Lock, then use JohnLock.com or something close to that.

Depending on your resources, it’s also ideal to register variations of the name or the same name under top domain extensions. Example, [dot]net, [dot]co.uk, and [dot]org. This will tightly distinguish and protect your personal brand from other people answering the same name.

You can also register free subdomains with WordPress and Blogger. It doesn’t matter that you might not use them. This will help prevent someone else from stealing your identity there.

Build a Personal Website or Blog

There are many reasons you need a personal website or blog as a way of protecting your personal brand online. Here are the major ones.

  • It’s a way to build your authority online. When you run a personal blog, and share original, compelling content—your expertise and experiences—you create awareness about yourself, people get to know you, and with time you could become established as an influencer.
  • You offer yourself a better chance at landing business and employment opportunities.
  • You increase your visibility on search engines and put your name out there. Hence, when people, an employer or a potential business associate, google your name, you site appears. This can be especially beneficial when there are many other people online answering the same name as you.

Secure Your Social Media Handles

Be sure to register your social media accounts using your legal name or something close to that as your username. It’s recommended that you use the same username across all channels. That’s including in your domain name. If you have multiple domain names, one of them should reflect your social media username.

Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn may allow you to answer the same profile name as another user. But then your username must be unique. And that’s what you should focus on securing. To simultaneously check for the availability of your legal or chosen name as a username on multiple social media sites, use this tool.

If there are social media platforms you don’t want to use, you can prevent someone else from registering your username. Simply create accounts on the sites for the sake of locking the username down.

Interconnect Everything

A very important way to establish and protect your personal brand online is by interconnecting all your online accounts. For instance, connecting all your domains to your website and connecting your social media accounts to your website and vice versa. That way, people can find your website via your social media profiles. Or your social media pages via your website. It’s a powerful way of showing your authenticity.

Select the Domain Privacy Option

When you register a domain, your personal information (that is, your phone number, address, email address, fax…) is publicly listed on the WHOIS directory. Other info like your domain registration and expiry dates is also listed publicly. This means that anybody can easily find your personal info by running a search for your domain name on the directory.

This exposes you to many security issues:

  • Scammers and spammers looking to take advantage of you and your personal brand.
  • You become vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Domain hijackers looking to take over your domain name.
  • It becomes easy for stalkers to find your personal information.

To protect your identity, simply elect the domain privacy option. That way, your registrar will have dummy domain registration info, instead of your true personal details, published on the WHOIS directory.

Finally, never stop researching more ways to build and secure your brand online. Because as the years go by, new threats will sprout. And you want to be ready for them. Leave nothing to chance.

Seven Things You Can Do with Your Domain Name

Seven things you can do with your domain name - Macaulay Gidado

When people say they need a domain name, the first thought that comes to mind is, “they want to set up a website”. While that may be appropriate, a domain name can do much more. Are you holding off on registering a domain name? Perhaps because you are not quite sure what to do with it? Here are seven ways you can use it.

Secure Your Online Identity with a Domain Name

Cyber-squatters and domain investors are getting more desperate to make money online every day. Securing your online identity has never been more important. You may not need a website for yourself or company today (very unlikely). But you most certainly will in the future. Registering your ideal domain name now will save you the headache and cost of acquiring it tomorrow from any domain investor who beats you to it.

Also, if you own a company, then securing your domain name become paramount. You might also want to secure similar names relevant to your brand. This will protect you from competitors or traffic hijackers looking to divert some of your customers or site visitors to their websites.

Even if you aren’t currently making use of the domain name, you can let it sit there, until you are ready to use it. This is referred to as domain parking.

Make Money Through Monetized Parking of Your Domain Name

People sometimes confuse domain parking and monetized domain parking. With domain parking, you simply register a domain name without using it. But with monetized parking, you opt in for your registrar to set up a dummy webpage for your domain name and list adverts targeting type-in traffic to the domain.

Making tangible money with monetized parking is not as easy as advertised online. Going with the meaning of ‘type-in traffic’, your domain name should be a popular keyword or keyword phrase. One people are likely to type into the URL bar out of curiosity or when searching for a website related to the keyword. Example: people.com. Your domain can also be a misspelling like twtter.com. The goal is capture people searching for twitter.com, but who omitted the “i” by mistake.

In any case, the number of such domain names you register will also count towards how much you make from monetized domain parking.

Sell Your Domain

Many people are into domain investing. And it’s extremely profitable for those that understand the mechanics. It involves registering domain names you believe will be in demand in the future. It also involves a bit or a lot of waiting. After which you then sell the domains off to whoever is willing to pay the price you want.

While many domain investors make hundreds or thousands of dollars on a single name, some great domain names go ahead to land their owners deals worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars—sometimes even millions.

If you have some domain names you want to sell, here is how you go about doing it.

Set Up a Website

This is the major reason for domain name registration. When someone types in your domain name into the URL bar of their browser, your website is what they should find. It doesn’t matter what type of website. It can be:

  • A blog, where you share regular compelling content about a topic in which you are an expert.
  • An ecommerce website where you sell products online.
  • A company website where you display information about your company and your product or service, generate leads, and relate with your customers.
  • A personal website with info about you (this can come in the form of an author website, an online resume, even a virtual business card listing where you can be found online and offline, and so on).

You can set up a website at your domain by selecting a webhosting plan.

Setup a Personalised Email Address

Have you have ever wanted an email address that says @yourname.com? Perhaps for your personal use or for your business? You must have at a point wondered how to procure it. Well, it all starts with you registering a domain name that equally says yourname.com. Whether you set up such an email via your domain registrar or Google app, there is no denying that it will make you appear professional to whomever sees your email in their inbox.

The best part is that you can even set up as many email addresses as you want at that domain.

Forward Your Domain

There are many applications for this. You can forward your domain name to your website, Facebook page, twitter timeline, or to some other social media profile. This is especially handy when you have high-traffic domain names you simply don’t want to park. Instead of letting the traffic waste, you redirect it to any webpage of yours that needs it.

To forward a domain, simply login to your domain account manager, select the domain you want to forward, input the URL of the page you want it forwarded to, save, and you are done.

Lease Your Domain

This is another alternative when you don’t want to sell your domain name. However, it’s not a very popular one. Even so, if you find someone that is willing to pay monthly or yearly to host a website on your domain, by all means enjoy the opportunity. With leasing your domain, you can eat your cake and have it. But your domain must be a hot cake (commands much traffic or benefits whatever the renter wants to do with it) for anyone or company to want to lease it.

Just make sure that your contract with this person clearly states what they can’t use the domain for, as you don’t want them jeopardising its value by doing something illegal or something that may get it blacklisted by bodies like Google. The contract should also include the conditions under which any of you can terminate the lease.

These are the major ways you can utilise your domain name. Here are other alternatives, although most of them fall under the abovementioned ones. Learn more about domain names here.

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

6-Reasons-People-Leave-Your-Website - Macaulay Gidado

The Internet is swarming with information—some great, some not. With a few keywords and a click of the mouse, a reader can easily compel the search engine to display thousands of results related to their research. Each result, belonging to one website or another, is competing with the others for the reader’s attention.

This means the reader has plenty of options to go through. Should they land on your website, you have around fifteen seconds to convince them to not leave. Even if they linger for more than fifteen seconds, you have to also worry about engaging them and making sure they return next time.

To understand how to make your site visitors to stay, you must first understand why they leave. Below are some of the notorious reasons that make people leave a site.

Misleading domain name

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

It’s very unlikely that your domain name will make your visitors click away from your site as soon as they land there, unless your domain name or site title are misleading—then it’s very likely. It would be like a tech geek looking for Wi-Fi tips visiting a website with, say, ‘hotspot’ in its domain name, only him to discover it’s a site about sex toys. He will most likely leave the website.

Therefore, it’s important that your domain name depicts the content of your website so that you don’t attract the wrong people who would only leave as soon as they come.

Monotonous Content

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

When you get visitors and ask them what they want to drink, some may say tea, some others may ask for coffee, another may request for a beer, and others may choose water. Likewise, every one of your website visitors cannot be interested in the same way of digesting information.

Some may prefer sliding through pictures to reading, some others may be into watching videos, while a few others may love reading but only when words are integrated with graphics.

It’s all about preference.

Experiment with new ways of presenting your content. Use slides, infographics, videos, reviews et cetera to capture and keep the attentions of different types of visitors.

Too many adverts on Your Website

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

There is nothing more annoying than ads appearing everywhere, nagging to be clicked, obstructing visitors from acquiring the information that brought them to your website.

The worst types are popup ads. They are in the same league as mosquitos. Try visiting a site with lots of them and you will understand why anyone would click the ‘back’ button as soon as they start emerging.

As a general rule, avoid using them in places they will obstruct your visitors’ view. Also avoid large picture or banner ads—if you must use them, they shouldn’t be the first thing your visitors see. And be subtle with your monetisation efforts.

Disruptive videos and audios

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

While videos and audios are viable ways to diversify your content and the ways you present it, they can be disruptive if not used properly. They can make a visitor turn around and leave.

Instead of videos that play automatically, give your visitors a choice to play or not play your videos. Humans love free will. Taking it away from one is like pushing the person away. Also, sometimes a visitor might come across your website while in a library. If your website’s background sound is loud, then the person will definitely leave.

Bad Navigation

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

A bad navigation is like a washed-out map. And a washed-out map is so useless that we often crumple it up and toss it into the wastebasket. A main navigation scattered all through a web page, hidden, or designed with unclear images will only frustrate your visitors. Or, worse, make them leave.

Also, your main navigation should entail links to the essential pages on your website. Those pages should be easy to find. For instance, if a visitor that wants to use your service can’t find a link to your ‘about’ or ‘contact’, the opportunity they brought will be lost to you when they leaves.

Your main navigation should be well-grouped, well-placed, and should list your major pages. Ideal positions for your main navigation are the top of the page and the sidebars. Those are the places people look first.

Other navigations should also be easy to find. If you are selling a product, then the ‘buy’ button had better be under the image of that product. If you want people to subscribe to your newsletters, the ‘subscribe’ link or button should be very easy to find and should be present on your landing page.

Read more about navigation pitfalls.

Bad content and design

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

The purpose of designing a website and filling it with content is to engage visitors. But then you can’t engage them if your content and design are neither helpful nor coherent.

Your design is like the packaging. And, much as it has to be appealing, it will be defeating your purpose for it if it obstructs the content—a good example of this is a website design that favours beautiful fonts and colours over readable texts.

Your content, on the other hand, will be defeating its own purpose if it’s chaff and not updated regularly.

Perhaps you have examined your website and believe it has none of the flaws mentioned above. Well done. But to be sure or to discover other reasons (general ones as well as those unique to your site) that push visitors away from your site, check out this list of helpful tools.