The Importance of Your Personal Branding and Domain Name

In our modern society, people are beginning to place their trust more in people than in a company, group or corporation, which is to say that the power of influence is returning to the individual-to you-and is no longer monopolised by the big groups.

In a few years from now, it is not so farfetched that personalities will completely rule over the media. What this means is that with a simple human, personal touch, the masses can relate easily with a person, and take a person’s statements on an equal footing.

What is the reason for this? The modern audience is becoming jaded-with rampant advertising by big organisations -and is now of the idea that these giants of business only have profits and sales in mind and have no real regard for their audience’s personal lives and ideas.

That belief is true enough, in a sense. This reluctance has the consumer audience rethinking how they perceive brands of organisations and businesses.

This is where personal branding comes in-and it is getting stronger over time. This method is similar to the basics of traditional company branding; however, the power is now coming from the person alone, not from the group.

A More Human Approach

This means having a more human approach. Personal branding lets you create a social and market identity while being able to maintain a personal level of interaction through the online media.

Smaller businesses and individuals are getting their breaks because of this, becoming more competitive and relevant in the market.

Similar to traditional branding, personal branding also necessitates a good signature name that should be both unique and instantly recognisable. People should be able to know what you or your product is about after a few glimpses or readings, being able to connect with you faster and more easily.

Brand Statement and Focus Niche

As with all practicing any crafts, you must decide what you want to be known for. Deliberate on that first before you even further develop other certain expertise.

The world of personal branding is becoming so big that general fields such as “travelling” and “food” are flooded with so many competitors that they are no longer specific enough.

To know your focus niche, think of what is it that you can offer best and make it into a promise. Be the best of what you can offer, and the rest will follow. By doing so, you can realise who your specific potential audiences are going to be. While your audience won’t be as grand, your audience will be relevant and significant and long term.

Naming Wisely Is Branding Wisely

Your domain name is an anchor for your personal branding. Inevitably, “names are important, for they must mean something-and represent something. It is basic human tendency to rely on the first pieces of information offered to us. This is called an anchor, and names are often the best anchors.

Humans also subconsciously evaluate information-based on their own experiences-in a snap. This is called heuristics, and what we often call intuition and common sense.

In just a matter of a few seconds, our minds have already decided whom to trust and whom to avoid. The same thing goes with domain names, so you must think of your domain name as a marker for your success. A name is a tool that helps customers decide.

To choose the right domain name is an important step; it is a foundation of your digital identity, personal brand, and marketing strategy. The domain name alone, at best, should symbolize your brand.

Naming wisely is branding wisely.

Choosing a good domain name isn’t always so simple.

So you need a domain name for your brand new internet business. You may even have some cool ideas for a new domain name combination that will really impress your friends. Question is, is your new domain name going to help your business or hurt it?

What could be simpler than choosing a domain name right? Wrong. There are a number of things you need to consider and research before you register your favorite domain name.

First off, what is a domain name and why would I want one?

A domain name makes our lives much easier when surfing the internet. You see, all computers on the internet are actually referenced with what is called IP addresses. On the internet, IP addresses are four sets of numbers that serve like street addresses allowing two computers to talk over a network. An example of an IP address is the one for Google.com. It is 216.239.39.99. If you enter this IP address into the address bar of your browser it will bring you to Google’s home page in that very same way that typing http://www.google.com would get you there. Unfortunately, we humans have difficulty remembering our phone numbers let alone so many digits for all kinds of sites. That’s one of the main reasons domain names were invented.

Domain names make it easy for us humans to remember how to find a site. Most people know Google.com and anyone familiar with the internet knows that to reach Google, you simply type http://www.google.com in your address bar and you are transported to their website. The same goes for Disney.com, Microsoft.com, CNN.com, etc…

Now you would think that choosing a domain name would simply be a matter of choosing something that is unique and that people would remember. The problem with that approach is that most of us don’t have the money needed to turn our name into a brand name on the mass market. Most of us need to rely on our prospects reaching our website through other means. The best of these are search engines.

Choosing a good domain name for your site starts with the main keywords you have chosen to focus on for your website. Before you launch your business, you should conduct some preliminary research online to determine which keywords have the most traffic and the least number of other websites competing for that particular keyword. Some tools that help in this are the Overture keyword suggestion tool and Wordtracker.com. Both of these tools will give you a rough idea of how much traffic each of your chosen keywords will likely get each month. This helps to determine which keywords to focus on.

Should you choose a domain name that includes your main keywords?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Google and to some degree Yahoo both give you a small boost for your domain name. If your domain name happens to contain your targeted keywords, your domain name will help you in your quest for higher search engine rankings. Now if you do everything else wrong, having your main keywords in your domain name will not magically catapult you to the top of the listings. Many other parts of your site must be working for you as well. Other things you can do to improve rankings are beyond the scope of this article.

Choosing a keyword rich domain is a smart business move.

For some sites, it could be the edge they need to move up a few spots in the search engines. When choosing a keyword rich domain name, you may want to consider hyphens between your keywords. An example is cheap-airline-tickets.com. Current research trends for Google and Yahoo suggest that hyphens are the only way to separate keywords within a URL that will give you a rankings boost.

Why not simply choose your company name? Simple. Is your company a household name? Are you so dominant in a category that people have stopped referring to the generic name of your category and use your brand name like Kleenex has for tissue paper? If so, register your company name. If not, register a keyword rich domain wherever possible.

You may be thinking, “But I already own a domain name that is my company name. Should I go and register a new domain and point it to the same site? The short answer is no. Years ago, you could improve your rankings on search engines simply by setting up lots of doorway pages and having them all link back to your home page with all kinds of domain names. That tactic nowadays can backfire. You are better off optimizing individual pages within your existing website than you are creating a whole bunch of “fluff” sites just to increase rankings.

The technique I suggest above is really best suited for brand new business ventures. If you still have not registered your domain name for that special online business you are about to start, then make it keyword rich wherever possible. If you have already launched your business, you’ll just have to take advantage of this information next time you start another online venture.

Is It Legal To Mask The Domain Name Owner’s Identity In The WHOIS Information?

Domain Name Ownership Privacy has been a hot topic recently. Many domain name owners user third party "Privacy Protection" or "Proxy Registration" services to mask their true identity. Domain Name Privacy is like having an unlisted phone number, which is not available in any telephone directory or online database. This means that by doing a WHOIS Search, your domain name registrant information shows up with masked or pseudo information belonging to a mail or email forwarding service. This article deals with the legality of masking your domain name ownership identity.

Does The Privacy Service Become The Owner?

The owner of a domain name can be identified by the WHOIS records of the domain. The Registrant information is to clearly indicate the Name, Address, Email Address and Contact Number of the owner of the domain name. But when a privacy service is turned on, you don’t get to see these. Hence, an important question that arises is whether the person named as the Registrant is the defacto owner.

In a famous cyber-squatting case of SolidHost v. NameCheap, the latter was a Privacy Protection provider, who had their contact details mentioned as the owner of the domain name. Solid Host insisted that they reveal the true identity of the domain owner, which they refused. Solid Host sued NameCheap in California. In an interim motion, the court held that NameCheap, by listing itself as the owner of a domain name in dispute was contributing to cyber-squatting although the real owner maybe a different person, for whom NameCheap was only holding the domain name in trust. This judgement was received with a bit of criticism and a lot of two pence from most people.

In another case, where the Registrar of the Domain Name went Bankrupt and was still listed as the domain Registrant, the court ordered the litigating partners of the business to reveal the domain ownership information and handover the details to ICANN, which would then facilitate the transfer and move the domains over to a new Registrar.

What Are Legitimate Uses For Domain Name Privacy Protection?

Domain Name Privacy is important in many cases, especially for legitimate business purposes where company’s want to obscurely purchase domain names to secure them for future product launches or for internal business purposes. Non Government agencies, like news broadcasters, investigative journalists, whistle blowers and even researchers may want to stay anonymous while booking domain names and may want to mask their identity for their own safety.

So Is It Legal?

The ICANN website states that: "Privacy and proxy services are outside the scope of the 2001 RAA and 2009 RAA. To determine who is involved in a domain name behind a proxy or privacy service, please refer to the service provider’s terms of service. If you have a complaint involving a law or regulation, you may want to refer the matter to the appropriate law enforcement agency within your jurisdiction or seek legal counsel."

It goes on to state that: " The 2013 RAA requires that privacy and proxy service providers: Disclose service terms (including pricing), on its website and/or registrar’s website and abide by such terms; Publish an abuse/infringement point of contact; Disclose the business contact information on its website and/or registrar’s website; and Publish and abide by terms of service and description of procedures on its website and/or registrar’s website, such as handling of abuse or trademark infringement reports, communication handling, conditions of ending service, Whois data publication conditions, and access to support services."

The clincher is when ICANN mentions that "Please note that displaying privacy or proxy protected Whois data is not itself inaccurate. Please only submit a complaint if you are unable to contact the domain name holder because of inaccurate privacy or proxy service Whois data." This means that only if you are not able to trace the true identity of the owner after due diligence checking, only then can you complain to ICANN and they will attempt to trace the true owner.

The Nigeria New Country Code Domain Extension Dot NG Is A New Internet Business Boom

The Nigeria new domain Country code extension is a force to be reckoned with and there is no doubt about that, but the question that runs across my mind every time, is; will it be a blessing to this great country or another curse like the black gold or call it petroleum.

Nigeria Internet Registry Association has released .ng to further improve the usages of internet names. However, .ng is not restricted to Nigerians alone; the new Country Code that has just been released has been embraced by bing.com and Google and others to protect their brands, also embraced by some domain business gurus. The new extension is a new source of money income for Nigeria and those who have the ideas for domain business.

The extension will surely improve the economy of the country like that of petroleum, if taking into consideration some important factors as early as possible. .ng ccTLD is a second level extension that rings bell for every caliber of domain traders.

WHY is .NG A FORCE To BE RECKONED WITH?

Unlike.com.ng extension, .ng is far more virtuous for those who have the knowledge and foresight for domain business; this particular extension cut across all industries of mankind ever known in existence, like the king of domain extensions known as.com; the .ng enable one to get premium names that are no longer available when add .ng instead of.com; it also makes premium domains available when add .ng to some unavailable premium names that has to do with vowels; most generic words such as the following: ki.ng Instead of king.com also bi.ng instead of bing.com while gives ri.ng instead of ring.com.

As I am writing this message, most of the premium names with .ng extension have been registered or secured, because they are no longer available or been reserved by the Nigeria Internet Registry Association.

As of now within two months, some highly profile domains have been registered such as property.ng insurance.ng, banking.ng, banki.ng, mortgagi.ng, hosti.ng and so on. Also most of the premium short four letters are now rear like that of the.com extension i.e. sex.ng, etc. I am not very sure if USA.ng will be available now or soonest. The extension was just released on 16th April, 2013 and now in May, for one to get the highly profile generic is like passing through the needle eye.

The extension has to do with any industry be it law or whatever trade or business you can mention, you even need it more when you have the.com, so as to avoid some traffic or lost of customer to your competitors.

This is another source of making money for Nigeria as a nation and individuals if quickly invest in the right domains now before acquired by someone else; domain is far profitable in hard currency. Most of these domains are sure to cost millions of dollars in the nearest future.

I am now inviting business entrepreneurs to come and invest in this lucrative market before all the good ones are taken by others; though, domain business is highly investment in nature, but it appreciates in good time like the landed properties, it is unlike stock; domain is highly profitable if you can get good generic now and this is the actual time to invest real money in the business.

This is a business that brings wealth far better than stock exchange, every individual can buy/register any available short generic one word and highly profile domain in this new country code extension.

Lastly, I am writing this, to invite Nigerians to avoid loss of bulk of our internet fortune shares or opportunity to many readily learned individuals of other nations to come in at the right time to have their own share in the internet virtual property as early as possible.

Free Domain Names – Merits and Demerits

Free domain names have come to stay on the World Wide Web especially free top-level domains attached to web hosting packages. However, it is not unexpected that to every coin, there are two sides to it. While there are merits to free names, there are demerits and this piece intends to reveal both of them.

One major merit of a free domain is cost effectiveness which is very essential for any website owner. With the reduction in expenses for creating a website, the owner will be able to save cost and have more funds for other web development tasks. Besides, since majority of free names are for one year, you will have enough time to raise funds for renewal when they expire and you can renew for one, two or three years and above. For a short period site, it is like a gift because there may not be need for renewal. Hence, free names are very useful for special events and festivals because once the events are over, there is no need for renewal.

In addition, web developers don’t joke with free domains because they enhance their jobs. Majority of web developers register multiple domains names for one website in order to defeat cybersquatters. What cybersquatters do is to register many variations of popular websites with the intention of selling them to the owners of the websites or benefit from their popularity.

On the other hand, one major demerit of a free domain is limited service. If you get a free TLD attached to a web hosting plan, you can only use it for one year and later renew it. If you get a sub-domain (which is not recommended for serious online business), you will not have access to the Domain Management System (DMS) which is the basic proof of domain ownership. Also a free sub-domain may be flooded with both wanted and unwanted adverts which may not be ideal for your business. It may also not be dependable because the owner of the domain can ban it at anytime and this can lead to loss of rank, visitors, back-links and so on.

Consequently, extra caution must be taken when going for free domain names. It is very important for you to get your free names from a reliable source especially if you are getting a TLD attached to a web hosting package. It is strongly advisable to stay away from free sub-domains unless you want to be online for fun. Sub-domains are not ideal for online businesses, hence, you can pay to register a name (after all it is not expensive) or get a free one attached to a web hosting package.

Why Use a .CO Domain for Your Publicity

Everyone is starting to learn about.co domains vs..com domains. The Internet is running out of.com domains, or so they say. The truth is, if you missed out on a good domain name, then you can get that name in.co instead. Most people are afraid of domain squatters. Domain squatters are people who get your domain and then sell it back to you for a high price. People can register your name or business name even if it is not their business. Tech people claim the.co’s will be on a faster system, unlike the other domains which are all on the old system. As the internet is upgraded, the.co domains maybe easier to access. What does this mean for your publicity?

First you need to consider at least getting your own name in a.co domain. Your business website domain also. With the auto-fill process that browsers use, it would make sense that it would often stop at.co and not auto-fill.com causing people to go to the wrong website. Protecting domains is usually not a problem unless you are super famous. If you are interested in publicity, then clearly you plan to have a higher profile than most people, so this is a viable commitment. “We’re seeing individuals registering them for themselves, their blog, their businesses,” said Lori Anne Wardi, director of marketing for.CO Internet S.A.S., the official.co registry, which allows registrars such as Go Daddy to sell its domain names to the public. “We want to be where the next Facebook starts and the next Twitter starts.” Before its July launch, the.co domain was restricted for use by the Colombian government, much like the United States has the “.us” domain, Wardi said.

Eventually you will be able to get your business name, like Ford could get.ford. I think that will go a long way with branding and publicity and be worth the extra cost. Should you be in a panic, no. You should do some future thinking about how your publicity will be handled online. Prevention is always best.

10 Things To Know About Your Domain Name

There is an entire industry that does nothing except buy and resell expired domain names, and most of their inventory comes from grabbing the expired domain names of businesses just like yours.

Knowing these ten items below could save you hours of time & aggravation, and save your businesses hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

These are, in my opinion, the ten things you absolutely must know about your company domain name…

Domain registrar company name – This is the company that your domain was purchased from. The registrars website is the only place you can update or renew any domain information – look this up at http://www.betterwhois.com and type in your domain name, then a confirmation code you’ll be provided. Instantly, you’ll be given the name of your registrar.

Domain registrar username and password – Wherever your domain was registered, there is a user name and password required make any changes. This username and password is crucial for you to know.

After determining the registrar, visit their website and attempt to log in. If you don’t know the login and account name, you’re going to have to contact them, either by phone or by email.

Domain registrant – Normally, the business owner is the registrant. But, whoever possesses the registrar username and password is effectively in control of the domain.

The registrant is the legal owner, but many companies find out too late that they’re not the registrants of their own domain names! Often, it is an ex-employee, or the web hosting or design company they hired to create the website.

This leaves the site owner out in the cold if they ever want to make hosting or design changes. Your initial search at http://www.betterwhois.com will also show this information below the name of the registrAR.

Domain registrant contact information – The contact information of the registrant MUST be kept current at the website of the registrar. If you register a domain name and then change your email address or ISP, you will never be notified that your domain name is expiring, and you will lose your domain name.

Verify the registrant contact information at the registrar’s website. This is how most domain names are lost. When the expiration date comes up, the registrar attempts to notify the registrant. If there’s no response, then you lose it.

Domain Expiration Date – For obvious reasons, you should be well aware of when your domain name is set to expire. There are vultures perched on every tree branch waiting to pounce on your expired domain name, then try to sell it back to the rightful owner at 20, 50, or even 100 or 1000 times the actual cost.

Domain “Locked Status” – New domain name registrations are “locked” by default at the registrar. This means no changes can take place without an email notification getting sent to the registrar. If you’ve had your domain for a couple of years, your registrar may not have your domain name locked. Check this at your registrant website.

Your Web host – It’s hard to believe, but many businesses faced with the loss of a key employee don’t even know who is hosting their website. To determine your webhost, do the following”

1. Use http://www.betterwhois.com to determine your “Name Server” settings

2. Visit DNS Stuff and use the search box under “DNS Lookup”, (selecting “NS” from the dropdown box) to search for one of your Name Server settings. Just type in the domain name, without the first prefix, which is usually NS.

3. This should give you the name of the domain that owns your name servers. In many cases it will match, but in some cases, it will be another domain name.

4. After you have the Name Server owners domain name, just visit that site to get their contact information.

FTP Username and password of your domain – Not only is it important to know the company that’s hosting your domain, but you should also know their phone number, email, and their website. However, to make any changes to your website, you need to know your FTP address, your FTP user name, and your FTP password.

This information is to be guarded closely, and should always be changed after any key employee or subcontractor leaves your employment.

Domain control panel access – This is provided by your web host for convenience, and it’s where you would add or remove any email addresses, mailing lists, FTP users, or subdomains to your current domain.

Complete control of everything in your website starts here, and the username and password for the control panel should also be held close, and distributed only on a “need to know” basis.

Website Visitor Statistics – Only the most antiquated web hosts don’t offer free comprehensive reporting on your site visitors. Amazingly, many business owners aren’t even aware that they exist, or have no idea of the wealth of knowledge that they hold. Contact your webhost, and find out where and how you access your site statistics and give them a look.

Some Definitions:

Domain name – This is your url or your “address” on the web. http://www.domainname.com

Registrant – This is the legal owner of any domain name. Contrary to popular belief, this can is not always the business owner or company that is using the domain name

Registrar – This is an online service for registering domain names. There are dozens, perhaps even hundreds of registrars to choose from, and prices range from $7 to $30 per year, per domain name.

How devastated would you be if you lost your domain name and all of your company email addresses? Not a month goes by that I don’t encounter yet another business that got caught with their pants down… Don’t you be next!

Find out the answers to these ten items, fill them out on a worksheet, and keep it safe for future reference. You never know when you’ll need it.

How To Make Money Trading Domains

Domain trading is the buying and selling of domain names and it is a business that has been on for many years. It promises a high yield on investment but can be very risky. You can turn $25 into $450 or more within a short time and you may buy a domain name without ever selling. It is an interesting terrain to navigate. If you want make money with this business, you need to get as much information as possible so that you will be able to succeed.

One of the benefits of this business is that you only need to register or buy a domain name and not necessarily developing it or pulling traffic to it. You don’t even need to put any content. Just own the domain – that’s all. You may be wondering where and how to buy domains. You have two options to choose from and you can use both. The first option is to register through registrars and this is referred to as the primary market. Top registrars include GoDaddy, NameCheap, iPage, 1and1, Dynadot and so on. The price for registration varies from one registrar to another and there may be additional products added by each registrar.

The second option is to buy an already registered name and this is referred to as the secondary market. Examples of secondary markets are Sedo, GoDaddy, Flippa, Afternic, just to mention a few. Pricing at the secondary market is a bit on the high side and this is determined by so many factors like the age, category, number or words, valuation of the names and so many other factors. However, it is important for you to note that a domain is renewable every year and you have to factor this into your plan when making purchase and sale decisions.

Furthermore, choosing the right domain name is very crucial to your success in this business. You don’t just go ahead to buy a name you can think of. It doesn’t work like that. It’s not gambling and you need to be able to identify marketable names. You can visit news sites like TheDomains, Domaining, DomainInvesting and so on, to know the latest trend in the market. It is not easy to predict a name that will sell but if you get familiar with information about the industry, you will be better positioned to make the right decision. Typically, the best names are short, easy to remember, easy to spell, easy to pronounce and so on.

Domain Name Search: How to Search for the Right Domain Name

The first step in the creation of a website is a domain name. It is important that a business gets a unique identity over the internet which will enable it to generate traffic and prospective customers. Therefore, if you are about to establish a business online, then a detailed domain name search need to be conducted that would lead to a name and identity of the business.

There are a few considerations before a domain name is searched over the internet. Firstly, the search should focus on the business name or the topics the business with handle in the course of time. The more specific the name, more useful it will be. This is imperative as it help the prospective customers to remember the name of the website. If it’s possible for you to create a unique name then you should go for it. Secondly, many website building companies have created domain search tools that you should look into. These will help you greatly to find a short, easy and unique domain name for your website. In fact they can show you whether a name exists or not and will even recommend you the cheapest price at which you can buy the domain name respectively.

Thirdly, you should not consider having long or complicated names at all. If you are not specific about a domain name then you will not succeed in marketing respectively. As it is only through a name that you will be able to do the marketing of your business, generate sales and eventually spread the word about the business too. You need to use such keywords that would increase search engine ranking and that they should not be slang nor should also not include numbers as well.

Before you select a name for your website, you need to deliberate about a few things. That is you need to check whether the name seems apt or still you need to think more about it. On the other side, whether the name truly reflects about the business and the type of topics it will deal with or not. Moreover, does the name sound catchy and attractive that would draw many customers to the website. Lastly, and more importantly whether the domain name is easy to type and remember.

Though it may not look difficult to choose a respective domain name, yet having the right name will be the key to generate traffic and to increase sales. A domain search tool is the best available option for you and you get various choices out of it. On the other hand, you can even search for expired domain names or those that are on hold. Searching for expired domain name will be advantageous for you because the traffic would already be coming in and investing in such a name would result in reasonable income for you.

Moreover, it you will also save you money in doing advertising for your website. Therefore searching and selecting a domain name is not a daunting task. You need to spend some time thinking about it and also take help from the domain name tool respectively.

Three Keys to Becoming a Successful Domain Name and Website Flipper

First, let’s discuss the term “flipping” and what it means in the context of flipping domain names or websites. When someone “flips” a domain name or website this simply means that they have purchased the domain name or website at one price and have sold it for a higher price.

They make a profit on the difference between the purchase and sale price. This is very similar to the activities in the real estate market. I’m sure that you’ve heard about people who flip houses. Well, you can also flip virtual real estate. That’s the context in which we are using the term “flip.” One of the biggest mistakes made by the beginning domain name or website flipper is the failure to treat their activities as a business. Let’s look at that in more detail.

1. Establish a business presence. A successful domain name or website flipper needs to have a central site that is used for credibility and identity. One of the problems with conducting an online business is that your customer never gets to meet you in person. Your only chance to let them know who you are is through a website. Your goal is to make your customer feel comfortable doing business with you.

2. Collect e-mail addresses. The second mistake most flippers make is the failure to build a list of leads, prospects and customers. If you’re producing a good product or offering high-quality domain names your customers want to know about your latest offerings. Make it easy for them (and yourself) to make contact. You need to have an opt-in form on your website to collect e-mail addresses.

3. Systemize your system. Look for the tasks that become repetitive and set up a checklist or system to make it easy to process activities that are not profitable. If you find yourself having to deal with support questions make sure you develop a list of frequently asked questions or FAQs. Build up standardized responses to e-mail questions.

Flipping domain names and websites can be a very lucrative activity. You can maximize your profits by treating your activities as a business.