The Domain.com Blog

How to Audit Your Online Presence in 2020

At Domain.com, much like our name would suggest, domains are our bread-and-butter. What you may not realize is that we’re also experts in websites and branding. That said, we understand what it takes not just to get started, but to build, flourish, and succeed in establishing yourself online. A large part of that success consists in understanding the performance of your cumulative digital efforts. You have to take stock of everything you’ve done, and beyond that, your total digital presence. You may think that means reviewing the actions and things you directly control online, like your website, your social media profiles, and your on-page SEO. And you’d be correct… to an extent. Don’t forget that you can’t control the entirety of the conversation around your business on the Internet. If you want to audit your total online presence, look to the areas you can’t directly manage, too. We’re going to discuss the various parts of a total online audit in this post, and we’ll point you in the direction of some tools that can help you accomplish the task. A comprehensive audit takes time, but is vital to your business’ online success, so if you can’t dedicate any time to an audit, consider hiring an expert who can help. Performing a complete online audit of your web presence. You should go into your audit with a plan, and you should be able to put one together using this guide. So let’s get to it. We’ll be learning a lot about performing a web presence audit today, like: The issues it can help you uncover and solve. The items and areas to be reviewed in your audit.The insights you’ll gain into your online presence [Office1] and business post-audit. Why You Should Perform a Total Online Presence Audit. There seems to be this recurring trope in Hollywood — the one about someone who’s born lucky, or has some magical event befall them, and then everything they do works out in their favor. Do you know the one? Somehow, that mentality has gotten into entrepreneurship. We hate to break it to you, but that happens in the movies and only in the movies. If you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, blogger, or side-hustler, you’re going to have to make your own luck. And fair warning: It’s going to look a lot less like luck and a lot more like dedication and hard work. But the end result — success on your own merit, is so worth it. The first step to success is understanding your business.   Do you know who your ideal customer is? Can you describe your marketing funnel(s)? Wondering why some competitors perform better than you do for certain keywords in SERPs? Or why certain pages of your site have high bounce rates? These are all questions you need to know the answers to, and your audit will help you gain these crucial insights. Tracking your audit findings. Before getting started, make sure you have a way to track and record your audit and your findings.   If you use a cloud-based solution for record-keeping, then you can quickly and easily share your findings with anyone who needs to access them. Depending on your preference, we offer and recommend both GSuite, which comes with all the Google tools you know and love, like Gmail, Sheets, and Docs, and Office 365, that offers all the familiarity of Outlook, Excel, and Word plus a host of other features.   Parts of a complete online presence audit. Now that you have your tracking tools at hand it’s time to plan your audit. It will consist of reviewing the following areas: WebsiteSEO analysis, both on and off-pageContent Analytics Marketing and digital campaignsSocial media platforms and profilesLocal directoriesReview sitesGoogle My Business Listing As we move through each section we’ll tell you what to look for and provide you with a set of questions to guide you. Feel free to add your own as you go. How to audit your website. Your website is your home base online. It’s where you drive customers and generate business, so you need to treat it well. We really like that John Jantsch, of Duct Tape Marketing, recommends starting website audits with your homepage. He writes that, “If you find issues on your homepage, odds are you’ll find issues throughout the rest of your website as well.” When you review your site, you’ll discovers answers to things like: What actions are your site visitors taking?Where are people clicking on your homepage?What landing pages receive the most traffic?How long are people staying on site? And all of these insights can be used to further refine your site and improve your marketing funnel. A website audit, in and of itself, is a large but fruitful task, so don’t hesitate to ask for help from a professional if you need it. We wrote an entire guide dedicated to auditing your website, and it includes tips and the tools you’ll need to accomplish it. Check it out here. This guide also includes the instructions for performing your on-page SEO reviews. In the next section, we’ll cover how to review your off-page SEO, or SEO factors that aren’t on your website. How to audit your off-page SEO. If you haven’t heard of SEO yet, let us explain. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Don’t let the name fool you though, when performing SEO tasks you won’t be directly affecting any search engines. Instead, you’ll be optimizing different factors on your site so that they rank higher in search engine result pages, or SERPs. Along with those website SEO factors, referred to as on-page SEO, there’s also off-page SEO. Source: https://moz.com/learn/seo/off-site-seo Off-page SEO mainly consists of building back links to your site from other online sources. That could mean a variety of things, like linking back to your site from social media or other blogs and sites. In fact, backlinks can be bucketed into three general groups: Natural LinksLinks made to your site organically by others. Like if someone were to link off to your site in a blog post they write without you having to ask them to do it.Manually Built LinksThese are links that appear on 3rd party sites or platforms, but you’ve had a hand in getting them there. This could mean you’ve asked a customer or friend to share it, or maybe you hired an influencer to do a social media campaign that links back to your site. Self-created LinksThese are the bad boys of backlinks, and we recommend you use caution before plastering your site links all over the Internet. Search engines don’t look fondly on spammy links, so if you’ve inserted them where they don’t belong — like random blogs and websites that don’t relate to you in some meaningful way — you could be doing yourself a disservice. Only post your links where it’s appropriate and makes sense. You can use Google Search Console, a free tool, to audit your links. Use Google’s instructions to start your free account and then you can download a list of all your backlinks. Then, if you can, remove any that fall into “spammy” territory. How to audit your social media presence and accounts. Your social media profiles comprise a good portion of your total online presence. Social media is a place to connect with and grow an audience, identify new business opportunities, and tell your story the way you want it told. Auditing your social media can help you find new audiences, improve relationships with existing ones, direct people to your site to transact, and more. You’re going to want to start your social media audit by tracking down all your social media profiles. In your Google Doc or Excel Spreadsheet, record the platform (like Instagram, Facebook, etc.) and the link to your profiles. Also include: Your social media username, or handle.What your goals are for the channel. How frequently you post to support those goals. Top performing content. Information on your audience or demographic. Then, stop and reflect on the different social media platforms and channels. Are they supporting your goals as-is? What needs to be refined? Are there any you don’t need to be on? Remember, it’s not about being everywhere, it’s about being where it counts, or where your audience is. How to audit your marketing and digital campaigns. Are you running any marketing or digital campaigns? Those should be part of your complete web presence audit, too. As you compile your different campaigns, make sure you’re clear on their goals. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals for each of your campaigns. Once you know the goals of your campaigns, you’ll want to review their looks to make sure they’re on-brand. Is your type consistent? Are your logos the same? Check out this thorough guide from FlypChart to help you analyze the headlines and copy of your campaigns to make sure everything is support of your goals. How to audit your online reviews. When it comes to online reviews, there’s not much that can be done to change any that exist, but it’s a good idea to audit them anyway. Auditing your online reviews, on sites like Yelp or Facebook, can help you keep your finger on the pulse of what people are saying regarding your business. Lots of positive feedback? You must be doing something right. Too much negative feedback? Use the critiques and criticism you see to improve your business and after doing so, encourage people to leave new, positive reviews if they’d had a good experience. No reviews at all? That doesn’t mean people don’t like your business, but it may mean that you’re not exactly memorable enough. You can work to implement a word-of-mouth-marketing strategy that can help increase what people say about you — online and off. How to audit your Google My Business Listing. Have you set up a Google My Business Listing (GMBL) for your business? If not, you’re missing out. Google is by far the most popular search engine, so it’s good to have a GMBL. These listings have all of your important business information like your hours of operation, contact information, and website links, along with the ability for customers to leave reviews on your listing. We recommend using Google’s guide to setting it up, or making sure yours it set up correctly, as part of your audit. Audit your complete web presence to understand what your customers are saying, how you portray yourself online, and better your business. Total online audits have a lot of parts to them, it’s true. We don’t expect that you’ll be able to complete your audit in one day, and that’s ok. Break your audit down into manageable chunks and record your findings and results as you go so that you don’t forget where you left off. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact an expert. The post How to Audit Your Online Presence in 2020 appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How to Choose the Best Font for Your Website

Creating a website is an exciting task. When you sit down to create a website you face a world of potential. There’s so much your website can do for you: Increase your sales, grow your customer base, help you network, assist you in your job search, or even build your blog’s readership. And that doesn’t even begin to cover all the benefits of having a website. But if you want to make the most of your site and reap those rewards, you need to put care and consideration into the planning, design, and creation of it. Many things go into crafting a beautiful, and most importantly, effective website. It can be hard to see beyond the excitement of finding the perfect domain name and choosing the right website builder, we get it. That’s why today, we’re looking at an oft-overlooked site design feature: typography and font. How to Choose the Perfect Font for Your Website Typography and font may not seem like influential web design elements — after all, as long as your site visitors are getting the information they need, who cares what the letters look like and how they’re presented, right? Wrong. The devil is in the details, dear reader. And these two seemingly small details, typography and font, can make or break your user experience. What is a font?  Fonts are “graphical representation[s] of text that may include a different typeface, point size, weight, color, or design.” Have you heard of Times New Roman or Arial? How about Calibri and Comic Sans MS? Even if you didn’t know them by name, we bet you recognize them by sight. These are all examples of different fonts. Why do font types matter? Successful businesses know that different fonts communicate different messages to their audiences. This is why they have to be carefully chosen, no one wants to accidentally send the wrong message to their customer base. We’d be willing to bet that there isn’t a Fortune 100 company out there that hasn’t painstakingly decided on the font they use to communicate with customers. Did you know that Steve Jobs is often called the “Grandfather of Typography?” While creating his first Mac he also designed and created ten different fonts. He understood the visual power of the written word, and sought to maximize it with newer, better fonts. While Steve Jobs didn’t invent typefaces (that was more Johannes Gutenberg and his good ol’ printing press) he did revolutionize the world of digital typography by giving us a variety of fonts that allowed us to visually express ourselves. Before he came along, one of the more ubiquitous fonts was Digi Grotesk. Here’s an example from Fonts geek of what it looks like. Could you imagine a world where the Internet largely used only one font? It’d be a pretty boring place, in our opinion. Types of Fonts There are thousands upon thousands of different fonts, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all suitable for web design. In fact, you’re going to want to make sure the font you choose for your website is web safe. Web safe fonts are easily read by a variety of different Internet browsers. If you’re not using a web safe font, chances are it could display very differently on someone else’s browser as compared to your own. Different fonts convey different feelings to the reader, so let’s take a look at some common font families that you’ll likely recognize. We don’t recommend using too many different fonts on your site as that could end up looking busy and messy. Serif Fonts Serif fonts or typefaces are distinguished by a decorative stroke at the end of the letters (both horizontal and vertical end.) Popular fonts like Georgia, Century, and Times New Roman are Serif. These are two very well known fonts, and you can’t really go wrong using them. They’re both web safe and easily readable. Serif fonts are generally used to give an elevated, formal tone to your website. Sans Fonts Sans fonts differ from serifs in that the letters have no serifs, or decorative strokes, on them. Did you know that “sans” means without in French? These letters are without decoration, so they’re legible, modern, and clean. You’ll likely recognize fonts like Helvetica, Verdana, or Lucida Sans. If your site aims to be modern and straight-forward, try using a Sans font instead of Serif. Choosing fonts for your website. Now that you know what fonts you should use for your website, and why they’re important, it’s time to consider the number of fonts you should use on your site. We recommend choosing three fonts to start with: A primary font, a secondary font, and a tertiary font. The primary font should be used the majority of the time. The secondary and tertiary fonts are supporting, and there to enhance or call-out specific things on your site. Check out this visual guide to typography from Canva to see what your fonts can really look on like on your site, and let us know what fonts you chose to use in the comments! The post How to Choose the Best Font for Your Website appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

10 Ways to Show Your Blog Some Love

Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, or Palentine’s Day — no matter what you celebrate, don’t forget to include your blog in the festivities. We promise that if you treat it well, it’ll take care of you in turn. Why start a blog in the first place? Bloggers we’ve talked to have described them as their passion. Blogging allows them to connect with people nearby or across the world who have similar interests; it’s a way of supporting their lifestyles (hello, travel bloggers!). Some folks use blogs for their side-hustles to make extra money and others depend on their blogs as a primary source of income. Face it: You and your blog are in a relationship. Just as with any relationship, it’ll thrive with a little TLC. Ways to Improve Your Blog   Use these 10 tips to better your blog and show that you’re ready to commit. 1- Update old blog posts, content, and links. Many people put all their focus on “new” — new blog posts, new infographics, new videos. The thinking behind that is that new content will increase your site traffic. And to an extent, that’s true. But that doesn’t mean brand new is always better. (Tell that to your ex, amirite?) We’ll explain. Google, the leading search engine, loves new content. However, in this case “new content” is expanded to include updated content. And older content already has other benefits like URL authority and traffic. Bots and spiders crawl your site looking for different things. Among those things are indicators of fresh content. They’ll make note of your updates and it can lead to your content seeing a bump in SERPs.   Added bonus: People are less likely to bounce off webpages that aren’t full of outdated links and information. 2- Create a content calendar.   As mentioned previously, Google is smitten with new content. Creating a calendar helps you stay on top of future posts and plan your updates. There are a variety of tools at your disposal for creating content calendars. A quick Internet search shows many free options, or you can use the calendar features in trusted online tools such as G Suite or Office 365 (along with a host of other familiar and user-friendly features that they offer!). Added bonus: Using a cloud-based calendar allows you to plan with other content collaborators no matter where they’re located. 3- Verify that your blog (and website) is truly mobile responsive. News flash: It’s 2020! If your visitors want to catch up on your blog from their mobile devices, like a phone or tablet, make sure it’s a pleasant experience for them. No one wants to drag their finger across their screen to get from one end of a sentence to another. And no one will take the time to do that either. Instead, they’ll bounce. When designing and working on your blog, keep responsive design in mind. WebFX defines responsive design as, “…a way to put together a website [or blog] so that it automatically scales its content and elements to match the screen size on which it is viewed.” You don’t need to be a coding wizard to create a mobile responsive site, so relax. Any good Website Builder includes a mobile optimization feature. Added bonus: Making sure your blog is optimized for mobile devices also improves your SEO! Mobile optimization is a contributing factor in Google’s search ranking, so don’t overlook it. 4- Check the speed of your blog. You know what else will drive away your visitors? A super slow-loading blog. Why should they stick around when there are approximately 784028495868 bazillion other web pages in existence that they could be browsing (and that could have loaded in the same time frame)? Let’s face it: A slow-loading blog takes all the fire and excitement out of the relationship. Use a free resource, like Google’s PageSpeed Insights, to get a better understanding of your site’s loading time. If your loading time is abysmal, poor, or even mediocre, try doing these things: Optimize your images.Reduce the number of blog posts featured on your homepage. Go easy on the ads. Make sure you’re using the right plugins (fastest and newest versions.) 5- Audit your plugins. Even if you get a high score on your PageSpeed Insights review, you should still take stock of all the plugins you’re using. No relationship needs a third wheel (or multiple third wheels) dragging them down, so get rid of any plugins you no longer use or need on your blog. We can’t stress this enough — backup your blog before making any changes to your plugins or any big changes to your blog in general! If something bad should happen (and while it’s highly unlikely, it is possible) you’ll be happy you have that backup. Do you use WordPress for your blog? Here’s a great article by Mediavine on how to audit your WordPress plugins. 6- Add an email signup form to your blog. You’ve heard us say it before and we’re saying it again for the people in the back. It’s high time you introduced your blog to email marketing. They make for the perfect pair. Adding an email signup to your blog is one of the easiest ways to promote and increase repeat readership of your blog. If you’re like most of us, you probably check your email every day. Stay top of mind with your readers by meeting them where they’re likely to be, in their inbox.   7- Network with other bloggers Starting and maintaining a blog can seem intimidating at times. It’s a relationship, remember? And all good relationships require work and effort. But here’s the thing — you’re not in it alone. We’re betting you probably have a friend or two that you turn to for relationship or romantic advice. Well, why shouldn’t you have other bloggers you can turn to when you have questions about your blog or blogging in general? Odds are good that they’ve experienced what you’re experiencing and can help guide you through it. And that’s not all networking with other bloggers is good for. Once you get to know other bloggers you can try: Guest posting on each others’ blogs.Boosting your backlinks by sharing each others’ content. Do this as appropriate. Spamming each others’ blogs with irrelevant links looks bad to both your readers and search engines. Contributing to supplementary content together, like podcasts, webinars, or giveaways. 8- Get social from behind the computer screen. It is your responsibility as a blogger to engender trust in your readers. If you want your visitors and readers to value your content and share it with others, they need to know the source behind it is trustworthy. It’s all part of something called social proof. SproutSocial defines social proof as, “the concept that people will follow the actions of the masses. The idea is that since so many other people behave in a certain way, it must be the correct behavior.” The thinking goes that if many people trust and share your content, then it must make sense for them (any other people) to do the same thing. Show who you are and that you’re trustworthy by: Connecting with your readers in the comments.Creating social media groups (like Facebook groups) where your readers can connect and converse with you.Posting testimonials from those who’ve worked with you in the past or have tried your products. 9- Go beyond the written word on your blog. Did you know that the word “blog” is a shortened version of web log? Since blogs started as online journals, it makes sense that they’re heavily reliant on the written (or typed) word. That dependency on written content won’t change, but it doesn’t mean you can’t spice it things a bit. A little variety never hurt anyone, so consider adding any of the following types of content into the mix: VideoGifsPhotos or imagesInfographicsGraphs or chartsWebinarsQ&A with readers or guests Added bonus: Multimedia content increases the amount of time people spend on your site. 10- Implement Google Analytics on your blog. Your blog can be your biggest ally in forging new connections and creating financial independence. But to get the most out of your blog it needs review, maintenance, and optimization. Luckily, Google yet again provides us with a free tool that helps you understand your blog’s performance and where it can be improved. Have you heard of Google Analytics? It’s a great resource that helps you analyze your site. You can learn where your visitors come from, how long they’re spending on your site, where they’re bouncing, and so much more from the Google Analytics platform. These insights can then be applied in different ways so as to optimize your blog and increase the revenue you can make from it. Neil Patel writes a great piece titled, “7 Google Analytics Reports That Show How Your Blog is Really Performing” that we really think you should check out. Optimizing your blog doesn’t have to be difficult. Take these tips to heart when working on your blog, but don’t feel as though you have to tackle them all in one day. Managing your blog should be an enjoyable experience, so go ahead and plan out what improvements and optimizations you’ll start with, and set goals to accomplish them. Once those are checked off your list, move on to the next blog improvement tip and knock that one out, too. What other blog improvement tips do you have? Let us know in the comments. The post 10 Ways to Show Your Blog Some Love appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

How to SEO Audit Your Website in 2020 [Technical Guide]

Things change quickly on the Internet. Your website may have been perfectly optimized for a great user experience and SEO when it was created, but we’re guessing a lot has transpired since then (even if it doesn’t seem like it).   Do you want to make the most out of your website — increase your conversion rate, better your SEO, and have the most engaging content? Because to do so you’ll need to audit your site on a regular basis. In this post, we’re covering ways you can perform a review of your site so you know what’s working and what needs improvement. How to perform a website audit. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? In order to successfully audit your site, you need to know three things: What a website audit entails, who your ideal audience is, and what your goals are. The first because, well, how can you perform an audit without knowing what it is? And the second because your site should be designed with your ideal audience in mind. Any improvements you make to your site based on your audit should make life easier for them, not harder. Finally, you need to have identified your website goals. The improvements you make to your site should support your goals (e.g. – increase conversions by 5% month over month.) Many people and online resources will tell you that a website audit has everything to do with SEO. While that is a large part of it, your site is more than just an SEO machine and we have to look at the bigger picture. We appreciate BluLeadz’s definition of a website audit. They say that “a good website audit takes into account all the factors that can influence your website’s success: From your perspective, your customer’s, and Google’s.” Considering Google held 88.47 percent of the search engine market as of 2019, their perspective and opinion of your site is absolutely crucial to your success. Your customers’ perspective is essential, so part of your audit will revolve around reviewing the user experience of your website. And of course, your perspective is vital. Who knows your goals and motivations better than yourself? Now is the time to make sure your website is aligned to support them. Website Review and Audit Tools It’s difficult to determine where you should begin working on your site if you don’t have a solid understanding of how it’s currently performing. It’s best to first perform your audit and then plan your improvements based on the results.    A good thing to do at the beginning of every website audit is use a tool built for that specific purpose. You can find both free and paid website audit tools by doing a quick Internet search. Many free tools require that you provide an email address in exchange for their services (it’s called lead generation), or you can pay for a tool to provide a more in-depth review of your site.   Website Grader HubSpot created a popular tool, Website Grader, that provides information on your site’s performance, mobile friendliness, security, SEO, and more. Check out Domain.com’s grade below. What isn’t pictured here is the plethora of information you’ll receive by starting your website audit with this beginner-friendly tool. You can use the insights from the audit to hone in on the areas where your site needs the most or immediate work. In fact, the last section, titled “What Should I Do Next?” lays it out for you. Google’s Site Audit Tools Google offers multiple tools to help you review and understand your website. Here are three of their resources that can best assist you with your audit. PageSpeed Insights The name, “PageSpeed Insights,” is pretty telling isn’t it? It’s a tool that “reports on the performance of a page on both mobile and desktop devices, and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved.” Insights ranks your webpages using a numeric grade — 90+ is a fast page, 50-90 is middling, and anything below 50 is without a doubt a slow webpage. Note that this tool only reviews the webpage URL that you supply, not your entire website at once. Depending on the size and complexity of your site, it may not be feasible to enter the unique URL for each and every one of your webpages. Maximize the efficacy of this tool by identifying the most important pages on your site and reviewing those first. You can figure out what pages are most important and receive the most traffic by using heatmapping tools, or by utilizing the next Google tool in this list. Google Analytics Analytics provides an incredible amount of information and insight into your website. If you’ve never used it before, here’s a great beginner’s guide to Google Analytics to help you get started. Now, some of you might be wondering why we’re focusing on this tool since it provides in-depth information on your site visitors’ behavior. But think about it: Your site visitors’ behavior, in large part, correlates to the quality and efficacy of your website and its content. Have a slow loading site? You’re going to see some big bounce rates and small dwell times. People won’t hang around waiting for the page to load; instead, they’ll leave and find another faster loading website that suits their needs. Google Analytics helps you identify your most popular and well-trafficked landing pages. These could be the pages that people are landing on from search results, other sites, etc. most often. Consider running these pages through the PageSpeed Insights tool to make them as good as can be before moving on to less trafficked pages. Google Search Console Once upon a time, Google Search Console was known as Google Webmaster Tools. We like the newer name, because it speaks to this tool’s purpose: to help you “…monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results.” If you have a website, you can benefit from Search Console. It’ll tell you things like: How often your site appears in Google search results. What terms and queries people search by that lead to your site in the results. Indicate any issues you may be experiencing with indexing. And more! Google provides instruction on getting started with Search Console here. The information and insights you gather from this tool will be instrumental in improving your website’s SEO and overall success. Questions to ask during a website audit. Going into things blindly isn’t a great plan. This is especially true for your website audit. Before spending a lot of time with the resources we mentioned in the last section, make sure you know what questions they’re supposed to be helping you answer. Auditing your website for the user experience. We believe that your website’s user experience is integral to its success. When you create a user-friendly website, you’re really inviting those users to stay longer, interact more, and hopefully, convert (that just means they take the action you want for them to take — purchase, sign up for email, etc.) on your site. To audit your site for user experience, ask yourself the questions below. (Bonus: Many of the improvements you’ll end up making for user experience will directly improve your SEO!) Do I know my target audience?Are my CTAs (call-to-actions) and content geared toward my audience?Good CTAs are effective. They are clear and deliberate in telling someone what action to take.Is my marketing funnel optimized for these users?Is my site’s load time too slow or experiencing any issues? (If so, it could mean the answer to the following question is “Yes.”)Are my site visitors bouncing?Follow up by looking into their dwell time.  Is my site mobile responsive?If your site doesn’t display well on mobile devices, you’re missing out. As of the end of 2019 mobile devices drove the most website traffic, coming in at 52.6%.This is also important for SEO because Google uses mobile friendliness as a ranking signal.Does your site navigation make sense?Once someone lands on your site, will they be able to easily find what they’re looking for and move around?Here’s an (admittedly extreme) example of a site with terrible navigation. Would you know how to navigate this site without having to rest your eyes every now and again? Is your website design up to par?If your site looks like it walked straight out of the 90s then you’re in trouble.Do you have a lot of broken links?It’s a bad look, and your visitors won’t think of your site as reliable. Is your contact information easy to find?We recommend making it available on every page, even if at the footer.Do you have any intrusive pop-up ads or is your site cluttered in ads?Use a browser in incognito or private mode to get a sense of the ad experience for your visitors.  Auditing your website for technical issues. A technical audits helps get down to the nuts and bolts of your website: Are the systems and technologies working, or are they not? Is my website secure?SSL is integral to the security of the information exchanged on your site.Without SSL, information passed from end user (site visitor) to unsecure sites (like during a purchase or email sign up) and vice versa isn’t encrypted. This means it can be intercepted by lots of bad actors out there on the Internet.Secure websites are favored by Google in search results.Browsers display whether a site is secure or not, and that can make all the difference in a visitor’s trust (remember, they’re your potential customers.)Below are examples of sites with and without SSL. A site with SSL (using HTTPS) showing a secure lock icon. Site without SSL (not using HTTPS) displays “Not Secure” right next to the domain name. Is your personal information protected from the Internet’s prying eyes with Domain Privacy + Protection?Keep your site safe from both hackers and human error.How does your site display across the most popular browsers?Test your site across all the major browsers so there are no surprises or bad experiences for your visitors. Make any necessary changes to improve how your site renders on these browsers. Don’t forget to test the mobile versions of these browsers!Are you using a CMS (content management system) like WordPress?If yes, are you using the most up-to-date and secure version?Audit any plugins to make sure they’re running the newest versions and don’t pose security issues. Remove any no longer needed or used.  Is your site backed up?Before making any big changes to your site, you should create a backup. Wouldn’t it be terrible if something went wrong while making updates to your site? Without a backup created of your site, that can equal lots of heartache, time, and lost revenue.  Auditing your website for SEO. An SEO audit helps you optimize your website so that it performs well and ranks higher in SERPs, search engine result pages. Do you have a sitemap created so that Google and other search engines can easily crawl and index your site?Is your robots.txt file accurate?Are all the pages on your site optimized according to the various SEO ranking factors?Moz provides a run-down of different On-Page SEO ranking factors here.Are you using appropriate and relevant SEO keywords across your site and content?Do all your pages have title tags and meta descriptions?Title tags and meta descriptions are HTML elements that appear in the header on a web page. When a page shows as a search result, its title tag and meta description normally display right along with it on the SERP (search engine results page.) This is important because it can influence whether someone clicks through to your site from the SERPs.Is your website accessible?Do your images have alt text?Do you have any broken or misdirected links?Domain.com’s resident SEO expert, Mike, thinks SEO Minion, a free 3rd party SEO tool, is good for checking broken links. Please note, this is not a Domain.com product or resource.How many backlinks do you have?Backlinks are links created when one website links to another. You may also hear them referred to as “inbound links.”Are they quality backlinks?Moz created Link Explorer, a free tool to help you identify your backlinks and provide other link metrics, but it does require that you sign up for a free Moz account.SEOquake is another 3rd party tool (free plugin) that offers great insights into your SEO.Is your URL structure optimized?URL structure matters to both search engines and the people visiting your site.Here’s Search Engine Journal’s guide to an SEO-friendly URL structure. Wrapping up your website audit. Auditing your website can seem overwhelming at first. If that’s the case, break it out into smaller sections and complete them one by one. It could take a few days or a few weeks, but either way, audits are necessary for the success of your site. You should plan on auditing your website at least a couple times each year. For more complex websites, consider auditing them more frequently. Reviewing and auditing your site will give you a leg up with search engines, your customers, and over your competitors. Did you have any other tips or recommendations for auditing sites? Let us know in the comments! The post How to SEO Audit Your Website in 2020 [Technical Guide] appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

For the Love of Your Business — SEO Strategies to Implement Now

Do you want your business to succeed? If so, you need to learn a thing or two about SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO is made up of various strategies and best practices that exist to improve your position in search engine results. Google, the dominant search engine, relies on different SEO ranking signals to determine what websites or pages are the best results for different search queries. These ranking signals consist of things like: a secure website (SSL enabled), appropriate keywords, a site’s mobile friendliness, and quality of links. When your site is optimized for SEO, you have a better chance of ranking higher in SERPs, or search engine result pages. This is vitally important considering “75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines.” There are two kinds of SEO: On-page and Off-page, though we’ll mostly focus on the former in this post. So without further ado, let’s look at some SEO strategies that can help boost your business in search results. SEO Strategies for Your Business We asked our resident SEO expert, Mike, what strategies and tactics he recommends as the most impactful that you should implement ASAP. He’s developed successful SEO plans for small businesses, agencies, and large corporations, so he’s well-versed in what helps a website rank higher in search results. Here’s what he had to say. Understand Users and Their Intent Remember when typing three keywords into Google would still give you decent, relevant results? That doesn’t cut it anymore. Now, people are searching the Internet using more complex, natural speech patterns. Considering how voice search is on the rise, this trend doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. To make the most of it, you need to know a thing or two about your users. How well do you know your audience and user base? Understanding them will give you a leg up in search results. Are you wondering how that’s possible? Search engines value content and sites that users themselves find valuable. So how does Google know what content and sites users find valuable? They use information like bounce rates and dwell time to determine whether someone is staying on your page, consuming relevant content, or bouncing away because your site doesn’t meet their needs or answer their query. You can use Google Analytics to help you understand who your users are. You can figure out how they’re reaching your site, where they’re landing, and more information to help you refine the user experience of your site. Google BERT (one of Google’s newer search algorithms released in October 2019) supports your need for a user-focused site. BERT, “is Google’s neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP)…” and “in short, BERT can help computers understand language a bit more like humans do.” Optimizing Page Titles and Meta Descriptions Page titles and meta descriptions are some of the first things users and search engines see and they influence how your page is understood.   Page titles are the clickable titles that display in SERPs, like you see in the example below, circled in red. Depending on the browser you’re using, you may also see page titles in your tabs. Meta descriptions are little snippets of HTML content that describe the content on a page. Optimizing them for SEO is crucial. You can see Domain.com’s homepage meta description circled in blue below. Page Title Optimization Your page title is one of the most important on-page SEO ranking factors. To make the most of it, keep these tips in mind: It should be no more than 65 characters in length (including spaces.)Your most important keyword should feature in your page title.Don’t stuff it full of keywords. That’s ineffective and search engines see right through it. Meta Description Optimization Meta descriptions are brief snippets created to describe a page or site. Good meta descriptions increase the click-through rate from search results to your site. Create effective meta descriptions by: Including a CTA (call-to-action) in your meta description.Keeping your description between 50-160 characters, including spaces.While you can write longer meta descriptions, Google tends to truncate them if they’re too wordy.Including keywords is important, but don’t keyword-stuff for the sake of keyword-stuffing.   Create and Write Longer, Better Content   Articles and pages that appear on the first page of Google search results tend to average ~1890 words. If you’re still writing 500-word fluff and puff pieces, your SEO is in trouble. https://backlinko.com/search-engine-ranking Let’s hearken back to the first SEO strategy Mike suggested, understanding your audience. If you can find out why people are coming to your site, you can cater your content to them. Writing good content takes time, but it’s worth it because the quality of your content matters. Good content is: Engaging. It keeps people on your site longer.Shareable. If your content is good and trustworthy, others are more likely to share it and that gains you backlinks (a form of Off-page SEO.)Editable. Good content needs to be tweaked. Google likes “fresh” content, so be sure to revise your content to include updated keywords, newer facts, or reflect changes in user-behavior. Remember, search engines want to display the best results for search queries. If your page has the best, most comprehensive content that answers a question, naturally, it’ll rank higher over time. Secure Pages Having a secure website is essential to your success. You might think you can get away without SSL if you’re not running an e–commerce website or asking for user’s personal information (like via an email sign up form), but you’d be mistaken. SSL isn’t just vital for site security; it also matters for appearances’ sake — never discount the power of perception. We’ll explain below. Since Google introduced security as a ranking signal in 2014, SSL has been a must-have. SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer” and it protects and encrypts the information passed between an end user (site visitor) and your site, and vice versa. It keeps information safe ranging from credit card details to email addresses. Without SSL, hackers and bad guys can intercept, read, and alter that information. Remember how we said perception matters? Consider this: Sites with SSL enabled have a visual indicator in the URL bar that signals the site as safe and secure. Sites without SSL, or not secure sites, show up with an ugly indicator, like you see below, that can cause site visitors to lose trust and confidence in you. Don’t push your site visitors away before they’ve had a chance to peruse your pages. Enable SSL on your site and reap the benefits of increased customer trust and the secure exchange of information on your site. Use Your SEO Tools If you’re working on SEO, it makes sense to use SEO tools designed specifically to help! As an added bonus, many of them are free. Let’s look at two resources created by Google that are indispensable to your SEO efforts. Google Analytics Use this tool to understand basic KPIs (key performance indicators) and benchmark performance. With Analytics you can: Understand your audience.Gain insight into performance fluctuations.Visualize user behavior.Create reports. Google Search Console Google Search Console has one main purpose: to help you understand how GoogleBot has interacted with your site. What’s GoogleBot? It’s Google’s Search Engine Bot that crawls webpages. It uses sitemaps and links to catalogue sites on the Internet. Google stores this information in their index, which is like a massive repository of sites that exist online. GoogleBot crawls sites using different SEO ranking factors and looks for things like broken links or updated content. When it finds these things, it updates and makes note of them in the larger index. When using Search Console, don’t forget to look at your Index Coverage Report (ICR). Your ICR: Lists both the pages you’ve submitted to Google (like via a sitemap) and all the pages Google has discovered on its own.Each page displayed in the report will fall into one of the following four buckets.ValidValid with warningsErrorExcluded Use the status of your pages to make any necessary changes to your site. For example, if you find a webpage that’s excluded from search results that shouldn’t be, you’ll need to correct it. Search Console also lets you see the queries people made to find your site! Neat, right? This is incredibly insightful information that allows you to: Improve your keywords, and therefore, your content.Understand your most valuable organic keywords.Gauge and monitor keyword movement to see what you should be targeting. Technical SEO Have you ever completed a technical audit of your site? If not, now’s the time to start. As a best practice, you should audit your site at least once a year (more if you have a complex site.) Technical site audits help you understand various things about your site, like: Are You Searchable? When people make search queries, are your pages surfacing as results?Help you understand what “noindex” tags exist on your site that shouldn’t be there.Check the validity of your webpages (especially by using Google Search Console in your audit.) Clean up Your Redirects When you click on a specific URL, but the page that loads has a different URL, it means you’ve encountered a redirect. Redirects are ways of getting people from one webpage to another.Here’s an example of how it could work. Let’s say you used to sell tons of Product A because people just loved it. But you discovered Product B, something far superior, and stopped carrying the other one.  If someone has the old page for Product A bookmarked, you can use a redirect to get them to Product B’s page instead of seeing an error.  Over time, your redirect chains can get longer and longer and that can dilute your SEO equity.This also adds load time to your pages.Check for temporary redirects and make sure they stay that way, temporary! They shouldn’t be used as long-term solutions.If you need a permanent redirect, make it a 301. We repeat, 301 redirects are permanent, but they transfer the SEO equity of your old page to your new one, unlike a temporary redirect. Evaluate Site Traffic To evaluate your site traffic you’ll need to use either Google Analytics or Google Search Console.For Google Analytics:Click on Acquisitions > All Traffic > Channels > Organic Search (under default channel groupings) and select your time frame.We recommend choosing a longer time frame to really get a sense of any patterns or issues.Use this information to identify landing pages with irregular performances.Evaluate these pages individually looking for potential errors.For Google Search Console:Navigate to Performance > Search Results > Change date to “Compare.”Sort results by significant differences in your KPIs to identify and evaluate your site performance trends.Seeing a big gap in click and impression data? Bridge them by identifying the keywords you’d like to strengthen and then focus on those terms within that page(s). Update Your Robots.txt File Robots.txt files are made to communicate with web crawling robots (like GoogleBot.) These files tell the bots what webpages they can and can’t access for crawling on your site. It’s a file that creates “rules” around your domain.   Robots.txt filesMake sure no important elements from your site are being blocked from crawlers and therefore, search engines.Block elements of your site (of your choosing) from crawlers and search engines.You should always check your Robots.txt file.You can view its real-time performance from within Google Search Console, just look for the Index Coverage Report we mentioned earlier.For example, anything that results in “valid, but with warnings” means your Robots.txt file should’ve prevented those URLs from being crawled, but they’ve surfaced anyway. If this happens, make sure your Robots.txt file is set up appropriately.You could also see things marked as “excluded.” This means those URLs are appropriately and correctly blocked from SERPs by the robots.txt file.We recommend giving anything an “excluded” status a once-over to make sure you haven’t accidentally blocked any pages that should be crawlable. Review Your 404 pages 404 errors surface across pages that have been removed, deleted, or are otherwise categorized as “Bad Requests.”Do you have any 404 pages that have actually gained significant value for your site?This could be because they’ve generated a lot of backlinks, have great keyword ranking, bring in decent traffic, revenue, or a variety of other reasons.If yes, you should consider redirecting those pages (remember, 301 redirects maintain all the SEO equity that a page has built) or reconfiguring them so they’re still relevant.View your 404s with a web crawl or with Google Search Console.In Search Console, go to your Index Coverage Report and then navigate to the “Errors” section. This will display all the 404 errors that came from your sitemap.xml file.In that same report, navigate to the “Excluded” section.This will report on any pages with a 404 crawl anomaly or any pages throwing soft 404 errors. Implementing These SEO Strategies and Tips Will Boost Your Business We want your business to succeed as much as you do. That’s why we’ve compiled these SEO strategies and hope that you implement them on your website. SEO is crucial to surviving and thriving online, so don’t let your website and business get behind. If you’ve never worked on your SEO before, consider starting with this beginner’s guide to SEO. If you have any questions, or other SEO strategies you’d like to suggest, let us know in the comments. The post For the Love of Your Business — SEO Strategies to Implement Now appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

A Guide to Color Psychology for Your Website

If you navigate to Google and complete a search for “Color Psychology” you’ll receive about 604 million results. And many of those results are populated with brightly colored infographics and images detailing exactly what every color means and how they make people feel. What if we were to tell you that most of that information is incorrect? Back away from those infographics and stick with us as we explore the psychology of color and how it can affect your website and your brand.  In this post we’re discussing the following: What is color psychology?The relationship between humans and color.Why color choice is vital to your website and your brand.How to decide on the right colors for your site and brand.The juxtaposition of colors: how they can work together to achieve your desired effect. Color Psychology and Your Website What is color psychology? “Color psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior,” says Wikipedia. Unlike what a lot of online information would have you believe, color psychology is not a science. The color red doesn’t always fill us with passion just as yellow isn’t the universal color of happiness. However, colors definitely influence us: Our moods, our preferences, and our actions can all be impacted by color. The Relationship Between Humans and Color  When light hits our eyes it’s passed through our retinas and understood as color. Our retinas have two kinds of photoreceptors: rods and cones. “Rods work at very low levels of light. … Rods don’t help with color vision, which is why at night, we see everything in a gray scale.” And “cones require a lot more light and they are used to see color.” There’s no doubt that “…colors are psychological experiences.” When light hits your eye, these waves are “converted into electrical impulses which pass to the brain—eventually to the hypothalamus, which governs the endocrine glands, which in turn produce and secrete our hormones.” Pretty interesting, isn’t it? What makes a person feel a certain way about a color? Diversity is real — look around you. Considering how widely people can differ, is there any surprise that colors don’t have the same effects on everyone?    Keep this in mind when choosing the colors for your website. In order to select the most effective ones, you’ll need to start by identifying and understanding your audience. Here are three things that can influence how your audience feels about different colors. Age Did you know that people’s preference for certain colors changes as they age? Joe Hallock performed a study on color psychology and in it he quotes another scientist named Birren. Birren noted that, “With maturity comes a greater liking for hues of shorter wave length … than for hues of longer wave length.” This means people tend to prefer colors like blue or purple more than colors like red or orange as they age. Gender Are boys born inherently preferring the color blue? Are girls naturally drawn to the color pink? Hardly! According to Smithsonianmag.com, “Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I.” And at first, there was no common consensus on what color was better suited for what gender — many publications listed pink as the manlier color since it derived from red. “Our preference for a specific color can be related to how we feel in any situation, how we want to feel, and even how we remember certain experiences (to name a few),” says Hallock. Here are the findings from Hallock’s study relating to color and gender. Looking at the chart we can see that blue is a favorite color among both males and females. However, take a look at purple, a color that only the females preferred.   Culture Does a person’s cultural background inform their color preferences and associations? Absolutely. For example, in Western cultures, white is a color symbolizing purity or cleanliness. In some Eastern cultures, it’s the color of mourning. Depending on your audience and where your customers are located, you’ll want to be mindful of your color choices. Research the cultural associations of the specific colors you’re interested in using for your brand or site before choosing something simply because it looks good to you. How to Identify Your Website Audience We hope that you took the time to work on your ideal customer persona and ideal audience before launching your website. If not, there’s always time to refine and do it now, but don’t delay. We also recommend using Google Analytics to learn about where your site visitors are geographically located, what devices they use to enter your site, and a variety of other information. Analytics gives you a great amount of insight into the people who traffic your site. Never used Google Analytics before and don’t have it set up on your website? That’s ok, use this guide and get started with Google Analytics in under a day. Choosing Colors for Your Website Now that we understand different factors affecting people’s perception and feelings regarding color, we can start talking about choosing colors for your site and your brand. Can you answer the following questions? Where is my desired audience located?What age group am I targeting?Am I targeting website visitors or shoppers of a certain gender? The answers to these questions should help you choose your site colors. If you are designing a website that sells clothes to kids and pre-teens, opt for brighter colors and a more engaging design. In youth, humans tend to prefer bright colors and this could help you sell more products on your site. This color preference is vastly different from older generations that prefer more subdued blues and softer colors. If you’re in the life insurance business, it doesn’t seem like yellow, orange, or red are the best colors for your website. Choosing colors that your audience isn’t attracted to can lead to lower engagement on your site and fewer clicks. Test Colors on Your Website One of the nicest things about websites is that they’re easy to edit and work on nowadays. You don’t need years of schooling under your belt to change a few colors on your site. Any good WebsiteBuilder will give you the option to update colors, usually with just the click of a button. And chances are, your website won’t be perfectly optimized when it goes live for the first time. This is why we encourage you to perform audits and tests on your website. You always want to know what’s working and what isn’t so you can make any necessary adjustments and get ahead of your competitors. Here’s a simple test you can run on your website: Updating your button colors. What’s a button? A website button is usually an HTML element on your website, directly on the user interface, that aims to influence and impact the user experience. Or in other words, they’re the Call-to-Actions you hope your visitors click on. Take a look at a button on Domain.com’s website below, circled in blue. Pro tip: Want to know where people are clicking most on your site? Try heatmapping! There are various free and paid heatmapping solutions that you can find by running a quick online search. Heatmapping, quite literally, allows you to see where users are clicking most on your site or how far they’re scrolling by “color coding” your site. It’s a tool that analyzes and visualizes data and layers it over your site (not visible to your visitors) so you can tell what the most important or engaging content on your site is. Keep an eye on your heatmap after updating and testing your button colors so you know which ones work best. Choosing Colors That Work Together on Your Website Not all colors play well together. Some colors are complementary, while others don’t bring out the best in one another. Human brains, interesting things that they are, perceive colors differently based on the colors they’re around. You can dive into that in this article by Canva, where they discuss Henry Matisse, who understood the power and impact colors could have when used together. Choose The Best, Most Effective Colors for Your Website Don’t choose the colors for your site based on what you find most attractive and appealing. Chances are, that might not be the same way your audience thinks. To understand what colors work best on your site, it’s vital that you know your audience and the audience you want to attract. Use the tips above to create a well-designed site that drives action and performance through use of color. No website? No problem. Get started with your site today by trying Domain.com’s easy to use WebsiteBuilder. The post A Guide to Color Psychology for Your Website appeared first on Domain.com | Blog.

A Checklist: Website Resolutions for the New Year

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

SSL and HTTPS: A Technical Guide

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

Guide to 2020 Social Media Image Sizes

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

What Are Smart Goals and Are They Effective?

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

10 Productivity Tips to Get Yourself Organized

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

How Domain Names Play a Role in Voice Search

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

A Guide to Your Domain.com Control Panel

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

3 Ways to Make Your Website Festive this Holiday Season

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

Website Hosting for the Holidays

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

How to Create a Holiday Marketing Plan

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

How to Build an Email List to Increase Your Online Sales

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

How to Start Selling Goods and Services Online

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

Secure and Protect Your Domain, Website, and Personal Information

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

Should You DIY or Outsource Creating Your Website?

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

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