Small Business Domain Name

What is a Domain Name?

Why do you need a small business domain name? What is a domain name? Well a domain name is the website name you type in the URL such as SilvanasCleaning.com. Each domain has a suffix such as .org (government agencies), .edu (educational institutions), and the common .com (commercial business).

How do you choose the perfect domain name for your small business website?

Choosing a small business domain name is an important part of forming your online brand. When people think of your domain name, they will think of your small business so it is essential that you represent your small business in a positive way. Using your business name as your domain name is a good idea because when people search for your business online, they will assume your business name is your domain name. For example if your business name is Punky Pizza then your domain name should be www.PunkyPizza.com if it is still available. Unfortunately for us many of the good small business domain names are already taken so I must warn you that unless your business has a very unique name, it may not be available. But don’t give up, there are still some undiscovered treasures out there so grab a cup of coffee, and start brainstorming alternative small business domain names. Ask friends and family for ideas. Here are some tips to keep in mind when deciding on a domain name for your small business web site.

Tips for choosing a Domain name for your small business web site:

1.)Keep it simple and memorable– Don’t be over complicated. A domain name such as www.PunkyBestFavoritePizzaintheWholeWorld.com can be complicated for some people to remember where as www.PunkyPizza.com is much more simple and easy to remember.

2.)Easy to pronounce and spell– Remember that spell-check is popular for a reason. Words such as restaurant, jewelry and tattoo are some of the most common misspelled words.Microsoft even bought the domain name Microsft.com (without the o) since people were often misspelling their name. The domain name for your small business website should also be easy to pronounce. Word of Mouth is the most effective form of advertising. If someone finds your website very interesting, they will tell their friends which will tell their friends and so on. You want a domain name that people can easily type in with out having it spelled for them like www.lovingyou.com.

3.)Make sure that your domain relates to your small business– For example if Punky bought the domain www.PunksinNewark.com, people wouldn’t associate that with a pizzeria; however www.PunkyPizza.com is clearly a website about pizza.

4)Extra Domain Names– It is also a good idea to purchase extra domains with keywords related to your small business. This will help your small business website get better rankings in search engines. For example Punky owns a pizzeria in Newark, NJ so he can purchase the domain name www.Pizzeria-in-Newark-NJ.com. Several domain names can lead to the same website, so you will not need a separate website for each domain name.

How do you check if a Domain Name is available?

There are several websites where you can check availability of a small business domain name; a popular one is GoDaddy.com(this is a great example of a simple and memorable domain name). On the upper right hand side of the GoDaddy.com website you will see a “Domain Name Search” box. Enter your desired small business domain name for your website and click on Go. A page will load revealing whether the domain name is available. If your first choice isn‘t available, don’t loose hope, keep trying new ideas.

You will discover that you also have the option of choosing a .net, .org, and other choices they provide you as an alternative to the common .com. My suggestion is stick with the .com. Even if there’s a domain name available with your BusinessName.net, you’re better off sticking with a .com. People tend to remember .com better. Your website may be PunkyPizza.net, but when people go to search for it many will confuse it with PunkyPizza.com. If Punky decides he wants to advertise his website by including it on menus and flyers, much of his efforts will go to waste because people commonly mistype .net websites as .com.

Registering a Domain Name for your Small Business Web Site

So you have finally decided on a small business domain name for your website? Horray…now you need to register that domain name. As soon as you have found a domain name you are satisfied with, register it quickly before someone else snatches it. Domain names are selling like hotcakes (more than 300,000 everyday!) so if you don’t buy it you might loose it. There are several websites where you can register a domain name for your small business website. Here are a couple:

Domain Name price comparison

Registrar 1 year Private Fee Total
Godaddy.com $10.19 $8.99 $19.18
Register.com $29.99 none $29.99
Joker.com $12.00    
NetworkSolutions.com $34.99 $9.00 $43.99

(Private Fee: When you register a domain name your personal information such as your name, address, and phone number will be available for the public to see. If you wish to keep this information private you may have to pay a private fee)

Tip: Many of these Registrars will try to entice you with incentives such as cheap hosting and extra features, be very critical when deciding whether you want to include it. Much of it is really not necessary. Also note down how long your contract will last for your domain name. It would be a waste if you continually market your domain name, and your clients become familiar with it and then loose your domain name to a competitor because your domain name had expired and you forgot to renew it!

Internet Marketing Strategy

Planning an Internet Marketing Strategy

Planning an effective Internet marketing strategy is essential to the growing success of your business. Getting high targeted traffic (visitors) to your website is like fuel for your car. Traffic is the driving force to the success of your website. Instead of limiting your business to one Internet marketing strategy, use various marketing strategies to ensure a steady stream of visitors. Find a way to keep track of where your visitors are coming from to determine your most effective methods of advertising.

Before you start utilizing these Internet marketing strategies, be sure to market a product or service of good quality. It would be a waste to get a steady flow of valuable traffic when you are just marketing a useless product like “Learning how to read E-books“. Sure you probably heard the story of that guy who sold a 100 year old potato chip for hundreds of dollars on E-bay but those instances are very unlikely. Don’t try selling lemonade in the North Pole; if you have a product or service that nobody wants an Internet marketing strategy won’t make a difference.

Internet Marketing Strategies

SEO- Search Engine Optimization– Optimizing your website for the Search engines can be a hugely effective Internet marketing strategy. Hundreds of thousands of people use search engines such as Google each day in search of products and services they need. They type in a specific keyword of a service or product they are seeking such as “barber in New Jersey” or “Christmas gifts” and a list of related websites is displayed. Getting high rankings for your website can make the difference between getting a regular flow of targeted visitors to your web site and not getting any. Search Engine Optimization can be quite useful in bringing in traffic but it is often times costly. You can find Search Engine Optimization companies by searching for this term in search engines such as Google. Before hiring a Search Engine Optimization Company be sure to look at their portfolios and prior work to see if they were successful in getting high rankings for prior projects.

Local Searches– This Internet marketing strategy can be beneficial especially if your business is seeking to attract local customers. When buyers search for a business in a certain area such as “barber shop in Newark, NJ” in the search engines a list of local businesses show up along with the address and phone number. You can include your business in these local searches for your particular location. To add your business to the Google local search, enter the term add business to google search in Google.com and click on the first link. To add your business to Yahoo local searches click here.

Forums– People use forums to seek information and advice whether it’s about a problem they have, a product they are interested in, or services they seek. Forums can help you gain a better understanding of what people are seeking and issues they are having. You can discover various forums targeted at your specific audience by doing a quick search on Google for “your keyword” forum. Viewers may be already talking about your product or service on forums. There’s no such thing as bad publicity right?…WRONG! Forums can be an effective internet marketing strategy but it can also be destructive to your credibility if is puts to light negative aspects of your business. If unhappy customers start complaining on forums or blogs about how horrible your product or service is, this will chase away truckloads of potential customers. Take this very seriously.

Blogs-Blogs used as an internet marketing strategy can attract a group of dedicated viewers. Blogs are online journals of thoughts, stories, ideas and comments. With their popularity steadily growing Blogs are taking over the internet, covering almost every topic imaginable. Information on Blogs are considered by viewers to be much more credible then ads. As a result many internet marketers are focusing their energy more on blogs rather than ads. At Blogger.com you can have your very own space to blog. Just keep in mind that people are interested in credible information and useful advice not another marketing pitch!

    Tips for keeping a successful blog:

  • Be sure to continually update your blog. Your dedicated readers will expect you to keep them up to date with the latest information.
  • Your blog must have a purpose. If you are trying to promote your business or product through your blog, you will have to be creative when brainstorming topics for your blog. Blog about a topic readers want to read about or information that can be useful for them such as your journey starting a small business or how your small business is coping with the economy.
  • Get your friends and employees to contribute to your blog. You don’t have to be the only writer for your blog; ideas and comments from different perspectives can add a little spice to your blog.

AdWords– Adwords are an option when developing an internet marketing strategy. Google is the most popular search engine and therefore the leader in search engine ads. When someone types in a keyword and searches it on Google the paid for adwords will appear on the right side of the results. You pay every time somebody clicks on your ad. Costs per click can vary anywhere from 1 cent to $25.00 or more depending on how much your competition is willing to spend. An advantage of adwords is that you are seen only by your target market, since it will only be shown after your selected keyword is searched for. When purchasing adwords make sure to make your keyword as specific as possible to ensure only your target market is clicking on your ads (you pay per click, so you don’t want non-potential clients wasting your clicks). Instead of choosing a broad keyword such as “shoes” choose something like “pink tennis shoes”. Learn more about Google’s Adwords by visiting Adwords.Google.com. However adwords is not a wise internet marketing strategy for all businesses. If your business has a small marketing budget, you are better off sticking with other internet marketing strategies. Seek advice from an internet marketing consultant for building a successful Adwords campaign and for constructing an effective internet marketing strategy for your business.

Forming an Email Newsletter– Recurrent customers are valuable customers and that’s why email newsletters can be an effective internet marketing strategy. On your website entice your viewers to subscribe to your email newsletter by offering incentives such as updates on new products or useful information. For example if you are an internet marketer you can entice your viewers to subscribe to your Email Newsletter by offering “Internet Marketing Strategy Revealed!” Make sure to provide informative or entertaining information on your newsletter; if it sounds like a sales pitch, people will regard it as spam.

Banners– Paid online banners is one way to get the word out there about your product or service. However online banners are not one of my preferred methods of internet marketing. When people click on a banner they are more close minded, and ready to fight off any marketing pitches thrown their way. Visitors are more likely of purchasing your product or service if it is referred from a credible source rather than a banner.

Press Releases– Writing a press release can attract attention for your business both online and offline. Make sure the information you write in your Press Release is newsworthy. Create an eye catching headline. Don’t make it sound like an advertisement, make it something viewers will want to read. Make sure it is well written. Get someone to proofread to ensure there is no grammar or spelling mistakes.

Yellow Pages Advertising– Business owners are probably familiar with the yellow pages in the phone book; that big book you get every year that usually ends up lost under the bed or deep in the shelves. Entrepreneurs use the Yellow Pages to advertise their services and businesses for a certain area. These yellow pages advertisements can generate loads of new clients. Did you know that there is an online version of the Phone Book’s yellow pages? That’s right, for all the people like me who just can’t seem to find where they put that Phone book, there is an alternative online. It’s called YellowPages.com. On YellowPages.com you can add your business to the listings for free or you can choose to pay for a higher listing.

Offline Efforts– You don’t have to market your website just online. Offline promotion can be highly effective especially if you are targeting a specific area. For example Silvana, owner of SilvanasCleaning.com has a house cleaning service in Manhattan, NY. To promote her small business and small business web site she produces flyers and business cards, all containing her website address. To promote your small business you could also give out free goods such as t-shirts, key chains, coffee cups with your business name and location.

Benefits of small business website development

So you want a website for your small business? Great idea!…there are many benefits of Small Business Web Site Development.

  • It provides a way for your clients to access information about your small business all hours of the day and night.
  • A website can be a great form of advertising for your small business.
  • The Internet has become a very useful and popular tool for people in search of products and services. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, an outstanding 60 million Americans use search engines everyday!

creating business website

Small Business Website Design

Finding a Website Designer for your Small Business

Your small business website design will be the face of your business online. Once you have made your web project plan you are ready to find a website designer that can create a small business website design that meets the needs of your business. It is important that you consider various factors before choosing a website designer for your small business. It may be worth paying a little more for a good quality website that can meet the needs of your business and help it expand. Web designers usually have portfolios or profiles that show other websites they created. Look at the portfolios of the web designers and consider the following factors to help you make an informed decision.

Review the Portfolios and notice if they fit the following criteria:

  • Is it easy to navigate? – Can you find all the pages easily? Is the navigation menu easy to read? Many viewers get impatient when they are not able to find what they need and as a result will simply leave your website instead of trying to figure it out. A navigation menu is usually located on the left or upper side of the website.
  • Does it require Flash, QuickTime or Frames?– Not all computers support these programs so some viewers will not be able to see these websites. Flash and Frames can also highly reduce your chances of getting high rankings in the search engines.
  • Does the website meet your standards?– Do you like the overall design of this website?
  • Does it contain highly relevant pictures?– People like seeing pictures. If your viewer sees loads of information and no pictures they may get bored and leave. However the site should not be crowded with images either, this will delay the loading time of your website. People are often impatient so if your website takes too long to load , they will just leave.
  • Price– Is it within your budget? Keep in mind that you will have to save some money for advertising the website as well.

Ask your small business website designer if they can give you a layout of your small business website design before they start building it. Website Designers will often show you a layout of the website at no charge. A layout demonstrates the basic design of the website. You can then let them know if you approve of the design.

Small Business Website Host

What is a Web Host?

You might be thinking- Why do I need small business web hosting? What is a web host?… Well every website needs to be stored in a physical space so it can be viewed on the Internet. A web host has a system of numerous computers that are connected to the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These computers store your files and websites usually for a monthly fee. When deciding on a website host for your small business website there are many factors to consider such as Disk space, bandwidth and allowable languages.

Choosing Web Hosting for your Business Web Site

How do you choose small business web hosting for your business website with over 10,000 web hosts available online? When comparing small business web hosting companies here are some factors that should be considered:

  • Disk space is measured in (MB) megabytes and (GB) gigabytes. Disk space is the amount of storage a web host company provides for your website. If you have a very big website with many pages you will need more space. If you use a Flash web site, or if you have many graphics on your website you will also need more space. 500MG should be enough for a basic website.
  • Allowable languages:Each website is made from a scripting language such as HTML (hypertext Markup Language), PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) and many more. Be sure to ask you web site developer what language he/she used to make your small business website. Nowadays web hosting companies have progressed and they usually accept all scripting languages, but it’s best to make sure.
  • Bandwidth controls how much traffic your small business web site can support. The higher your bandwidth the more amount of people can view your website at the same time. For example when Victoria’s Secret had its first online fashion show, so many people logged in to view the show that it caused the website to crash. The average website receives about 50 visitors a day which is 250 MB of bandwidth. Generously speaking a basic site could be comfortable with 1-3 GB of bandwidth. Some web hosts refer to bandwidth as Data Transfers.
  • MySQL access: If you plan to incorporate a database such as MySQL (Your website developer / website designer can tell you if it was used to create your website) you will need to ensure that your web host accepts it.
  • Ecommerce enabled: If you plan on doing any sort of business on your website in which you will collect credit card information you will definitely need SSL(secure server). Also make sure your web host accepts shopping carts.

Small Business Web site Hosts

Website Host Price per Month Disk Space Bandwidth/ Data Transfer MySQL access Ecommerce Enabled
ThinkHost.com $7.95 unlimited unlimited yes yes
InMotion.com $8.95 unlimited unlimited 50 yes
BlueHost.com $6.95 unlimited unlimited yes yes
HostMoster.com $6.95 unlimited unlimited 100 yes