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Archive for June, 2010

Indianapolis Web Development – Ten tips on choosing a good domain name

Posted in: Blog, Tech Tips by admin on June 25, 2010

Not to put too much pressure on you, but choosing a good domain name is pretty darn important.  It will be the basis for all your online marketing, your email address, and more for a long long time.  So it’s important to give some thought how you will be referred to online.  Here are some tips for picking a domain name.

  1. Your domain name should equal your website name should equal your email address.  If you sell real estate don’t
    • call your website Sally’s Realty
    • then use the domain www.sallyhomes.com
    • and have an email address of sally@homesbysally.com.
  2. Sally’s Realty should equal www.sallysrealty.com should equal sally@sallysrealty.com.   Seems obvious but I’ve seen it done.

  3. Your domain name should relate to your product:  If your website is Sally’s Ocean Realty don’t register www.SallySellsSeaShells.com just because it’s catchy.
  4. Your domain shouldn’t compete with other trademarks.  Especially if it’s a big trademark.   The only visit you want to get from a trademark lawyer is when s/he wants to buy a house, not take yours.
  5. Pick a domain that can serve as a strong trademark so other companies can’t use similar names.  Overhead Doors of Indianapolis certainly passes the test for a business name that relates to the product, but has to work hard at distinguishing itself from all the other overhead door companies.
  6. Pick a domain that you don’t have to spell out when you’re giving it to someone over the phone.  If your name is Tracy (Tracey, Traci, Tracee) don’t use it in your domain name.
  7. Your domain should be easy to remember.  www.google.com. Enough said.
  8. Keep your domain name short.  When you consider that your domain is also part of your email address, be kind to all those people who will be typing your name.
  9. Hypens – bad or good?

    Pros:

    • Search engines like hyphenated names because they can distinguish your keywords better and rank you in search results.
    • If you have the perfect name but it’s not available, the hyphenated version is the next best thing.

    Cons:

    • It’s easy to forget the hyphens when typing a name. This can be particularly problematic if the non-hyphenated version of your name is your competitor’s website.
    • When people recommend your site to others, there is more potential for errors than when the name does not contain hyphens. For example, how do you think your visitors will refer to your site if it is named “Indy-Lakeside-Realty.com”? They might say, “I visited Indy Lakeside Realty dot com yesterday. It was fabulous.” Their friends, remembering that comment later, might type into their browsers “indylakesiderealty.com”. Oops.
    • It’s a pain in the neck to type.
  10. Plurals, “The”, and “My” Forms of the Domain Name.  See the comments under hypens.  If the regular version of this domain is not a competitor site, then you can probably get away with it, since visitors who mistype the address will immediately see their error.  See etoy.com vs. etoys.com for an example.  But if is a competitor then I would stay away.
  11. COM, ORG, NET, etc?  The jury is out on this one.  Personally, I stick to .com names.  I wouldn’t get a .org version unless I was a nonprofit (which is what .org designates).  I might be persuaded to get a .net name but only if I really couldn’t find a better .com name and if the .com version isn’t a competitor.

Not creative?  Get on the mailing list for justdropped.com, which emails lists of expired domain names.  Or use Wordoid http://wordoid.com/ which creates a new word out of a fragment you specify.  Or use the suggestion tool at www.godaddy.com/whois (and you can use GoDaddy to register that perfect domain name once you’ve found it).

Indianapolis Social Media – Why Facebook is not Important (sort of)

Posted in: Blog, Tech Tips by admin on June 22, 2010

Now that I have your attention, let me explain. When you think of social media keep in mind the end result is a mixture of your social content (photos, comments, video, etc.) with the social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, YouTube) that you select as your online vehicle(s) of choice. What’s important to know about social media sites is that they are driven entirely by users, that is, people like you and me. Facebook provides the framework, flush with  fancy bells and whistles, but the users truly make it come to life.

The reach of these social media sites is almost eye-popping. Consider this – NBC, ABC and CBS combined reach 10 million viewers each month. Facebook, YouTube and MySpace combined reach 250 million users. The impact is equally stunning. Think of the role social media played in the 2008 Presidential Election, how it has proven influential in elections around the globe. Facebookers even mounted a campaign in support of Betty White as host of SNL, and were successful!

In the long run, a particular social platform may have staying power, or it may fade into the sunset. Remember MySpace? It once held the lion’s share of the social media market but has been in decline while Facebook’s fortunes rose (literally). The same can be said with photo sharing sites. Flickr is the current titan, but PhotoBucket is gaining ground every day. As the technology behind social media platforms grows and evolves, many live and die based on their ability to stay ahead of the pack, as well as what the savvy consumer anoints the next big thing. Do you remember how you searched the web prior to Google? Me neither.

So while Facebook may be around a decade from now, you could just as easily find yourself saying, “Remember when we all had Facebook pages?” However, what isn’t going away is the fact that any user, anywhere, at any time, can post something of importance, whether a photo, video, or comment. Content generated by users is growing at an exponential rate. More data (texts, photos, videos) is being transmitted over cell phones than voice. And much of that data is housed on social media sites.

So do you need to get on Facebook? To me, that’s not the first question you ask. The first question is: “Do you need to engage in social media?” That answer is a resounding yes.

Indianapolis SEO – How search engines work

Posted in: Blog, Tech Tips by admin on June 11, 2010

If you have a website, you know how important it is for people to be able to find you in the major search engines.  You also probably know  that to get your site on page one of a search engine like Google, you need to “optimize your website,” also known as search engine optimization or SEO.    But do you know how a search engine actually goes about the task of deciding where to list your page?  Knowing the basics of how a search engine works is a good first step to understanding how to optimize your web pages.

Search engines perform three basic tasks.  First, they go out and find web pages.  Second, they keep an index of the pages they find.  Third, they rank those pages for a particular keyword and allow users to search for pages containing those words.

So how does a search engine find a web page?  There are no humans involved in this task.  It is done with the use of software robots called “spiders” that “crawl” the web (get it?)   The spider will typically start at a heavily used site, crawl through all the pages on the site and follow all the links from that site to other sites.  As it crawls pages, it builds lists of words found on those pages, notes on where the words are found, and indexes those lists.

Search engines index billions of pages annually, so the next step is to determine what order to display those pages when someone types in a particular search term.  It does that through the use of complex algorithms, or sorting techniques, based on what it finds on a page.  For example, if a spider reads the words “real estate,” “Indiana,” and “commercial,” it knows that this is a page about commercial real estate in Indiana and would likely show this as a result when a user types those words into a computer.

Note the use of the word “likely”.   It’s not a given that your page will show up for a particular word or phrase, and it is less of a given that it will show up on page one.  When you’re competing with thousands or even millions of other pages for a particular word, it helps to know how to structure your page to give it the best chance of it being listed highly in the results when a user searches on those words.  This is where search engine optimization comes in.

Now that you know how search engines work, stay tuned for future Tech Tips on how to optimize your pages.

If you need help optimizing your web pages or any other internet work, contact:

Valerie Baten
Online Architecture
317-253-2900 x110

Indianapolis Web Design – Cool Tools: Picnik free online photo editing

Posted in: Blog, Tech Tips by admin on June 4, 2010

If you have a photo that needs simple edits and the thought of learning how to use photo editing software like Photoshop makes you cringe, Picnik is, well, a real picnic.  It’s incredibly easy to use with step by step instructions and helpful hints along the way.  Upload your photo and apply edits online instantly.  Unobtrusive help boxes pop up to explain what you’re doing and how to do it.  Don’t like your edit?  You can undo any edit at any time.  When you’re done you’ll save a new version of the photo, preserving the original.  Your new image can be saved to your computer, or shared directly on a dozen different sites like Facebook.

The free version gives you all the basic editing tools you need.  Registering gives you more tools, and paying for Premium access unlocks the whole box.

Picnik was recently acquired by Google.  Google has a habit of acquiring good products and investing the resources making them better, so you can expect to see much more from Picnik in the future.

You can try Picnik at www.picnik.com.

For professional help with your website or other internet project, contact:

Valerie Baten
Online Architecture
317-253-2900 x110