We take over lots of websites owned by small businesess that need a reliable web developer to manage their website, and unfortunately the process if often hampered by the lack of essential details held by the business owner. Here’s a list of things you should keep tucked away in a file somewhere just in case something bad happens to you.
Geeky warning: Some of the concepts here are technical – if you have any questions just post a comment!
This is sometimes a single password, or a username and password depending on who your domain was registered through.
These details would have been given to whomever registered your domain name for you.
If something happens to your web host and you need to quickly move your website to a new one, you will need this to make the switch.
The File Transfer Protocol allows your web developer to transfer your website from their development platform up to your web host. Your web host will have provided these when you first signed up for a hosting account.
If you’re unhappy with your web developer, you’ll need to give your new developer the FTP details so they can backup the website, and continue to make changes.
Hosting Account Access
Most web hosts have an interface which allows you to make changes to basic account details like setup new email addresses, create a new database and check your statistics.
To move to a new web host, it will be easier if you are able to access your hosting account so your new host can set up the same email accounts and move over your account fully.
It is a good idea to have a list of email accounts for all your domain names, and the current password. Also include on the list if you have any forwarders or aliases.
If your computer crashes and you are unable to access your email, with your username and password you will still be able to access your email using a webmail interface until your computer is repaired.
When you tell someone a domain name over the phone, it seems instinct kicks in and you will inevitably be asked if that is all one word.
It’s a funny question because domain names cannot have any spaces, so they must all be all one word.
To help stop the spread of this question, I encourage you when asked to say “All domain names are all one word.”
Did you get that title?
The past two days I’ve noticed a number extraordinarily long domain names… they’re a bad idea because they’re very hard for your customers to remember.
Domain names should be as short, snappy and memorable.
If you have a long business name, consider dropping non-essential but common words from your domain like services, the or solutions.
You could also consider using initialism, although you do need to be lucky in registering those. For example if your business name is The Hurley Brothers Real Estate you might consider the following domain options:
But you wouldn’t consider TheHurleyBrothersRealEstate.com.au. Definitely too many words.
If your domain is generic and keyword-rich you will have a strong advantage over your competitors. But there’s a catch… the advantage is limited to the words in the domain.
This is best illustrated with an example.
Say you’re a conference organiser, and you operate in Sydney. You might consider a strong search term to be sydney conferences. The best domain you could pick would be sydneyconferences.com. This domain will almost certainly rank within the top 10 results within a very short time of the website being released.
Let’s say however that you also want to rank for sydney conference venues. The domain sydneyconferences.com won’t have the same stong advantage, since it lacks the word venues. But… sydneyconferencevenues.com would be a great winner.
Generic domain names work well for web-based businesses because they often don’t have a strong brand and therefore leverage the large volume of searchers who don’t already know the name of a business to look for in this industry. Established businesses are better off with a domain name which closely reflects their business name.
Although this is great for very popular search terms, you’ll find most generic domain names in high places are already taken. If they’re not… pounce on them!
This is a one trick pony though, as it doesn’t work to register lots of generic domain names and point them at your site. The search engines will only pick up ONE of these domain names, not all of them. Just keep the others as investments.
In the world of case sensitivity, it’s always refreshing when I tell people their domains and email address are not case sensitive. The major benefit of this is course, is that you can use capital letters at the beginning of words in multi-word domain names and alleviates the temptation to buy a domain with a hyphen.
So here’s some examples, see how the capitalisation makes them easier to read:
getwebservices.com.au > GetWebServices.com.au
evolveenergy.com.au > EvolveEnergy.com.au
tourstogo.com > ToursToGo.com
goodsexporter.com > GoodsExporter.com
Did you get caught on the last one? *shakes finger at you* You have naturally naughty thoughts!
The examples show how much easier it is to read a business name in the domain or separate the words with a capital letter. Have you seen any domains that have tricked you up when all written in lowercase?
In an earlier post I wrote about electronic domain name renewals and why it’s important to have a company manage your domain names on your behalf. Unfortunately over the years various clients have been burnt by the increasingly convincing domain name scams.
Most people know what a spam email looks like, and business owners don’t usually get caught by these. It’s the paper scams delivered to you in your real mailbox that get people. You’re busy, and it just looks like another bill.
There’s two major types of scams:
Here’s some things you can do and watch for to avoid getting caught.
Have your Domains Managed by a Company
This means that if an invoice turns up in your letterbox from a company you haven’t heard of, you can safely dispose of it. Become familiar with your domain management company’s logo so you can easily identify legitimate invoices.
Look Carefully at the Letter
Is your correct domain name actually listed as the on invoice? Also have a good look at the company details, as scam letters are often generated from a foreign entity.
If in doubt fax through the questionable correspondence to your domain management, web hosting or web design company and ask them what you should do.
Have you ever been domain scammed? Let us know your experiences.
There are many reasons why you should avoid owning a domain name with a hyphen.
1. It’s harder for customers to understand.
Customers will trip over the hyphen and need to double-check your domain name. People stumble over hyphens. Don’t place any extra barriers in front of your customers, they’re fickle enough.
2. They sounds dorky when you say it.
Think about how you present a domain name with a hyphen over the radio. “Just log on to city hyphen of hyphen Cairns dot com for more details.” Seems kind of ridiculous, doesn’t it.
3. They’re worth less.
If you ever want to sell your business, there is more value in domain names without hyphens.
Many businesses use hyphens in their domain names to separate words, and therefore make them more clear in their marketing, particularly print marketing. Hyphens are also popular for new businesses where their business name has already been taken, or for competitive keyword rich domains.
Be creative with your domain names, and avoid hyphens. Anyone disagree? Please, your thoughts.
It’s a bad idea to register your own domain names. It’s easy to forget the domains you register, because it’s another year before they come up for renewal for a .com, and 2 years for a com.au. A pivotal piece of your registration is your email address. Your domain registrar will use it exclusively for corresponding with you when it comes time to renew your domain.
This is a problem for new businesses who might not yet have a business email address, and are using email@example.com or some similar email address at their ISP.
It is amazingly common for domain names to expire because the owner changed their ISP, and so their email address changed too. This similarly occurs with free online email addresses like at Hotmail, or Yahoo.
By having a company manage your domain names, you can have peace of mind your registration will always be renewed on time and your website will never embarrassingly go down due to the expiration of your domain name.
If you have purchased the domain for a future project or as an investment the consequences of not collecting your renewal email can mean losing your domain forever. Most recently expired domain names are purchased by domain-squatters, so the chances of recovering it after expiry are minimal or expensive.
Check with your web host as most offer a service to manage your domains.
It’s very disheartening when businesses have their name tarnished by an ambitious competitor who understands the internet just a little better than they do. So how can you protect your business’ good name online?
Brainstorm for permutations of your domain name. This can be as simple as considering the alternate extention on your current domain. So if you have a .com, consider the .com.au, or expanding into other extentions like .net, or .org.
Next think about different ways in which your business name might be written. For instance, if your business name is The Rock Man, then you might consider both TheRockMan.com.au and RockMan.com.au.
Protecting your name has an unlimited number of possibilities, and can be an expensive exercise. Major companies go even further than the methods outlined here to include typos and less common mispellings of their domain to protect their brand. My best advice is to always purchase your .com and .com.au, and if you’re in a particularly competitve industry, also buy the .net and .net.au.