Friday, July 13, 2012

Domain Registration

John Abert

In parts one and two, we talked about keeping your computer safe from lost data, as well as malware and virus threats. Now we get into things that are more in the line of services, rather than products. Unfortunately, there are a few things that 999.9% of us are not going to create for ourselves, we can’t buy it outright to “own” it, and we can’t get it for free, so we do have to pay for a minimal number of items. The things in parts three and four of this series may not even be needed, depending on what kind of business you are running. If you do your selling strictly on the auctions for instance, they provide your advertising space for you, and you don’t need a site of your own.
Before you get carried away with the information on setting up your domain, and end up naming it something that you’ll regret, you need to also read Post #8 in this series, regarding marketing software. There is where we talk more about the keyword software that you should be using to find out exactly what your business name and domain name should be. DO NOT even consider naming your business or domain until you do the proper keyword research to see what your potential customers are looking for!
In the meantime, be patient, enjoy the posts as they come up, and I guarantee you by the end of Post #10, you will be ready to actually work on your money-making site.

As with anything else, I am a believer in choosing the biggest and best companies to deal with, for the reasons mentioned previously. That also applies to the two main things you will most likely need… domain registration and hosting. I say “most likely” because it is possible to make money online by using such things as online auctions, free blogs, free classified ads, stock and commodity charts, and many other things, depending on your business model, and how you manage it. But the majority of marketers, even those running auctions, are going to use a domain and hosting of their own, above all else.
As I have told my auction students before, money is not made entirely on the auctions, but if you use the auctions wisely, you can use them to drive traffic to a web site, where your profit margin on sales is much higher. Domains and hosting aren’t technically “software”, but rather, they are services, and not likely the kind you would try to set up and run yourself. Still, it is a part of the basic “setup” you will need for most businesses.
What is a domain and why do you need to register it on the web? 

Think of it like your phone number on the web, unique to you so that people can find you or your business.  The main reason to register it is so some main “entity” can keep track of them, so that no two web addresses will ever be alike, as it would create a state of confusion that no one could manage. It would be like multiple phone numbers for different businesses all over the globe! Some main agency or “entity” has to be responsible for all that information to avoid duplicates. But they can’t call a domain a “phone number”, so they use an alpha-numeric code name and call it a URL (Universal Resource Locator).
Unlike the phone company, you get to choose what your URL will be, as long as it is available, and not already taken by someone else. That's where the domain registrars do their job. And because different businesses provide that registration service (all governed by that one main “entity”), they deserve to get paid for doing it.
What should be in the URL (or…how to decide on a name for your site)?
This is where keywords (and phrases) come in. Before you ever think about what to sell, who to sell it to, what to name your site, what to name your pages (or posts), what your sub-titles should be, or what words to put in your sales text… you HAVE to start with knowing what keywords to use!
Keywords are what your potential customers type into the search engine search forms to find what they want. Search engines are like robots. They only respond to exact matches of words. If they can’t find exact matches, they will then pull up other things that they “think” are related, which is why we see so many “irrelevant” listings come up the farther down we go on the results page. If you don’t know how to match your keywords to exactly what the customer wants, then how are you going to know how to reach your customers?
A good example of what NOT to do is the name of this site. No one searches for “Azgrand”. It’s an abstraction that means nothing to most people, and is not what they would search for on the search engines. It has nothing to do with marketing, and only has vague meaning for us. The problem is that it was founded long before I ever knew the importance of keywords, which is why it has gone through several transitions over several years, and is now only a place for our “headquarters”. The few times we did try to make use of it as a local information site, it was for local advertising spurred on by business cards. But for a worldwide marketplace based on search engines, this URL is useless. Therefore, I have to compensate by using other techniques to drive traffic to the site, such as 

  1. listing it on other sites that have higher traffic. As this training continues I will reveal those techniques, as well as keyword tools and techniques.
  2. using other key words in the URL, such as "Internet Marketing". This is another reason we have decided to add those words in the URL of this new blog site, rather than just the word "Azgrand" as the original domain used.
  3. using other keywords in the title and sub-title of the site, and in the content itself, can compensate for a URL which no one would ever search for. 
The biggest obstacle is that if someone is looking for “beginner marketing course”, the search engines will breeze right on by my domain name! The only way I can catch their attention is through secondary methods, which are never as good as having your main keywords in your domain name. If I want first page, first position rankings in such a competitive market as this, I would have to pay for traffic. Even then, my ad would either have to be a very expensive “top-of page” ad, or get sidelined along the border, and stats have proven that many people ignore the paid ads, thinking that the generic ads are more “real” and relevant. Either way, I lose.
If I were selling some ridiculously expensive marketing course, as so many marketers do, it might be worth paying for some exposure and traffic, but you have to know how much you can pay for those ad placements, so that you don’t spend more on ads than what your sales produce in income. We’ll discuss the ROI (return on investment) later when you are ready for it.
The main thing to remember is to ALWAYS use your main keyword (or words) in the URL of your site! Those should be keywords that are typed into the search form on Google (or other search engines) and should be highly used. That is the very first thing that the search engines look for when trying to match search words with results. If they don’t find the search words (the keywords) there, then they will have to go to the site title, the sub-title, post headline, or other sources which decline in importance, and may not get you as high in the results.
Let me make it very plain here… if you don’t get on the first page, first position of search results, your traffic diminishes almost exponentially the lower you are in the results! Traffic equals sales. If people find what they want in the first result, there is no need to look at what’s in the second result! Without traffic (visitors to your site), you don’t make sales! And if you can’t get to the first page through generic search engine optimization on the site itself, then you will have to pay for the ad position (more on that topic later), which is going to take away from profits! This is why keyword research is so important to sales (and profits) success!
For Domain Registration (as well as hosting), there are many choices. We made the mistake of going with a smaller company many years ago, and had nothing but trouble with them, from their sloppy billing practices, to the sites going down due to server problems, to the services and the prices they offered. We finally did our research, and moved everything but a couple of domains to HostGator. Many people think of them as a hosting company, but they also will register your domain for you. They are completely based in the United States (Texas, to be exact), they use mostly “green” energy from the wind farms in that area, and their service has been excellent. The few times I have had to speak with someone, they spoke perfect English, were knowledgable and the problem was solved immediately. Other times, I have used their live chat service, and again, the customer service was excellent. (My old company didn’t even have live chat service.) Even with the higher priced “dot com” domains, it only costs four cents a day, and you know you are with a reliable company. And just as important, they have 24-hour service, so if you have a problem in the wee hours of the morning or on weekends, someone will be there to answer your question. My old company didn’t have that, either!
I have heard other people say how you can get 99-cent domains from some other companies, but usually they are the lesser known domains (.info, .tv, .edu, etc.) and may not look as professional to prospective customers. It has been said that even the search engines place more importance on dotcom, dotorg, and dotnet domains than any other, so the wrong choice could also affect your search rankings.
Let’s get real here… this is only a miniscule once a year expense anyway, and if you can’t make more than 4 cents a day to cover the cost of a good domain from a reliable company, then maybe you should re-think why you are trying to run a business from that domain! There IS such a thing as being a cheapskate, and I have seen all too often how people try to pinch pennies, only to lose dollars! There has to be common sense in deciding what is worth spending money on, and what can be obtained for less, and some people just don’t have good common sense!
There’s nothing wrong with watching expenses, but some people take that to the extreme and try to “penny-pinch” everything into oblivion, which is usually where their business ends up. Good business management isn’t about penny-pinching! It’s about knowing where to spend money (or not spend it) to get the best overall results. Trying to be just plain “cheap” can destroy your business, but spending money wisely can save and even build your business. It takes a special talent to know the difference, which is why CEO’s for major companies make “the big bucks”.
The thought of having a domain scares some people, because they think it is some high-level technical accomplishment that they couldn’t possibly understand. All it amounts to is filling out a form, paying your fee and getting your information by email. That email will have all the information you need for your domain, including the DNS (domain name server) location, which you will have to give to your hosting company through an online form so they know what to connect your hosting account to. If you buy both the domain and the hosting from the same company, they will usually link them for you if you don’t know how.

If all else fails, there are plenty of videos on YouTube to walk you through the process of setting it up. There is no excuse for not learning this process, as the help is out there in every form you can think of from text to video. All you have to do is look for it. If you can’t do something as simple as this, you probably can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, either! Forget web marketing and back away before you hurt yourself!
As soon as the domain is turned on, you can go to the URL of your domain and see the home page that is there, usually with your domain name on it. At first it will simply show a stock place-holder page supplied by the host until you actually add content to the site.
That’s all there is to acquiring a domain. The next step is to add content to the domain, and to do that, you will need a hosting account on which to build your web pages or blog content. You will give the hosting account your DNS location in their online application form, so that they can link your hosting account to the correct domain address. That’s all there is to it. If you need help with it, you can always ask me in the comments below.
I’m here to help people because I can, and because no one was there for me (without charging an arm and a leg) when I started. Beginning marketers can’t afford expensive courses, which many times end up on the floor of a closet because they don’t understand them. Too many marketers say there’s no money in teaching details, and they only teach the main objectives without giving the beginning students the reasons behind them. As a result, 95% of people will never do anything with the information, even after they pay thousands of dollars for it. So I am giving it away for free, and my only hope is that you will use my links to buy a few things that you really need so that I can make a small “referral fee” from the vendor, and maybe some people will feel generous enough to make a donation now and then.
Next we will discuss the actual hosting account and what you can do with it once you get it, including adding a blog, and setting up your business email accounts. As always, if you have a question on something you don’t understand, ask me in the comments, and I will answer usually within a couple hours at most. If I am at my computer, I will answer within minutes. If I’m off doing something else, it might take a couple of hours to reply, but I always reply.

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