30 August 2009

Master of the Domain

The end of August always leaves me feeling a bit cheated as the summer comes to an end. The leaves begin to turn yellow and the sun is going behind the mountains a lot earlier with each passing night. This feeling does not last long however, because I soon realize that it's the beginning of hockey season and the much anticipated death of all bugs, at least until Spring.

Fall is my favourite season but Winter is a close second.

Getting organized and cleaning up is the order of the season and doing so makes me feel good.

While getting things organized at the office, I had a quick peak at the domain names that I manage and own. I have about 100 in total. Seeing as how I have to pay for these every year, I need to review them every once in a while to determine that they are still useful or relevant to what I'm doing. Some have some real promise, others were bought on a whim with some ambition of doing something huge in the world of marketing - in either case, they're all valuable to me, for now.

Lately, I've noticed that a more and more clever marketers and business owners have taken advantage of the use of domain names in their marketing. Taking a creative slant on the domain and using offerings, descriptions and claims as domain names for otherwise existing brands is nothing new. I've been doing it for the better part of a decade, but I have begun to notice a few more companies begin to use this form of marketing for projects and brands and it makes me smile, I love to see smart marketing.

Here's an example of it in action: I have a stair company as a client, and while they do great work in building stairs, their name is sometimes hard for people to nail down, especially when it comes to typing in an exact match for the URL. The company is Spindle, Stairs & Railings and they are the top stair builder in Canada. Naturally, a web company would register the company's name for the URL (http://spindlestairsandrailings.com) - this is a must, but from a customers perspective, how are they going to remember which words are plural and which are singular? How we solved this and made it easy for the customer to find and remember their service, product and URL is that we created greatstairs.com. Not only is it easy to remember, but it reinforces the quality, service and craftsmanship in their product in a very succinct URL.

In the case of my company, Francomedia.com, we have registered a few domain names to coincide, promote and track things, here are some of them:

CreativePanacea.com - I think it says it all. We use this as a testing site for web projects under construction right now.
Franco-Design.com - We place this in the code of some sites, just to see how many web designers are checking us out.
BirdieNumNum.com - We use this for our staff e-mail - a conversation starter and is very memorable.
FrancoMarketing.com - This allows for diversification in our offering and we can put a unique product on it's own URL down the road.

Of course, most of our domains point back to http://www.francomedia.com, but I think you get the point on the usefulness of having multiple domains names.

I can see this method of marketing becoming mainstream very quickly as more and more businesses catch on to the fact that it will help drive more traffic to their site and to their bottomline. And, like the unique 1-800 identifiers that businesses have in order for customers to remember their numbers, domain names have become equally important in their marketing.

A unique 1-800 number is equal to having a unique .com address... and for the record, 1-888 is to 1-800 as what .info is to .com - they all work, but 1-800 and .com are the cream of the crop and more desirable. So, if you have an idea for a domain, buy the .com before anyone else.

Seeing as how domain names are pretty inexpensive to register, I recommend registering as many as you can afford. Make sure they make sense, make sure they are relevant to what you are doing otherwise, you're just name squatting (not that there's anything wrong with that) and you're not getting any use out of your domains.

Buy them up and point them all to your main domain and you're set to go. They will be ready to use for anything you want at any time. Then one fall day, you can go through your list of domains and determine which you are going to capitalize on over the next year and which ones you are tired of renewing.

On a side note, I have also registered domains for each of my children as I see this uniqe URL for the kids as an investment, when they go to get jobs, their resume may reside there, or they can use them for their blogs or a personal web site or whatever. Or, they can sell them to other kids with the same name.

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18 August 2009

Overwhelming Summer

Lately, I've had so much on my mind and nothing to say.

It's been over a month since my last posting and I feel bad about it, but hey... it's summer and a guy's allowed to kick back once in a while and take a much needed break.

So, let's recap the summer so far:

4 golf games (2 tournaments, 1 absolute blast)
9 hockey games (7 wins, 2 losses)
12 days over 30º
22 days under 20º
2 stampede parties
1 week on Vancouver Island
3742 kms
1 garage cleaning
3 lawn mowings
Countless rain showers
Countless beers

I plan on getting back to writing in September... I will have lots to write about, I had better, I got a whole book to fill.

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