Choosing and Registering Your Domain Name

There are many steps involved in setting up a website for your business; hosting, domain registration, development, copy writing, shopping cart integration, and search engine optimization just to name a few. So, let’s start by looking at one of the most important parts, your domain. Having a custom domain is essential in creating a professional image that will attract new customers, help people find you on the web, and help you build your business.

A domain name is a custom website address, such as www.OfficeSolutionsME.com. Purchasing a custom website name or address for your business is known as registering a domain.

Here are a few important tips to consider when purchasing or registering a custom domain name;

Make it Memorable – One of the best ways to make your website address memorable is to make it your business name. This can also be a key consideration in naming your business.

Make it Easy – It helps to have your custom website address also match your custom email address, and for that you want it to be short, sweet, and easy to type.

Use Keywords – Consider using words that directly describe what you do and what people will search for when looking for your services. This can be true both in naming your business and your website.

Buy it from a reputable source – Be cautious of where you buy your domain, sometimes you get what you pay for. Use a well-known company that has been around for a while and is registered with ICANN.

Here’s a short list of some reputable domain registration options;

Register.com
Network Solutions
Domain.com
GoDaddy

Many registration companies also offer other services such as hosting, shopping carts, and templates for building your website. While it can be convenient to have all of your services in one place, it’s not always recommended. Lack of support and infrastructure can occur when these services are not the primary function of the provider. There’s also a potential risk that the company may cancel these secondary services.

See our resources page for more suggested services and tools.

If you need further help with the process of choosing or registering a domain, consider the services of a Virtual Assistant. Contact us for more information.

Keyword Tools

In the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Keywords are pretty important. Keywords are the individual words and terms that your potential customers will use when trying to search for you online. As a business owner it’s important to know how your customers are finding you and make it as easy as possible. The better your position in search engine results, the better chance you have of being found. Determining your keywords and then using them as frequently as (naturally) possible will only help!

So here are a few tools to help get you started;

Google Keyword Tool
Keyword Envy
SearchBliss
Wordpot
Wordtracker

Please feel free to share your experiences and any other tools that you have found useful.

Check out our website for more tips, tools and resources.

And if you need help with this or any other administrative tasks, consider partnering with Office Solutions ME as your Virtual Assistant.

Entrepreneurs Getting Started, Getting Organized!

What better time to talk about Entrepreneurs, with EWeek right around the corner! EWeek Maine, February 20th through 27th, encourages and supports entrepreneurs with panel discussions, workshops and networking events, designed to foster entrepreneurial education and lifelong learning. Go to http://www.eweekmaine.com/  for a complete listing of events.

Not many of us have one-dimensional lives. Most of us have expectations and requirement coming from many directions; bosses, employees, spouse, children, parents, teachers, students, neighbors, etc… In order to ensure all of these responsibilities are fulfilled and expectations are met, we have to be organized. This holds true, and is even multiplied, if you are the business owner.

Business owners now need to consider not just how to complete an order and the process of making the widget, but also the marketing, security, finances, regulations, taxes, etc… that go into running a company. While these tasks may grow with regards to the company size, they exist on some level at any size. So what is an Entrepreneurs or Solopreneurs (single person company) to do? How can you effectively wear all of these hats?

Here are some options/suggestions;

  1. Take the time to learn all of the functions of running a successful business. Just bite the bullet, take classes, attend seminars, and make time to learn the material.
  2. Find a mentor or business counselor that can help you find resources and give you tips. It’s important to find someone that will be honest with you, someone who continues to expand their knowledge and share that with you.
  3. Hire a consultant or business coach that has experience in running a business or in a particular aspect that you are struggling with. Again, It’s important to find someone that will be honest with you, someone you can trust to help keep you on track.
  4. Get a partner or hire an employee to help share the work load. When choosing to work with others, you add the human resource function to your plate, so be sure that is something you are prepared for.

Here are some websites that I have found helpful as tools and resources for getting started, getting organized, and learning how about the many aspects of running a business;

National Resources

Local (Maine) Resources

If you are not already a member of the Maine Entrepreneurs Group or the Maine Successful Thinkers Group on LinkedIn, I would highly suggest it. There are some great resource discussions.

Feel free to comment on additional resources that you have found helpful!

If you are looking for local places to network, check out our newly created Maine Networking Calendar.

 
 

8 considerations for a professional website impression

Does your Website give the best 1st Impression?

Your website can be crucial to the image of your business! In many cases, this is can be your first impression or a crucial follow-up. If done correctly, a website tells people what you do, shows people how you do it, builds confidence and credibility in you and your business, and encourages potential clients to contact you.

Tips to help you build/design a professional (virtual) first impression;

  1. Be crystal clear – make sure potential customers do not have to go far to find out what you do and what your business is about. Put your description on your home page, and make sure it’s clear and concise.
  2. Claim attention early – make your home page attractive to your audience, but not distracting. Use colors, images, fonts, and text that compliment each other. Remember, many visitors may not even scroll to the end of the page, never mind visit any additional pages.
  3. Look the part – you don’t have to be a web designer or HTML expert to make your website look good. There are many tools available to assist in basic creative designing. However, if you want something elaborate then it may be worth your money to outsource the task.
  4. Use testimonials – word of mouth works wonders. When asked, many customers will be glad to provide you with a short statement of satisfaction and praise. In turn, you mention them on your website with a link back to their site. This is a great way to help build credibility.
  5. Be easy to contact – offer a way to contact you on every page. Don’t make visitors have to search for your contact information.
  6. Be easy to navigate – don’t use more pages than you need, but don’t try to cram everything on one page.
  7. Don’t drive people away – be sure any external links open in a new window, so that visitors do not leave your website.
  8. Be honest – don’t go overboard, but do include Terms of Use and Privacy Statement. Let people know that you care about their privacy and what to expect when using your website or contacting you.

And if you don’t have a website at all, consider these factors…

  1. Some people will not do business with companies that do not have a website.
  2. A website is a great way for you to advertise your business and allow potential customers to ‘browse’.
  3. Cost should not be a deterrent. There are many web hosting sites that offer free and low cost basic accounts.

If you have questions or suggestions about establishing a website, I would love to hear them!