Or avoiding the saddle sores of a bad web site address (URL)
FREE or PAY
First off let’s answer the FREE or pay website question. Many horse businesses post their websites on free web site hosts like Homestead, Angelfire, GeoCities, and others. They’re free, fast, and simple — so many of you say, ‘Hey, why not?’
These free sites will cost you more than you should be willing to pay in lost business generated from lost respect, lost confidence, and lost attention from your potential customers.
Why? Because most of these free sites have the look of cheap/clipart sites which make people think your horse business is just a weekend hobby that you really don’t take serious and couldn’t be bothered to advertise correctly. Your website visitors are going to question the quality of your horses quality, your horse training abilities, and/or your horse boarding facilities based on what they can see – your website’s poor quality.
And do you really think your visitors want to be bombarded with outside ads, many of which are the dreaded pop-up variety, even before your web page finishes loading? Come on now, how many times have your clicked off a free site because of these pain-in-the-butt flying ads, or questioned the professionalism of the company because of the poor web design?
Oh no, another problem with the freebies – your web address! Which of the following URL’s would you have an easier time remembering or typing? Which will fit on your business card easier? Which looks and sounds more professional?
Yep, your domain name (www.yoursite.com) is so important that it can make or break your website’s chances for success.
OK let’s pay
Great and it will not break the bank because the prices for domain names and web site hosting have dropped. You can now find places on the Internet were you can register a domain name for about $10 per year, and hosting for about $8-15 per month.
Oh manure, my name is taken!
Yes, it is highly likely that your company name has already been registered as a domain name by another company. If not, grab it fast before it is taken! But first a note of caution; if you have a long company name like: “Central Mississippi Center of Equine Medicine” or “The Texas Equine Sales Auction Facility” of you may want to consider a shorter domain name. One that is easier and faster for people to type, like: equinemedicine.com or txequineauction.com.
If I were you I would also seriously consider a company rename! Short names are better at branding your company – think of the top brands – Dell, Sony, Maytag, Gateway, Sara Lee, Clorox, Kellogg, and Del Monte.
Kentucky Fried Chicken is now KFC and Federal Express is now FedEx – short, simple, and unique is what to aim for!
If your company name is not available as ‘yourcompany.com’ don’t just jump to some other ending like .net, .org, or something else without some long thoughts. People still think of .com first and will always try to put that first and then they may end up at your competitor’s site or just not find your site at all, and the .org extension has been used for non-profit organizations not businesses. Since the .com extension has been around a long while, having it at the end of your domain name helps give your company a feeling of being well established on the web.
If your company name is taken you may want to consider a domain name like yoursiteonline.com or yoursiteweb.com, yoursitehome.com, etc… I would only consider this if you can still keep it short enough in length after adding something extra to the front or back of your company name.
Brainstorm with family and friends before making your final decision. It will also make you feel better knowing that you not the only one having problems coming up with a great domain name based on your company name.
If you have doubts about registering a domain name, sleep on the name and then see if you can still remember the domain name you were considering yesterday? Try this test on your family too, can they remember the name? Test them typing it too.
Once you have settled on your domain name, register it before you lose it, even if you haven’t chosen your website hosting company yet; you can park it.
Consider a herd of names?
It is a good idea to register several domain names. Say you have yoursite.com, well why not also purchase yoursite.net, and yoursite.biz, too so no one else gets it. .biz can be a good alternative to .com, as it means business and is becoming more common. If you have a long company name purchase that and a shorter version too.
Tip: you can have the other domains pointing to the main domain name so you only have one website to keep updated.
- How to Choose a Web Host – Tips on selecting the best web hosting for your needs http://www.thesitewizard.com/archive/findhost.shtml
- Domain Name Basics Articles http://snipurl.com/r85y
- A good place to start your search for a domain name: godaddy.com
- Some people need to be more careful about the domain names they choose. (you have got to go see these big-time mess ups!) http://www.wordlab.com/2005/10/master-of-your-domain.cfm
- Are Hyphenated Domain Names A Good Buy? http://www.netmechanic.com/news/vol6/promo_no19.htm
- Site Organization with Subdomains http://www.netmechanic.com/news/vol6/promo_no3.htm
I am sorry about the missing newsletter for the month of May, but I hope to make up for it with a few extra business tips this month in the weekly tidbit issues.
* Learn to Sell *
Selling 101 for Equestrians – How to Quickly and Safely Sell Your Horse