CATEGORY: Tips

A few awesome uses for URL forwarding

Today we’ve got a video on how to use name.com’s URL forwarding features. In short, URL forwarding allows you to redirect users from your domain to another website.

You might think, “Not too exciting,” right? WELL YOU’RE WRONG. Here are a few useful ways to take advantage of URL forwarding:

Aliases for generated URLs

Bids start at $0.01. Shipping is $11.99. I’m not making this up.

Pretend you have something really cool that you want to sell on eBay, like a mouse-shaped chicken nugget (seriously). Now you want to promote your mouse-nugget auction. Which URL are people more likely to remember?

Option A: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mouse-Shaped-Chicken-Nugget-One-of-a-Kind-/181097877797?
Option B: www.mousenugget.com

The choice is clear, right? If you purchase a simple domain name and set it to forward to the eBay listing, it’ll be much easier to tell people about the rodent-shaped piece of fried chicken that you’re selling on the internet.

Social media sites, blogging platforms, Craigslist, real estate websites, Google Maps, YouTube, and tons of other services all create long, indecipherable links. URL forwarding makes sharing those links easy.

Moving to a new domain

If you’ve moved your site to a new domain, you can use URL forwarding so that people familiar with the previous domain can still find your site. It’s pretty frustrating to end up at a dead link. VideoGames.com became GameSpot.com in 1998, and to this day VideoGames.com is a forwarding URL.

RAAAAAAAAGGGGGE.

RAAAAAAAAGGGGGE.

Forwarding from similar domains

Let’s say someone wants to visit your site, but they don’t quite remember the URL, or they’ve got fat fingers and they just type it incorrectly. If you can anticipate the incorrect URLs that a user might type, you can purchase those domains and have them redirect to your intended website.

Similarly, you can purchase multiple TLDs and have them redirect to the same website. So yourwebsite.net, yourwebsite.com, and yourwebsite.org could all send a user to the same place.

If you want more of the nitty gritty details on URL forwarding, here’s a tutorial from our support team.

 

So You Want To Be a Blogger: Notes from Borseth and Bukowski

If I had a nickel for every time I told myself I was going to start a blog I’d be living high on the hog right about now. Even better would be to have gotten a goat for every time I told myself the same thing, because then I’d have a whole herd of goats and could finally start that online goat cheese enterprise I’ve always dreamed about. But enough about me, this blog post is about you and how you are going to change the world through your deep thoughts and inspirational musing on your very own blog.

Having a successful blog ain’t no (oh yes I did, grammar nazis) easy thing to do though. You need to be dedicated to it and to be dedicated you also need to be excited about what you will be spending hours of your time writing. So find a passion and write about it. Or make a video about it. Or draw a picture about it. Or bake a themed cake about it. A blog doesn’t have to be all walls of text after all. Chances are that if you’re passionate about something there are others out there that are passionate about it as well. If the topic you decide to embrace isn’t something you have a burning desire to write about then it will show through in your content and, by extension, will be less compelling for the people you are trying to entertain. And don’t fool yourself, having a successful blog is almost entirely about entertainment.

Besides having a topic you have a passion for you also need the right tools for the task at hand. When it comes to blogging it’s hard to argue that the king of that particular niche is WordPress. You can download it and install it on your own hosting plan or you can use our super simple and easy to setup RapidPress service for less than seven cents a day. That’s right, less than $0.07 a DAY! You might think I’m yanking your chain on that one but I’m drop dead serious, seven-cents-a-day. Cross my heart and hope to die. Click that link up there and you will see for yourself just how easy it is to get started. Seriously, do it. I’ll wait.

And now, if you’re having a hard time coming up with a topic, I give you some inspiring words from one of my favorite writers, Charles Bukowski (RIP):

So You Want To Be a Writer

charles-bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

There you have it, inspiration and the tools to get started all in one simple blog post. Until next time, thank you for your attention and have a mighty fine day.

Owen Borseth
VP of Awesome™

Don’t Get Hacked: Password Lessons from the Flame Broiler

It lasted for over an hour and was so ugly that even their competitors were sending out empathetic Tweets.

mcdonalds empathy burger king

Burger King’s Twitter account had been hacked, and not only were the hackers sending their own racially-charged tweets about Burger King employees “crushing and sniffing Percocet in the bathroom,” but they also changed all the branding from BK to McDonalds. They even went so far as to promote McDonald’s new Fish McBites.

burger king twitter hacked

So with this kind of nightmare playing out in real life in front of the whole world, we thought it was time to contribute a quick, legitimate  piece to the “how to come up with a great password that’s memorable and fun and makes you feel safe” articles that will be swirling around the ‘net. From our staff we compiled dozens of tips all shrunk down to this one convenient list of tips and tricks for a better, safer, more memorable password.

Caroline Temple, our Affiliate Marketing Manager, knocked out 8 quick pointers for better Internet security:

1. Well – duh – we’ve got the free 2-step verification.

2. Don’t use words like “H3LL0!”  The programs designed to crack passwords have included subbing numbers for vowels now.

3. Consider the “pass phrase”.  Like “IReallyLikeCoffeFirstThingInTheMorning10:00am”

4. Change your password often.

5.. Don’t use the same password for more than one account.

6. WRITE  your passwords down somewhere safe.  Try your darndest to not store them within a document that can get hacked.

7. Review all those apps that you have given access to your Twitter account – maybe it’s time to revoke access of apps that don’t use SSL certificates or that you have not used in a while.

8. Always make sure the URL bar up top reads “https” before logging in to any account.  that means they have an SSL certificate installed that will encrypt your information when logging in.

Some of these steps can be completely alleviated with great tools like oplop (courtesy of Pat “P-Mo” Moroney) that let you simplify all your passwords to a nickname and one master password. And Fitz in support reminded us to plug one of our customers, Last Pass, a secure password manager that promises to make your life much easier.

Finally, it should be noted, that your password should NOT be any word or phrase associated with your personal information or business products. Those are very easy to hack. Like I should not use “Jared1” and you definitely should NOT use “whopper123”  as Burger King, the Home of the Whopper, used up until recently.

We’ll leave you with this helpful password hint from one of our favorite web comics, XKCD

cartoon password strength tips tricks

The Basics of SEO to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 5 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Get Traffic to your site with these SEO Tips

Every search engine has a basic set of rules they use in determining how to rank your blog or website.  Learn these rules and help the search engines find your content faster as well rank you higher because you are seen as valuable in terms of content for given keywords.  This is all SEO.  Wanna get started on learning these rules?

Actually, if you have been following this “get traffic” series, you already have a head start. We’ve been giving you social media tips, tips on engaging your audience, google service tips, and even a quick rundown of 20 methods to try for traffic.  Use these methods combined and your already doing SEO, and naturally at that!  However, let us give you a clearer perspective on those tips that actually yield SEO and how you can help those little search engine bots find your blog or website.

4 Basics of SEO to get right for traffic:

1. Keywords

We introduced you to the methods on keyword research earlier.  Google defines a keyword as: “An informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document”.  Well if they define it that way – then it’s pretty darn important!  Make use of these magical keywords in your post or website title, a few times throughout your content, and even in your images. Keep your images original (psssst – have you noticed I resorted to hand drawing mine?) and then title it including your keyword.  You’ll be excited when searching the keyword later and see your website’s image in the image search results.

2. Linking

Remember, my goal is to give you easy tips to immediately try, ones that are FREE.  Linking is basically having other blogs or sites link to you and, if you play fair, you’ll thank them by including a link back to them.  Don’t forget these other ways of creating links back to your site: Social Media, Social Bookmarking Sites (Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg), and blog directories (Technorati, for example)

Remember, we’re talking FREE methods here, so buying links is not an option in this post.  Besides, don’t you think the search engines are aware of this tactic?  Be careful not to get ignored! Oh, and for those rogue sites that are linking to you – get help with the new Google Disavow Tool.  You can submit to Google the links that you do not intend  and it’s not guaranteed, but they are likely to listen and ignore them to improve your rank.

3. Sitemap

Create and submit a sitemap of your blog or website to tell search engines that you have a new link each time you post.  If blogging, check for a plugin on the platform from which you blog on.  The easiest example is for WordPress using their Google XML Sitemap.  Or, if you run a website, make sure to submit your sitemap to Google WebMaster Tools.  If you’re feeling adventurous, then do this for as many search engines as possible.  Start by creating an account with each.  This process will certainly speed up the time it takes the search engines to find your new content. Meaning earlier than expected traffic.  Well, that’s the goal.

4. Content

All search engines want to provide value to those who search and original content ensures you have value. Google, and similar search engines will index you much lower, if at all, if your content is extremely similar to other web sites.  Don’t even think of creating new pages that just link to other pages either. Always give your unique spin on the keyword topic you are discussing.  More originality=greater chance of traffic.

In the same vein, be careful of too many affiliate ads on your site.  Of course, we hope we are one of them, but ads are considered links away from your site that are not original content.  Search engines understand you will have ads – just balance it out with your content.

That wraps up our SEO tips!  Our goal was to get you familiar with the basics of SEO.  You must practice these tips to become comfortable and watch the changes in your blog or website ranking. Nail them and maybe we can help in the future with a more advanced series!

Anyone tried the new Google Disavow Tool?  Let us know how it may have worked for ya in the comments below.  Actually, tell us anything you like in the comments below, I’d love to hear from ya’ll!

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Whew, that is the last tip we have in this “Get Traffic” series! Check out all your FREE goodies you can immediately try for traffic to your blog or website:

Part 1: FREE Ways to get Traffic to your Blog or Website this week | Part 1 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Part 2: Using Social Media to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 2 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Part 3: Using Engagement Tactics to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 3 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Part 4: Research with Google to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 4 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Part 5: The Basics of SEO to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 5 of 5 in a “get traffic” series (that’s what you just finished reading)

 

Using Engagement Tactics to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 3 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Free Traffic to your site with these Engaging Tips

Engagement.  It’s just a little buzzword for describing how you interact with your online audience, both online and even offline.  It’s also measurable with the ultimate goal of bringing traffic back to you.  It’s funny how the Internet has taken a normal human ability for socialization and has us quantifying our interactions with others, then measuring the outcome of those interactions all in hopes that we can maximize our impact with future interactions.  But that is a philosophical debate for another time. Simply, engagement is no different from brick and mortar stores where they talk to their customers, call up their mentors, visit surrounding businesses, and participate in various business associations.  All in hopes that the more you put yourself out there, the more business will come your way.  Let’s talk about just how to do that on the Wild Wild Webs with our new buzzword – Engagement.  (pssst – all methods are FREE)

But before we jump in, I wanted to remind ya this is part of a series for driving traffic to your blog or website – all for FREE.  First, we gave an overview of 4 basic tactics for driving traffic.  Then we continued the series, by delving into the specifics of our first topic: Social Media.  Next up is today’s topic: Engagement.  A lot will refer to social media as engagement, which it certainly is part of it, but I’ll provide other, more creative ways of engagement.  That discussion begins now…..

5 tips to try today to engage your audience and bring traffic to your site:

1. Blog and Forum Commenting

I’m pretty sure you already are reading blogs that are similar to your niche as well as reviewing specific topics in helpful forums.  Get to commenting!  Every time.  By commenting on other’s blogs and participating in niche specific forums you are interacting with an audience that is targeted to your niche.  While commenting use these tips:

-Hopefully you’ve already created a Social Media presence.  Most blogs will allow you to comment as your Twitter self – for example. This way, if people are interested in you, they click your avatar and find out information about you -maybe even leading back to your site!

-Leave a thoughtful comment.  Avoid: “great post” or “good job”.  State specifically what interested you or how the blog enlightened you. These details get attention and give someone a reason to reach out to you.

-Avoid placing a link back to your website in your comment.  Most blog commentators or forums will delete your comment if you appear ‘spammy’.  Your avatar for commenting should have details on how one can find you online.

If you don’t already have a blog roll you follow, try social sharing forums such as Reddit or Stumbleupon.  You’ll quickly come across some you’d like to follow.  Bonus: don’t forget to register your blog to these forums to get found.

2. Link back to other sites from your blog or website

If they are checking their analytics, they’ll take notice and most likely visit you.  This may lead to a link exchange if they find you relevant. Linking back to you is the ultimate goal here.  In this way they share their audience with you, meaning eyeballs to your site.

3. Attend your industry events

Remember our analogy of how brick and mortar stores attend their area business meetings and industry events?  Well this is one offline form of engagement that still matters.  Begin interacting in person with those who are similar to your niche.  With everything so automated lately, a little emotional human interaction will help you to stick out in their minds.  People are more likely to work with those they know.  Maybe a joint development will come about that shares the audience between you and your new business partner.  More visits to your site! Added bonus is the energy you pick up on from the events.  You’ll return to your site motivated to make it the best.

4. Install a RSS feed/email subscription on your website or blog

Use the feed and email subscription to remind your traffic that you’re still there.  Send them website updates or an email newsletter. Keep in touch with those who are already your visitors in hopes that they will return and just maybe, bring more people to your website.  Need help in developing an email newsletter?  I got the details for you here:  Anatomy of a Weekly Email Newsletter

5. Guest Post

Guest posting is where you write a blog post for another blog.  This is in hopes that others will take notice, become interested in what you have to say, and then visit your website or blog.  Be careful not to be sales-y in your guest post.  It should remain objective and helpful to the audience of the blog you are writing for.  Instead, make sure your avatar and ‘about me’ section of the post contain your expertise and the link back to your site or social media channels.

Again, all methods above are the online and offline replacement of the socializing that brick and mortar stores do for bringing in business.  Take advantage of these engagement tactics for visits back to your site.

Want more free ways of getting traffic back to your blog or website?  Check out the previous two articles in this series.

Part 1 of 5: FREE Ways to get Traffic to your Blog or Website this week | Part 1 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Part 2 of 5: Using Social Media to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 2 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Next up: We’ll detail some ways of using the various services Google offers for getting your traffic.

Let us know in the comments below if you have anything to add to these tips or ways I did not mention.