New to the Team: Ryan Clarey

Meet Ryan

Community, Meet Ryan.

Ryan is the latest addition to our rockin’ support team and from day one he has hit the ground running. The term awesome gets thrown around a lot, but we have to say that Ryan is, in fact, awesome. He’s been a great addition to the company and often brightens our day with his awesomeness and sense of humor.

He wasn’t really comfortable divulging any secrets from his past (probably for the best), but he can say that he’s American, he went to college, and he enjoys steak. He also enjoys beer, which means he fits right in.

Join us in welcoming Ryan to the team with a big “Cheers!”

Tips For Building/Redesigning Your Website

Building and redesigning your website can be a daunting task, but it is one of the most important parts of your internet marketing strategy. Here are a few tips we thought we’d share:

Use Effective Page Titles

You want your page titles to stand out from all the others when someone performs a Google search. You also want your titles to provide useful information. A good practice is to use the format “Keywords | Business Name” for your page titles. Often times sites will just put a bunch of keywords in their page titles, which only helps it blend in with the thousand other sites using similar keywords. Keep it to a couple solid keywords with a vertical bar and then your business name to help set you apart.

Flash Isn’t as Flashy as You Think

Websites built in flash may look cool, but all this really does is make your site invisible to search engines. Nifty animations here and there are just fine, but don’t overdo it.

Search Engines Like Clean Code

There are a lot of “website builders” out there, but you have to be careful about which ones you use. Some can add a lot of unnecessary code and this is not good when it comes to SEO. WordPress is a great, free platform to build your site on and it generates much cleaner code for your site. However, you want to choose your WordPress theme wisely, some themes have cleaner code than others.

Create Stellar Content

Art touched on this in his SEO basics post, but we can’t reiterate enough how essential good content is for your website. Your content should be relevant, compelling, and there should be A LOT of it. Also make sure you spell-check and have other people read it before you publish. You can have all the content you want, but if it doesn’t make sense chances are people aren’t going to read it.

Don’t Overuse Images

Sure, people like pretty pictures and graphics, but too many images can slow down your site and wear on your user’s patience. Search engines also cannot read images; when you do use them remember to add “alt text” to your image HTML so that the search engines can pick it up.

Think About Site Navigation

It’s important to consider how site navigation affects the user experience on your website. If a user goes to a specific page, can they get back to where they were before (without hitting the “back” button ;)? Using what are called “breadcrumbs” is always a great idea. They are really helpful when it comes to SEO and especially for users navigating through your site.

Keeping these tips in mind the next time you build or redesign a website should help both you and your site visitors. Cheers!

.ASIA Domains Just $6.99!

Oh yeah, you’re reading that right. For the low price of $6.99 you can have your own shiny .ASIA domain!

Why is that a big deal you ask? We’ll throw some facts and a pretty graph at you:

  • 60% of the world’s population is in the Asian region
  • Asia is the fastest growing region for internet usage globally
  • The region is experiencing rapid economic and technical growth
  • Asia has steadily been Facebook’s fastest growth region

Okay, so maybe we threw that last one in, but you get the idea…a whole lot of people are getting on the interwebs in Asian countries and this presents a huge opportunity for you.

If you’re a business looking to increase your regional presence in Asia, a .ASIA domain is the way to go! You’ll have to act fast though, our $6.99 pricing is a limited time offer.

It’s important to note that registrants must have a contact located in the Asian region. (ICANN’s definition of the region can be found here.)

For more information about .ASIA, check out our domain info page.

Tip: Using nslookup to Verify the Status of Your DNS Zones

nslookup is a utility used to query Internet Domain Name Servers ( DNS Servers ). nslookup can be found on most operating systems and is fairly simple to use. This guide is designed to serve as a quick demonstration showing the most basic features of nslookup. There are many different ways to use nslookup; most of which are beyond the scope of this document. You are most welcome to read through the help menu by typing help 🙂

Lets begin by opening a command prompt or terminal and type nslookup. This will now show you nslookup followed by >. From here you will use the command ( set q= ). This tells nslookup what record type you are querying for. By default it will look at the record name and return the type and IP address associated with it. Commonly this returns the A record or CNAME record. If your looking for other records, you will place them after the = sign. For this example we are looking up the mx record for name.com ( set q=mx ).

This shows you how the mx records are currently set at the nameservers you are using. For another example lets look at txt records ( set q=txt )

If you see a result with NXDOMAIN, this means the record does not exist at the nameserver you are querying against. Most likely this either hasn’t propagated out or your non-Authoritative Nameserver does not know it exists. The best thing you can do here is check the Authoritative Nameserver and wait out the TTL if it exists there.

Lets break this down a little further. Notice the two sections?

The Non-authoritative answer represents what your current nameservers believe the record to be. The Authoritative Nameservers are responsible for managing the zones for the domain you are querying. These are the nameservers assigned at the registrar to manage DNS for the domain. In other words; if you want the absolute answer, go to these Nameservers. By default nslookup will go directly to the Nameservers your computer is configured to use.

Now that we know the Authoritative Nameservers, lets run a query and see what results we get. This can be done by using the command ( server _nameserver_).

Because this retrieves the information directly from the Authoritative Server responsible for the domain, the information represented by this request shows what other Nameservers will respond with when data is requested. Why is this important? If your not able to visit a website after making DNS changes, your Nameservers may be showing out of date information. By querying for the data from your currently set Nameservers and then from the Authoritative Nameservers, you can determine if your local Nameservers are seeing the new data.

What if the data is different?

While this question is too deep to discuss entirely here, there is one very common reason a Nameserver will hold onto old data. If the TTL has not expired, the non-authoritative Nameserver will respond with the cached result and not look up the new data until it expires. When your record is set with a TTL of 300, this means the record is good for 300 seconds from the last query. After 300 seconds of the last query, the record is marked as out of date by the non-Authoritative Nameserver and then re-verified from the Authoritative Nameserver at the time of the latest query. If you have a TTL set to 86400, the record will stay in place for 24 hours. This means updates to the domain could take up to 24 hours to fully propagate out. One thing to note here. This is per the previous TTL settings, not the new TTL settings. If you set the new TTL to 300 from 86400, the current TTL setting of 86400 will stay in place until 24 hours after the cached records timestamp. Unfortunately, sometimes the record will not update after the TTL expires and you will need to flush the DNS cache to force your computer to see an update. Use caution here and consult with your ISP or Network Administrators if you are unsure of the ramifications from this action.

If you have any questions regarding the propagation of your records, a good place to start at is with the management group for the Authoritative Nameservers. Once you verify the data is set properly at the Authoritative level, you should then go to the support group that manages the non-Authoritative Nameservers and inquire as to why the records are not showing up. As always, if you’re not sure which support to start with, it never hurts to start with your registrar ’97 they can always point you in the right direction.

New to the Team: Robert Church

Everyone, meet Robert. Robert joined us earlier in the summer as one of our systems administrators and he’s probably best known as the guy who stays up all night cranking when there are things like outages. A transplant from Fort Worth, TX to Colorado, Robert came to Name.com with many years in the hosting industry under his belt.

Prior to working in hosting, he was a yakuza assassin that specialized in knives. Even though he was quite good at his job, he felt the lack of benefits and worker’s comp were too much of a liability. He decided to leave the yakuza lifestyle for a more rewarding career in systems administration. However, that doesn’t mean he’s any less sharp at his job! Ba dum bum.

Bad puns aside, Robert has been a fantastic addition to the Name.com team. We’re very excited to have him on board and we hope you will join us in welcoming him.

Fantasy Football Update

Hey fantasy footballers!

The Name.com league has a few games under its belt and we’re starting to see some teams take off..and a couple fall behind. The Dr. Hook McCracken team seems to think their stats are an anomaly and that’s why they’re in last place — whatever makes you feel better. 😉

The only remaining undefeated team is Cowboy Barker’s Beauties, which belongs to our support lead Sky. Proving that his apparent cheating is not just limited to ping pong. (We kid, Sky, we kid 🙂

How is your team doing? Let us know in the comments!

The Little Registrar That Could

For a while now we’ve touted that we have “almost” a million domains under management. That alone has been a big achievement for us — this little registrar tucked away in the Rocky Mountains. Well, now we are extremely excited to announce that we proudly have OVER one million domains under management!

It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to where we are, but really we wouldn’t be anywhere without our customers. You guys are why we do what we do, and for that we thank you. 🙂

Feel free to join us in a big “WAHOO!” as we celebrate this huge milestone. Cheers, and here’s to the next million!

Tip: Verify DNS & Route to Hostname

I came across this handy little tip last week when helping a customer who was experiencing propagation issues. By “came across” I mean our awesome system administrator, Robert, was kind enough to share it with me.

I’m sure some of us have experienced this:

You update your nameservers to point your new domain to your host, but then something’s fishy. Your site is not resolving. Or, it’s resolving for others, but not for you. What it comes down to, is your site is not working right. You’re frustrated and you don’t know whether it’s a problem with your registrar, your host, or your internet service provider (ISP).

If you find yourself in this situation, following these steps will provide enough information to help reveal any possible routing and propagation issues:

Windows

Start -> Run -> Cmd

Then, one at a time, enter these commands and hit Return:

  • nslookup yourdomain.com > c:\netcheck.txt
  • nslookup yourdomain.com 4.2.2.2 >> c:\netcheck.txt
  • pathping yourdomain.com -q 50 -w 500 -4 >> c:\netcheck.txt

This then creates a netcheck.txt file in your C: drive.

Mac

Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal

Then, one at a time, enter these commands and hit Return:

  • cd ~/Desktop/
  • dig yourdomain.com +trace > netcheck.txt
  • dig yourdomain.com @4.2.2.2 >> netcheck.txt
  • traceroute yourdomain.com >> netcheck.txt

This then creates a netcheck.txt file on your Desktop.

Now when you contact the support department of your registrar, host, or ISP you will have an incredibly useful bit of information to send them with the netcheck.txt file. If you’re not sure which support to start with, it never hurts to start with your registrar — they can always point you in the right direction.

Either way, providing the netcheck.txt file will show where the routing is breaking for your hostname and will help support determine what and where the problem is a lot quicker. And quick turnarounds make everyone involved a happy camper. 🙂

I Want My Dot TV

TV

You may have noticed the super sweet pricing we’ve had on .TV domains for the past couple months. $10.99? I mean, holy cow!

Well, we’re happy to announce that this special .TV pricing will continue until the end of 2010. Woohoo!

This means you get two more months of:

  • $10.99 .TV one-year registrations
  • $9.99 .TV multi-year registrations

So if you’ve had an idea for a video site for a while, now’s your chance to secure your .TV domain for as many years as you want..at a ridiculously low price.

Get seen today!