Category: "Website Tips"

Google Analytics UI Changes and Improvements

Some site owners have noticed recently that there have been changes to Google Analytics UI (User Interface) and more such as security improvements in regards to browser use, namely that Firefox and similar browsers are not compliant with how the information is displayed securely therefor will not display the analytics content for review.

Let’s review a few of these changes and some useful tips!

  • Automatic alerts will be removed from Google Analytics soon. Custom alerts will not be affected and continue to be visible.
  • The In-Page Analytics report is being removed from Google Analytics soon. However, you can still get in-page analytics by using the official Page Analytics Chrome Extension.

Furthermore the Google Analytics Code itself has undergone another change, let’s compare an old snippet to a newer snippet of code;

Old Version:
<script type=”text/javascript”>

var _gaq = _gaq || [];
_gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-12345678-1’]);
_gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’]);

(function() {
var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true;
ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘.google-analytics.com/ga.js’;
var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
})();

</script>

New Version:
<script>
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new
Date();a=s.createElement(o),
m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
})(window,document,’script’,’https://www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js’,’ga’);

ga(‘create’, ‘UA-12345678-1’, ‘auto’);
ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

</script>

Using the above examples, you need to check your existing Google Analytics Code and compare, if it’s outdated then simply snag the new code from the Analytics Dashboard Admin area which is rather simple so let’s recap that as well:

  • Log into your Google Analytics Account.
  • Click on the ADMIN tab at the top.
  • Click on .js Tracking Info under the Property Settings.
  • Click on Tracking Code and now scroll down, you can view the new code and copy/paste that into your relevant software.
  • Allow upwards of 24hours for the tracking code to begin tracking properly (if no code existed already).

You can view more information on the upcoming changes and improvements here.

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Uninstalling Modifications – vBulletin

Uninstalling Modifications:

Note: On some occasions disabling the modification instead of uninstalling is best.

  1. Prepare yourself i.e. if you’re uninstalling a modification it’s best to know exactly what you’re uninstalling.
  2. Run a backup of files and database beforehand.

When to disable versus uninstall?

Note: When you disable a mod the data remains within the database. When you uninstall a mod all data is removed permanently. *With that being said if you uninstall a mod due to whatever reason, you will not be able to retain any previous data.

Example: A Thanks mod for thanking people on certain posts, if you uninstall and later decide to re-install all user thanks will be gone SINCE you previously uninstalled the mod – if however you disabled it and now upgrade the mod the previous data will upgrade with the new version of the mod and all users will still have their previous thanks amount.

  • If the mod only works on a certain version of vBulletin AND you’re unsure if an upgrade will become available then you could retain the mod by simply disabling it.
  • If the mod is a basic mod that generates no user data it can be uninstalled then re-installed at any time without the loss of data.
  • If the mod has a security risk you can either disable it so it cannot be exploited (some can even if files remain so you could disable AND remove the files to be safer than usual) OR uninstall it completely (*Refer to the Note above, be sure you want to specifically uninstall instead of disabling – knowing the difference can save you a headache later on if a mod was in fact required).

How to uninstall?

Note: Some mods have file uploads and some do not. The easiest way to know if it has file AND what those files are (since you remove all files associated with mods IF uninstalling) is to re-download the same version of the mod you have installed, within the .zip if it had files to upload all the files will be shown in the .zip and now you know what files to remove. IF the mod is no longer available you can inquire for assistance or for file names themselves from the community on vbulletin.org.

*We strongly advise against using warez/nulled sites for downloads as they can be compromised or you yourself by utilizing such sites and on top of that most are providing scripts, files, and much more without permission and are usually in violation of the law by conducting illegal activity – be careful!

*Not all mods are in the modification graveyard yet were removed from vbulletin.org so their author might have a version available on their site otherwise if it’s in the graveyard on vbulletin.org AND the company went belly up you must rely on Google and other searches to find the file names associated with the mod.

Directions:

> AdminCP > Plugins & Products > Manage Products > *Now to the right of each mod listed is a drop-down, select to disable OR uninstall the mod in question.

Note: The mods title on the left is a hyperlink. Hovering above the mods title on the left will reveal the url of the mod on vbulletin.org or the authors site, click it to view and possibly download the .zip required to know what files should be removed.

  • If a mod has no files associated with it and only an .xml file was present then no further cleanup is required i.e. a mod with only an .xml will not have files that need to be removed.
  • Some mods have manual file edits to default vBulletin files required before use, be sure you read any readme.txt or readme.html files to ensure that you remove all customization’s (easiest way to revert custom changes in a file is to overwrite the default vBulletin file with a fresh file of the same version). Another example would be changes to .htaccess in which case you should remove any custom additions and only retain what is required in a typical .htaccess file.
  • If you’re unsure about which files to delete (for example if you could not find a download of the modification and are using your best judgement to clean old files from your site) you can CHMOD them to 000 which makes them unusable by the server in a sense – if the file was required you will see some form of error on your forum in which case you now know the file was not a file to be removed and can CHMOD it back to the previous CHMOD permission value. *Only CHMOD the files to 000 AFTER uninstalling the modification from the product manager – If you CHMOD files to 000 before you uninstall the product it WILL produce errors respectively.

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Will Google start punishing repeat spammers

Webmaster Pay attention to this;

Google published a blog post this morning named Repeated violations of Webmaster Guidelines explaining that if you have repeated violations of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and those violations lead to numerous manual actions, Google may take a more serious approach to penalizing your site.
Google said “repeated violations may make a successful reconsideration process more difficult to achieve.” “Especially when the repeated violation is done with a clear intention to spam, further action may be taken on the site,” Google added.

https://www.seroundtable.com/google-manual-actions-repeated-20918.html

https://www.seroundtable.com/google-manual-actions-repeated-20918.html

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How To Create A Landing Page That Converts

How To Create A Landing Page That Converts

 

Landing pages are one of the ultimate ways to attract new customers to your site — and ultimately increase sales. You can’t assume that new visitors reaching your site are going to wind up on your home page: if their search query matches another page on your site, it’s likely that Google will send them towards the most relevant page. This means that visitors from organic search can be reaching pages other than your homepage for the first time. This makes it all the more important to structure each page like a landing page. This insures you are putting your best foot forward, no matter what page your visitor lands on

 

A landing page  is like a first date, so try to make it more attractive and eye catchy with a clear cut Call To Action, that makes an elegant impression on the customers.

There are 8 main essential elements found in converting a page and they are:

C= Clear call to action

O= Offer

N= Narrow Focus

V= Very Important Attributes

E=  Effective Headline

R= Resolution and Layout

T=  Tidy Visuals

S=  Social proof of your site

Today, we are going to review some of the best landing page practices that will definitely let you gain more conversions, so that when a visitor or a customer clicks to your landing page they walk away happy and informed and you get a sale or new lead.

Create strong, uncluttered Landing Page content

As an owner, you probably do not have much time to connect regularly with your customers. For instance , a first impression on a date, you only get one before that person makes their decision about you, same thing applies to the landing page content. So, include clear line content, concise information and eye catchy headlines. You should use ‘’you’’ word to make a clear connection to the customers so that they can easily understand the facts about your product. Give your visitors the ability to scan the landing page quickly and be able to pick out the important information they need.

 Place a prominent call to action on your landing page

You should make your CTA [call to action] noticeable so that customers are clear about where and how to convert. You can use contrasting colors and blank spaces behind the CTA to make it and use simple words that can encourage visitors to take action.  You should give them clear information on what will happen after clicking to CTA. Give them the information on what to expect from your company after they have signed up. Even if you don’t make a sale from some of those sign up’s, think about it this way. You now have a new prospect and or “lead”. This person has just given you their personal information and is clearly interested in your product or services. You can now send them a follow up email with a first time customer deal or just some more info on why your company or product is a right fit for him/her.

Include a video on your landing page

A small image and a small length video is more helpful and clear for a visitor than a lengthy article. You can use a 30 seconds video on your landing page to increase the conversion rate.

Place customer testimonial on your landing page

Placing strong customer testimonials can convince visitors that your product or service is worth trying. Attaching the customer testimonial near the CTA will be a good strategy as it can encourage visitors and reinforce the positive conviction of your landing page.

Closing Thoughts

Without elaborating this more, I wanna stop myself here. So I hope you all understand the way to create a landing page that converts. Really a landing page is the overall impression of your service. Create something that speaks to your clientele, allow them to get clear and concise information about your product or services prior to them signing up for something. A landing page is a great way to showcase a new product or feature.

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Why Great Web Design Matters

Why Great Web Design Matters

You only get one chance to make a good impression.

Your website can either turn people into customers, or turn people away. There is no middle ground. Design plays a huge role in how people think about your brand. Your design should stand out. Your design should grab people’s attention. But above all, your website should be designed to get your visitors to take action.

Studies show that the average adult attention span is a mere 8 seconds. This means you only have seconds to capture your reader’s attention. Of course, there are a few tricks you can employ to improve your website and boost conversions.

Go Responsive

More and more people are accessing the internet through smartphones and tablets. If your website does not work on a mobile phone there is a good chance that you are missing out on visitors. A mobile website is not enough. Ideally, you want your website to be responsive. This will allow your website to scale to any size and display perfectly across any device.

Lose the Clutter

A noisy website offers too many distractions. More choices are not always a good thing, especially on your homepage. With little time to capture the interest of your visitors, you want to make sure your website is laser focused and directs visitors exactly where you want them to go.

If you have too many banners on your site — get rid of them.

Add Call-to-Actions

This is how HubSpot defines a call-to-action:

A call-to-action as an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It is, quite literally, a “call” to take an “action.”

A good place to put your CTA is above the fold — make sure it’s immediately visible without having to scroll down. You can also put CTAs after your posts or along your sidebar.

Cross-browser Compatible

This is a biggie: Make sure that your website works correctly across all major browsers. The big three to pay attention to are Google, Bing, and Internet Explorer. You should also check compatibility with Opera. There are online tools you can use to quickly check your website, or you can simply download each browser and check yourself.

Publish Content

Google favors sites that publish unique content. Blogging for your business increases search traffic and gives you more things to share on social media. According to HubSpot, 57% of businesses that blog have acquired a customer directly from their blog.

Make Checkout Easy

Did you know that 67.89% of carts are abandoned during checkout? That is a HUGE number. Even trimming that percentage down a little bit can have a significant impact on sales. The more steps you have in your checkout, the more people are skipping out on making a purchase.

Want the cold hard numbers? Expedia increased profit by $12 million by eliminating a single field from their checkout process.

One field.

If that doesn’t show you that even the small things count, I don’t know what will.

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Paid, Earned & Owned: What Matters and Where Should You Invest?

Paid, Earned & Owned: What Matters and Where Should You Invest?

Content marketing is here to stay. You should be warned though: it is getting far more sophisticated than it was when no one was doing it. Algorithm updates like Hummingbird (and all the other animals) have spurred website owners into taking stock of the content they put out and have led many to reevaluate their strategy.

Media is the new game in town. Blog posts are just the tip of the iceberg. White papers, videos, infographics, presentations and tools are becoming a big part of the equation. Still, it’s not just about owned media. Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. In 2014, diversification is key.

Differences Between Paid, Earned & Owned Media

As you can see in the chart below, each form of media is designed to achieve very specific goals. Owned media is what you control: your blog, website, fan page and so on. Paid media is sponsored content, advertisements, and banner ads. Earned media is the buzz your marketing creates.

Differences Between Paid, Earned & Owned Media

Differences Between Paid, Earned & Owned Media

Owned Media

Each form of media has its own advantages and disadvantages. Owned media puts you in control. It is one of the most important areas you can invest. For a forum owner this would mean adding rich content and tools that will attract more visitors. For example, you can add a blog to increase content around your niche, or create a unique marketplace; something your audience would appreciate. You want people to want to show up and the only way you are going to be able to do that is have something cool or useful.

Here are some examples of Owned media:

Paid Media

Paid media (advertising!) is not the end all solution to success online. More times than not it can be quite expensive to get targeted traffic. The other disadvantage of paid media is as soon as you stop paying, your traffic is gone.

There are still some important reasons to get involved with paid media: it can boost your exposure. Ultimately your goal is to rank for your keywords through owned media, but before you get there you should be leveraging paid traffic to funnel visitors to your site. You want people to be exposed to your content and the only way you are going to get the numbers (without ranking for your keywords already)  is through highly targeted paid traffic.

Some examples:

  • Google Adwords
  • Display advertising
  • Sponsored content
  • StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
  • Content sharing (Zemanta, Content.ad, Outbrain)

Earned Media

Earned media is viral marketing. It is when your customers become the advocates of your brand and create a “buzz”. This is the most difficult to scale and can just as well be negative. Your goal is to achieve this level of media from building your own channels (owned media) and heavily promoting these properties (paid media). When the result of the two equal more people talking about your business, it is called converged media.

What To Do

Whether you are building a blog or a forum, you need to focus on building up useful and relevant content on your site. Owned media is always the best alternative: It’s in your control. Just don’t get so focused on SEO or “content” that you ignore paid advertising channels. Paid media is a great way to get new exposure, so definitely leverage advertising to show off the content you create. With any luck (and a bit of hard work) you’ll start creating a buzz that will keep your visitors hungry for more.

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Let This Year Be The Year You Build Your First Website

Let This Year Be The Year You Build Your First Website

Let This Year Be The Year You Build Your First Website

It’s Wednesday… but it’s a little bigger than that. It’s a brand new year. 2014.

We made it.

As is the habit around this time of year, it’s time to start talking about what plans we have for the year ahead. Why not make this year the year you finally do it?

You know, build that website you are always talking about.

Now, I won’t say it will be a walk in the park. There is certainly a learning curve to building a website, much like anything else. Building a website is a labor of love, and if you are finally ready to make it happen, I’ll gladly walk you through how to get started.

So, I guess the ball is in your court. Are you ready to go for it?

Step 1: Choose a domain name

Your domain name is the identity of your website, so you will want to think carefully about the name you choose. You can either choose a domain name that describes your product, or you can choose a domain that is brandable. Either way, the choice is yours. Here is the perfect guide to choosing which option is best for you:

How To Choose The Perfect Domain Name For Your Business

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when choosing a domain:

  • Make sure the domain you choose does not infringe on any trademarks.
  • Choose a domain that is also available on popular social networks.

Social media plays a big role for promoting your site, so you want to make sure that all of your usernames will be available. This is important as it will help you stand out and make you easier to find online. You can use services like Knowem or Namecheckr to check domains and multiple social media sites in one search.

Step 2: Get a hosting plan

If you are building a brand new site, chances are you won’t need a VPS or a dedicated server. Starting with a small shared hosting plan is the best choice. It’s more economical, and because your site won’t be seeing much traffic just yet, you won’t need a lot of bandwidth. Also, shared hosting plans typically come with a free cPanel license, which will make managing your new site even easier.

Get 30 Days Free WordPress Hosting — Use Ecode ‘30FREE’

Step 3: What type of website will you build?

This is where you have options. The decision you make will largely depend on the type of site you want to build, as well as, your skill level and budget. Fortunately, our shared hosting plans come with 200+ one-click installs that allow you to publish a forum or blog with a few clicks of your mouse. There are also plenty more options, from ecommerce sites to free message board software.

Here are some compelling reasons to choose a blog or a forum:

7 Reasons You Should Be Using WordPress For Your Small Business

The “I Want To Know Everything” Guide To Starting Your Own Forum

Step 4: Customize your new site

It’s easy to think that you need all the skills in the world to build a beautiful website, but the reality is there are a lot more options out there that are not only affordable, but highly professional. You can find a huge selection of themes for whatever type of site you are building, whether a forum or traditional website.

A good place to start looking for a fresh design is Themeforest. You can find WordPress themes and a nice collection of forum skins for vBulletin, SMF, and phpBB. There are plenty more theme shops and developers that offer professional themes, so do your research until you find something you want to settle on.

Start A Forum With A Small Budget (And Still Stand Out)

Step 5: Create content for your website

Now is where things get a little bit more complicated. You are going to have to figure out what type of content and information you should include on your website. This can be a difficult process if you are just getting started, so the best way to decide on what your site needs is to go look at other websites.

Keep in mind that duplicate content is a no-no. You don’t want to copy content from another website. This not only reflects poorly on your brand, but it can also get you in trouble with Google. You don’t want your new site blacklisted, so it is important to do this right.

First, what you are going to want to do is come up with a list of example websites, with features that you like. Next, create a list of at least 10 of the most popular competitors in your niche. You can uncover quite a bit and set your website off on the right path by making sure you understand your competition. This tutorial from Moz will get you started.

You will also want to make sure that you are structuring your pages and posts with SEO in mind.

Your Content Should Attract The Right People

Step 6: Add Google Analytics

You want to track your progress, right? The only way to judge if what you are doing is working is by tracking results. Before you begin promoting your site you will want to add Google Analytics. This is a free tool by Google that allows you to track visits to your site and see where your traffic is coming from.

Next, just to go the extra mile you should verify your site with Google Webmaster Tools and Bing. This will allow your website to begin getting indexed faster.

Step 7: Setup your social media accounts

Now that you have made it this far you are going to want to create social media accounts to promote your website. While there are a ton of options, the most important ones you can set up for your new website is Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Be sure to add links to your website and add a design that matches the look you are going for.

Step 8: Start promoting!

This is the step that never ends. Once you have your site ready to launch you will want to market your new website in a variety of ways.

In other words, the journey just started. = )

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5 New Year Resolutions To Make For Your Website (Or Forum)

5 New Year Resolutions To Make For Your Website (Or Forum)

A new year will soon be upon us any day now. I suppose it’s time to start rolling out the resolutions and setting goals for the new year. In fact, I don’t suppose. I would say it’s an absolute must.

Whether you have a website for your business, a blog, or own a forum it takes work to see success. Building an online business or community is no easy feat — it requires a great deal of work. The problem so many website owners face is not having direction. You need to set goals.

Are you ready to make some resolutions for the New Year? Here are a few we can all agree on:

My New Year’s resolution is to…

Increase my traffic by 100%

This is a resolution that most webmasters will gladly nod their heads to. The thing is, you need to be specific with your goals. Don’t simply say, “I want more traffic”. Put a number on it.

The same goes for email subscribers, Facebook fans or Twitter followers — pick a number for your goal so you know when you get there. In other words, be specific.

Make content and social media a habit

Social media and content are not slowing down in 2014. In fact, you can almost certainly expect them to be the gold standard for online marketing. If you are online, you need to be investing in content. There are a number of reason why. Here are a few:

  • Thought leadership
  • Organic search traffic
  • Owned content to share on social media

Good content helps your website perform in the search engines, and it builds trust with your visitors. It may take some upfront work or investment, but down the road when that organic (free) traffic is sending you visitors and customers I don’t think you’ll have any regrets.

Build relationships with influencers

This is important and if you are not doing this right now you are doing your marketing a disservice. It’s easy to get sucked into thinking all you need is links and high rankings, but at the end of the day it’s about relationships more than anything. Connecting with influencers can elevate your brand.

And, over time, you build a rolodex of influencers you can reach out to. A little more time, you become the influencer.

Work on my website like it’s my job

If you have a job, at any given moment you know exactly what you should be doing. In fact, if you’re not doing that right now there is a good chance you’ll hear about it. Despite what some may claim, working online is just as much of a job as… well, a job.

No matter where you’re at right now with your website or forum, clearly defining what tasks you should be doing day-to-day is a must. Having a routine and system for marketing your site will nearly always deliver results.

Fortunately, there are some tools of the trade that will help you keep track of what you should be doing.

Google calendar is a free app that is bundled within Google Drive. It integrates with Google+, and is synced with your email. You can also create individual calendars, to keep everything in its right place.

Trello is a project management app that allows you to work with a team, or simply keep track of your daily ‘to-dos’. Trello uses a ‘list’ style interface, which gives it a natural workflow. Plus, it’s free.

Wunderlist is another ‘to-do’ list style app. What’s handy about this one in particular is that you can create individual lists for specific projects. For example, you can create individual lists for each website you manage, or separate your marketing activities into their own categories to keep your workflow neat.

Here are some examples:

  • Daily Task Checklist
  • Weekly Goals
  • Monthly Planning

I’m sure you get the point. Simply use the Inbox list to add reminders for your next-day tasks. For the things you do everyday, add those to the Daily Task Checklist.

Keep track of my progress

You won’t know when you made progress if you don’t track your progress. The first thing you need to do when building any website is install Google Analytics. Numbers are important. They do not lie. Keeping track of how your site is performing will help you make the right decisions. You’ll be able to see what works for you, what needs work, and what might not be working at all.

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5 Tips For Building Your Dream Forum Or Website

5 Tips For Building Your Dream Forum Or Website

A new year is approaching, and with it comes the annual list of resolutions and goals to mark the calendar. High on the list for most people is improving their website (or starting one). Gone are the days when websites were only owned by tech geeks and big companies.

It’s as simple as ever to get started with your own website or forum. Companies like WordPress and XenForo have paved the way for software solutions that are about as ‘plug and play’ as it’s going to get, without shelling out the big bucks. It’s also more easy than ever to have a website look just as professional as ones costing thousands of dollars.

Of course, an investment is still required. You need a domain. You need hosting. Most of all, you need a plan and a direction for your new website. It won’t build itself. Whether you plan on hiring a designer, or you are more of the do-it-yourself type, following some basic steps during the launch process will allow you to build a forum or website that stands out and looks they way you want.

Follow these five simple steps and you’ll have the website you want in no time.

Work Within Your Budget

It’s very easy to get sucked into thinking that you need everything at once. In reality, you don’t. Getting started is half the battle, and the sooner you get online, the better off your website will be down the road. Set yourself a budget — and stick to it. There will always be room for improvement. The important thing is getting online.

Choose The Perfect Domain

We’ve talked about choosing a domain name for your website before. Your domain will be something that everyone will use to identify your site, so you should definitely do some thinking on this before you launch. Switching to another domain down the road has a lot of drawbacks; you’ll lose a bit of search traffic, you’ll have to implement 301s and watch out for 404’d urls. Basically, it’s a big hassle. Better to chose the perfect domain name right from the beginning.

Bookmark What You Like

Chances are on your quest to build a forum or website, you’ve checked out other sites and got an idea for the look you want. Before the design process kicks in, you’ll need plenty of sources for inspiration. What will help the process along is having examples of the look and features you want to see on your site. A handy little tool for this phase of your website launch is Evernote. Simply install the browser tab and when you come across a feature or website you would like to model your site after, hit the bookmark button and comment on what exactly it is that stood out to you.

Implement What You Can

Once you know what you want to see on your site you’ll be able to start implementing what you can. There is a very real chance that you won’t be able to implement everything. You may not have the budget, or lack the skills to get the implementation you need. Do not let this discourage you. Once your site starts becoming successful you’ll be able to revisit these ideas and implement them if they are still important to you.

Let Consistency Pay Off

Consistency is the key to successful marketing. You will not get anywhere without putting in the work. Once your website is live the work is only beginning. You’ll have a lot to learn, but what you need to remember is that baby steps count. Do what you can and spend time learning about marketing, SEO, and social media. In time, and with enough effort, you will grow the successful website you are dreaming about.

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How To Choose The Perfect Domain Name For Your Business

How To Choose The Perfect Domain Name For Your Business

Domains are the real estate of the internet. A great domain name can be the foundation for an empire. A bad one can be exceptionally forgettable. There are a variety of factors that go into choosing the perfect domain name for your website, but at the end of the day it comes down to one thing: you have an important decision to make.

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