Tag Archives: branding

How to Register a Domain Name

Securing your company’s domain name is now nearly as important as securing your company name. Your domain name will be your company’s name online. It will be your website address & form half of your email address. It will feature alongside your company name on your business cards, signs and other communications. When choosing company names it is therefore worth thinking about what domain names are available. Equally when choosing a company name it is now worth thinking about how it will do in the search engines.

Registering a domain is simple. You can use a domain name search like the one on our website to find ones that are available. When registering domain names it is worth going through an official registrar rather than a reseller as there is one less layer of people to deal with if things go wrong (and one less layer of people looking for a cut of your money). Nominet are the UK domain authority and keep a list of registrars (we are there under our registrar tag COMPANYWAREHOUSE).

Once you find a domain you like it is a simple process of handing over some payment details and placing your order. Domains can typically be registered for between 1 and 10 years at a time. Once your domain is registered you need to link it to a website and to the servers that website is hosted on. This is done through the DNS system, the exact procedure for this varies from registrar to registrar but it is usually pretty simple.

But what about picking the actual name itself? What should you look for? Our basic checklist would include the following:

  • Make sure you own the .co.uk and .com variations of your company name (even if it is only to stop anyone else getting them)
  • Look at keyword domains. Research what people search for to buy your product or service. People are more likely to search for ‘garages Chelmsford’ than ‘Smith and Sons Garage’. Using keywords in your domain will help you to attract more visitors.
  • Keep your domain short. 15 characters is about the limit.
  • Avoid hyphens, they make your domain harder to remember and look spammy
  • Go for standard Top Level Domains such as .co.uk & .com these look more credible
  • Before buying any domain name do a normal web search for it and see what comes up. If there is another website with a very similar name avoid it.

Whatever name you pick you are likely to be stuck with it for a while. Changing the domain name on your website will reset the site as far as the search engines are concerned. Having said that, remember there is nothing to stop you from having multiple websites with different domain names catering for your business name, keywords and combinations of the two.

If you would like help picking a domain name for your business get in touch with our Business Consultants and they can talk you through the options.

Book Review – Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen

The book’s full title, Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (& Other Social Networks), is pretty self explanatory.

Social Media for BusinessesThis is a book about promoting your business using social media tools. The author, Dave Kerpen, runs a social media agency in America and the book is full of examples from his clients. Likable focuses on how to target customers online, get them to follow or like you and then buy your products or services.

One of the principles Likable is based on is that each member of Facebook has on average 130 Facebook friends. If you can get 1 person to ‘like’ your company on Facebook they are, in effect, personally recommending you to 130 of their friends. Get 100 people to like you and you could potentially have personal recommendations from customers reaching 13000 people. It is basically about using good old fashioned word of mouth recommendations but driving them through Facebook, Twitter and other sites.

If you can get your company to be a, positive, part of the conversations people are having online then you can earn these recommendations. Kerpen’s book covers the main social media sites (although he focuses heavily on Facebook) and discusses how each one can be used. Most of his focus, though, is on how to craft what you are going to say rather than where you say it. Kerpen discusses how to engage with people on social media on their terms, not trying to sell to them, but to have an interesting conversation. He gives examples of how companies have successfully done this already and suggestions of how companies could do it in the future. Throughout the book Kerpen emphasizes the need for companies to be authentic, transparent and honest in everything they do online.

Because of the fast moving nature of social media the book, which was published in 2011, is already starting to date a little. Pinterest, for instance, is only mentioned in passing but is now a big force in social media. Likewise a couple of Kerpen’s suggestions for tools to use to measure and attract visitors are now slightly out of date because the social media networks have changed how they work. There have also been complaints about the response to customer’s problems through social media (or lack of it) of one of the companies Kerpen showcases. However this doesn’t really have an impact on the advice in the book, you may just need to treat it with a pinch of salt.

Verdict 8/10

Rapidly dating, and perhaps not entirely unbiased about the success of some of the strategies discussed. Having said that Likeable offers a comprehensive introduction to the world of social media and how to use it for businesses.

Do you need a Strap Line, Slogan, Tagline or Mission Statement?

Slogans, Mission Statements, Strap Lines and Tag LinesIf you want to establish a strong brand for a new company experts recommend that you can do two things. First you need a clear idea of who your customers are and what products or services you provide. Secondly you need to be able to clearly state why customers should buy your products or services.

Once you know what these two statements are, they can be a powerful way to tell new customer about your company and inspire your staff.  There are basically two ideas you need to come up with.

Mission Statement

Mission statements were all the rage in business circles a couple of years ago. They get less press these days but are still a useful tool. Mission statements tend to be for internal use. They set out the principles the company will be run on. Some good examples are:

Google - Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Amazon – Amazon’s vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

McDonalds – McDonald’s brand mission is to be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat. Our worldwide operations are aligned around a global strategy called the Plan to Win, which center on an exceptional customer experience – People, Products, Place, Price and Promotion. We are committed to continuously improving our operations and enhancing our customers’ experience.

These mission statements set out what the company is trying to achieve and say something about how they want to do it. Both the Amazon and McDonalds mission statements explicitly mention customers while the importance of the end user is implied in the Google one.

Strap Line, Slogan or Tagline

Strap lines, Slogans and taglines are all basically the same thing. What a strap line does is to quickly sum up what the company is about. It may be incorporated into the company logo or feature in advertising. It is meant to be catchy and make the customer think positively about the company. Some good examples are:

Nike – Just do it

DeBeers – Diamonds are forever

HSBC – The world’s local bank

These slogans are short and snappy. They do not sum up everything about the company but they do give a general idea about the company’s philosophy. Nike is all about action while HSBC is a global bank with a friendly service.

Even if you don’t want to go down the route of having a formal mission statement or slogan it is a good idea to have a quick summary of your company prepared. Many people believe in the elevator pitch, a 30 second to 2 minute explanation of what your company is all about and why people should give you money. With the growing influence of social media the 160 characters Twitter gives you to write your profile might be an equally good test. If it takes you more than 160 characters or 2 minutes to describe your business perhaps then perhaps you need a rethink.

Ultimately this can be the main benefit of writing a mission statement or slogan. The process of doing it makes you thinks more clearly about your business and its benefits.