What's in a [DOMAIN] Name?


'Domain Name' is a synonym for URL or Uniform Resource Locator.  A relevant domain name is an important item to consider by any organization that is serious about establishing a web presence. Choosing the right domain name can be difficult, but here are three 'rules of thumb' to assist your organization with the first step to building an effective web strategy.

1. Long or Short?  How long should my domain name be?

A domain name can be up to 67 characters long.  However, it is not recommended that your domain is this long.  That being said, a shorter domain is not always better.  You should pick a domain name based on the ability of someone to remember the name rather than the length.  A domain name that makes a statement is more effective than an acronym because people are more likely to remember a statement (or phrase).

Example:  Imagine a car company called Thompson & Jones Ford Mercury.  A domain name of www.tjfmcars.com may make sense to them, however www.bestnewcars.com would be more memorable for driving traffic (no pun intended) to their website.

2. My domain name is not available, what do I do?

There are several ways to work around unavailable domain names.  One common way is to choose a suffix other than .com (such as .us , .net, .org, etc.).  Another way is to add a short word before the domain name that you wish to register.

Example:  Assume you opened a coffee shop.  You can bet that coffeeshop.com has already been registered, so trying variations as follows can help you find an excellent domain name that is still available:

3. Consider the digits and characters you are using.

Don't register a domain containing the digit "0" in it, unless it is going to be part of a recognizable word (like 1000 or 2000). This is because the digit "0" is often confused with the vowel "O."  If you feel that you must register a domain with the digit "0," make sure that you also register the corresponding domain containing the vowel "O."   Try to avoid using domains that contain '2' for "to," '4' for 'for,' 'u' for 'you.' Your customers will easily get confused. However, if you must register such a domain, register the expanded form of the domain as well, i.e. if you are registering "FirstAidCPR4U.com," also register "FirstAidCPRForYou.com."

There are other things that can come into consideration when considering your domain name, but these will get you started.  It is recommended that you work with your web developer during this process and also, if you see one you like - GRAB IT (before someone else does)!



Should My Company Be On Facebook, Twitter, etc?

With the exponentially increasing popularity of social networking, the most common question of 2010 for our team is – should my company be involved with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Linkedin, etc?

The short answer is – YES. Social networking provides the following to a business:

  • Add a human element to your product(s) and/or service(s)
  • Engage with customers directly, but informally
  • It’s fun for many – and very easy to use
  • Can help drive traffic to primary website(s)
  • Create a buzz around your website(s), product(s), service(s) or brand(s)
  • Assist with search engine rankings by establishing inbound links
  • Create loyalty and trust through an online community

But to find a true answer to this question, you must ask yourself the following:

  • Does my organization have the resources to effectively keep social networking sites up-to-date? This could be internal work or outsourcing to a competent firm (or individual).
  • Which social networking sites deliver the best benefit? Particularly if resources are limited.
  • Does it matter if my business is B2B vs. B2C when I organize and implement an online strategy involving social networking?
  • How do I get people to follow me online?

These are all very important questions and cannot be addressed in depth in a simple blog. However, I’m going to attempt to break down some of the most popular social networking sites – and hopefully help you start thinking about your online social networking strategy.

Here are a few rules to keep in mind:

Rule #1: Do not over-commit to social networking.

Many people (and firms) make the mistake of signing up for every single social networking site available. While being on all of the social networking sites can generate larger degrees of exposure, if content is not kept fresh, then users will lose interest (very quickly). If resources are limited, focus on the most important social networking sites for your business or outsource to a firm like AI Software to keep ROI high.

Rule #2: Know your market.

Certain social networking sites are more geared toward B2C marketing rather than B2B. Find out what social networking outlets can best benefit your business and marketing efforts – focus on those.

Rule #3: Realize what social networking truly ‘is’.

Social networking was created to be ‘fun’ first. While many businesses are reaping the benefits of having online social networking exposure, it should never be the primary focus of your business or marketing efforts – it should only be used to enhance the efforts that are working for your organization already.

So, in order to help you better understand social networking – and perhaps develop a strategy – I’m going to give you an insider’s opinion on some of the most popular social networking sites today.


If you’re going to commit to a single social networking site, make it YouTube! Since being acquired by Google, this is an excellent outlet to post videos that will get ranked on Google (if posted effectively). At AI Software, we record and post video testimonials from our clients as well as product videos (for instruction and marketing). YouTube is fun as well as beneficial to your business.


If you’re considering (or all ready utilizing Facebook), remember that it is for entertainment first and foremost. It’s great for connecting with friends and sharing information, but the business use is more appropriate for B2C companies. If you are a B2B company, focus on LinkedIn.


LinkedIn is a great site for connecting with other business professionals. It offers great services for business (and social) networking as well as finding suppliers and promoting products. LinkedIn is heavily used by recruiters, so if you’re looking for a job – GET ACTIVE on LinkedIn.


Constant updates of a ‘normal’ person’s life are boring and counter-productive. However, if used properly, Twitter can help generate a buzz for products, services and brands. Twitter is more for a B2C company and should be used in that manner. Think of a restaurant that uses an NFL player as a spokesperson. Commission the spokesperson to ‘tweet’ about the restaurant regarding special events, pricing, etc. This would be highly effective; however, ‘tweeting’ about ‘a day in the life of Terry Robinski’ is just the opposite.

Well, I hope this has been helpful. Now for the plug – AI Software can assist you with all your social networking needs in 2010 and beyond. Send me an email and let’s get it figured out for you! 



Become A GOOGLE Search Pro

A typical web user utilizes Google many times a day to find information online, but may not know how to narrow a search to get the best results available.  Here are some tips you can utilize every day to find the BEST results on the nation's most popular search engine - http://www.google.com/.

1. Explicit Phrase:Lets say you are looking for content about internet marketing.  Instead of just typing internet marketing into the Google search box, you will likely be better off searching explicitly for the phrase.  To do this, enclose the search phrase within double quotes.
Example: "internet marketing"

2. Exclude Words:
Let's say you want to search for content about internet marketing, but you want to exclude any results that contain the term advertising.  To do this, simply use the "-" sign in front of the word you want to exclude.
Example Search: internet marketing –advertising

3. Site Specific Search:
Often, you want to search a specific website for content that matches a certain phrase.  Even if the site doesn't support a built-in search feature, you can use Google to search the site for your term. Simply use the "site:somesite.com" modifier.
Example: "internet marketing" site:www.smallbusinesshub.com

4. Similar Words and Synonyms:
Let's say you are want to include a word in your search, but want to include results that contain similar words or synonyms.  To do this, use the "~" in front of the word.
Example: "internet marketing" ~professional

5. Specific Document Types:
If you're looking to find results that are of a specific type, you can use the modifier "filetype:".  For example, you might want to find only PowerPoint presentations related to internet marketing.
Example: "internet marketing" filetype:ppt

6. This OR That:
By default, when you do a search, Google will include all the terms specified in the search.  If you are looking for any one of one or more terms to match, then you can use the OR operator.  (Note:  The OR has to be capitalized).
Example: internet marketing OR advertising

7. Phone Listing:
Let's say someone calls you on your mobile number and you don't know how it is.  If all you have is a phone number, look it up on Google using the phonebook feature.
Example: phonebook:617-555-1212

8. Area Code Lookup:
If all you need to do is to look-up the area code for a phone number, just enter the 3-digit area code and Google will tell you where it's from.
Example: 617

9. Numeric Ranges:
This is a rarely used, but highly useful tip.  Let's say you want to find results that contain any of a range of numbers.  You can do this by using the X..Y modifier (in case this is hard to read, what's between the X and Y are two periods.  This type of search is useful for years (as shown below), prices or anywhere where you want to provide a series of numbers.
Example: president 1940..1950

10. Stock (Ticker Symbol):
Just enter a valid ticker symbol as your search term and Google will give you the current financials and a quick thumb-nail chart for the stock.
Example: GOOG

11. Calculator:
The next time you need to do a quick calculation, instead of bringing up the Calculator applet, you can just type your expression in to Google.
Example: 48512 * 1.02

12. Word Definitions:
If you need to quickly look up the definition of a word or phrase, simply use the "define:" command.
Example: define:plethora