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Domains: 1.5 Million Australian Domains Now Registered

www2Australian domain names are gaining in popularity as the total number of domain names exceeds 1.5 million.

This indicates the strong growth of websites in Australia. The number is increasing with 1,500 domains registered everyday.

The total number of .com domains has reached 184 million. China is the second largest extension of domain names and it continues to grow as China’s Internet gains in popularity.

Domain Names

AuDA to publish domain expiry list
Some domain name insiders have had access to lists of domain names that are due to expire. They are then able to register the domain names before they are made public. To create a level playing field, AuDA will now be publishing a list of domains that will expire and specify the exact time that the domain name will be available to register.

Register your domain name today
If you are thinking of registering a domain name that is available, I strongly suggest you register it as soon as possible. Once the domain name that you want has been taken by someone else, acquiring that domain name could be a very expensive option.

Domain names are affordable and easy to register. There’s no excuse for not registering the name that you are thinking about.

If I am talking to a customer and their domain name is available. I suggest to them that they should urgently register the domain name with any of the domain registration companies available out there. I don’t care who they register it through, be it us or one of our competitors, I just tell them to register it. Even if they are only thinking about using the name.

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Who Owns Your Domain Name?

wwwHave you ever checked who owns your domain name? Do you own it? Does your webmaster own it? Maybe even your hosting company owns it!

I am writing this post today because we had a victory today. A customer has regained control of her domain name. She was in a very bad position and nearly lost it. She did not own the domain name, it was registered through her original web designer who was now uncontactable. After a number of threats and no replies from the web designer, he finally replied and released the domain name to the proper own. She has now regained control of her domain name. That’s a happy ending.

How can you check who owns your domain name?
You can check by doing a whois search on your domain name and check the contact details. This is something that many businesses know that they can check and hence why many businesses don’t know who owns their domain name.

In Australia, it is better management because domains need to have the customer’s Australian Business Number (ABN) on the registration form. If this is wrong or needs to be changed, the domain needs to be deleted and then re-registered. This costs the customer time and money.

You can check your domain name using one of the two links –

Why should you care who owns the domain name?
You will not be notified if the domain name is up for renewal or if it is transferred. If your domain name expires, your website and emails will go down. This problem is often overlooked and the hosting company normally gets the blame because the customer thinks their servers are down. This is not the case. A simple WHOIS search would indicate problem.

Your website could be transferred to a third party without your acknowledge. If this happens, you’ve may have lost your domain name and you need to contact the domain registry (AuDA or ICANN) to investigate.

How can I update my domain name contact details?
You can log in to the domain management interface and update the contacts details. These details should be provided to you from when you registered your domain name.

I hope this will help people understand the importance of owning their domain name.

Please share any stories you may have about your domain names that you did not own or any other horror stories that you have heard about this.

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Choosing the best and most profitable keywords for your website

aumoneykeyboard

Choosing the best keywords to optimize your site can be a challenge but I am going to show you the best ways to find the keywords that will get your results. This is a very important step in Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click Campaigns.

I am surprised the number of times that customers ask to be listed as number 1 for their business name. I explain to the customers that they will normally rank at the top for their business name. If people are entering their business name, they are only searching for their website.

Looking from a customer perspective
One of the main problems people don’t realise when choosing keywords is that they choose keywords that are either industry jargon or something that only an industry insider would search for. You want to choose keywords that potential customers would use to do a search, afterall, it is not you that is going to be doing the searching.

Check out the competition
You can easily check what keywords your competitors are using. Visit their website and click on Tools -> View Source. You should be able to find the META data which will have a list of keywords and description. Have a look at the list and see what keywords would be good to optimize your site for.

Here are some tools that will help you evaluate what keywords your competitors are chasing. These tools offer a free trial but they are paid services.

Keyword suggestion tools
Here are some free keyword suggestion tools based on past search queries to major search engines

These tools allow you to enter in your website, you competitors’ websites and industry keywords (to generate non-industry keywords).

Sorting out your keywords
You probably have a lot of keywords in your list now. Put them into a spreadsheet program like Excel to help sort them out. Remove duplicates and unrelated keywords.

You should now have a list of the best and profitable keywords ready to enter into your website or marketing campaigns. Make sure you keep this list private and in a safe spot. We will come back to this list of keywords later and analysis how your website is currently ranking for all these keywords but I will save that for another post.

Let me know if this has helped you with generating the best keywords below.

Google: adds Social Search

google-betaToday, Google has released another search facility. This search is called Social Search because it searches people that make up your social search. It uses data from Google profile, Twitter, FriendFeed and other contacts in Google. It may even include Facebook and other social data in the future.

Here is Google’s definition of it

Google Social Search is an experimental feature that helps you find relevant public web content from people in your social circle, when you’re signed in to your Google Account. For example, search for [ restaurants ], and restaurant reviews by your friends and other contacts may appear more prominently in your results. Join the Social Search experiment at http://www.google.com/experimental

Here’s a demostration of the Social Search

How Google Social Search Works

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iSnack 2.0 is Goooonne… Vegemite Cheesybite is in.

162198-vegemite-isnack-2-0After a vicious public backlash, Kraft came to their senses and fired the vegemite name – iSnack 2.0. This was a naming competition gone wrong. Borrowing a mix from Apple’s success with their iPod and the web 2.0 theory.

The new name is now Vegemite Cheesybite about an online poll and telephone survey of 30,357 people. I’m not sure what’s cheesy about it but the new name did not generate the same amount of free PR that iSnack 2.0 achieved.

Here’s what Hitler had to say about the new iSnack 2.0

What do you think about the new name? Maybe you have some better suggestions?

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Hot Online Products for the Holidays

The holiday season is soon approaching but what are online retailers going to be pushing so they sell the most through their online stores?

Would you like to know what consumers are looking at purchasing during this holiday spending season? Well we’ve received research sourced from Google/OTX Consumer Intentions for Holiday 2009. This is very interesting data because it shows you the type of people that are now doing online shopping by the category popularity.

Categories

Plan to Purchase by Category Analysis
It is surprising to see clothing and fashion having such a high purchase intention. For many years, online retailers and shoppers complained that clothing and fashion would not sell very well on the Internet. This results shows that customers are now ready and comfortable purchasing clothes online without feeling or trying on the clothes.

This proves that online shopping has moved passed the early adopters stage and into a more mature marketplace as everyday people are now making many purchases online.

Entertainment items have always been popular with online shoppers because the logistics of delivering the items is relatively easy. Retailers can easily email items such as tickets or mail DVDs without many problems. The return rate I imagine would be very low which equates to cheaper and more competitive prices compared to brick and mortar retailers.

I think buying toys online has been popularised through eBay which has had quite a success in selling toys through their online auctions and eBay sellers’ online stores.

Picture 7

Technology Categories Analysis
Video games are popular again these holidays especially with the rise of the Nintendo’s Wii Game Console, XBox and Playstations.

Digital cameras are now much more affordable and incredible specs these days. The internet used to be a great tool to compare digital cameras but it is interesting to note that people are now looking at making their digital camera purchases online.

Amazon has now launched their ebook reader on a world wide basis plus they now have added competition from Sony and other product manufacturers. I think they were anticipating that ebook readers would be a hot item this Christmas but it appears to be off the radar for these consumers.

What is your online store going to do?
Is your online store ready for the Christmas Holidays? Please tell us in the comments below what you have done to prepare your online store for the upcoming holidays.

Launch of Google Merchant Center & Google Data Feeds

googleDid you know that you can submit your products to Google and put into their search index? Google will accept your product submissions and add it to their search index.

You can do this automatically using a Google Data Feed through your shopping cart software. Whenever you add, delete or modify any products in your shopping cart, they are updated in Google automatically. Ask you shopping cart software provider how to set this up if you are unsure.

Introducing Google’s Merchant Center
Google has now made it even easier to manage what products you have in their index by using the Merchant Center. You can also check the status of all the products that are in the index as well. You will need a Google account to use this service but it is free to sign up.

Visit the Google Merchant Center to get started today.

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Are Your Customers Waiting For Your Call?

waiting-for-phone-callLate on Friday afternoon, I discovered that my fridge was broken. By the sound of it, the compressor had broken. I called a local fridge dealer who said it was too late to do anything about the fridge today. He said that he would call me between 12.30 and 1 pm the next day.

I did not receive his phone call so at 1.45 pm, I called his number. He said that it was too late now because everyone’s gone home. I thought great, I’ve been waiting for his call and I’ve got no service. He has lost my business.

Getting Customers to Your Door
As a business, you spend so much time and money getting customers in the door, to your website and on your phone – you cannot waste opportunities.

If you are busy when a customer calls, get their phone number and tell them that you will call them back when you have a better chance to dedicate time to their questions. The customer will appreciate your full attention when answering their questions.

Promises are Promises
If you promise a customer that you would call them back – call them back! If you cannot keep a simple promise like a phone call, what will a potential customer think of your service? How many sales are lost because the salesman did not return a simple phone call.

Have you forgotten to call a potential customer? There’s no better time than right now to call that new potential customer.

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The importance of quality product images

product2We have seen different shopping carts and eBay listings but what is one of the most important things you’ve noticed about the products and listings? There is the layout of the site, the functionality and then there is the quality of the product images.

Do your product images look professional? Do they say ‘buy me’ to the viewer?

The Benefits of Great Product Images
Having high quality product images for you shopping cart and website can make or break the success of it. Too often I see websites with poor to average photos of products. The business has done a lot of work to the website in getting it ready and spending money to drive customers to the website, then they display poor photos of their products.

Have a look at the flyers that come in your mail box from Woolworths, Coles and other retailers. All the product images are perfect. They want you to buy their products so they have the best product images. You too can have great product photos by spending a few dollars or buying the equipment and doing it properly yourself.

product1Do-It-Yourself Photography
If you want to do this yourself because you have a large number of images, a bit of time and a turnover of products, you can invest in some photography tents by searching through eBay. Most digital cameras today can take high quality photos if you know how to. There are a lot of resources on the Internet to show you how.

Professional Photography
If you have a limited number of products that you will have on your website, it may be better to use a third party photography studio. You can send them your products, they’ll take the photos, optimise them, send you quality images and send your products back.

With your new high quality product images, you will be selling more products immediately.

Do you advertise online?

logo_pwcEveryone is talking about internet advertising but how much is really being spent on Internet advertising? Is it increasing or decreasing? Is it all just hype?

No, it is not hype and it is increasing everyday. A report compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shows Australia’s commitment to this form of advertising with 18.5% growth for 2008-09 financial year compared to the previous financial year. We spent $1.8 billion dollars for the year, ending 30 June 2009 and $453 million in the last quarter.

Where is Internet Advertising Spent?
Internet advertising can be broken down into the following areas including % of total advertising expenditure –

  • Search and Directories – 49% (25% growth)
  • General Display – 27% (19.6% growth)
  • Classifieds – 24% (6% growth)

This is definitely a strong growth area where the big players are putting in large amounts because they see the value in it. I can only see this area increasing compared to other advertising mediums including TV, radio and magazines.

Are you listed in Google or Yahoo or Bing?

googleIf you are not listed in either of the three main search engines, you are missing a lot of valuable traffic. That is traffic that could generate you sales and leads. But how do you know if you are listed? Do you just type your business name in and if you cannot find your link, then you must not be the search engine at all?

How do you check?
You can check by typing in the following to any search engine – site:yourdomain.com.au (changing the word yourdomain.com.au to your domain name (ie. site:avs.net.au)

This will bring up a listing of all the entries that the search engine has of your website.

If you no results are found, then you are not listed in that search engine. In the near future, we will show you two ways that will get your site listed on all the major search engines.

Windows 7 has arrived

windows-7Microsoft Windows 7 has been described by experts as simplistic, requires less resources and easier to use. This sure doesn’t sound like a Microsoft product to me but have they got it right this time? Vista bombed out as a resource hog, that slowed down computers, full of bugs and even retailers rolled back to offering Windows XP to customers. If a operating system is not favored by retailers, what are consumers to think?

Windows 7 is a lot less resource hungry. A quick look in Officeworks with two laptops side-by-side, showed that Vista was using 1000 MB of memory and Windows 7 was using only 750 MB of memory. That’s 25% less memory being used, a difference I think that would be noticeable on most computers.

Windows 7 Features
A cool feature for Windows 7 is the multi-touchscreen functionality. This allows you to control the computer with a touchscreen monitor and you can use two hands or fingers on the screen at once. If you have used an iPhone or iTouch, you will know what I mean. You can zoom in and out on objects using two fingers or move them around.

Microsoft are wagering a lot on Windows 7 to be successful but the launch has been relatively quiet which makes you wonder what Microsoft are up to. Bill Gates has not done a big publicity speech and there has not been much in advertising for Windows 7. If anything, people like Gerry Harvey have a lot riding on it because PC sales overall are down.

Here is a link to the tour of Windows 7 – http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/features/tour.aspx

Have you used Windows 7?
Are you running it now?
Are you going to upgrade to Windows 7 and if so, when do you plan on doing it?

I plan on upgrading shortly because I think it’s going to run smoother than Vista and XP.

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Hello and welcome to my blog

Welcome to my blog. The purpose of this blog is to help Australian businesses succeed on the Internet. You could be setting up your first website or looking at increasing sales on your current website.

The Internet world is constantly evolving and you’re too busy working in your business. It’s near impossible for the average business owner to keep abreast of the latest marketing techniques and web technologies. In a time poor world that we live in, I hope to inform you of the latest developments that you can implement into your online strategies.

Expect to hear the latest news, insights and my advice on running a successful website. This will include information about domains, web design, internet marketing and social media.

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