Choosing the Right Sports Domain Name

Before any successful web venture can begin you will need a home for it. It’s worth giving serious thought to your choice of domain name because in both branding and SEO terms this choice does have very real implications. Whilst your concern may not be picking an “unfortunate sounding” domain name ( www.OddSexTractor.com – Odds Extractor,  www.WeBone.com -WebOne), you should take the following suggestions on board:

1) Do not use numbers or hyphens in your domain name. It’s a no brainer on the number front, and as for hyphens, they make it difficult to verbally convey to people what your domain is, and they may forget the hyphen at a later date and not be able to navigate back to your site. It just doesn’t sound or look professional either, and since first impressions are important, it’s a bad idea. A hyphen is a word separator in search engine optimisation terms, so does offer a very slight SEO boost, but it’s not worth the trade off in my view. Keep it clean and dynamic, especially important for a sports name!

2) Keep the domain name short and snappy. Nobody wants to remember a four word domain and again it just doesn’t look professional. In any case, for SEO purposes cramming your domain name full of keywords is pointless (unless you add hyphens between the words, but then it looks even less appealing). What’s an easier to remember and more attractive domain name for a horse racing tips website, something like the aforementioned OddSexTractor or something more descriptive like CheltenhamRaces or brandable like Nagshead? If you struggle to find an appropriate name, try BustAName . It’s a useful word combiner tool.

3) Use a keyword in the domain name. This isn’t a must, but it’s far from being  a bad idea. If you run a horse racing site words like horse racing, racing, race course, tips and combinations of those words in the title will both describe your service and help you choose a horse related domain name. Combined with positive terms such as winner, prime, winning and the like and you have an attractive name. So it may help to have a two word domain name, one of which descibes the service on offer and another fairly expressive word. If your URL is too stuffy and boring it can put people off your service. Though of course you have to match the expectations of your audience. If you run a funeral home, calling it groovygraves might not earn you many customers.

4) Register multiple domains. If your company name is unique and currently not registered then consider buying the .com, .net and regional (if applicable) variation of your domain name. There would be nothing worse that building up a brand, only for someone else to try to monopolise on your success by purchasing a name that you could’ve grabbed for an insignificant amount.

*Regardless of your domain name extension, hosting your website in a territory will also result in you achieving local placement in that country.

Twitter for site promotion

It seems like everybody is using Twitter nowadays, but can it make sense from a business perspective? The answer of course is yes, but only when thought has put been into my best to integrate it into your marketing strategy.

Typically, new business users of twitter add hundreds of people “willy nilly” with the thought in mind that casting their net wide will result in more eyeballs on their site and greater exposure for their product of service. This haphazard approach is severely lacking due to its untargeted nature.

There are a number of services out there with the potential to scan real time tweets, follow users with certain interests and more. This is certainly a more useful way of tracking down the right twitter users, and is a productive use of your time. Check of this link:

http://www.twitterfall.com/

These are just a handful of tools to hand get you started in your twitter adventures, and to ensure that you are appropriately targeting those either in, or interested in the niche to which your site relates.  It may well be that certain types of site are more attractive to twitter users than others.

Website Promotion – 10 Mistakes to Avoid

Website promotion is not only about what you do, but also what you do not do. Check out the below list for ten things to avoid when promoting your website:

1) Do not launch mirror websites

A mirror site is an exact copy of your site at a different address. If you launch a mirror version of your site search engines may well blacklist or penalise your the site. This will seriously harm your search engine positioning, so beware. The same problem can occasionally come about due to search engines indexing both the “yoursite.com” and “www . yoursite . com” versions of a site. This can be remedied by setting up a   permanent (301) redirect and also by setting a preferred domain in the google webmaster tools area.

2) Avoid using flash, frames, java on your website

Extensive use of any of these (or even minor use in the case of a site navigation) can can hamper your search engine optimisation efforts. Using frames most likely will result in your site not being correctly indexed and you’ll be right back at the web design drawing board. That’s pretty much why frames are yesterdays news now. Search engines also have problems indexing flash and java, so I would be inclinded to steer clear of those too.

3) Optimise your entire site, NOT just your homepage

Many site owners begin and end their optimisation efforts on their homepage. This is due to their belief that the index page is the gateway to their website. If have have 100 pages of unique content though, why limit your optimisation efforts to one page – it’s insanity. All pages should have a unique title for starters. There would be nothing worst than an interesting article being linked to numerous times, only for it to appear as something non descript or incorrect in search engine rankings.

4) Steer Clear of Keyword Calamities

It may be tempting to ue a whole host of irrelevant (to the content) keywords on a page and/or metatags in order to achieve high rankings for a certain term. This will very likely fail though, as google, yahoo and co are able to categorise the content and theme of your site, and any deviation from that is recognised. You could even be blacklisted. The same applies to keyword stuffing and the like. Honestly is the best policy.

5) Avoid spamming

If you have a new site, it’s understandable that you want the world to see it. Spamming forums, blog comment sections, directories, newsletter lists and so on isn’t the way to go though. All it can bring you is a bad reputation. Many services offer to submit your site to hundreds of directories, when in reality if they do this with your site, they do it with thousands of others too. That means that your site will effectively appear in hundreds of link dumps that are next to worthless to search engines and may even count as a negative due to their spammy nature. The scattergun approach doesn’t wok.

6) Do not hound webmasters for link exchanges

Similiar to the above point. If your site is young, do not spend hour after hour emailing webmasters with much more popular sites than yours. Even if they are in the same niche it’s not a useful activity. Instead wait until you have build up a following and have had some successes. In that position you’ll be in a much better position to be accepted for a link exchange.

7) Achieve a balance between content and promotion / optimisation

Website promotion and SEO is an ongoing task. Popularity is not something that can be achieved overnight, do not forget that it goes hand in hand with content though. It’s very easy to get stuck in an optimisation mindset where content and thinking about interesting ideas for articles takes a backseat. In reality this IS central to promotion though. If you have an amusing or unqiue idea for an article this can drive your promotional efforts as it may well have a viral effect. Content is king.

8)  Don’t pay for what you can get for free

Many inexperieced webmasters get suckered into paying big bucks for “we sumbit your website to 20 billion directories” type offers. As stated earlier these are a bad idea. Instead you should look for niche directories that actually relate to the content of your site. Exchange links with similiar sized sites.  Let your site grow naturally.

9) Do not rush to submit your site

If your site contains dead links of incomplete content, it’s not a great first impression to leave for visitors. Should you submit such a site to a editor reviewed website directory, it will almost certainly be rejected for inclusion.

10)  Stop viewing promotion as a short term activity

Promoting a website is an ongoing activity, not something you dip into for a week or two in order to get things going. You have competition and they will always be looking for ways to gain an edge. If you take your foot on the gas, you will be overtaken.