We know that spring is around the corner when we see the first robin. The leaves falling signal autumn, and snow on the ground denotes the winter months. These signs remind us of the changing calendar, signaling when we should plant our flowers, put up the Christmas tree or even take our summer vacations. (Okay, so maybe we wouldn't forget the last one!)
With the Internet, recognizing changes and knowing what to do about them is not quite as simple. For the most part, there are no glaring changes that shout out at us, "Hey, there are big things happening on the Web!" This is why it's so important to stay on top of what's going on.
And, there are things happening in cyberspace that you should be aware of. Search engine Yahoo! has upped its fee for registration of a Web site, which could impact your business. In addition, seven new generic Top-Level Domains (called gTLDs) have been introduced.
While they sound technical and boring, they really are fun, and open up all sorts of new'possibilities.
Listing on Yahoo!
Let's start with listing your Web site on Yahoo! Many of you know that the company I work for, Kitchens.com, designs Web sites for kitchen dealers. The reason I mention this is because, at the end of our Web site application, new clients have the option of checking a box to say they would or would not like us to sign them up on the Yahoo! search engine for an additional $299. Many of our clients decide not to register until we call and explain the importance of it!
However, it's entirely possible that you don't have anyone who will call you and tell you how important it is to make sure that, when you have a Web site built for your company, it gets listed on the proper search engines. Let me assure you that it is important to be listed on search enginesbut not just any old search engines.'
Yahoo!, Google, Northern Light and a handful of others constitute the current "top" search engines. That means that they have the largest databases and/or more people using these search engines than others in existence.
On Yahoo!, the fee recently was increased from $199 to $299 for a business to register its Web site. Hence, you want to list your site now, before it goes up again.'
Listing your site is
If'you're going to do it yourself, just follow the directions on Yahoo! called "Suggesting Your Site." But, commonly, Web site design firms handle this for their clients.
It's important to be aware that, by not listing your site on Yahoo!, your site will not have as many visitors. Sure, there are other good ways to get your Web site noticed, but I definitely feel the $299 is worth it. You want to make sure your site is found via as many avenues as possible, and the best-trafficked search engines will help to make this possible.
And, don't be fooled by bargain offers. Have you ever had someone fax or E-mail your company to say their company couldn't find your Web site on certain search engines, and that they would sign you up on hundreds of search engines for the low, low fee of $19.99? They may be signing you up with "hundreds" of search engines, but not any that anyone is using! How do I know this? Well, if they are only charging you $19.99, and many of the most commonly used search engines charge businesses between $199 and $299 to be listed, it only stands to reason. We're all in business to make money, not work for free!
If you haven't secured a dotcom address for your company yet, or someone has already taken the URL you wanted, or you want to secure all of the "dotcom possibilities" for your company, I have news for you.
There are seven new Web extensions, or versions of dotcom, that are now available. Those are: .biz, .info, .name, .pro, .aero, .coop and .museum. In my opinion, the two that really apply to our industry our .biz and .pro.'
These new Web extensions have been made available for several reasons: First, there is a serious overcrowding of the dotcom extension; then, there is the need to keep the Internet navigable, and, finally, new extensions should help to deter "cybersquatters" by making the "good" domain names (read: memorable and common word) less scarce. It works on the same theory as the 800 numbers. We are now using other prefixes such as 888 for toll-free phone calls, because most of the available 800 numbers are already assigned.
Currently, 80 percent of the Web addresses out there end with'dotcom. Also popular right now is the .net extension. But, let's say the domain names you want for your company, AmazingKitchens.com and AmazingKitchens.net, are already taken. What other choices do you have?
What you could do now is sign up for AmazingKitchens.biz. This allows you to get the name you want, without sacrificing an easy-to-remember Web address. You will also be using an extension that will become increasingly popular in the next few years. It should be noted, however, that to sign up a dotbiz, you need to be able to prove that you are running a legitimate commercial business.
If you were instead thinking about KitchenInstaller.pro, you may have a tougher time signing up your domain name. "Dotpros" are intended for use by "professionals," and examples given of this so far are doctors, lawyers'and the like.'
The catch on registering this domain extension is that you will only be able to sign up a third level domain name. An example'of a third level domain is Karla.kitcheninstaller.pro. The "pro" part of this domain is the "top level" of the domain name, the "kitcheninstaller" is the second level of this domain and "Karla" is the third level of this domain.'
The registration of dotpro domain names will be handled by a British company. To sign up a dotpro, visit www.registrypro.'
To sign up a dotbiz will be easier. The registry Web site is www.neulevel.com.
If you still want more information on dotbiz or dotpro, or any of the other five new gTLDs, visit www.icann.org. ICANN is the International group that oversees the administration and the stability of the Web. The acronym stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.