Dot Com vs. Dot Whatever | What Top Level Domain (TLD) Should You Choose?

Is Dot Com Still The King of Domain Names?

Are dot com (.com) domain names still the only good choice? There was a time, not so long ago, that the answer to this question was an unequivocal “yes”. The answer today is still probably yes – except that today – “yes” is no longer carved in stone.

Three Reasons That Dot Com is King

There are many reasons that owning, as your primary URL, makes the most sense.

  1. It’s expected
    This is more important than it may seem. Expectations met = authority. Online authority = online reputation = your real life reputation. If you don’t own, the entity that does own it has an authoritative edge over you.
  2. It’s easy to remember
    Chances are very high that if you tell people that they can find you at, they are going to type in when they get to the office. You’d better hope that isn’t the  URL of your competitor. The same thing applies to email. You’ll never know how many messages you never saw because they went to instead of
  3. Browsers sometimes default to .com
    When a TLD (domain extension like .com) is not specified, some web browsers will simply direct traffic to the .com address when more than option is available. This has become less of a problem now that Google (Chrome) and Microsoft (IE) also own search engines supported by advertising revenue. Now their browsers would rather direct you to a search page when the address isn’t 100% certain.

The Exceptions:

There are only two exceptions to the dot com rule. But they are big, important, exceptions.

  1. Local Matters
    Dot com (.com) is big and important and recognized around the world. It carries a lot of authority. Sometimes worldwide authority is not what you want though. If your restaurant has only one location, or your law firm only operates in one country, it might make more sense to have your country code as your URL. So instead of presenting as, you might be better off as – that way everybody knows you’re a Canada based organization. Whenever possible, securing the matching dot com, should also be a priority, though in this case it is less critical.
  2. Narrow Field Specialization
    There are now over a hundred specialized new top level domains. If your business is highly specialized, one of these might be perfect. The advantage is that you can find a very memorable domain name. For example, my business name is PoMo Media, so in addition to owning I also own – pretty neat, eh.


What’s Available For Domain Names?

In addition to the “Big 3” .com, .org, and .net, there are dozens of county codes, like .us (United States) and .ca (Canada). There are a couple of others like .edu and .gov that have been available since the early days of the Internet. And then there all of these (way too many to list in this post so you’ll need to click through to Wikipedia).

The Wrong Reason to Choose an Alternative TLD

The reason that most people choose something other than .com for the domain name in their URL is that the .com is no longer available. This is a bad reason. It is nearly always a mistake.

Why is it a mistake to use MyName.whatever if is already taken?

Good question. Here’s why.

  1. Everybody knows that you settled for second best. Nobody really wants to settle for second best. Not you. Not your clients. Not your potential customers.
  2. Brand confusion. Are you the “real” My Name, or is the owner of the “real” one? Why would I visit when I could be visiting the real website at
  3. Not Memorable. We talked about this already, but let’s review. People remember .com automatically. That might change as the new domain extensions gain in popularity, but for now, you should assume that if you tell someone your domain name is, they’re likely to remember it as This is important even if you are an organization. For example, a small organization that I support uses as their primary URL, but they also own That means that the right web site will open whichever domain extension is used.

What to do if is taken

Let’s start with the bad news. Every single word in the standard English language dictionary is already taken by a dot com. Every common surname is also taken. Every common FirstNameLastName combination is already taken.

So what is the good news? The good news is that language is flexible and diverse. With some creativity and trial and error it is still possible to come up with good, descriptive domain names in the dot com TLD. Not very long ago I was able to purchase for myself. I was also able to purchase (it’s for sale BTW).  The other acceptable options are a country code name, or a highly specialized name from one of the new TLDs.

I also suggest purchasing the .net and .org extensions of whatever domain extension you get. This protects you from either ill-intentioned, or accidental, copycat websites that dilute your brand and confuse your audience.

Netfirms is the Domain Name Registrar that I prefer most of the time. They also have the best Domain Name search tool, because it automatically shows all the possible extensions and suggests alternative names.



Air Canada Social Media Disaster

Air Canada Social Media Marketing Disaster anti-logoA recent experience with Air Canada demonstrates how easy it is to get things wrong, while apparently ticking all the right boxes for social media marketing.

Some big organizations get social media right. Some get it wrong. And some come close to getting it right, but then make fatal mistakes. Air Canada falls into this last category.

Customer Service Disaster at the Airport

On December 29th my son and his wife were returning to Los Angeles after visiting us in Toronto. They were travelling with their small dog, which precluded using the online check-in system. They arrived at the airport with plenty of time before their flight, and proceeded to line up in the Air Canada check-in queue. Upon reaching the check-in counter they were informed that they were in the wrong Air Canada line, and were told to go to the correct, USA bound lineup. They were also told, that since they had already lined up for some time, and were now getting closer to the cutoff time, they should go immediately to the counter, and not line up a second time. So far so good.

When they reached the second counter, the Air Canada employee there told them she didn’t care that they had already stood in line, or that they were simply following the directions given them by a fellow Airline employee. She sent them to the back of the line, forcing them to line up twice for the same flight. By the time they reached the counter again (and were sent to the same cruel employee) they were informed by the the ticket agent that they were too late for their flight! They were forced to re-book on a flight leaving nearly 8 hours later. A flight which it later turned out was delayed by a further 3 hours. They attempted to resolve the issue at the airport by speaking to a manager, but by the time the manager showed up, it was much too late for even an expedited trip to the boarding area. Not that it mattered since the on-site manager was unconcerned with their treatment by the counter clerk anyway.

Keep in mind that they are travelling with a small dog, which meant it was not even possible for them to clear security or customs and immigration before their flight since they needed outdoor access for the next 7 hours.

Air Canada Social Media Screw up

Here’s where a personal tale of woe becomes a lesson in messed up social media marketing.  Upon first impression, it is obvious that Air Canada has employed competent and professional social media consultants to set up their Twitter presence. The account is monitored, useful information is posted (along with plenty of typical corporate marketing fluff) , and responses from staff are very timely. But the airline has made a couple of disastrous implementation decisions, which will become clear in the next part to the story.

I reached out to Air Canada via Twitter, and relayed  the sorry tale of terrible customer service. The story was relayed like this:

They arrived at Pearson Airport and got in the Air Canada check-in line.
They got to the service desk and learned they were in the wrong line.
The checkin clerk was very nice, and told them that since they’d already waited, and might miss their flight, they should go directly to the front of the USA bound line, which they did.
The clerk there told them she didn’t care why they were there or when their flight was- they had to go to the back of the line again.
When they reached the front of the line again, they were assigned to the same woman. This time she told them they were now too late to get on their flight and would now have to wait for the 6 PM flight to LA.
They asked to speak to a manager.
The manager did not appear for another 30 minutes, and informed them that it was now too late for anything at all.
They are traveling with a small dog, and can’t even clear US immigration now, because they need outdoor access so the dog can relieve herself while they wait for the later flight.

There was a bit more information sharing back and forth, along with my request that the issue be settled with an offer of an upgrade to Business Class on the later flight, along with an on-site apology for the way they were treated by their employee. This is the response by an employee at Air Canada’s social media offices:

We regret to hear that these passengers did not meet the cutoff time of their flight. We always suggest for all our passengers to review the cutoff time policy published here, , in order to avoid circumstances like these. Unfortunately, all our agents must follow procedures and treat each passengers in the order they were lined up according to the right lane. Although we understand your frustration, we’re unable to honour your request. It is up to the passengers’ responsibility to ensure they’re checking in and present themselves at the gate before the closing time. /vv

I asked to escalate this to a more senior manager. Explaining that they had indeed arrived on time for their flight and check-in, and were following the instructions of one of their own employees. That had the Air Canada employee at the USA check-in desk not deliberately contradicted the instructions of another employee, they would have easily been able to board their booked flight on time. This is the “final response of the “senior manager” (JL) at the social media offices.

Hello Allan, we’ve reviewed the booking details of both passengers and the incident at the airport has clearly been documented. While we understand that this may not be satisfactory to you, kindly note that further communication will not alter the outcome of this case. Passengers are expected to arrive early enough to meet the cutoff times of their flight. We invite you to refer to the link provided previously by our agent /vv in order to avoid this in the future. We will no longer address this case further. Have a nice day. /jl

The Core Problem
(from a Social Media Marketing Perspective)

The biggest failure wasn’t entirely due to the social media activity itself. It was due to the social media department not being fully integrated into a corporate culture of customer service. For Air Canada, it seems,  the only purpose of social media is to further its advertising outreach, by mostly pushing out fluff, and attempting to add a bit of a personal touch along the way. It was never clear to me if the employees in the social media department had any authority at all to rectify a customer service problem, despite asking them a pointed question at the outset of our interaction:

Air Canada: We regret to inform you that we’re unable to arrange for an agent to call you from our end. Please send us a brief description of the issue, and we’ll see if we can assist. /lg

My Response: Sure. But I’m going to start with my expectations on how to make things right. 1) A face to face apology to them from a manager at Pearson. 2) An upgrade to Business Class 3) An escort to the front of the line for US passport control.
Is there someone in your office with sufficient authority to make those things happen?

There was never an answer to this question. Even after I answered all of their inquiries about the situation. It remains unclear to me if anyone at the social media offices can actually intervene to assist a passenger in distress.

From my interaction with the social media department it became clear that the primary corporate culture goals were:

  1. Deflect all criticism
  2. Defend the actions of Air Canada employees, even if the behaviour is egregious.
  3. Avoid any response that might cause inconvenience to employees or cost the airline money.

Fortunately, my next flight is NOT with Air Canada.



The Reputation Economy and Social Media

Facebook Sign - should your nonprofit, ngo, or charitable organization be using Facebook?

We are living today in a “Reputation Economy”, and like it or not, your reputation is affected by your social media activity (or lack thereof).

What is a Reputation Economy?

We are accustomed to the idea that our reputations precede us in our social interactions in the “real” world. Our friends know us, our colleagues know us, our clients and customers know us. And each of them has developed an idea about us that can be shared – our reputation.

In the digital economy and its extended social networks, the distinction between our physical and virtual reputations has disappeared. Our digital reputation is our “real” reputation, and the digital economy has become a reputation economy. Our reputations, as available digitally, carry very real implications. In the reputation economy our online personas can attract new clients, new friends, even new romantic relationships.

Your reputation defines how people see you and what they will do for you.  It determines whether your bank will lend you money to buy a house or car;  whether your landlord will accept you as a tenant;  which employers will hire you and how much they will pay you. It can even affect your marriage prospects.

And in the coming Reputation Economy, it’s getting more powerful than ever.  Because today, thanks to rapid advances in digital technology, anyone can access huge troves of information about you – your buying habits, your finances, your professional and personal networks, and even your physical whereabouts – at any time.  In a world where technology allows companies and individuals alike to not only gather all this data but also aggregate it and analyze it  with frightening speed, accuracy, and sophistication, our digital reputations are fast becoming our most valuable currency.
~ From The Reputation Economy: How to Optimize Your Digital Footprint in a World Where Your Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset

The Role of Social Media in a Reputation Economy

Social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or WhatsApp are readily available, easy to find, and easy to share. Everything we post, and just as importantly, everything posted about us, has an effect on our reputation. Prospective employers will Google you, and they’ll take a look at your Facebook account. Regardless as to your level of active participation in the social media world, there is more than likely something in cyberspace that has an impact on your reputation.

It is important to each of us that we actively manage our reputations online, and effective usage of social media tools is the best mechanism for doing so.

First Steps

If you don’t have at least a Facebook account and a LinkedIn account – get one now!

Yes, I’ve heard all the excuses. I have nothing to post. I am a very private person. I don’t have many friends. I don’t know how to use it. I don’t like computers. Technology scares me. I’m too old. My friends don’t use Facebook. LinkedIn isn’t for people like me. Feel free to add your own excuses… But here’s the thing; if you are not controlling your reputation online through these media, then your reputation is being controlled by other people.

Either people are talking about you, and you have no way to direct the conversation (or even know that it’s occurring), or, just as bad no one is talking about you at all. You may think that’s dandy – but it isn’t. When you are an unknown entity online employers may be reluctant to hire you, potential clients may be less likely to hire you, and potential romantic partners might even be less likely to date you!

Why is having no reputation online nearly as damaging as having a bad reputation?

  1. You are always competing with people who do have online reputations.
  2.  It is not advantageous to have an unknown reputation a reputation economy. Whether for a job or a date, it is human nature to fear and distrust the unknown.

Signing up for an account is pretty straightforward. Companies like Facebook and LinkedIn go to great expense and expend a lot of effort making their products easy to use and as intuitive as possible. Visit to start there, and to join LinkedIn

Next Steps

Once you have some online presence, it’s important to manage that presence.

  1. What would you like your reputation to look like?
    This is straightforward enough at the most basic level. You probably want to appear as an honest, decent person, of integrity. But beyond that you may want to emphasize certain aspects of your personality and deemphasize others. You need to have a good idea abut what you want your reputation to look like if you want to effectively manage it.
  2. Edit the “About Me” sections in all your social media accounts
    Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google MyBusiness, you need to keep this section current, consistent, and on message. It’s often the first thing people see when they visit your social media pages. Make sure that there is something there, and that it reflects upon you exactly the way you’d like it to.
  3. Photographs, photographs, photographs
    People love images. We can’t help it. Make sure you accommodate that desire – first and foremost with a good profile picture. If your account is in your personal name, then use a photograph of yourself. No silly symbols. No avatars. You are the person with the the reputation. Your picture is who you are. Corporate accounts or accounts for business names should use either an official logo, or the principle person’s picture, as appropriate to circumstances. Beyond profile photographs, the use of photography will enhance your pages, make them more enjoyable for visitors, and encourage people to learn and linger. If you have the budget, inclination, and ability video posts can be even more powerful than photographs.
  4. Participate
    They call these media “social” for a reason. Spend time there. Join a few groups. Answer questions. Share information and knowledge. Become active online. You don’t need to spend hours every day, even a few minutes every couple days is enough to build a reputation as an active participant, and as a person that adds value in their online community.
  5. Monitor
    Login to your accounts daily if possible. Remember, you are there to manage your reputation. You’ll never put out a fire that you didn’t know was burning.
  6. Manage
    This is the hard part. It isn’t technically difficult. It’s hard because it requires discipline and commitment. There’s the old saying that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Well your online reputation in the reputation economy won’t be built overnight either. Stay focused on your goals. Set aside time every day to monitor your accounts and respond to questions and comments. Set aside time every week to post content and add value to your online communities.
  7. Ask for help
    You hire a lawyer to draft your contracts. You hire an accountant to do your taxes. You hire consultants to help you solve business problems. Consider hiring a consultant (like me) to help you develop your social media strategy and manage your social media presence. I’m located in Toronto and provide most of my services here, though I will consult online or by telephone too. Just like the field that you are in, my field is competitive too. I’m happy to help you find someone more appropriate to your unique requirements, if my services are not what you need.

Contact Me


Your Mission Statement and Why it Matters

Dilbert comic strip - Wally and his Mission Statement

What is your mission statement?

Why does it matter?

What does it have to do with social media for nonprofit organizations?

Discussion about the mission statements of nonprofit organizations might seem to be a little bit lofty for a guy that helps NGOs with their social media strategy. We don’t see a lot of social media activity around missions, purposes, and causes in the social media marketing world. Well, in a nutshell – that’s a darn shame. Because until everyone in an organization knows, and has internalized the organization.s mission, there is really no way to measure true success.

Social media success is more than click measurements, followers, friends, contacts, or likes. The only true measure of social media success is the increase in organizational success that can be attributed to social media. And, especially with nonprofits, the best measure of organizational success is attainments of organizational objectives.

What is a mission statement?

Let’s start with this definition from Entrepreneur Magazine.

A sentence describing a company’s function, markets and competitive advantages; a short written statement of your business goals and philosophies .

The mission statement reflects every facet of your business: the range and nature of the products you offer, pricing, quality, service, marketplace position, growth potential, use of technology, and your relationships with your customers, employees, suppliers, competitors and the community.

Now let’s examine that a bit, and rework it for nonprofits. Here’s what we come up with.

A sentence describing an organization’s purpose and stakeholders; a short written statement of your organization’s goals and philosophies .

The mission statement reflects every facet of your organization: the range and nature of the services you offer, social impact, social potential, and your relationships with your members, employees, stakeholders and the community.

That’s a little better as far as describing what the statement is. But we can probably do even better when we take into account what we know that is specific to our own organization. In a nutshell, this is how I would describe what a mission statement is:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]In one or two sentences our mission statement summarizes why our organization exists, and what its goals are. [/perfectpullquote]

Here is my mission statement:

To help nonprofit organizations use social media to reach their communication objectives, maximize their social impact, and to be fairly compensated for my efforts.

That’s it. It is short, easy to understand, reasonable, and realistic. It is the measure by which every action I take for my business is measured. Even this blog post that you are reading right now would not have been published if I did not believe it would bring me closer to my goal.

Why Does a Mission Statement Matter?

A mission statement is the “critical infrastructure” that allows everyone in an organization to work smarter, rather than just harder. Hard work is important of course, but hard work is pointlessly exhausting if it isn’t accomplishing anything meaningful to the organization. Eventually, hard work can even be counterproductive if members, volunteers, and employees start feeling like they are just spinning their wheels or wasting their time.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] There is no way to know if we are getting closer to reaching our goals, if we haven’t clearly articulated what are goals are.   [/perfectpullquote]

A mission statement is a road map. It provides direction to everyone involved in the organization.

What Does the Mission Statement Have to do With Social Media?

I can almost hear the skeptics saying, “Big deal! We don’t need a consultant to tell us what we are all about, we just need help getting our Facebook and Twitter accounts working for us.” If you are among the skeptical, let me set your mind at ease. You are right. My role is not, and should not, be to develop a mission statement for your organization. My role indeed (as you can see from my own mission statement) is only to help you reach your communication objectives using social media tools. But, it is going to be really difficult for me to accomplish my mission if you can’t tell me what your own is.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]It is going to be really difficult for me to accomplish my mission if you can’t tell me what your mission is.[/perfectpullquote]

Once you can articulate your organizational mission, and better still your communication goals, we can start building a strategy to put social media to work towards reaching those goals, and fulfilling your mission.

And that’s what it’s all about, Right?

5 Blog Problems and how to Deal with Them

Common blogging problems and how to deal with them

Starting a blog is fun and exciting. As we start writing posts, and putting our brilliant ideas out into the ether of the Internet, we wait with baited breath for the first comments and kudos to start rolling in. We wait. And wait some more.

Then frustration and insecurity begin to cloud our happy excitement.

Are we perhaps, not as brilliant as we thought we were? Are we doing something wrong? Did we offend the Google Gods somehow?

All of the above questions represent possibilities. But, more likely, we have not done anything wrong. We are just being too impatient. So the number one way to deal with our blogging problems is to just be patient! Keep writing. Keep posting.

In this fabulous article from Vandelay Design, Steven Snell identifies five common problems, and discusses the best way to address each one.

  1. No Visitor Comments
  2. Not Enough Visitor Traffic
  3. Blogging Without Purpose
  4. Visitors are not Returning
  5. No Revenue Generation


Twitter Tips

This article focuses on “micro-blogging”, specifically the 140 character limited, microblog platform, Twitter.

Most of what I write in this blog has to do with what I’ll call “Blog Blogging”—that is, writing about posting articles on a traditional blog, like those that I build for my clients.

Following, are some of my favorite Twitter tips for maximizing your microblogging impact.
Tweet Frequency:

Aim for two tweets, twice per day. That’s fairly easy to accomplish by doing one “original” tweet plus one retweet, in the morning – and then doing the same in the afternoon or early evening. Tweeting more than this is better, with the important proviso, that overdoing it to the point that the only Tweets in your followers’ feeds are yours, will result in you being “blocked” or “muted”.


Retweet Other People’s Content:

Scroll through your feed, choose an interesting tweet from someone you’d like to increase your connection strength with. Then just click “retweet”.


Tweet Original Content:

  • Quick ‘quip’ (an idea or thought that you think your followers might find helpful)
  • A link to your most recent blog post
  • A link to a previous blog post
  • A link to a useful article posted on another site
  • It is more than OK to post links to older blog posts. It’s a great way to get more value out of work you’ve already done
  • It’s OK to post a link to a competitor’s article, not too frequently, but once in a while. Hopefully they’ll either reciprocate, or at least give you a ‘mention’ in their Twitter feed.


When to Tweet

I’ve read a few different articles about this, and looked at some graphs. Audiences are biggest in the workday mornings, and early afternoon. The most popular time to tweet is during the typical workday hours. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the best time to tweet for maximum engagement and click-through is actually around 1 to 2 AM!

(data here:


Personally, I try to Tweet every morning, and then again every evening after dinner. My thinking being that, people open their Twitter feeds when they arrive at work, turn on computers, and start checking email etc. Then, after dinner, they’re sitting at the TV with their phones or tablets in their hands.


Final Thoughts
Your goals on Twitter, are similar to your goals when blogging.

  • Add Value
  • Think of marketing potential
  • Consider SEO (links to your website and blog)

Final Final Thought

Add value. Add value. Add value.

If we want people to follow us, and more importantly remember and follow through with us, we need to provide a reason for them to do so.

Remember, all of my blog building packages include FREE Twitter setup and blog integration too!

Dot Com, Dot U S, Dot C A, or Dot Net, Org, Co, etc.?

It is pretty well established that for most blogs and websites, most of the time, the “dot com” Domain Name suffix (TLD; Top Level Domain) is preferable to all others. There are a few circumstances where a country code TLD is preferred, but even then, it is always advisable to secure the .com extension too.

But what happens when you can’t get your desired name as a dot com because it is already registered to someone else? What are your options, and which option is best? This is going to be a near certainty for any potential one word domain name. Every single combination of three letters has already been registered. Every single word in the English language dictionary has already been registered too!

The typical entrepreneur and new blogger is going to be faced with a tough choice. Basically the choice is going to come down to this:

Do I use my desired name, but attach it to a less popular TLD (like .net, .org, .biz), or do I come with a creative name that I can still secure as a .com, but that may not be the name of my business or blog?

To answer that question, we need to start with the reasons that the .com (dot com) TLD is so popular.

  1. .com came first
    In the beginning there were basically only three TLDs easily available to regular people and businesses. They were .org, .net, and .com. Dot coms were fore businesses, dot orgs were for organizations, and dot nets were for networks. There was even some enforcement of these divisions at first. But every single business in the world wanted
  2. .com is easy to remember
    Since every business jumped at securing, everybody soon learned that entering would likely bring you to the website belonging to that business.
  3. .com is so ubiquitous that sometimes you don’t even need to type it
    Some web browsers will automatically assume and add the .com extension to a domain name, even before it is fully typed into the browser window.
  4. Search engines prefer .com
    This may be changing as search engines develop more complex and accurate algorithms, but it is probable that dot com names will always enjoy a big search engine advantage. A .com Domain name tells Google that the site has probably been around a while, that the owner has taken the trouble to secure the .com, that the site owner likely owns the trademarks to the name, and that the site is probably legitimate.

Your site is legitimate too, but you can’t get the .com. Now what?

Let’s look at alternate TLDs. Maybe you can buy or Maybe you can buy,, or But should you?

There are differences of opinion here. I’ll give you mine. My opinion is based on buying and using Domain Names since the very early days of the Web. I’ve owned dozens, I currently own and use about twenty.

In my opinion, .org and .net are useful only if .com is not available, AND you want your registered and/or trademarked name included in your URL. If these two TLDs are available you should absolutely secure them, even if you choose to use different URL for the main page of your blog or website. Unfortunately, you will nearly always lose to whoever owns the .com when your name is entered in a search engine or browser window. If the .com is not being used, and is for sale, consider buying it. Unless the name is obviously, and spectacularly special, you can nearly always buy a for sale domain name for substantially less than the asking price. The people and businesses reselling Domain Names often own huge inventories that are very expensive to maintain. They can often be more desperate than they seem to unload a name in their inventory.

Country code TLDs can be excellent alternatives to .com. If your blog or business is location specific, like “Natural Wonders of Canada“, or “My Favorite American Chinese Restaurants“, then securing and using a .ca or .us Domain Name is a perfect alternative to a .com. Unfortunately, if your site is not locale specific, the message sent by a country specific TLD is going to be that either you are uninterested in reaching out beyond your borders, or you couldn’t secure a .com so settled for a .country.

What about all of the new TLDs coming on stream now? Honestly, IMHO, I think these are all completely useless. The entire exercise borders on being a fraudulent scam, designed to fool unwary netizens into perceiving value where none exists, and to force bigger, legitimate enterprises into buying useless intellectual properties for the sole purpose of securing them against squatters and extortionists. Don’t waste your time or money on them.

The Last Best Option

You can’t get, isn’t encompassing enough, or .net is also unavailable. Whatcha-gonna-do? (yes, at the time of this writing was still available!)

The best option for most of us, most of the time is this… get creative!

Make a list of things that your blog is going to be about, or a list of things that your business does for its customers, or the main products that you sell. List the kinds of things that your ideal clients are looking for. Remember, every dictionary word is already taken, but chances are that you can find a combination of relevant words that are still available as a dot com.

Heck! That’s exactly what I did with this very website! From the outset, I knew that there was going to be virtually no chance of securing an incredible Domain Name like, or But I started playing with different combinations until I found a Domain Name .com that related exactly to the kind of service that I offer my clients. So, get creative. Start thinking. Start searching. My favorite name search website is My favorite Web Host is, who also have a decent search function.

For example, is not available, but is available. So is

A note about hyphens

Hyphenated domain names ARE allowed. But this is a bit of a mixed blessing. On the plus side, a hyphenated name can be easier for humans to read, and it is also far more likely to be available. The downside (and it is a major downside) is that hyphenated names are not treated kindly be search engines, and because they are uncommon, the hyphens will often be left out by humans trying to manually enter your URL into a browser. I suggest avoiding hyphenated Domain Names.

How Much Should a Blog Cost?

Getting ready to blog? How much should it cost?

I suspect that if you are reading this post, you’ve begun researching this question. I also suspect you may be pretty confused by now at the range of prices you’ve seen!

Setting up, and maintaining a blog can literally cost zero dollars. I’ve also seen articles by very reputable organizations, that suggest you need to spend about $20,000 a MONTH if you’re serious about blogging. Do not panic. The blogs that I set up will not cost you anywhere near that amount. Nevertheless, I’ll start with something you probably already know, but I’d like to reinforce it.

Setting up a blog is like any other business cost, you generally get what you pay for.

OK, but what should you pay for?

That my friends is the right question! The short answer is, you should pay for no more, and no less, than you need, and you should pay as much as you can afford to while maximizing the value you get for every dollar (and hour) you spend.

To make a bit more sense of that statement, I’m going to make some assumptions, that I’ll lay out now.

  1. I’m going to assume that you are either a self-employed “solopreneur“, or an entrepreneur with a small staff.
  2. I’m going to assume that you are not reading this as a representative of a bigger organization, with say, 60 or more employees. If you are, you have bigger marketing issues than I can help you with. Please hire a marketing manager.

You run your own business. You need to get the most for every dollar you spend on it to make your business successful. Social Media and Blogging are excellent marketing tools for smaller businesses because they offer incredible value. In fact, if your business is still in its very early stages, and you have a lot more time than money, you really can get going without spending any money at all. You will however, need to spend a lot of time learning skills that are not relevant to your business. So what are your options?

  1. Free blog hosting and super-easy setup at, or on Blogger
    First of all, you’re a business person, wise in the ways of the world, right? Free is never free! Setting up your professional blog presence on a free service means your precious blog will be running ads for someone else’s business. The hosting company keeps all the ad revenue, and the advertisement algorithms are probably going to put ads for your competitors on YOUR blog. It doesn’t look professional. It isn’t smart. Don’t do it.
  2. Low cost blog hosting, using your own Domain name (
    This means taking a totally hands-on DIY approach, and setting up your blog on a reputable shared hosting service like /, GoDaddy, or BlueHost. This can actually be a pretty good option. It’s the option that I myself use! There is no reason that you can’t do it too. Your monthly costs can be well under $20. Should you go this route? Absolutely, but only if you are very comfortable with the “back end” of the Internet, and understand what web hosting involves. If anything in the previous sentence is even slightly confusing, DIY is probably not for you.
  3. Your Nephew Frank
    You may have a friendly relative that blogs about his fishing trips or her collection of antique costume jewellery. Said relative may offer to set you up with a blog for a few hundred dollars. If you are very, very, lucky, and your relative is a professional blogger with a track record and a nice portfolio, then go for it. Otherwise, think back to what I said early on in this post. You usually get what you pay for. If you take your business seriously, your blog had better make that fact blatantly obvious. Nephew Frank is probably not going to cut it. Sorry Frank.
  4. Hire an Ad Agency or Marketing Firm
    This is a great option. A large or medium sized marketing firm will have a fair sized roster of clients with excellent, visually attractive websites and blogs, with fabulous functionality. A larger firm will have a decent sized staff of professionals that specialize in all of the different aspects blog and social media marketing. Unfortunately, all of this professional service staff costs a lot of money to feed and maintain. The only way the agency can pay for those fancy digs, and fancy young professionals, is by making you pay pay for it all. If your company is big enough to afford a $50,000 Website and $10,000 to $25,000 a month to keep it going, by all means go for it. You will get a great website, an excellent, professional blog, full social media integration, marketing help, advertising support, and all the bells and whistles you deserve for that kind of money. This site offers an honest view of the costs involved in going “all in” on a blog.
  5. Hire a Professional Blog Builder
    Yes, this is where I come in. A blogging specialist can do all the technical chores for you, so that when you’re ready to actually use your blog and start writing articles for it, that’s all you’ll have to worry about. My basic startup package is extremely affordable. For a very low fee (ask me about it) I will register a Domain Name for your blog, get it hosted by one of the world’s leading web hosting companies, set up your blog, create the initial “mandatory” pages (Home, About, Contact, Privacy) and even write an introductory blog post! I’ll also secure your blog against comment spam, and connect it to your Twitter feed for you. I also include full training and support for your first month!My basic package includes all the options you need for a professional looking, highly functional blog that you will be proud to have your clients and potential customers visit. If you want more than “basic” but you’re not ready to use a larger firm we can discuss other options, like purchasing specialized WordPress Themes, adding more pages, high-traffic hosting options,etc. I’m a solopreneur myself. I get you. Let’s Talk.

What do I charge?

Since this article was originally posted, I’ve received several inquiries from people asking what I charge to set up a blog. I have three options available to new bloggers:

  1. Basic Blog Package
  2. Deluxe Blog Package
  3. Custom Blog Package

Price List



But I don’t know what to write!

What will you write? You have decided that having a blog for your business or professional practice is a good idea. That’s perfect. Your considering hiring someone to build your blog and get you started. Very good. But… You are reluctant to actually get started because you have no idea what you’d post on your blog once it’s up. That’s a problem.

Don’t worry, you are not alone!
It is easier than you think it is to start blogging.

The reason that blogging is going to be easier than you might have thought is that you already have a head start. How can that be? Your head start is that you already know more than anybody else in the entire world about something. That’s your business. All you need to do is find a way to share that knowledge. And, to make that a bit easier, here are a few tips to get you started.

Blogging Idea Tips:

  1. Answer a question
    It could be a question that a customer actually asked you, or it could be a question that you’d like a customer to ask you. Either way, you have the answer. Share it in a blog post.
  2. Tell a story
    You’ve probably seen this tip before. But what everyone else seems to leave out, are actual story ideas. Here are a couple to get you started. The story of how your business started. A story about a satisfied client. A story about a problem that you solved. A story about how you overcame a hardship. A story about why you love what you do. You get the idea, right?
  3. Ask a question
    We don’t always need to know the answer. Asking a question can be a great way to get feedback from your stakeholders, it’s a great way to open a dialogue with customers, it can deepen your relationships, and hey; you might even get the answer you’re looking for!
  4. Post what you sell
    Whether you sell a product or a service, your blog provides an endless opportunity to describe what you offer, and how it can benefit for clients and customers. This tip comes with a gentle warning though. Be careful not to appear “spammy”. Remember that (just like you) your customers are being bombarded with sales pitches online. Most of those pitches are probably annoying to them. Your goal is always to offer them something of value, never to annoy or alienate them. A sales post should always offer something much more than a sales pitch. It could be a detailed description of a product feature, or a unique (really unique!) buying opportunity, like an annual clearance sale, a product clear-out, or a new product or service.
  5. Post Links and Snippets
    Even with the tips I’ve offered above, it can be difficult to come up with blogging ideas. Chances are good that your customers share some of the same interests that you do. You’re probably on the Web checking out some of those interests every day anyway. Why not post a snippet (a sentence or two, maybe a picture or a paragraph) of an interesting article that you have come across. When you do this, ALWAYS post a link back to the original article on the original website. By doing this you accomplish several things at once. You provide interesting content to your own readers. You also promote the author and website that you linked back to. Done properly this builds their credibility, enhances your own reputation, and makes you a valuable resource and a good “netizen“.

Final Notes:

Blog posting really is pretty straightforward. It can feel a bit intimidating before your fingers hit the keyboard, but once you make those first few keystrokes you’ll be on your way. And remember, don’t forget to promote those blog posts on your social media accounts. Tweet a link on Twitter. Share a link on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Need more help? Contact us.