Registering your Domain Name
2011 was the year of promoting getting your business online. MYOB the leading small business accounting software provider teamed up with Google to offer small businesses the opportunity to register a free domain name as well as launch a basic website and get online.
So far over 27,000 Australian businesses have joined the program. Each of them received a free website for one year, a free domain name of their choice for two years, free e-commerce functionality and $75 of free Google Adwords advertising.
It is actually a great result. What would be even better though would be for more than 50% of these websites to remain online after the first two years have lapsed. That is that they continue to maintain their website (pay for it to be hosted) and continue to renew their domain name. If 50% can do this, then I think the program has been more than a success for the future of small business and the web.
View the video above, it makes it sound very easy and only takes 15 minutes to get involved. Today I ran into a friend of mine who is a DJ on the weekends. It is actually quite a successful operation for him. Whilst he doesn't work every weekend, he would have a booking every second or third week.
His marketing is very basic. At events that he provides his services, he gives out business cards and gets calls from new customers. They have had the opportunity to see him work and so are comfortable that he will do a great job for them as well.
The other side of his marketing is Facebook. Every person he meets he adds as a friend on Facebook. With over 1000 friends, he has a great database with which to work and promote his services.
Today I asked him if he had a website. He mentioned that he had considered it but didn't know how to get started. I spent 15 minutes with him explaining the domain registration process. He was surprised that anyone could just register a domain and that an ABN was all that was needed.
My point to him was that if you have a business name that you promote on your business card and via your equipment eg "Peter's Magic Show" you should also own the domain name for this business. That is even if you don't want or need a website.
He could at a minimum use it to make his email address a lot more professional looking. Rather than using the extension of his internet provider eg "email@example.com" it could be "Peter@petersmagicshow.com.au". Sounds a lot better.
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After I showed him that his domain was actually available (we looked it up on my phone), he began to think about his wife's wedding dress design and dress making business. This business also wasn't online and didn't have a professional email address either.
So whilst 27,000 business jumped online this year for the very first time, surely there are just as many wondering how it all works and if it is for them and where do they go to get started.
We concluded the discussion with me emailing him a few domain registration options. I will be interested to see what he decides to do. He might find it all too confusing and just let it pass. Maybe not.
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