April 28, 2016 Melanie Baker

Spring cleaning for your domains

Spring cleaning for your domains

Spring has arrived here in the western hemisphere. Along with the warmer breezes and blooming flowers, the urge to tidy has gripped many of us.

I know I’ve embraced clearing out, organizing, and scrubbing, and this motivation is useful beyond just the house and yard. Spring is a great time to do a little maintenance on your domains.

The most obvious target are those websites many of us have that are dusty and neglected. They’re not dead, they just need a fresh approach, perhaps. Timo wrote a great article last month on just that topic: Struggling to update your site? Maybe it’s time to do something different with your domain name.

It’s often the case that we’ve built an archive, recognition and brand value, so no reason to throw that away. What the internet looks like and how people use it changes over time. No reason for your own domains and web properties not to reflect that.

Sometimes getting inspired again can be as easy as freshening up the template or theme of your site or adding some new graphics. Fortunately, so many platforms now have fantastic and simple tools for getting the look just right.

Beyond that, if you’re ready to try something new, why not register a domain for that idea you’ve been mulling over for months? There are hundreds of domain extensions now, so there’s no excuse that you just can’t find the perfect name.

There are also new platforms and services for your web projects launching all the time, whether it’s crafting or content curation. Take the leap!

Perhaps you’ve already been working on a project for a while, and have a website set up. You’ve been blogging like a pro or selling gorgeous knitwear over the long winter. Now it’s time to step it up a notch. Let’s get your branding consistent across all your professional work. Time for a custom email address with your domain name.

One of our most popular articles ever is our guide to getting your own custom email address. There are more options out there than ever, whether your goal is ease of setup, high-end security, or integration with other apps.

We’re happy to help set up any of the email hosting provider partners listed in our Marketplace, or assist with whatever other host you’re interested in using.

Being able to ensure that messages from us don’t get marked as spam is just one of the benefits! Don’t let us get caught in your spam filter is also a handy article.

On the less visible side of things, it’s always important to keep up with good security and administrative practices. When was the last time you updated your passwords?

Are you using a tool like a password manager? It makes password management much easier and is more secure.

Have you added two-factor authentication to your accounts where possible? Check out our guide to good password and account safety: How to keep your passwords and logins safe.

Also, it would be a good idea to check on your iwantmyname account contact details, both for your iwantmyname account and for your domains’ registrant contacts (“edit contacts” in your domain’s dashboard).

It’s pretty common for people to move, for email addresses to change, credit cards to expire, businesses to be acquired and employees to move on, and other bits of administrivia we forget about.

These can become a big pain when it prevents access or updates to our accounts and domains. Or worse, legal issues (especially for companies).

Our guide: Who owns your domain? provides a good way to ensure your accounts are up to date and secure.

ICANN and registries do checks every now and then to ensure domains’ registrant details are up to date. You might receive a WDRP notice. We have an article to explain what that means and what to do: What is a WDRP notice and do I have to do anything?

And, of course, inevitably with spring cleaning, there’s some purging. Things that no longer work or fit or you just don’t use. Lots of us end up sitting on domain names for years that we’ve never used. The original idea might have been amazing, but there was just never enough time, or you lost interest, or whatever.

You can set unwanted domains to expire in your dashboard before you’re billed for renewal again. Or you can try and make some cash by selling the domain to an interested party.

We don’t participate in sales or brokerage, but we have some information in this article about who you can contact for that. Good luck!

There, now don’t you feel better? Your accounts and domains are up to date and organized. You’ve got a fresh new look and fascinating new content. Your branding is professional and on point, and those old domains will gain new life with new owners. Happy spring!


April 25, 2016 Melanie Baker

Popular.af, how ccTLDs reflect internet culture trends

Popular.af, how ccTLDs reflect internet culture trends

The Internet is not known for having a long attention span. This includes the lifespan of memes.

Vernacular, however, can work a bit differently. Typically it has its genesis among a specific group – often the kids these days – and then spreads among the more mainstream population, particularly via social media.

At which point it’s abandoned by its originating group because their parents have just embarrassed them by using it. In public.

The phrase referenced by the abbreviation “AF” isn’t new. ()We won’t elaborate on what it means as we are demure professionals…) I saw references in Urban Dictionary dating back to 2011, but apparently the use, at least verbally, picked up in 2014, in good part thanks to online chat and texting.

.AF domains aren’t new, either, but I’ve noticed an increase in their registration in the last few months. They’re certainly a bold identity statement… at least among those in the know. :)

You could let the world know that you’re interesting.af.

Or I can advertise that I am the most me that I can be with melle.af.

I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed to learn that cake.af does not appear to involve actual cake.

What I really wonder about is what the registry thinks of the ccTLD’s popularity. Because .AF is the country code domain extension for Afghanistan. And like a number of smaller countries, in terms of internet penetration, the registry is managed by the government.

Governments aren’t typically known to be on the bleeding edge of all that’s hip and memetastic, but I’d love to know what the Ministry of Communications and IT thinks of this trend.

However, given the price of .AF domains, one imagines they’re very supportive of the trend continuing.

Other domain extension goodies

Popular Top-Level Domains (TLDs)*

*Methodology: Popularity rankings based on last week’s pageviews. This means the TLD list isn’t based on actual domains registered, just traffic to the landing pages.

Upcoming launch dates for new extensions


April 12, 2016 Chris Hall

New plugin: Pattern by Etsy

New plugin: Pattern by Etsy

At this point, there’s no denying Etsy’s impact on buying and selling craft goods online. The problem with Etsy is that, for as creative as its sellers are, every store is based on a single template. Until now.

With Pattern by Etsy, sellers can create custom sites (with custom domain names) to better differentiate their brand and goods from the rest of the Etsy ecosystem. Just choose from a bunch of clean themes, pick your own fonts and colors, and add some content (your inventory syncs with your regular Etsy store automatically) – that’s all you need to add a professional touch to your store. It’s not free, but if you’re a serious Etsy seller, it could be well worth your while.



From the web:

Techcrunch: “Apparently, more than one-third of Etsy’s 1.6 million active sellers have said they’re interested in setting up their own site, but they found the process of registering a domain, creating a site, maintaining it and managing the inventory too complicated.

With Pattern, those sellers can create a site in just a few minutes — a feat that Etsy product lead Joe Lallouz demonstrated this morning for an audience of journalists at the company’s Brooklyn headquarters.”

Digital Trends: “Grishaver said that until now merely launching a custom website could be a complex and frustrating experience for Etsy sellers, “from finding a domain and host, to setting up a site, to loading all of their content, to adding and managing inventory.” And once it’s up and running, there are still plenty of challenges, as sellers must “make sure their inventory stays synced across two or more disconnected sales channels, monitor their analytics, and attempt to optimize traffic and marketing costs.” The answer, Grishaver believes, is Pattern.”


April 12, 2016 Chris Hall

New plugin: GitLab Pages

New plugin: GitLab Pages

If you’re using GitLab as your Git repository manager and want to create a quick, static site about a project (or anything, really), GitLab Pages is your ticket. Much like GitHub Pages, GitLab Pages lets you host static sites directly on your GitLab instance. Just choose a static site generator, use a free shared runner (or your own), and start editing.

Is it for everyone? No. If you’re a casual blogger or someone looking at do-it-all site builders like Squarespace, GitLab Pages probably isn’t for you. But if you’re already using GitLab, or have been waiting for a Pages-type feature to coerce you into switching over from Github, this is perfect.



From the web:

Venture Beat: “Step by step, GitLab, the startup behind the GitLab open source software for managing source code, is becoming more competitive with GitHub, the company well known for hosting source code for many applications.”


April 11, 2016 Chris Hall

Make .MOM the perfect Mother's Day gift, and more domain extension news

We often think of domains as these forever pieces of property meant for big sites that attract as many eyes as humanly possible, but what if you just want to make one person happy? Domains can do that, too! Here’s a mini gift guide for Mom, perfect for Mother’s Day (May 8th… put it on your calendar).

  1. Pre-order a .MOM domain. Make it something your mom will go “awwwwww” over.
  2. On May 3rd, when you get your domain, find as many great pictures of you and your mom as you can. (Bonus points for grandchildren pics, if you’re into that).
  3. Create a quick photo site or blog out of the pics, or be ambitious and create an Exposure story. Exposure is a cool platform for piecing together photos to create a little (or long) narrative – it’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser. (And since your site will be public, your mom can send it to all her friends to show them how creative you are.)
  4. You can take the site down anytime, but as long as you renew the domain, you can reuse it every year.
  5. Send flowers. Always send flowers.

Other domain extension goodies

Popular Top-Level Domains (TLDs)*

*Methodology: Popularity rankings based on last week’s pageviews. This means the TLD list isn’t based on actual domains registered, just traffic to the landing pages.

Upcoming launch dates for new extensions


April 5, 2016 Melanie Baker

Get your domain branding strategies in order

Get your domain branding strategies in order

It was mid-2015. There was a bit of a tempest in a teapot online over the launch of the .SUCKS TLD. Did every brand need to buy up all variations of their company/product/service with the .SUCKS TLD to keep them away from technically savvy ne’er-do-wells?

Not really, no. Maybe the negative .SUCKS sites are out there, but they seriously lack Google juice and audience engagement.

The truth is, there are a million domain branding strategies that are potentially more important than focusing on whether someone might not like you. Such as? Glad you asked.

Read more →


April 4, 2016 Chris Hall

Popular last week on iwantmyname: March 28-April 3, 2016

Top-Level Domains (TLDs)

Plugins

Guides


Methodology: These popularity rankings are based entirely on pageviews on Google Analytics. This means the TLD list isn’t based on actual domains registered, just traffic to its landing page.


March 28, 2016 Chris Hall

Popular last week on iwantmyname: March 21-27, 2016

Guides

Plugins

Top-Level Domains (TLDs)


Methodology: These popularity rankings are based entirely on pageviews on Google Analytics. This means the TLD list isn’t based on actual domains registered, just traffic to its landing page.


March 25, 2016 Chris Hall

Friday break - "Reply All #59: Good Job, Alex"

If you like podcasts, this is one of my favorites. And this episode is about domain names!

From Reply All, episode #59:

ALEX: So I was thinking, “Wow.” So Alisa had this website. She had it professionally designed many moons ago. When it was still really hard to design a website. So had someone design it for her.

PJ: Like HTML days.

ALEX: Yes. But it was really clunky and difficult to use, so she started getting notices from GoDaddy, and she was just like, fine, this thing can expire. But the thing is, that she didn’t quite understand what would happen when you let your domain name expire. I think she just assumed that the site itself would go away, but nothing would happen to the domain name. Like she could come back to it whenever she wanted.

PJ: Mm mm.

ALEX: Are you saying, “No she didn’t think that,” or “No that’s not what happens?”

PJ: I’m saying the thing she believed in the past was not true.


March 17, 2016 Melanie Baker

Meet Merlene, the newest iwantmynamer

Merlene

Merlene is a self-described hoarder. Fortunately, she hoards domains, and not cats or anything weird. (She insists that two cats do not qualify as a hoard).

Having been self-employed for a long time, Merlene is familiar with all sides of the online business game, from registering domains to teaching customers how to post content and use their email accounts. She has extensive experience working with everyone from IT staff to small business people to complete newbs, so she can help figure out what you need and get it built.

She can also help with your social media and marketing efforts, mix you a killer cocktail, and knit you cool stuff. (She’s a hobbyist yarn entrepreneur at knitcreek.com.)

Amazingly, even though Merlene didn’t mention in her interviews the fact that long ago, in the mists of Internet time, she contributed to one of the Internets for Dummies books, we were totally jazzed to hire her.

In her first weeks on board, we threw her in the deep end with support, and she’s done swimmingly. She even tackles tricky ccTLD edge cases with gusto. Unfortunately, while she’s with us in New Zealand, her home is without tech support, and the residents may end up forced to converse with each other, or just post cat gifs… assuming internet access holds…

PS. It is, indeed, Merlene with three Es.

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