Aug 11, 2012

Protecting Your Brand Online / Corporate Identity with ''Secondary Domains''

Many organizations only register one domain - .org for their website. Cole WebMarketing (a Charlotte, NC based website design/development and internet consulting firm) suggests to all .org's that they also register the .com domain.  There are several good reasons to do this, and one of the main ones is that many (most?) people will type in .com by habit.  When that happens, confusion/frustration set in, and you can lose someone who really needs help from your organization and/or wants to DONATE to your organization!

If you want to ADD YourOrganizationName.COM to your program, it may be easiest/cheapest/best if you simply contact your current Registrar for  YourOrganizationName .org and have them register this "secondary" domain for you.  Have them "point it" to YourOrganizationName .org. Then make sure you let your current Website Hosting Company know you've secured the .com domain, and they will "park it" at your hosting program.  The domains, .org or .com work as an "alias" meaning typing .com or .org will send people to the same (single) website.

Protecting Your Brand/Corporate Identity Online: Securing the .com domain will not only help "protect your brand" online, it will also avoid losing prospective new customers who type in  YourOrganizationName .com and get this type of error message:  "Oops!  could not find"

I also suggest to all domain owners that include a "-" in their domain name, such as, also register the domain "dashless".  I've already done this on your behalf, and it's included in your annual Cole WebMarketing Website Hosting Program.

For maximum brand protection, and to help avoid "confusion in the marketplace" we recommend that you also register the .NET domain as well.  Doing so means you now have/own all three of the top-tier domains.

Domains can be Registered at "Registrars" or through resellers, such as Cole WebMarketing.  There are several major Registrars, and hundreds of smaller ones.  I'd suggest going with the "big daddy's" in the industry. There are some Registrars that include some punitive clauses and/or other restrictions, not in the best interest of the person or company registering the domain name.

Domain Registrations can be annual (one year term) or more.  Sometime discounts are offered when you register for 5 or 10 years.  However, I prefer NOT to be locked in long term (with anybody or anything…well except for my wife!) so I just go "year-to-year".  Prices vary and in 2012, domain prices increased worldwide.  Domain owners can expect to pay $15-25 per year, per domain.

WARNING: Be cautious about Registrars that offer super cheap 1st year pricing, such as $1.99 for the 1st year.  They know that most customers will stay with them when year two kicks it at a MUCH higher rate, often higher than the industry norm.

Cole WebMarketing can register domains "on behalf of" any of our clients.  It's important to note that YOU, our client (company owner or organization) "owns" the domain, we simply "manage" the domain (and annual Renewals") for the client.   Most of our clients prefer this route, since "one call does it all" - anything related to their website, email, domains, etc. is managed by one company (Cole WebMarketing).

WHAT IS WHOIS? It's also important that the WHOIS, the information about any domain is correctly and completely filled out.   There are 4 parts to the WHOIS - The Registrant (owner), The Administrator (manager), The Technical Contact (usually your website company or IT Dept. Director), and The Billing Contact.  It's never a good idea to have all 4 the same name/phone number/email.  Usually we list the client as the Registrant and us (Cole WebMarketing) and the other 3.  Whatever email is associated with the Registrant, "controls" the domain, so make sure this is YOU the customer or someone you really trust and has a proven long term positive & professional track record as a "Domain Manager", such as Cole WebMarketing.

For more information about Domain Registrations, or if you'd like Cole WebMarketing to design/develop or "totally overhaul" your existing website (and also manage your domains for you), please visit our website, and then call us at 704.456.WEB1 (9321).

Aug 7, 2012

Some Tips & Advice on Buying Computers & Software

LOOKING TO BUY HARDWARE & SOFTWARE for your business or organization? 

Here are some TIPS & ADVICE from Cole WebMarketing, a Charlotte, North Carolina based web design and development firm.  We don't usually provide "IT support", since we've been focused almost entirely on web design/development and internet marketing since 1999. However, since we do USE computers ALL the time, we're pretty familiar with a fair amount of hardware and software and consider ourselves qualified to at least offer some "do's & don'ts to our clients.

Business Hardware SolutionsIn a recent email to a client (a non-profit organization, with a very limited "general funds" budget, I replied with: the laptop you are looking at (IBM refurbished Black 14 inch T 60 ThinkPad for $250 sold at a national "big box retailer) seems like it would serve your purposes. It's my opinion, and one shared by many other IT people, that Windows XP was the best operating system that Windows ever had. There are few billion people that will say Apple products far outshine anything Microsoft has ever made (or will ever dream of), but for this particular Blog post, I'm not going anywhere close to that ''debate''.
Having just said that Windows XP is a good choice, you may run into issues with modern software being incompatible with an older operating system such as XP. What followed Windows XP was Windows Vista - and billions of people had millions of problems with that operating system! I was one of them!! 
After Vista came Windows 7, which is what I'm personally using now on my main system in our main office. Windows 7 is a very popular and common Windows operating system. I use Vista on another machine in my office, and we still keep an "old box" running XP in another office here.
Now keep in mind that Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7,  etc. are all hardware ''operating systems''. You'll need some software to really make any machine functional/useful as a ''business computer''. 

Business Software Solutions
The most important piece of software in my opinion to get 1st, would be Microsoft "Office". There are several different generations of office, such as 2003, 2007 and 2010. There are also several versions, such as HOME, BUSINESS, etc. I prefer the 2003 Business Gen/Version personally, but 2010 does have some cool features that 2003 lacks.

Also, be sure to get the software that matches your PC.  Computers these days come in 32 bit and 64 bit, single core, dual core, quad core, etc.  To find out "what you have", click on COMPUTER, then right click on the main drive (C), then click PROPERTIES. This screen will provide you with the "SPECS" for your PC.    

When you get MS Office, you get Word (to make all kinds of business documents), you get Excel to make all kinds of business spreadsheets, and you also get Outlook for processing e-mail. Basic nuts and bolts computers will come with a free version of Office Lite (or whatever they call it). With most all PC's, you'll get Office Lite, which includes Outlook Express - please note that OE is far less sophisticated than regular Outlook, and lacks many of the features that most business person want & need.
This particular client stated they wanted to use the new PC for their newsletters and quarterly Excel reports (and probably many other types of business documents).  Office "Publisher" can quickly and easily create newsletters, letterhead and a variety of other "desktop publishing" documents.
I told them I'm hoping that their new Blog will soon replace their old printed newsletters. You can also make Blog posts that are private, viewable only by those that haven't invited and have the actual URL, so you can share posts "internally" within your business or organization.

Please keep in mind that there are several good alternatives to MS Office.  I'm talking FREE Web Based solutions!  In 2006, Google offered an alternative to Windows Office that may serve your needs and those of many nonprofit organizations. They're in the process of upgrading (and renaming) ''Google Docs'' to ''Google Drive''. 

The beauty of Google Drive is it is a ''cloud-based'' software system. By that I mean the documents don't live on any one single PC in someones home or office. Rather they live ''up in cyberspace'', somewhere safe considering its a Google product! 
What makes cloud-based computing really valuable, especially for a non-profit organization is that you can create a document, and make it "public" or "private" (send ''invite'' to others). They can have read-only access or they can have edit/admin access the document. This allows others within your organization to edit and tweak documents online, and avoids having to e-mail documents back and forth, and most importantly avoids the issue of ''which version is this file... is it the latest version??"    :-(
There are many other valuable features such as the Online Discussion, where you can post an idea or problem and others within your organization can collaborate online rather than trying to schedule a meeting of several people, which can be difficult or impossible at times.
Free cloud based computing with Google
We've used Google Docs successfully in the past for a few other clients, but it certainly is a case of teaching an old dog new tricks.  However, it's very "user friendly", so once you've used it a few times, it's pretty quick and easy to manage.  And best of's FREE!  We're excited about the "new & improved" version - Google Drive.
You can learn more about Google Drive here - - there is an excellent overview video, as well as a few pages that will highlight features and benefits and how to use Google Drive to best serve your needs. The free program includes up to 5 GB of storage space.
Google Drive Overview Video:
PS (I wrote to the client) - wouldn't it be nice to have a video overview, a short 60 or 90 seconds where a human being can passionately convey the value and importance of your organization to first time visitors to your site?

Cole WebMarketing can shoot and produce a professional looking videos to add your your website and to your upcoming "YouTube Channel".

Remember, you website is just the "hub" of your "internet presence".

TO LEARN MORE about Charlotte, NC based Cole WebMarketing, please visit and then call us (using our Google Voice phone number!) at 704=456-WEB1 (9321)