How To Generate New Web 2.0 Domain Names

makewords.comWould you like to find new web 2.0 style domain names really easily?

If you’d like a name like Google, or perhaps Squidoo.

Here’s a web site that locates domains based on your selection cirteria and then tells you which ones are still available. If you’d like to find a weird word that no-ones uses, but that you can pronounce to uses as your domain name, this is a great tool.

How To Do It

Go to makewords.com. To find an available domain name, put letters like “gle” (Google), or “doo”, (Squidoo), into the “Suffix to end with” box.

Using endings of “oogle” and “doo”, “ango”, “ooso” and “odo” I came up with the following domain names that were all available at the time of writing. There are other ways to generate names – I just like the idea of using pronouncable endings as a convenient way of forming new words,but you can choose to specify beginnings as well.

  • iozoogle.com
  • pundoo.com
  • pacando.com
  • wagando.com
  • verosso.com
  • superodo.com

You could of course use this tool to generate names for brandable names, startup companies or for new products. Probably a good idea to check they don’t mean something unsavoury in foreign languages though.

Fifty and Redundant – in a Recession

Two People at Fifty

A couple of people that I know recently took voluntary redundancy at the age of fifty.

One is a good friend, Jane, who’d worked as a company director for many years. She had a highly paid job that demanded blood, sweat, tears and practically all of her time. Jane handled projects with budgets in excess of £10 million, and a working life that caused her high levels of stress alongside all the day to day issues that running a team of almost 100 people entails.

Jane knew exactly what she was doing when she finally told her company she was leaving. She took to her voluntary redundancy very well and has entered carefully into her second career with everything pre-planned.

The other person, Dick, took redundancy by leaving a job he enjoyed, because the opportunity presented itself and because he could.  Dick did this at a time when the world economy was in turmoil, and with no discernible plans to replace his income. He has recently become quite disagreeable (possibly he always was – I am not sure) and given to fits of temper possibly due to a build-up of anger and resentment.

These two people represent both ends of the redundancy reaction spectrum. Which one would you rather be and what can you do when you find yourself with a lump sum of money and no job in middle age?

Start Your Own Business?

Many people with redundancy money in their pockets will think about starting a business. Jane certainly has already done this.  I am in the process of helping her to set up her website to make sure she gets off to a good start.  But for many people, starting something new and from scratch may be too big a step to take.

I think that any person starting a business on their own, needs the support of a website. I further think that the best way to achieve the kind of website that will be of practical help to a new entrepreneur must be understood, controlled and maintained (if not created) by the entrepreneur.

I talk about this in so many other posts that I won’t repeat my reasons why here.  Suffice to say, there usually isn’t the money in the budget at business startup to spend the amounts required to get the job done professionally and effectively.

New Business Hurdles

The lack of a good and appropriate website solution can be the downfall of many new businesses. Some think they can get a good website cheaply by using a service like Mr Site.

Others think they can get a friend or relative to do the site for free. For many people this will ultimately be a short cut to getting nowhere online.

But the website is only one aspect of a new business start-up. What about business planning, market research, company setup, accountants, bank accounts, logos, business cards, outsourcing, office space, personal tax, company tax, vat, employees, transport, marketing online, marketing offline, trade shows, suppliers, equipment, public relations, grants, office practice, innovation, computer skills, technology, writing skills, answering services, motivation, self-belief, and the all important, cash-flow?

If you think it all sounds like too much to think about, you could consider one of the large number of franchises that take much of the start-up pain away.

There are advantages and disadvantages to franchising, but the franchise concept helps a new business survive most of the hurdles listed above.

Advantages of a Franchise

  • Banks (used to -but who knows in the current climate) lend to franchisees more willingly as they see the business as a proven business.
  • You get a brand name with all trade marks
  • You get ongoing advice and training
  • Your business is a proven idea and you just add hard work
  • You’ll probably get all equipment and support
  • Normally there will be a territory and you’ll get exclusive rights to that area
  • You have a customer base – normally the franchise will not be offered unless the franchisor has  already researched the area and the chances for success are good.
  • You will have suppliers already set up.

Disadvantages of a Franchise

  • The costs to purchase the franchise may be higher than you were expecting
  • Other franchisees could give your brand a bad name
  • It could be a difficult business to sell – the franchisor may have to approve who you sell to.
  • There may be additional rules that you will have to adhere to under the terms of your contract with your franchisor.

A good franchise will offer you a business blueprint, and although you’ll still have to work hard, it is a good way to start a business with excellent earning potential and a clear way to maximise your chances of success.

If the idea appeals to you could start at the British Franchise Association.

One good thing about franchising for the technically challenged, is you could end up with an online business, without having to get involved with creating a website at all.

Ideas for An Architect’s Website

Some friends of mine are architects, and they’ve written their own web site.

They’re also currently designing extensions to my home and I am impressed by their attention to detail and infinite patience with us and the project. It’s not been easy.

They put together a good web site but I wondered if there were some other pages that could be incorporated- to give the overall site more pazzaz and so help it stand out from all the others in their market.

To this end here are my suggestions for possible pages on an architect’s website, based on my experience as a web developer, and a client.

Oh No – Not Flash

I definitely do not want to see one of those sites that are made from flash. As a client, I am probably desperate. I’ve been online, trying to find a replacement architect for hours to take over from the one that had a nervous breakdown and left me in the lurch. Or, I’ve been driven almost to the brink of insanity by the local planning department, so need help, from someone sane, quickly. Why would I want to look at an ego trip of an architecture site like this.

It’s well known that the job of a landing page is to persuade the visitor to stay longer than 5 seconds on your site.  This site takes 12 seconds to paint the screen and then goes into slide-show mode.  You’d never want to suffer it more than once in a life-time.

That particular site employs the technique of embedding scrolled regions into the page so that having invested in an enormous monitor for my computer, I still have to manually scroll as the designers have decided to allocate a tiny proportion of my screen to information, and the rest to a lot of red.

But then this enormous, international firm of architects does not need to bring customers in through its web site. They probably market in other ways. They are big. But look – notice  their news page is sparse. A big firm like that and their flashy flash website is information poor. It’s not that they have no news, it’s more like they’ve forgotten their web communications goals.

Smaller firms can’t afford to do this.

Some Page Suggestions for Provincial Architects

  • Home Page – featuring a well designed logo, words and images of attractive local buildings
  • People – an introduction to each member of the firm, their position in it and a photograph.
  • Inspiration – for each architect, photos of buildings around the world that inspire them, or that they simply find beautiful, and why.
  • Famous Architects – educate your audience about architecture and its most famous sons and daughters, via an article, or better still, a timeline of famous buildings, styles and their  architects.
  • Completed Projects – All your completed projects organised into time line photos and descriptive text.
  • Work In Progress – All your ongoing projects organised into time line photos and descriptive text.
  • Price Range – give a typical average price breakdown for say the design of a kitchen extension, or a small house, including all the stages involved.
  • Stories – funny stories that have happened to you in the past at client sites.
  • Terms of Service – your terms of service
  • Payment Terms – your payment terms
  • Special Interest Areas – are you specialised in any particular area? Good at planning law, historic buildings, dealing with distraught clients?
  • Awards – any awards from recognised bodies – link out to them
  • Free and Paid Downloads – write some useful material and give it away. For example – a document on the the most fuel efficient heating, the planning process. Write something even better and sell it online for a small fee.
  • The Perfect Project – describe a perfect project with all stages, so the potential client can understand what is involved. Point out the pitfalls.
  • Sustainability – Write articles on sustainable builds, or the contradiction between sustainability and historic builds.  How exactly do you insulate a listed building?
  • Conservation – how does your firm respond to sensitive and historic buildings.
  • Testimonials – client testimonials – with photos of the client outside their newly designed homes.
  • Blog – write a blog – you can talk about anything in the news to do with houses, house prices, green issues to do with housing, energy efficient homes, what happened to you today. Here is the site of an architects firm in San Francisco – an example of a good blog post. Here is another architecture blog by an architectural student – people are doing this already. Archidose is the top archtecture blog on the planet. You can do this too. See top architecture blogs.
  • Links page of local suppliers, builders and home related services.

Web Designers Are Everywhere

Every man and his dog can be a web designer.

I just tried to buy some solid fuel, and in Google I clicked on a paid link that suggested it would lead to a site where you could buy coal online. Great I thought. I noticed (as you do), that the same site was not represented anywhere on the first page of the natural SERPs. 

When I arrived at the site however, none of the links on it were clickable, but there was a large notice saying you had to use the telephone or email to make an order as the full online site was not yet fnished.  That’s no problem. If you want to get a business up and running, you should not hold it back just because the web site is not quite ready.

So I called. A woman answered and we talked about coal. She was very pleasant, so I decided to ask her how her site was progressing and when she thought the e-commerce element of it would be online. While I was talking to her I clicked around her existing site to see what else there was only to find none of the links were clickable. I realised then that the site was a single page and was constructed entirely of a giant jpg image. What was really puzzling was that the giant jpg was of a site with buttons and links. 

I asked her about this and she sighed. Her web designers have been taking a while to get the site going, they are using Actinic for a site with only 7 products, and there had been a few problems and delays. Actinic is a very strange choice in my opinion anyway – the technology they currently use is way out of date, and for only 7 products there are many other simpler ways to set up a shopping cart.

But then she explained she also needed stock level maintenance and Actinic supplies this out of the box. Yes it does, but for only 7 products it is a big overkill, even if she has ambitions for say, oh 25 products someday.  

I still didn’t think the Actinic solution was a good one, but she remains hopeful. And she believes the site will be up over the weekend. Let’s see.  

In the meantime, the single jpg that is up there has a page title tag of <title>Page Title</title>. Great.  What a wasted opportunity. The domain has no head start in the Google SERPs because someone thought a giant jpg would be a good idea.

See : http://www.solidfuelsdirect.co.uk/

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