Web naming rules to be relaxed

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has recently relaxed web naming rules after an unanimous board voting.

ICANN is a non-profit organization established in 1998. The internet watchdog is responsible to regulate the internet, regulate its integrity and set the rules for domain names registration.

Previously, domain names and especially top level domains (TLD) are tightly regulated and guarded, no offensive or trademarked domain names are allowed and only TLDs (besides the traditional .com, .org and .net) which add value can be registered.

In the recent ICANN board meeting, several key issues regarding web naming conventions have finally been resolved. This could effectively spell a new direction in the development of the internet. The decisions taken during the meeting are:

  1. Domain names with combination of numbers, letters and non-Latin characters will be allowed.
  2. Extended top level domains (TLD) such as .kids, .toys, .news and .cars could be registered.

These decisions would be welcomed by web vendors, developers and users alike. Most good English domain names have been taken and due to the restrictions placed by ICANN, many companies have resorted to weird sounding domain names. Now it is possible for web developers to grab hold of suitable domain names in other languages and top level domains. However, the opportunity would not come cheap, ICANN has hinted at a possible starting price of $100,000 for the registration of extended domain names.

Apparently, this move does not only excite the money-minded opportunists, but also patriots like Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who would like to see the use of languages other than English in the naming of web domains.

The year 2009 will be a year to watch out for, ICANN expects that companies and individuals will be able to register new domains under the new ruling in the first quarter of the year.

BobbyT is a 23-year-old blogger, freelance writer and internet marketeer wannabe. You can visit his blog at http://bobbytoat.blogspot.com

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What Are The Most Popular Niches Among Entrecard Users?

Apparently this question is very easy to answer. Anyone can go to Entrecard, click on “Browse” and verify the amount of blogs listed on each category. However, the definitive answer may be a bit less obvious than expected.

In absolute numbers, the “Personal Diary” category is the most popular one, containing more than a thousand listings. But if you do the math, you’ll notice that “Internet Marketing” has even more listings. It’s just that they are divided among other related categories, i. e., “Make Money Online,” “Blogging Resources,” “Marketing,” “Business” etc. Sum all their listings and you’ll get over 2,500 blogs as a result.

This was to be expected, after all. Internet marketers are ever looking for easier ways to play the traffic game. And we all agree that the Entrecard system is truly helpful when it comes to increasing pageviews (if said pageviews will lead to conversions or not, is another topic). So, if you’d like to network with other marketers, Entrecard could be a very good starting point.

Nonetheless, this article is mainly meant to draw your attention to the “hidden” niches inside Entrecard.

Let’s get back to the aforementioned personal diaries. Besides forming the largest list within the Entrecard directory, they are also present in many other categories — yes, including the marketing-related ones. For instance, take a look at the Lifestyle listings. Visit some blogs. Aren’t most of them personal diaries? Now repeat this little test with other categories, like “Pets,” “Art,” “Philosophy,” “Mixed Bag,” “Parenting & Family,” “Hobbies”… You’ll find many other personal blogs. Some of them are partially disguised as niche blogs, but several aren’t.

You may also notice that many of those personal blogs contain posts about pets and/or crafts. This only goes to show that such topics are much more popular among the Entrecard crowd than they appear to be at first sight. And to think that the Entrecard directory currently contains less than 200 entries in the Pets category… Talk about misleading data!

I would write about the conclusions that one could draw from the pieces of info above. But I’ll do something better: I’ll leave it to you. You tell me what you have concluded and how you could put your knowledge to good use. The comment form is open to you.

While I wait for your input on this subject, I’ll prepare more articles on Entrecard — and several of them will be directly or indirectly derived from what I’ve learned by studying the Entrecard directory. Click here to subscribe to our blog and you’ll be able to read the next posts as soon as they’re released.

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How Not To Lose (Too Many) Visitors When You Move Your Site – Part 3

In this final installment, let’s see a few more things that you can do in order to redirect your current audience to a new site address. All of them are related to your site strategy — you have one, right? If you don’t, it’s time to think about it.

Strategic decisions to prevent loss of visitors

1. Use a paid domain. Unlike webhosting, that would be a yearly expense. So, the impact on your budget would be minimal. Besides, many free webhosts allow the use of paid domains. Therefore, register one right from the start if you’re still going to build your website and you prefer to initially have it hosted for free. If your site is already up and running, buy a domain for it as soon as possible and then just announce the new official address. If you’re about to move your site but still haven’t bought a domain, see if you can delay the move for one or two months. Purchase the domain, announce it and give your visitors some time to bookmark it and get used to it while they gradually forget the old free address. Then you’ll be able to move safely.

In any case, keep in mind that you’ll never go wrong when you register your own domain. This is the very best thing you can do to make sure that you won’t lose any visitors, no matter how many times you move your site or blog.

2. Contact your most faithful visitors. If you’re the type who mostly ignores visitors’ emails and comments, I urge you to change your behaviour — unless you don’t want to succeed as a webmaster. Remember that word of muth still works. So, when you move your blog or site, take the time to contact your most loyal visitors, tell them about the new URL and politely ask them to help you spread the word about it. Don’t forget to offer to return the favour when they need; it’s only fair.

3. Don’t close the old site. I entered the meta-blogging universe via WordPress.com. So, yes, my blog was hosted for free — and still is. Although nowadays I use paid webhosting and domains, I’ve never closed that old blog. I rarely update it, but it’s still there, with all its content, subscribers and backlinks. I knew I could move its content to any of my privately hosted blogs, but I chose to continue from where I were at, instead of starting everything again. When I released my new blogging projects, I used that blog to promote them. And whenever I start a new web project, I do the same. Due to this positive experience, it’s obvious that I recommend you do it too.

Of course it won’t always be possible. If your free webhost closes its doors, or if it changes its rules and you can’t comply to the new policies, you won’t be able to follow my suggestion. But if that’s not the case, I advise you to leverage your current site instead of simply killing it in favour of a newer one.

A final piece of advice: don’t feel miserable if you lose part of your audience after switching to another host. Everyone is subject to it. Moreover, the time wasted in whining would be much better spent in promotion and rebuilding.

Now it’s your turn: tell us if you ever had to move a blog or site to a new webhost and what you’ve done to redirect your visitors to the new URL. The comment form is there for you.

You can also subscribe to our blog to make sure that you’ll never miss our future tip series.

Karen Zara has been involved in Internet-based projects since 2002. One of them is Abaminds, a blog for content producers that you can visit by clicking here.

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