Your Online Castle
Why is it so important that you register your own web domain yesterday? And
why is this the best business investment you're likely to make this year? And
how do you do it if, like me, you're easily confused?
Imagine that Telkom could give your business a single phone number that you could use for the rest of time, anywhere in the world. No matter who was calling you, nor where they were calling from, nor where you were at the time of the call - they could reach you. Wouldn't you be prepared to invest R85-00 in such a number? And if this was a limited offer because there were only 5000 such numbers available, wouldn't you want to invest in such a number today - even though you might only use it next year?
That's pretty much what a domain name is. You register a name on the Internet that allows people to find your business easily, forever - just like a universal telephone number. Your initial investment is just R85-00 each year. [You could do it yourself for a little less, but that needs a fair amount of rocket science. I value my time too highly to waste a few cents when others have beaten this path before me.]
Below are a few of the many reasons I feel that this domain issue is so important.
Firstly, nobody else can steal your name! It takes years to create a reasonable impression with your business name, so why throw all of that away? What would happen if one of your competitors registered your name and simply rerouted all requests for that domain to their own web site. Not very ethical - but it's happening. Why not register your domain today?
Secondly, it buys you freedom from the tyranny of any single Internet Service Provider. Most of us have iAfrica, Mweb, or free.Absamail or Yahoo addresses. They know that you're unlikely to move because you have too much invested in THEIR email address - so you will put up with all sorts of abuse like slow speed, blocking of email without your knowledge or consent etc.. If you have your own domain and email address - firstname.lastname@example.org - you can move it anywhere you want, whenever you want, for any reason at all. Your email address will never have to change again!
Thirdly, it might possibly bring in some sales! If you actually do get to the point of creating a web site, and it's registered with the various search engines, occasionally someone will search for the products or services you sell and will contact you. The Internet is increasingly becoming an essential part of all our lives. In the future we will use it more and more often to find stuff. Over time your site gets entrenched in various links all over the place.
Creating your own web site is really awfully easy. Even if you don't have the required degree in rocket science [I know that it's necessary based on the prices web site developers sometimes charge!] you can set up your own web site in a few minutes using templates.
My first web site was a template driven 'masterpiece' in 2000, which cost nothing to create. In English 'template driven' means that you answer some questions about your company and your products, and then you click OK and that magically creates a web site for you. Voila! Instant web site. It won't be the best in the world - but that's not the important issue. The important issue is that it will exist. This allows folk to check you out without wasting your time on the phone.
A last word on this template process. You can simply use all the material you have already been using for your quotes and letters - all the writing you have already put in about your firm, it's products, it's clients, etc.. Why not register your domain today?
Fourthly, a web site can save you money in communicating with your clients. The first thing I do when looking for information - sales or support - is to visit the supplier web site. It's quicker, easier and much less frustrating than fighting with your switchboard and hearing Greensleeves as sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and recorded in 1927 using the latest wax recording disk! If you include links to international suppliers or information sources - you offer me added value. Happier clients and lower costs - that's got to make sense! So why not register your domain today?
Fifthly, it adds significant value to your business when you want to sell it. How much value would it add to your business to be able to ask a prospective buyer to 'search' for you, and to see you popping up at the top of any list? But this takes time to happen. Once you have a web site you can submit it to the thousands of search engines on the web. I did this very simply by following an option my hosting provider offered. Within a few weeks I checked out a few search engines and found I was appearing! Why not register your domain today?
Sixthly, it's fun! When you see how easy it is to register a domain and set up a web site, you'll laugh at the fear most of us carry right now about how complex this is. If you want to start taming this technology beast, this is about the easiest place to start.