Web Hosting and Domain Names-Helping You Take Control of Branding Your Business in Online Overload

Whether you are working to improve your business or have a fun and personal website about yourself, taking the initiative to host it so that you can control it is so much more critical than allowing some other person to run the format/layout of the site. Sites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter are great formats to put your content, but until you obtain your own domain, any plans to become financially successful are dramatically diminished due to the lack of specific features and benefits on these sites.

For starters, you do not get your own personalized email with these programs.   Nothing works greater than to have your own “FirstLastName@YourDomain.com.” It is possible if you are one of the few with a random name to get your name with an aol, gmail, yahoo etc. account, but these do not show the world any relevant qualities or hints about the person or what they are involved in. Often you end up with something that is a combination of letters and numbers when you use these free email accounts,  which might not help in branding your business one bit! If you want to keep that special one you had many years ago when email really bloomed and you signed up for many accounts with it, there may be a benefit to keeping it.  Taking the initiative to get your own site will allow you to brand yourself and get more people to read your emails as it also becomes more personal. For example, if you send an email to DaveGardner@MagneticSponsors.com, I will be sure to write you back. This email is attached to my website, MagneticSponsors.com. This might get more email conversions than using info@ or support@, though these accounts can be established as well when you begin to define your business better.

Next, when you get your own domain and hosting you have an option of many features and benefits that may include, but are not limited to
cPanel, Fantastico (WordPress and Forums), autoresponders, opt-in forms, email forwarders, site templates, video hosting, conference rooms and more depending on the program or web hosting company you choose. Here is a little breakdown of the benefits of each feature:

1.  cPanel: This allows you total control over your website from editing to loading files through an FTP platform quickly, setting up WordPress, email accounts and more

2.  Fantastico: Allows you to set up your WordPress blog and set up forums related to a topic of interest of the site. These can be places to put advertisements, videos, reviews of products and more.

3. Autoresponders:  when someone comes to your site, you want to keep them coming or at least be able to keep them updated to what is happening with the business of program. These programs allow you to send messages or posts to anyone who opted or signed in to your list.

4. Opt-in:  forms a fill in the blank application that brings a customer or viewer to your autoresponder and then to a site, video, program of choice. Double opt-ins are beneficial in that they guarantee you are not being spammed.  When you send out a message, you may get many returned if the person did not go to their “real” email address and confirm that they were a “real” person accepting messages from you. If you want to see one at work, check out DownforceGuitar.com, which is another site of mine.

5.  Email:   Forwarders These help to streamline your websites.  You might have many sites and not want to log into every cPanel and email account each day. If you have them all forwarded to the same generic email you can save time when you do get a message from that account.

6.  Site:  templates many people do not know how to or care to use html code.
Having ready made templates can save time and easily get your web site up. You can edit as needed in the html editor of cPanel in a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) method.

7.  Video Hosting:  I know Youtube is popular, but a site like this forces people to see other videos that they may find offensive, which is one of the main reasons why as a Science teacher, I do not have access to this site in school. You could embed the code for the video into a premade template (see #6 above) but you still have the Youtube links there and logos. Certain plans allow for video uploading and producing.

8.  Conference Rooms:  We all do not have an endless flow of money to get us around the world at a moments notice to have a meeting with like minded individuals. Getting in front of a computer with a video capabilities allow you to easily meet someone from the other side of the world to host a meeting. These may range from a few seats to thousands of seats that are available for people to log into and be part of the experience. Think Webinars!

When it comes to branding, you want to get a domain name that is easy to remember or looks appealing if you send someone a link or it appears in an ad. As an example, some of my “.coms” are MagneticSponsors, BasicLacrosse, MyGVOTrial, YourReviewGuru, and TheDavidGardner which are all live and consistently updated (some newer than others and therefore have less content). Others I have in the works are MyResourceKit and MyStupidMistake. For the most part, I have been able to set up cPanel accounts for all of these with the respective “DaveGardner@_______________.com” email address.

There are many options out there for catchy domain names and you might want to grab it up before someone else does.  Even if you do not put any effort into setting up the site, you can always do what is called Cash Parking,where the host may put ads onto your site (assuming people stumbled on it by accident and could see Pay Per Click, or PPC ads from a variety of sources. For example, one I have set up at BadLacrosse where you might see everything from Lacrosse the sport, to Buick Lacrosse to Lacrosse Wisconsin! When people click the ad, instead of you getting charged, someone else does and you actually make a commission of the fee.

There are many programs and hosting companies out there and it can be very hard to choose which one is best for you and your business. I personally have gone with GoDaddy for most of my domain name purchases, though I have only set up 1 site with them. Most of my sites are hosted through GVO. I highly suggest checking out both of their offers.

I have also included some of the other major host providers out there below. You may want to do a little comparison shopping to see which one will be the best to suit your businesses needs. While some of your sites might only be one page that captures an email address and leads the person elsewhere, others might have some high tech software like Butterfly Marketing Software installed and may need a bigger bandwidth and more pages as it has viral friend generators, affiliate sales options, merchant linking software and more.

As you now have one of my many email address above, please drop me a message to let me know how things work out for you or if you need assistance with any of these programs that you are going to purchase!

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How to train your dragon

I almost fell over when I saw the online charge for the tickets my wife bought to take our three daughters to see the new Dreamworks film, “How to train your dragon.” Not having spent much time in the movie theaters lately, left some sticker shock as to how the prices have gone up in the last 10 years or so. Relying on the world of Netflix has kept my views sheltered.

The three girls were excited to be going to a movie on a Sunday afternoon, the cost having been well worth it for the entertainment value. We found ourselves laughing at certain parts and saddened at others and thoroughly enjoyed our family time together learning “How to train your dragon”. The characters and their voices presented in the film were a perfect fit. The names were especially well selected such as Hiccup, Astrid, Ruffnut and Tuffnut (fraternal twins), Snotlout, Fishlegs and Stoick the Vast to name a few of the Vikings. The dragons portrayed in the movie showed both their tenacious sides where they would terrorize  and attack with viciousness and fire throwing as well as their ability to snuggle up upon one another for comfort.

After his family had battled dragons for years, Hiccup figures out that everything they knew about them was completely wrong. After he takes one down during a battle and finds it trapped and helpless the next day, he realizes that he is unlike the rest of his brethren who want to be the Dragon Slayers and instead he releases the Night Fury he names Toothless, who ironically had plenty of teeth! Due to an injury, toothless is unable to fly away and the process of Hiccup becoming a Dragon Trainer begins. He realizes a little TLC is all the dragons really want and it becomes similar to training a dog. Through careful observation of toothless, Hiccup is able to use items such as a striped eel, grasses and a nice rub on the neck to lull other dragons into a sleep while he is taking classes to become a Dragon Killer, but instead continues to work his “magic” as a Dragon Trainer.

As Hiccup struggles to prove himself to his father, his ability as a Dragon Trainer shows true at the end in the dramatic struggle that takes place that ultimately destroys the “queen Bee” and allows the dragons to live happily ever after with their original hunters. Having completed both my Undergraduate and Graduate degrees at SUNY Cortland, I can see how I would appreciate a movie on “How to train your dragon.” I am a Red Dragon at heart through and through!

In commemoration of this movie, I have designed a Dragon Trainer logo that is available on a number of different mediums and can be seen at http://CafePress.com/BarefootSales

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Dragon Trainer Kids Baseball JerseyDragon Trainer-Sigg Water Bottle


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