Articles on this Page
- 12/04/19--06:00: _Why a discovery ses...
- 11/30/19--12:03: _November 2019: What...
- 12/01/19--00:58: _What’s New in Websi...
- 12/05/19--05:30: _Download the free G...
- 12/05/19--08:45: _Create your first e...
- 12/06/19--03:00: _Corporate website d...
- 12/06/19--05:30: _What is domain park...
- 12/06/19--09:32: _Top website securit...
- 12/09/19--05:30: _What is domain hack...
- 12/10/19--05:30: _How to start buildi...
- 12/10/19--15:58: _4 ways to get more ...
- 12/11/19--05:30: _Everything you need...
- 12/12/19--05:30: _Year-end legal chec...
- 12/13/19--08:12: _The entrepreneur’s ...
- 12/13/19--09:23: _Entrepreneurship in...
- 12/13/19--11:00: _GoDaddy Pro update:...
- 12/16/19--01:19: _Awesome meet the te...
- 12/16/19--05:30: _Entrepreneurship an...
- 12/16/19--13:06: _5 business resoluti...
- 12/17/19--05:30: _6 domain investing ...
- Ask your client to define “Why” they are doing what they are doing. This will get them to focus on the larger goal and what impact they are trying to make online.
- With “the What” the client will now detail the products or services they offer that help them achieve their “Why.” What exactly do they bring to the market? Maybe even have them put these in order from most important to least important.
- Finally, ask them “Who” this is for? Get them to narrow it down to a group of people who will benefit most from their “What.”
- Attract: How will your client attract leads? We need to find out from them what their current tools are and how we replicate that experience online.
- Capture: How does your client capture leads? This question will lead to discussing value with your client and what they can give away in exchange for an email address.
- Nurture: Is your client set up to currently nurture these leads? Help them brainstorm ideas on what types of email they can send their future leads.
- Convert: Most importantly, does your client know what steps they want people to take to convert and make a purchase? You’ll need to help them brainstorm and write out ideas.
- Measure: Lastly, how do we measure all this? Uncover if this metric is visits, email signups or something as simple as a phone call request.
- 11/30/19--12:03: November 2019: What’s New in Websites + Marketing
- Make sure you’ve already created your Facebook Pixel, and copy your Pixel ID.
- Go to your Websites + Marketing site, and select your website then Edit Site to open the website builder.
- When your website builder opens, select Settings from the right panel.
- Scroll down until you find the Facebook Pixel option. Follow the prompts to paste in your Pixel ID then publish your site.
- Create new lists
- Edit (or delete) existing lists
- Add contacts to or remove contacts from one or more lists
- Create new lists and add a contact to the list at the same time.
- Create new lists when you import contacts.
- Assign contacts to one or more lists when you import your list.
- New Contact layouts: We released three additional Contact layouts, including a form-only contact card, and some new choices when listing your open hours.
- Script theme updates: The Script theme has more color options.
- Kai theme updates: Not only is the primary color now more distinct, we added an option to add a background color to the navigation bar to help with readability if you have an exciting background image. For logos taller than 104 pixels, the logo will overhang the navigation bar.
- Round-up of all Websites + Marketing Help articles.
- How-To Courses on everything from building your own website to adding your online store.
- Websites + Marketing | Website Builder user forum on the GoDaddy Community (must be logged in to access).
- Websites + Marketing Webinars (free, must be logged in to register and attend).
- 12/01/19--00:58: What’s New in Websites + Marketing?
- 12/05/19--05:30: Download the free GoDaddy Investor app to watch, bid and win
- Monitor auctions in real-time.
- Bid on domains and know immediately if you’re the highest bidder or have been outbid.
- See the auction history for each domain, including how many bidders there are and how much they’ve bid.
- View auctions on your watch list.
- Place proxy bids.
- Use Auctions PIN or TouchID to re-authenticate.
- 12/05/19--08:45: Create your first email newsletter in 30 minutes or less
- Conference and Event Websites: Awesome Designs to Check Out
- Bad Websites: How To Avoid Designing Them
- A Few Neat Website Wireframe Examples You Should Download
- 12/06/19--05:30: What is domain parking and how can it make you money?
- The benefits of domain parking.
- How domain parking fits into domain investing.
- How you can make a passive income from domain parking.
- Three types of domains worth investing in.
- An in-depth explanation of how cash parking works.
- How you can keep your parked domains safe and secure.
- 12/06/19--09:32: Top website security posts by Sucuri – November 2019
- 12/09/19--05:30: What is domain hacking and how can it benefit domain investors?
- Spyfu: It will find profitable keywords for paid and organic search. The tool helps you discover keywords that websites and businesses are bidding on and ranking on.
- Keyword Keg: It will help you find search volume, Cost Per Click (CPC) and competition data for keywords in bulk. They also have a fantastic Chrome extension.
- The Free Dictionary Word Finder (or any other word finder tools available online): It will let you find words ending with the domain extension of your choice to help you come up with possible domain hacks.
- Book.store is more memorable than bookstore.com
- Decom.press is wittier than decompress.com
- Camp.site is more brandable than campsite.com
- Co.host is more distinguishable than cohost.com
- Back.space is more remarkable than backspace.com
- 12/10/19--05:30: How to start building a strong domain name portfolio
- Understand which investment strategy matches your personal style.
- Stay the course — the 1,000-day rule.
- Never overpay for an asset.
- Keep your costs as low as possible.
- Don’t rely on a single domain name investment or a handful of investments.
- Set aside time to study and improve your knowledge and skills.
- 12/10/19--15:58: 4 ways to get more Instagram followers
- Make your Instagram bio awesome.
- Infuse your Instagram with personality.
- Use effective hashtags to attract new followers.
- Incorporate fan content into your Instagram Stories.
- Branded hashtags: #rosesluxurydc
- Industry hashtags: #michelinguide, #foodandwine
- Local hashtags: #thrillistdc #dclife #eaterdc #dcdining
- Neighborhood hashtags: #capitolhill, #easternmarket, #barracksrow
- If a user mentions you in his or her Story, the Story will appear in your DMs.
- In your DMs, click the “Add this to Your Story” prompt that appears there.
- In the Story creation screen, resize the Story and add stickers, text and more to the background.
- Share that user-generated content with your followers.
- 12/11/19--05:30: Everything you need to know about working with a domain broker
- The benefits of using a domain broker.
- Using a domain broker to sell a domain.
- Using a domain broker to buy a domain.
- The difference between domain seller brokers and domain buyer brokers.
- Finding and qualifying a reputable domain broker.
- How are domain brokers compensated?
- What to look for when choosing a domain broker.
- Do you have to work with a domain broker?
- Verify that your business is currently in good standing.
- Take inventory of your annual compliance filings.
- Ensure that you’re selling in other states legally.
- Verify that your business structure is still the best choice for your company.
- Dissolve a business entity if it’s no longer active.
- Get your business back in good standing if it’s fallen out of favor with the state.
- Seek help to understand what you must do.
- Does the LLC or corporation have a physical presence (e.g., an office or retail location) in the state?
- Does anyone working for the company regularly conduct in-person meetings with customers in the state?
- Do any of the company’s employees work in the state?
- Does a large portion of the company’s revenue come from the state?
- Did the company apply for a business license in the state?
- Does the company have a bank account in the state?
- Income tax rates
- Allowed business deductions
- Self-employment taxes
- Personal liability protection for business owners
- Plans to add or remove owners (or shareholders)
- Management flexibility
- Plans to raise capital for expanding or growing the business
- Business compliance formalities
- LLC to C Corporation
- C Corporation to LLC
- Limited Partnership to C Corporation
- Write a Plan of Conversion.
- Get approval from the governing stakeholders (e.g., partners, LLC members, shareholders, board of directors).
- Prepare the formation documents (e.g., Articles of Organization, Articles of Incorporation) for the entity type the business will be changing to.
- Prepare a Certificate of Conversion for the entity that the business will be after the conversion.
- File the new entity formation document, Certificate of Conversion, and any required filing fees with the state.
- File Articles of Dissolution form with the Secretary of State’s office.
- Notify the IRS to close the business’s EIN (Employer Identification Number) and federal tax account.
- Notify the state and county to close those business tax accounts.
- Pay off any outstanding business debts.
- Contact the county where the business is located to cancel the business license, seller’s permit, and any other permits.
- Find out why the company fell out of compliance. The state can provide details about what factors affected your fall from good standing.
- Submit a reinstatement form to the Secretary of State office (or other appropriate agency) on behalf of the company.
- Pay any outstanding fees, taxes, and fines; and submit any other required compliance documentation.
- 12/13/19--08:12: The entrepreneur’s beginning-of-year checklist
- Set realistic financial goals.
- Explore affordable financing products.
- Migrate your busywork to automated solutions.
- Investigate remote work options.
- Focus on ROI in marketing efforts.
- Connect with a mentor.
- Read up on industry trends.
- Do a recap and forecast with your team.
- Over the past year, have you managed your cash flow well?
- Did your investments pay off and create the ROI you expected?
- Are you going to need to replace any equipment or hire new staff?
- Based on your forecasting, will you generate enough revenues to cover anticipated expenses?
- Could you widen your talent search for the right candidate, even if they live in a different (and less expensive) market?
- Could you spend less money on office space as you instead rent coworking space across different cities, scaling up or down as needed?
- Could you make the right temporary hire instead of the wrong long-term hire?
- 92% of small businesses agreed that mentors had a direct impact on growth and the survival of their business.
- Of all the respondents, 63% didn’t have a mentor — and 89% of those small business owners wished that they did.
- 12/13/19--11:00: GoDaddy Pro update: Say hello to your new toolbar
- Securely connecting to your clients’ GoDaddy accounts, and
- Managing your clients’ websites, regardless of where they’re hosted
- 12/16/19--01:19: Awesome meet the team pages that you absolutely need to see
- Keep the contact page as an individual site. A mistake some make is eliminating the human factor from biographies simply because they are business descriptions. If you want both page visitors and your teammates to feel at ease, consider adding fun anecdotes or facts about each individual. An important part of getting in touch with a company is knowing its staff.
- If you can make a presentation video or a group photo, then do so. It is not called “Meet the Team” for nothing. The idea is to see some teamwork.
- Do not be afraid to stray away from typical profile pictures. Consider adding extra photographs with scenes from day to day work, or even some where the team is having fun at work.
- Websites with a yellow color palette that looks awesome
- How to get consulting clients quickly for your consulting business
- How to Open a Spa Business and Be Successful With It
- 12/16/19--05:30: Entrepreneurship and small business management
- Small business finance.
- Customer retention.
- Small business networking and partnerships.
- Managing business growth.
- Small business leadership.
- 3 payments: One-third down (non-refundable), one-third at 30 days, one-third at 60 days.
- 4 payments: One-fourth down (non-refundable), one-fourth at 30 days, one-fourth at 60 days, one-fourth at 90 days.
- 5 payments: One-fifth down (non-refundable), one-fifth at 30 days, one-fifth at 60 days, one-fifth at 90 days, one-fifth at 120 days.
- 6 payments: One-sixth down (non-refundable), one-sixth at 30 days, one-sixth at 60 days, one-sixth at 90 days, one-sixth at 120 days, one-sixth at 150 days.
- 12/16/19--13:06: 5 business resolutions for your local venture in 2020
- Optimize your social media pages.
- Create a content calendar and post awesome content.
- Reconnect with loyal customers through email marketing.
- Rejuvenate your website.
- Collaborate with your neighbors.
- 12/17/19--05:30: 6 domain investing pitfalls to avoid
- Don’t view domain Investing as a way to get rich quick.
- Don’t skimp on the research.
- Don’t run too fast.
- Don’t treat a domain investing business like a hobby.
- Don’t invest in domains for which you can’t explain potential use cases.
- Don’t second guess your sale price just because it sold quickly.
- Are the words in the right order that someone would use?
- Does having the plural of the word make it more or less desirable?
- Is it a domain that a business could actually use?
As web designers and developers, we don’t just provide websites, we provide solutions. The best solution, however, can only be offered if you know what your client needs. In order to land and attract more clients, you need to position your services as solutions. This is what the discovery session is for.
A well run discovery session will lock in clients because it positions you as an expert and converts leads into a full project proposal.
So what should a discovery session look like? Let’s explore the best practices for running a discovery session with a client, along with a step-by-step template and popular questions.
What is a discovery session?
Building websites and apps have two clearly defined phases: design and development. But there’s another “D” that’s a crucial part of the project process as it frames all the needs and target goals.
The discovery session, typically a paid in-depth meeting, assures that you and the client are clear on the full scope of the project as you “discover” together all the pieces that will make the design and development phases successful.
It’s tempting to pass the discovery session off as that initial phone call with the lead to get information for the proposal, but that’s not discovery.
Phone calls and meetings before money exchanges hands should be used to evaluate if the project is a good fit and if a discovery session is necessary.
How do you know if a discovery session is necessary? A good rule of thumb is whether the client has already worked through their needs, goals and vision before the call.
Use discovery session questions from the Ultimate Website Design Client Questionnaire to evaluate if the project is ready to jump into design. If you walk away from initial communication still unsure about pieces of the projects in any capacity (vision, function or goals), then you need a discovery session.
Getting started with the discovery session
Now that you understand what a discovery session is, let’s look at adding them to your own process. Ready? Let’s get started.
The discovery session as part of your process
The discovery session should be a paid part of the process that happens after the initial phone call and before design or any development. You can roll it into a full proposal you pitch to the client that includes your other services and phases, or you can single it out as its own project.
Either way you choose, this is more than a meeting even though that is the form it takes, either on the phone, in a video call or in-person.
With a discovery session, you are pulling from all your years and experience with previous projects to help guide the client to getting all the ideas in their head, and some they haven’t even thought of, out on paper. Much like a consultant.
This means the decision-makers, not their assistants. Not only is this important to streamline communication, but allows you to position to the ones that will move forward with the project.
When done right, the inclusion of a discovery session in your process should excite your leads to move forward with the project and work with you as their website professional. It means you care about their results and taking care of their investment so the project is a success.
Pricing a discovery session
A discovery session should not be free. It involves your time and your expertise. You are helping guide the client to define pieces of the project that they didn’t arrive with when they showed up on your doorstep.
As we discussed, discovery sessions can be sold as one-off services to initially begin work with a client or rolled in as a larger proposal.
So when pricing, view them like a service and more than just your “hourly-rate.” This line item should involve strategies, research and analysis (often detailed in a final PDF) and be priced to reflect that.
It’s popular to price the discovery session as 20% of the overall anticipated website budget.
For example, if a client is looking for a $10K website, you know they can then invest about $2K in the discovery phase to plan the scope of work accordingly.
If you roll the discovery session into a larger project quote, just note in the details you present the client if the project cost will change based on what the discovery session reveals.
If a client is resistant to a discovery session, you may be positioning it incorrectly.
Typically, you are on the losing end as indecisiveness means multiple revisions, countless notes, and scope creep.
Make sure to communicate that investing in a discovery session will actual save the project time and money. Much like a blueprint for building a house, the project needs a firm foundation and what you are providing is like an architect.
All in all, explain the discovery session as the deliverable you will provide them (i.e. PDF, Google Doc, or recordings) is an investment into the success of the project.
As we move into the discovery session process with the framework and questions, note what ways you can “deliver” these results so the client can understand what exactly they are investing in.
The discovery session process
Now that we understand how they fit into your own process, let’s create a discovery session template so you know how each session should work.
Discovery session template
The discovery session is a project in itself. And with every project, there should be a process. Consider treating the signing off on the discovery process as kicking off onboarding (like a project would) and welcoming them as a client.
A good template for the discovery session involves five steps to make sure you stay positioned as the expert and deliver on what you promise. Keep in mind that these steps are just a discovery session template and you should adjust them to your needs:
1. Determine if the discovery session is required
Start with an initial conversation with the client to determine if discovery is required. On the call, introduce the need and scope of work so there are no surprises should that be the next step.
2. Put a price on the discovery session
Present a full project proposal or single quote for the discovery session detailing what’s involved and what deliverables will be made available after the meeting. If the project pricing relies on details from the discovery session, note that in the proposal.
3. Initiate the session
Upon acceptance, send a kickoff email and calendar link for them to schedule a call for all the required people. It’s up to you to set up a conference line or online meeting room (if virtual and not in-person). It’s preferable if the meeting can be recorded so you can transcribe for your own reports.
4. Run the discovery session
As the one running the meeting, you set the agenda and control the conversation. If the client is taking too long on one question, it’s up to you to move it along. You can always schedule a follow-up email if you didn’t get all the answers you needed. This way, the client can work on questions after the call and you can focus on items that need dialogue.
5. Analyze and deliver
Take the information from the discovery session and consolidate it into the deliverable promised. This deliverable should be something that stands on its own. It’s good to perform some analysis and repeat back all the information shared so everyone is on the same page and ready to move forward with the project!
Discovery session questions
Do not be intimidated by leading a discovery session.
Discovery is simply discovering the needs of the client, the goals of the website and what success looks like so everyone is pleased with the result.
Much of it involves asking discovery session questions, but with each question is an intended result that will help frame your next step in the project.
Take these discovery session questions as a guide to determine your own agenda for the session, which can vary based on the project and scope.
What is the primary goal of the website?
To discover the primary goal, begin by asking the questions, why, what and who?
After this exploration, I like to take the primary goal and use the “SMART” goal model.
A SMART goal stands for Specific (targets a specific area for improvement), Measurable (can be tracked), Achievable (it’s realistic), Relevant (relevant to the company mission) and Time-Bound (has a deadline).
For example, the primary goal may look like: “We want 100 students (Specific and Measurable) to sign up for our summer program (Achievable and Relevant) by May (Time-Bound).”
Who is the end-user/target audience? And what is the goal for them using the website?
By knowing who the intended users of the website are, we can narrow in on five areas: Attract, Capture, Nurture, Convert and Measure.
Walkthrough the steps the website visitor will take in order to eventually convert to the “WHAT” your client is offering (often made clear through the SMART goal you’ve now helped them decide on).
Every client will be different based on their SMART goal.
What are the primary keywords?
Even if search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t included in your proposal or services, knowing the primary keywords for your client is critical to how you build the website.
Getting the client to define their primary keywords help them focus on their copy and how that copy is presented in the new layout of the website or app.
If you don’t have this conversation now, then chances are it will come up too late in the project.
Find out the importance of SEO to your client, and if they need a copywriter or additional SEO efforts to achieve their primary goal.
What have you done in the past or what are your current efforts?
With a clear primary goal (and possibly some secondary goals) you are now able to review the client’s past and current efforts to discover how the website or app will factor into their business’s key performance indicators (KPIs).
This question may uncover functionality not previously discussed. That’s a good thing! It means you are getting to the heart of what success looks like for your client and can change the scope of work to meet these needs.
Who are your competitors?
Have the client list out at least three competitors with an online presence. By reviewing competitors, you can evaluate with the client what design elements and functions these websites have that may be attracting the same target audience.
Reviewing competitors also serves as a way for the client to explain their own offering and why they are different. Use the discovery session as a way to narrow in on these similarities and differences.
At the end of this session, your client will have defined, specific goals along with actionable steps to achieve them. You can now present this as a deliverable by having the session transcribed or reworking further research and analysis into a PDF.
Whichever the method, the purpose is for the client to feel they have a clear vision moving forward made possible by the discovery session.
Be the tour guide, not the destination
The website you build will not be the end of the journey for the client. The discovery you set out in the beginning are goals that often take months or years to achieve.
The landscape of the internet is constantly changing and as goals mature or metrics change, you as the expert will be there to help guide the client through the process just like in your first initial discovery session.
Remember: all you need to do is guide your client through this discovery process by leading them as a trusted professional.
With the discovery session deliverable in front of them, they will see their vision and goals and be excited for the journey ahead. Your job is to simply help them implement it. In turn, their leads will convert, their customers will stick around, and their business will grow.
The post Why a discovery session is crucial for web designers & developers appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Giving thanks is always in season, and especially in October and November. We’re most thankful for you, but we’re also thankful for all the things our Websites + Marketing and Online Store teams have worked on all month to release.
Customers who use the Facebook Pixel rely on it to understand conversion from Facebook ads, optimize their ads, build targeted audiences for future ads, and re-market to people who have already taken some kind of action in an online store.
Want to add your Facebook Pixel?
If you want more instruction, visit our Help article Add Facebook Pixel to my website.
We have two new things you can do in your media library: search your uploaded photos, and import images from Facebook and Instagram.
Anytime you’re in your media library, now you can search the file name and alt text for your uploaded images.
While you’re in your media library, select the Social Media tab. Now you can see your Instagram accounts on the left in addition to your FB accounts, and be able to re-use any of your images from your other accounts.
Whether you have many contacts or just a few, these new options will make it easier for you to manage your list.
Your turn to try:
When you go into your Websites + Marketing site, go to Connections. If you don’t have any email subscribers yet, add some (although you can manage Customers and Members with lists as well).
Select some members and start sorting them. Your lists will help you keep organized.
We never stop improving. Here are some new things you’ll see in your website builder:
If you want to try out a new theme, open your website builder. From any page, click the house icon to take you Home.
You’ll see Themes on the right, and the ability to browse and experiment with new looks.
Online Appointments is now available in Spanish in Colombia, Peru, and Chile.
And now Canadians can choose between French or English.
Websites + Marketing Help resources
If you have questions, check out these Website Builder resources. And remember — we offer 24/7 phone support. Call us!
Note: If you don’t already have a Websites + Marketing account, you can start a free trial today.
Need help with social media? The GoDaddy Social team can help with that.
Editor’s note: GoDaddy GoCentral Website Builder is now Websites + Marketing — an all-in-one solution that integrates websites, marketing and eCommerce tools with the guidance needed to achieve success.
Every month, we create a list of the showstopping features you need to add to your site now. If you seek the latest on Websites + Marketing and the Website Builder and Online Store and want to know what our latest features can do for you and your online presence, this is where you want to be. We’re glad you’re here!
Table of Contents of Websites + Marketing Updates
November 2019: The Facebook Pixel is enabled in Online Store, Media library improvements: search the media library and import images from Instagram (and Facebook), Connections has new email list management features, updated themes and layouts, and new countries and languages for Online Appointments
October 2019: GoDaddy app in Android and iOS, font-based logos, new templates and categories, better group layouts, photo gallery image adjustments, slideshow in your header, navigation bar overlay and online appointments available in Brazil and Mexico
As I write this, I’m in Los Angeles, hundreds of miles away from my home and office. Next week, I’ll be in Las Vegas. Sounds disruptive, right? Not at all. These days, my phone and laptop are the only tools I need to stay connected and productive. This is typical of many entrepreneurs, side-hustlers, domain investors, web professionals and even hobbyists with a side passion.
This is no different in the domain investing world. Regardless of where you are, the GoDaddy Investor app gives you the ability to stay up-to-date on the latest domain auctions, see changes in real-time, and act quickly to snap up desirable domains.
Technology can make the difference between losing premium domains and walking away with the asset you need to take your business to the next level.
Let’s take a look at what the GoDaddy Investor mobile app can do to add value to your domain investing.
Get to know the GoDaddy Investor mobile app
Whether you are an Apple fan or a die-hard Android user, the GoDaddy Investor mobile app lets you take advantage of our expiring domain auctions from anywhere in the world, with just your mobile device.
You can watch and bid directly from the app on your mobile device — and it’s free.
GoDaddy Investor, the mobile app made for our domain investors, helps you win valuable pre-owned domain names anytime, anywhere.
With the touch of a button you can:
As seen on an iPhone here, GoDaddy Investor enables you to watch auctions no matter where you are. The app also allows you to quickly see the time remaining on auctions and sorts the lists automatically by those ending soonest.
GoDaddy Investor also makes it easy to auto-bid the next highest bid increment on anything you’re outbid on.
You can also set a proxy bid, which will automatically bid the next highest increment for you any time you are outbid until it hits your limit. This is handy if you want to set a bid limit or do not want to watch the entire auction.
Easily toggle between names you are winning, names you need to increase your bids on, or see them all at once ordered by auction end time.
You can increase your bid on the fly with the touch of a button. The amount is pre-filled for the next bid increment automatically, which saves time and typing.
One of my favorite features? The ability to set favorites within the list of names you are bidding on or watching, and then filter by those results only. This allows power users to focus on key domain names and cut to the chase during live auctions when split-second decisions really count.
How to download the GoDaddy Investor app
Go to the App Store to download the new GoDaddy Investor app for iOS.
Go to Google Play to download the new GoDaddy Investor app for Android.
What’s next for GoDaddy Investor?
We developed this app closely with some of our customers, who beat it up and let us know what they liked and what functionality they’d like to see added to the app. As a result, the first release of GoDaddy Investor is pretty amazing — and we’ve got plans to make it even more robust with improvements like push notifications and expanded ability to bid on and watch other auction types. Try it out and let us know what you think!
Want to profit from your domain portfolio? GoDaddy Domain Appraisals provides you with comparable domain name sales to help you determine the best Buy, List or Sale Price for your domains.
The post Download the free GoDaddy Investor app to watch, bid and win appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
This article was originally published on April 7, 2015, and was updated on Dec. 5, 2019.
Does the idea of writing your first email newsletter fill you with dread? Do you worry about making every detail perfect? Are you concerned that your particular business type won’t benefit from the effort of writing a newsletter?
Newsletters are a great medium for all sorts of businesses where other types of communication wouldn’t work. It’s also the perfect way to maintain a positive relationship with your customers.
Email marketing, done right, is an amazing way to create and maintain relationships with your clients and prospects.
But how do you create an engaging, interesting newsletter when you’re already too busy to remember to eat breakfast? And how do you do it without spending your children’s inheritance?
GoDaddy Email Marketing, that’s how.
Building your first email newsletter campaign
Getting a newsletter up and running is simple and quick with GoDaddy Email Marketing. You can have a stunning newsletter created and sent in less than 30 minutes. Don’t believe us?
Let’s check out the process and set our timers. We’re going to create an event invite for a special event at my restaurant. Ready, set and let’s go.
First, I’m going to dive into my GoDaddy Email Marketing account and click Compose Campaign. Since I’m creating a newsletter to invite my subscribers to a special event, I’ll choose the Event invitation template.
The composing window will automatically choose a color palette for you, but the one that it chose this time is too dark for my liking, so I’m going to change that using the Styles tab to the right. If you have colors specific to your brand, you can even create your own color scheme from the Styles tab.
Editor’s note: Email marketing is built into GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing — which makes it a snap to create newsletters that perfectly reflect the look and feel of your brand.
I’m titling it, “Join us for our prix fixe event!” Along with that, I’m going to upload some unique images that I can use to help make this newsletter pop and let customers know what they can expect.
Since I’m advertising my restaurant’s prix fixe menu, I’m going to add a banner image of one of the dishes we’ll have available to really grab my readers’ attention.
Now that I’ve got images added, I’m going to add content.
My customers will want to know when the event is running, what they can expect, and the price for the special menu. A few simple lines of information to spell it all out, and some pics to help tell the story, and we’re good to go.
Finally, a quick preview of our newsletter to make sure everything looks like it should.
If everything looks good, you can click Continue on your campaign editor to schedule when you’d like the email to be sent and to which subscribers.
And voila! We have a stunning event newsletter and it took less than 30 minutes from start to send. So simple.
Versatile marketing at its best
Our newsletter creation process showed an event invite as an example, but you can use email marketing to send traditional newsletters, coupons, updates for your customers, offer holiday greetings, give birthday salutations, share important information and even keep your family reunion plans updated.
Using GoDaddy Email Marketing, you can begin creating meaningful relationships with your customers in no time at all.
What are you waiting for? Get GoDaddy Email Marketing and get going!
This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Nancy King.
The post Create your first email newsletter in 30 minutes or less appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
A good looking website offers a pleasant visiting experience and makes people more likely to return. All companies with corporate website should have a well-designed website to attract viewers. However, the aim of its use is going to be different from one company to the next.
Corporate website designs need to be done well, and according to the needs of the organization. In the end, the website is an online representation of the brand and needs to have a consistent message to its customers.
Today, bold and clean web designs come in different formats, sometimes including videos, graphics, or full-page photo backgrounds. Therefore, it is essential to understand the variety of options,and which ones to use for specific projects.
When we look at the corporate website design, we need to understand what elements make it unique. By following this, we will be able to bring our ideas to life.
In this article created by our team at Amelia, will examine some of the best corporate website design examples and explain why we chose them. Let’s start exploring and see what a business web design should look like.
Corporate website design examples
Journey Group, Inc
This corporate website design presents the story behind the startup and where it is now. It is a simple design, but the content is well structured. The design elements look attractive as well.
Anyone wanting to create a corporate website design needs to first have an inspiration. The minimalist approach coming from Pixar is an example to follow. We are talking about a massive tech company that rose from the ideas of Steve Jobs. His persistence in creating the best possible product created his legacy.
Montage has a next-level corporate website that clearly outlines what its products are and how they work. The testimonial section gives all the information that people need to see regarding other people’s experiences. So, it is going to be easier for them to make a choice after they see this section of the website.
The advantage of having such a clean, precise business web design is that the user has all the information at their disposal. Its navigation allows users to navigate with no problems around all the pages they are searching for.
Pelli Clark Pelli Architects
This business website is an excellent example of how showcasing projects should be done. It is a great way of showing users about what the business is about. The black background and the crisp images make it indeed a fresh corporate website design. We also liked the website hierarchy and how simple it is to navigate between menus.
Simple corporate website design that has high-quality images together with great fonts. Each section has a description related to the products the brand sells. This helps any user see all the details they need in order to make a decision.
A well-known company, most people have heard of Lexus. Their corporate website design is stunning, and the use of good photography shows off what they have built.
They know how to get people interested in their cars, and their inspirational videos are also something they showcase as well. Lexus has a brisk business website, and people for sure appreciate it.
Apple’s website is also a fantastic example of how a corporate website design should be done. It has a minimalist vibe, yet at the same time, it stays elegant and catchy. When you enter the site, you see pictures of their latest products.
This draws the viewer’s attention quickly, and chances are quite big that they become interested in the product. Knowing this can be useful when projects that are similar need to be done.
By focusing on the animation side of their website, we can see how the interactive aspect is used to garner the viewer’s attention.
This may not be what you were expecting from an investment group website, but the bold, natural, and adventurous looks surely grabs the viewer’s attention. The entire layout is nicely done and works as intended.
Zillow managed to do a great job with its corporate website design, and we appreciate the ingenuity. The search area is done in a smart way, and it helps new users to select their favorite listings without the need to search for any kind of hidden page.
Brooklyn Soap Company
The look of this corporate website design is funny, inviting, and reflects the products and the brand quite well. There is nothing overtly flashy about it, and they seem to be confident about the fact that they do quality products without the need to dazzle you with any kind of graphics and animations.
You can see the creativity throughout this minimal website. The different items that are in the store have been presented using a broad web page, and details of all services together with manufacturing have been mentioned boldly.
This brand is known for producing footwear and accessories. Similar to other good corporate website design ideas, the focus of the brand was on a minimalist approach.
It has cool images and a nice background that makes the viewer enjoy a nice experience. There are also a lot of the products are shown on the homepage, and this means that users do not need to navigate to another part of the website to find what they need.
Anybody interested in having a unique corporate website design should check this one from Rollpark. Due to its simple visuals and dynamic navigation, users enjoy a good looking online presence.
Bienville Capital Management
A lot of attention should also be also given to the mobile side in today’s world. This corporate website design looks good in responsive as well as desktop. No website should feel crowded with text or designs. Viewers need to discover the information on the site easily and simply. And this example shows how to do that from a designer’s point of view.
To bring attention to their video montage, the team that built the Exponent PR site used simple colors and fonts to make everything pop up.
One of the most classic, simple corporate website design is the one from Jack Daniels. The black and white colors look nice on the home page, and soon you will be able to explore the different varieties of whiskey.
Revols brings a bold approach to its website by having imagery of their headphones, along with other uses of video and photography, from the start. The photography, together with the video, make the site product-focused, so this means users can become more and more immersed in the experience that the headphones can offer.
Clarks created a beautiful corporate website that brings the vintage design in touch with modern updates. It reflects the brand, and it combines elegant pictures with their latest shoes with a high fashion approach. A photo banner shows the alternating promotions to advertise the various new shoe collections and promotions that they have.
Another great website that we enjoy is this one from Emblem. It has cool imagery together with bright colors that get the attention of any user.
This corporate website design focuses on a flat UI together with bold colors that stand out and help inspire.
Holm Marcher & Co
This example of corporate website design is unique, and shows how modern trends look very good. It is simple and nicely structured, with all important information displayed to be easily accessed by any user.
Ending thoughts on corporate website design
In conclusion, good corporate website designs are accomplished by using the brand features and putting them in the center of attention. More and more designs are done using styles that help the brand stand out and communicate its mission, not the other way around.
The post Corporate website design that doesn’t look boring – 22 Business websites appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.
Domain parking is an unfamiliar term for the majority of web users — yet it’s something most of us have likely stumbled across at some point while navigating the depths of the internet. Sometimes referred to as cash parking, this online entrepreneurial strategy is an effective way to generate extra cash if executed correctly. But what is domain parking exactly?
What is domain parking?
Domain parking, aka cash parking, is the leveraging of advertisements on a parked web domain to generate revenue while that domain is otherwise inactive. Similar to affiliate advertising, you make money based on how many users land on your site and click the advertisements.
To be clear, parked websites are completely non-functioning except for a landing page that contains ads.
Web hosting, email and every other element of an active site are turned off. The domain simply operates as a crossroads where people can either click on relevant advertorial links (and make the domain owner money) or bounce off the page.
In this guide, we’ll be investigating the following topics:
Ready to find out more? Read on.
Benefits of domain parking
When you consider domain parking, remember it isn’t practical for every type of entrepreneur. It definitely holds certain advantages for ones intimately connected to the internet.
For instance, if you owned a great URL but didn’t quite know what to do with it yet, you could use cash parking as a way to generate revenue without needing to run a fully operational website.
As you wait for emails from potential buyers who are interested in your awesome domain name, you can make money without doing anything.
Or if you’re in the business of purchasing promising domain names, cash parking is an excellent way of generating profit while waiting to find the right buyers.
Want to see if the domain you have in mind is available? Give it a try here:
If you managed to register a domain that you’re not planning to keep, why not use cash parking to place potentially profitable ads up on your unwanted domain?
The outlook for entrepreneurs interested in earning money off of online ads (or running any sort of business online whatsoever) has never been better — just ask Google. Getting into the game now can yield definitive dividends.
But before you start throwing your money around, it’s important to understand how this form of earning cash ties into the world of domain investing. It’s time to learn all about domain parking.
How domain parking fits into domain investing
Domain parking goes hand in hand with domain investing. Entrepreneurs in the business of snatching up promising domain names and turning them for a profit should be aware of cash parking.
Domain investors like Alvin Brown of Kickstart Commerce admit that while having ads up on parked domains don’t usually generate amazing returns on their own, parking them is infinitely better than letting the domains sit around doing nothing.
He also talks about how companies like GoDaddy are updating their cash parking interfaces to make parkers more money, which is great news for anyone interested in getting into the game.
How to make money domain parking
Now that we’ve discussed how domain parking can be used alongside domain investing, you’re likely interested in how parking specifically can be wielded to earn you money. First, you’ll need to understand the different types of domains you can snag, because they each come with their own advantages and disadvantages.
3 types of investment-worthy domains
Put some mental energy into executing a domain parking strategy if you’re to have any hope at pulling a profit.
Since Google will penalize you for attempting to build traffic via SEO or any other method to a parked domain, your domain names have to be good — the name specifically acting as your only notable traffic-driving asset.
Here are three categories of domains for you to consider before you begin investing in them:
1. Misspelled domains
Did you know that Google alone owns and redirects to their home page the domains Gooogle.com, Goolge.com, Gogle.com, Gogole.com, Googel.com, Googl.com, and Google.net?
There are countless popular websites on the internet that people directly type into their browser every day, and users don’t always type them out correctly.
These variations, which include single-letter misspellings and incorrect pluralizations (Googles.com, anyone?), get entered more often than you might think.
While Google has the money and clout to help redirect sloppy typists to their desired page, the vast majority of websites don’t. And if they do, they’re probably only interested in commonly used TLD variations (like Google.com and Google.net, for instance).
The bottom line is that people misspell domain names all the time — especially of popular websites that are being typed out tens of thousands of times each day.
If you’re cash parking those misspelled domain names, you’ve put yourself in a position to make some money off of them.
Note that if you go this route, there are potential legal scenarios that could arise where a company tries to pry the misspelled domain name from you. Specifically, if you’re domain squatting for the purpose of capitalizing on another company’s trademarked name or brand, there are laws (see ICANN) in place to ensure the rightful company receives ownership of the domain in question. Don’t be shady, and you should be OK.
2. Fresh (new) domains
A completely different strategy from buying misspelled domains (although you can and should combine all three types in your portfolio to assess which work best for you), purchasing domain names that have never been used is also an option.
The benefit of new domain names is that they are usually very affordable. You can quickly assess their potential cost on domain registrars like GoDaddy.
But how is it possible to make people land on such domains if they’ve never had traffic and you can’t deliberately drive clicks to them? There’s no clear-cut answer, but there are things you can keep in mind when buying such domains.
First, contemplate which industries are likely to take off in the near future (or already have but are still relatively new). Great domain names for these industries are likely available, and a few solid choices could end up landing you valuable clicks when things really start to grow.
Plus you can sell those domains for a profit later too, which is another great way for you or any savvy domain investor to make money.
You can also buy exact match domains (EMDs), which are domains that include high volume keywords in their name that people are typing into Google. EMDs are valuable because sometimes users add a TLD like .com to their search query without thinking about it and end up landing on a domain (rather than getting their intended results).
To assess potential exact match domains, do some keyword research using a tool like SEMrush (which offers 10 free keyword volume results per day), and then go back to GoDaddy and search for EMDs tied to industries you believe have a bright future.
Those domains could end up being your biggest moneymaker down the road, but there is always a risk that they do nothing as well. It’s a gamble, but so is investing in all its various forms.
Related: How to choose a domain name
3. Expired domains
If you’re worried that misspelled domain names could get you into trouble and that new ones aren’t quite powerful enough, investing in expired domains is also a good option. Unlike new domains that have never seen the joys of organic traffic, expired domains have drawn users in the past and could potentially do so into the future. That makes them great candidates for domain parking.
There are ways to track down recently expired domains that will make your job easier, and they won’t necessarily be expensive to purchase either.
Just make sure that your target domains actually received traffic, because many that pass their expiration don’t, and will hold essentially the same value as a new domain (but likely with a higher price tag).
All three types of domains have the ability to make you money via cash parking. Building a collection of all three is your greatest key to success, and it’s up to you to determine which ones seem most worthy of your investment.
How does cash parking work?
While cash parking does require time (domain name research) and money (for purchasing the desired domains) to get going, it eventually becomes the dream for many online investors: a form of passive income that you can largely set and forget.
First, you need to tie your parked domain to a domain parking service. Cash parking works differently depending on your partner, but the account will allow you to select which domains you wish to park.
Once you’ve created your account and established your preferred parked domains, a web page will be put up on each. That web page and its advertisements will be tailored to the specific domain — based on factors like its name and the amount and type of traffic it attracts.
Here’s an example of a domain parked through GoDaddy’s CashParking platform (note how its ads are all tied to misspellings of the word “care”, as well as to the actual domain name, “ACLCare.com”):
Every time a visitor drops by your parked domain and clicks an ad, you receive money through your cash parking account. Depending on your preference, your options normally include PayPal, direct deposit, and personal checks.
Also, some clicks will make you more money than others. Talk with whoever your parking provider is and you can keep such factors in mind in the future if you want to invest in more domains.
How to keep your parked domains secure
Something to consider when it comes to registering domains is, when someone “buys” a domain, they aren’t really buying it but leasing it for an agreed-upon period of time. When that period ends, they forfeit ownership of that domain. Losing ownership of a parked domain means losing that source of potential passive income.
Keeping your domains securely registered while you enjoy the passive income that cash parking can provide is imperative. Here are a few ways to make sure you keep your domains safe and in your possession:
1. Use a domain registrar with a good reputation
When registering a domain, always choose an accredited registrar. There’s always a chance of a new or lesser-known domain registrar going out of business down the road.
Using an accredited registrar means that your domain will remain registered no matter what.
Additionally, accredited registrars have also agreed to abide by a set of rules established to protect domain owners, so you can be sure that you and your domain portfolio will be treated fairly.
2. Lock your domain name
Locking your domain is another additional security measure you can take to ensure your domain’s name doesn’t get transferred to someone else without your permission. Domain theft does occur and locking helps to prevent it. Lock it as soon as you buy it.
3. Privately register your domain
Following up on the previous point, privately registering your domain name will keep your personal contact information private. Domain privacy will hide your personal details so hackers, identity thieves and spammers can’t access them, which keeps you and your domains secure.
4. Register your domain name for more than a year
Most domain registrars offer up to 10 years on domain name registrations. If a 10-year registration is within your budget and you want to make sure you don’t lose the domain name down the road, this is a great strategy.
And if you prefer to auto-renew your registration each year, make sure you provide your registrar with multiple ways to contact you, as well as more than one type of payment method.
Hopefully, this guide has given you more insight into domain parking and how it can benefit your domain investment strategy. Put those unused domains to work for you!
The post What is domain parking and how can it make you money? appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Please take a moment to learn from our most popular posts published in November and strengthen your own website security.
Why reinfections happen with a WAF
A web application firewall is a great way to detect and filter malicious requests to your website environment — but websites can still be hacked from the inside.
One infected site on a shared server can spread an infection to other sites within the shared environment. In fact, a single unprotected site can lead to an extremely large infection across multiple websites.
A pitfall here is implementing a WAF for the primary website, but failing to apply the same measure for “less important” websites in subdirectories (e.g ~/public_html/otherdomain.tld).
However, you can put each website under its own cPanel account to prevent cross-site contamination.
Weak Passwords and Dictionary Attacks
Brute force / dictionary attacks occur when attackers target non-HTTP/S services like FTP or SSH to compromise weak passwords.
A brute force attack can take only a few minutes before an attacker gains unauthorized access to accounts.
Malicious users also target services like FTP, as they’re independent of the HTTP/S service, instead targeting the server’s hostname or IP address rather than a website address behind the WAF.
How to prevent website reinfections
Audit services used by your web server to harden security. Tweak minor settings like the default SSH port and change it to something other than 22. You could even disable the FTP service altogether.
You might need root access, but any hosting plan should let you audit existing FTP and SSH users — remove any that are not needed.
How to recognize a phishing campaign
Check our blog and you’ll find plenty of posts tagged with “phishing.” We’ve acquired a great deal of experience with this shady practice — our first publicly documented phishing blog post was over 9 years ago.
What is phishing?
Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to trick victims into revealing sensitive personal information or credentials. Phishing lures are often disguised as a trustworthy entity or recognizable brand, and can come as either targeted or untargeted acts.
Signs of a phishing attack
New methods of phishing continually pop up — but once you know what to look for, they get easier to spot.
Genuine-looking but odd requests
Messages that appear to be from a real financial institution, coworker, or website can get you to lower your guard. Don’t.
Phishing attempts are often from spoofed email or phone numbers that appear to be genuine, such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Always double-check the domain to ensure that it’s genuine.
Fast action required
A sense of urgency might bully you into a quick decision, where you’re more likely to follow shady instructions like opening a scammy link or attachment.
If you’re feeling rushed to perform an action, take a moment to check your sources before following any links or opening attachments.
Unusual or odd-looking requests
Sometimes, phishing attempts come in the form of highly-targeted campaigns. For example, if an attacker pretends to be your coworker or boss, they might use a different writing style that includes typos, different tones or writing styles, or unusual signature elements.
When something looks a bit odd, double-check with your contact to verify that they sent the message — preferably using a secure communication channel.
No signs of phishing detected
If an attacker hacks or spoofs your boss’ email, they might send correct data to mislead you. It’s always best to verify the requests for sensitive information are genuine, preferably by using a different communication channel.
Ecommerce security threats for the holidays
Online transactions are fast eclipsing traditional in-store purchases, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday are morphing into a shopping frenzy. The number of online holiday sales for the 2018 was a record ~$7.9 billion, a nearly 20% increase over the last year.
Emerging ecommerce threats
As we roll into the 2019 holiday season, retailers and consumers should stay informed of emerging threats and trending ecommerce malware.
Buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) lets customers buy online and pick up purchases at brick-and-mortar location. These transactions are classified as card-not-present, leaving retailers liable.
CNP vs CP liability
There’s a critical difference between card-present and card-not-present transactions, and that’s key to determining who is liable for fraudulent charges.
A practice called shimming allows EMV payment cards to be used in card-not-present transactions. When scammers steal information from cards with EMV chips, they can use stolen data in scams involving card-not-present transactions.
E-skimming uses malicious code during for certain scenarios, such as only on a checkout page. The code captures and relays stolen data to the hacker as customers enter it in real time.
How e-skimming works
E-skimmers often use a domain name that appears to be legitimate, making them difficult to detect. Cloaking techniques are also favored by hackers; an example of this could be not loading an e-skimmer if developer tools are detected open in the browser
It’s become such a serious threat that the FBI and US-CERT released a warning for the 2019 holiday season.
Phishing takes many shapes and forms, but the most commonly used are email, SMS, and apps like Facebook or Instagram.
A closer inspection at phishing emails
Spam and phishing filters are now much better at calling out shady emails, but they don’t always move them to the junk folder.
Attackers often count on victims skimming email content, becoming alarmed by the subject matter, and taking the desired action without paying close attention to the source of thinking through the fraudulent request.
What happens to stolen information?
Stolen information is often resold to other fraudsters through various forums, Discord channels, or darknet marketplaces.
How to spot check phishing emails
To spot check phishing emails, go to the legitimate website instead clicking any HTML buttons or links in the email — attackers often conceal phishing URLs behind redirects. Campaigns might even abuse legitimate services that allow redirects.
Other methods of phishing include vishing (phishing via phone). KrebsOnSecurity did a great job breaking down the topic, which you can check out here.
The post Top website security posts by Sucuri – November 2019 appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Why should you care about domain hacking? With about 350 million domains in existence today, it can be difficult for business owners and domain investors to snag their desired domain name — even more so if they’re trying to hand-register a domain name that is valuable enough to be flipped for a profit.
No, I’m not suggesting underhanded methods to obtain a domain.
In the context of domains, the term “hack” denotes a clever way to produce meaningful domain names by innovatively combining the parts on the left and the right of the dot.
That’s where hand registration comes in, using your own imagination, without the use of automated bots that search for and register possible domains.
What does domain hacking mean?
A “domain hack” is a domain name that suggests a word, phrase or brand by combining two or more adjacent parts of the domain.
Traditionally, a domain hack is created by using Country Code Top Level Domains or ccTLDs such as .ly, .me, etc., to come up with domain names such as wholeso.me, moji.to, e.xplo.it.
The limitation to such a hack is that they can be very specific, whereas a domain investor would want to attract interest from as many startups or companies as possible.
With the introduction of hundreds of new domain extensions, there now exists a whole new way to hack domains for creative domain investors.
Related: Domain extensions guide
A brief history of domain hacks
Matthew Doucette coined the term “domain hack” in 2004 to imply an “unconventional domain name that uses parts other than the SLD (second-level domain) and third-level domain (www) to create the title of the domain name.”
How do you find a good domain hack?
Experiment with these strategies to come up with innovative domain hacks.
1. By breaking up a word
Since ccTLDs consist of two letters, such as .in (India), .us (USA), .ca (Canada), etc., they can help with creating one- or two-word domain hacks. For example, prestigio.us.
Editor’s note: Some ccTLDs have unique registration requirements, so be sure to check with your domain registrar.
As you might have seen, URL shortening services such as Bitly use domain hack bit.ly for their unbranded free links. These are useful when posting on social media, and look clean and meaningful.
Many brands and personalities have used a “domain hack” to brand their custom links on the internet. Popular examples are:
2. By bringing together two meaningful words
Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are new domain extensions that started launching in 2012.
These are meaningful words to the right of the dot — such as .tech, .store, .space, .fun, .press — that can help you create multiple fun and quirky domain hacks. You can use these newer domain extensions to form a meaningful phrase with a dictionary word on either side of the dot, like re.store or bench.press.
Benefits of domain hacking using new domain extensions
One can apply conventional hacking to new domain extensions to create domain hacks such as pandaex.press.
With new extensions, domain hacking can be a lot more meaningful in the following ways:
1. Splitting a word to form two meaningful words on the left and the right
2. Combining the left and right of the URL to form a popular keyword or search term
It’s worth mentioning that some of the top domain sales in new extensions have come from such domain hacks. In fact, four of the names listed above were sold for a combined $375,000!
Related: Top 25 most expensive domain names
Creative ways to come up with domain hacks for investing
To come up with possible domain hacks, you could consider these opportunities based on the scope of the keyword(s):
Popular search terms
Tools for finding domain hacks to invest in
Check out the following tools to explore potentially profitable domain hacks:
To find domain name hacks based on the keyword’s monetary value, you can use:
To find domain name hacks based on the available new domain extensions, you can use:
Once you have these keywords, you can search for them on GoDaddy’s Domain Investing page to find possible domain hacks. Here’s an example of a domain name we found available through this process:
Some of the domain hacks on new domain extensions registered on GoDaddy include:
These are premium domain names.
Related: What are premium domain names?
Here’s an example of a domain hack that’s also a premium name available on GoDaddy (as of September 2019):
What are the advantages of investing in a domain hack?
Domain hacks are a potential investment opportunity because their unique structure often makes them more attractive than conventional domain names. Consider this:
What are the disadvantages of using a domain hack?
There are certain drawbacks to consider before you register a domain hack, particularly using ccTLDs:
1. The political instability of ccTLDs
Many ccTLDs are administered by foreign government institutions that have the power to shut down the use of a domain, leaving you with no recourse. For instance, .io was in the news due to outages, and injustice involving lack of payment to the Chagos Islanders.
2. Google’s ccTLD policy
Google is partial towards certain ccTLDs and is perceived to treat them differently when it comes to local searches. A bunch of these TLDs cannot be geo-targeted in the Webmaster Tools because of their localized nature. You can refer to the list of all domains that Google recognizes as international here.
3. Clarity of the domain name
Despite being clever, domain hacks can be misunderstood when spoken.
When thinking of a domain hack, it’s crucial to pay attention to how it sounds as compared to how it looks in print. For example, a user will easily understand sample.com if you mention it in a conversation. However, they may not be able to understand samp.le or cr.yp.to as easily.
A lot of websites that started as domain hacks reverted to more conventional web addresses as their primary domain name.
Related: Voice search and SEO
The relative novelty of gTLDs has made it possible to find domain name hacks that are meaningful and promise to be a great opportunity from an investment perspective.
So if you have an idea spinning in your head, it’s time to bring it to life and flip it for a profit! Until next time, pleasedonotdisturb.me.
The post What is domain hacking and how can it benefit domain investors? appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
A strong domain name portfolio is one that returns capital to your bank account year after year, allowing you to make a profit or reinvest your earnings to expand your portfolio. Using research and setting a game plan, rather than guesswork, are the keys to success.
6 steps to start building a strong domain name portfolio
Here are six steps you should take today to improve your holdings and build a strong domain name portfolio:
1. Understand which investment strategy matches your personal style
There are three main strategies to building a strong domain name portfolio: long-term investing, quick-flip investing, or a mix of both.
You have to decide which strategy will best match your personal style, and the investment objective and timeline will follow.
Waiting for domain names to appreciate in value, waiting for passive inquiries to flow into your inbox, and negotiating only with the most promising opportunities. This style will drive maximum return on your investment, but will also take the longest to pay off.
Buying a domain name with the intention of hunting for prospective buyers, reaching out to find interested parties, negotiating, and doing a deal. This style will turn profits more quickly and will generate a return that can be taken or reinvested but will not produce as high a return as buy-and-hold.
Mixture of both strategies
Buying some domain name assets that you intend to turn quickly while holding others for multiple years.
You can also approach which strategy to pursue by focusing on your desired investment objective and timeline. In that case, you may have to be willing to flex out of your comfort zone to develop a strong domain name portfolio.
For example, to succeed at outbound selling of a domain name, you must be willing to accept 99 rejections for every one domain name you successfully sell.
Some domain names can take years to generate a passive interest inquiry and sale, so you have to be patient and have a long-term mentality when investing in domain names.
Understanding your own style and timeline can help you figure out which of the six domain name asset types will best serve you.
2. Stay the course — the 1,000-day rule
Many new domain name investors invest in domain names only to become disillusioned and frustrated within a few months when no inquiries or sales happen. But any successful investor will tell you that it takes time for the right buyer to think of a brand, determine if the domain name is registered, inquire about its availability for sale, and negotiate a purchase price.
I often tell investors that it will take 1,000 hours — or an average of an hour a day, six days a week, for three years — of investing to figure out how the market works, the intricacies of purchasing the types of domain names that other people want, how to buy low and sell high, and what a repeatable sales process looks like.
Building a strong domain name portfolio will take time, but if time is something you have to spare then you’re set up to start domain name investing.
3. Never overpay for an asset
The simplest way to make a profit on any investment asset is to buy it at a price that is below market value. This is true for building a strong domain name portfolio as well and can oftentimes be easier to find and purchase than other asset types because the domain name market is inefficient.
That means the pricing of domain names in auction or for new registration does not always accurately reflect their market value.
To never overpay for an asset, an investor must understand that every domain name has a wholesale and retail value.
The wholesale value is what an active domain name investor would pay today for the domain name — oftentimes at a domain name auction marketplace like GoDaddy Auctions or NameJet.
On the other hand, the retail value is what a business owner might pay for the domain name in the next one to five years, based on the strength of the economy and recent comparable sales which can be found at NameBio.com.
The difference between the wholesale and retail values of domain names can often be a factor of two to 20, with an average multiple being around 10 and a return on investment (ROI) of 10,000%.
While it can be convenient to overpay for a domain name and convince yourself that a slightly lower sales multiple and ROI is acceptable, this can be a slippery slope to overpaying for an entire portfolio.
Remember, more than 100,000 domain names expire and become available for purchase every single day and a new opportunity is right around the corner for you.
Don’t be afraid to walk away from any deal that’s not moving you toward a strong domain name portfolio.
4. Keep your costs as low as possible
Every dollar you give up in worthless domain name registrations, sales commissions, overpaying for renewals, and unneeded software expenses is a dollar that you can’t invest and that won’t compound and continue to earn for you.
That’s wealth that you can never recover, which is why programs like GoDaddy’s Domain Discount Club can be a smart expense when your portfolio grows large enough.
5. Don’t rely on a single domain name investment or a handful of investments
As a new domain name investor, you should not have all of your money tied up in a single domain name or even a handful of domains. One good exact-match type of domain name that you purchase for $500, for example, might lead to a tremendous reward, but it also increases your risk tremendously.
And if you select the wrong domain name, you could end up losing money.
A smarter plan for newer investors would be to distribute the $500 across 10 strong, brandable domain names for $50 each, or 20 good, brandable domain names for $25 each that you purchase from another investor.
By diversifying your domain name portfolio, you reduce the risk from exposure from any one domain name.
6. Set aside time to study and improve your knowledge and skills
Unlike traditional investment vehicles like stocks, bonds and REITs, domain names as an asset class do not yet have investment advisors and planners that can do the work for you to analyze your investment objectives, risk profile and timeline, and select the domain names that you should invest in.
But when done correctly the rewards can outperform traditional asset classes and the process of buying and selling domain names can be exciting.
Free blogs, discussion forums and video interviews with experts are all readily available at Domaining.com. Access to industry information is greater than ever today, and the ability to build a strong domain name portfolio is largely a function of two factors: time and perseverance.
The post How to start building a strong domain name portfolio appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
This post was originally published on July 18, 2019, and was updated on Dec. 10, 2019.
So, your business is all set up on Instagram. You’re posting great content at a regular cadence and getting a fair amount of likes. But, you know you could be doing more to get more Instagram followers.
As a savvy Instagrammer, you know that more followers means more likes, and more likes means spreading more word-of-mouth about your business.
You also know that spreading the word about your business, especially on Instagram, is a great way to get new customers in your door. But first, you have to get more Instagram followers.
How to get more Instagram followers
Use these four strategies to boost your Instagram fan base:
Let’s take a closer look at each Insta tactic, shall we?
1. Make your Instagram bio awesome
Find your voice and put together an Instagram bio that scores clicks to get more Instagram followers.
You want people who are likely to follow and engage with your business on Instagram to find you easily. This means that your Instagram bio should represent who you are and show off what you’re all about. It should also have the right link (since Instagram bios can only include one!)
Consider that your bio link is often your first introduction to a potential customer.
In this example, The Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans, LA says, “A Garden District gem — Established in 1927.” Right away, you know their location and that they’re a long-standing establishment in NOLA. Then, they point to their link.
The Pontchartrain says, “Book your stay with us!” ahead of the link.
Help them take the next step to book with you.
The Pontchartrain also included a hashtag in their bio — the popular and localized, “#FollowYourNOLA.”
If this makes sense for your business, think about using a widely-used hashtag (more on that below). Or, you can always add your own branded hashtag if you want to encourage your followers to use it in their posts.
Adding these elements to your bio will make it easy to get more Instagram followers (and more business) when users come across your page.
2. Infuse your Instagram with personality
Your business has a unique personality, and so does your Instagram.
Don’t be afraid to use your authentic voice, incorporate humor, and have fun with everything you’re posting to get more Instagram followers.
Instagram users appreciate authenticity. They want to engage with content that feels genuine and real. And, they’re astute at identifying content that’s either lazy or trying too hard.
So, go for the voice that feels like you! They’ll appreciate getting to know the real personality behind your business. Your genuine vibe will only help you get more Instagram followers.
How can you infuse personality into your content? Try using user-generated content, questions and team shout-outs.
Have you started using user-generated content, yet? Your customers are giving you great content to repost. Take advantage and share their posts on your feed to get more Instagram followers.
Here’s an example from East Austin Hotel in Austin, TX. They loved a photo posted by another user, so, they shared it on their account and gave him credit in their caption by saying “?: @ryann_ford.”
View this post on Instagram
Thirsty Thursday! Head upstairs to @theupsidebar for amazing cocktails in a gorgeous setting. ?: @ryann_ford .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #eastaustinhotel #theupsideatx #austin #atx #austintexas #austintx #eastaustin #austinlife #exploreaustin #trueaustin #igaustintexas #visitaustin #365thingaustin #austin360 #do512 #512 #atxlife #bar #cocktail #cocktails #drinks #mixology #bar #austinfoodstagram #drink #instagood #drinkup #thirsty #nightlife #craftcocktails
A post shared by East Austin Hotel (@eastaustinhotel) on
You can also use your Instagram captions as a good time to ask your audience questions to encourage engagement and get more Instagram followers.
It can be as simple as “How do you take your coffee?” like the Graduate Seattle Hotel in Seattle, WA asks in the example below.
Or, you can ask your audience for feedback like, “What’s your favorite dish on our menu?” and “If you could have the recipe to any of our dishes, what would it be?” paired with a photo of a fan favorite.
Showcase your team
It’s also never wrong to show off your team. It gives your employees a shout out, and it presents a familiar face to the people who love and follow your business.
Here’s an example from M3Yoga in Athens, GA wishing one of their instructors a “Happy Birthday.” You can see in their comments that their followers sent lots of birthday wishes as well:
If people searching for your business see varied content like this that incorporates content from their fans, interactive captions and posts and team appreciation, they’ll be attracted to your account. If they love what you’re doing, you’ll be sure to get more Instagram followers.
3. Use effective hashtags to attract new followers
Hashtags create great visibility for a post or campaign on Instagram and can help you reach your target audience to increase your following.
In addition to adding any brand hashtags you’ve created to your posts, (70% of hashtags on Instagram are branded), use relevant hashtags that you know your audience already follows. That way, anyone searching for a hashtag relevant to your business will come across your page and could become a new follower.
This Washington, D.C. restaurant, Rose’s Luxury, posted their newest selection of cocktails on Instagram with effective hashtags:
View this post on Instagram
Our seasonal cocktails are soooo delicious we’ve decided to make variations sans alcohol so that everyone can partake! Mezcal, Suze and orange bell pepper meet your little cousin orange bell pepper soda. Agricole rhum and sugar snap peas meet your niece sugar snap pea cordial. . . . . . #rosesluxurydc #megustathat #forthewin #michelinguide #michelinguidedc #michelinrestaurant #michelinstar #oadtop100 #foodtravel #bonappetit #eeeeeats #feedfeed #foodandwine #igdc #thrillist #thrillistdc #dclife #eater #eaterdc #dcdining #f52grams #washmagphoto #eatdrinkdc #washingtondc #capitolhill #easternmarket #barracksrow
A post shared by R O S E ‘ S L U X U R Y (@rosesluxury) on
The descriptive caption is followed by branded, industry and local hashtags. They also break it down to individualized neighborhood hashtags to make sure they reach their community members.
Users can discover content by searching hashtags on their own or tapping through related posts for a particular hashtag.
If they are searching for one of those hashtags above, they will likely come across the post from Rose’s Luxury. Seeing a great post like this might make them follow their account and like their posts. This is the kind of attention Rose’s Luxury is working for to get more Instagram followers through effective hashtags.
4. Incorporate fan content into your Instagram Stories
Take your followers along for the ride — repost from customer Stories to your Story to get more Instagram followers.
Fun fact: 70 percent of Instagram users watch Stories on a daily basis.
Keep an eye on your fans who are posting about your business in their Instagram Stories, then share that content on your own Story.
Here’s how you do it:
Remember, users are more likely to trust recommendations from strangers than from their friends and family.
86% of millennials say that user-generated content is an indicator that a brand or service is good quality.
Every time you share user-generated content into your Instagram Story, it’s like sharing a mini testimonial from people who love your business. And, like all of these ideas, it’s a great way to get more Instagram followers!
If you’ve never used one before, you’re probably wondering what does a domain broker do and why would you even need one?
Buying and selling domain names can be a complicated, confusing and nerve-wracking process — especially if you’re someone who doesn’t like negotiating. Even with the advent of domain marketplaces and domain research tools, you’re still going to run into technical hurdles and inefficiencies.
A good domain broker can help you navigate these obstacles and make the buying or selling of a domain name easier.
Wondering if a domain broker is a good fit for you? We’ll explore the following considerations for choosing a domain broker:
Let’s dive in.
The benefits of using a domain broker
There are many ways a domain broker can help clients with the buying or selling of domain names. Let’s look at several below.
Sets a budget
First, and probably foremost: brokers help clients establish a realistic budget for the purchase or sale of a domain name. Because domain brokers have access to both public and private historical sales data, they know what type of domain inventory is moving right now — and what it’s selling for.
For an eye-opening look at this year’s biggest domain sales, check out DNJournal’s year-to-date sales charts.
Another way domain brokers can add value is as a neutral or impartial party in the negotiation process.
It’s not unusual for emotions to run high between a buyer and a seller, particularly if the two don’t see eye to eye; a broker helps eliminate the risk of those emotions interfering with or jeopardizing a potential deal.
A domain broker can act as a calm and patient intermediary to make sure that differences of opinion don’t get in the way of a successful transaction.
Tracks down domain owners and buyers
Another area where a domain broker can help is in reaching the unreachable. A skilled domain broker is also a really good detective — they need to be in order to track down either the mystery owner of a domain name or the perfect, most ideal, potential buyer.
Oversees the monetary transaction
A domain broker can, and should, oversee and ensure the safe financial transaction between buyer and seller.
When there’s a business deal happening between two people in different corners of the world for thousands of dollars then you, as the client, want to make sure you’re going to get the agreed-upon money or goods.
A domain broker makes sure the transaction is run through the proper channels and successfully completed. This could include papering the deal via a formal purchase or sale agreement as well as consummating the transaction through a domain escrow service.
Domain brokers also come in handy during the actual technical transfer or ownership change of the domain name.
Facilitates the domain transfer
A good domain broker will be very familiar with the different mechanisms and processes required to move a domain from buyer to seller. Not only can they oversee that process, they can also accelerate the speed of that transfer happening while making sure it’s being done in the safest and most secure manner possible.
Using a domain broker to sell a domain
A good domain seller broker can help you identify, prioritize and contact the most likely buyers for your domain.
Your seller broker would, therefore, need to take proactive action — raising awareness that your domain is for sale, and specifically targeting the most likely potential buyers of that domain name.
Domain brokers can develop and execute a marketing plan to promote the domain that the client wishes to sell. This could include things like listing the domain on marketplaces and distribution networks, putting out a press release, doing targeted advertising, or conducting a social media awareness campaign.
Using a domain broker to buy a domain
If you’re hoping to buy a domain owned by a third-party, a skilled domain buyer broker can help you set a realistic budget and identify who the most likely owner of the target domain name is, even if its owner is hiding behind a privacy shield.
If your first-choice domain name can’t be acquired, a buyer broker can help you understand what alternative name inventory is out there and available for purchase within your budget.
Buyer brokers can also suggest other domain extensions that the client may wish — or have — to consider.
This domain name price guide will help you understand the appropriate budgets required to purchase different types of premium domain names.
The difference between domain seller brokers and domain buyer brokers
There are two types of domain brokers.
A domain seller broker works for the domain owner, and their goal is to sell that owner’s domain name (or names) for the highest possible price. A seller broker focuses on trying to find buyers for the domain, and then convincing those potential buyers to buy the domain at (or above) the target price set by the seller in consultation with the broker.
The other type of domain broker is a domain buyer broker. A buyer broker works for the buyer of a domain name. Usually, that buyer is an entrepreneur or corporation who wants one or more domain names, and they hire a buyer broker to identify and negotiate with the owners of those domain names. In this context, the buyer broker’s role is to (a) try to get the desired domain name, and (b) get it within whatever the buyer’s designated budget and timeframe is.
Although some domain brokers specialize in being either a seller broker or a buyer broker, most brokers have experience performing both roles.
Finding and qualifying a reputable domain broker
Unlike with insurance and real estate, domain brokers aren’t required to be certified, licensed or even formally trained. Anybody can hang up a shingle and claim they’re a domain broker even though they may have little to no experience and training.
That’s why it’s important to do some due diligence when you’re considering hiring a domain broker.
One of the ways to find a good domain broker is to ask people in your business network which brokers they’ve worked with and liked. You can also do some Google searching or check on LinkedIn.
Be sure to research the broker’s background, look for testimonials, and maybe even ask for client references.
How are domain brokers compensated?
Domain brokers are compensated in several different ways. Some brokers are compensated purely on commission; they get a percentage of either the domain purchase price or the sale price.
This is a very common model although the exact percentage amounts will vary.
Other brokers are compensated by a flat fee. There could be a flat fee for them to begin working on the project, and there is probably another flat fee if they’re successful in buying or selling the domain.
Some brokers work on a fee structure that’s similar to how lawyers charge and are paid by the hour. Although this last scenario is atypical, it’s a model some clients prefer because they’re used to it.
No matter which compensation model the domain broker is using, what’s most important is that it’s as aligned as possible with your goals as the client.
If you’re the buyer, you want a compensation model that rewards your broker for getting you the name within your budget. If you’re working with a seller broker, you’ll want a model where your broker is motivated to sell your domain for the greatest amount of money.
Always aim for a compensation model that matches your goals.
What to look for when choosing a domain broker
Now that we’ve covered the basics, you might be ready to find a domain broker for an upcoming transaction. But don’t settle on the first name you come across.
Let’s go through some things you should look for when you’re evaluating potential domain brokers.
You want a domain broker with a successful track record. Have deals they’ve brokered been covered by the media or domain industry publications? A quick Google search should be revealing. How long have they been brokering domain names? Do they have testimonials from clients there?
Ask the broker about their negotiation philosophy.
Prior to working as a domain broker, some have worked in other fields (such as sales) where negotiation was central to the role. Other brokers have had formal training in it.
Ultimately, you’re looking for somebody who will be effective at representing your best interests in a deal, and who is good at understanding the person they’re trying to convince to either buy or sell your domain name.
The more experience the broker has in negotiation or sales (or both), the better.
Ask the broker about the size of their business network. A quick look at their LinkedIn profile can be illuminating. Especially for seller brokers, you want someone with a vast, multi-industry set of contacts because they’ll need to work those connections to find the ideal buyer for your domain name.
A good domain broker also needs solid research skills. Ask them how they track down potential buyers. Ask them how they track down domain name owners.
You want a broker who can think outside the box, and is adept at finding both buyers and existing owners.
Look at how enthusiastic (or not) the broker is about the domain name you’ve asked them to sell or acquire for you. If they’re not excited about working with you on the project, chances are the broker will lose interest during the course of the engagement and it may not be successfully completed.
Since a transaction might take months to complete, choose a broker that will be unwavering in their commitment.
To be successful, a domain broker must be very persistent and not give up at the first sign of rejection. It requires a tough skin, especially for seller brokers who will face an avalanche of no’s before they get the yes.
Ask the broker how long and hard they will work on the project. Are they going to try for just a couple of days and then give up, or are they in this for the long haul?
The most important thing to consider when choosing a domain broker is a personality fit. You may be working with this person for weeks or months, so you need to make sure you (and potential buyers or sellers) can get along with them.
The domain broker you choose will be the primary point of contact for your domain name to the outside world, so you want someone whose attitude is appropriate for the project.
You may require a broker who takes a gentle and measured approach, or you may require one who is assertive and hard-nosed. The choice of styles will depend on the specific project, and both approaches have their place.
Do you have to work with a domain broker?
You certainly don’t ever have to work with a domain broker; it’s not mandatory. You could, in theory, go the do-it-yourself route and attempt to buy or sell a domain on your own.
The questions to ask yourself are these: What’s the best use of my time? Is it hunting down potential buyers or owners of a domain name? Or would my time be better spent focused on my existing business or project that I need the domain name for?
Before you attempt to broker a domain name by yourself, take an honest look at your own strengths and weaknesses. Selling or acquiring a domain name demands a lot of skills that not everybody has. If you’re great at research, sales, negotiation and are good with people, you’re probably a great candidate to do the domain brokering yourself.
If you’re not great at research, don’t like rejection, are uncomfortable with negotiating and/or lose your cool quickly, then you should seriously consider hiring a domain broker.
Ready to get started? Contact GoDaddy’s Domain Broker Service and get going.
The post Everything you need to know about working with a domain broker appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Now’s the time when most everyone is thinking about their holiday to-do list and what they will wear when they ring in the New Year. As an entrepreneur, you have something far more critical to ponder — your year-end legal checklist.
Has your business done all that it must to remain in good legal standing with the state?
With 2019 coming to a close, now is the time to make sure your business has all of its compliance matters in order.
Year-end legal checklist to stay in good standing
Before you ring in the New Year, check these to-do items off your legal checklist:
1. Verify that your business is currently in good standing
A quick way to check the status of your registration is to search for the company on the Secretary of State website where the company is registered. If the status shows “Current-Active,” the company is in good standing.
If your business plans to apply for a loan, seek funds from investors, or procure a federal contract in 2020, you may want to consider requesting a Certificate of Good Standing from the state.
Many state websites have an online form for requesting a Letter of Good Standing. The cost is generally minimal, as little as $10 up to approximately $50, depending on the state and type of business entity.
Note that some states require that a business uses its Certificate of Good Standing within a certain number of days after it’s issued. That’s good to keep that in mind if you need it for a specific purpose.
Related: Small business funding options
2. Take inventory of your annual compliance filings
Before this year ends, make sure you’ve taken care of all the necessary reports, renewals, fees, etc. that your state, county and local municipality requires.
Some of the items that LLCs and Corporations need to do each year include:
Hold an annual meeting with LLC members or the corporation’s shareholders
During the meeting, written minutes must be recorded to capture what took place. LLC members and shareholders must sign off on those minutes.
Prepare and file an annual report
Most states, with just a few exceptions, require LLCs and corporations to create an annual report every year.
Some states require one every other year or on some other time interval (for example, LLCs in Pennsylvania must submit them every 10 years). Check your state’s requirements so that you don’t miss filing yours by the due date.
Businesses that don’t file them on time (or file them at all) are at risk of penalties and late fees.
Maintain a registered agent
LLCs and corporations must have a registered agent designated at all times to receive important government and tax documents on behalf of the company.
Registered agent subscriptions could be annual, biannual or on some other contract term.
Make sure you know when yours must be renewed so that you pay the applicable fee when it’s due.
Renew business licenses and permits
Licenses and permits required for a business to operate legally within a state or local jurisdiction may need to be renewed annually or on some other time schedule.
It’s critical to renew on time, so verify due dates with the issuing agencies.
Renew DBAs and trademarks
Many states (or counties) require DBAs (fictitious names) to be renewed on some interval — usually every five or 10 years.
Notify the state of any key changes
When an LLC or corporation makes any major changes, it must submit Articles of Amendment to the state.
Examples of changes that the state needs to know about include a change in the company name; if anyone has left or joined the board of directors, and if the business moved to a new address.
Related: What is DBA?
3. Ensure that you’re selling in other states legally
A company that has expanded — or is thinking about expanding — beyond its home state’s boundaries may need to be “foreign qualified.”
Answering “yes” to any of the following questions may indicate that a business must file for foreign qualification to sell is products and services in a state:
To apply for foreign qualification, business owners must file an application (usually called either a “Certificate of Authority” or “Statement & Designation by a Foreign Corporation”) with the state.
Companies that foreign qualify in a state must file reports, pay state taxes, obtain the necessary business licenses, and fulfill other obligations that the state requires of foreign-qualified companies.
Another responsibility is maintaining a registered agent authorized to provide its services in the state of foreign qualification.
While there are paperwork and some formalities involved in foreign qualification, it’s generally simpler and less costly than the alternative of forming a new domestic corporation or LLC in every state where a company wants to conduct business.
For example, usually, a corporation’s bylaws and board of directors in its home state will cover those requirements in the states where the business has foreign qualified.
In other words, the company probably won’t need to write a separate set of bylaws and appoint a board of directors for the state(s) of foreign qualification.
4. Verify that your business structure is still the best choice for your company
As a business grows and evolves, the business entity type it started as may no longer be the most advantageous.
Some of the things to consider when deciding on the most favorable business structure include:
There’s a lot to consider! That’s why it’s smart to review with your accountant and attorney whether your current business structure still makes sense from a legal, financial and tax perspective.
Entrepreneurs that decide to change their business structure may be able to do a “statutory conversion.” This means they can switch from one business structure to another without closing the original entity and forming a new one.
Examples of statutory conversions include:
Note that not all states allow for conversions, however. In the states that do give the option of statutory conversions, the process varies by state.
Generally, the steps involved include:
Depending on the state and the entity type, there might be other requirements, too.
Some states that don’t offer statutory conversions have what is called “statutory mergers.”
When neither a statutory conversion or a statutory merger is available, the original business entity must be dissolved and a new one must be formed.
5. Dissolve a business entity if it’s no longer active
There’s more involved with closing a business than locking the doors and ceasing to serve customers.
Business owners must inform the state (and licensing agencies) that the company is closing. Otherwise, they may still be held responsible for filing reports, paying license renewal fees, submitting tax returns, and other compliance requirements.
Businesses operating as a corporation, LLC, or partnership must hold a meeting with their directors, shareholders, members or partners to vote on closing the business.
Corporations that have issued shares of stock must obtain agreement on the dissolution from two-thirds of the company’s voting shares. When no shares are involved, the corporation’s Board of Directors must approve of dissolving the company.
After getting agreement from key stakeholders, other important next steps include:
6. Get your business back into good standing if it’s fallen out of favor with the state
Everything that I’m sharing with you in this article is to help you stay in good standing. Still, you may be wondering if there’s any way to regain good favor with the state if you’ve slipped up somehow.
Here’s the good news: there are ways to regain a favorable status if a company has been deemed noncompliant or if the state has administratively dissolved it for not following the rules.
Typically, upon reinstatement, a company will get to retain its original filing date of formation.
The process of reinstatement varies from state to state. Generally, what a business must do includes:
7. Seek help to understand what you must do — and to get it done
As I mentioned before, professional guidance from an attorney, accountant and tax advisor can help you better understand the legal and financial matters that will affect your business’s status of good standing.
And after you have the information and direction you need, there are online business document filing services that can help you keep track of your compliance due dates, prepare forms, and submit filings.
Put your business’s best foot forward in 2020
I hope this list of considerations will serve as a helpful starting point as you research what you must do to ensure your company is in good legal standing at year-end and stays that way in 2020.
For more insight about what you should consider, consult with trusted legal, financial and tax professionals.
For more inspiration on starting the new year out right, see quotes from some of our favorite entrepreneurs. You’ve got this!
The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.
The post Year-end legal checklist — Wrap up your business year in good standing appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
This article was originally published on Dec. 31, 2018, and was updated on Dec. 13, 2019.
As an entrepreneur, you always have a lot to do, and little time in which to do it. But the beginning of the year offers you a unique opportunity to stop, breathe and evaluate. Take advantage of this time to reflect and refocus your efforts.
Just like making a list of New Year’s resolutions, we’ve made a list of business owner responsibilities that you might choose to tackle as you head into the new calendar year.
Beginning-of-year checklist: 8 essential things to do
Make your way down this checklist of important tasks to do on behalf of your business:
Before you charge ahead into the new year doing business as usual, check off these eight essential but manageable tasks.
1. Set realistic financial goals
The idea of setting goals might seem trite — of course, you want to accomplish big things. But if you’re not the kind of entrepreneur who really puts the things you want to achieve down in writing, make this the year you’ll do it.
Setting goals isn’t just about saying, “It’d be cool to make a million dollars,” though.
Because you’re a business owner, many of the goals you’ll look to achieve will be financial. Depending on how long you’ve been in business, how successful you’ve been of late, and what you’re looking to achieve in the next year, your financial goals may vary.
The best way to set these goals is to look into well-established systems of team productivity and goal-setting that other companies use to achieve results. Examples include Intel’s OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), and SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) frameworks.
With OKRs, for example, you might make a list of objectives and key results for each area of your organization. Sales, finance, marketing, human resources, business development, engineering, product development — every team that contributes to the bottom line should have a sense of what they’re looking to accomplish heading into the new year.
Additionally, look into different tools and project management processes to help you achieve these.
It’s not enough to just set goals — you have to move your organization toward implementing the infrastructure to support achieving them, too.
2. Explore affordable financing products
If you’re headed into the new year on a roll — holiday sales were strong, and the business performed well throughout much of the year prior — then you want to at least explore the business financing options available to you.
This might seem backward to some business owners. Business loans, lines of credit and other business financing options are for businesses that need money, right? Why would I take out a loan if business is booming?
When the business is struggling and you need a loan to stay afloat, you’re much less likely to qualify for the high-quality loan products that businesses use to catapult to greater success, such as SBA loans or 0% introductory APR credit cards.
There’s no need to take out a loan if you don’t need one. If you see an opportunity for expansion or improvement on the horizon, however, the beginning of the year is a good time to look into what financing you could qualify for.
3. Migrate your busywork to automated solutions
Automated solutions are quickly changing the way we work day-to-day.
People now spend much less updating spreadsheets, filling out timesheets or logging correspondence with clients.
We now have software and tools that can do these things for us while we focus on getting real work done.
If you aren’t using automated software solutions for tasks like accounting, customer relationship management and time tracking, it’s time to start.
Take accounting software for example. Consider that at the beginning of a new year, you have to wrap up your financial statements: P&L, balance sheet, and cash flow statement among them. Your business accounting software can run these reports with ease, while sending all the necessary information to your bookkeeper to process, as well as to the IRS.
Meanwhile, instead of spending hours calculating everything by hand, you can review your documents and ask yourself these important questions about your business:
Let your software do the heavy lifting, so you can work smarter in the year to come. Here are some options to get you started.
4. Investigate remote work options
Remote work — whether it’s allowing your full-time employees to work from home, contracting remote freelancers to help you complete a project, or utilizing the gig economy to help your business reach new customers (via delivery services, for example) — will be one of the defining work trends of this generation.
For some businesses, it’s not possible to utilize remote work opportunities, such as if you own a brick-and-mortar retail store. But these businesses will be in the minority: According to Upwork, 73% of all departments will have remote workers by 2028.
How would hiring remote workers benefit your business?
Start researching how an investment in your remote workforce — the price of remote communication tools, collaborative platforms and more cloud storage — could be worth their weight and then some.
5. Focus on ROI in marketing efforts
When deciding which marketing initiatives to focus on in the coming year, your primary concern should be what kind of return on investment you’ll get from each one.
Novice marketers tend to take a “let’s throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” approach when it comes to new campaigns. Social media, email, blogging, paid advertising on social platforms — sure, why not? Hey, I heard Pinterest is getting big again, let’s buy advertisements on there as well as on Facebook and Instagram. This is all about “building our brand” anyway, right?
Marketing almost always involves striking a balance between understanding that not every initiative is perfectly measurable (many consider word-of-mouth the most effective marketing strategy, and that’s impossible to measure with confidence) and making sure that some marketing channels demonstrate a real ROI before moving forward with them.
Especially when facing a year as uncertain as 2020 — which may continue to be weighed down by trade tensions, or could experience a recession, as some are predicting —it’s important to focus on marketing initiatives that you can show will make a difference in your bottom line.
For many businesses, email marketing is one of the best channels in digital marketing, as you can use it to recapture abandoned shopping carts, remarket to new buyers, and cement your relationship with existing customers.
But every business is different, so understand who you’re trying to reach and why before you start pouring money into a marketing channel to try to appeal to them.
6. Connect with a mentor
No matter what stage of life or business ownership you’re in, a mentor is an invaluable resource.
Whether you’re a new or well-established entrepreneur, gaining insight from someone in your field or industry who has been in your shoes can help you navigate uncertainty with greater ease and less financial risk.
According to a report from Kabbage, entrepreneurs basically fall into two camps: people who have benefited from having a mentor, and people who wish they had benefited from having a mentor.
Mentors offer business owners objective advice, tales of subjective experience, access to a larger network of people and resources and much more.
7. Examine industry trends
As a busy owner, it’s important to know how to react to changes in your industry or sector. But if you can be proactive — well, that’s much better.
Don’t begin the year without taking the pulse on what’s going on, both within your industry and in every other industry that has bearing on yours.
For instance, if you make and sell wool sweaters internationally, you shouldn’t just look at wholesale and retail clothing trends. You also want to look at the price of your raw materials, including wool and dye, and fuel for the ships and planes that carry your goods.
You might even want to keep an eye on the length of seasons — are people even wearing sweaters as often as they used to? Maybe you need to introduce a lighter-weight thread into your product line, or try to open up distribution domestically, based on what you find.
Either way, you’re making proactive decisions.
This has become an especially important step to take as China and the United States continue to engage in a trade war. Prices for your goods may fluctuate or skyrocket at a moment’s notice. See if you can find a more stable inventory source, or build up a backlog of useable inventory that can potentially last until tensions ease.
8. Do a recap and forecast with your team
Whether your team is you and your accountant or lawyer, or you’ve built a robust and growing workforce with managers and freelance contributors, take the time at the end of each year (and the beginning of a new one) to update everyone on where you are and where you’re going.
An all-hands meeting that reviews OKRs and/or SMART objectives, your finances, and your ROI on major projects from the year before will not only keep your team in the loop, but it will help them feel more personally connected to the success of the business.
Additionally, informing your team of what you’re looking to accomplish next year — new OKRs, sure, but also possible investments in remote work opportunities, migrating workflows onto new platforms, and plans for expansion — comes with big benefits.
It will help ease the transition in case of major changes, and will allow you to field questions and hear valuable feedback about what works or what could be improved.
That last part is important.
If you don’t do quarterly or biannual check-ins or reviews, the beginning of the year is a great time to do an annual review.
No business owner is an island. Keep your team informed as to how you’re doing and what’s coming next, and you’ll get greater buy-in and enthusiasm than if you keep them in the dark until the day of changes arrives.
Plan for success
Of course, there are probably a million things you’d like to do to give your business a fresh coat of paint, so to speak, at the beginning of the year.
If you can focus on a few vital stats and make improvements, a little just might go a long way.
Start with this beginning-of-the-year checklist, and you might find that certain areas require a greater investment of your time and energy than you originally thought. Similarly, you might decide that you can alter or skip certain steps next year, since they weren’t as impactful as you hoped.
As long as you cover the basics and do your due diligence to make sure your business is thinking proactively about the future, you’ll be well ahead of the curve.
As 2019 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the year and set goals and intentions for the next year. For many people, this could be taking a step towards the business or side hustle that they’ve always dreamed of starting.
Here at GoDaddy, we’re on a mission to help empower everyday entrepreneurs to start their own venture, and in an effort to better serve them, we recently conducted a survey to understand how different generations think about entrepreneurship.
In partnership with OnePoll, we surveyed 3,000 Americans – 1,000 millennials, 1,000 Gen-Xers, and 1,000 baby boomers – and the results show that Americans are becoming more entrepreneurial.
Millennials, the generation of entrepreneurs
Nearly one in three millennials (30 percent) reported that they have a small business or side hustle, with nearly one in five (19 percent) saying it’s their main source of income. While one in five Gen-Xers has some kind of business or side hustle, only 11 percent of baby boomers could say the same.
Millennials were also by far the least likely to say they had no interest in starting a small business, with only 28 percent agreeing, and 74 percent of baby boomers agreeing with the same statement. Over half of millennials – 56 percent – affirmed that entrepreneurship has always been a long-term goal, compared to 43 percent of Gen-Xers, and 21 percent of baby boomers.
Some millennials credit a challenging job market in their early working years as a force toward entrepreneurship: 38 percent of millennials believe that coming of age during the Great Recession has made them more resourceful, and better suited for entrepreneurship.
Technology makes it easier
What’s prompting millennials’ entrepreneurial aspirations? Comfort with technology could be one explanation. 50 percent of millennials agreed that growing up with the internet has made them better suited for entrepreneurship.
The affordability and accessibility of technological tools could also influence this – 47 percent of millennials believe that all Americans have the means to start a small business, compared to just 28 percent of boomers.
66 percent of millennials feels that they’re equipped to handle the marketing and social media responsibilities that come with growing a business, compared to only 23 percent of baby boomers.
Tools like our recently launched service Websites + Marketing make it easy and affordable for anyone to take a business online and connect with their audience.
The life of an entrepreneur
The most popular sectors for millennials to start small businesses in are arts, music, and entertainment (13 percent), food and beverage (12 percent), and retail and sales (10 percent).
The data also indicates that for many millennials, entrepreneurship isn’t just a career choice, but a lifestyle. 20 percent of millennials have sought out a community of other entrepreneurs, compared to less than 12 percent of Gen Xers, and less than five percent of boomers.
Entrepreneurial influences also start early. Nearly one in four millennials – 24 percent – shared that they’d come from a family of entrepreneurs and small business owners, while only 12 percent of baby boomers had a similar background. Can we expect future generations to have even more aspirations of owning their own business?
But perhaps the most telling stat of all was this: of those that have a small business 84 percent of millennials report being more satisfied as an entrepreneur than when they worked for other people.
As more and more people take the leap toward entrepreneurship and fulfilling their goals, we’ll be here to support them.
The post Entrepreneurship in 2019: new data shows that entrepreneurship is on the rise appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
We built GoDaddy Pro to provide two distinct capabilities for web designers & developers:
Our work started with GoDaddy Pro Clients, a single place to manage your clients GoDaddy accounts and view their purchase history. Then we added GoDaddy Pro Sites, a single dashboard to manage all your clients’ websites, regardless of where they’re hosted.
Until now, these two experiences were separate. You’d use the header dropdown menu to navigate between them, along with Pro Benefits and My Products.
With our latest update, we’re taking another step towards consolidating everything into a single, seamless dashboard.
Goodbye old header menu, hello new toolbar
We’ve removed the dropdown header menu that was used to navigate between Pro Clients, Pro Sites, and Pro Rewards. These can now be found in the new navigation toolbar.
Inspiration for the new toolbar came from the old sidebar in GoDaddy Pro Sites. We’ve set the sidebar free! Now you’ll find it everywhere in the GoDaddy Pro experience.
Managing your clients and their sites
The Clients icon in the toolbar takes you to the GoDaddy Pro Clients screen.
This is where you can find all the details about your clients’ GoDaddy accounts. That includes their GoDaddy product purchase history; delegated account access; and activity reports for their GoDaddy products.
The Sites icon takes you to the GoDaddy Pro Sites screen.
This screen contains information about all the sites you manage, regardless of where they’re hosted, and the clients that you manage them for.
The old Pro Sites Clients list is now a tab within the new Sites screen.
From here you can run client reports and leave freeform notes on your clients.
You can also jump to the Home and Benefits screens using the appropriate icons on the toolbar.
Need to get back to your My Products screen? In the toolbar, click Exit. This’ll take you back to the GoDaddy.com homepage. You can get to your products from there.
What’s next for GoDaddy Pro?
We’ll keep improving the GoDaddy Pro experience, but we can’t do it without your input.
Use the Send Feedback option under your GoDaddy Pro user profile menu to share your thoughts with us whenever you want:
From time to time, you may also see a prompt to leave a review of your experience using GoDaddy Pro. Please take a few minutes and leave a comment if you can – it’s a tremendous help for our team!
Not a GoDaddy Pro member yet? You’re missing out.
GoDaddy Pro is our free partner program for web designers & developers. Through GoDaddy Pro you can securely manage your clients’ GoDaddy accounts and their websites, no matter where they’re hosted. Plus you get exclusive benefits and perks for being a member.
Curious? Try it for yourself. Join GoDaddy Pro for free.
It may seem insignificant, but a section that is often overlooked on company web pages is the “Meet the Team” page. This tab is a small place where we dedicate a recognition to the individuals who make it possible for our site or company to prosper, and although it does not seem so important, the truth is that it helps a lot to create a positive image of your work.
The “Meet the Team” tab of a web page is essentially the work credits. But beyond presenting the faces of workers, this tab teaches us much more about the company itself. Whether we only put pictures of the faces, or a large panorama of the entire group, team pages are there to show the quality and commitment we have with others.
Not only do these pages give our clients and visitors a way of knowing who is responsible for completing their orders or bringing them daily news, but it also allows those who work with us will feel flattered that their efforts are being recognized, which will motivate them to continue working, and may even attract new employees.
If you do not have one of these pages, in this article created by our team at Amelia, we highly recommend you see the following examples of some fantastic pages.
Awesome meet the team pages
Lateral – The power of imagination
Being a design studio may have had a significant influence on the way Lateral organized their website. Whatever the cause, this is a style that undoubtedly gives importance to each worker, since everyone has a personal photo.
If you visit their page, you will see something very curious, as each headshot will look where your mouse is. Additionally, when highlighting an individual’s photo, the others will all look at it. These interactive employee profiles make us smile when we see them.
Kickstarter – Personal approach
The Kickstarter page shows its employee biographies alongside a small summary where you can see the commitment that each one has with the website. This also allows us to see their tastes in terms of projects, and how many they have personally endorsed.
Sub Rosa – The objects that describe us
The “Meet the Team” page is definitely unique in its style.Instead of seeing individuals and their physical characteristics, Sub Rosa encouraged employees to take a photo of several of their favorite objects, and explain the personal value they have.
This creative tactic makes it easier to meet the individuals behind the team, and it is a refreshing way that users do not usually see.
Rethink – That people don’t get bored
There are many ways to make a website interactive and enjoyable for the user. Rethink, honoring its namesake, created a page where each person from their team looks like a plastic figurine doing crazy poses.
Mimosa Agency – A brilliant design
This agency from Berlin focused all their creativity on the faces of the individuals who make up their team. The team page of this creative consulting agency is not excessively striking at the top, but brings a surprise pop of neon upon reaching the biographies of the employees.
Amazee Labs – Betting on the traditional
This collection of photos, as if it were an academic album, is an effective way to present each employee. The secret of the Amazee Labs team page is in the order that they manage to locate their elements and how they quickly make clear what position each worker occupies.
Salted Stone – Spontaneity is the key
Salted Stone’s company’s website maintains a design according to what they offer; however, this has not prevented to place many high-resolution images where you see the team working as they enjoy what they do.
In each photo, we can see smiles and a desire to continue enjoying the work environment; even pets have a place in the workplace!
Etsy – A great team
Fans of vintage products know that Etsy has one of the best pages to acquire what they. Not only is its catalog diverse, but it also has a huge team. Although they are many, this has not prevented everyone from having a space where they are recognized.
The page begins with great photos of the leaders, but a little below we realize that they represent less than 5% of the group. If you look closely, you will even find distinctively odd pictures.
Khan Academy – Meeting the teachers
There is nothing more important for a student than to feel comfortable with their teachers. This is the intention of having a “Meet the Team” page at the Khan Academy. To get closer to the students, each employee has a brief introduction.
Additionally, the page also has some information about other skills and certifications,as well as how they can be personally contacted.
Bolden – Don’t overdo it
Bolden’s page is much more conventional, and at first glance, we may not see its true potential. However, as soon as we select one of the employees, we can see a transition that gives it the only design touch it needs. A design that maintains the fundamentals so as not to distract the user.
Rock Kitchen Harris – A cartoon representation
If you are looking for great employee bio examples, you cannot miss the unique take that this English team applied. A standard profile image pose but replaced by a personalized cartoon of simple strokes and colors, which gives the brand a special, but very business-like, appearance.
Advantix Digital – The domain of the animated
Another example where cartoons stand out is how the Advantix Digital team seeks to promote its digital marketing brand through a striking presentation with strong colors, with facial drawings using flat colors but rich detailing.
On top of this artistic feature, each individual has a profile where we will also find some personal and work information.
Electric Pulp – Showing their programming experience
Do not be fooled by the simple appearance and pale color palette of this page; the reality is that the Electric Pulp team really shows how much they love their work when we hover over each image. They know how to draw attention to the creative solutions they offer for digital projects.
Oak & Rumble – Work and laughs
Coming from a company that specializes in video content, it is expected that the quality of the photos and the attention to details of this page to meet the staff is sublime. However, not everything is stoic and serious, as some funny faces are mixed into the tasks of this team.
Wistia – Let the movement invade you
From a distance, everything about this page seems normal. A group of frontal photos of the team, made up of 109 individuals(and a dog), is displayed. However, if we continue to scroll and move the mouse, the portraits come to life.
However, this is not even the page’s main attraction. At the top, we can select a “Drum Machine Mode”, which will turn this “Meet the Team” page into a musical instrument.
Humaan – No matter what, they are still human
It is very important to remember that aside from being employees and clients, we are all human. That is what Humaan’s team aimed to show by breathing life to each of the portraits of its employees.
In this case, not only a gif accompanies us to give this “Meet the Team” tab a dynamic feature, but also a personalized description of each member, some more serious than others, along with links to their social networks.
Digital Marmalade – Indicating their power level
The creativity of Digital Marmalade team is on full display through bar graphs and photographs on their page. They have added different data related to each one’s professional career, such as years of experience or in the company, as well as some personal information such as favorite food or favorite soccer team.
In addition, they also have a tab called “Superhero” where we can see nice montages with what we assume is that individual’s favorite hero. Who knew that the ability to fly would be comparable to the ability to program?
FCINQ – Breaking the mold
Thanks to the fun, irregular distribution of bubbles on this page, it breaks the traditional scheme of keeping everything uniform and tidy. When we click on one of the bubbles, an enlarged image of each worker’s profile appears, adopting a more common appearance.
Stink Studios – Everything is related
Stink Studios has made sure to create a page that keeps users busy with an abundance of information and related content. Each piece is integrated with some external link that leads to another site.
Search & Gather – A natural design
The Search & Gather site has an elegant and minimalist design, which displays some more traditional profile photos and information about the employees. This page proves that it is not necessary to have eccentric designs or long descriptions, since the natural appearance of the photographs is more than enough for this site to work.
Tips to make a functional and unique team bio
If you have finally decided that it is time to update your organization or company’s employee page, we have some additional tips to help you know how to start and what direction to take your design in.
If you enjoyed reading this article about the meet the team page, you should read these as well:
The post Awesome meet the team pages that you absolutely need to see appeared first on Amelia WordPress Booking Plugin.
Entrepreneurs who have successfully launched their venture hit an inflection point after their idea is off the ground. Once things are going and moving in the right direction, the “Manage It” stage of the entrepreneur journey is where all the pieces of the business get balanced and optimized and small business management comes into play.
Small business management is the process of optimizing all aspects of running a sustainable venture — including finance, marketing, product development, customer management, leadership, business planning, networking, decision-making and ongoing growth.
In addition, individual skills such as time management and personal productivity are required to successfully manage a small business.
In looking at the list above you might think, “This is a lot of stuff!” Yes, yes it is.
Yet these are the things an entrepreneur must consider to move their venture forward.
The things that are needed for entrepreneurial management differ from the tasks associated with entrepreneurial venture creation and initial growth.
Running a venture that is sustainable over time requires balancing many competing priorities.
5 aspects of small business management
Small business management covers many areas, including:
Let’s take a closer look at each of these aspects of small business management in the context of the Manage It phase of the entrepreneur journey.
Small business finance tips
When thinking about the Manage It phase of the entrepreneur journey, first and foremost, make sure your business model makes sense, and focus on managing investment and profitability.
John Furrier, who founded multiple businesses including SiliconANGLE, has a very clear perspective:
“[You] can’t go out of business with money in the bank, so focus on those billings and happy customers.”
Let’s dig into the first part of that thought: money in the bank. That’s not hypothetical money, that’s not potential money.
In professional services and freelancing businesses in particular, it’s common to send an invoice to a client for work that has been performed. But that’s not the same as actually having the money in hand.
Editor’s note: Microsoft Office 365 from GoDaddy can help keep you organized and get paid on time with features like Invoices and Outlook Customer Manager. Get paid on time and keep your client records organized, all in one place!
Get paid on time
To get the money in hand, you need to set up payment terms, plan for those terms, and most importantly, enforce them with your customers and partners.
Eric Weaver, who has been a part of multiple agencies and currently is a CEO of an early-stage startup, states in no uncertain terms that “the minute someone doesn’t pay you on time, act. Once partners or clients start late-paying, it creates a trend and mindset that’s hard to break. Be swift, be relentless, and be badass.”
That lag between when the invoice is sent and when the payment is received can sometimes be 60 to 90 days or more. This drag on cash flow can be painful to a small business.
To address this issue in her business, Cami MacNamara, a member of the GoDaddy Pro program, has an innovative approach to solve the problem of how to get clients to pay on time.
“The single biggest game-changer for me this year was putting all my new clients on a payment plan for new projects, based on 30-day increments, not based on milestones,” Cami says. “I wish I would have done this years ago.”
“[Clients] have to use PayPal to work with me on a new website design. I’ve been doing it since January 1st and I have signed six new clients with this method. IT HAS BEEN A GAME CHANGER for getting paid, keeping projects on time and most importantly, controlling my cash flow.
When I’ve sent a proposal to a client, they must schedule an in-person or over the phone proposal and contract review with me. We go over the proposal, contract and estimate together. We determine how much time a project may take and pick a payment plan.
The larger the project, the higher the price and the more time is the theory, but I did let a small business with a small invoice take the six-month plan because it was better for her cash flow. My [upfront] deposits are all smaller, but I really never want anyone to forfeit that. That wouldn’t be a good story for them to tell. They can’t sign my contract until we’ve reviewed and decided everything together.”
You can check out Cami’s full plan on how to make sure you always get paid as a freelancer.
Now of course, it’s much easier to ask customers and clients to pay on time if they feel the service you’re providing is in line with (or exceeds!) their expectations.
Additionally, it’s almost always more profitable to keep a customer than to lose one and then have to acquire a net-new customer in order to replace them.
To keep predictable revenue coming in during the Manage It stage, it’s important to think about customer retention.
Customer retention tips
“I retain clients by offering to handle everything else related to their site: domain name management, WordPress updates, and more complicated alterations on their sites.” ~ John Russell, owner of digital agency JS Web Solutions
There are a number of factors that influence whether a customer will defect or not.
If you’ve made it to the Manage It stage of your journey, you probably have the basics dialed in and you’re likely providing your service in a predictable manner. You are probably offering helpful support when your customers need it.
Yet, even in those circumstances, customers still sometimes leave. Why is that?
Maybe those customers who left weren’t the right customers for your venture in the first place.
Find the right customers
Lisa Stambaugh is a web pro who has delivered more than 675 websites to clients over her career. Part of that success comes from working with clients who understand and align with her business approach.
“[In a] service or consulting business where landing new clients is a one-by-one process, find (and only accept) clients who are the right fit for you. Describe your ideal client, establish your evaluation criteria, have an evaluation strategy,” Lisa recommends.
“I expect most new businesses go in with the assumption that they will take whatever work comes along, but after the business is established, they can start to be more selective in taking clients that will be the most productive, lucrative, and who are easy, fun and enjoyable to work with.”
Have a plan to retain current clients
Lisa’s point of view of only bringing on the right clients is echoed by John Hawkins, who knows that retaining those clients for the long term is critical for success.
John is a fixture in the WordPress community, and has been developing websites for clients for over 20 years. In 2014, he penned a series of blog posts highlighting a number of the things he wished someone would have told him when he was starting out, called “Y U No Tell Me?”
One of the posts in the Y U No Tell Me series goes to the heart of developing long-term business relationships with clients.
“When I look back to when we first started, I think we treated many of the early client projects as if we were in a race. We were just trying to churn and burn to get on to the next client. The missed opportunities of keeping some of those early clients around kills me,” John writes.
“[Now], we have a pretty solid list of long-term clients. The majority of the long-term clients we have didn’t come to us looking for a long-term relationship. They typically start off with the need for a one-off project and after it was completed they asked us to do something else. Then something else. So before you rush to move on to the next client, see if there’s something you can do to keep the current ones around.”
Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one, according to the Harvard Business Review.
Ventures in the Manage It stage of the journey need to track customer retention as a key metric on their monthly dashboard to manage this aspect of their business.
Small business networking and partnership tips
“By referring your clients to known and trusted professionals providing complementary services, everyone wins.” ~ Lisa Stambaugh, owner of Collective Discovery
During the Grow It phase of the entrepreneur journey, you might have relied on individual superhuman acts (read: sheer hustle, individual tenacity and lack of sleep) to get things off the ground and grow the venture.
You did what you had to do in order to get the momentum going.
However, in the Manage It phase, it might be time to consider ramping down the individual acts of heroism and replace them with intelligently growing your small business network and partnerships.
The importance of partnerships is a consistent theme from experienced entrepreneurs.
Find your “power partners”
Lisa Stambaugh says, “I call my inner circle of trusted pros my ‘Power Partners’ — they’re the ones who provide services that work in sync with mine, but don’t cannibalize work from me. Even though I don’t deliver what they do, I often have to work with them to make my clients successful.”
Building your small business network and nurturing partnerships takes some level of time and investment.
That investment can yield multiple benefits, including greater efficiency and maybe even a reduction in stress, as responsibilities can be shared with others.
Veteran entrepreneur Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com, says her best advice for managing the backend process of a small, growing business is to outsource tasks.
“Do not try to do anything you are unfamiliar with or feel uncertain you may be able to grasp the concepts,” Deborah says. “You may hire a full-time employee, like a developer, who specializes in this line of work and has an established portfolio and track record in this field. Or, you may outsource the work to a freelancer or contractor through a website like TaskRabbit, if you feel that some of these tasks may not be enough to warrant hiring a full-time employee for the business.”
Eric Weaver highlights the importance of thoughtful partner selection.
“Choose partners carefully, particularly if they’re a startup as well,” he cautions. “So many don’t make it, and if you outsource a critical task to a partner, and they’re struggling or fading, it’ll hinder your success, too.”
The importance of partnership is echoed in this post from John Hawkins, where he reminds us that you can’t do it all yourself:
“You started your business because you love doing something. For me, that is building websites. Doesn’t it make sense that you should try and spend as much time each day doing that thing that you enjoy and is probably what you are best at? You may not need a full time project manager, but maybe there’s somebody who could help you out a few hours a week to keep things in order for you. Hire (or partner with) somebody who likes to do those things you don’t like to do. (YES, there really are people who enjoy accounting.) Maybe you can find somebody to review your new business contact forms for you and weed out the ones that don’t fit your skill set. Hire somebody to help with social media and marketing.”
Working with trusted partners to predictably handle the non-core aspects of your venture is critical to the Manage It phase.
While you could do everything, take a hard look at what you are doing at each step of your marketing, service, customer support and back office management processes.
As you go through your day and your week, ask yourself the following question on nearly every task, “Does it have to be me doing this? Is this the most valuable thing I can be working on right now?”
If the answer is “no,” start to think about finding a partner who can handle the more repeatable or non-core tasks, or outsource them to a cost-effective assistant.
Tips on managing business growth
Entrepreneur John Mecke has run a mergers and acquisitions consultancy as well as a local retail store. In both cases, product and marketing growth balanced the known and the innovative.
“In year 2+ of any new business, a primary challenge is to scale up what worked in year one and mitigate the things that did not go well,” John advises.
“[For our retail business], the key growth strategy was to become competent at hyperlocal internet marketing. The store was small — about 2,000 square feet located in a grocery-anchored shopping center. There were about 5,000 people in the area two miles around the store, and three country clubs. We updated our website to include a detailed inventory of our bourbon selection, which was a niche we focused on. We optimized it for local and mobile search. We learned that about 20% of our customers were visitors to the area, so performing well on Google Maps search and Yelp! were important.”
“We stopped doing snail mail advertising and instead spent our money on some Facebook and Google ads,” John says. “These things combined probably drove 25% of our traffic and 40% of our profit. The out-of-town visitors paid a premium for convenience and we took advantage of that.”
Smart stuff, and that focus on execution has helped Mecke grow his businesses in two radically different industries.
Speaking of execution, the Manage It phase of your journey is the time to fine-tune your project management processes if you haven’t already done so.
Laurel Delaney, founder and president of Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global®, a nonprofit organization which educates women entrepreneurs and business owners, uses Trello for project management.
“We host monthly educational wegginars®, weggchats® and workshops at wegg® and the only way to manage those projects is to have all information in one place for our team members to access easily,” Laurel says.
“Full focus is vital to our success and to the women entrepreneurs and business owners we serve. We love the fact that we can keep track of everything — from big picture to the minutiae — on one platform, have fun, put on great programs, and help people grow global.”
Consider the why
When thinking about business growth, however, also think very clearly about why you want the business to grow. Is it to serve customers better? Satisfy investors? Or is it to feed an internal need?
There’s no right or wrong answer, but knowing the why is important.
Consultant and author Paul Jarvis, author of the book Company of One, focused on goals, rather than growth for growth’s sake.
Bigger is not always better. Manage to your goals, and work your plan.
Tips for small business leadership in the Manage It stage
“If you are open to and embrace change, even with an established business, your team will be ready and willing to follow making everyone as productive as possible.” ~ Nellie Akalp, founder and CEO of CorpNet.com
Nellie Akalp, founder and CEO of CorpNet.com, takes a pragmatic approach to leading an organization in the Manage It phase of the Journey.
“Once a business is established and bringing in cash, you may think you have it all figured out,” she says. “Most of the time, though, unfortunately, that’s not the case and that mindset really hampers productivity for you and your team. There is no auto-pilot for most businesses.”
“It’s important that founders stay open-minded for changing courses of a business that most-often naturally happen. You plan for one thing, but a new course takes shape that is worth pursuing and could be more beneficial.
If you are open to and embrace change, even with an established business, your team will be ready and willing to follow making everyone as productive as possible.
After managing my sales team daily for the last 10-plus years, I’ve found that no tool, resource, or retreat could connect us like mutual respect does. If you don’t respect your team, they won’t respect you and the enterprise you’ve spent so much time building will crumble.
Business owners and leaders should be in the trenches with the team. Be the first one in and the last one out showing your team that you care about their business and that will make them do the same.
Not everyone will get along — but everyone can find a way to mutually respect one another. Respect in the office is a fundamental ingredient to any long-term successful business and it starts with those daily operations from your sales and marketing teams.”
Small business management is a journey
The grit needed to get to this point is absolutely still part of the recipe for success. But the Manage It stage is as much about reflection and thoughtful application of the skills that have been gained over the previous stages as it is about the sheer force of will it took to arrive here.
Connecting up with others who are also on the Journey, and doing so from a place of mutual trust and respect, not only helps to make the venture more successful, it makes the path more human. And even in a highly digital world, human connections matter.
The new year is almost here … If you haven’t had the chance to pin down any local business resolutions yet, here’s an idea: Give your social media, email marketing and website an upgrade to drive more results in 2020.
Editor’s note: GoDaddy Social can help you elevate your social media marketing strategy and save you valuable time.
5 local business resolutions
Get motivated to succeed with your website, social media and email marketing with our top five local business resolutions this year:
It’s time to tackle these winning local business resolutions for 2020.
1. Optimize your social media pages
The first of our local business resolutions is to give all of your social media pages an audit and an upgrade. When your potential customers are looking online for a business like yours, they’ll be more likely to find you and visit your business if you have optimized your pages.
How can you optimize your pages? Start by spiffing up your presence on social media and review sites.
Check these items off your list:
Upload new and improved profile and cover photos
These should be high-quality images that are consistent across all platforms.
Take the time to make sure all of your business information is accurate
Update all of your pages like Google My Business, Facebook and Yelp with your current business hours, location, phone number, etc. If your business info is accurate, it will it easier for customers to call you or come visit.
Write a catchy new description of your business
Use the new year as a time to update your Twitter and Instagram bios using relevant hashtags, emojis and links.
Use the “Our Story” section on your Facebook page to tell your customers who you are. This is the time to tell your story in your voice.
Refresh the photos on your review sites
Adding photos to your Google My Business and Yelp profiles will help your customers know what to expect when they come to your business. And, it’s an opportunity to show off any new products or services you offer.
Respond to reviews and Facebook recommendations
Kick off the new year with excellent social media customer care.
Make sure all of your customer reviews and recommendations have responses from your business. It’s a great way to show how much you care about your customers going into the new year.
2. Create a content calendar and post awesome content
While it’s important to create goals and set local business resolutions in the new year, it’s equally important to make personal goals.
Take a step back and consider how you can create more breathing room for yourself this year when it comes to planning your online marketing strategies.
Even making one process more efficient can help save time.
Create a content calendar
Here’s where we come in.
Next up, for local business resolutions for 2020 — set up a content calendar.
Are you posting on social media on the fly? That can be stressful as you can feel like you can never catch up with the number of posts you need to create.
Think about what you can post that will prompt your followers to pay your business a visit in early 2020 and all year long and start to put a working document together.
Brainstorm some post ideas for the months ahead that will garner organic engagement and plot those out on a content calendar for the upcoming months.
You can also come up with some paid campaign ideas and set aside a budget to use throughout January.
Think about holidays and important dates for your business. You can then schedule your content using Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, Facebook’s publishing tools or Instagram’s drafts function so you can post when it makes sense for you.
Even just an extra 30 minutes a day saved with planning out your social media content can reinvigorate you and help get you ahead this year.
Related: Holiday marketing checklist
Post awesome content
Next, think about the content you can post in 2020 that will start conversations and get potential customers interacting with you on social media and review sites.
Purposeful, engaging content is the kind that draws customers in, then gives them the two-way conversations they’re looking for.
Here are some ways you can do that:
Post in-the-moment content on Instagram Stories. In this example, the business uses Instagram Stories to show off the new products in their newest collection.
Boost content on Facebook. Boosting content on Facebook is a great way to reach more people who might be interested in your content but don’t necessarily follow you on Facebook.
But, before you boost, make sure you’re choosing a post that has earned some organic engagement first.
You can see with those likes and comments that the post would be a good candidate for a boosted Facebook post if the business wanted to spread the word about that product.
Retweet and quote tweet on Twitter. When you retweet other Twitter users, they will get a notification that you shared their content.
Plus, retweets from other users make your feed look more interesting and varied.
Incorporate user-generated content across social media. Resharing what other users are posting about your brand or business on Instagram is not only free advertising, but it’s also free content.
Don’t let that opportunity pass you by — share it.
Customers value brands that are friendly, responsive and receptive to feedback, so don’t just post — react, follow up, respond and thank the people that engage with you.
3. Reconnect with loyal customers through email marketing
If you’re not prioritizing email marketing, 2020 is the year to add it to your list of local business resolutions.
Make it a goal to start collecting email addresses this year so you can maximize brand awareness and stay at the top of your customers’ minds (and inboxes).
You can collect emails by adding a widget to your website, posting prompts on social media, or even setting up a clipboard next to your cash register.
Email marketing is a great way to reach the people who already love your business and who have opted in to receive communication from you.
With those emails, you can keep in touch with your biggest fans in a personalized way to keep them coming back.
Once you have an email list, it’s time to start setting up some email marketing campaigns.
Just remember to set a goal for your campaign and focus on one thing to keep your readers’ attention. Are you promoting a special or sale? Do you want your customers to sign up for an event?
Keep your email focused on one thing you want your customers to do next. The recipient should be able to know what your message is about quickly, then what the next step is to take.
Some good email marketing examples include offering specials and coupons, (discounts are often the main reason why people subscribe to newsletters,) reminders to book or buy again, or upgrades to memberships or status.
Once you have them hooked, give them a clear call-to-action. You can increase conversion rates by nearly 28% by including a call-to-action button.
This will make it easy for your customers to take the next step.
4. Rejuvenate your website
Think of your website as your virtual storefront.
At your business, you probably change your featured products as your inventory changes. You might feature new menu items or update your window signage with each new season.
In the same way, you’ll want to update your website so it stays fresh and draws in both new and loyal customers.
Your customers will be excited to see your enhancements and will spend a little extra time clicking around your website and checking out your new products and services for the new year.
You’ll also want to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.
You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to wow your customers with everything your business has to offer when they’re searching for you on mobile.
Make sure you have a responsive website that allows your customers to view your products, book your services, or easily get in contact with you.
5. Collaborate with your neighbors
Keep in mind that other small businesses in your community can be huge resources for you ( and vice versa).
Whether you choose to connect with an owner across the street or across town, there are tons of ways to boost your business by collaborating with other small businesses.
Participating in a local event — like a street fair, sip-n-shop or joint discount program — helps you drive interest from your partner’s customer base and allows you to amplify your marketing efforts, together.
You can combine budgets, offers and promotional efforts around one common event or goal.
Even swapping business cards with a neighboring establishment to display at your register is a great way to maximize this marketing opportunity.
Here’s an example. You run a local movie theater and have decided to join together with a restaurant across the street. You let your customers now that if they show their movie ticket stubs at the restaurant, they can get a free milkshake. That’s an incentive to both go to the movies and visit the restaurant.
Now, that’s neighbors helping neighbors!
By connecting with other local businesses in your neighborhood, you can build brand awareness, gain new customers, and make a difference in your community.
Resolve to amp up your local business in 2020
There you have it — five resolutions you can make to better your business in the new year. Pick at least one strategy and set a goal to make it happen — then measure your results, tweak to improve, and repeat.
Here’s to a great 2020!
The post 5 business resolutions for your local venture in 2020 appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Domain investing can be an awesome and rewarding experience. Over the last 10 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with domain investors of all sizes and stages. One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive from new domain investors is regarding domain investing pitfalls that I’ve seen in my decade of experience. Today, we’ll cover what investment traps I tend to commonly see.
6 common domain investing pitfalls
While I can’t cover all of the possible pitfalls in this guide, I want to share with you some of the most common issues I see for new domain investors and how you can avoid them. Here are six of those pitfalls:
Let’s get started.
1. Don’t view domain investing as a way to get rich quick
It is probably best to get this one out first: Investing in domain names is not a way to get rich quick.
It is common to see blogs or social media posts that talk about how a domain was bought for $200 and then sold for $20,000. With those sorts of numbers, one might think that it is easy to make money on domain investing.
What you aren’t seeing in those posts, however, are the overall strategy and hard work that the owners put into their portfolios that led them to those individual sales.
Most successful domain investors that I know are some of the hardest workers I’ve ever met, so if you are looking to get rich without much effort, then domain investing is probably not for you.
2. Don’t skimp on the research
I’ve met too many new domain investors who have not taken the time to learn from existing knowledge that has been shared on how to invest in domain names before taking the plunge themselves.
While it might be possible to be successful without learning from others, your probability of success is much higher if you take the time to learn from the mistakes and successes of others and then apply what you learn to your own strategy.
Here are a few resources that I recommend to anyone interested in getting into domain investing:
This is a great site that starts you at the basics of what a domain is and walks you through how to acquire, value and sell domain names. Yes, there is a cost associated with it, but in my opinion, if you don’t already have friends in the industry to guide you, then this is a must-have to start your journey.
NameBio is a great resource to see what domains have been selling for, which is not only helpful in pricing your domains but also can be a good reference point to a domain’s potential worth before buying a domain name.
Learn from the experts.
At DomainSherpa, there are hundreds of interviews with successful domain investors who each have different strategies to learn from. I’d recommend starting with the “Top 10” interviews and expand from there. If you are a podcast listener, then their regular podcast is a great way to consume domain investing information while driving, running, etc.
NamesCon (or other domain investor events)
Domain investor events are time and money well spent.
Sometimes explaining what you do to your friends and family can be hard or confusing, but when you are at a domain investor event, you are surrounded by like-minded people who understand what you do. As a result, this is a great place to bounce ideas off of people and make friends with people who can become future confidants as you make your way in domain investing.
GoDaddy has resources such as Premier Services (your account must qualify for this service) that can assist you with growing your domain portfolio. GoDaddy also has a Partner Seller team that can assist you in listing and optimizing your domain portfolio to give you the highest likelihood of sales.
You can contact that team for a free consultation by emailing: PartnerSeller@afternic.com.
Stay up-to-date on the latest domain news
From blogs like TheDomains.com, DnJournal.com, DomainInvesting.com and DomainNameWire.com (which also has an excellent podcast) to forums like NamePros, there is an abundance of knowledge and news being shared about the industry.
Even if every post does not apply to what you are doing or your specific strategy, staying up-to-date on the latest news will ensure you are on top of your game and learning from others.
3. Don’t run too fast
Nothing pains me more than talking to someone who has spent their entire investment budget on bad domain names.
Over the years, I have been on more phone calls than I can count where I had to break the news to someone that they just spent their entire budget on domains that would not sell. There isn’t a single domain investor who hasn’t made mistakes or bought some bad domains in the beginning. Everyone does it at some point, so the key is to move slow enough that you have time to learn from your mistakes and adjust.
Define your domain investing strategy and lay out a plan on how to execute and measure its success.
Test out your strategy, refine it as needed, and only after you see indicators of success should you accelerate.
If your strategy fails, that’s OK. You can regroup, do some more research and come up with something new. Make calculated decisions on what you are going to do; don’t just jump headfirst into a strategy that you have not proven yet.
4. Don’t treat a domain investing business like a hobby
This is an easy domain investing pitfall to fall into.
Growing up, I collected sports cards and memorabilia as a hobby. As time went on, I discovered that I could buy cards off eBay and sell them at my local sports card shop for far more than I originally paid, allowing me to fund more acquisitions of sports cards. Once I learned this, I decided to transition my hobby into a business.
After I’d made the decision to become a business, I was looking to acquire an autographed Peyton Manning helmet and considered liquidating some of my basketball card collection to fund it. I brought my collection to my local shop and became upset at the offer that was being made on my Steve Nash and Shawn Marion rookie cards. I was a hardcore Phoenix Suns fan and, to me, those cards meant much more than the face value that was being offered.
It was then that I realized that I had grown attached to my basketball card collection and was not truly willing to part with any of them at a reasonable price. My reluctance to let go of those cards meant that I was still a hobbyist and not a business.
Over the years, I have run into a lot of domain hobbyists. It’s OK to have a handful of favorite domain names that you would be hard-pressed to part with. But if you are a new domain investor and you are too attached to your domains, it can become difficult to churn a profit.
A good philosophy that many domain investors use is to ask yourself: “If I sold this domain for this price today, how many other similar quality domains could I buy (whether on expiry or elsewhere) to replace it?”
5. Don’t invest in domains for which you can’t explain potential use cases
When buying a domain, you should be able to explain how a business or person could use the domain.
If you have a hard time explaining the value the domain is going to provide to a business, the chances that a business or person will pay a premium price for the domain is low.
Taking it a step further, pay attention to the word structure of the domain.
Take the time to walk through the use case of the domain you are interested in.
An example from my own domain investing is PodSoup.com. I saw the domain on a GoDaddy closeout auction and became excited because I could think of several use cases for the domain. First, I knew that podcasts have been on the rise and I could imagine some sort of soup-for-the-soul podcast being able to brand itself as PodSoup.
Next, I thought with all the at-home meal kits, wouldn’t it be cool if someone came up with a system to make a soup into a little pod that you just need to drop into a bowl of hot water for amazing at-home soup — a literal pod for soup.
Feeling confident in my use cases, I went ahead with my purchase of PodSoup.com. After I received my new domain, I listed PodSoup.com for sale on Afternic and received a sold notification within less than a month. With the domain selling so quickly, I started to wonder if maybe I hadn’t priced the domain high enough. This seed of doubt leads me to my next tip.
6. Don’t second guess your sale price just because it sold quickly
Every domain investor has an experience just like mine.
They buy a domain name, research a fair sales price, and list it for sale. The domain sells quickly and they immediately second guess if they lost money by pricing it that low.
And yes, that might be possible — you might have been able to sell the domain for more than it sold for. However, it’s also possible that if you had priced it higher, you might not have sold the domain at all.
My advice is to do your research, price your domains appropriately, and be happy with what you get.
I was able to take my profits from the sale of PodSoup.com to buy another 50+ domains on GoDaddy Auctions of similar quality (and have sold a couple of those domains since).
If you are not able to replace the domain names you sell, then you should consider re-evaluating your pricing.
Ultimately, a big part of being confident in your pricing comes down to understanding the economics of a domain portfolio.
As you form your strategy, using metrics such as Average Sale Price (ASP), Sales Velocity (SV) and Revenue Per Domain (RPD) will help you gauge the success of your portfolio over time and be more confident in your approach to acquisitions and pricing.
It’s important to remove the emotion from your domain sales.
Conclusion and next steps
Domain investing is hard work, but at the end of the day, it can be super rewarding.
While it may not be a way to get rich quick, as you utilize your resources to create and test a solid game plan, you will put yourself on the road to success.
Recognizing yourself as a business and putting sound reasoning into each domain acquisition will allow you to implement your gameplan.
Don’t second guess yourself, measure your business metrics for any adjustments that may be needed, but don’t base decisions on emotions. As you avoid these potential domain investing pitfalls, you can set yourself up for the highest chance of success in domain investing.