“There are a number of things to consider during the research stage if you are planning on launching or re-launching a product or service online. Even if you are not changing your brand name, there are a number of things that you should review to ensure that potential customers find you easily, but most importantly, that your brand name is protected.”
Register Domains and Social Profiles
Some of the basic pointers she outlined were:
Secure the trademark
Decide on a date to go live
Register and redirect domains
Claim all social profiles
One of the first steps I always take myself is to see if the domain name is available for the name I’m planning on using, initially the .com and if that one is available then I’ll grab the .net and .org too. And its not all about the .com anymore either with a whole bunch of newer TLD’s in usage these days (there’s another older post of mine at Buzzsonic that talks about domain name extensions for music businesses), including .dj .tv .ly .la .cd .fm and .it just to name a few.
There’s a complete list of domain name extensions available via governing body IANA here.
MakeUseOf.com have a handy roundup of domain name search tools and ideas in their post, ‘10 Unusual Domain Name Search Tools to Find Hot Domains‘. Be aware though and Samantha did bring this up at her Brighton SEO branding presentation, that should your chosen name be available, don’t leave it until later to register.
I have found, to my dismay that I’ve lost a few good brand name ideas by not securing the domain name straight away. Mysteriously (or not) you could find, the next time you go back to register the name, its been snapped up.
For the more exotic domain name extensions I use 101Domain to see what’s available outside the plain Vanilla .com and .net’s of this world. I recently started snapping up a few names with the Indian extension .in, primarily because there was a $2.99 firesale at my registrar of choice Name.com.
Branding Inspiration & Ideas
Nameboy will give you some ideas by generating a bunch of names from keywords showing you a list of what’s available and bases its results on a primary word and a secondary word. Domai.nr is another clever idea which generates names as you type in the search box and Namevine searches for a domain name and matching social media profiles.
Social Name Check
Once you’ve discovered your domain name is available you’ll want to secure all the major social media profiles (and any you speculate might take-off later) for that name. Not sure you’ll want to go so OTT with 500+ social profiles (cripes!) but Knowem.com will search 575 social networks and over 150 domain names for your brand, which for a rising pay scale, starting at $75 (depending on numbers) will secure the brand for you. Great for those with more money than time.
Namechk‘only’ checks 159 different social networks (I think that’s probably enough!) and quickly tells you which ones are available, as well as any available matching domain name’s. The site will export the results as a text file for reference too and they have an iPhone app for idea brainstorming on the move. Neat.
Trademark Your Brand
One final point. Just because you have the domain name and the Twitter and Facebook vanity URL’s doesn’t mean you own the trademark, so make sure you search the trademark registry in your country (here’s the USA and the UK ones for starters).
I’ve been using WordPress since 2005 and I swear by it these days, simply because its so versatile, infinitely customisable, robust, oh, and its free too. My early experience with content management systems was with PHP-Nuke, then Mambo, Joomla and B2Evolution (B2/Cafelog, was the precursor to WordPress).
But there has been incredible development on WordPress in the following years and I really couldn’t see myself using anything else, such is the support, the plug-ins and the adaptability of the platform. Its something you never stop learning too, learning about plug-ins, themes (free and paid), how to tweak themes, add text widgets….
Anyway, I’ve collected a whole box load of very useful resources over the years and really that’s the thing, if you’re prepared to read a lot you can turn yourself into something of a WordPress guru with a little patience.
Remember that old Chinese proverb:
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
I’m not saying this is the definitive list of WordPress resources but its a great starter kit and will save you a lot of time should you be considering whether to go it alone with your own install, or whether you’d prefer to let someone else do the heavy lifting for you!
Getting Started Resources
Getting Started With WordPress from Tasty Placement is a great instructional that holds your hand with writing and editing webpages on your WordPress site and shows you the basics on how to manage WordPress, including logging in, posting new articles and pages, uploading images, creating and editing menus and widgets and some more advanced features.
Another good easy to navigate WordPress starters guide with easy to understand instructions is ‘A Simplified Users Guide to WordPress’, which, according to the authors is intended to be a simple guide to using WordPress for those new to managing a WP powered site. In particular those who’ve had their WP site set up for them by a web designer or developer.
WordPress Mentor has a very handy WordPress setup checklist which runs through five difference stages and checklists to tick off. Install: The basic WordPress installation. Secure: Hardening the WordPress installation. Configure: Adjust WordPress settings. Connect: Connect WordPress to online services.Optimise: Adjust WordPress performance. There’s the HTML version or a much neater PDF download which you can get free for an email address. Worth it.
As if that wasn’t enough to read, Tentblogger has a huge series of blog posts under the umbrella, ‘The Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog’. Sit yourself down, strap yourself in, there’s 55 posts on everything from WordPress security settings, SEO tips and tools, recommended Plugins, setting up Google Analytics and all points in between. Brilliant.
Another useful tool that is aimed squarely at developers, is DesktopServer from ServerPress, which basically enables you to have a server on your desktop machine (PC/Mac) so you can test and develop your WordPress install locally without publishing online until you’re quite happy with the results.
There’s a basic free edition which allows you to create up to three websites, or the paid version which has unlimited website projects. There are several other similar tools for Devs, like Bitnami, Instant WordPress and WampServer (and the Mac equivalent MAMP).
Now We’re Up And Running.
Things to consider after your WordPress install is up and running. Content writing tips, SEO and tech tools.
‘Ready, Set, Write: The Ultimate Guide to Blogging’, is a free PDF guide to getting the most from your blogging experience. Put together by the Content Marketing Institute, the 37 page guide runs through everything from developing your blogging voice and strategy, tips for writing really amazing content, getting your content seen and shared, measuring your impact and ensuring success. There’s a host of tips, case studies and tools here you can use to build and maintain a successful blog that benefits you and your business.
And more content ideas from the Content Marketing Institute. ‘12 Things to Do After You’ve Written a New Blog Post‘ , ideas that I’m going to have to put into action once I’ve finished writing this blog post! But basically the post delves into ideas on how to spread your content successfully using social media, RSS and forums. Its basic stuff nowadays, but if you need some kind of bullet list you could do worse than start here.
You don’t always have WiFi when you’re on the move, despite this utopian dream of always on, everywhere, that’s hardly the case for most unless you have bottomless pockets! So, if I get the urge to write offline, Windows Live Writer is my weapon of choice. Why not just use Open Office, MS Office Word or a text editor?
Well, the advantage of Windows Live Writer is that as long as you sync it up with your WordPress blog (or multiple blogs) when you first set it up, it formats everything just like it would in WordPress and it has a preview function. You might even like it so much you could bypass going into the WordPress admin all together and use Live Writer from your desktop. Excellent tool.
Performance & Plugins
More geekiness (I guess!) from DBS Interactive who have an awesome WordPress reference guide, which basically is an online handbook ‘WordPress V3.0+ Template Tag Reference Guide‘, which guides you through the various template tags (obviously!) and is one of the best reference’s I’ve seen of this nature, comprehensive, well laid out and extremely useful. Naturally if you haven’t got to the stage where you want to get your hands dirty with coding then fair enough, but if you do….
And finally a couple of SEO resources.
The first is from Yoast, ‘The Definitive Guide To Higher Rankings For WordPress Sites‘. Yoast know a thing or two about WordPress SEO, being the people behind the super popular WordPress SEO Plugin and this is one of the most complete SEO guides you’re likely to see. Essential. And if you want a second opinion, DIYThemes have an equally essential, self explanatory guide, ‘WordPress SEO for Everybody’. An ongoing tutorial which the writers say, “in it, you’ll learn how to use ethical, legitimate ways to get your WordPress blog ranking higher in the search engines.” Good enough, and it certainly is.
That should be enough to keep you going for weeks I hope. If you have any further tips and resources I’ve missed out please mention them in the comments and we’ll keep this thing updated.