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The secret behind every great website is a top-notch design. You could have a memorable domain name, set up promotion campaigns to direct traffic to your website, and have an awesome product or service to offer, but if your website doesn’t have an intuitive and appealing design then visitors will bounce from your page as quickly as they arrived.

Fortunately, designing a website that looks good and works well isn’t difficult. Make sure your website design is the best it can be by following these tips:

1. Embrace minimalistic design

Designing your website with a minimalistic approach boils down to keeping your website uncluttered and simple. This is especially important on your homepage, where you’ll want to space out images and text to keep an even and organized feel that guides your site’s visitors to the different subpages you want them to click on.

For a great example of minimalistic homepage design, check out Milk.xyz’s homepage below.

2. Make text easy to read

When you design your website with a minimalist style, that doesn’t mean you need to cut out having text. Wherever you do plan on putting content, though, just make sure the paragraphs aren’t too long or filled with difficult language and jargon.

Accessibility is key to getting visitors to stay on your page, and a welcoming website design is one that uses short paragraphs of text with concise sentences.

For inspiration on the right way to design text on your website, check out how Hyperlab.xyz does it below.

3. Remember: Mobile First!

We’ve talked about the importance of designing your site using “Mobile first” in the past, but it bears repeating here. Odds are the majority of your website’s visitors will be accessing your page via a mobile device, so designing your website to look appealing on a mobile device first, then scaling the design up to look great on desktop is the best way to ensure your site keeps visitors no matter where they’re accessing your page from.

Supernova.xyz is a great example of the kind of beautiful look you can get by designing your website with mobile first.

4. Set up your site so you guide the user through it

When you design your website, imagine it’s like a map. You are drawing the lines of the streets and where they lead, but the user is the one driving the car. Set up eye-catching call-to-action (CTA) buttons leading to important subpages, and use text placement along with enticing, clickable images that lead visitors to the information you want them to see or the pages you want them to dig deeper into.

One great example of a well-mapped site is MIT’s Engine.xyz.

5. Let your personality show

Adding the personal touch of your brand, your idea, or even you yourself when you design your website will endear visitors to the content you’re displaying and make them more interested in engaging with what you’re showing them.

For ideas on how to design your website with a unique personal touch, check out JovelRoystan.xyz.

6. Set up tracking on your site to optimize your design

You’re going to be putting serious effort and time into designing your website. Make sure it’s worth your while and take full advantage of tracking tools like Google Analytics to see where your site traffic is coming from, which pages visitors stay on the longest, and what pages users navigate to and from the most. This will help you identify what is working on your site, and let you see exactly what tweaks need to be made to get the most from every visitor to your website.

These tips will help you design a website that not only looks fantastic, but works to get you the results you want. Now that you’re ready to design a beautiful website, don’t miss your chance to submit it in XYZ’s website design contest where you could win an iPad Pro!

All the details on how to win can be found at www.gen.xyz/giveaway, and the contest is running from now until July 31st. Get your .xyz domain and get started on building your winning site today at www.gen.xyz/register.

On May 25, 2018, the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will go into effect. The GDPR laws are the result of years of lawmakers’ efforts to create a system that is prepared to protect consumers privacy and information against the data breaches and security threats that have been steadily increasing across the web.

To help you make sure you’re ready for the changes GDPR will bring, this week’s installment of XYZ’s Internet “How-to’s” is all about GDPR; What GDPR is, Why GDPR matters, and how you can prepare for GDPR’s implementation.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is the EU’s set of rules and regulations that are designed to protect EU consumers online from identity theft, invasion of privacy, and leaks of personal data into the hands of malicious actors online. The GDPR provisions regulate organizations or businesses that collect, transfer or process consumer information online, especially sensitive information like names, addresses, credit card numbers, and more.

GDPR regulations ensure consumers’ data remains safe by placing legal obligations on any business or organization online that handles that information. These obligations include things like making sure the organization keeps records on how they process data and even harsh legal penalties for organizations that are subjects of data breaches.

How to prep for GDPR as a business

If you’re a business owner with a client base in the EU, you must prepare to abide by the new laws before May 25 or be subject to fines. The number one priority you should have is to get in compliance with the laws, if you haven’t already. You should also prepare your organization’s data collection methods and data storage systems. Send your consumer’s opt-in privacy notifications and tell them how you will protect their data.

Most importantly, invest in the cybersecurity of your company. There are many cybersecurity best practice guides available online, but if you need to look further and enlist outside help via a cyber protection service, don’t hesitate to do so.

How to prepare for GDPR as an individual

As an individual preparing for GDPR, your main concern should be to take note of the opt-ins that you receive from companies who have your information online and make sure that you approve of how they will be handling your information. If you don’t feel comfortable with the measures they are taking, it is your right to opt-out and have your information removed from that company’s database.

Be careful, though, when completing privacy opt-ins. Since many companies are sending these privacy opt-ins via email, scammers and fraudulent agents are seizing this time of increased security opt-in emails to pose as companies or organizations and trick consumers by into giving over their personal data. Remember, a legitimate company sending a privacy opt-in will NEVER ask for personal information like your name, address, or credit card number. You should also check the email address you received the opt-in from, and make sure it matches the company or organization’s website.

How to prepare for GDPR as a domainer

Security is of the utmost importance online, so consider protecting your domains by adding registrar locks on them. This will give you an added layer of control over your domain and ensure it is not taken or falls into the wrong hands.

Similarly, you should also consider adding two-factor authentication on your domains. This will ensure that you are notified any time someone is trying to access your domain name, and you can detect suspicious behavior right when it happens and keep your domains safe.

GDPR is set to have a far-reaching effect on the internet, but if you follow this guide you will be knowledgeable of the coming changes and ensure you are prepared for them. Be sure to read our past “How to” posts if you’ve missed any, and stay up to date on all things XYZ by following us on Instagram. We’ll be back next week with another internet How To, so be sure to stay tuned to our blog for more!

*Nothing in this blog post constitutes legal advice.

When you want to build a website, choosing a domain name is the first, and possibly most important, decision you need to make. No matter if you’re building a website for your business or organization, or just want to create a website to show off some of your hobbies, choosing a domain name shouldn’t hold you up from getting your website up and running. Below are some helpful tips to follow to make sure you choose a domain name that’s perfect for you so you can get to building your website quicker.

1. Shorter is better

Short domain names are: a) easy to remember, b) easier to spell correctly, c) faster to type, d) easier to read, e) fit better on advertisements or business cards.

In a past study done on the top 1 million websites as ranked by Alexa, Gaebler found that sites became less popular as their character length increased, and the top 10,000 domains in the list had 8 characters or less. So, if you choose a domain name that is short, you’ll be much better off in the long run.

2. Make it brandable

If you’re choosing a domain name for your business, go with your company name over something generic about your product. This will also help you keep things shorter and more memorable, which is easier to promote.

3. Avoid hyphens and numbers

Choosing a domain name with hyphens or numbers may seem like an easy workaround to getting a shorter domain, but these make the domain harder to type and remember. Numbers cause confusion (is it spelled out or just the number?) and hyphens can easily be forgotten when someone is typing out your domain name.

4. Secure Keyword Domains

In some industries, the majority of a company’s business will come from online leads, so having specific keywords in your domain can help you rank higher in searches for that product or service. For example, you can register Plumbing.xyz for your plumbing service, instead of settling for something like BillsHomeRepairServices.com

5. Use your location

If you’re creating your website for a localized audience, you can connect with them by including your city or state in your domain. Securing MikesPizzaLA.xyz or LawyersNY.xyz not only show that regional audience that you are serving them, but can also help you improve your organic search rankings.

6. Get a domain to match your social media handles

One of the essential places to promote your site will be on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Unfortunately, just as it can be a struggle to get the domain that matches your brand before it’s gone, the same is true for getting your social media handles.

Using your domain extension in your social media profiles (like @PublicSpace.xyz or @TheLushLife.xyz) ensures you’ll get the handle that matches your brand, and also doubles as a promotion of your website.

7. Do your research

Before you choose a domain and put down the money to register it, make sure that the name you want isn’t trademarked or copyrighted by someone else. You could end up dealing with a legal battle for the domain and potentially lose it for good.

To be safe, check that the domain you want to choose isn’t something already registered in the Trademark Clearing House.

8. Protect your brand

On the flip side, if you have trademarked your business name or slogan, make sure you’ve secured the domain to match it. As mentioned in the last tip, there are legal avenues to follow if bad actor is using a domain named after a trademark you own, but it’s easier to avoid the whole mess in the first place by securing your brand and registering your names before the bad actor can even get to it. Plus, if you’re struggling to choose a domain name, it’s always a no-brainer to register your brand name and trademarks!

Choosing a domain name can seem like a daunting task, but following these tips will ensure that you choose the domain name that’s perfect for you, and one that you will be happy with for as long as you own it. Feeling like your ready to choose a domain name and get your website online? Head to gen.xyz/register and get your own .xyz domain for just $0.99 with promo code ‘GENXYZ’.

If you missed any of our past Internet “How-Tos” on ‘How to build a website’ and ‘How to design your site using “mobile first”’, be sure to catch up on them and make sure you’re prepared to not only choose a domain name, but build a fantastic website on your domain! We’ll see you again next month with a new helpful internet “How-To”!

If you’re looking for guidance when building your website, the thing you’ll hear most often from website designers, developers, and even savvy business owners is “mobile first”. But what does mobile first mean? And why do you need to care about mobile first for your website?

To start, mobile first refers to a strategy you should employ when building your site; think about how it will look on mobile first, then work your way up to designing for bigger screens. Mobile traffic dethroned traditional desktop traffic as the main source of internet usage back in 2016, and has only been steadily (and rapidly) rising ever since. You need a mobile first approach because your website is most likely going to be accessed using a phone or tablet. No matter how great your site looks on a desktop, an ugly mobile site will lead to less page-viewing time and higher exit rates.

For help building your website with the mobile first approach, below are some important guidelines to follow.

1. Think about the overall “big picture” of your site first.

  • This advice is the same starting guideline that we gave you in last week’s post on how to build a website, but it still rings true with mobile first. If you get bogged down with the details, you’ll add much more time to the site-building process, and you’ll likely focus too much on insignificant details. But with mobile first, you want to consider how things will look on a small screen. That means smaller images and more Calls to Action (CTAs) higher up the page so site visitors don’t need to scroll and click too much before you get them where you want them to go.

2. Before you build out the content, make a site map.

  • This is another bit of advice we gave last week, but it is still important in mobile first design as well. Your site map will remain the same for both your desktop and mobile site, but you need to consider the smaller screen, and the fact that your site visitor will be using touch gestures to navigate your site, not a mouse. Keep things as simple as possible, and get the site visitor to your final CTA as soon as possible.

3. Design the site so it is easy to look at on mobile, and also easy to get around on mobile.

  • This means designing your site with:
    • Large touch targets that are easy to tap
    • A font size styled to fit mobile screens
    • CTA buttons and images that are not too big so they fit naturally in the look of your site
    • YouTube videos and eye-catching images to attract viewers’ attention and keep them engaged
    • A viewport meta tag (code: ) so your site scales to fit the visitors mobile screen size

4. Make sure your site is in line with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) best practices for mobile first.

  • Not all SEO is created equal, so make sure on your mobile site you:
    • Keep design simple to maintain fast page load
    • Avoid using Adobe Flash to play multimedia on yours site, since it is not available on many phones
    • Don’t add pop-ups that break the visitor’s engagement with your site
    • Use Responsive Web Design practices or templates to create a fluid page that fits any visitors’ screen
    • Make sure media content plays correctly, tap-targets are adequately spaced and sized, and all text and images are readable/viewable

These recommendations come directly from the biggest search engine in the world, Google.

5. Test out your site on real devices.

  • The best way to know if your site follows good mobile first design is to try it yourself. Try to navigate your site on various sizes of phones and tablets. Scroll and click to make sure everything is correctly scaled, and that your site is responsive. You should also page through your site as if you were a viewer from your target audience, and judge if your site is easy to read and navigate. Having friends test your site is also a great idea, as they can give you a different perspective than your own.

Building your site using a mobile first strategy is a wise choice, because not only will your site be ready for the majority of traffic you’ll see right after launch, it will also be prepared for the much larger mobile-using internet market that is taking over online. Mobile first requires a slightly different approach than traditional site-building for desktop, but if you follow these best practices your site will be optimized to keep visitors on your page.

In case you missed it, be sure to check out the first installment in our “How To” blog post series, last month’s post on “How To Build a Website.” And be sure to come back next month, when we’ll cover “How to Choose a Domain Name”. Until then, you can see more internet “How To’s” on our YouTube channel!

When you’re building any website, there are a few hard and fast rules that will always apply. It doesn’t matter whether you’re making something simple like a website for your wedding or something more complicated like a platform to connect members of your organization, the basic principles of “how to build a website” are the same for everyone. In this blog post we’ll share the basic best practices for building a website that you should keep in mind.

Best Practices for Building a Website:

1. Think about the big picture first, and take care of the details later

When most people start building a website, the common mistake they make at the start is focusing first on very specific aspects of their site, like choosing a background picture or deciding where to put a certain block of text. While these things do matter, spending too much time on them will make a website less organized and add a great deal of time to the process of building a website. What you should do instead when you start to build a website is:

  • Outline the strategy for what you want to achieve with your website
  • Decide on the image you want to present about yourself or your brand to your visitors (i.e. your website’s “aesthetic”)
  • Start to build out the most essential, “big picture” pieces of your website

The “big picture” pieces of your website will be determined by Step 2…

2. Before you build out the content, create a site map

An example site map:

Think of your site map as the skeleton of your website. The bubbles and lines in your site map are the bones that connect everything you build on your website together. When you build your website map:

  • Start at “Home”, and add all the main pages you want your website to have
  • Map out which pages navigate to which, and be sure to keep your map organized (like the image above)
  • Make sure the most important parts of your website get the highest accessibility

3. Keep your website’s content concise

Nielsen group estimates that you have about 10 seconds of a visitor’s time to get their attention and keep them on your page. Having huge, unbroken blocks of text on your site is a basic error often made when building a website, and unfortunately it can be one of the most damaging as it gives your visitors reason to navigate away. To avoid this error when you build your website:

  • Write 1 to 2 sentence paragraphs and keep the language simple and easy to read
  • Use headers to get the most important information across, and keep titles short
  • Use bullet points to highlight important points, and avoid using text in images

4. Create clear “calls to action”

Think back to your site map and the main goal you had when you set out building your website. The pages at the end of each line in your site map should have a direct call to action that accomplishes the overall goal you want from the people who visit your site. Below are a few examples of good, clear calls to action:

  • Appmaker.xyz has their main call to action right at the center of the homepage, and it’s perfectly placed around short text and example images that entice you to click right away.
  • On TheLushLife.xyz, celebrity wine sommelier Sarah Tracey has a dual call to action on her website, as the newsletter subscription page also featured embedded posts from her Instagram, working as a secondary call to action to visit her social media page.
  • Simplicity is key, and Voter.xyz’s homepage call to action works because the short header gives a full description of the app, the background image shows the app’s eye catching user interface, and the layout naturally points your attention down to the download buttons.

5. Keep the look and feel of your website consistent throughout

After you’ve built your website strategy, drawn your site map, optimized your content, and placed your calls to action, the last consideration you need to make is the overall feel of your website. This is where you need to give special attention to images, stylization, content placement, and anything else that comprises the “aesthetic” we discussed in at the beginning of the post. Think about:

  • Keeping your website’s color palette consistent
  • Using relevant (preferably high-def) images
  • Keeping content blocks separate and avoiding overlapping images or content that create a “cluttered” look

Learning how to build a website that perfectly accomplishes everything you envision is not as difficult as it seems. If you keep these website building best practices in mind, your website will look and feel exactly how you want and will attract the visitors you’ve targeted for it.

This is the first in a series of blog posts we’ll be sharing about best practices on the web, so stay tuned to learn about everything from picking a domain name to making your website secure. You can also head to gen.xyz/101/build-a-website for more in-depth information on how to build a website including logo design, using HTML/CSS, and more. Be sure to check back next month when we’ll discuss how to make your website mobile-friendly. Until then, head over to our YouTube channel to see more internet “how to’s”.