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The importance of a logo in a company’s brand identity is well known. It’s that one symbol that carries specific information about your business that you wish to portray. It encompasses your brand persona, sector, service and often, intent or vision.
Get.Monster

So, how do you create that logo or brand symbol that fulfills every criteria that you aim for?

There are 3 main things to consider before launching into the vital process of logo creation:

Your individual branding and design know-how

A marketing background is helpful. If you’ve explored aspects of brand or product positioning analysis of target audience, this would be valuable knowledge to have. It also matters how familiar you are with the brand and what it stands for.

Your logo creation budget

If you are outsourcing your logo design to an external agency or team, your budget plays a major role in the product that you receive. Logo creation costs can vary greatly and largely depend on the number of iterations that are produced and the experience level of the designer and/or team. The output is directly related to how much you wish to spend and of course, the expertise of the designing company.

Your available time for logo creation

If you’re in a hurry, and likely busy with setting up other branding activities, it’s wiser to outsource your logo design. Usually once a design professional or team has your detailed creative brief, they will submit a few options within a week to ten days. Then it’s just a matter of viewing, tweaking and finalizing.

3 ways to create an effective logo design

1) Do It Yourself

freestocks.org

So, you have the time, inclination and ability to make your own logo.

There are a vast number of logo creation tools available online such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, and Canva. Each tool has its own features and some are more complicated to use than others. Some are so simple that you may simply select, drag and drop design elements rather than creating them from scratch.

But before you begin creating your own logo using a design tool:

  • Understand the brand personality, tone, and its target audiences
  • Identify the sector and what it represents
  • Check out competition, especially the successful brands
  • Choose suitable colors that match the product or service line
  • Know the symbolism behind the colors
  • Find fonts that portray the right message
  • Choose whether you would like a logo, logomark, or both.
  • Check to see if your logo looks as good in colors as it does in a grey scale

Though creating a logo is the cheapest option, it could involve learning new tools and taking some extra time to master certain design skills.

2) Hire a design agency

https://pixabay.com/

Once you’ve decided to hire a professional creative agency to make your logo, follow these steps to identify the right one:

  • Write a creative brief that includes information about your brand and business, and highlights all your ideas and expectations about the logo design
  • Decide a budget and express this to all agencies in consideration
  • Share the brief with various agencies and meet with each to answer any queries that they may have
  • Request for logo options from each and see which designs you like best
  • Ask your friends and potential customers for their opinions on your top logo selections. Evaluate the feedback and let the agency know about any desired modifications.

3) Use a crowd-sourcing design platform

https://www.christinamorillo.com/

The third option to create your logo by utilizing crowd-sourced design platforms. These platforms often host a community of thousands to hundreds of thousands of designers from around the world. You, the logo contest holder, would provide a design brief to the community of designers, who would then compete amongst each other to provide you with hundreds of logo options.

All you need to do is post your brief, select the options that you like, and then make any final changes. You will pay a relatively low fee when compared to a design agency or freelance designers. Two popular crowdsourcing logo design platforms include 99Designs and Design Contest.

Apart from delivering high-quality work at cost-effective prices, this technique will get you quicker results. The other advantage is the time you save in explaining your creative brief to various agencies. You will be required to post a simple, straightforward brief on the websites just once, and you will begin to get logo options almost immediately.

With the internet playing an increasing role in our lives, concepts such as crowd-sourcing design platforms are gaining popularity for the convenience that they offer. Time is limited and emerging technology may allow you to get a stellar logo in an efficient and affordable manner. So, if you have a new logo design requirement or you are thinking about refreshing an old one, a crowdsourcing platform may be able to provide your desired result.

Show off your new logo or list your design portfolio on your own website with a .xyz domain for just $1 by using promo code LOGOXYZ at checkout.

This article originally appeared in XYZ Quarterly Vol. 2 Issue 3.

After you’ve found your business’ niche and established a unique brand, the next step to mastering your online presence is to deliver your brand to your potential customers, fans, and members. Consider who would most likely enjoy the product or service that you’re offering. How old are they? Do they live in cities or suburbs? Are they married or single? Wealthy or low income? What kind of jobs do they have? What are their interests?

Once you have defined the specific traits of your target audience, you can find the platforms and communities that they are a part of and introduce your brand in a meaningful way. Show how your offerings solve a problem they have, and use creativity in your delivery in order to stand out against the competition.

We have outlined six different ways to promote yourself. Carefully choose the marketing opportunities that make sense for your audience – it may be all six or just one or two. Strategically selecting which marketing activities to engage in will help to ensure that your time and money are well spent.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Virtually everyone who uses the internet also uses search engines to find what they need. One of the basic ways to attract your audience is by gaining organic traffic to your website through visibility in search engines.

Keyword research is a vital part of optimizing your website to rank highly for the terms your audience is searching for. Look up keywords or phrases related to your niche in top search engines and pay attention to the suggested searches. This will tell you what people are searching for when researching your topic, so you can then be sure to include these keywords in your website’s content.

App Maker search results

Your domain name can be an important factor in your search ranking. A keyword that is part of your domain can act as a relevancy signal and can boost clicks on your site in search results. As a generic extension, .xyz is recognized and indexed by Google the exact same way all other generic domains are, including .com, .net, and .org, which Google has verified.

For example, a mobile application builder would want to target the keyword “app maker.” The domain name that AppMaker.xyz uses is a very wise choice that surely helped to land them on the first page of Google’s search engine results page for that keyword!

Social Media

The versatility and cost-effectiveness of social media marketing makes it another popular way to reach a target audience. An individual, business, or organization can spread their message by posting relevant content on social media platforms at just the cost it took to create it. Be sure to use hashtags and engage with other users in your target audience’s community in order to increase visibility of your post and updates.

Keep in mind that different social media channels attract varying types of people. For example, if you have a health food blog, then sharing recipes on Pinterest may garner a lot of traffic to your website. If your startup helps small businesses, then you may want to focus on making contacts through LinkedIn.

Instant, 140-character updates make Twitter the best platform for sharing breaking news, and so it is popular among avid followers of current events and journalism. Independent journalist, MelissaHung.xyz, expertly takes advantage of this type of text-heavy content by updating her smart and witty tweets almost daily, amassing a substantial following to share her latest stories with.
Melissa Hung Twitter

Paid Advertising

If you would like to expose your messaging to a larger audience, you can look into paying for ad space. Ad space can be purchased online through digital ad networks and social media, in printed newspapers and publication, on out-of-home (OOH) advertising with billboards and posters, as well as on radio and commercial broadcasts.

No matter the type of advertising, it’s important to make sure that your messaging is being communicated clearly to your target audience, and that you have a predetermined way to measure its success. Clicks on an online ad, readership from a magazine, and viewership on a TV commercial are some ways to measure your advertisement’s effect on your goals.

PublicSpace.xyz

Vaporwave fashion brand PublicSpace.xyz is known for designs with lively references to 80’s and 90’s pop culture. They expertly use social media advertising on the platform with the largest millennial audience: Instagram. Their targeted Instagram ads trigger nostalgia amongst their audience, inspiring potential buyers to click through to their website or follow their page.

Influencer Marketing

Learning about a new product or service from a familiar face can add credibility. Social media influencers have built relationships and trust with their fans who respect their content and recommendations. Partnering with those who have influence amongst your target audience can improve your brand awareness and build trust.

Finding the right influencers to work with can be tricky, so you may consider using an influencer platform like Moon.xyz. Their marketplace is comprised of over 7,000 influencers that can be easily sorted by audience category and follower count.

Moon.xyz

Events, Exhibiting, and Networking

Another useful way to grow your audience is through in-person interactions. You can host an event in order to build stronger relationships with prospective customers, or attend an event as an exhibitor. You can also promote yourself through attending mixers and networking events.

Cutting-edge kimono brand, Kisaburo.xyz, knows the power of connecting with their customers in person. Designer Kisaburo Iwamoto hosts regular pop-up shops, called the Yukata Lounge, where he demonstrates the correct way to tie the Japanese robe and shares his expertise as a fourth-generation kimono designer.

Kisaburo.xyz

Kisaburo.xyz Instagram

Email and SMS Marketing

An important way to continue communication with your target audience is through email and SMS marketing. Build up your contact list by creating a signup form on your website or drive new leads through social media. You can send updates, news about product launches, and special sales straight to your audience. Be sure when you’re sending emails from your business that you follow all commercial messaging laws, like the requirements established by the CAN-SPAM act.

Joyinc.xyz is an organization that aims to develop healthier psychology and create positive social movements in Africa. Their target audience can sign up for a daily and weekly newsletter series. The Daily Vulnerable sends inspiring quotes and gives guidance and reading recommendations every day. The Joy List provides updates on the business and other guidance for Joyinc.xyz supporters every week.
Joyinc.xyz

Conclusion

Be thoughtful about which marketing platform that you decide to use. Be sure to join in on communities that your target audience is a part of, and continually measure the effectiveness of your outreach. The best marketing opportunity is the one that works for you and your business or organization.

For more digital marketing tips be sure to check out our other internet How-to’s and subscribe to our newsletter to receive the XYZ Quarterly.

Ready to start building an audience for your brand online? Choose the .xyz domain you want and use promo code GROWXYZ at checkout to get your domain for $1 for the 1st year!

This article originally appeared in XYZ Quarterly Vol. 2 Issue 2.

Once you’ve cornered your target market by finding and claiming your niche, it’s time to stamp your brand’s presence online. At its core, your brand is the perception others have about you. Your name, design, positioning, and values all go into creating this gut-feeling that lives in the hearts and minds of your target market.

Your brand is important because brand recognition is a big part of how consumers make purchasing decisions. Based on a survey by Nielsen, 59% of consumers say they prefer to buy new products from brands that are familiar to them. Building your personal brand online can also help with employment opportunities, as 57% of employers are less likely to interview job candidates if they can’t find information about them online, according to a CareerBuilder study.

Companies with similar products or services will compete for your customers, professionals with similar experience will line up for the job you want, and communities and organizations driven by the same mission will vie for the same members and supporters. One lasting way to stand out against the competition is by eliciting a gut-feeling that works in your favor and will make your audience choose you. Creating this feeling is known as branding.

We think good branding is truly the secret weapon of success, so let’s get started with establishing your brand in four steps.

Step 1: Create a mission statement.

The first–and arguably the most important–step to creating your brand is getting crystal clear on what your mission is. Also sometimes called a vision statement, your mission statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of yourself, your company, or your organization. It is the key message that you want everyone who comes across your brand to walk away with.

.XYZ was founded five years ago with a bold mission to unlock the internet’s limitless potential and give new users an innovative and affordable domain name to connect with the world online. With support in over 200 languages and more users than any other new domain in the world, this mission has been the guiding principle throughout every decision the company has made.

A great example of a company whose stayed true to their mission is Dare2Dream.xyz, a foundation who aims to “improve the quality of life for youth and young adults in order to strengthen our communities both domestically and globally.” Founded by Lefty Williams, star basketball player who once played for the Harlem Globetrotters, the foundation empowers youth and helps them develop healthy habits through ambassador programs and basketball and fitness camps.

dare2dream.xyz

Step 2: Choose your brand name.

Now you must give your brand a name. If you’re working solo and don’t have a brand name you want to use, then you could simply stick to your first and last name. For a new company or organization, you have a lot more room to work when choosing your name compared to an existing business. Use your mission statement as a jumping-off point to start brainstorming names. It should convey the feeling of your key message as much as possible.

Your brand name should be easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and easy to remember. Make sure it passes the radio test; if someone heard it on the radio (or a podcast), it should be memorable and easy to spell (even if you made up the word), so they can look you up later. Similarly, if someone else has only read about your brand, they ideally should be able to talk about it without worrying if they’re pronouncing it correctly.

usemy.xyz homepage

Peer-to-peer sharing app, UseMy.xyz, chose a brand name that fits this criteria well. UseMy.xyz’s mission to allow people to share everyday things via their community-based platform is expressed cleary by their brand name. It’s also easy to spell, pronounce and remember, plus using the .xyz in their brand name promotes awareness about their exact website name.

Once you have some contenders, do your research to make sure the name you want to use is not already trademarked. You will also want to do a search online to make sure it hasn’t already been popularized by another business.

Step 3: Make it real with a domain name and website.

You now must register your winning brand name’s domain. Your website will be the main way your customers and supporters find information about you, so the URL should clearly state your brand name. The chances that your brand name is available depends on the top-level domain (TLD) that you choose, what comes after the dot. The longer a TLD has been around, the harder it might be to find a domain name that is available.

.XYZ is a new TLD, so the likelihood of getting YourBrandName.xyz is still quite high. It is also globally recognized and pairs well with any industry, profession, or mission. You can check your brand name’s availability at gen.xyz/register, or with one of our retail partners.

Using a .xyz also creates an instantly memorable domain name. Independent arts and music magazine, Preme Magazine, chose Preme.xyz because they wanted a domain name as cutting-edge as their content. Founder, Anthony Supreme, states, “Creating Preme.xyz was inspired by trying to think of something different than a typical .com. We wanted to name our site something creative.”

preme.xyz

Once you have your domain name registered, you can set up your website. Create a logo and choose fonts and colors that express your brand’s mission and attract your audience. If coding and design isn’t part of your skillset, you can select and customize a template from one of the many website builder services that are available today, like the Weebly website builder that’s available for free with any .xyz domain registered at gen.xyz/register.

You want to fill your site with information about what you have to offer, and a good place to start could be your mission statement. A tagline and short description, also known as an elevator pitch, can also be used to spark interest in what you do. Make sure it defines who you are, describes what you do, and identifies what makes you unique.

Step 4: Make sure it’s easy for people to find you.

Once you have launched your website, you must create ways for people to find it and contact you through email and social media. It’s recommended that your email address and social media handles are all the same in order to build brand recognition and awareness. Most of your communication with potential customers, clients and members will probably be done over email, so it’s key to use a custom email address in order to appear professional. With a .xyz, you can get your custom email address when you register your domain.

Use your brand name to create social media accounts on all the platforms that your audience uses. Using your full domain name as your social media handles ensures that you’re easily recognizable on all platforms.

quami.xyz Twitter

quami.xyz spotify

Toronto-based R&B musical artist, Quami.xyz, shows true understanding of the digital world we live in by using his domain name as his stage name too. It’s easy to connect with him on social media as well, thanks to his branded social media handles @quami.xyz on Instagram and @quamixyz on Twitter.

Putting it all together.

Completing these four steps establishes your brand online and sets you up for success. You’re now ready to share what you have to offer with the world! At this point, it’s a good idea to summarize all of your brand information into a deck, called your Brand Guidelines, that you and your team can reference for the future. Keep in mind that your brand may grow and expand as the years go by, but your mission should still ring true. It’s common for brands to update logos, fonts, and colors as they grow.

Your brand may also expand in other ways. Fashion entrepreneur, Egreis Gjergjani of StilettoMeUp.xyz, started her blog four years ago as a way to share her story during a major life change: her first child. Since then, she’s launched two businesses, contemporary women’s line By Egris and children’s line Itty Bitty Toes, all while proving that juggling being an entrepreneur and a mom can be done in style.

stilettimeup.xyz

For more branding tips be sure to check out our other internet “How to” articles and subscribe to our newsletter to receive the XYZ Quarterly.

This article originally appeared in XYZ Quarterly Vol. 2 Issue 1.

Getting online is a critical part of successfully reaching the people that matter most when you’re looking to promote your business, showcase your work, or raise funds for an important cause. An online presence is how your audience will find you, learn what you have to offer, and potentially become loyal customers, fans, and supporters.

xyzsquad SXSW

What is a niche?

One of the very first steps of marketing yourself online is picking a niche. A niche is an industry or genre that you specialize in and the types of products or services that you offer. Some popular niche markets of 2019 are alternative health and diets, environmentally responsible living, and the latest modes of transportation. Essentially, it’s a particular market that you know you can serve over and over again.

Growth marketing agency, GrowthEngine.xyz, is an excellent example of this. By focusing mainly on “growth hacking” for digital businesses (e-commerce, mobile applications, and software as a service), the agency is able to expertly deliver what their clients want most: customer acquisition and retention.

Why finding your niche is important.

Finding your niche will help you to strategically concentrate your efforts in one direction. If you’re clear on what you offer and who your audience is, you will be able to best determine how to entice them.

One common misconception is that your online presence needs to appeal to everyone. A new business that attempts to market itself to the masses often results with a watered-down message. Creatives often seem more experienced when they have a distinct specialty, and non-profits can seem more trustworthy when known for benefiting a specific cause.

Marketing with focus will help you build expert status in your space. You will be able to bring value to your potential audience by identifying and meeting their unique needs. Starting with a small, well-defined niche doesn’t mean you can’t expand into other spaces as you grow. Take notes from contemporary culture online publisher, Milk.xyz. They have been able to expand beyond writing about innovative brands to rolling out their own collaborations and podcast due to the growth of their community.

How to pick your niche.

  1. Explore the possibilities.

  2. Start defining your niche by making a list of possible ideas. Some questions to ask yourself are:

    • What is my biggest passion or interest?
      • Think about your hobbies and the ways you like to spend your free time.
    • What problem can I help solve?
      • You may want to review questions on internet forums to find what people are asking.
    • If I won the lottery, how would I spend my days?
      • Consider what you might find fulfilling if money was not an object (after the shopping spree and around-the-world trip is over).

    Chicago Tribune reporter Louisa Chu and WBEZ’s Monica Eng did exactly this when they started Chewing.xyz. The pair combined their shared interest in food culture to create a podcast and website that explores the intersection of good food, good health, and good policy.

  3. Decide how to stand out.

  4. Pick your top three ideas and narrow them down by general interest and profit potential. It’s important to know if there is an audience out there that can benefit from what you have to offer, and there are a few ways that you can determine this:

    A useful way to gauge general interest and profitability is by checking keyword search query reports online. Generally, focus on keywords with at least 10,000 search queries in order to find a niche with a substantial audience. A high level of competition is not necessarily a bad thing, as competition means there is a market interested and ready to buy. A low level of competition may mean that there are not many interested people out there.

    Another way to measure the market size for niche topics is by checking the amount of books, articles, and papers written about it. If there is a substantial volume of work on your topic out there, then that means publishers have deemed it to be a profitable subject, publications consider it to be newsworthy, and researchers find it to be important. A low amount of published work on the subject could mean that there’s relatively low public interest on the subject.

    beauty product niche

  5. Explore the possibilities.

  6. After determining which topics have an interested market, it’s time to research the competition. Search the keywords associated with your niche and see what and who comes up. Start logging all of the major competitors and defining the characteristics that make you stand out in the crowd.

    Key differentiators may be the pricing, level of quality, and innovation of your product or service.
    Fashion tastemaker, JovelRoystan.xyz, stands out from other influencers by catering his content towards ambitious young professionals, and sharing on-trend style sharp enough for the office.

    One immediate way that anyone can instantly differentiate themselves is with content and design. An expertly branded website with clear navigation and functionality can be the ultimate decider for a new customer or supporter.

A new domain name ending like .xyz can offer a consistent and clear brand message. Get a domain name that is the exact name of your business, or your first and last name, so your audience can easily find you online. A .xyz domain is generic yet memorable, so it’s perfect for any niche market. Register your .xyz domain today to start building your online reputation.

For more tips be sure to check out our other internet “How Tos” and subscribe to our newsletter to receive the XYZ Quarterly.

Domain investing is a business almost as old as the internet itself. You’ve no doubt heard about the success stories from the early days of the web and those savvy investors who made millions from selling domains. Now there are hundreds of new domain extensions available and there is a greater supply of valuable online real estate to be bought and sold.

If you’re looking to get into domain investing or have your own portfolio of domain names, here are 5 tips to get your domains found and sold.

1) Get your domains in front of the right buyers

You won’t be able to sell your domain if a buyer isn’t seeing it, so it’s recommended that you list your domains on online marketplaces. A few of the most popular domain marketplaces include:

Since you will likely receive more inquiries when selling your domain through a marketplace, it’s recommended you do your due diligence and make sure you verify the interested buyer’s identity. That way you can avoid scammers or bad actors and get an honest transaction when selling your domain.

2) Name a fair price

It’s typically recommended to research historical sale prices of domains with comparable keywords to the domains you want to sell, which can help determine the market value of your domain(s). One service you can use to conduct this research is Namebio.com, which has a searchable list of publicly recorded domain sales and allows you to filter them by keyword, domain extension, pattern, or price.

While length and keyword relevance are strong determining factors in value, the popularity of the extension your domain is on can also factor significantly into the final sale price.

3) Stay on top of offers

If you’ve put in the work to list your domain in online marketplaces and have expended effort promoting that it’s for sale, you may also want to be sure you set up notification systems so you don’t miss the chance to discuss selling your domain with interested buyers. You can manage your domain portfolio via an excel spreadsheet, or you may want to consider using a software like DomainPunch.com to keep track of your names and offers received.

You can list your contact information on the site, and most online marketplaces have notification features built in, so you may want to take advantage of those as well.

4) Conduct outreach to target potential buyers

In conjunction with listing your domain on the aforementioned marketplaces, you may also want to consider direct outreach to potentially interested parties. You may consider looking at domain investors who publicly list their domains for sale, and see if you have names matching some keywords they invest in that you can reach out to and offer your domain for sale.

You could also find companies or individuals in an industry related to your domain name and contact them to make them aware the domain is for sale. You can craft a quick email letting them know you plan to sell the domain and that you want to get in touch as you think they may be interested. This kind of outreach can help you connect to buyers in the verticals who stand to benefit most from acquiring the domain you are selling.

5) Set up an escrow service for payment

If you and your interested buyer have agreed on a price, you may want to use an escrow service for the domain transaction. Escrow services act as a third party that securely establishes a transaction between you and a buyer, passing the domain to them and the purchase fee payment to you. Some escrow services that are offered online are Escrow.com and Sedo.com.

While these guidelines can help you sell your domain at the price you are hoping for, selling domain names can be a very nuanced process and it may take some practice and learning to get a full grasp of the industry. Doing as much research as possible and getting an understanding of the domain selling process is also recommended to ensure you have success in the domain aftermarket.

Ready to invest in some keyword domains and get involved in the domain aftermarket yourself? Be sure to check out the .xyz premiums page at www.gen.xyz/premiums, where you can browse premium .xyz names and secure 1 and 2-letter domains, 1 and 2-number domains, or any of the thousands of keyword names in our variably priced premium tiers. You can also complete your portfolio by using our CNOX tool to search for valuable domain names that have been registered in .com, .net, and .org, but are still available in .xyz.

Don’t miss your chance to invest in valuable domains. Head to www.gen.xyz/premiums now to download full premium domain lists!

Whether you’re a casual internet browser, a parent teaching your children how to use the computer, or an experienced website designer, we all share the fear of losing sensitive documents or personal information to a hacker.

Fortunately, there are many online safety precautions you can take that don’t require too much effort. Here are 10 tips to help you stay safe online.

1. Use strong passwords

This tip is number 1 for a reason! Password security is vitally important to staying safe online and protecting your data. Do you know how secure your current password is?

Creating strong passwords:

  • The longer it is, the harder it is for a computer to guess.
  • A random mix of special characters, numbers, and letters are typically much stronger instead of easy to guess words like family names or dates like birthdays, graduations, etc.
  • If you’re worried about not remembering your password, use 3 random words that you’ll be able to remember. It will take a computer millions or billions of years to guess (see comic below.)

  • (Source: XKCD)

2. Use an antivirus program

To stay safe online, it’s often recommended to have multiple lines of defense against attackers. Antivirus programs can be very useful to help identify and catch threats you don’t even see before they get a chance to infect your computer.

Lists of the best available antivirus softwares can be easily found online if you’re unsure which to choose, and doing some research to find the best one in your price range can be more than worth it.

3. Don’t click that!

Avoiding careless clicking is regarded as one of the easier ways to stay safe online. It’s advised that you be sure you know what will happen when you click any link online. Spam emails, “free” offers, and 419 scams (aka Nigerian Prince scams) commonly ask you to click dangerous links that ask for personal information.

If you want to double check a link, one easy step is to copy the link and run a search for it (make sure you don’t just paste it into your browser’s address bar though!)

4. Be a selective sharer

Thanks to widespread anonymity online, you need to be sure who you’re talking to, before you share sensitive information like bank details, addresses, or passwords. Make sure sites you are sharing credit card information with are using an encrypted connection (HTTPS), and be sure you’re on the correct website.

5. Back up your data

In the unfortunate event your documents or information are compromised, it will be a lifesaver to have those files backed up and accessible. There are many services online that let you back up your data remotely, and it never hurts to have things backed up on an external hard drive as well.

6. Use two-factor authentication and sign up for login notifications

Two-factor authentication will tie your accounts to your phone number or email address, giving you an extra security net and adding another layer of protection against hackers.

Login notifications alert you when your account has been logged into at a location different from where you usually log on, which will help you detect potential attacks right when they happen.

7. Get HTTPS for your site and try to always use an encrypted connection (for developers)

If you’re building or already own your own website, it is beneficial to have an SSL certificate. More than 50% of the web is now encrypted, so don’t be the one lagging behind!

If you’re browsing the web, and especially if you’re buying things or exchanging sensitive information, make sure the website you are accessing is using HTTPS. Some browsers show this as a little green lock in your address bar.

8. Keep your software, scripts, and plugins updated (for developers)

Keeping the software and scripts you’ve installed on your website up-to-date is key to keeping it protected and safe online. If you built your site with WordPress, don’t just disable plugins that you’re not using, uninstall or delete them altogether.

Remember to also back up your data before updating software so you are safe in case something goes wrong with the update.

9. Ensure your file permissions are correct (for developers)

If you’re a developer or built your own site from scratch, be sure that you used the correct file permissions and double check who has access to each file.

10. Don’t store sensitive information in your database (for developers)

Credit card numbers, social security numbers, or any other highly valuable information, is vulnerable if stored in your database. It’s commonly recommended that you don’t store this information in your database.

No matter what level of computing skill you possess, there are threats online that could affect you or your website if the proper measures aren’t taken. Use these online safety tips as part of your protection strategy, and look to build on it as much as possible.

Once you’ve finished brushing up on ways to stay safe online, head to gen.xyz/giveaway and find out how you could submit your .xyz website to win 1 of 4 iPad Pros in our website building contest! Hurry though, entries close on July 31.

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.

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, choose the perfect .xyz domain to launch it on! Use promo code DESIGNXYZ at checkout to get your domain for $1 for the 1st year.

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? Get your own .xyz domain for just $1 with promo code “NAMEXYZ” at checkout.

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!