With potentially more than 1,400 new gTLDs being introduced into the Internet over the next couple of years, business owners have a very important decision to make as they consider all of the domain options available to them. Brand awareness, website traffic and customer trust are key attributes all companies need to protect. Just ask yourself: How will your customers respond to a new domain? Will they be confused? Will they be able to find your Web address, and if they do, will they trust it?
The rapid introduction of hundreds of new gTLDs will undoubtedly be confusing for even seasoned Internet users and much more so for the less tech-savvy. This is especially true given that we might see a range of new – and often similar – domain extensions that could cause confusion as to which new gTLD extensions are correct. For example: Will a pizza shop in New York choose JoesPizza.NYC, JoesNYC.pizza, JoesPizza.Menu, JoesPizza.Restaurant or one of the other applicable combinations?
All these choices could be overwhelming for consumers or difficult to remember. Businesses might be better served by sticking to a trusted domain extension such as .com or .net, to which customers tend to default when remembering or typing in Web addresses. And since purchasing all domain names applicable to your business might be cost-prohibitive, you might want to keep your existing TLD and redirect new domain name registrations to your established domain name.
In addition, recent data points to the fact that end users can be particularly cautious about visiting a website with an uncommon extensionMany small to mid-sized businesses would prefer to stick to their .com domain rather than adopt a new gTLDs. That means that even if you have a great website, its success might be affected if it uses an uncommon extension that consumers do not immediately recognize or deem trustworthy. Since you cannot afford to lose traffic because of your domain name, consider taking a “wait and see” approach. Keep a watchful eye on how the new gTLDs you are interested in are performing and whether they are building an established positive track record of consumer recognition and operational performance before considering any of them good candidates for your business’s primary domain. If you would like to invest in a new gTLD now, start by finding ones that are logical for your business and register them to complement your existing name as redirects to your current website.
The bottom line is that for your online businesses to succeed, you need to make sure your customers feel that they can trust your site, aren’t confused about your Web address, and won’t wonder if they’ve reached the right business. Would you leave that to chance?
To learn more about new gTLDs and how to invest wisely, check out SCORE and Verisign’s new guide: “New gTLDs: What They Mean, What Your Options Are and How to Invest Wisely.”
Last month, I participated in a keynote panel at the AFP Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX on the theme, “Social Media for Social Change” with Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, Ben Rattray, Founder of Change.Org, and Ritu Sharma and Darian Rodriguez Heyman, co-founders of Social Media for Nonprofits Conference. It was a blast! Carolyn, Ben, and I each did a brief presentation on the topic and then we sat down for a discussion facilitated by Darian and Ritu using questions from the several thousand people in the audience.
Here’s a storify of the curated tweets, but I wanted to pull out one of the questions that came up:
“How do I get my nonprofit’s CEO to pay attention to social let alone use it?”
“Camp outside their door.” This is the advice that Carolyn Miles of Save the Children offered. She said that as a busy CEO, there are many things to pay attention to and she would not be using any social media if wasn’t for her staff person, Ettore Rosetti, VP of Digital Marketing. He camped outside her door and not only told her about how nonprofit CEO’s were using Twitter, but showed her how easy it was.
Now that you have got their attention, make sure you discuss how social media can amplify and enhance their current work by asking some simple, but powerful questions. Here’s a story about the CEO of the ACLU of New Jersey and how he uses Twitter to reach out to the press and policy makers and the questions he and his staff answered. Here’s another example about a nonprofit CEO (Helen Clark of UNDP) using Twitter to engage audiences about policy.
Most likely, your CEO uses a mobile phone. Give them a “Tweetutorial” of how to use Twitter on their mobile phone and the basic commands. Here’s a collection of cheat sheets that you can use to teach any Nonprofit CEO almost any social media channel.
Sometimes peer pressure can motivate. Be sure to show other examples of nonprofit CEOs, preferably from similar nonprofits, using Twitter. Here’s my Ultimate List of Lists of Nonprofit CEOs Using Social Media.
Be sure to let your CEO know that using Twitter or other social media channels doesn’t require hours and hours of time. They can build their network while they wait in line for lunch or commute to work. Here’s three good tips for easy content strategies for leaders.
Your organization’s brand communication strategy will complement your CEO’s use of Twitter. For them, it is about being authentic and the personal touch. For CEOs or anyone to be successful using Twitter, they need to know how to tune the network of people they follow and how to “feed” the network of followers the best content and engagement related to your organization’s work. Get them a “Thinkup” account, an analytics tools geared for individuals that not only provides metrics, but useful tips to improve using social.
After they have been using social, so how their presence is reaching a different audience. Using a tool like Twiangulate, you can easily see the overlap of followers and reach for the CEO and the organization’s branded account. Here’s an example of Save The Children and its CEO, Carolyn Miles. As you can see, the CEO’s reach is larger, although she has fewer followers than the branded account. That’s most likely because more influential people are following the CEO!
Does your nonprofit’s CEO use social media for leadership? How? What are the best practices to sustaining and supporting their effective of social media to support your organization’s mission?
This post originally appeared on www.bethkanter.org.