ICANN 67 – Cancun…what now?

This week, many members of the domain community would be focused on prepping for a slightly unusual Spring Break trip: ICANN 67 in sunny Cancún, Mexico (March 7th – 12th). We would be spending a little extra time with loved ones knowing we’d be away for a week. Some would even hit the tanning beds to avoid being scorched by the southern sun, while others might brush up on their Spanish and double-check their passports.

Alas, this is not the case. Instead the community is heads down, ploughing through another typical week in front of our computers. What happened? Due to public health concerns around COVID-19 (Coronavirus), ICANN made the difficult – and polemic – decision to cancel the in-person meeting. Instead, ICANN 67 will be the community’s first fully remote ICANN meeting.

With this growing global health threat – which some say is on the verge of becoming a pandemic – we are all relieved the international domain community puts the well-being of its constituents first in times like these. As important these industry events are to the health of the internet, people’s physical health is much more important. Face-to-face meetings have many benefits in business, but if we can’t get by using remote technology in times like these, then we’re probably in the wrong industry.

As we wait to see if any other events will be cancelled we will continue to plan ahead and remain optimistic that the healthcare community will continue its tireless work to contain, control, treat the infected, and hopefully eliminate COVID-19. In the meantime, we will be present and participating in the remote sessions, as the community works hard to put together an adapted schedule and agenda to adjust to the changes. We’re hopeful that we can continue to make progress on the many ongoing efforts within the ICANN community, even if we’re doing it from conference rooms across the world.

6 Reasons Why You Should Start Blogging This Year

“Should I start a blog?” If this question is on your mind at the moment, then you are in the right place. At the beginning of the year, many people are thinking about their personal and professional goals. Some of you may be thinking of how blogging can help with these goals. Naturally, you might be skeptical about investing a significant amount of time into this new venture. Is it worth your time, considering that there are already over 500 million blogs out there? 

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: Blogging is relevant more than ever, and it’s not too late to start a blog. 77% of all internet users read blogs regularly, and they are considered a trustworthy source of information online. Also, the blogging community is still growing, with 31.7 million bloggers expected to be active in 2020 in the U.S. alone. 

The question is: Will you be one of them? There are many reasons why this creative medium could be right for you. In this first part of our `Better Blogging` series, we’ll start with the top six reasons why you might want to start sharing your story.  

1. Express yourself

Blogging allows you to share your ideas, experiences, and expertise with the world. And the beauty is that you can tell your story just the way you want it to be told. It’s the perfect outlet for self-expression without limits for your creativity. Because your blog is entirely your own, you can communicate what you have to say in any form – not only writing. Artwork, photography, videos, music clips, and even a podcast can be part of your blog, too. 

2. Work on your self-development

Starting and growing a blog is a great challenge that will likely stretch your abilities and help you grow as a person. You’ll pick up some valuable web and marketing skills in addition to building the discipline to keep your blog going beyond that momentous first post. Besides, you’ll also develop your expertise in the field you’re writing about. Every time you work on a new post, you are forced to organize your thoughts and fill any gaps in your knowledge. Writing not only helps you to internalize what you’ve learned but also to refine your own ideas and opinions. 

3. Make the world a better place 

The most meaningful reason to blog is probably the ability to help others and have a positive impact on the world. By generously sharing your expertise and experiences, you can make a difference to the people who are looking for the answers that you already have. Your blog has the power to inspire, educate, and even change someone’s life. Showing others that there’s someone who is on the same journey as they are can provide a much-needed sense of belonging. And even though it may seem like everything has been said before, remember that your story and voice are unique. There’s an audience out there that will respond to the particular way you shed light on a certain topic or issue. 

4. Build authority 

A blog is a great platform to gain exposure in your industry by showcasing your knowledge and expertise. Think about it as a modern version of the printed business card. Regularly publishing relevant, informative content will eventually draw the attention of people in your profession and can earn you the status of an expert and thought-leader. When you strengthen your professional image with a blog, your career can get a powerful boost that opens up new opportunities.

5. Make new friends 

Blogging is much more than a solitary pursuit. It’s a way to connect with like-minded people from all over the world who are passionate about the same topic. You can build relationships with other bloggers in your field, have riveting discussions with your readers in the blog comments, and even organize meetups in real life. Your blog might open the door for new friendships, collaborations, and other opportunities. It’s a reassuring feeling to be part of this dynamic and supportive community. Often, we see people find a real sense of belonging here.  

6. Earn an income 

Becoming a self-employed blogger is still the number one reason for many to follow this road. And some bloggers have grown significant income streams from their blog. While blogging might only replace a full-time salary for some people, it can be an additional source of income for many. 

If you’re considering to monetize your blog, here are the most popular ways to make a profit:

  • Allow advertising on your site with banners or pay-per-click ads.
  • Include affiliate links to earn a commission for each sale that originated on your site.
  • Write sponsored posts reviewing a product or service in return for a fee.
  • Sell digital products such as ebooks and online courses.
  • Sell memberships to an inclusive area of your website.
  • Promote other offers, such as consulting and coaching.

Bonus: In all of these reasons to start a blog, it can’t be forgotten that blogging is the most important activity to create the strongest content marketing strategy to be found in organic online searches.

Will you start a blog this year?

It’s no secret that we at .blog are passionate about blogging. We believe that it’s much more than a rewarding hobby, which brings new opportunities and even unexpected benefits. Blogging is a way of owning your content and being heard, giving everyone a voice regardless of gender, income, politics, language, and location. No matter which of the six reasons becomes your cause, by starting a blog this year, you can play a part in realizing our vision of helping everyone to be heard. Together, we can make a difference.

Luckily, setting up a blog is easier than you might think. When you do get started, consider securing your .blog domain extension. It gives your online presence a quality home by making your URL memorable and relevant. And if you ever get stuck, you can rely on us for support, guidance, and fresh ideas. We are here with you for every step of this exciting journey. 

Happy blogging!

NamesCon is Almost Here!

Not only is it award season for the entertainment industry, it is also conference season for the domains industry with NamesCon, ICANN 67, and Cloudfest all lined up in the next few months.

This year NamesCon has decided to take the show out of the bright lights of Sin City and into the City of the Violet Crown, aka Austin, Texas.

Austin, the state capital, is a wonderful city full of energy, driven by 50K+ students at U of T…go Longhorns! In addition, it has USA’s only Formula 1 track, is the US capital of live music, has incredible weather (if you like the sun), and has become a hotbed of technology companies following the lead of Dell, and others in the tech space, who make their home there.

Oh, and we can’t forget the food – from Texas barbecue to fine dining, Austin has it covered, and then some. But topping all this are the people of Austin. Whether they are born there or not, Austinites are proud people and carry a southern charm with hospitality that stretches across the city from the moment you arrive until you depart.

Given this, it is not surprising Austin currently ranks as the best place to live in the US.

Like always, I am sure the wonderful people at NamesCon will put on a great show and having it in Austin will only help.

If you plan to be at NamesCon and would like to meet up to discuss .blog with us, please email welcome@my.blog and we’d be happy to set something up.

Our 2020 New Year’s Resolutions For .blog

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2020 already? We’re heading into the fourth year of .blog and we couldn’t be more excited about taking another step forward towards achieving our vision of helping bloggers “own” their content and being heard. We believe everyone and anyone with a story can tell it.

During the holiday season, we’ve contemplated how we could do better in the new year. What strategies would help us, our partners and bloggers worldwide grow in reach and impact? One idea from some of our discussions was to put together our own New Year’s resolutions for this space. Some tips to help guide us into 2020. 

The following six principles are not reserved for us at .blog, though. We’d love for them to be the framework that helps you strengthen and grow your blog in 2020 too. Without further ado, here are our six New Year’s resolutions:

1. Be consistent with publishing content

Right at the top of our list is one of the most important blogging best practices that gets easily overlooked in the shuffle of life. To grow a blog, we all need to show up consistently for our readers. This can be difficult sometimes. Unfortunately, we often see bloggers burn out, struggling to produce new content constantly. But, there’s another way. Here’s what we aim to do this year:

  • We’ll determine our posting frequency by considering how much time we can realistically dedicate to our blog. Then, we’ll stick to this schedule.
  • We’ll create an editorial calendar to keep track of our blogging schedule and ideas for posts. This will help us to structure our work and plan ahead.
  • We’ll also update, optimize, and republish any old content that could be useful again for our readers. We can bring posts back to life that used to perform well but need a bit of an update.

2. Focus on quality over quantity

Our attention is being pulled in a million directions every day – mostly to shallow content with an enticing headline that provides little to no insight, though. Many content creators focus on publishing quantity at the expense of quality. This is our and your opportunity to be different and stand out as a reliable source of valuable information. 

Audiences need more well-researched, thoughtfully-crafted, and highly engaging resources that help them solve their problems and live a better life. We can satisfy this demand by going deep with our content, digging into details that others won’t explore. This might mean publishing less often as it takes longer to produce a blog post of the highest quality – and that’s ok!

3. Get social and engage our community

While producing great content is undoubtedly important, we also want to make sure that our audience knows about our blog and engages with it. That’s why we plan to be more active on social media channels like Twitter. It’s hard to be on every platform so we aim to start with the ones that our target audiences already frequent. 

Social media is also a great place to learn more about our audience and gather fresh inspiration and content ideas. By joining conversations and sharing our knowledge, we can continue to build a community and learn from each other.

4. Test and experiment 

One of the things to love about having your own domain is the freedom to try out anything you want. We plan to experiment in the new year to find the best content and format for us and our audience. Here’s what we might explore:

  • Testing different lengths of our blog posts.
  • Trying new content types such as videos, podcasts, infographics, or webinars. 
  • Experimenting with clustering our content around certain themes.
  • Going deeper into a particular niche or branching out into new topics.

5. Improving our reader’s experience

The goal is to keep readers engaged. While great content definitely contributes to that, a smooth user experience can also help keep readers engaged on the website, share content they like and reduce the chance of them leaving quickly. Here’s what we plan to do:

  • Find and fix any broken links. 
  • Add social share links to all our articles
  • Properly tag and categorize articles so they are easy to find and related content is grouped together for readers
  • Add recommendations for further reading in the sidebar or below our posts. 

6. Believe in what we are doing

We have an important story to share and so do you. And even if it can seem like everything has been said before, no one can tell our story like we can. But that’s easier said than done. We realize that the everyday life of bloggers is not all smooth sailing and that we all might get discouraged sometimes. When this happens, we try to remember that there’s an audience waiting out there to hear what we have to say. They need us and our expertise. So, let’s take a stand together and commit to always keep going, support each other, and never lose sight of our goals.

What’s next? 

We wanted to share some of our own New Year’s resolutions as a North Star to hopefully inspire and guide your decisions and efforts in 2020. Blogging is an exciting journey, and we are here with you every step of the way. You can rely on us for support, guidance, and fresh ideas. To start the new year right, we want to dig deeper into a topic that’s on top of nearly every blogger’s mind. 

Many bloggers, maybe including you, have started blogging or thought about starting but struggle at times with different aspects. That’s why we are dedicating a special series of blog posts to help bloggers all over the world. You’ll learn how to identify your niche, find your voice, make time to write, grow your audience, and much more. So, look out for our “Better Blogging” series that’s coming soon. 

Freedom With New TLDs

The internet has over a billion websites and growing. Consequently, finding short domains that are pronounceable and memorable for users is getting much harder to find in traditional extensions like .com. As such, many businesses and website owners are forced to rethink their brand and domain strategy.

No more settling for the second-best name for your website! 

Following an application process to create alternatives to the existing domain names like .com, .net, .org, and others, ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved over 1200 new gTLDs (generic top-level domain) just a few years ago.

The new gTLDs help overcome the availability challenges in the internet namespace. Now, users have choices to select from a number of multiple domain extensions according to their niche areas and availability. 

We know what a new TLD is but what does it mean? 

New TLDs means freedom!

We are no longer limited to a few choices for our online identity. We have the freedom of choice to choose from domain extensions that speak to us as a brand, community, cause, business, family, or maybe a blog…but something close to our hearts.

On top of that, new TLDs are fun and creative. These enable businesses and website owners to express themselves in ways never dreamed of before. 

Now, users can achieve a significant level of specificity than what can be achieved with standard gTLDs such as as.com and .org since there are a lot more domains available. 

For instance, registering a .yoga TLD for a yoga centre would generate authority in the yoga space. 

Here are a few more examples of new TLDs::

  • .blog: For anybody that has a blog – “for all the ways you share”. 

Of course, this is our favorite new TLD, but other options include:

  • .tech: With the increasing number of tech startups, a .tech TLD will make your website stand out.
  • .luxury: High-end fashion brands, car companies, furniture, these are all services that can succeed under the .luxury domain extension.
  • .design: This domain best fits the design professionals, including web designers, interior designers and more for their portfolio page. 
  • .restaurant: Set your restaurant apart from other eateries using .restaurant domain. For example, http://www.pizzajoint.restaurant describes the pizza business. 

These are only a few of the many new TLDs available, each providing a unique value to your web presence.

In addition, we can all benefit from new TLDs in several other ways. For instance, new TLDs are:

  • More descriptive. There is at least one new TLD that matches the purpose of your website, thus making your URL easy, memorable, and relevant. 
  • Good for custom links: You have more freedom when creating branded links and vanity URLs.

With a total registration of over 27 million new TLDs since 2014, the new TLD space is growing. And as awareness of new TLDs increases, these new and creative domain extensions will continue to remove barriers of our once limited domain space. 

New TLDs may be taking some time, but they have the potential to take over the market in the future. So, next-generation web builders can take advantage of this new freedom now and be part of this change!

Attracting Bloggers With Content

Bloggers represent a large cross-section of online doers, sharing ideas and views with anybody they can reach. But how do you nail down such an expansive community? For hosting companies, identifying and targeting bloggers isn’t always easy.

In order to reach potential bloggers, you must be like them and create content that speaks to them. One of our .blog reseller partners, Exabytes, is doing just that – speaking the language of bloggers through multimedia content focused on helping new bloggers.

Under their WPWebHost brand they bought bobb.blog, created a persona, Bobb, and developed a microsite to help bloggers build an affordable blog. They didn’t stop there. They are also creating amazing and interesting videos like this one, which explains the benefits of using a domain like .blog:

Creating meaningful, creative content on a regular basis just may be the best way to reach bloggers.

Higher Awareness for new TLDs

KKWT is teaming up with Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, to bring a higher awareness and usage of new TLDs through the launch of 26 new websites using .blog domains, thanks to their Global Head, Computational Design and Inclusion, John Maeda, and his unprecedented ability to bring people together to create!

Many of these sites, which represent some of the most popular verticals in the blogging space, were designed by high school students, Automattic’s talented designers, and members of Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) to help tackle the diversity problem within the technology and design fields.

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 12.30.18 PM

Several sites also incorporate illustrations by artist Tony Ruth and definitions by lexicographer Erin McKean.

  • For artists, Automattic will be launching art.blog, movie.blog, music.blog, photo.blog, poetry.blog, and video.blog.
  • For those passionate about business, finance, and politics, you can now choose from business.blog, finance.blog, law.blog, news.blog, politics.blog, and water.blog.
  • Wanting to show off your passion for your hobby? Fear not, we’ve got you covered too with car.blog, game.blog, fashion.blog, food.blog, and travel.blog.
  • For the lifestyle and fitness-minded, take your pick from family.blog, fitness.blog, health.blog, home.blog, and school.blog.
  • Coders and scientists can unite with code.blog, science.blog, and tech.blog, as well.

Through each of these websites, users can now get free sub-domains that speak to what they do, who they are, or who they aspire to become. So Aunt Mindy, the lawyer, can get mindy.law.blog; Julio, the personal trainer, can get julio.fitness.blog; Katarina, the aspiring photographer, can get kat.photo.blog. The choices are endless. Impressive, right? We think so.

The ability to get online easier is critical to making the web a better place and plays a significant role helping Automattic strive towards their mission of democratizing publishing to the web. For KKWT and other registries offering new top-level domains (TLDs) like .blog, having Automattic offer free sub-domains creates an unprecedented awareness opportunity that will help change the way people view and use new TLDs.

.blog: Measuring Success

It is sometimes difficult to measure the success of a new TLD. Is it registrations, revenue, usage, or renewal rates? For .blog is it the number of posts, blogging activity, or something less obvious like awareness for all new TLDs? Well, maybe it is a combination of all of these things.

We recently completed our first full year offering .blog and things are certainly moving in the right direction. We are pleased to announce that .blog is exceeding our expectations in many areas. With lofty goals, our strategy focuses on usage, uptake, and renewal rates.

The following graphic highlights these important .blog statistics.

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Solid growth, usage, renewal, and paid attachment rates should yield increased revenue, longer-term customers, and higher customer satisfaction for our channel of domain resellers and are great indicators of the potential of .blog as we continue offering it to the world.

Hmm…What Shall I Blog About?

For many people — including me — this is the time of year to spend time with family, raising glasses and loosening our belts. It is also a time when many of us reflect on the past 12 months, making promises to ourselves and others for the upcoming year.

One thing many people vow is to write more and share their experiences through blogging. This proclamation is often immediately followed by a blank stare: “now, what do I write about?”

To help you get inspired, we did some digging to find out what bloggers actually blog about. For this initial study, we asked Automattic’s Data Team to find out what .blog users actually write about. They collected all the tags and categories people use on posts, choosing 5 random posts per blog to study —  here’s a word cloud of the top 2000 words in their analysis:

dotblog_tags

While life, travel, love, family, food, writing, and health dominate, look at the fine print: there are blogs about anything and everything, from wildlife to makeup to religion to film. Finding a topic to blog about can be as simple as making a list of the things you’re most passionate about.

It’s time to stop making excuses and get down to it. You’ll be surprised how blogging will not only fulfill a resolution, but enrich your life!

Happy 1st Birthday .blog!

A big week in the history of Knock Knock WHOIS There: it’s our birthday! A year ago, .blog domains became available to anyone. With the help of our registrar partners, we’ve already registered over 130,000 .blogs — and more than 60% of them are used by bloggers as the primary domain for their blogs!

pexels-photo-428124

Last year, we celebrated the launch of .blog with a memorable party at ICANN57 in Hyderbad, India. While the majority of the week was focused on business and policy, we cherish the relationships built and memories created on that eventful night. (If you missed out on the action, check out our recap and photos from the event.)

Since last year’s launch, we’ve helped more than 80,000 bloggers get set up with their own .blog domains. That includes dotbloggers like Tim Ferriss (tim.blog), author of The Four-Hour Work Week and host of the most popular podcast on iTunes, The Tim Ferriss Show; Om Malik (om.blog), one of the most influential voices on the internet; and professional photographers like Emily Polar (emilypolar.blog) and Kirsten Alana (kirstenalana.blog). It also includes organizational blogs from a range of corporations, non-profits, and governments, from fashion retailer simplybeusa.blog to California’s Department of Consumer Affairs (thedcapage.blog), to travel sites like triplog.blog.

A big part of the .blog vision is democratizing publishing on the web. Bloggers have completely changed the way we understand writing and consume information. Blogs give everyone the opportunity to share their stories and raise their voices.

As Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com and our parent company, has said, “It’s almost like if 500 years ago, everyone in the world had their own printing press. They could publish as much as they want. That is the opportunity we have today.”

The beauty of .blog is that it’s accessible to everyone, from corporations to professional authors to individual hobbyists and every writer in between. We’re grateful for each and every single .blog domain and all the partners and end users who built .blog into what it is today. Thank you for all the ways you share!