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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3

 

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!

 

Finding a Great Domain Name

Are you ready to launch a website or blog? You have an important decision: finding the perfect domain name. We’re here to give you a few tips and tricks to land a domain that’s just right.

For instance, did you know there are hundreds of domain extensions available today? There’s a whole world beyond .com — .club, .online, .live, .lawyer, .company, etc. Finding a good (and still available) .com domain can be challenging, but your perfect domain name might not end in .com! Whether you’re starting a blog, work in healthcare, own a small business, or have a photography studio, domain extensions like .blog, .health, .company, and .photography are available to give you a unique, specific, and memorable domain.

Now that you know about all the options available, you’ve got to buy a domain, and that means finding the right domain reseller. A domain reseller is where you buy your domain name, and you’ll want one that supports a variety of domain extensions. Most will, but do a bit of research before settling on a reseller; your domain is central to your online identity, so invest a little time to find a reseller you trust. Are they reputable? Do they offer a variety of domain extensions? How is their support? Do they have good domain management tools? Location or price may be an important factor to you, too.

Your reseller should also have a domain search and suggestion tool that lets you both search for domains and gives you a list of alternatives. If they only have an availability check that does not suggest other domains, head to another reseller — it’s important for you to be able to see the wide variety of options available to you so you can choose the best domain for you.

Not all domain search and suggestion tools are created equal, so we recommend trying a few different searches. As you do, keep in mind these simple rules:

  • Keep it simple
  • Make it easy to spell
  • Keep it short
  • Make it memorable
  • Make it relevant to you and your brand or online identity
  • Do not use misspellings, hyphens, or numbers

Begin by searching for full domains that match your brand or online activity, like bestvideogames.blog or jills.plumbing. There may be available domains with extensions that you never knew existed. Jot down the available domains that appeal to you.

Next, try a few keyword searches that describe your online activity or brand, like “best video games” or “Jill’s plumbing.” You might want to include a location if you are a business catering to a specific area — searching for “Jill’s plumbing New York” may lead you to jillsplumbing.nyc. Each search you try will result in different suggestions and availability. Do this several times, and you’ll come up with a few choices you never even thought of.

Now that you have a few options for your new domain name, there is one last step before you register it. Do some research to ensure the name you selected is not legally copyrighted, trademarked, or being used by someone else — there just might be another Jill’s plumbing company in New York. A quick Google search should do the trick. Spending time up front helps prevent any costly and time consuming legal entanglements.

With a little extra effort and awareness, you’ll be able to find the domain that perfectly matches your business, idea, blog, or identity — one you’d be proud to send your friends.

Who Blogs?

Each year there are hundreds of millions of new blog posts published. With so many new posts being produced every day, it’s worth asking the question: who blogs?

Trying to pinpoint who blogs is nearly an impossible task. Anyone with a computer or smartphone internet access can blog — and millions do. Blogging has no boundaries and is one activity that is truly diverse and inclusive. Bloggers come in all ages, sexes, ethnicities, sizes, shapes, colours, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds. They write from every country, and in every language. Every blogger is unique in their own way.

Take Gary: He’s a self-proclaimed foodie, travel addict, and aviation enthusiast who logs his travels on The Gastronomic Traveler. Then there’s Charlotte, the 22-year-old from England, aka The Girl That Games. Yoga Mama writes a yoga blog for pregnant and nursing mothers from Bulgaria, while Danny Zappa is a Swedish photographer who lives in Brazil.The Animal Farm Foundation is a US-based non-profit corporation that rescues and re-homes animals. Lyn is a young women from Vietnam who’s studying in Japan and sharing her experiences at Enjoy Japan Life. Shinola is a Detroit-based watch manufacturer. Do you see what’s happening here? Anyone and everyone blogs. People who want to network, share ideas, create revenue streams, advertise and market, connect with like-minded people, have a voice, help others, stay in touch, learn and grow.

Many people blog as a long-form of their social media networks, students blog to share schoolwork with their teachers and classmates, marketers blog to promote products and services, hobbyists to find others with common interests, and organizations blog to raise awareness. Some people blog for the pure joy of creating and sharing, while others do it as part of their job or to make money.

For any topic you can think of, there is a blog post on it, and a unique person or group of people sharing their passion. Whether it’s a travel, food, photography, or daily blog, thousands of new voices join the ranks of “who blogs?” every day.