Good Non Profit Website Design Principle #2 of 5

Like the television commercial where the married couple had to take showers in public water fountains, not having a home is a major headache. Can you imagine the headaches resulting from this crazy scenario?

“What’s your name, sir?” “I don’t know.”
“Where do you live, sir?” “I don’t know.”

This leads us to the next principle of good website design:

Good Non Profit website Design Principle #2: To avoid wandering around nameless and homeless on the Internet, resolve the essentials of selecting your name and address.

To accomplish Principle #2, every non profit website design needs answers to two critical questions: “What’s your address?” and “Who’s your host?”

1. What’s your address? Otherwise known as your domain name or URL, your website name is an essential ingredient. Examples of world-renowned domain names include google.com, wikipedia.com, flickr.com, and yahoo.com.

Practical Tip #1: Choose a domain name that is your company name or brand, or default to the closest derivation, and get all the extensions (.com, .org, .net, .info).

First Choice: Pick your company name or brand name as your domain, if possible, e.g., generalmills.com or cheerios.com. Or select both, but promote the one you go by publicly. People will attempt to search the name by which they remember you the most.

Second Choice: A derivation of your company or brand name. Pick short domains over long ones, and memorable/pronounceable names over acronyms, unless you go primarily by your acronym. For example, firstchristianchurch.com is preferable to fcc.com, but if you’re widely known as FCC, then get fcc.com. Better yet, get both.

Consider hyphens as a backup option, e.g., first-christian-church.com.

Avoid plurals unless you can’t obtain the singular derivation. If you select a derivation like Mysite.com or TheSite.com, be sure to advertise your site as such.

Ideally, try to find a domain where you can get all priority extensions. If you’re in charge of non profit marketing, you may want to promote your organization using .org, and then choose .com and .net as your backups.

Alternatively, if you select .com first, then use .org and .net as backups. (These choices may vary in different countries.) Picking up all domain extensions will give people the widest access to your site—in other words, they can type any of the extensions and still get to your site because you have them all. It also serves to stop your competitors from snapping up the closest variation.

Here’s a good online reference for picking domain names:

2. Who’s your host? Your website host will be the entity that stores the files (text, graphics, photos, videos, etc.) that make up your site. When someone views your site on the Internet, the host computer “serves up” your pages, based on the computer code written by whomever programs your website. Because they “serve up” the pages of your website for people to view, your host computer is often called a server.

Here are some online reference sources for finding a good hosting company:

best-webhosting-2008.com/  tophosts.com/

Before deciding on a host, it’s critical to determine the kinds of attributes you want your website to contain. For example, do you need ecommerce, databases, or email fundraising features?

Here’s a good article on the top 9 things to look for in a web host:
tophosts.com/articles/000488.html

Here’s a good article on the most commonly asked questions:
http://www.tophosts.com/faq.html

For more help on this subject contact Pathmaker Marketing.

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