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Month: July 2011

Why NOT To Use A .CO Domain

A while ago, I received an email from a friend asking if he should get a .CO domain for his website. I thought for a while, and gave him my answer. “No.” He responded, thanking me, and then asked me why not. I thought for a longer while, then gave him several reasons why, in my opinion, businesses should NOT go out and get a .co domain to use as their primary website domain. After looking over my notes, I figured the reasons were worth sharing. So here they are. [ Note: for those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to—there’s now a new option for a TLD (top-level domain). It’s called .co. Meaning, instead of your website ending in .com, .org, .net, or .biz, you can now have a website that ends in .co. That’s what this post is all about—why you should not get a .co domain. ] Why NOT To Use A .CO Domain *  *  * A .co domain is simply confusing. The web culture for so long has focused solely on the .com, almost to the utter exclusion of every other TLD (top level domain). So most people who are going to visit your website will expect to type in “.com” at the end of it. It’s just habit. Actually, it’s an old, longstanding tradition—the .com has been the primary TLD since...

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What is “Dogfooding”?

So there’s an important concept in the tech world that has a very strange name… I tell clients about the concept frequently, and usually get laughter when I mention the term: dogfooding. Say what? What is dogfooding, anyway? Yes, it’s an awfully strange term, but it makes perfect sense. Here’s the idea: if you work at a dog food company, and you have a dog, at the end of the day, you’d better be bringing home your company’s dog food to feed your dog. Why? Because if your product is as good as your marketing says it is… you would buy it yourself. [Note: I realize this analogy breaks down as some point, as all analogies do. Most Gulfstream Jet mechanics can’t afford the luxury private jets they work on all day. But in this particular case, with dog food, it fits perfectly.] Below, I’ll give you three examples of the concept: a good example, a bad one, and a really strange one. Three Examples of Dogfooding in Action … Good Example The best example of dogfooding I know of is by 37signals. They’re a software company that makes business productivity software, and they use their own software to run their software business. As it should be. It’s brilliant marketing. It shows confidence in the products they make. It also makes them much better at sales, support, and quality...

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Don’t Buy the Cheap Pens!

I have nothing against promotional products. I like promotional products. I like the people that sell them, and I like the amazing kinds of products that are available today. But there’s one promotional product I absolutely can’t stand. Cheap pens. You know the kind… they’re small, thin, ugly, made of plastic, break in about a week and cost companies a grand total of 45 cents. When I go to a trade show of any kind, I cringe at the unbelievable amount of cheap pens that vendors shovel into the swag bags of passersby. Why do businesses do this?! I have a company policy that I’ve imposed on myself since I started my business. I will NEVER hand out low-quality, cheap promotional products with my logo on them. Why? Because it cheapens my brand. I know that I don’t have a million-dollar company, and my company is not an established name in any household. But I do know this: In business, I don’t charge people for things I can’t be proud of. And I don’t give away things I can’t be proud of either. I’m proud of the work I do, and I charge a decent penny for it. So why would my marketing materials reflect anything other than this? That’s one reason I’ve been extremely stingy on the promotional products I have handed out in the past. I don’t...

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Getting the Job, Part 1: Resume Best Practices

[ This is post one in a series of three called “Getting the Job: Tips from a Hiring Manager.” ] Have you ever noticed how a job search is like a marketing campaign? It’s a perfect case-study in marketing. You have a product (yourself), you’re figuring out who your buyer is (a potential employer), then getting them to buy (by hiring you). A few years ago, I worked as a hiring manager. I sorted through hundreds of resumes, made lots of phone calls, interviewed lots of people, and learned a lot in the process. The biggest lesson I learned was figuring out what’s truly important to the hiring manager, and how it’s not necessarily what you might expect. Applicants often focus on things that aren’t so important, and miss some of the more crucial elements. Now, I’m just one person, and my experience isn’t the same as a lot of other hiring managers so I don’t claim to speak for them. But below are some helpful hints that I’ve found to be important. In my opinion, the most important thing you can do is put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. The first thing to know is that most “hiring managers” really don’t hire for a living—they do other things, like HR, Payroll, Accounting, or something similar. So hiring is just one of the many things they do. And...

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