Domain Name Fame – 10 of the most expensive domain names

For those who aren’t sure what we mean by domain name, this refers to the URL that appears in the search bar when you land on a certain website. Like Google.com, Facebook.com, and BBC.co.uk, this is what people need to remember to type into the URL bar when they want to find your website, so ensuring the domain name is short and punchy is fundamental to a successful website.

The problem is the quantity of websites out there. Finding a unique domain name is tough, particularly when you are in a sector with lots of competition. You can forget the generic URL’s that you might have wanted – to find something unique as we approach 2020, you have to think outside the box.

But this article isn’t here to tell you what to do. This article is to inspire you – so without further ado, here are 25 of the most successful, and most expensive, domain names ever.

Introduction

It is worth noting that many of the organisations involved in purchasing and selling the most expensive domain names, do not want actual figures revealed. From wanting to keep their competition at arm’s length, to wanting to retain their financial anonymity in the public sphere, there are many reasons to keep these numbers quiet.

But their want is not enough, and for the last few years the health of the domain name market has become public knowledge.

Cars.com

Cars.com is the most expensive domain name that has ever been sold – coming in at just under £700 million. Of course, if you think about it, something as simple as “cars.com” could refer to any number of things, leaving the clever people behind this domain name with the users looking for rental cars, new cars, used cars, taxi cars, and everything in between.

If you’re looking to earn that top spot and invest in a great domain name, GoDaddy’s domain appraisal tool enables you to test the value of each domain name related to your business – using old search history and location to test the effectiveness.

CarInsurance.com

Another car one – slightly more targeted perhaps, but still worth a hefty £40 million on the market!

Insurance.com

Closely following its car-specific counterpart is the more general “Insurance.com”, referring to everything from home insurance to car insurance, life insurance and more. Insurance is something everyone has to deal with at some point and so this generic domain name serves as an umbrella over a massive chunk of the market. That’s probably why this domain name is worth just under £30 million.

VacationRentals.com

As we approach 2020, jobs are getting busier and annual leave is becoming more and more valuable – or at least that’s how it seems; particularly when we look at how much the domain name for Vacation Rentals fetched in. At a whopping £28 million, “VacationRentals.com” solidifies our love of a holiday home.

And the rest…

Counting down from the number 4 spot it is easy to spot a common trend in the most expensive domain names – and that is their generic nature. Perusing the list, it is easy to identify why these domain names have sold for the most – simply because the sheer volume of traffic they will be receiving from generic search terms must be huge. After all, for someone who doesn’t know exactly what they’re looking for, a generic search term is the easiest option.

  1. PrivateJet.com
  2. Voice.com
  3. Internet.com
  4. 360.com
  5. Insure.com
  6. Fund.com

You can check out your own domain name’s worth by entering it into NameBio.com, or using the dedicated GoDaddy tool to valuate your domain name.

Getting The Most Out Of Google My Business

Operated by Google, Google My Business is a way for business owners to take control over exactly what their users and potential customers see in the search results listings. With a dedicated account that is solely used to influence Google search information, users can manipulate this data and supply information that their customers might need – including open hours, a contact number and photos of services or products.

Of course, another important feature of this is your location. By setting your location, you’re enabling potential customers in your area to search for what they need – and what you can provide – and be directed straight to your door.

So, how do you optimise this information to ensure that it is actually seen by the right users?

Get your foot off the starting block

The first step is, of course, to create your Google My Business listing, and fill in as much information as you possibly can. If your business doesn’t have a physical location or base, that doesn’t mean a Google Business account isn’t important – you can simply skip over the location and instead opt for a Service Area which allows users to see where you operate your services.

Pick the right Category

Picking the right category is how Google will narrow down searches towards or away from you. The categories already exist, so it is simply a case of selecting the one that most applies to you and your business – but don’t just pick the first one you see that seems relatively appropriate. The list of categories is large and quite specific, so make sure you pick the very best one for your business.

The importance of imagery

The world is shifting towards image-heavy social media platforms and videos, so ensuring you have some great visual content for potential customers is a sure-fire way to attract their attention. Using high-quality and professional photos where possible, your profile should show off your products or service results to any potential client who seek more information. After all, first impressions are still the most important.

Double check your information

If your business has a Google profile, an Instagram account and a Facebook page, it is imperative that you make sure the information aligns across them all. Consistency is key, not just for your customers who may be looking for vital information, but also for Google – who will penalise you for inconsistent detail; resulting in a negative impact on your SEO.

Encourage Reviews

Online reviews are a minefield, and often companies and businesses can shy away from reviews simply because they feel people will only review if they had a negative experience. This is not, and should not be the case, as good reviews can actually seal the deal for one business over another in many cases. If a friend recommends a great restaurant, what are the chances you’ll visit that one over something you know nothing about? Exactly.

Think about your area – and area code

If Google doesn’t think you’re a local business, they won’t recommend you to individuals searching in your local area. Using a local area code is one easy way to prove to Google that your location is correct, and will make Google more likely to recommend and suggest your business to users in the area searching for your products and services.

Make sure you know what Google does and doesn’t like, and stick to it

Google publishes guidelines for Business listings, so take the time to read it and familiarise yourself with what NOT to do. For example, adding keywords may be a good thing and you may think you need them everywhere, but inserting them randomly into your business name can work against you. If it looks like you’re trying too hard, Google will suspect you’re not legitimate and you will be penalised. Another example is having a number of different listings all point towards the same business. You may think multiple listings means multiple chances of appearance, but all it means is that Google will punish you.

Don’t take your eye off the SEO-ball

SEO is still super important and ensuring your entire website works in line with your SEO strategy will go a long way towards giving both your website and your business listing the legitimacy that Google looks for. Make sure your keywords are relevant and present, and look to create content that focuses on your local area – as well as any wider offers.

Our top 10 SEO trends for 2020

The Winter months have well and truly set in, and with the end of 2019 fast approaching, it’s time to turn your attention to your 2020 strategy.

Keeping up with the constant developments is a never-ending job all of its own, and unfortunately the same goes for keeping up with the competition. The internet is an endless minefield of competitors all vying for attention from prospective customers and clients – and the best way to get this attention is via the global search engines.

But as technology and content information matures, so does Google. It is no longer enough to just write a great blog – now it has to work alongside and in partnership with a specific set of rules implemented by organisations like Google.

Without further ado, here’s 10 ways you can use SEO to harness Google’s attention and make sure your website features in those all-important top search results.

1. Consider featured snippets

When you Google something and wind up on a result page, generally the first thing on the screen is something called a Snippet. This literally does what it says on the tin, offering the searcher an extended preview of what they might find on that first site result – whether it’s instructions, tips or generic information.

To gain a chance at being the featured Snippet for any given search term, ensure you are answering the most common questions in clear and concise language. The Snippets receive a high percentage of clicks so it is worth spending the time tailoring your content accordingly.

2. Voice recognition and voice-driven searches

Our phones and smart devices are getting clever by the upgrade, with many now offering users a chance to search for anything they want – without having to tap a single button. While this has been attributed to accidental searches and even unintentional holiday bookings, it seems the powers of tech have honed and matured the technology to enable voice search to grow in popularity.

To work in partnership with this trend, you need to think about how people are searching using their voice – rather than their keypad. In short, the searches will be more detailed and keywords will become more conversational.

3. The growth of Artificial Intelligence

The majority of drivers may not be ready for driver-less cars yet, but artificial intelligence is on the rise and has recently become on of Googles most trusted advisors when it comes to user searches and search result algorithms. In short, the AI robots have learned what makes an article great; creating their own set of rules that we, as content creators, have to abide by if we want to continue to perform well online.

Does anybody know what these sets of rules look like? It’s all trial and error.

4. Online security

First GDPR and now this – if a user doesn’t feel that their information is safe when browsing your website, they won’t use it. It’s as simple as that. Increased user security is a trend which is only going to continue to grow, and one which will influence our strategies for many years to come.

5. The power of the blue tick

Blue ticks have never meant more than they do today. A sign of status and popularity in the online world, a blue tag tends to mean that someone is a verified influencer – usually with an extremely large following and valuable networks.

Having one of these influencers endorse your brand is a priceless tool that enables your brand to be seen by networks and potential customers you couldn’t even dream of reaching before. Allow the social media trend to improve your website traffic and widen the reach of your content.

6. User experience

Remember the days when everything took minutes to buffer? We used to sit in front of the screen and watch the buffering wheel for days on end – but not today. Today, users want everything instantly, and if it’s not instant on your website then they will simply head to a different website that is. It doesn’t matter if you have great content – if the user experience isn’t exactly what they expect, you will very quickly find yourself losing valuable visitors.

Quick load times, an easy to navigate website, and optimised content for all devices – they’re all important!

7. Videos vs. Written content

Facebook has launched a new video viewing page which takes you straight onto another related video once your first one finishes. This subtle but clever way to introducing you to new content highlights how important video is becoming in the world of online content, as users are now just as likely to watch a tutorial as they are to read one.

Youtube advertising has never been so popular, and online videos are starting to take over and attract more and more interest – pulling viewers away from their television screens. Make sure your videos are optimised in terms of SEO, to harness the power of this ever-growing trend. Great keywords and descriptions can mean the difference between a viral clip and a video that falls flat.

8. Quality Content

A pretty simple one really. You can do all the SEO and tagging in the world, but without quality content you will never be able to retain potential customers. Give them value, well-researched information and clear calls to action! After all, in a world where everything is so fast-paced and temporary, your content needs to prove itself as informative yet entertaining; useful but also high quality and approachable.

9. Dwell time will increase in prominence

The amount of time someone sits on your website is about to become even more important to your SEO success. If a user is spending lots f time on your website, the search engine will know that the quality of your content and website is likely to be high – and this is going to become even more of an influential factor as we enter 2020.

10. It’s not going to be just about Google

Google pretty much owns the search engine world, with the phrase “Google it” being used to answer probably half the questions that are voiced by millions of people every single day. However, this could be set to change, as other search engines rise in prominence and give Google a run for its money.

This may mean that SEO requirements will differ particularly as different and new search engines work to attract users and gain support. We’ll have to watch this space to see what happens…

 

Unpacking the value of SEO

Unfortunately for those new to the game, SEO isn’t just a quick fix. It is in fact a series of tricks that work together to give your website the best possible ranking it can get in the eyes of Google. You may be thinking that the customer matters to you, not Google. But if you don’t get on the right side of the powers behind the search engines, there’s a chance that your customers won’t even find your website – let alone be able to rank it!

Having said that, it’s not like the search engines offer a guide to good SEO. In fact, they tend to keep quiet about the best way to steer SEO in a favourable direction, leaving us to figure out the algorithms and how to rank highly. So, without further ado, here’s a few of our top tips on how you can improve your own SEO on your website without hiring in experts and content creators.

Get to grips with Google analytics

Before you can truly understand which avenue your SEO should be going down, first you need to get to grips with your website’s current performance. Analytics will give you some insight into how people are currently coming across your website and how they are interacting with it, so that you can understand your website traffic and determine which search terms are leading people to you.

In essence, why are people coming across your website and what are they searching for to bring them to you?

Understand your keywords

The next step is to identify what keywords link your service to the people who are visiting your website. Write down all the words that you think are key to your business proposition and what you offer, and then use keyword tools to figure out how valuable those terms are.

Engaging tools such as Google’s free keyword planner are useful here as they give you some idea of how many searches each keyword has and how competitive the word is among other websites. It will also then provide you with some suggestions around keywords relevant to your site, to help you build out your list and bid on the words best suited in both yours and Google’s opinion.

Trust us, this will all help your website to rank better among its competitors, leading to increased website traffic and subsequently more business.

Optimise your website according to your SEO strategy

Once the keywords are established, your website needs to be brought up to speed. This involves implementing the chosen words into as many aspects as you can – NATURALLY. This is key. Making sure the sentences flow smoothly and that the keywords are well integrated is critical to ensuring a good ranking. If Google thinks it’s nonsense, you could be worse off than you were before you started.

Key areas to focus on include the web page URL, heading tags, image names and alt tags, title tags and your web page meta descriptions. A lot of this will be happening in the back end of your website and won’t even be something that is obvious from a visitor point of view. But Google is always watching…

Make sure you don’t lose sight of your content

Keeping the content relevant and up to date is vital for SEO. Not only do new news stories and blog posts give you increased opportunity to integrate those keywords to your site, but they signal to Google that your website is active and relevant in its field. Create high quality content that will interest your audience, and they’ll stick around to read it. If you start letting the content drop, you’ll swiftly see a corresponding drop in your website traffic.

Out with the old

Likewise, old content is pointless. Update your old content where necessary, and if it’s no longer relevant then simply scrap it.

Internal links

Google is a big fan of internal linking and proof that every area of your website is relevant to the overall industry you’re providing a service in.

Optimisation

In a world where most browsing is done on the go, ensuring your website is optimised for mobile usage is absolutely crucial – not only for your users but for your Google ranking. Mobile matters, and Google have recently revealed that the status of your website optimisation is a factor in ranking your site among its competitors. So, don’t let it fall by the wayside!

Site Speed

Much like the above, site speed is another thing that you think is out of your control but will in fact feature heavily in how your site is ranked. People care about how long it takes for a web page to load, and improving your site speed is something that can make a big difference in overall website satisfaction.

There are of course other things you can do to improve your google search results, and not all of them are changes to your own website. Promote your content in other places, for example on social media, through guest posts on other related sites and even in directories. If people think you are an expert of a particularly influential individual or organisation in the industry, play on this and ensure that everything you do online links back to your own website.

This is a strategy known as backlinking, and is another way of showing Google how relevant you are – by having other relevant websites link to your site. It’s like a recommendation without the direct endorsement, but for Google it is enough to show that your content is valuable and that your website deserves to be up there with the other strong contenders.

Unpicking SEO: How to boost your rankings

SEO is one of those buzz-words that floats around the online world, without much understanding behind it. Individuals claiming to be SEO experts will constantly inundate your inbox with offers to optimise your SEO and perform SEO checks – but what does it all mean?

The purpose of SEO is to make sure your website stands out for the powers of a search engine. Often what the search engine is looking for doesn’t even make complete sense to us, but we do it because it leads to good “SEO”. This guide to unpicking SEO is designed to simply help your website rank a little higher and perform a little better, without the need for outsourced experts and lengthy reviews.

Pick your Keywords and stick to them

When using WordPress, there are special plugins and accessories that have been created just to make your SEO life easier – use them. Yoast SEO is one of the best; rating your posts according to how well they have been written in light of your SEO targets. Yoast is a content creaters dream, engaging one simple tool that will change the way you write. It allows you to pick a keyword and it makes sure you stick to it.

By telling Yoast what the focus of your post is, in one word, the plugin will make sure everything you create is working to your advantage – from the post heading to the content body and image captions. Good SEO means tying everything together to one common focus, and Yoast makes absolutely sure that is what you do.

Customise the web address

How many times have you clicked through to a blog and wanted to send it to someone else, only to see that the link is a random string of numbers and characters that takes up half a text message? Not only is it annoying, but it looks unprofessional and means you are automatically rendering your article unlikely to be shared on the likes of LinkedIn and other social media.

Editing the web address is easy in WordPress, and by making sure that focus keyword we discussed is also in the web URL, your SEO will be even better – not to mention it will look better and allow readers to understand exactly what the post is about before they start to read it.

Divide your content into different categories

The best bloggers out there know how to divide their work into sub-divisions and categories; not only to make navigation easier for their readers, but also to improve SEO for your site. Search engines trawl through your content to assign an SEO rating – why not make it easy for them by dividing the content up and doing half the work for them?

Get rid of the junk

If you have posts that you know aren’t good, or duplicated content that you copied from years ago because you had no new inspiration last month, get rid of it. If you don’t want to permanently delete it, then at least set the page to ‘no index’ so that they cannot be found by the search engines, as these pages are likely harming your SEO and making search engines think your website is full of junk.

Make the images smaller

Large pictures can completely dwarf a great website, no matter how spectacular the content is, simply by damaging your load time. A slow load time means a badly ranked site in the eyes of a search engine, and they will subsequently be unlikely to position your site high up in their options for visitors. By reducing the size of your images, you will see a drastic change in the load time for your site, which will translate into better SEO ranking and more website visitors.

All the changes mentioned in this post are designed to be quick and easy fixes to help your SEO perform better. Everything you create no longer simply needs to satisfy your end reader – search engines are your biggest judge, and if you don’t cater for their requirements then it’s likely that your website won’t even be found by the desired target audience. Give yourself the best possible start by engaging these tips from the word go, and watch the visitors flock to your website.

How to come first in the site speed race of WordPress

The online world can sometimes feel abit like the Olympics; jumping through hoops to please the search engines with excellent SEO, while racing to get the next blog post up quickly and overcoming the obstacles that are your competitor’s deals. But what about the speed your site is working at? With all the content and coding requirements we work to meet, it can be easy to forget that an increase in content means an increase in load time. And nothing is more likely to put your visitors off than an unreliable and slow website.

And it’s not just your visitors who will be unimpressed. Google has fast been increasing the emphasis it puts on site speed as a ranking factor, meaning that if your site isn’t up to scratch, you can rest assured Google won’t be recommending it in a hurry.

Here we unpick the best ways to rectify the situation before it does real damage to your website reputation in the online world…

The geography of your data centre is crucial

Your server is what pushes your site out to clients and potential website visitors, so making sure it is located close to that target market is crucial. It’s easy to find out the speed at which your site is being pushed out to Google at, from within your (webmaster tools) search console. Ideally this should be running to just a few hundred milliseconds at a maximum – any slower and Google will start to disregard your site.

geography

Dynamic Caching

Dynamic caching is one of those terms thrown around by online experts – but what does it really mean? Essentially dynamic caching deals with the problem created by page generation load time, as by default WordPress will load each page afresh every time a new visitor comes to your site. This obviously adds a delay to the load time of each page, which can cause a major problem for your overall site speed.

Dynamic caching deals with this delay by saving a copy of each page and then simply regenerating the copy to each visitor – rather than loading each page from scratch every time. This creates a more streamlined load time across your whole site by allowing the server to push content out to more individuals at once – more quickly!

In order to implement dynamic caching, users tend to opt for a plugin or by enabling it on the server itself via a user such as Hostgator. The latter option is easy for WordPress users who have optimised hosting as it is as simple as switching the feature on. For those who don’t, the plugin option is just as good and will perform the job to the same effect.

A Content Distribution Network (CDN)

A CDN allows your website server to find out the IP address of each visitor to your site, and deliver to them the recurrent content from a server nearest to them. By recurrent content we mean the things that never change – your images, backend coding and CSS to name a few. Engaging the use of the CDN through your hosting network means than users all over the world will receive content quickly and effectively, without long load times for those who live farthest away. Simply enable the CDN setting in the backend of your WordPress site and watch the visitors roll in – from all over the globe.

Understand Javascript and how to use it to your advantage

Javascript is great, and almost all the websites we can think of use it in some capacity. It enables your website to respond to the device it is being viewed on, resizing images and other content to maximise enjoyment. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and it adds to page load time if you don’t optimise it to work in your favour. Essentially what you want to do is tell Javascript to start loading only after the page has loaded and is fully visible to the website visitor – and this requires help.

A plugin such as Autoptimize will enable you to aggregate Javascript so that it only loads once your website visitor is already enjoying the content. This means that by the time they get as far as the table of information you’ve included, it will have resized appropriately – without impacting on the load time of the entire page.

The beauty of CSS

The point of CSS is to make your WordPress site look great. While loading CSS files takes a while and in an ideal world would be delayed until after the page has loaded, doing this would cause your webpage to look unstyled and unattractive. That’s why we turn to Inlining for CSS – isolating the CSS rules that apply to the visible elements of your web page, and applying them to every page of the website so that they load instantly.

This is a complicated one, but luckily online tools are available to help – simply enter your URL into an online resource such as ‘SiteLocity’ and it will automatically generate the CSS for you. Copy the rules it presents to you and paste it into the Settings are of Autoptimize (something you should already have if you follow our tips for a successful Javascript!)

And voila! Beautiful web pages that load at the drop of a hat.

Images

We get it, images are vital to your website. Whether it’s photos of your work or images to supplement your content, you need them. But they’re also adding to the size of your web page and by loading them afresh with every website visit, they’re draining the web loading capacity and adding to your site speed.

That’s why we turn to lazy loading. By enabling this, images won’t be loaded until the visitor has scrolled down far enough to see them, ensuring that only those images that will be viewed are actually loaded – i.e. if the visitor leaves the page before they reach an image, no harm done as it didn’t load anyway!

Enable lazy loading from the settings inside your WordPress site and watch the images appear by magic – as and when they’re needed.

Do you really need that smiley face emoji?

Emoji’s add a whole load of useless code to your website, and yet it loads afresh every single time the page is viewed. Yet again we turn to Autoptimize to help us here, simply selecting the option that removes WordPress’ core emojis from your CSS and subsequently cleaning up your backend coding so that only the really vital information is being loaded.

Put this all together and you’re sure to place in the site speed race rankings – just make sure you don’t get lost in the world of site speed and allow your content and SEO to suffer. Online is all about balance and Google expects you to excel in all the relevant areas – not just one.

 

Adding Google Analytics to WordPress

Google Analytics is one of those tools that website developers throw at you as a tool you simply must use. You download it, you look at it occasionally, but you don’t necessarily understand exactly what it all means. All you know is that it’s full of graphs and percentages, and if the percentages are in green then that’s a good thing.

Google Analytics is a tool designed by Google to look at the people visiting your website and then provide you with a breakdown of who they are. What did they search for in order to find your site? Which pages did they visit, and how long did they stay on our site? How many visitors did you have this week compared to last week?

By understanding this information, you have a great opportunity to tailor your website specifically for your regular audience, making sure the most popular pages are easily found and well optimised for different devices. You can also understand exactly which keywords are leading visitors to your website, allowing you to build your SEO around them.

When using WordPress, Google Analytics can be connected to provide you with seamless information at the click of a button – and here’s how to do it.

Get a plugin

Plugins are easy to use and highly regarded, especially in the world of SEO and Google Analytics. MonsterInsights is a popular one with both a basic package and a more premium option available, meaning no matter what level you are working at you will find a suitable analytics package. Once you’ve downloaded the plugin to your WordPress site, a menu called “Insights” will appear on your site.

Once you’ve completed the set up (through which you will be fully guided but the setup wizard) you can view analytics reports as often as you want, digesting the information into sections that work for you and are most applicable to your site and your audience.

Through Google itself

As a Google add-on, Google analytics is of course available through the search engines own dashboard. To use this, you need to add a snippet of your site’s code to your google files, being careful not to destroy your own code in the process.

To do this, go into your WordPress theme’s manual code editing interface and find the header.php file. Paste the code from Google Analytics into this file after the ‘body’ tag and save the changes, before reuploading the file to your server.

Alternatively, you can update this through your WordPress functions file, which will automatically add the tracker to every page of your site. To do this, paste the following code into the functions.php file on your theme:

<?php

add_action(‘wp_head’, ‘wpb_add_googleanalytics’);

function wpb_add_googleanalytics() { ?>

// Paste your Google Analytics code here

<?php } ?>

This will then be live on your site, and you’ll be able to view your analytics reports as and when you need them.

How do I view the data?

We’ve referred a few times to the reports that will become available as a result of Google Analytics, but how do you view them? Give WordPress adequate time to update Google with your data before searching for the reports, as if you move too quickly the data will be out of date and useless.

To view the data, simply head to your Google Analytics dashboard and spend some time familiarising yourself with what is available. You may find it useful to engage in different levels of activity week on week to see which is the most successful, before deciding on a long-term strategy moving forward. In the long-run, understanding your data can be a great tool for boosting sales and improving website traffic, so Google Analytics is well worth your time.