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

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.

The Rise of Chatbots in 2020

When you enter into a chat room on the business website to ask a question or request further information

When you enter into a chat room on the business website to ask a question or request further information, you will face one of two results: a 2 hour wait for the next available human agent, or a chatbot. Similarly, when you call a helpline, you’ll soon find yourself humming along with the hold music until you finally get connected – unless you seek help with the automated chatbots.

In truth, at present we see chatbots as more of an obstacle than a solution, as we try our hardest to get past them and through to a real human who might actually be able to help us. However, with 2019 coming to an end, experts are starting to predict a real rise in the number of chatbot-led interactions we can expect with businesses. And while we may see them as annoying robotic and unhelpful, the truth is that chatbots are not only consistent but also provide round the clock service and can store endless information.

So, with that being said, how will chatbots be used in 2020 and what should we look out for?

“Chat” bots

A very literal application of the term “chatbots” – we are likely to see a rise in voice activated assistance, much like the popular Alexa application. This will enable you to speak to the bot and have it talk back.

Conversational bots

Conversational bots take the above one step further, and will allow bots to not only answer basic queries but also engage in opinionated conversation.

Improved messaging

Despite the anticipated rise in speech-activated interaction, messages will still be the best way to communicate with bots and will be improved and extended to include text messaging as well as emails and online chats.

Business setting

Used to seal and deal and monitor business deals around the clock, bots are the future of 24/7 business as they provide a service that never stops. 2020 is sure to see business bots increase in activity and prominence as the business world engages chatbots across the sector.

AI meets Chatbots

Chatbots driven by artificial intelligence are the closest thing we have to a realistic human robot. These chatbots analyse data to predict or anticipate what a customer may need, leading them to the right solution before they have even fully articulated the problem.

Mimicking real talk

Chatbots are programmed to understand certain forms of communication, as such are seen to struggle in the face of accents and unrecognisable languages. However, with businesses becoming evermore global and expectations for global optimisation at an all-time high, it is going to become increasingly important that chatbots understand natural language.

Customer Insights

Customers are set to enjoy chatbot interaction far more as we enter 2020, mainly due to the rise in customer insight data that is presented to chatbots. Bots will be able to trace the path a customer took to land with them, thus using this data and the customer’s interests to interact with them in a more personal way.

Increasingly human

The problem remains that we, as humans, prefer to interact with other humans – particularly when we have a problem. In 2020 however, the increase in AI driven chatbots will enable the bots to become increasingly human in their interaction and activity, hopefully providing customers with the level of humanity they desire.

Adaptive Chatbots

An adaptive chatbot can take the data given and present valuable solutions that match the setting and sector it is working within. This currently requires a great deal of manual updates, taking up valuable employee time and resource. As we approach 2020, however, optimised and adaptive chatbots will start to take over – reducing the need for human input.

Call Centres

In 2020, automated call centres are finally set to become a reality – and it’s all thanks to AI-driven chatbots who can work 24/7 and acquire enough intelligence to assist customers towards their end goal.

Chatbots are on the rise and, with the promised changes and improvements that will be coming in 2020, any and every business should consider investing in one.

Harnessing The Power Of Online – The Side Hustlers Guide Gallery

The foundations of a successful side hustle are built in your spare time; working around the

The foundations of a successful side hustle are built in your spare time; working around the daily demands that life throws at you. As such, a truly successful side hustle requires time management and commitment – and some helpful online hints. That’s what we’re here for.

Project Management Tools

First up, organising your demands and ensuring you have a handle on what you need to be doing. Keeping track of clients is all very well when you have a small business and a targeted client base, but as your side hustle grows it can be easy to lose track of promises you’ve made and workflows you’ve taken on.

There are a number of online project management tools that you can use to your benefit, ensuring your time is planned out to ensure maximum productivity.

One of the most popular is Trello – a one-page planner of sorts which allows you to create as many Job Streams as you like. Splitting your commitments into smaller chunks can help it seem more manageable, and Trello’s addition of useful tags allows you to easily highlight which jobs are Urgent, which are Ongoing and which are New Business. Trello is a visual way of presenting your tasks, and each individual entry is moveable. Another great feature of Trello is the ability to add multiple team members to each card, and even assign responsibility to individual people.

The other project management tool that’s worth a look is Asana – an online cloud software system that enables users to schedule tasks, plan how different project demands fit together, and – perhaps more usefully of all – quickly identify overlaps in your schedule.

Invoice Tracking Tools

Creating invoices is fairly straightforward if you have access to simple software such as Microsoft Word, but that doesn’t make it any easier to keep track of which invoices have been sent out, paid, and are still outstanding. That’s where online Invoicing Tools come in.

There are several free tools that you can find online to keep your finances in order, allowing you to keep client information safely stored in one location and presenting summaries around how much you’ve earned.

Invoicely is the first of these free tools. You can personalise your profile with company logos, personal information and an area to store your client details. The homepage dashboard enables you to see pending and paid invoices all in one place, and the quick and easy invoice creation feature sends out invoices automatically – with clients able to pay via Stripe, PayPal, BACS and more.

Payment Processors

Working hard to create a successful side hustle is all very well, but ensuring you get paid is one of the most important parts of success. Collecting payment can be a challenge, and that’s why presenting as many convenient options as possible is always preferable to, for example, only accepting cheques or cash.

There are a few payment processors out there that can link to your mobile device for payment on the go, linking seamlessly to your side hustle website – making direct payment quick and easy.

Stripe is one of the most popular as it allows you to accept payment online or through a face-to-face transfer. There are of course fees included with each payment, and Stripe tends to take an average of 3% per transaction – but without hidden fees you can rest assured that the rest of your money really is yours.

Stripe also sends out receipts to your clients and includes features that show you how much money has been received over a specific period of time.

The Power of Apps

If you’re a side hustler who’s constantly on the go, time management apps are probably a good idea for you – particularly if you work and are paid by the hour. Hubstaff has both a free and a paid version of the app – but even just using the free version will allow you to track your time effectively to make sure your hourly invoicing is correct. If a client puts you on a budget, Hubstaff will help you keep track of that – telling you the amount of time to spend on that specific project and ensuring you don’t go over.

The extra features such as payroll software and team scheduling come with the paid package, and can be an excellent investment if your business looks set to grow.

Another good app for time tracking is Toggl. Toggl has a focus on watching how you spend your time, featuring one-click timers and tracking reminders that will make sure you keep to your allotted schedule for each job.

With an overview summary board available as well, Toggl encourages users to view reports on the efficiency of your workstreams, helping you establish where you can save time and make more money.

In short, planning your time around a growing side hustle requires some dedication – there’s no escaping it. But you don’t have to go it alone, and it doesn’t have to be entirely manual. With so many apps and websites available to support you with all areas of your side business, keeping on top of your workload has never been easier.

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

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.

What to expect from social media in 2020

2020 may seem like months away, but the truth is that as the evenings grow darker and the temperature drops, the end of the year is well and truly in sight. The new year brings with it many resolutions, lots of retail sales and discounts, and some exciting new developments for technology – especially social media.

Ever since the launch of Facebook over 15 years ago, the way we use the internet to interact with each other has never quite been the same, and it seems as though every month there is a new trend or social channel that’s got the young people hooked to their phones and devices.

So, with the promise of many more updates and developments, what sort of changes are we likely to see in 2020?

Privacy

Privacy and online security have become a far bigger threat in recent years, with so many different social channels available and the average user age dropping every year. Information is collected by these social media platforms and we are expected to tick a small box to acknowledge this – but do we know what it all really means?

Facebook have recently launched a televised advert about the importance of privacy settings and understanding what information is available to who – and in 2020 we predict be a much larger focus on being aware of your online security.

Video content

In a world where everyone wants everything immediately, reading a blog suddenly seems long and laborious. Why read a whole article when you could learn the same information in a one-minute video?

Video content makes for a great and memorable marketing platform for many small businesses, and as such has seen an incredible rise in usage recently – from video ads to GIF’s that we send privately in messages. Facebook and Instagram have even upgraded to allow for automatic video playing – what more reason do we need to assume video content is set to grow even bigger?

Augmented Reality

Carrying on the technical branch, augmented reality is set to rise very soon – as the new and more sophisticated older brother of virtual reality. While virtual reality creates something entirely new and makes you feel like you’re in it, Augmented Reality is an extension of what is already there – adding extra elements to existing experiences or images. The most basic explanation of this is the filter features you see on Snapchat and Instagram – being able to alter and add props to existing photos and screens.

It will simply be able to do more

In short, social media will be able to do more. Facebook and Instagram recently extended many services into online shopping channels, and social media is fast becoming people’s go-to when they want local news and gossip. So much so that very soon we anticipate social media becoming the main news reporter across the board. Promoting engagement and sharing, people are continually reporting that most of what they know about global issues comes from social media – and this is set only to increase as these channels grow.

Of course, the risk of fake and highly opinionated news is prominent if you rely entirely on social media for your daily updates, but on the whole social media channels do a good job of filtering the real from the so-called “fake news”, and can even tailor stories just for you based on your interests and location.

Specialised search engines

If you’re looking for a video or audio example of something specific, you search in YouTube. If you’re looking for a certain person or business, you might use Facebook. If you’re looking for a particular company or organisation, you could use LinkedIn. Becoming more like modern search engines is the direction that many social media channels seem to be moving in, promoting the search function and allowing users access to as much information and predicted search terms as possible.

Influencers

As social media grows, so too does the barrel of influencers who specialise on each channel. Of course, with so many smaller businesses opening their doors and their websites every single day, influencers are a valuable asset in terms of endorsements and effective consumer marketing. With such high demand, 2020 is likely to see the rise of influencers gain even more traction – and even more competition!

Personalisation

The more personalised and specific your marketing is, the more of a buzz you will generate among your users. Personalisation is already all over social media, but the challenge remains that with the increase in privacy and security, gaining the information needed to create a unique and personal experience on every channel could begin to be a problem. How social media channels deal with this will be interesting to look out for – watch this space!

In short, 2020 will be a big year of social media. A constantly evolving and always updating platform for marketing and online interaction, each channel has its own user base, its own demographic and its own benefits.

Each of the above trends exist in some form already, and how social media chooses to develop these in the next 12 months will certainly be an interesting one to watch.

How to earn more with a side hustle!

Most commonly known as the ‘side hustle’ there is a distinct rise in the number of people who are taking on a secondary business to supplement their salary and open up their professional opportunities to new avenues and adventures.

For many of these business-savvy individuals, what starts as a side hustle can often become their primary passion and main working focus. So, what makes for a successful side hustle and how can you make it work for you?

What makes a side hustle successful?

Like many areas of business, there is no exact formula to making something work. Each business is individual, with its own recipe for success and growth. Obviously, time management is key when working a traditional job and a side hustle, and the more time you are able to channel into your secondary business – the more successful it will likely be.

The benefit of a side hustle is that it isn’t your main source of income (at least, not yet), and so you are free to give it as much time and attention as you wish. Once you’ve decided how much of your life will be run by the side hustle, there are a few things you can do to maximise your success.

Trial and Error

The first thing to do is ensure that you’re spending your time on something worthwhile. Whether it’s a product or a service that you’re offering, encourage friends and family to be your guinea-pigs and provide constructive feedback, so that you don’t end up spending your time on something that will become a flop.

Keep it on the side

It’s important not to jump in too quick. You may be loving the work you get on the side, and may think that the more time you give it the more it will grow. But the reality is, it’s unlikely you will be able to switch your side hustle from a small idea to a full time job overnight, and so giving up on your day job would be a risk too far. Ensure you’re still channelling plenty of energy and enthusiasm into your day job, as it can be easy to lose motivation and start turning in bad work once your priorities shift. Your day job is still important – both financially and professionally – and you don’t want to lose the great reputation you’ve spent your career building.

Work-Life balance

The age-old work life balance is something some people really struggle to entertain, yet it is so important to your own wellbeing. Make sure that, even with your side hustle, you’re still allowing yourself adequate time for rest and personal activities.

Invest in what’s important

Don’t just throw money at your new venture in the hope that it will delivery a good return. Spend your money on what’s important – whether it be a website or a physical workspace in which to conduct your side hustle. Buying a brand-new laptop if you’ve already got one, when you don’t yet know the value or anticipated success of your side hustle, is unwise and likely a waste of money.

Having said that, ensuring you have the right tools to maximise your success is important, and you should think carefully about which tools you need to progress your side hustle forwards in a positive direction. Do you need a website? Would an app help you to manage your time and keep a handle on the tasks that need completing? These are questions only you can answer.

Enjoy it!

If you’re going to be spending much of your spare time on a side hustle, make sure it’s something you enjoy doing and that you are passionate about. Motivation is everything when it comes to a side hustle, and so choosing to progress with something you enjoy is vital.

Set goals

Set yourself small and large goals and make sure you keep track of them. So many people write themselves checklists and goals, only to lose the paper they wrote them on and forget about them entirely. There is no point in having goals if you aren’t going to check in with them, so use it as an opportunity to start small and work your way up – and who know, maybe one day you’ll look back and be proud of all the goals you’ve achieved!

Whether your primary reason for starting a side hustle was to earn some more money or to engage in one of your passions, a side hustle can be a great way to use your time to both a personal and financial advantage. Pick something you enjoy and that you can envision growing – after all, there’s a chance that one day this may become your sole working commitment, and so you want to make sure it is as successful as it can be!

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