Essential Keystrokes is…

where I share my favorite tips, tools, reviews and commentary on web design, marketing, blogging, new media and related topics. For more about this site and the voice behind it, check out my About page.


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Archive for Blogging

NOTE: This post was originally written by me in 2006, but I have updated it with new numbers and tools.

You are getting ready to start a new business or expanding your current one to include an online presence, what is your first step? These days you might want to check what domain name is available for your potential business before you purchase your business cards. According to Domain Tools, there are 125,067,779 ACTIVE domain names, of which 91,264,685 are .com names.

Before you go to purchase your domain name, I recommend brainstorming a bit and start with 5-10 potential names. Once you have this list, you need to go to and let their system help you come up with potential names based on the keywords you want to highlight. Once you think you have a domain name, you need to register it. You can purchase your domain through a company like or my personal choice Network Solutions has long been the standard, trusted source for purchasing domains, but GoDaddy has proven itself as a leader in the industry and has the best prices for domains.

Dot com is still king and if you can get a .com name, you really should. You may need to be a bit creative with your domain name – using a phrase or dashes between words, but there are plenty of names left and Bustaname or GoDaddy will actually suggest alternatives if your first choice is taken. It might take a two or three word combination to get the domain you want and I recommend focusing on the keywords you are going after rather than the “cute” or “cool” factor in a name.

Deals on domains:

Categories : Blogging, Web Tools
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Project Files: SOBCon 2010

Posted by: Char | Comments (0)

Registration for SOBCon 2010, the blogger’s conference held in May in Chicago and hosted by Liz Strauss and  Terry Starbucker, is open and the event’s site has a whole new look, too.

Liz and Terry approached me about designing the site for the second year in a row and I was so honored to be the one to give the site its’ look for another year. The theme of the conference this year is “where the virtual meets the concrete” so we went for a much more pared down look.


Liz wanted lots of white space, cool blues and grays, and the flexibility to feature different media types on the home page as well as use different layouts for the interior pages, too. Luckily for Liz, I had just finished designing a site using the new (and oh, so, super, amazing cool) Headway Theme. The Headway Theme has a built in visual editor which makes it ridiculously easy to place blocks of content where you want them and to use a different layout on every page (if you want).

Anyhow, go check out the site and take advantage of the early bird registration and the New Blogger Bootcamp deals while you are there!!

Categories : Blogging, Project Files
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disclose_12If you are a blogger, website owner, social media hound or have a presence on the web in any way, shape or form, you have probably heard the new from the Federal Trade Commission this week on disclosure and the potential for fines if you fail to disclose.

Disclosure is a good thing. It helps keep the social web honest.

Personally, I am not going to review, promote or endorse any product I don’t love, use or feel strongly about its benefit anyhow. And when I do receive an item for review, I let my readers know. However, like many bloggers, I have gone one step further by adding a blanket disclosure statement to my site to let my readers know that I do make money from my website and that it comes in many forms – affiliate marketing, product reviews, direct sponsorship and consulting. If I am providing you with good information then why should I not be compensated?

So, what do you put in your disclosure statement? The team at IZEA, one of the leaders in the sponsored conversation space, have put together a very useful tool – Use the tool to customize and build out your own disclosure policy. It’s quick, easy and relatively painless. (And no, I have not been compensated in any way for recommending this tool to you – I just happen to think it is a really good idea!)

Categories : Blogging
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