A Domain by Any Other Name

I couldn’t wait for this douche to get out of my office. He was going on and on about how he bought all these goddam domain names back in the 90s, and how he just “sits back and collects checks” now. Give me a break. I hate this prick already.

In case he (and anyone else) didn’t notice, it’s not the 90s (or what I like to call ‘the worst decade since the dawn of time’) anymore. Get with the goddam program. People aren’t as stupid as they used to be. Well, they’re still dumb as shit, but they’ve smartened up a little.

See, domains are cheap these days. Not like “back in the day” when they were 70 and 80 bucks a pop.  Hell, I registered “suckmyballs.net” the other day for $2 a year! Okay, I didn’t register it yet, but I’m about to. If you go in there and take that domain away from me, I’ll beat you within an inch of your life. I will teach you a lesson you’ll never forget, punk-ass! I’ll slam your head down on my desk before you can even blink. I will not back down for one second. Not one second.

But back to the task at hand, so you’ve got cheap domains, plus a million options for URL extensions. It’s not just .com or .net anymore. We’ve come a long way, baby! I hope those motherfuckers at Virginia Slims come back at me for using that phrase. I’ll shank you SOBs in a heartbeat! I’ll whip your ass with a rusty chain! I will shove you against the wall in one snap of my fingers. Try me on for size, you bitches.

Even some snot-nosed, fat-ass, asswipe kid can buy a .org these days! There’s no more integrity to it! Throw all the rules right out the goddam window! Who gives two shits?! I guess no one does. So be it!!

Then you get into the fact that you can just pick another name if yours is taken. If I want “AbleAbe.com” and some asshole has taken it, I have three options:

1)      I can either shell out some of my hard-earned dough to some douche (not gonna happen!)

2)      I can drive to said douche’s house, force him to give me the password, and then push him out a second-story window, or

3)      I can just find another name

And if that cocksucker has bought up all the variations (AbleAbe.net, .org., .deeznutz), I’ll just get creative with hyphens. And if he wants to be wily and play some game and buy up all of those variations, too, well, then, I’ll stab him with a shard of glass! I’m not gonna sit by and let this happen. Not on my watch. Not today.

The point is, these days buying domain names is pointless. And anyone who actually pays one of these schmucks who had nothing better to do with their time back then but buy all these random names is a dumb-ass. Plain and simple.

And if you think I’m wrong, or that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I welcome you to come over here and say that to my face, you son-of-a-bitch! I’ll knock you right off your chair! I’ll knock you into the next goddam week!

by Abraham “Able Abe” Aenstograafik | Residential Life Magazine

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FAQs Yield Few Answers

Your website’s FAQ is worthless. Now that I’ve got your attention, allow me to elaborate. Frequently Asked Questions are the lowest form of web content. They are the sludge at the bottom of your coffee mug, the gunk in your home’s rain gutter, the goo attached to your car after driving through a construction zone. They serve virtually no purpose. So why do they exist, and why do so many people love them?

No Time for That Bunk Today

People are busy. They want to do things fast so they can move onto the next thing. They don’t want to take a lot of time having to read through a lot of website content to find what they’re looking for. So you provide them with a handy “one-stop-shop” area with the answers to all their questions, and call it a day. Everybody’s happy, right? Wrong. If your web content was clearly and succinctly written and displayed in a clear, sensible, easy to navigate fashion, you (and your customers!) would spend little, if any, time on a FAQ section.

Where’s the FAQ Love?

When I pitched this idea to Residential Life Magazine, a colleague argued that all the statistics she’s seen point to FAQs being a good thing. I understand and respect that. I do. However, what the stats are not showing is that these sections are popular because the “answers” are not located anywhere else on the website, or — at the very least — are not easy for the aforementioned busy web user to find. People don’t read online. FAQs are ineffective. So what’s a web writer to do? The answer may be simpler than you’d think.

Give ‘em What They Want

Write “short and sweet” content, clearly marking answers to ‘frequently asked questions.’ Readily offer easily findable information in a few short words and phrases. Get over your literature background, stop writing pages of content, and start embracing bullet points. Bullet points are one of the most effective tools in web content. Let them become your BFF. Lastly, if you absolutely must have a FAQ section, place it on your contact page. Clearly mark all the ‘frequently asked questions’ you know to exist, but also have contact information of people who will actually contact customers to answer inquiries you may not have thought about. Questions are not a bad thing! No customer is a waste of your work time; they are the reason for it.

FAQ, We Hardly Knew Ye

The sooner we can ditch this notion of ‘must-have’ FAQs, the better. Let’s not forget that the ‘information superhighway’ centers around information, not hastily-constructed FAQ pages thrown together solely for the sake of avoiding customer interaction.

by Enid Ahylhienatta | Technology Consultant | Residential Life Magazine 

Un-Friending Big Brother

A friend recently posted “unsolicited advice” (her words, not mine) on her Facebook account, warning young people seeking employment to know and monitor the information about them on social networking sites.  I wondered why they don’t just make their profiles private?

Employers searching for online information about job candidates is nothing new, it’s just become more prevalent (and easier!) in this age of social media. People still, however, have more control than they think when it comes to what is seen by whom.

Though nearly hidden, Facebook allows users to remain almost completely anonymous. This would, of course, defeat the purpose of social networking, but may be a tool to use temporarily, particularly when job seeking.

A friend set up his account in such a way that only family members (and, I suppose, close friends) are able to see what he’s up to. This may seem like an extreme measure to take, but it serves his needs quite well. He wanted to be part of the ‘scene,’ but also wanted to protect his privacy.

Social media has, though, become an integral part of our lives. For those who don’t want to completely erase their ‘footprint,’ I suggest creating a ‘professional’ online presence.

I have multiple accounts on various social networking sites, each with its own privacy settings. Because I use LinkedIn for freelance opportunities and professional networking, I’ve set up the account to allow virtually anyone to contact me, and see my information.

On the other hand, I have two accounts each for Facebook and Twitter: one for personal posts, and another that takes on more of a professional tone.

I use my initials (you could also use a nickname) for my personal sites, and my full, legal name for the ‘work accounts.’ I don’t cross-link the accounts (no ‘friending’ or ‘liking’).

The result is that — for the most part — I am able to maintain two separate online identities, while controlling what information is seen by what people. Because I’m not really outright hiding anything from anyone, I’m sure the potential exists for an employer to realize my ‘ruse,’ but online subterfuge was never really part of the plan, in the first place.

Another aspect of my ‘unsolicited advice’ for young people would be to create a website dedicated to their professional endeavors. ‘JaneSmith.com’ or ‘BestChefSanFrancisco.net’ — something along those lines.

The site will become a ‘living resume’ and online portfolio that you can include in your job seeking correspondence. Provided you make a commitment to frequently update content, it will also have the added benefit of displaying first (or of the first) in search results.

Maintaining an online presence doesn’t have to be a compromise of security or privacy. You can protect your online identity. If employers want to try and find something online that might disqualify you from a position, show them you can ‘play the game’ better than them.

by Enid Ahylhienatta | Technology Consultant | Residential Life Magazine