Top 20 gTLDs: August 25 – 31, 2014

Top_20_August_25_-_31

We know, we know – we’re a day late with this week’s Top 20 gTLDs. Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about you – yesterday was Labour Day and we took the statutory holiday off (how dare we!!). But here’s the good news: the team is now relaxed, refreshed and ready to take over the world! Or rather, keep providing our customers with the great service they’ve come to expect from us. Either way.

So if you’re not totally furious with us for leaving you hanging yesterday, allow us to present this week’s Top 20 gTLDs! If you’re too anxious to sort through the rankings, here are some of the major highlights:

Top-20-August-25-August-31

Notes from the Product Manager, August 2014

The big news this update is a brand new look for Hover that we revealed this week. You can preview it and start using it now by visiting Hover’s Preview site.

The new look extends throughout the Hover site — the dashboard where you manage your domains, email and DNS has also been updated to match. Sign in to the Preview site with your usual Hover account credentials and take it for a spin.

An all new look for HoverWe’ll be putting the finishing touches on the site over the next few days, so watch for the new Hover look to be released for everyone sometime next week.

Feel free to let us know about any little bugs or visual issues you find. Send us a tweet with a screenshot, or drop us a line in the comments.

Better password recovery

Also a part of this release are some improvements to the “forgot my password” system. We’re now more clear about what we need from you to reset your password – your Hover username. If you don’t know your Hover username, then you’ll get the option to retrieve that first via your account email. As usual, if you have any trouble accessing your account, the Hover support team is ready to help.

Until next time!

Domain of the Month, August: Quotebookapp.com

Quotebook

At Hover, we’re big fans of simple-yet-powerful software that does exactly what people need it to do. That’s why we’re excited to feature Quotebookapp.com as August’s Domain of the Month!

What Is Quotebook?

Quotebook is an iOS app that collects and organizes your favourite quotes. And that’s pretty much it. It might sound not like a lot, but the app manages to do this exceptionally well.

When you discover a quote that catches your eye, open up Quotebook to jot it down. You’ll then be able to attribute an author, source, rating, and custom tags. If the author is on Wikipedia, it’ll even download his or her bio and include it within the author page within the app.

Why We Love It

When we first discovered Quotebook, our first reactions were anger and frustration because we didn’t have this when we were in school. The app is absolutely perfect for quickly grabbing a great quote to spruce up an essay that you’re working on. Or, casually looking through the collection can help inspire new ideas for whatever you’re working on.

If your days of late-night library visits and kegstands are behind you, however, you may still find the app helpful. If you’re a writer or blogger, your writing will benefit in much the same way that you’d use it as a student. For everyone else, you may enjoy keeping track of a great one-liner you just read in your book or the cringe-worthy “joke” that your uncle just told you.

Submit Your Domain

Want to be next month’s featured domain? Submit your website in the form below:

10 Not-So-Obvious Apps to Manage & Grow Your Website

Apps to Manage & Grow Your Website

Anyone who’s ever created or helped managed a website knows that it is not a simple “set-it-and-forget-it” process. A great website needs a lot of care and attention, continuously making adjustments in order to make it better and better. But you already know that.

I’m going to assume that you are already aware of the big-name apps for website management and promotion. You’re probably using WordPress to manage your blog and get insights in Google Analytics. You help spread the word about your website on Facebook and Twitter. Maybe this doesn’t match you exactly, but you’re at least aware of these services and why they’re important.

In this article, I’d like to present 10 apps that I’ve found to be really helpful with managing and growing a website. Some of the choices might seem strange at first, and that’s exactly the point! This list is meant to get you thinking about different ways to approach your website and make it better. So without further ado, here are 10 apps (in no particular order) to check out to make your website more awesome:

Asana

Asana-desktop-ipad-iphone

A website has many running parts to it, which can start to become overwhelming the more you add to it. This is why it’s really important to set up a good foundation for yourself in order to keep track of everything you’re doing (and plan on doing).

At Hover, we’re big fans of Asana for managing our projects. We pretty much use it for everything: jotting down marketing ideas, keeping a backlog of upcoming product features, tweaks to make to our website…the list literally goes on and on.

Asana makes all of this madness a whole lot easier, especially for larger teams (though it’s great for small teams or even individuals as well). You can assign tasks/sub-tasks to colleagues, add due dates, follow tasks you’d like to keep track of, share files and even send messages right from within the app. Asana will make it easier for you to keep track of everything you’d like to do to your site and make sure that everyone is in the know. Used properly, it’ll keep everything nice and organized – no more “wait, was I cc’d on that email?”

Price: Free for teams of 15 or less; $50/month for 15 members; $100/month for 30 members; $300/month for 50 members; $550/month for 75 members; $800/month for 100 members

AddThis

AddThis

AddThis is a suite of add-ons that you can place on your website in order to create better engagement with your audience. The tools are divided into 3 categories: share tools, follow tools and recommended content.

Share tools and follow tools place customizable buttons overtop of your site that help grow your audience on social media. Chances are you’ve probably seen these buttons on other sites and don’t realize they’re actually coming from AddThis. The widgets take very minimal effort to set up and will enable your audience to share your website for you.

The recommended content widgets allow you to display other content in a visually appealing and highly clickable way – great for blog content. You can add something as simple as a next article button or add a long list of other content that visitors will be interested in based on what they’re currently reading.

Price: Free or $12/month for Pro

Sprout Social

Sprout-Social-Product-Screenshot

Whether or not you’ve decided to make social media a priority, your audience is there…and they’re talking. Some people will turn to networks like Twitter or Facebook to say how much they love you; others will go there to do just the opposite. This is why it’s so important to be able to properly monitor social activity and jump in on the conversation whenever necessary.

Sprout Social is an all-in-one social media management app that will empower you to properly leverage social media. There are too many features to list here but they include seeing all your feeds in one spot, searching for keywords that relate to your website, and seeing meaningful insights into your social activity.

In terms of growing your website, Sprout Social has a number of tools to help with this as well. You can schedule posts to go out at certain times to your profiles, or even add posts to your Queue to go out at predetermined times (Sprout will even determine which times are most effective for you). As mentioned above, you can also use the keyword search feature to find discussions that relate to your website and jump into the conversation whenever it makes sense to do so.

Price: $59/user/month for Deluxe; $99/user/month for Premium; $500/month/3 users for Team

Disqus

Disqus

Commenting isn’t anything new, but Disqus takes it to a whole other level. For visitors, it is a beautiful interface that looks right at home within any blog. Plus, Disqus is becoming one of the most popular commenting platforms online, so they will likely already have an account that they’ve used on other websites.

Disqus also makes it easier to manage the comments that your website receives. If you’d like to approve comments before they go onto your website, you can get an email notification the second a comment comes in. As soon as you get one, simply reply to that email and say “approve” if you’d like it to get posted.

You can also use Disqus to show related content within your website, or even sponsored content from other websites. The latter will enable you to earn revenue for clicks on sponsored content, which opens up another potential source of income for your website. Pretty neat, eh?

Price: Free

Canva

Canva

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I want my website to look better but I can’t design anything?” Well, Canva might be just the solution for you. Instead of settling for mediocre design, Canva truly lets anyone create beautiful images to use on their website.

Canva users start off by selecting the type of design they would like to make, such as a Facebook header, blog image, or presentation. Then, it’s just a matter of dragging-and-dropping whatever you’d like into your image. You can upload your own images, but the real magic of Canva is their extensive library of free and premium images. Just search for whatever you’re looking for and drag it right into your image, all within the app. Seriously, that’s all there is to it. Say goodbye to Google Images or Shutterstock and start creating your own custom images to make your website even more unique!

Price: Free; $1 for premium images

Mouseflow

Mouseflow

No matter how intuitive you think you’ve setup your website to be, you can never really know how people will use it until it’s in their hands. Many website designers will vaguely determine what might not be working about their sites. For example, if Google Analytics shows that people are only spending an average of 10 seconds on the Features page, then that would indicate that something is not working there. Key word: something. But what exactly isn’t working?

Mouseflow is the closest you can get to being in the room with a person when he or she uses your website. Basically, it lets you watch a recording of a person’s screen when using your website. It’ll show you where people clicked and, more importantly, where they either tried to or didn’t click. It’ll even show you heatmaps to discover common behaviour patterns among all of your site’s visitors.

Now you’ll be able to identify exactly what works or doesn’t work with every part of your website in order to fully optimize it. Whether you want people to purchase a product, sign up for a trial or just make it to your blog, you’ll definitely want to give Mouseflow a try.

Price: $19/month for Small; $79/month for Medium; $149/month for Large; $399/month for Extra Large; ?/month for Enterprise

Unbounce

Unbounce

Sometimes a small change can make a big difference. Maybe a Sign Up button is too forward but Try for Free is more inviting. Or maybe not? As with most things, you’ll never know until you try. Unbounce lets you do just this by creating landing pages that you can A/B test with your visitors.

While there are many use cases for Unbounce, it is really the most ideal for those that are guiding visitors towards performing a certain action. Whether you’re collecting emails for a newsletter or directing people to a pricing page, A/B testing different landing pages will help you figure out what the perfect formula is for directing people towards whatever your end goal.

Pricing: $49/month for Starter; $99/month for Pro 99; $199 for Pro 199

MailChimp

MailChimp_Dashboard

As important as you think your website is, people probably aren’t going to check it as regularly as you’d like. This is why you’ve got to bring the content to your audience. “Experts” have long been saying that email will soon be dead, yet it continues to be one of the best ways to engage with audiences.

Whether you’re new to email campaigns or just getting started, I’d highly recommend using MailChimp. They make it easy to manage your lists of contacts, create beautiful emails & distribute them to your audience exactly how you’d like to. What types of emails you send will depend on your particular website and its goals. You might want to send emails of new product features, a monthly newsletter of blog content, offer promo codes, or anything else you can think of. The point is, don’t just cross your fingers and hope people come back to your site; invite them back!

Price: Free for 2,000 subscribers & 12,000 emails/month; $10/month for 0-500 subscribers & approximately $5 for each additional 500 subscribers after that; Alternatively, you can also pay-per-email at $0.030 or $0.020/email depending on the volume sent

If This Then That

IFTTT

If This Then That (IFTTT) does whatever you want it to do. How’s that for a vague description? Seriously though, the whole app is designed to perform certain actions that you specify. It does this by acting as a mediator between two otherwise separate apps. So if your website is for running advice, send out an email whenever it will be sunny out and encourage subscribers to go for a run. Or, send out a tweet whenever you post a new blog article. The options are pretty much endless but whatever you choose will definitely help make managing your website that much easier.

Price: Free

LiveChat

LiveChat

We’re all used to getting automated emails and talking to phone trees, so it can be a surprise when we get to speak to an actual person. LiveChat enables your site’s visitors to quickly speak with a representative from sales, support, or whoever else you would like to put them in touch with.

Having been on both sides of LiveChat (providing support and getting help), I can personally attest to how much of a difference this makes. Being able to get an answer right away rather than sending an email and waiting for a response that may or may not come is extremely helpful. Plus, it shows how the service providing the chat puts their customers first. If customer acquisition or retention is the goal of your website, then adding LiveChat is a no-brainer.

Price: $36/month for Solo; $39/month/seat for Team; $59/month/seat for Enterprise

Know of any other great apps that should have been on this list? Please share them in the comments below!

*Computer image designed by Wilson Joseph from the Noun Project

*Watering Can image designed by Eva Verbeek from the Noun Project

Top 20 gTLDs: August 18 – 24, 2014

Top-20-August-18-August-24

Happy Monday, domain lovers! You’ve had your coffee, caught up on some news, debated calling in sick, and finally dragged yourself to work. Now all that’s left to complete your routine is another instalment of Hover’s weekly Top 20 gTLDs!

Much like the other editions, this week doesn’t skimp out on the action. While there are no first-timers appearing this week, there are still some surprises in store. Here are this week’s highlights:

And finally, here’s the complete list of this week’s Top 20:

Top-20-August-18-August-24

Using Symbols in Web Design

Using Symbols in Web Design

Symbols are everywhere. They’re among the first things we learn and continue to play an important part of our daily lives. They tell us when to stop or go, whether something is safe or dangerous, and even tell us stories. Their simple visual nature makes them possibly the most effective way to communicate an idea, especially since they are able to transcend one of the most common communication barriers: language.

Naturally, our dependence on symbols has migrated to the Internet. You might even say that they are even more important online, since this is an experience that is almost entirely visual. Here, symbols are what tell us where to go, what to do and how to do it. This is why it’s so important to understand the purpose of symbols and why we must get them right in order to create the best experiences possible.

The Art of Simplification

Symbols are all about simple communication. A good symbol will capture a person’s attention and communicate an idea in the simplest way possible. To better understand this concept, let’s take a look at one of the masters of simplification: Apple.

Part of Apple’s massive success is its ability to create products that are simple & intuitive to use. At the heart of it all is the drive to remove any unnecessary components: The iPhone is a giant screen with a few buttons; The magic mouse is one giant button with no right click button or scroll wheel; The magic trackpad is one giant button and relies on hand gestures.

In its Apple Univeristy internal training program, Apple teaches employees about Picasso’s “The Bull” drawings. Picasso was trying to draw a bull in the simplest way possible. In doing so, he went through many iterations to go from a highly detailed illustration to one that had the fewest elements as possible.

Picasso - Bullsorarium/flickr

It took several attempts to get there, but eventually Picasso was able to effectively communicate that you are looking at a bull by using just a few lines on the page.

Everyday Web Symbols

You might not realize it, but the mere fact that you were able to find this article in the first place required you to use a handful of symbols. Let’s take a look at a typical journey you might have gone on to discover this article on the Hover blog.

Arrow

To do anything at all, you need a way to interact with your device. If you are using a computer, you would use this arrow as an extension of yourself to click an item on your screen.

Google-Chrome

Next, you would have opened up an Internet browser. This would have required clicking on the symbol for the browser of your choice.

Search

If you performed a search for symbols & web design, this magnifying glass indicated that clicking it would search the Internet for your query.

Pointer

If using a computer you would have moused over this article’s headline, at which point the arrow symbol would have switched to this pointer symbol. This communicates that you can now select the link and load the article.

And that’s only the beginning! Think of all the tasks you might need to do online – going backwards or forwards, refreshing the page, pressing play, going fullscreen, liking, retweeting, adjusting the volume – and then consider how these actions are performed. What you’ll find is that most of them are indicated not by words but by lines, boxes, triangles, arrows & other symbols!

Incorporating Symbols Into Your Designs

For web designers, it’s inevitable that symbols will end up in your designs in one way or another. Here are a few important points to remember when considering which symbols to use & how to implement them.

Remember Your Audience

While symbols can be easier to understand, that does not mean that they will always carry the same meaning. One of the strongest examples of this is the swastika, which was once used by many different cultures to represent sun, life, power, strength & good luck until the Nazis infamously used it and forever changed its meaning.

It’s obvious that you shouldn’t use a swastika as the symbol for logging into an account, but don’t forget the important lesson here: choose a symbol that your audience will understand. Consider the following symbol:

Guitar Pedal

A guitar player would recognize that this is an effects pedal, so it would be a good choice for the effects pedals section of a guitar store’s website. This symbol would be lost on a coffee accessories website, since it has no relation to coffee whatsoever. Again, this is a pretty obvious point, but don’t overlook the important step of considering your audience. Once you’ve decided which symbols you’d like to use, try asking potential visitors to your site what they think the symbols represent. You might be surprised which seemingly perfect symbols your audience finds confusing.

Use Symbols for Frequent Actions

Think of what visitors to your design will be doing once they get there. Chances are that the structure of your design will be based on this already. Symbols can be an efficient way to enable people to perform frequent actions without spending time reading options. For instance, here’s a screenshot of LinkedIn’s navigation toolbar:

LinkedIn Toolbar

Here we’re presented with a number of different things that we can do. While the majority of the options are in text, note the options on the right:

LinkedIn Symbols

These are in all likelihood the 4 most frequent items a user will want to access: check messages, view notifications, see connection requests, and adjust account settings. If these options were written out as well then LinkedIn would risk cluttering the options with too much text. Since we are more likely to check these sections on each visit, LinkedIn uses this as an opportunity to declutter the toolbar by using symbols.

Where to Find Symbols

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity found in symbols; they can be painfully difficult to create. Just like Picasso’s Bull has shown us, it can take a lot of thinking and many iterations to boil a concept down to its most basic form. Luckily, there are others out there have done all of the hard work for you! Plus, you can find many of them for free (if you give the designers credit) or purchase them for as little as $1.

If you’re looking to grab some symbols, here are some sites that I’d recommend:

Flat Symbols

Flat symbols are the simplest imagery that you will find. They are typically 2-dimensional and all black (though you can change the colour, of course). These are the symbols that you will find the most within websites & apps.

TheNounProject – A great community-based library of symbols (I’ve even submitted a few!) that you can download for free (with attribution) or pay for unrestricted use.

Glyphicons – A collection of premium symbols starting with a limited selection of symbols for free (with attribution), or a one-time fee for unrestricted access to the entire library.

FlatIcon – A completely free (with attribution) collection of symbols that even has extensions for Adobe PhotoShop, Illustrator & AfterEffects that lets you search for symbols right from your workspace.

Detailed Symbols

If you’d like to incorporate icons into your design but would like a little more detail, these are some great options to check out. For web design, these might not be as effective as flat symbols within a site or app’s architecture but will be great for the content sections.

Find Icons – A completely free collection of symbols.

IconArchive – A free collection that specifies whether a symbol needs attribution, is completely free for use, can be used commercially, or even let you donate money directly to the artist.

DryIcons – A collection of original premium icons available for free (with attribution) or for purchase.

The Takeaway

At the end of the day it’s all about effective communication, so be sure to use your best judgement. If it really feels like text, video or a detailed illustration are the best way to communicate your idea then by all means go for it. I would just urge you to really consider all options in order to make sure that your choice is truly the best one.

As one of the earliest forms of communication (i.e. cave drawings), symbols have stood the test of time as one of the best ways to communicate ideas to each other. When used properly, they can enrich your design by making them easier to understand and use.

Know of any web designs that have used symbols really well? Or how about any that have been mind-numbingly confusing? Be sure to share them in the comments below!

*Architect designed by Augusto Zamperlini from the Noun Project

*Icons in header image by Room Design

Top 20 gTLDs: August 11 – 17, 2014

Top 20 gTLDs

It’s now been over a month since we started our weekly Top 20 gTLDs series and the action has not been slowing down; in fact, this just might be the most exciting week yet! For the first time, the #2 spot is not being taken up by the classic TLDs .ORG or .NET, with newcomer .XYZ taking over that coveted spot. You can check out the full listings below, but first here are some of the highlights:

Top 20 gTLDs Aug 11-17 2014

Think .XYZ can make it to #1 next week? Help get it there by purchasing one from Hover, on sale right now for just $5!

.XYZ Domain Names Are Just $5!

xyz-blog-header-Until September 1st, you can register a .XYZ domain name for just $5/yr.

.XYZ domains have been growing steadily in popularity and climbing up the ranks in our weekly Top 20 gTLDs reports since they first launched. People have been snapping up the .XYZ domain names that simply aren’t available in the other generic domain extensions. Unlike the more common gTLDs, like .COM and .NET, there are more names available in the .XYZ extension in spite of its increasing popularity. So there’s a better chance of finding the best possible domain name for your project.

Here are some more reasons why we think .XYZ domains make a great choice, and why you might think so too:

They’re generic

.XYZ domains are a little different from many of the other new top-level domains that have been launching this year. Unlike .XYZ, most of the new TLDs are descriptive of the website’s topic and have meaning built right in. .XYZ is unique because it’s truly generic and can be a good fit for nearly any project you have in mind.

They’re memorable

The new .XYZ domain extension stands out from what Internet users are used to seeing to the right of the dot. They naturally make your website more recognizable and unique. Plus, .XYZ domains are short and simple. All these things make it easier for users to find your website and visit it again and again.

They’re affordable

Right now, .XYZ domains are on sale for the price of a fancy latte – just $5 to register your domain name for the year.

Even when this promotion ends at the end of the month, .XYZ domains still make an affordable option. The regular price of a .XYZ domain is $13/yr, which is still less than a .COM.

Not sure what to do with your .XYZ domain?

Many of us weren’t so lucky to get our ‘LastName.com’ or even ‘FirstNameLastName.com.’ Since the .XYZ namespace isn’t so crowded, there’s a better chance that you can still grab ‘YourName.xyz’ – without making any compromises or variations.

‘YourName.xyz’ would make a great domain name for a directory of your personal links. You can create your own personal landing page that features a short bio and links to your personal networks. It’s free and simple to set up Hover’s domain forwarding to direct users to your social profiles, blogs, and even your online portfolio.

Try searching a few keywords for your own .XYZ domain name to use for your next project.

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Buying a Domain Name in 10 GIFs

Buying a Domain Name in 10 GIFS

Buying a domain name brings a whole spectrum of emotion along with it. At Hover, we strive to provide an experience that makes the process as simple as possible. That being said, we’re well aware buying a domain can quickly go from fun to hair-pullingly frustrating within a matter of seconds.

Sometimes it can be too hard to express yourself with words. That’s why we’ve decided to present 10 GIFs that best sum up some of the common experiences that can happen when purchasing a domain. Next time someone asks how you’re feeling about something that just happened while getting a domain, feel free to send one of these GIFs to perfectly sum it up.

1. When you search for a .com domain and it’s actually available:

2. When YourName.com is taken, but YourName123.com is available:

3. When you realize that part of your name works better as a top-level domain (e.g. last.fm instead of lastfm.com):

4. When someone doesn’t understand why you’d want a custom email address with your name and asks, “why can’t you just use metallica4life123abc@hotmail.com?”

5. When you discover your website isn’t there anymore because you ignored all the warnings and didn’t renew your domain:

6. When you go to buy a domain name and someone else buys it before you complete the purchase:

7. When someone says to you, “awesome domain name, why didn’t I think of that?!?”:

8. When your friend says that he got a “pretty sweet deal” on a totally useless Deluxe SEO Performance subscription for “only” $50/year:

9. When there’s an amazing deal for a new domain but the registration service doesn’t list the renewal price:

10. When you get a strongly-worded email from a company saying that your domain name infringes on its trademark:

*BONUS GIF* When you go to a non-Hover domain provider and they relentlessly try to upsell you with hosting, site builders & other crap you don’t need:


*Browser designed by useiconic.com from the Noun Project
*GIFs appear courtesy of Giphy

Top 20 gTLDs: August 4 – 10, 2014

Top 20 Header

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another instalment of Hover’s weekly Top 20 gTLDs! Because what’s more exciting than the world of domain names? Answer: Nothing.

This edition introduces a handful of new TLDs to the rankings, pushing some further down the list in the process. Here are a few of this week’s highlights:

  • .WTF, .ZONE, .CAMP & .ROCKS have debuted this week (Click to Tweet)
  • .XYZ has moved up 2 spots to no. 5 in its 2nd week on the charts (Click to Tweet)
  • .PRO, .EMAIL & .NINJA have returned this week after previously slipping off the charts (Click to Tweet)

And of course, here’s this week’s full rankings:

Aug 4-10, 2014