Domain Junkie, revisited

Back in 2008 I wrote a blog post cataloguing my domain portfolio. 8 years have passed and it is time to revisit the subject, as I enter a new phase of business planning and development.

I’ll run through the list as it was then, update it and then look at the new additions to my addiction. I’ll also list my aims and ambitions for each property.
All other variants available
.com, .net registered
.net is a Nottingham, UK based design and marketing company
.com registered with holding page for a Shropshire-based web design and graphic design company , .com and others registered.
.com registered to
.com registered to a holding page
.com, .net registered, .uk available, .com registered
.uk available, other variants registered registered
.com registered




Happy birthday Generation X Computers…

My web design and development company, Generation X has just celebrated its fifth birthday. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when it was born…the name Generation X Computers was first conceived back in the mid-90s, when I was selling computers and software for LSI Computers in Warrington. However it was only around 2003 that I began to write HTML and discovered a real passion for web design.

I registered the domain on the 9th October 2003, and registered Generation X Computers Ltd as a limited company the following week on the 14th October. For the purpose of an official birthday I’ve decided to go with the latter. It was actually a few months later on the 5th April 2004 that I took the plunge and officially became a full time web designer.

It would have been nice to have relaxed and celebrated, but this week has flown by in a blur of late nights and pressing deadlines. Even at 5, Generation X is still a demanding child. And rather like the soul-searching that comes when a child reaches school age, it is a good time to look back… and forward.

Established wisdom has it that UK start-ups have a failure rate of over 50% in their first two years. Depending on the statistics you read small business failure rates are anywhere between 30% and 90% within the first 3-5 years. More specifically, 2007 research by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young highlights annual failure rates of 8.9% for businesses in the Marketing Services Industry, and 6.3% for those in IT services…so Generation X must have been doing something right. However, I’m happy to admit that we also have a lot of lessons to learn and apply over the coming years.

The Times 100 website, for example, lists 10 common reasons for business failure:  poor marketing, cash flow problems, poor business planning, lack of finance, failure to embrace new technologies and developments, poor choice of location, poor management, poor human resource relations, lack of clear objectives and particularly in the case of .com start-ups the difficulties encountered in building a brand in competition with more established brand names. I think that we can improve in at least 7 of these areas in our next 5 years.

In particular, I feel that time is long overdue to look at the issues of business planning and marketing. In times of global crisis I count myself fortunate to have a full order book with enough work to see me into 2009. However, it also seems a portentous time to focus on the future. In particular I plan to develop the Generation X brand in Shropshire, Cheshire and the Midlands, expanding our focus into marketing and graphic design as well as web design and development. I also have the infrastructure in place to develop the web hosting and domain registration side of the business.

Anyway…Happy Birthday to me!

Domain junkie?

As much for my own reference as anything else I feel I should compile a list of my current domain portfolio, both in development, and  published. Hopefully this might act as a reminder not to buy any more until I’ve progressed some of these as projects. Well, maybe just one more… – Project: Web Design Cheshire

p.s. Like all addictions I needed just one more fix, and is it.

I’ll blog seperately and in more depth on my plans for the development of the names above soon. In the meantime if you want to make me an offer…

A sense of ones own [brand] mortality

I am currently in the throes of rebranding my company which has led me to read around the subject of corporate branding and web identity. Lat night I was re-reading Designing Online Identities: Successful Graphic Strategies for Brands on the Web by Clay Andres, which seeks to identify and examine the elements of web branding by analysing what Clay terms “great sites that promote the site brand in attractive, memorable and innovative ways”.

It makes some interesting points about the need to develop online identities that users can identify with and relate to, in order to engender trust and recognition. In particular, the second half of the book explores the use of branding elements to create different types of site and examines the use of branding in defining elements of web architecture.

I was keen to hit the web and examine some of the examples given, partly to see how the sites functioned and partly to see how the brands had further evolved and developed since publication. The book was admittedly written in 2002, but on trying to visit sites used as examples, including the authors own site and two further web design companies, I found that they were no longer open for business.

My task is to ensure that the same fate doesn’t befall the websites that make up Generation X in another couple of years.

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