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Communicating across the continents

Our ability to communicate is what sets us apart from the animals (that, and opposable thumbs) and although we may speak different languages, all human civilisations have devised forms of verbal and written communication. Furthermore, we have the ability to learn to speak each other’s languages – and where our knowledge of language fails us, we have pictures, emoticons and symbols. Being able to communicate with people around the world is important for business, social progress, art and culture, as well as gathering news. That’s why, if you have a business, you need to make sure that your advertising material can ‘speak’ to those who do not speak you language.

Make the most of your logo designs – could you use symbols or pictures which clearly show the nature of your business to potential international clients? Any stationery or advertising material that gets sent out should also do this. As much of the design as possible should be universal – for example could you use the word ‘Gratis’ under the word ‘Free’ on your flyers? International and cross-cultural communication is vital for continued trade, and with the growing number of business start-ups, the chances are that you are going to want to look outside the UK for trade growth. explain that business cards can also be easily utilised for cross-cultural communication – a symbol, your name and a phone number with a country code tells a potential customer who you are, what you do, and where you do it.


Remember that customs differ greatly from country to country – do your research so that you don’t unintentionally include offensive material in one of your press packages.


In Tibet, it’s normal to stick out your tongue in order to greet guests (just remember to stop doing it when you get back to the office) and in Tuvalu, Polynesia, it is customary to sniff one another’s cheeks.

Business cards are still one of the best tools for getting your details out there. At Instantprint you can design and print top quality business cards online. The site can also help you to make your business card suitable for international use – i.e. stripping down text and replacing it with symbols, and creating a design which is universally appealing and sums up the nature of your business.

Revising the design of your business card is advisable every few years in any case. You and your business will have grown substantially over a five year period, and your business card should reflect this change. Instantprint print orders in one working day, and offer 24/7 support, so they can help you out, no matter what your schedule.



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Criteria to consider when choosing a top-level domain


Being able to remember an URL is thought by some to be important for driving traffic to a site. If the users can't remember some oddball combination of words and numbers they might have difficulty finding a site. This rationale is why short domain names are considered more valuable than long ones. The old system of having only a handful of three-letter-long, top-level domains simplified the task of remembering URLs. The consumer just needed to remember the first half of the URL and apply logic to come up with the top-level domain portion of the URL- .com, .edu, .org.

Copyright of the picture: ©John Foxx/Stockbyte/Thinkstock




However, most people don't actually make any effort to remember URLs. They bookmark some, and the rest they actively search for using a combination of keywords. Being able to easily search for a specific URL is far more important than having an easily remembered URL. Domain names with high-value frequently used keywords are far more valuable than domain names with more esoteric words in them. Using a generic top-level domain name that pops up often in keyword searches will drive traffic to the site. Selecting a generic top-level domain name that consists of a good short keyword may assist in designing domain search strategies and also assist consumers in recognizing the name of the website they are looking for.


For top-level domain names, informational quality is an aspect to consider. Prior to the release of the new top-level generic domains the top-level domain was used to inform web users of the type of site the URL belonged to (e.g. business, educational, organization), and sometimes its general geographic location country code. Continuing with this organizational strategy for selecting a generic top-level domain may have great utility in driving traffic to your site because internet users are already familiar with the concept. For example, a company that repairs bicycles could use .fix as a top-level domain to inform consumers about their company versus a company that sells bicycles that could use .sales as a top-level domain. This strategy can direct users to click on the kind of site they are searching for instead of randomly looking through sites with "bicycle" in the domain name hoping they offer the desired service.


Location-specific top-level domain codes can be very useful for some types of businesses. For example, someone looking for a local handyman might preferentially click on an URL that has the local city name as the domain. Or a restaurant chain could buy domain names with the name of the restaurant as the main domain and the city as the top-level domain. Any potential diner would immediately know which URL to click on to make reservations. An international company that deals with individuals from across the globe might not benefit from choosing a location-specific domain at all- quite the opposite in fact.


But there is the trust issue to consider. The majority of consumers and internet users just don't trust the new generic top-level domains. If they don't see the traditional .com code they don't think the site is a legitimate business and keep moving on instead of clicking. It is possible that this perception may change in the future as generic top-level domains become more common.

The future

According to the domain .guru is currently the most popular generic domain among domain purchasers. Other popular top-level domains include references to locations, type of services, and general categories of products. The free availability of any top-level domain name right now is an opportunity waiting for businesses to seize it. Instead of waiting to see if consumers will continue to prefer the .com name, maybe now is the time for businesses to shape consumer perception.

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