A $5 Billion Industry – Howard Gottlieb is Taking a PieceMike Sullivan
Howard Gottlieb of Easy Fundraising Ideas is the proud owner of a hyphenated domain name. The company sells fundraising products and provides information on fundraising ideas to organizations.
Mike: Tell me about your business. How long have you been in business, how long you have been online, etc.
Howard: We started Easy Fundraising Ideas in 2001 as a brick and mortar fundraising company but quickly realized there was a lot more potential developing an online presence.
Mike: How did you become interested in the fund raising industry?
Howard: I’ve owned 5 different businesses and had just sold the last one when I found out a lady who previously worked for me was in the fundraising industry. I took a quick look and saw it was dominated more or less by mom and pop operators yet the industry claimed to sell more than $5,000,000,000 a year.
Mike: How did you choose easy-fundraising-ideas.com as your domain name? Were you looking for a descriptive keyword name?
Howard: We started in the business as East Texas Fundraising when we started it as a brick and mortar company. When we decided to move online we found that the term fundraising ideas was the top converting keyword for product fundraising customers.
Mike: I noticed your site uses the hyphenated version “easy-fundraising-ideas.com” but it looks like you also have the non-hyphenated “easyfundraisingideas.com” redirecting to the hyphenated version. What made you decide to use the hyphenated name as the company’s main domain name? Do you own other domain names that point to the site?
Howard: When we chose Easy Fundraising Ideas the non hyphenated version was owned by someone else. Either way we probably would have stuck with the hyphenated version because 8 years ago there was some thought in the SEO world that using hyphens helped accentuate the key words.
Mike: Your site ranks on the first page of Google for the term “fundraising ideas” and number one for “easy fundraising ideas” (without quotes). Have you invested in SEO to optimize your site? Have you found that having these key words in the domain help the ranking? Are you aware of other terms where your site ranks well?
Howard: We are avid SEO people. We have a target list of nearly 1200 keywords and we rank on the first page of Google for a large percentage of them such as Cookie Dough Fundraising, Candy Fundraising, Lollipop Fundraising, etc.
Mike: What challenges have you faced running an online business?
Howard: Well our biggest challenge is that we base our entire business model on organic search. Knowing that algorithms are constantly changing we understand the difficulty of maintaining our positions on the keywords that drive business to our site.
Mike: Do you have any advice for others looking to acquire domain names for their business? Do you recommend having multiple domains?
Howard: I would definitely look for a domain name that is descriptive of their business model AND contains the most relevant key words. I believe that all search engines will give the benefit of the doubt to the owner of a domain that contains the dominant keyword. Of course you can’t rely on that alone.
As for multiple domains there are both opportunities and pitfalls. Google frowns upon what they define as link farms. That means owning multiple similar domains that are there simply to link to each other. The only reason to multiple similar domains is to stop someone else from getting a similar name. In that case do 301 redirects to your main domain.
Mike: Anything else you would like to add?
Howard: I guess I would tell people that while domain names are important the content on the site and the number of other sites linking to you are the main things that will insure your keyword rich domain gets maximum value.