NiftyClicks: Domain Search, SeatGuru, Free Advice

By Andrew Lock | Posted April 27, 2009

Andrew Lock

I’m always on the lookout for the latest and greatest productivity tools, and this week I’ve got six gems to share with you. Without further ado, let’s have a look.

Instant Domain Search

These days it’s very difficult to find a domain name that hasn’t already been taken by someone else.  It calls for originality and persistence. Fortunately, there’s a handy tool that makes the process much easier, and it’s completely free.

Enter ‘instant domain search’. It’s a Web site with a search box.  As you enter a word or phrase, it tells you in real-time whether what you’ve entered is available as a .com, a .net, or a .org domain name.

Instant Domain Search
Instant Domain Search
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 If you’ve registered a few domain names, you no doubt understand just how powerful this tool is. It makes the process of finding a domain name much faster.

Online Thesaurus

I was tidying my bookshelves the other day and saw a big fat thesaurus.  I realized that I haven’t used it in years because it’s much faster for me to use the online alternative.

Although many word processing programs have a thesaurus built-in, the one I use is thesaurus.com (easy to remember) because the database is substantially larger.  The online version also features a dictionary too.

A thesaurus is a very useful tool because it allows you to create a varied writing style.  We’re all guilty of using certain words and phrases over and over again, so when you proof-read your work, when you find a word that you realize you’ve over used, that’s the time for the thesaurus to come to the rescue.

You’ll also find that your vocabulary will expand the more you use a thesaurus.  The art of expressing oneself with words on a page is a very valuable skill, especially when it comes to copywriting, so I encourage you to get into the habit of using a thesaurus.  I think you’ll find it advantageous, commodious, propitious and purposive.

FareCompare.com

Online Thesaurus
Instant Domain Search
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I use Kayak.com to find flights, but I’ve also added FareCompare.com to my arsenal of useful travel tools.

The reason I like FareCompare is because, as the name suggests, it allows you to see at a glance, the lowest flight cost on any date within a month.  So if your dates are flexible, this is the best tool to use. You’ll also see a graph of how the costs of the specific route you’ve chosen vary over the course of the year.

As a bonus, the site is easy to navigate and user-friendly, and it offers a couple of special-interest travel blogs that are also very helpful.

SeatGuru.com

If you’ve been stuck in a middle seat next in the back of an aircraft you’ll immediately see the value of this site, called SeatGuru, which is owned by TripAdvisor, another great Web site.

Actually, it’s a little known fact that there are vast differences in the quality of seats on any given aircraft.  And on a long flight that can make a big difference in your comfort.

SeatGuru.com is a database of more than 300 seat layouts from more than 45 different airlines. Importantly, the database is enhanced by user reviews and comments, so you get to benefit from the experience of real-world travelers, not just the opinion of someone in an office looking at a seat map.

FareCompare
FareCompare.com
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When you select the airline and aircraft for your itinerary, you’ll be presented with a very clear and helpful seat layout map.  A simple color code is used – green for the best seats, red for the worst and a green/yellow combination for the middle ground.  You’ll also see where the galleys and lavatories are located.  Enjoy your new found comfort.

MeritLine

You may or may not know that my background originally was in the TV and video production business, and that I wrote one of the best-selling books about the high definition video format. Anyway, I’m often asked to recommend suppliers for recordable DVDs, CDs, DVD cases, and associated items.

The company I consistently recommend is called Meritline. They’re neither the absolute cheapest nor are they the most expensive, but they keep good quantities of stock, they’re accurate with orders, their shipping prices are reasonable, and their customer service is good.

FreeAdvice
FreeAdvice.com
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Please don’t make the mistake of going with the cheapest supplier; you will regret it.  Trust me, I’ve been there.  When you cut corners to save a few dollars, in my experience there’s always a price to pay.

Free Advice

The name says it all. Well, nearly. The site focuses on legal advice, and it’s an ideal resource as a first port of call when you have a legal question that relates to your business.

Often, the information is good enough so as to prevent the need for hiring a lawyer. Topics include:

  • Accidents
  • Bankruptcy
  • Starting and running a business
  • Employment law
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual property
  • Litigation
  • Real Estate
  • Contracts and Guarantees

It’s a very helpful resource, and of course you can’t beat the price – free!  In case you’re wondering how they make money, they enable you to search for a specialist lawyer near you if it turns out that you need more detailed help.

The “hot topics” section is a cool idea, too.  They post information on topics that are popular or that have been featured in the media recently.

Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks,a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."

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