How To Find The Best Domain Name For Your New Website

The process that you need to follow to find the right domain name for your website or business is not an easy one. You will not only need a domain to represent your website flawlessly, but also make sure this name is short, catchy, and memorable. Most importantly, they also have to be available.

Luckily, there are tools online designed to help you to discover the perfect name for your online business. Not only that, but they will also give you the ideal solution required for small websites at the beginning.

Associate your brand with an online domain


Don’t lose yourself in details. The name of the website has to be brief, to say exactly what it is about, and easy to remember.

You will want a unique domain differentiated from the rest. The right domain name will always be on the first page of Google results. With a good marketing strategy, a proper domain name can become your primary source of business online.

Just think of Facebook and DropBox. Those names can’t be easily forgotten, and they are also clear what the website is about.

A small number of characters

www.my-small-car-repair-shop–in-chicago.com might look like a complete domain name telling a lot about your business, but do you think anyone would remember it? As shorter, as better, and even if you have a lot to say about your business, say it in the pages of the site. The domain name has to be short, and it has the goal to attract the click. Once you got it, the content becomes essential, but not before that. You can still find combinations and proper free domain names in .com, but you can also go for the more specific terminations. Car-repair.chicago is a lot better, and people will remember it easily.

Easy to pronounce

If someone wants to find a second-hand item fast, he will go on as it is easy to pronounce and remember. Word of mouth is still the best marketing tool, but no one will remember www.my-small-car-repair-shop–in-chicago.com. You want your users to recognize and promote your name, and this can only be done with a short and relevant domain name.

Avoid numbers and symbols

For SEO reasons, we sometimes see domains with hyphens, dots, and numbers. A memorable domain name rarely comes with a number. Would you instead write CNN.com or C-N-N.com?

Try to think about your audience as well. If you plan to promote your website mostly on Google, the domain name still counts, but a lot less than if you would choose another marketing platform. Google will rank your website based on its content, even if it has an impossible name. But on social media, people have to remember and talk about your site, and a complicated name will make this impossible.

A company should give you a domain checker to look for the best name, packages for shared and , and also the customer support required by beginners, all of these at some reasonable prices that your business affords.

Buying Promotional Pens for Business Marketing: How to Source Custom Printed Personalized Pens and Pencils

There are hundreds of different products commonly used as promotional gifts from mugs to baseball hats or mousemats to calendars. Personalized pens or pencils are one of the most cost effective items to consider for business marketing as they can be purchased for as little as 8 cents when bought in bulk.


Printed pens are available to buy online at a variety of price points and most styles of pen can be customized, in multiple colors if necessary, with specific company logos, website details and telephone number, a sure way to remind customers who to call first.

Promotional Printed Pens

While cheap printed pens are attractive from a cost angle, it’s important to remember that cheap can often look nasty; the pen may be too thin for large hands or it may leak due to poor quality refills leaving a poor but lasting impression. It may therefore be better to spend a few extra cents on a better quality pen which feels good to use and, being bigger and wider, will allow more space for a larger logo or additional company information.

Types of Personalized Pens

Imprinted pens fall into the following broad categories:

  • Ballpoint pens – available in twist, click and stick form, they are usually the cheapest and offer the widest range of style choice in multiple colors. Refills usually last the longest so pens have a longer marketing life.
  • Rollerballs – offer better, smoother writing quality but are more expensive often as they come with a cap.
  • Gel pens – refills do not have longevity but they are excellent writing instruments and will make a lasting impression.
  • Fine liners and fibretips – these are not as popular as printing is more expensive on their metal outers.
  • Fountain pens – expensive but a good option for executive corporate gifts. They can also be used as part of a personalized boxed gift set with a matching ballpoint pen and pencil.

Simple wooden pencils are a cost effective and eco-friendly alternative to plastic pens.

Alternative Promotional Gifts

Markers, highlighters and sticky notes may not be considered by many promotional product buyers but offer a good alternative to pens and pencils, especially as costs are now far lower due to their popularity. Highlighters and sticky notes also offer a greater surface area to place promotional messages or memorable logos.

Cost of Promotional Pens and Pencils

Small wooden pencils start from around 8 cents when bought in bulk quantities of 5000+ from online stores like PENSRUS; full size pencils cost upwards of 11 cents each. Cheap stick pens start at 16 cents per piece; better quality ball points like the Springster (see picture below) cost from 43 cents dependent on quantity; expect to pay from $1.34 per piece for branded products like a good quality Paper Mate® ballpoint pen.

Pen and pencil gift sets cost upwards of $7.50 with boxed executive pen sets costing upwards of $25. It is best to compare quality and price of options on offer from several different websites before placing an order.

Marketing Pens

Promotional pens can be a great marketing tool as well as being practical gifts for corporate clients. Simply use them as cheap giveaways at stores and trade fairs or invest in higher quality items for personalized gifts.

Donaghy Gambling not a Conspiracy: The NBA ref who allegedly bet is a big deal but not big business

The rude revelation that referee Tim Donaghy may have tinkered with the outcome of games will add to a long list of conspiracy theories that the NBA is not entirely on the level. It shouldn’t.


While Donaghy’s alleged actions were unconscionable and could leave a permanent black eye on the league, they are nickel-and-dime stuff compared to the 1985 lottery drawing and a handful of postseason games that have historically raised the eyebrows of even the most ardent NBA fans.

Donaghy may have lined the pockets of gamblers with tens of thousands of dollars; those other incidents would have had a financial impact of millions and perhaps billions.

In fact, a friend who worked at the NBA at the time believed that Game Six of the 2002 Western Conference finals – the one where the Lakers shot a million free throws in the fourth quarter and Kobe Bryant got away with a suspension-worthy shot to the face of a member of the Sacramento Kings – was fixed.

His reasoning was that the league’s TV contracts were up for renewal that summer and that the NBA could not afford to have the Kings and the New Jersey Nets – a pair of unknowns to the casual fan base which drives viewership – establishing the ratings for the Finals, which would be used as the negotiating point for the networks interested in televising the league.

The numbers make it hard to argue with his thought process. Lakers-76ers in 2001, a series that featured two big markets, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and lightning-rod MVP Allen Iverson, had an overall 12.1 rating. Spurs-Nets in 2003, which had no large markets or larger-than-life personalities, did just a 6.5, the lowest-rated Finals before this year.

It’s easy to imagine the NBA wanting the Lakers and the second-largest market in the Finals. But it’s almost unfathomable to imagine the league fixing Game Six, then leaving Game Seven – scheduled for Arco Arena, the toughest home court in the league – in the hands of the Lakers.

Kings-Lakers is one of a number of games that have come under scrutiny. Game Seven of the 1993 Western Conference finals between the Seattle SuperSonics and Phoenix Suns, Game Four of the 1997 Eastern Conference finals between the New York Knicks and Miami Heat and Game Seven of the 2001 Eastern Conference finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers are all on the list.

But those contests have three distinct differences between anything Donaghy may have been involved in. For one, at the root of any conspiracy theorist’s reasoning is that the league itself – not a “rogue individual,” as Donaghy was called by NBA commissioner David Stern – was behind the machinations.

If the NBA wanted to ensure a playoff game’s outcome – not the point spread, not the over/under, but the outcome – one referee or player would not be enough. It would need to have multiple members of a team of players or referees in the mix.

Secondly, there is no proof that Donaghy tinkered with playoff games, which are watched by a much larger national audience than regular-season games. A Hornets-Bobcats game in January, viewed only in the local markets and by hoops junkies on League Pass, would be much easier to manipulate.

And finally, what a handful of bettors with inside information could collect on an NBA game is chicken feed compared to the financial windfalls of advertising revenue from TV contracts. The eight-year extension signed last month with broadcast partners Disney and Turner is for $7.44 billion.

If you want to excoriate Donaghy for destroying the most sacred element of the NBA, go right ahead. But don’t include him in your conspiracy theory arguments. His alleged influence is not on that scale.

Financial Terms into Words of Wisdom: Finance Jargons and Phrases in Simple Layman’s Business View

Tough times are ahead and money matters. A better way to survive financial stress is to be prepared. are always available. Even so, it’s handy to come prepared with basic knowledge making it easier for discussions.


Credit Cards. They may be convenient but they only delay more expenses and also encourage cardholders to overspend. Paying $150 seems painful unlike the card machine-swiped card with the same amount. The difference is when the card statement arrives with the charge fees. They should be eliminated.

Credit Risk. This is the risk of loss due to a debtor’s non-payment of any line of credit or loan. Be warned that the higher the return, the higher the risk.

Debit Cards. They are better alternative to credit cards since money used is available in one’s account. This makes cardholders able to manage their purchases.

Debt Consolidation. Managing debt is equally important as managing savings. Consolidating it into home-equity loan, for example, should be considered for other unsecured debt or a $5,000 or more in a credit card with the assumption that the loan can be paid. It’s best to talk to a finance adviser for different options relevant to the situation.

Financial Banking. Some people have a range of savings and transactions with a bank. Each transaction has a level of fee charges. All accounts should be assessed as these fees can build up over time. The important thing is to be aware of the rules involving these transactions, including savings and checking accounts, to minimize bank charges.

Financial Budget. The only certainty is change – changing tax laws, economic crisis, changing markets, investment products. It doesn’t have to be as complicated like a professional financial analysis seasoned with ratios from financial statements and other reports. By reviewing and completing down where money comes and goes, hard-earned financial resources can best be used and tracked.

Financial Buffers. The world has become a place of increasing uncertainty. This is why smart financial investors build safety buffers. These include being way ahead in loan repayments, having adequate financial insurance, and reinventing all dividends and distributions to build equity faster.

Insurance. Nobody likes paying insurance, but it’s a protection from financial calamities, natural and otherwise, such as accident, sickness, fire and theft. There are always available options to choose from. Others incorporate insurance with superannuation. Annual financial check-up should always include a review of insurance.

Managed Fund. When money is invested in managed fund, it’s pooled with many other investors, managed by experienced fund managers.

Net Worth. This is the difference between financial assets and debts. Smart money managers try to increase their net worth by acquiring more assets and by reducing debts.

Net Worth Statement. This is an assessment where one is at in his/her financial situation. It is a blueprint for future strategies, including a list of current financial assets and debts.

Life is not all about money, however, it’s important to keep it in perspective.

Online detailing: The new way to sell

Several times a month, Edward Berman, MD, a solo internist in Ridgefield, Conn., logs onto a PC-based videoconferencing system in his office and enters a user ID and password to hold real-time video detailing sessions with pharmaceutical sales representatives.


  

The image of the sales rep is displayed on one part of the computer screen. Information about appropriate use, efficacy, dosage, side effects, contraindications and studies about new and existing prescription drugs appear elsewhere on the screen as Dr. Berman and the sales rep discuss it.

Dr. Berman is among several thousand physicians who are believed to be participating in “e-detailing” — electronically accessing details, ordering samples and requesting visits from sales reps. But that definition has been evolving.

Some observers broadly define e-detailing as any online marketing and learning program targeting physicians, including CME programs or electronic mail notifying them of a new indication or a meeting at a hotel with drug reps.

Whatever the definition, online detailing is in a nascent stage.

In the past few years, several technology startups whose business plans depend on serving as conduits between physicians and drug companies have sprouted. Their job is to help the pharmaceutical industry better target and deliver their sales pitch to physicians.

20,000 to 40,000 physicians are currently participating in pilot on-line detailing programs, according to industry estimates.

But these startups also claim to offer value to physicians.

That’s because online detailing lets doctors control the interaction with the pharmaceutical company, get information at their convenience and obtain more relevant information than they can from brief visits with sales reps.

On the other end of the equation, online detailing potentially offers drug companies a more efficient way to reach physicians, says Mark Bard, director of health practice at Cyber Dialogue, New York, a customer relationship management company.

For example, an electronic detail averages about 10 minutes, which is several times the 30 seconds to 2 minutes of “face time” sales reps typically get from physicians, assuming they even get that far, he said. Quite often, sales reps cool their heels for hours in the waiting room only to be told to return another time.

Online detailing, however, minimizes those problems because it lets pharmaceutical companies reach doctors who are interested in getting drug information or don’t see sales reps, Bard said. It also lets drug companies economically reach doctors who aren’t a priority for them now because they aren’t high prescribers.

Online detailing “is the second, if not the first, priority [of every pharmaceutical company] for two reasons,” added Josh Fisher, analyst at WR Hambrecht & Co., San Francisco. “One is the return on investment. Second, it’s a case of everyone is doing it and we don’t want to miss out for competitive reasons.”

The Role Of Marketing And Publicity In Selling The Book

What is the future of print? This article explores how the book industry has evolved to ensure that books secure a place on our shelves for years to come.


Marketing and publicity play a pivotal role in selling the book at each stage of the publication process. New technology and globalization have transformed the production and distribution of books and paved the way for a more consumer-centric retail culture. With the industrial revolution of the 20th century came the emergence of department stores, variety stores and large chains. The book, which was once considered a cultural ‘carrier of ideas’ faced becoming another interchangeable commodity, as it battled to compete in an ever-increasingly crowded marketplace.

Today, the book is competing on an international stage, not only with other written media forms but amongst the entire entertainment industry. The struggle to influence the purchasing decisions of consumers all while ensuring healthy economic margins, has led to what is often referred to as the ‘business of books’. Industry professionals, who were once criticized for their supposed inability to run a profitable business, are now serious contenders, as they combine their role as cultural leaders with commercial intent.

While the book industry has journeyed to obtain its professional identity in this challenging marketplace, there has been a shift in the balance of power from editorial elitism, towards sales and marketing, which now oil the wheels of the entire publication process. This article will discuss the importance of the role of marketing and publicity at each stage of the publication process, with a focus on literary fiction under the trade fiction umbrella.

What is trade fiction?

Trade fiction encompasses all fiction aimed at a general audience and is composed of either literary fiction or commercial fiction. Commercial fiction tends to be genre specific or ‘popular fiction’ with a tendency to focus on plot, while literary fiction is considered to hold literary merit as a result of its often thought-provoking concepts and unique style of prose. Significant to literary fiction is the consumer’s resilient loyalty towards brand identities of authors and publishing imprints. Also prominent to literary fiction is lead titles attracting larger marketing and publicity budgets.

Why do we market books?

Although known authors often sell on their own merit, there is a need to situate other literary fiction within the competitive marketplace. To avoid high returns and satisfy consumer choice, the literary book faces an unforgiving sector of tight stock control, high turnover and short shelf life. These factors combined with the sheer scale of the industry, highlight some of the reasons why literary fiction relies heavily on the effective use of marketing and publicity techniques to generate sales. In this context, marketing may be defined as the promotion and advertising techniques employed at each point of sale, while publicity may also be referred to as a promotional method with a focus on profile-raising, public relations and exposure through the mass media. Ultimately, either marketing and/or publicity aim to persuade the receiver to purchase the book at each point of sale.

Stage 1 – The decision to publish

There are various phases through which literary fiction is marketed and at each of these stages the decision to publish is scrutinized by asking the following questions: what is the book for, who is the audience and how does it fit with the competition? This analysis commences at the very start of a books development – when the initial idea for a book is formed by either the author or proposed by the publisher. It is widely understood within the publishing industry that if an author is unable to define who his or her readership is likely to be, there is sufficient enough reason to presume that the book will be unsuccessful. The manuscript is sent to a literary editor, commonly via the author’s literary agent. With the power base shifting in recent years, the editor now consults his or her sales and marketing colleagues, whose position has diversified as such to allow for a near leading role in the decision to publish. If there is an audience for the book and it can be produced cost-effectively, the decision to publish will most likely be given the green light.

Stage 2 – Book production and design

Once the publishing house has made the decision to publish a book, the marketing team also plays a significant role in the production of the book itself. They help to ensure that each element of a books design including format, typesetting, font, cover, title and packaging all meet the needs of the intended readership. With literary fiction in particular, the concept of ‘author as brand’, affects the cover design of a book, often with the name of the author receiving greater prominence than that of the title. This is the

The Need for New Business Models: To Survive the Worst Economic Conditions in Decades The Need for New Business Models: To Survive the Worst Economic Conditions in Decades

Doing business as usual is the attitude many companies have adopted to survive one of the worst economic downturns in almost a century. In other words, some companies feel the best way to stay alive is to do everything the same and not do anything to change or adapt.


On the other side of the dilemma, some experts believe that the traditional business models of the past are not strong enough to spur the needed growth for the future. This may be the best time to review the models used by companies of any size and any type and implement much needed change.

Traditional Business Models

A business model can be defined as a framework for a new company in terms of how to create economic, social, and/or other forms of value. Most business models define core components of a business such as:

  • The value proposition in a company’s products and services
  • The definition of the targeted customer base
  • Strategies for finance, marketing, and ways to generate income
  • Sustainable competitive strategy through differentiation, niches, or keeping costs low and prices low
  • Infrastructure of the organization
  • Positioning statement in the value chain structure
  • Operational practices, processes, and policies.

One of the oldest business models has been used for centuries by shopkeepers or retail and grocery stores. An entrepreneur selects a product line, finds a location where the potential for sales is good, they open a store, and start selling.

Different business models are used by different types of companies. Take for example the business model used by Amazon and compare it to the model used by fast food restaurants. There is a big difference in the way Amazon markets and generates sales than the way McDonald’s does. The marketing is different. There is a major difference in the infrastructure of the brick and mortar of fast food restaurants and brick and click of Amazon.

A few similarities in both models include shopping convenience, low prices, fast ordering and fast delivery, reliability, trustworthiness, and product selection.

New Components of Business Models

Times have been changing for decades. Today’s business models also need to define how and where technology plays a role. Powerful tools such as the Internet and social networking like Twitter or other online social networks have a firm foothold in developing new business and marketing strategies. The green initiative is here to stay and as such new business models need to have a component that details how a company will participate and contribute to environmental sustainability.

Recession Breaking Business Model Components

The Entrepreneur magazine offered several suggestions to “evolve” a business model such as:

  • Adjusting to and getting comfortable with the constant economic chaos.
  • Keeping up with customer values
  • Remember people will still buy good products.
  • Use the slower time to reassess the current business model and making updates where needed.
  • Explore new markets.

A Good Business Model Will Survive

The old saying that change is the only thing constant is more viable today than ever before. To survive today’s – and for the foreseeable future- economic roller coaster ride, visiting the business model may be the surest way to determine if and what changes are needed.

Sample Balance Sheet Financial Statement for Small Business

For a small business there are three basic financial statements. There’s the income statement, which reports the profit or loss for the company. There’s also the statement of cash flow that analyzes the businesses ability to generate ready money. The final statement is the balance sheet. The balance sheet shows the assets, liabilities and owner’s equity at a specific point in time, usually month and fiscal year end.


How to Read a Balance Sheet

The main function of the balance sheet for a small business is to report owner’s equity. It can also be listed as net worth or stockholders shares for a corporation. The actual balance sheet is made up of three basic sections

  • Assets
  • Liabilities
  • Owner’s equity

Besides reporting owner’s equity, the report also displays the monetary value of assets as well as the business debts or liabilities.

In order to read a balance sheet, it’s important to understand how owner’s equity is calculated. The calculation is simply

Assets – Liabilities = Owner’s Equity

The reason it’s known as a balance sheet is that total assets must equal (or balance) with the total sum of liabilities and owner’s equity. In the above equation, the reciprocal of liabilities + owner’s equity must be equal to total assets. If total liabilities exceed total assets, then the company would have a negative net worth. A company that has relatively low debt compared to assets would naturally have a higher net worth.

How a Balance Sheet is Created

The balance sheet is created at the end of an accounting period, like the end of a particular month. The general ledger accounts are totaled and transferred to the appropriate financial statements. Assets, liability and owner’s equity accounts are transferred to the balance sheet. Revenue and expense accounts are transferred to the income statement or profit and loss statement.

Sample Balance Sheet

The following sample is a basic example for a retail store that sells a product. Depending on the business model, there can be difference in the asset, liability and owner’s equity accounts. Inventory for example could be broken down into several inventory accounts and so on.

Balance Sheet for XYZ Company

June 1, 20xx

Assets

  • Cash $10,000
  • Accounts Receivable $5,000
  • Inventory $50,000
  • Equipment $12,000
  • Land & Building $150,000
  • Furniture $8,000

Total Assets $235,000

Liabilities

  • Suppliers Payable $10,000
  • Accounts Payable $15,000
  • Notes Payable $125,000

Total Liabilities $150,000

Owner’s Equity

  • Draws ($2,000)
  • Paid in Capital $7,000
  • Retained Earnings $80,000

Total Owner’s Equity $85,000

Total Assets $235,000

Total Liabilities and Owner’s Equity $235,000

The balance sheet is an important analytical tool for any business. Besides reporting the company’s net worth, it’s also an indication of the businesses use of its assets. The general ledger accounts for assets and liabilities should be set up in a manner that allows the entrepreneur to best analyze the balance sheet.

Small Business Budgeting – Financial Planning: Learn How to Create an Expense Budget for Maximum Profitability

The first step to creating a budget is the creation of the sales forecast. The forecast is an estimate of future sales and other types of income. Although the budget is not a prediction of the future, it uses future estimated income as a means of dispersing expenditures. Budgeting financial expenditures allows the business to maximize profitability by controlling expenses.


What is a Small Business Budget?

The budget is basically a tool that allocates expenses overtime. It acts like an alarm to alert the entrepreneur if expenses are exceeding their limits. There are generally two categories of expenses, fixed and operating expenses. When creating a budget, there is usually more emphasis put on operating expenses, because they tend to fluctuate with operating activities.

Fixed Expenses and Small Business Budgeting

Fixed expenses generally don’t fluctuate overtime. Since they remain somewhat constant, incorporating them into the budget is relatively easy. Often times fixed expenses may not even be incorporated into the budget since they don’t fluctuate with operating activities. Some examples of fixed expenses are:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • Salaries

Operating Expenses and Small Business Budgeting

Operating expenses, sometimes known as variable expenses, usually fluctuate with operating activities. In a manufacturing environment, they tend to increase as production increases. In a business sales environment they tend to increase as sales activities increase. Operating expenditures are usually the main types of expenses that are incorporated into a budget because they have better probability of increasing if not controlled. Some examples of operating expenses are:

  • Sales Commission
  • Hourly Wages
  • Supplies
  • Freight
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Advertising

Creating a Budget – The Income Statement and Forecast

Besides the forecast, the other analytical tool that’s used to create the budget is the income statement. Since operating expenses play a more important role in small business budgeting, let’s look at creating a budget using operating expenses. The following are the steps for creating a budget.

  1. Gather the three previous years’ income statements
  2. Average the three previous years’ gross profit
  3. Average the three previous years’ operating expenses by category
  4. Calculate operating expense percentage to gross profit by dividing the average gross profit into the average operating expense by category
  5. Multiply the operating expense percentage to gross profit for each expense category by the monthly forecasted gross profit

As an example, let’s assume that the average yearly gross profit from the past three years income statements equals $1,000,000. The following examples equal the yearly average amount for each expense category.

  • Sales Commission $70,000 or 7.0%
  • Hourly Wages $55,000 or 5.5%
  • Supplies $11,000 or .1.1%
  • Freight $13,000 or 1.3%
  • Equipment Maintenance $12,000 or 1.2%
  • Advertising $35,000 or 3.5%

These percentages are then applied to the monthly sales forecast gross profit amounts. The calculated amounts from the sales forecast are then used for the monthly budgets. The historical percentages used don’t have to be set in stone. If the entrepreneur feels that the expenses can be reduced without affecting operating activities, the reduction should be applied to the budget.

If actual expenses exceed the budgeted amounts, appropriate action should be taken to either curtail the over expenditures or adjust the budget accordingly. Small business budgeting is essential for financial planning. Besides maximizing profitability, adhering to a budget is essential for proper cash flow management.

How and Why Islam Spread

Cultural diffusion is the spread of ideas through interactions with other cultures. As a result of these interactions, religions, technology, and traditional practices can be founds throughout many different cultural regions. One such example of this spread of beliefs and ideas is Islam. According to the Association of International Educators, approximately 20% of the world practices Islam. The success of this religion has its roots in ancient times and has since branched out to encompass many regions of the world. The rapid success of Islam can be mainly attributed to an increase in trade, warfare and expansion, and the many appealing factors of being Muslim.


Islam spread from Muslim controlled domains to other regions via a growing trade industry. As Europe remained stagnant and Mediterranean Sea trading waned, new trading powers rose in and around the Indian Ocean . By the second century, Muslims controlled major trading centers such as Constantinople. African cities, such as Djenne soon became centers of trade as well as Islam. Inhabitants of these cities, as well as the merchants that frequented them would be exposed to rich Islamic culture.

Many Muslims were traders, as Muhammad himself had grown up in the trade based city and became a successful trader. Foreign merchants who conducted business with these Muslim tradesmen carried pieces of Islamic culture back to their homes, planting seeds of Islam overseas. These small pieces of Islamic belief could then grow and flourish into a strong Muslim community, as the case was in Indonesia.

Indonesia was connected via the Indian Ocean to Islamic domains in India, Africa, and the Middle East. Islam spread faster near large trade centers, such as Melaka. Melaka was a wealthy city that controlled the majority of Indonesian trade. By 1400, the rich city became a center of Islam as a result of trade with Islamic domains. With a strong foundation in Melaka, Islam continued to spread throughout Indonesia. Today, Indonesia has the densest population of Muslims with 90% of inhabitants practicing Islam. Islam’s spread to Indonesia is just one of many results of increased trade in Muslim controlled domains.

The immense wealth created by the increase in trade allowed Muslims to establish and fund large, successful militaries. The first major Islamic military success was in the 600’s, when Muslim armies were able to recapture Mecca and subsequently conquer and unite most of Arabia, Persia, and Byzantium. By 800, Islamic forces had invaded regions of the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, Central Asia and Pakistan. The concept of Jihad, and thus the ability to fight, was an integral part of Islam. Jihad, or just war, was a defensive battle used as a last resort to fight against injustice and oppression.

Islam also provided additional motivation for Muslims to fight, since it was believed that one who died defending the faith would get immediate entrance into Heaven. By the beginning of the sixteenth century, Turkey (including Constantinople), and regions of India were also conquered by Muslims. Regions controlled by Muslims were inevitably exposed to Islam. The leaders of these regions built mosques and monuments throughout the vast Islamic Empire, allowing many people to come in contact with Islam and Islamic culture. As in major trading centers, these small portions of culture grew into large Muslim communities. Pakistan and India were both under Islamic control by the middle of the second millennium. Today, these countries have two of the highest Muslim populations in the world.

The combination of wealth, military power and protection, and other benefits made Islam a very appealing religion to merchants and newly conquered subjects. These benefits were the most important factor in converting foreigners to Islam, even in regions conquered by Muslim soldiers or surrounded by Muslim merchants. Despite most Islamic rulers being tolerant of other religions, practicing Islam in a Muslim ruled domain gave one many benefits that non-Muslims lacked. As Muslims continued to become wealthy from Indian Ocean trade, the religion appealed to the poor looking for wealth in addition to merchants looking for profitable trade connections. The success, organization, and power of Islamic military forces attracted people from regions stricken with civil war or previously controlled by weak leaders. By converting to Islam, these people felt they were joining the winning side, and providing themselves and their families with financial and physical security.

Another benefit of converting to Islam was the opportunity to gain an education and become literate. In many regions of the world, education was reserved for the wealthy. However, being able to read Arabic was an integral part of Islam, which depended heavily on the Quran. Because of this, mosque often contained schools, providing an education to those who would normally not have the opportunity to learn. As a result of this need for education, Islamic centers such as Timbuktu would often become