Don't need a website huh?.....
December 11th, 2014
It always amazes me when I run across somebody who has a small business or a local contractor and they feel like they have no need for a website. In this day and age, everybody is on the Internet for everything. Even they look on the web when they need something but still feel that they don't need a website.
I have one local contractors who we built a website for and performed some basic SEO. He has told me that he gets approximately 2 or 3 calls per week from his site (and he hasn't even had his site for a year yet!) and is booked out over 4 months. He's looking to get a business loan so he can expand his business. He also told me that his site has paid for itself 50 times over.
Another customer of ours has told me that she has doubled her business in the first year that she had her website. Doubled!!
With these types of success stories, I am truly astounded when I run across somebody without a website and they have no interest in getting one. Don't they know that everybody that needs their services or products is buying from somebody that does have a website.
Do You Need To Market Your Website?
January 31st, 2016
Website marketing. SEO. Search engine optimization.
These are terms that I was surprised to find out most of my clients didn't know what they were! I've been doing website creation and Internet marketing for so long I forgot that the average person doesn't know how to speak computer-ese. Or Internet marketing-ese. Or SEO-ese.
I start talking about this subject and eyes start glazing over. Hmm......lol. Well, having a company website is great but having a high quality website that gets "found on the Internet" is more important! Not all websites are created equal. A high quality website should have on-page SEO built into the site. Optimized meta tags, optimized title tags, optimized description tags, keyword density etc. See what I mean? Am I still speaking English....lol.
Plus, images should be optimized for faster page load. CSS should be compressed and minified. Gzip compression should be used. I could go on and on but your eyes would probably glaze over. The point is, that there is so much that goes into a high quality web site that Google will find relevant.
But this blog is about marketing your website. On-page SEO is the first step in a good marketing plan for your website. Once the on page aspect is taken care of now we need to "market" the website. Local SEO is different from national or even global SEO. Most of the websites I manage are local so I will focus on this area in this blog.
Claiming your website on Google+Local (Google My Business) is one thing you can do to market your site (the correct category listing in Google My Business is critical). Getting your site onto other directories like Yelp, Manta, Merchant Circle, just to name a few, is one step to perform. Getting citations and back links is important. These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing (advertising) your website.
If you were to put up a brick and mortar store would you then advertise your new store? If not, how is anybody going to know that the store is there? Or how will people patronize the store if they don't even know it exists? Marketing your website is just as critical for the same reasons. SEO is the number one method of advertising your web site. It's very important to get visits and hence new business.
In conclusion, of course you need to advertise (market) your web site! How else will people know how and where to find you? One caveat. If your only reason for having a website is because you feel like you need an online presence (and really, doesn't everybody?) and don't want your company website to generate new business then I guess you don't need to market your site. Okay?
Nuff said for now, eh?
Do You Have a Backup of Your Website?
May 5th, 2015
Backups. Do you have a backup of your website? Backups are important ! If anything was to happen to your website then you would have a way to restore your website to it's original form.
So many things can happen to your website. Your host company's server could crash. A hacker could break into your site and install malicious code and you would have no idea. Or they could crash your site. If a hacker wants to break into your site, there really isn't much you can do about it. You could have all the security measures in the world for your website but if a determined hacker wants to get into your site, they will.
If something bad were to happen, what would you do? If you have a backup (located off site from where your website is hosted) then you can just upload all of your website files and overwrite the existing site. This will normally take care of the problem and should restore your site to it's original look. But it's important that you keep an updated copy of your site on your local computer and not on the same server that your main website is on.
Backup early and often. You want to make sure that if you were to lose your website that the backup copy is the most updated form of your website. Otherwise you will be reinstating your site to an outdated version. So make sure your backup is a replica of the most updated version.
Are you backed up (you know what I mean)?
September 16th, 2014
There are a lot of different Content Management Systems out there. Joomla, Wordpress and Drupal just to name a few. Available templates, themes and extensions allow the CMS to "extend" it's capabilities.
You can install picture galleries, Image sliders, Contact Forms, Social Media buttons, E-commerce solutions, Booking solutions, Calenders etc......there are so many extensions out there that can really enhance the functionality of your website.
Many people think that you are restricted to certain styles and colors when you have a site built with a CMS. While that can be somewhat true, you can custom code any of these sites to gain the look that you want. Most changes can be accomplished for a little extra money but still save thousands of dollars off the cost of having a custom web site built from scratch.
Plus, having a Content Management System allows you (the business owner) to create your own unique content without paying the webmaster to do it for you. For example: let's say that you own a restaurant and being a good restaurant owner, you would like to promote your daily food specials. A CMS allows you to go into your site and change the daily specials everyday. Having the freedom to change the daily specials yourself can add tremendous value to the SEO of your site along with the fact that your customers can go to your site everyday and look at the daily specials and decide if they want to come up to your restaurant for lunch or dinner. A CMS gives you this flexibility. You can change your own website without knowing any coding at all.
A CMS built web site can give you huge value going forward....
Are Domain Names For Individual Cities a Good Idea?
May 31st, 2015
Being found in local search results is a great thing if you are trying to increase your business in your area and surrounding cities. Google gives you a leg up being found in the city where your business is physically located. But how about the cities surrounding your local city that you also service?
Most business's that I handle always want to be found in the cities surrounding their home city. How can this be accomplished?
Probably the best way to be found locally (but outside of your home area) is to create landing pages that are optimized for each individual city that you would like to rank for. What are landing pages? They are pages of your website that people will "land on" when doing a search for the services you provide. For example: let's say I need to rent a dumpster and I live in Holly, MI. I would go to the Internet and enter in search something like this- dumpster rental company, Holly MI. Google will then compile results based on my search criteria and present them in a well ordered fashion, starting with the most relevant (based on their own algorithms). How does Google decide which websites to show and how high in the search results? Well that's a totally different subject but suffice it to say, they have lots and lots of algorithms that compile results based on their own search criteria and what they deem as relevant. Some of them they will let us know while others are kept a state secret. So we use our best "guess" in those cases but based upon current knowledge of how Google works we can usually come up with a strategy that works within Google's framework and get websites to the top of the rankings.
But this blog today is not about the importance of landing pages but about putting the specific city name in a domain name. What do we mean by that? Well let's say we own Billy Joe Bob's Plumbing LLC and we reside in Milford, Michigan. Google will impute to us a high ranking for anybody searching for a plumbing company in Milford, Michigan. However, in Brighton, Michigan not so much. So how do we get found in Brighton, Michigan?
Landing pages is one way. Another way is to put the city name in your domain name. I have found that Google will give you more page rank if the city is in the domain name. So, using our example from above, if Billy Joe Bob wants to be found in Brighton, he can purchase something like this: Brightonplumbingcompany.com. Having the individual city name in your domain name will increase your relevance for any search using that city. Now remember, content is still king in the world of search results so whereas you will get a boost from having "Brighton" in your domain name, the content on your webpage is still the most important factor.
Think of your individual search results as an accumulation of a bunch of different factors. The main factor is probably page content. Factors such as: page content, keyword density, using specific keywords in general and which ones to optimize, meta tags, title tags, header tags, meta description etc. There are many factors which determine your page rank. Down the list of important factors is having a city name in your domain name. Now, if you have a city in your actual company name then that will be a great factor in your ranking in your home city. Google gives great importance to a company that has a city or state name in it's actual company name. Something like: Michigan Plumbing Company. Every time someone searches for "plumbing company Brighton MI", Michigan Plumbing Company will get some consideration because it has Michigan in it's name and the searcher put "MI" in it's search criteria.
So, is putting "Brighton" in your domain name a good idea? Well, in general I would say, it depends. You will get a boost from having Brighton in your domain name but it depends on how you use it. Remember, content is king and a keyword in a domain name is just one factor (and not the most important factor) in Google's ranking system. If you purchase a domain name with Brighton in the name then the best way to optimize this strategy is to have a one page site that you will land on when people search for a plumbing company in Brighton. That way you can optimize the content with the domain name. Then link your one page optimized city site to your main company website. Google's search bots will follow and index the links between the two web pages and the main webpage content will impute into the one page optimized city site.
This is one strategy that should be part of a bigger overall optimization plan that works in harmony to get the most from your SEO. Another way to link the two domains together is to redirect one domain to the other. This is not as good as having a one page site optimized for a certain city and linking it back to your main domain name but it will still show a path to Google that the cites are linked. How do you do this? First, you purchase the domain with the city in it (Brightonplumbing.com) then you redirect it to your main domain name (Billyjoebobsplumbing.com). Now you have two domain names for your company but really only one website to represent it. While not having a one page website attached to that second domain name (which is the best way) you will still get a boost from any search that includes "Brighton" in it's search criteria.
So, to sum up, having a city name in your domain name works great if you are physically located in that city. If not, it still will give you some SEO juice but works best if used in tandem with a one page city optimized webpage. Remember, with there being a myriad of factors involved with a website's page rank, the best strategy to use will include using all methods together to create a well balanced strategy that will get you found on the Internet. One factor alone will not suffice to get your found.
Nuff said for now, eh?