Picking a domain name is not rocket science

I get asked all the time what to look for in the perfect domain name.

My recommendation is to go for at least 3 out of 6 of this criteria:

  • Short
  • Business name is the same
  • Explains what you do
  • Explains where you do it
  • Is easily spelled / read & memorable
  • .com is still better than anything else

.com and country specific extensions still rain supreme.

Source thedna.org

.co is still the worst of all the new extensions in my opinion because most are still trained not to read and will actually put in .com instead of .co

Some domain names are gaining in popularity like .io which seems to mean online app for those that can’t afford the .com. That or they often choose to say something line get____app.com.

Final thoughts

The domain name is really up to you now. Google really understands domain names and what people are known for regardless of the name nowadays.

Arguably for Bing and Google, domain names that have something in their name recognizable (some would say use keywords) is helpful still. But I would not pick that over the business name unless your business name is so out there.

Keeping up With Internet Marketing

Where to go to learn and what to do about it

It takes many skills to build a house and few actually know all the pieces. It is the same with online marketers. Keeping up with it all let alone mastering all those skills is impossible.

I've spent hundreds of hours trying to keep up with it all. So instead here is my secret to never miss something huge.

The trick is to follow the thought leaders that stay up reading and analyzing everything instead of you doing it.

Ecommerce

Amazon

Local Small Business Lead Gen

Another secrete is just to read the newsletters and updates from the softwares you use.

If you find other great resources checkout these 3 apps/tools (GetPocket, Feedly, Casts) to keep up to date.

Review Calculator

How many more to a better score?

Ever wonder how many 5 star reviews you need to improve your overall rating? Give the review calculator (Make your own copy) a whirl and you'll know right away. I also included a handy comparison to a typical school grade if that is easier than the star rating for comparison.

Thanks to my friends at Get Five Stars and Power Reviews for letting me know about the study. So don't feel bad if you have less than 5 stars. It's actually a good thing.

5 Google Business Listing Updates

The 5 recent Google My Business Listings updates are:

Message - Receive SMS live chats from customers right from your maps listing.  - How to

Scheduler or Menu Link - Include a link to your online calendar/scheduler. Or restaurants can link right to their menu. - How to

Questions - It's like a Q/A page but on your Google listing and you have to wait for customers to ask questions.  - How to

Posts - It's basically twitter because you can't say much (meant for small updates like talking about the latest sale this Saturday). - How to

Free Website - This is a horrible idea but it's better than no website. I discuss this and other website builders here.

Here is what it looks like on a mobile device.

Most of these changes only show on mobile for now.

If you are going to use a calendar appointment service may I recommend Calendly.com because it is awesome and syncs with your Google Calendar.

Be sure to be measuring the success of your Google listing. Here is a screen shot of the overall metrics they show at first glance. Dig a bit deeper and you can see calls, messages, visits to your site... But be sure to store this data somewhere as they only keep it for 30 days.

Picking a Website Builder

Wix, Square Space, Weebly, Google Free Site, WordPress

Here are options / considerations for a website builder:

All options will get you a presentable website without any design skills, however if your goal is to attract more business I recommend self hosted WordPress.

I'll show you why shortly.

I'm often asked if a business can get by with a 1 page website. I view this as only 1 step above getting a proper listing with Facebook and Google Maps

If you really think about it your website should do 3 things for you:

  • check
    Aid in bring in more business (Search Engine Optimization, Google AdWords and Social Media Ads)
  • check
    Educate / sell visitors on why they should by from you vs someone else
  • check
    Close those visitors into buyers

I have found it easiest to track how marketing campaigns are working and improve them by instead going with an optimized WordPress website. Though the other tools are making strides to be better.

Not to mention the all the amazing plugins (Yoast SEO, Monster Insights, 51 Blocks...), integrations and customizations you can do.

If a fancy easy way to edit a page is what you are looking for you can just get Thrive Architect for WordPress. Added bonus is it is great for making landing pages with email opt-in offers.

Checkout dougsrepair.com

"Nearly 60 percent of searches now from mobile devices" -Source

Doug's is a good example of a custom built WordPress Theme(Design). I've found between WordPress, Gantry Frame Work and Thrive Architect you may never need a developer or designer again. 

Okay that may be a slight over statement especially in consideration of how easy those other website builders are. But I'll take the SEO/marketing, customization freedom and open source nature of WordPress over any other builder any day.

Regardless of the platform

You'll want to make sure you build out service pages

And location pages

In addition to your core pages like about us and home page.

Set Up Proper Tracking

A good marketer can show you most importantly how many leads they are getting through. Tracked back to the marketing campaign (SEO, PPC, Social Media...).

  • Calls
  • Forms
  • Chat

Doug's if they like can then audit those leads and tell you how much money they made from them.

Traditionally marketers just show things that don't really help you:

  • Rankings
  • Traffic
  • Time on site
  • Bounce Rate

A website if setup correctly, is really just the center of your marketing engine. If you want to know how your marketing efforts are doing I can help you do just that. Most people find that marketing then becomes a tool for more business rather than an expense.

Website building pricing really depends on what your goals are.


Here are 2 additional resources I just published that could help you.

How to Get My Business to Show up in Google

Do You Really Need A Website?

How to Get My Business to Show up in Google

3 Parts to Local Search Engine Results

Source trustworkz.com

There are 3 pieces to Google local search results (how to show up in Google):

  • Paid Ads - PPC (Pay Per Click - Search)
  • Local Map Pack (SEO - Tied to Address)
  • Traditional Organic Results (SEO - Does not require an address)

Paid Ads

Google makes over 90% of their money from Google Ads. You can't miss them and most studies show that 30% of people are clicking them. Even more on mobile devices.

​Choose to show up for Google Ads to get at the top of results in more ways then you know.

Did you know Google typically only shows your business in the maps area if your business address is nearby the searcher? Though not fair Google AdWords actually widens the location net as well as the searches you can show up for.

​If your business is located in Atlanta you might come up for searches for "garage storage Atlanta" but not "garage storage Marietta" a nearby town.

Without an address nearby your only hope for showing up for something like "garage storage" is paid ads and well bellow on the traditional organic results..

When I ran ad campaigns for Money Bar Storage Atlanta dealer ads were a huge source of leads and sales. Both these types of searches are real examples where ads makes a difference.

Local Map Pack

Google search for roofing brings up listings

​Showing up in maps is highly tied to your businesses address as well as where the searches is located at the time of search.

You may have heard with more people using their voice to search on phones, near me searches are growing in popularity. 

Source Think With Google

People don't like doing business with companies far away. All the surveys on distance say so. This holds true even with service businesses since some charge a dreaded trip fee to nearby towns.​

To show up in maps more you need more legitimate addresses with their own reviews and marketing strategy or to bid in ads.

Google has really made it so rarely do you show in all parts of a large city. Try doing the same search from your mobile device when out and about and you will see what I mean.

Ads show in maps when people look past the first 3 results by hitting more.​ Google has also been testing home service ads which to some are scary and others an answer to this problem.

Traditional Organic Results

​The former days of Google these text link listings were all that showed. Now short of ads, these blue text links are your best hope to show up in location searches outside a small radius from your business address.

Here is a business without an address in Rexburg (where I live) using location pages to widen the net.​

Take Aways

Google is trying to maximize profits and make searchers happy. Having a strategy to show up in all 3 local search results areas is a must. 

  • Consider ads for broad searches
  • Consider ads for nearby towns
  • Understand the limitations of maps and addresses
  • Consider location pages for nearby towns

Lesson 9 Bonus – The Getting Reviews Course

I know if you opened my email or clicked on my links to do anything I asked for. I’m an internet marketer 🙂

But I was to lazy to check and that is really boring and a bit creepy. So lets assume you didn’t read all my emails or do something I asked you to do.

You’re not the first. My parents in law didn’t listen to me either.

Remember that example I gave about a Google search for “Home security Portland OR”? My parents in law are the first business in the maps section. They haven’t really listened to my marketing advice except for 1 thing, they ask for reviews. And that is the only thing keeping them ranking number 1 in Google Maps. But it will not last forever. They like you need to have a more rounded marketing plan.

UPDATE: As of 8/26/2017 when SFA moved down one in their maps ranking. It is safest to tackle all 7 Pillars of online marketing in your strategy.

Ways you could help me out:

Contact me to work on your marketing plan.

Leave me feedback.

Connect on LinkedIn and leave a personal recommendation.

Buy the The Referral Engine – by John Jantsch. Maybe you will listen to him.

Bonus Tip: Many sites have power reviews and a way to search for them such as Yelp. If you want a reviews with some kick to it, it may be worth inviting them to become a customer.

Go back to lesson 8.

All Lessons

Lesson 8 Bonus – The Getting Reviews Course

I mentioned before there are a lot of wrong ways to get reviews.

5 things I have seen business owners do that land them in trouble:

  • You incentivized the review (Illegal by the way. An ethical implied bribe is still fine.)
  • You asked for a bunch of reviews from past customers all at once
  • You forgot to make it easy for them (Business card, email, text… to the feedback funnel)
  • You forgot to to make it a consistent part of your business process
  • You left the review or had them write it from your computer/device

To practice what I preach. Would you leave me a positive review? Your choice where.

A) Leave Me Feedback and a review at Google Maps or Facebook

or

B) Connect with me & leave a personal recommendation on LinkedIn

Bonus Tip: Business owners can actually review other businesses from their Google Maps account. Other business owners understand your pain so be sure to ask.

P.S. I did promise a funny article: The 7 Worst/Best Ways To Get Reviews By The Numbers

P.P.S.Here is the final bonus, learn form my parent in laws and an opportunity to work with me, lesson 9 bonus.

All Lessons

Lesson 7 – The Getting Reviews Course

Hopefully you had as much fun learning about online reviews as I had making this course. You are a review expert now! 🙂

When this works for your business I ask for 2 things in return:

1. Please share this course with at least 3 people and as many social media sites as you can muster.

2. (Optional) As a consultant I don’t get paid to give out free courses. People love working with me through the other 6 major challenges their marketing plan needs. My lowest monthly service starts at $25 and my highest is $5,000. If you would like to explore becoming one of my clients, I’ll pay you $100 if you even think I waist a second of your time.

Contact me here!

Here is a recap of what you learned:

Be sure to funnel every customer through your feedback system. This will be your competitive advantage on an ongoing basis.

P.S. I know this wasn’t really a 7th day but 6 day course didn’t sound as cool, just kidding. I’ve got a bonus coming to you since I like you so deeply now, bonus lesson 8.

Lesson 6 – The Getting Reviews Course

Many are shocked to hear that review sites filter good reviews out. With Yelp being the most notorious for doing so.

Most common reasons for reviews being filtered out:

  • This is their first review
  • The user has not enriched their profile with details
  • The review is overly positive using some trigger words
  • The review is not given on a mobile device or app (Trick 1: This works great)
  • You incentivized the review (Illegal by the way)
  • Every reviews is from the same IP address
  • Too many reviews all at once
  • You left the review

I’ve only had 2 clients ever get a bad review. And one of those was at Yelp which shows right in Bing search results. So here is a tip for getting some reviews at Yelp.

Trick 2: Yelp thinks it is a social media site. So you can find all your friends/customers on Yelp by simply having Yelp search your contacts. Then you can reach out to them on an individual basis.

Image
Source Thanks Shannon for the idea.

Bonus Tip: Text over a link where they can leave a review. Here is what a client of mine had to say:

“It worked great. And very convenient it wasn’t more than 3 minutes after I texted the link I got a reply that said ‘you’ll find a review up on Google.’”
– Wes B, Roofer

Next is our final lesson, lesson 7. I know I’m crying too.

P.P.S. Angies List matters more and more for service professionals. Here is the easiest way to get reviews on Angies List.

All Lessons