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.



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)
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    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

Do You Really Need A Website?

​The short answer is no you don't need a website, that thing that costs a ton, sucks money every few years on a new redesign and needs a programmer to maintain.

​I'm going to show you how to despite not having a website you can really amplify leads. I'll show you 6 ways service professionals are killing it right now without a website including getting reviews (the new referral). 

Healthy Distribution of Business

What you need is to know what is working in your business and truly bringing in the sales. Then where where to go next for more.

Because without the numbers you can’t possibly know where you are, let alone where you’re going. With the numbers, your business will take on a totally new meaning.

Michael Gerber

Your ultimate goal as a business owner if to get more sales and, therefore, more sales and profit. If you work backwards from that goal you will find mile markers or leverage points that help you achieve your goal on every marketing campaign.

Source Neil Cummings

This is what is called a KPI (Key Performance Indicator). KPI Think of it as sort of a measuring system to to compare by.


Asking each customer how they heard about you is good but typically impossible to track throughout the day. We'll discuss how to track things automatically.

  • Calls
  • Emails or Form Submissions
  • Texts or Chats
  • Demos
  • In store visits

6 Strategies to Win Without a Website

  • ​Google Maps/Facebook Pages
  • Referral Plan
  • Repeat Buyers
  • Printed Materials
  • Billboards
  • Strategic Partners

A website is typically the easiest way to implement measuring systems. However you can do many without a website as well.

I like to track customer phone calls with CallRail.com. You can pick a different phone number for each of your marketing campaigns and you will always know if that nickle-ad is generating any calls automatically. Same goes for the Facebook ad or post card you mailed out.

Source Animated Heaven

  • ​Google Maps/Facebook Pages

​Both Google and Facebook allow you to have a free business listing. Chances are they have already made a listing for your business.

Google search for roofing brings up listings

Google and Facebook have recently added a free chat feature that you can use through email, possibly text. Claiming and updating your listings will give you greater control and insight into those customers views and contacts.

These directory listings will make it so that when someone searches for your kind of business and especially your business name, they can find you.

Google search for Doug's Repair

Often these listings can't outrank a proper website but it is better than nothing. These pages also provide a home for reviews so that when people find you, they can see ratings on past customer experience. 

  • Referral Plan

Most service professionals we work with get the majority of their business through referrals and repeat buyers. This has been and always will be the best source of ready to buy leads. At the very leads asking each customer for a review via the feedback funnel means they are referring you to the entire internet and not just their small circle of friends.

Googles recent update allows 1 bad review to show up in Google search results (including maps). Now is the time to get some good reviews ASAP.​

Google shows 1 bad review

  • Repeat Buyers

You have never needed a website to store and keep handy past customers contact information, make sure that you have a way to contact past customers and vice versa. An email can be worth its weight in gold. 

You could still get emails gathered and stored in Hubspots Free CRM (Customer Relationship Management System). Having an electronic database of your past customers is going to make it a whole lot easier to scale or sell your business in the future.

You could even start an email newsletter using Mailchimps free for 2,000 subscribers plan.​ Email is cheaper to send out then letters and easier to share and get a referral. 

Drag and drop easy

If you have a complicated product like my parents in law fancy security systems, you can create an automated email that teaches new customers how to use all the bells and whistles. ​You better believe that increases customer loyalty.

If you don't have a website, then you have to do lots offline advertising:

  • Printed Materials (On-Product, Penny-ads, Newspaper, Door Hangers...)

Remember those call tracking numbers come in handy. If you want to try having a different number for 1 of your marketing campaigns then you could try the free Google Voice. Get 1 local number for free and forward it to your existing number. Login online and see which calls were through the tracking number.

Keep paying for the marketing that gets those calls.

  • Billboard (Truck/Trailer Wraps, Yard Signs...) 

We once met a business owner that got the highest returns on marketing we had ever seen just from penny-ads and good street side placement of his product and a phone number. You can keep yourself busy without a website. When you go to sell the business having a system in place will be more valuable than a website.

​Don't forget to assign a different CallRail tracking numbers to each effort/campaign. No need to keep spending money on something that doesn't get results in the first 6 months.

 The is no reason you couldn't even hand out different brochures or business cards to be handed out by your strategic partners. You could even make it a game to see who gets you more business and gets a stake dinner in return.​

You can also have events and coupons to draw in customers. Separate details and offers will lead you back to the winning marketing campaign/source.

Have a Website Already, Take it up a Notch?

Now you may be thinking to yourself, "But I do have a website!" when you only have a single page site. The difference between a 1 page site vs. a whole site is that 1 page can't answer all the questions customers may have each of your product offerings. A good site needs to have 6 or more pages with a very detailed page of each product/service. 

Bonus points if your website is optimized for search engines by a reputable local company.

If you have a website these marketing methods will go further. However you can still do a version of each of these without a website. Because you can point people to something you own and control in all of your marketing.

  • Contact Past Customers (Emails(Newsletters, tidings.com), Calls, Letters...)
  • Guest Blog Posting (who says you can't write for other peoples blogs?).
    • ​Google recently just added the ability to blog from your business listing.
    • Writing on LinkedIn Pulse: This is just blogging but it's on LinkedIn. It shares your voice through your articles and helps you sell your business to other businesses.
  • Giveaways (social media, physical raffles, rafflecopter...)
  • Google PPC Call Only Ads: This helps to get people in contact with you without having to visit your site. I think you have to have at lease a 1 page website but people will never see the site because clicks are calls to you not visits to your website. Facebook is also starting to offer lead campaigns.
  • Online Directories: Yelp, Yellow Pages, Angie's List... Get your information on more sites/apps when they are looking. Bing pulls a lot of data from Yelp.

If you ask me, I'd say that yes! You really should have a optimized website. Websites really amplify / support good marketing as well as bring in new business. I hope this was helpful to you and your business!

P.S. Websites can track what got more web form fill outs. We like to look in Google Analytics for SEO, Social Media and Google PPC web form leads. Don't forget that, whichever way you choose to track your KPI, you should ask how your customers heard of you but as a secondary source for the truth. 

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.

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Kyle Hunt: Tips for Better Marketing

This month I had the privilege of talking to and interviewing Kyle Hunt from Remodelyourmarketing.com. Unfortunitly the audio din't record as well so I'll give the highlights here.

Kyle started his own company in Michigan about 9 years ago and, while his own business focuses on home repair and re-modelers, the tips he has apply to all of us marketing online. 

Tip 1: Organize Your Client List

  • Stay in touch with past clients.
  • Send out consistent emails.
  • Call four previous clients every week.​

After the call I went and checked out one Kyles sales tools, Remodelers AutoPilot. His current clients are using this to help automate some of this past client interaction. Landing more jobs from past clients as well as referrals.  

Tip 2: Have a Kick-Butt Website

Sometimes we overlook the basics. Make your business the logical choice in comparison to their other options.

Tip 3:​ Have Strategic Partners 

  • Find other businesses that have the same clientele as you do.
  • Have two BLBs (Breakfast, Lunch, or Beer) every month.

Networking in these BLBs yield real relationships and keep you top of mind for referrals. 

Tip 4: Improve Your Sales Process​

  • Be sure to convert prospective clients into paying projects. ​
  • Spend ten to fifteen minutes on a phone call to decide whether a client will be a good fit.

Kyls Upcoming 8 course training includes:

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    The Initial Phone Call: What You Must Do To Make A Great First Impression
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    5 Powerful Words When Talking With A Remodeling Prospect: This Is How We Work
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    The In-Person Meeting: How To Prepare, What To Bring, And The Approach You Should Take
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    No Project Left Behind: Your Lead Tracking, Sales Pipeline, and Follow-up System
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    Let’s take a breath! We’ll focus on a review of everything we have covered so far and on how we’re doing with implementing
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    They Are Sold! Now What? and After The Remodeling Job Is Done - Here's What To Do
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    How To Effectively Stay-In-Touch with Previous Clients/Prospects
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    Open Q&A for the group, review of what we covered and a solid Wrap Up!

We sure hope this was helpful to you and that you will be able to implement these things into your own business website. Don't forget to go look at Kyle's website!

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


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.

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