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.

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?

Luke Alley on What Makes a Good Agency

Expert Marketer Interview

I like to have experts come on the contractor podcast from time to time. This one with Luke Alley from Avalaunch is perfect for helping you know what to look for in an agency. Also his top recommendations for your business marketing online.

Learn:

  • What makes a great marketing agency
  • What metrics matter (ROI, Leads…)
  • Unusual social media sites can still work
  • Where should contractors start

NEWS PULSE FEB2017

Contractor Digital Marketing

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As a service professional you do a lot of business from your car. So I was thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if somebody kept you up-to-date during your drive on the recent Google changes and what do you need to know? So that’s exactly what I’m gonna do today.

Getting Reviews – Pillar 4

Interesting enough, there has been a lot about reviews come up recently. One of the reasons it’s a big deal is because Google decided that you need only 1 review to be able to start having your star rating show up in search results. This applies to your Google Maps listing and other listings such as Yelp and Facebook.

Here is what it looks like.

And

This matters if you have very few reviews on those sites and you get one bad review. That can really impact the perception of your business. So now it’s even more important to get a few reviews everywhere and to get them more reliably.

Here is what it looks like with 1 bad review.

Google Lowers Local Pack Review Star Threshold to 1

Harvard has actually done a study and found that having to overly positive reviews also hurt your business. This hurts in returns or clients being unhappy. It truly is better to under promise and over deliver. I’m sure a motto that you know well.

When Positive Product Reviews Backfire for Retailers

I went ahead and created a FREE 7 day course on everything you need to know about getting reviews. Essentially you put in your email and each day for 7 days you’ll get 1 email all about reviews.

  • The secret to getting reviews
  • Where to get reviews
  • How to know when you get a review
  • And more…

These are the secrets that I personally use and my clients have used to get more reviews. As an added bonus, I’ve made the emails easy to read.

I recommend you go check it out and get that going on your business.

FREE 7 Day Course – Secret To Getting Reviews

For those that are diehards, there’s also this great article about Facebook reviews and basically a deep dive there.

The Ultimate Guide on How to Get Facebook Reviews

Google Updates

Google recently did another update where if you have anything obscuring the view of your website on a mobile device (such as a pop-up),it is going to get penalized unless it is on exit.

Google’s Mobile Interstitials Penalty Starts Today!

Also see above for the 1 star reviews showing.

Competitor Tracking

This next one is a tool and it’s a doozy. Have you ever wanted to be updated when your competitor site changes at all?

Here’s a free tool, visualping.io, where you can automatically check two sites a day and get a notification if there are any image or wording changes on a page.

We monitor webpages… so you don’t have to!

Onpage – Pillar 1

There’s a really great​​ article on tracking leads and they cover everything from tracking customer calls to web from fill outs to to live chats.

How to Track Conversions (Leads) from Your Law Firm’s Website

My favorite free tool is Chatra.io and they do allow the tracking of events such as somebody interacting with you. I have found that if somebody can interact with you, they’re more likely to buy. It’s a very great tool to have and you can answer chats straight from your phone on the app.

I haven’t checked if Facebook’s free live chat can do that but that’s also great tool to look at.

Update: After this recording I decided to investigate live chat more. Turns out currently there is no way to track back to the source Facebook Live Chats. So I wrote this article comparing Facebook Live Chat WordPress plugins & Chatra.IO, “Should I Use Facebook Free Live Chat“.

For Beginners

For beginners this is a really great video from Matt Cutts who used to be with Google. He explains how the Google search engine works. It can be really insightful to understand all the different pieces that they’re looking at to make sure there’s a great experience online.

How Search Works by Matt Cuts with Google

Learn More

We scour the web for the best resources for your small business by topic. We call it a news pulse because we believe in the 7 pillars of online marketing that keeps your contractor business alive.

Should You Use Facebooks Free Live Chat?

The short answer to "Should you use Facebook's free live chat on your website?" is maybe. Facebook awesomely started allowing you to start conversations from your website and finish them in Facebook Messenger. 

The biggest advantage is if you miss their chat, the customer can see your reply next time they login. The biggest draw back is they can't chat right from the website.

That is why this is probably a great solution for busy service professionals.​ 

I went ahead and compared ​the Facebook chat to my favorite live chat service that has a free chat option as well: Chatra.IO. ​

Free Facebook Live Chat

2nd Best

Features

  • Unlimited users
  • Answer chats from app
  • ​Can't see reply on website
  • Can't track in analytics
  • You'll wish you could limit your hours
  • Must be a FB user to chat
  • No advanced features

Free

FREE PLAN Chatra.IO

Top Pick

Features

  • 1 User at a time
  • ​Customer sees replies on the website
  • Receive chats from anyone
  • ​Answer chats from app
  • Tracks in Google Analytics
  • Limited free chat hours
  • Advances features cost

Free

With a few more tweaks Facebook could be a contender to any live chat software. If you don't track your ​marketing, it really is a toss up.

I've made a 3 minute video on installing WordPress (the only free way). As an added bonus I cover the Google Analytics setup for live chat event/goal tracking.

UPDATE - Zota Box Plugins premium plugin ($30/m) does track chats in Google Analytics now.​

More Resources

​How does my Page get the "Very responsive to messages" badge?

WordPress Plugin, "Facebook Messenger Live Chat"​ By Zota Box Plugin - How to video. I chatted with the developer and they are hoping to have Google Analytics integration in the next 6 months.

WordPress Plugin, "Facebook Messenger for WordPress​"

No Plugin Needed: Embed just the chat feature full box. Use this method "C: Facebook Messenger Box​"

Paid WordPress Plugin: "Facebook Messenger for WordPress" by Ninja Team - works with WooCommerce

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