Ever since Al Gore "invented" the internet, people have been figuring out ways to make money from it. That's part of capitalism and there is nothing wrong with looking for ways to meet the demands of consumers. The internet has provided many ways to generate revenue that we couldn't have imagined before 1994. One of the ways is called "cybersquatting." This is the word that has been coined to describe someone that has acquired a web domain with the hopes that someone will want that domain in the future. It's a fairly inexpensive gamble and can be highly profitable. As the internet has grown the availability of domain names has changed dramatically. There are several important considerations when choosing a domain for your business or organization:
1. Is it memorable? Use the KISS (keep it simple silly) method for best results.
2. Don't get too cute. Using a creative spelling of your name can often work against you as generic searches typically don't include words spelled outside of the norm.
3. Does the name reflect what you do or the product you sell? Unless you have an unlimited budget for marketing to drive traffic to your site, it is usually best to use a domain name that helps Google find you by including one or two keywords that either explain what you sell, or where you sell it.
4. What if the domain I want is already owned by a cybersquatter? Like anything else, everything is negotiable. Your web designer may be able to negotiate a price or suggest alternative domain names that will satisfy your requirements. If you have your heart set on a domain that is already owned, you may have to pony up or keep an eye on the domain to see if the owner loses interest in it.
5. Think about variations of your domain name that you might want to acquire that will forward to your website. Many businesses have multiple domains. Tracking which domains are being used to find you can be useful in determining your overall marketing strategy. Who knows, someone might want to purchase one of your domains in the future!
A business owner asks, "Can I get more traffic to my website without getting a new website?"
Are you currently receiving enough new clients through your website to keep you busy?
If yes, then you probably don't need a new website to continue your normal operations. However, your website may be missing out on key tools and resources that will improve the experience for customers, and decrease the amount of time you need to spend with customers.
If you are not currently receiving enough new clients, then it doesn't matter how much traffic we send to your site, we don't know that your website will work when customers get there.
The process of converting people to customers online is this:
1. Get people to your website.
2. Provide a call to action (call, sign up, register, enroll, schedule, book, buy now).
3. Follow up with those who take action (close the deal, provide the service, send the product).
If you have a website already, but you're not getting customers from it, then you need a new website.
-The current website was not built for SEO
-The current website was not built with a solid offer and call to action
We are great at building websites that climb the ranks of Google.
We are also great at building out a reasonable call to action that will get your traffic excited about being your customer.
We built one site that received more appointment requests in the first 48 hours of its launch, than it had received in the previous 5 years combined.
We don't like wasting time on things that aren't going to work.
Providing SEO services as an afterthought, without ensuring that your website will bring in customers is a disservice to you.
We want to build a longterm relationship with your business. We do that by providing services that work!
Call 775-544-6612 to wake up your website and wake up your business!
Several of our restaurant clients have had terrible experiences with various food delivery services. Here's an inside look at the reason some of your favorite restaurants are not participating in UBEReats, GrubHub, Postmates, etc., as well as some solutions YOU can use as a consumer.
Dear Delivery Service,
There is a lot more involved in proper delivery of our menu items.
1) The fleet needs to be prepared to immediately exit the premises and drive directly to the diner's location. We have experienced drivers from various services getting comfortable at the bar, and delaying their deliveries.
2) Based on the Yelp reviews we have received from diners who received their meals from delivery services like Postmates, other events are happening between our restaurant and the food's destination. I'm not sure what events this could entail, but it is not conducive to our customers' expectations.
3) The other problem is tipping. Our hard-working staff has no incentive to service delivered meals, and in fact, is often penalized for it. The IRS withholds based on the total sales, not on the total tips. So, a delivered sale will be taxed as if the server is receiving a full tip, but in reality, the tips are often small--as consumers don't understand the extra work involved in packing a to-go meal, and it's being split with the driver.
How Postmates can help:
Our hope is that Postmates will take this feedback seriously and enact immediate changes.
If your system changes, please let us know! We would be happy to reconsider participating in your platform.
There is no doubt that how we do business has changed dramatically since the world wide web presented itself. We have seen the demise of brick and mortar businesses all across our country. The last Blockbuster Movie store just closed as a good example. Changes in how we buy goods and services have impacted the traditional process. How we find companies to do business with has changed as well. Phone books and Yellow Pages have been replaced with web domains. Almost every business has some level of web presence these days if they want to stay viable.
When the time comes to sell a business, owners should consider part of the value of their company is their web presence. It is just as much an asset as inventory and real estate. That being the case, business owners that are thinking of selling should invest some effort in making sure their website is current and valuable and can be demonstrated as a generator of revenue. Some web designers do much more than host a site. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts are a good example of additional services that drive traffic and attract sales. Social media posts and ads directed to a target market can be shown to prospective buyers that your business is viable and current with today's marketing strategies. A discussion with the web hosting company should be part of the selling process to determine what is owned and if there are any contractual arrangements that would prevent a new owner from assuming the website terms and conditions.
Your website can be modified to include a "hidden" page that can be shown to prospective buyers that give information not visible to the public that could include sales helps such as a history of revenues, profitability, cost of goods, recent evaluations of inventory, real estate holdings, etc. Tapping into the full potential of a website includes working with your web team to promote the value not only of your products and services, but your business as well.
If Facebook ads and Print ads were in a competition, Facebook ads would win almost every time.
**The following is a conversation I had with a tourism based community about bringing more traffic to their town.**
We can target people on Facebook who are fans of "Explore Minnesota Tourism."
Just in the last week we have reached 3271 people in the United States who have expressed interest in "Explore Minnesota Tourism."
From August 27-September 6 we reached over 5000 people.
We have received engagement (a Like, Comment, Share, or Click-through to the website) from over 900 of those people.
The hard Facebook ad cost of reaching this captive audience was just: $49.86.
We have the potential to reach 180,000 people on Facebook who are interested in visiting Minnesota.
The circulation of the Explore MN magazine is only 32,750 households.
Our daily reach is estimated at 300-1700 people, based on effectiveness of the ad and the ad budget.
As you can see in the graph, interest is now waning in this ad that has attracted over 5000 people:
It takes more than just the Facebook ad budget to make an ad successful.
Each ad requires: copy, a graphic and photo, and a Call to Action.
Each ad also needs to be carefully watched each day.
Fans need to be engaged with. Questions need to be answered, etc.
Fans also need to be invited to become permanent fans of the page.
This takes time and resources.
Not every ad is successful.
But it only takes a few dollars or a few hours to see if an ad is working or not.
The most exciting thing about Facebook ads, is that putting money into it is like putting money into an investment portfolio. Every time we run an ad campaign, we see a gradual increase in Page Likes or Fans. Once we have a Fan, we can more easily reach him/her with organic posts and paid posts.
We started the summer off with 10,500 Fans, and increased that number by 100 each month--June, July and August--we're winning people over for years to come!
The Facebook Page's Fan base is roughly 1/3 of the Explore MN Magazine Ad circulation.
If we could use the magazine budget of $925 for their smallest ad (1/6 page), we could potentially reach as many as 9000 people A DAY.
With their largest ad budget of $3300, we could potentially reach 32,000 people A DAY.
[These are estimates from Facebook]
Going into Fall and Winter, this is the time to build our Fan Base, so we can remind them monthly to start planning their Summer Vacation in Rainy Lake!!
Let me know if you want to reroute your Print Ad Budget to more Facebook Ad Campaigns!
By now you've all heard about the incident at HUG High School. There was a student with a knife. Campus police disarmed the student by shooting him in the shoulder.
Lawsuits and drama ensue.
But wait! The date on this post is December 5, and the actual event happened on December 7.
And Linda from Facebook claims the event was planned for the 6th, and the media prepared for a big conspiratorial showdown.
Web designers modify dates on the web all the time. We backdate social media posts, blog posts, and any assignments that were supposed to be completed by a certain deadline. We can even modify the dates of an email (it's tricky and not sustainable, but yes, it can be done). Web developers have the power to time travel.
Here, I just traveled to the future:
Or did I?
The media has certainly given us enough evidence to think that everything they pump out is a massive lie, but in this case, we're just seeing journalists take advantage of Google's indexing rules.
Most likely the news websites prepare the framework for "Today's Hottest" article in advance (just like they do with the paper version). They don't know what's going into that slot when they prepare the framework, they just know that the hottest story is going there.
The date can be manipulated so that Google recognizes that story as "the story that broke first" and other journalists will refer to that story as the "seed" article and draw from it.
That's just media strategy. Not conspiracy.
When in doubt, ask your neighborhood web designer! She'll be the first to join you in the bunker if something is truly amiss.
There are a billion ways to monetize your blogging brilliance. You may not be able to support yourself or family when you first get started (true in any business), but with perseverance and a little strategy, you can at least supplement your income and see what's possible.
Google Ad revenue.
You can add Google ads to your website. It takes a little patience to set up, but can give you an immediate return on your blogging bliss. Google: Google Adsense to set up an account and get started.
Google Ad Strategies:
-your audience needs to be the kind of people who click on ads. I built a website once for gamers. The website was a calculator that helped gamers gauge their risk in making different moves in the game. It was awesome. And useful. And gamers would pull up that site and keep it open all day. But they never once clicked on an ad.
Meanwhile, I put ads on a site for Republicans, and oh boy--they went nuts clicking for the whole 17 hours the ads were up. The (elderly) Republican leaders were trying to figure out how ads for Democrats ended up on their site! So they clicked and clicked and clicked to try to get to the bottom of things!! Whoops! Made about $25 before they realized I had the power to remove "the liberal blasphemy" from their site.
My most successful Google ad experience brought in about $100/month for several years (with almost no attention given to the website after the initial setup). The website was for a niche product, and customers were being driven to the website from other websites and marketing methods. People clicked on ads because they were in the market for a product, and the ads were generally related to their product search.
Ever wonder why someone is drinking a Diet Coke in a TV show? Product Placement! Coca Cola will make more money by influencing people to drink their product, than by telling them directly. Use Product Placement with Trade to get started. Want to get your hair cut, but can't afford the best salon? Ask the salon if you can do a trade--a blog post featuring your hair experience with links to their salon site, in exchange for a hair cut! Tip in cash, please!
Once you have a big enough following, you can ask for real money for these sorts of blog posts!
Offer blogs for SEO purposes to local businesses or businesses that hit your niche market (for a fee). Do a story about how awesome a company, service or website is--and include some helpful links to their website in the copy. It's really important that you link properly, or else your blog will come off as spammy, or it won't be effective for your ad client.
-When you're talking about a web design company, link the important words about their SEO services like this.
-Do not link like this: wakinggirl.com
-And don't bother to link like this: Waking Girl is cool.
Link the words that people would use to find the business in a Google search. That will indicate to Google that "Waking Girl" is a "web design company" and offers "SEO services."
Ask for a one-time fee or a monthly fee, or a set up fee + monthly fee (businesses will benefit as long as the blog post is up and traffic is coming to your website).
Run your own graphic ads on the sidebars, footers or headers of your website. Ask businesses or organizations to supply graphics that fit the space, and then charge a monthly, quarterly or annual fee for sharing your web space! Websites generally charge too much for graphic ads. Words are actually worth more than pictures in a blog. The only time an ad would be more worthwhile is if your EXACT readers should be the EXACT customers for the ads. So--if all of your single, mom friends in Mobile, Alabama are reading your blog, then a graphic ad for a Singles Speed Dating event for Moms in Mobile, Alabama would make sense. For ads, go for sponsorship. Who just wants to support you and identify with you to help you out and be a friend? Is there a Women's Crisis Center or a Church or a MicroLoan organization that speaks to you? See if they want to smack their logo on your website for a small monthly fee. If you really want to benefit the organization, take the time to write a proper blog post about them, too!
What to charge.
Google ads: Google will decide!
Product Placement: use this to trade whatever you can trade! Hair care, kid's activities, restaurants. Look for companies that have some extra time or product on their hands, and want to help you get started!
SEO: If you write up a full, engaging story on a business, that's worth at least $50. If you use some SEO, and target relevant businesses for your audience, that's worth as much as you can sell it for ($75, $100, $250). I prefer low set up fees with ongoing monthly fees ($50 + $5/month, and yes, you may pay for a year at a time).
Ads: $5/month to $500/month. Seriously--the sky is the limit. Try to give people both an ad AND an SEO blog post AND a product placement experience!
Important next steps:
Quantity! Go! Keep writing! The deeper you allow people into your life, the more valuable your blog will become.
Plug into your audience.
Seek out Facebook Groups that feature your target market. Who is your target market? People just like you! Find your people!
Check in with your sponsors.
Follow up regularly with anyone contributing to the cause; communication will help you find new ways to help, and that will ultimately boost your bottom line! :)
Blogs: the gateway drug to your new business.
The Internet is the great all-knowing; it puts libraries to shame in its speed, efficiency, full-color graphics, and ability to fit in your pocket. But how did it become so smart and so cool? Because people like you, me and that guy with the long beard who hasn't come out of his home office in two weeks are the ones sharing all the information. Everyone has an opinion that counts on the web!
Google favors websites that help people by sharing good information, tools and resources--for free. Google indexes information by reading text (for now). It confirms the information by peeking in to see who is reading the information, how long they're reading it, and if they clicked off in frustration or delved deeper into the data.
Google looks for the sales person (website) who really helps people vs. the sales person (website) who just wants to make a commission. Waking Girl websites focus on helping people! We believe that finding ways to help more and more people with less and less effort is the key to success! Blogs should be written with this focus in mind.
How to help people by blogging, and in turn, improve a website's SEO (Search Engine Optimization):
Writing is one of the most challenging tasks for business owners. If you love to write, you're in demand! Writing every day will quickly improve your skills; start now!
Let me show you the power of blogging and your SEO:
The carpet cleaning industry is vast and competitive. It takes quite the budget and a lot of time to do well in a search. We'll take a look at a new client: BEST Services.
If we do a search for "carpet cleaning reno" BEST Services is nowhere to be found:
It's a new site, so this is not a surprise. If we do a search for something more specific that we have blogged about, we'll find this:
Here is the respective blog attached to that search.
You can search for almost any key phrase on the blog and it comes up on the first page of Google.
As the site performs better and better on these niche services, Google will recognize it as a more and more authoritative site and it will perform better and better for the really important searches.
That is the power of blogging!
See if you can find the power of blogging in another website. Or see if a website could use some blogging assistance!