Okay, do you want to know a few things that are frequently overlooked when creating a campaign? Here are a few that may help your business gain a little leverage.
- The domain is extremely important in many ways. Most people will make a cursory decision with their domain name and this is a HUGE mistake. Here are some tips:
- Use a .com or .org domain name. .biz, .net, and .us feels like a seedy part of town. .Com carries a certain innate clout to it and it costs no more than the variations. You may still want to acquire all the variations to keep your brand name reigned in, but don’t use it as your primary domain.
- As of 2014, a whole slew of other options are becoming available. At the time I am writing this, the best rule is stick with .com.
- Maybe make your domain your primary keyword? If you are an electrician in Charlotte, NC, maybe charlotteelectrician.com is available. This is an immediate way to tell search engines what your site is about.
- If possible keep your domain under 12 total characters (not counting the .com). Shorter domains are easier to remember. Sometimes a shorter domain and your primary keyword in your domain can’t both be achieved, so a compromize may be in order.
- Don’t use an odd spelling for your domain name. People will often go to the proper spelling of a word and you will find yourself spelling out an odd spelled domain name. Big branding campaigns can pull this off, but you probably don’t have that luxury. There is an old rule in graphics known as KISS, or Keep It Simple Stupid. There’s a lot of wisdom in that statement.
- Privatize your domain name, register it for its maximum time frame and keep it locked. Your domain registration company can help you with this. Search engines look at everything. A domain registered for a long period of time shows you have a little faith in your business. Private registering prevents your information from going public. I can’t tell you how many times a client called with a scam offer sent to them because their information was publicly available.
- Your ideal hosting should have a clean IP address (basically the numerical location of your website). Your developer should be able to help. Just like good and bad neighborhoods in a city, IPs sometimes have a bad reputation.
- Avoid cheap hosting. Big cheap hosting companies have horrible track records with uptime and in 2012-2013 many of these popular, once reliable hosting companies were gobbled up by a larger company and moved to Utah. We had a test account with one of them in 2013 and their hosting was down for over 8 hours, along with their phones, and chat services.
Plus, their “99.9% uptime guarantee” is 100% deceptive. They guarantee 99% uptime that is based monthly and not annually. So if they have your site down for 28 days in one month, they are only liable for one month, even though their annual uptime is well below 99%. They will lose a few bucks, you could lose your entire business.
Don’t get me wrong. No hosting service is perfect, but cheap hosting is asking for it.
- Use WordPress or Joomla. This book focuses on WordPress and honestly, its the easiest solution for web development and ease of use. The technical side of me loves Joomla, but its a bit much for most businesses with a limited budget and technical understanding. Even big corporation use these systems and they are 100% free.
- Avoid Custom Programming – There isn’t a need for custom programming in most cases today for small businesses. WordPress and Joomla have a multitude of plug-ins, components, and modules that are fully supported. Request in all your quotes that custom programming be avoided and the plug-ins used are made known to you.
- Don’t outsource or use website builders – See the chapter dedicated to this issue.
- Your site has about 6 seconds to make an impact on a typical web visitor. Make sure to use your most powerful message and imagery on your homepage.
- SEO – Test the waters with Paid Ads. SEO takes time 3+ months ,but paid ads are almost instant. Of course SEO outperforms paid ads in virtually every metric, but paid ads are a valuable resource, and not just for advertising. Consider creating a paid ad campaign and run keywords for your business once your site is live. Find out what keywords perform the best for your target geography. You may be surprised by the results! You should also try different landing pages to test your call-to-action.