Category Archives: Tips for Better Blogging

Google Places

Google Places Intro ScreenGoogle Places for Business

Google Places for business is FREE, at least the basic information entry is free.  You can give them money for additional services associated with Google Places  but the basic listing is free and it is a must for any small business.

Google Organic Rankings

You want your business to come up in a Google search.  That’s obvious.  everyone does.  But it takes time, content, consistency to get there.  A great tool to be you listed quickly is Google Places.  You can fill in up to 5 categories under which you want your business to be listed.  (those are keywords and the searches you want to appear on, choose wisely)

If you really want to get a good handle on this head over here to the documentation on setting up your listing in Google Places.

Verification of your Listing

One step you don’t want to ignore is verification of your listing.  Verifying your listing mean Google will send a post card to your place of business with a verification code.  Enter it when it comes to verify you own the business for Google Places Listing.  (After all you wouldn’t want a competitor being able to “claim” your place of business)  It can be easy to forget about this verification postcard, it is even easier to throw it away thinking it is junk mail when it arrives.  Once you verify your listing you will begin to appear in the organic searches.  Google has recently been adding the map search results to the organic searches and a little map with the red pinpoints for those businesses listed.

Below is an example showing a search for Tucson Painters.

Google Places Example

Click to view larger image

Once setup you will get email notifications from Google Places on the number of impressions and clicks for your listing. (You can check this anytime by logging into your Google Places dashboard. (Yes you get a dashboard to manage your Google Places content)

Your Google Places listing provides you with a very good one way back-link (for those looking for SEO back-links)

You can further enhance your listing with Photos, Video and much more.

You want this kind of exposure.

How Many Domain Names Do I Need ?

I wish a lot of clients would ask this question first. Too often they go out and buy half a dozen domain names (or more).  Many bought into the GoDaddy “UPSELLING” that goes on and bought the .com .net .org .CanISellYouAnotherDot

Then they contact us and most of the time we find a much better keyword rich domain name that is available.

How Many Domain Names Do You Need?

It depends on why you are buying them.  Sometimes I buy a domain name because I don’t want anybody else to have it.  Sometimes I decided to expand a mini vertical market and I’ll pick up a domain name for it.  (Ex.  New luxury Subdivision, New Mall, etc.)  But you don’t need to go out and buy 40 or 50 domain names.

The old ways of sitting at your computer and blindly typing in domain names has long passed.  With search engines we now search for keywords and almost never on a domain name itself.

When you are ready to put your business online, get help early.  Having a good to great keyword rich domain name is a big plus.  Knowing what domain name to pick is more science than you might think.  And no you don’t need it to be YOUR NAME.COM

Talking Avatars The Latest Rage

I met with a small business owner a couple weeks ago to layout a new site for his business.

His current site is all “Flash” which means it looks pretty, but Google can’t crawl the site so he ends up with one page in the Google index.

That’s not good.  We are in the process of creating a new site for him.  He will be up and running soon and hopefully pulling in enough organic search traffic he won’t need to be running print ads or offering coupons for much longer.

Talking Avatars

He mentioned that he had been to a business seminar recently where they were telling everyone the current fad is to have a walking on screen talking avatar.  He wasn’t sure and wanted my take on the whole idea.

I smiled and said,   “Were the guys presenting this selling those avatars?  Were either of them in high pressure sales, ex. auto sales?”  The answer to both questions was “Yes”.  He was kind of amazed.  “Yeah, one guy is selling them and the other guy is doing kind of ‘in your face’ sale.  How did you know?”

talking avatar

Wonder what she is selling?

Talking Avatars will do your business a lot more harm than good. You don’t want them on your site.  When a potential client opens your website they don’t want to be greeted by a walking talking avatar.  They are there to seek out information, not to BE SOLD!

They don’t like being startled by the sudden sound of a voice coming out of their speakers.  Don’t turn off your potential customers and clients with pushy in your face sales tactics on your business site.

Provide a clean easy to navigate website where the visitor can find the information they seek.  Make sure you have “Buttons” or Navigation clearly marked on how they can “Contact Me“, “Get a Quote” or “Ask a Question“.  When they are ready they will contact you.  But don’t assault them with a talking avatar.  There is no reason to spend money on something that will drive potential clients away.

Talking Avatars might be the latest “Rage” but there is no reason to put your site visitors into one.  (I silenced this talking ad for a talking avatar)

Domain Names are Rented Not Purchased

Did you know you can’t actually ” buy” a domain name?  It is true.  You can rent one and keep renting it, but you never “own” it.  Stop paying the rent and someone else can have it.

How Long a Lease

The longer the lease the better.  We suggest if you are buying a good keyword rich domain name you pay for 5 years registration minimum;  ten years is even better.  The longer the rent the more credit the search engines give you for the name.

What does that mean?  It means if you have an expiration date going out 10 years you don’t plan on getting rid of that domain anytime soon.

Why does this matter?  Because spammers are famous for purchasing 1 yr registration, spamming the net and moving on.  Yep, spammers have ruined a lot of things for internet users and this is one of them.  Purchase for one year and you don’t get as much credit in the placement calculation as a domain with a 10 year expiration.

When you find a good domain name, don’t register it every year.  Purchase a 5 or 10 year registration up front.  It will be a good investment.  This is one place you don’t want to cut corners to save money.

Theme Changes coming in WordPress 3.0

WordPress 3.0 is going to see some major changes to design and functionality.  Along with this move will be the need/desire to stop supporting some legacy features of older versions of WordPress.

This is nothing new.  Just recently support for UTF (Ultimate Tag Warrior) Tag import was dropped. Most have long ago imported their UTF tags into the core of their site.  Removing this support was of little consequence.

But a bigger changes in coming for sites using older themes based on the default theme.

WordPress Updates Default Theme for Twenty Ten

The new default theme for WordPress in version 3.0 is called “Twenty Ten”  It is slick.  I’ve played with it and I love the code and styling of the new default theme.

But the arrival of this new theme means support for some functionality based on the old default theme is going away.  It means you could find your site not working like “right” after you upgrade to 3.0 if you are using one of these older coded themes.

Here is a link to a post going into detail about the changed being made and what will need to be done to make older themes based on the default theme function under the changes.

Themes and WordPress 3.0 some important changes