If you do any kind of business on the Internet, you know how important a unique domain name is. And if you've ever wanted a more unique domain name suffix than the typical .com or .net or .info or .biz, you're in luck! The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is releasing the biggest change to the Internet address scheme since the late 1990s. Over a thousand new suffixes are being considered to give customers significantly more choice when it comes to selecting their top-level domain (TLD).
Companies have been giving feedback on domains and many want to become registry operators for their own TLDs. Last year, almost 2,000 businesses and organizations gave input to ICANN with requests to control nearly 1,400 new domain names. The goal of this TLD release is to broaden the Internet addresses to reflect more intuitive domain names instead of just using .com for a company.
The first new domains to be released in 2013 will be the foreign language domains. ICANN received several foreign language requests to create domains in their native language instead of English. Companies in those countries felt that having the native language spelling enhances their Internet presence.
Following that, domains that have limited interest except by corporations and organizations will be released. These domains are most useful to individual entities and not the public at large. Company-specific domains such as .ibm and .toyota will likely be controlled by that corporation and highly restricted. Also in this category are geographic and location-based domains such as .newyork and .grandcanyon. Other more general domains such as .food and .car and .vacation will be highly sought out by companies in those industries. Domains such as .app and .tech also are perceived to have a high value, and so many companies are seeking to become the registry of them.
To learn more about this new process, visit http://www.icann.org.
Happy New Year! The holidays are over, the weather is more conducive to being indoors than out, and everyone is eager to get back to business. Although you might have done a little brainstorming last year for making 2013 your best year ever, now is the critical planning period for most business owners. If one of the items on your To-Do List this year includes getting more back links to your site (each of which is interpreted as a vote of confidence by search engines), you might be wondering what works best. As much as link building was shaken up last year, many things have remained the same, and they're the same ideas and tactics that also worked years ago, and will probably continue to work years from now.
We all know that great content will naturally attract links, and depending upon the strength and visibility of your website, very little promotional effort may be necessary. But with all the warnings about unnatural links, crackdowns on link networks, and Google Penguin targeting link spam, it's hard to know for sure what still works the best. Now is the time to get back to basics. A few things to consider include:• Great content on a great site will attract attention, whether it's from actual links, social shares, people talking about it on outside sites or forums, etc.
• Great content on a not-so-great site that no one sees will need your help in order to generate buzz. So when you have something really great to write about, perhaps publishing it as a guest writer (with a link back to your website) on someone else's relevant site (that has a better page rank than yours) is the best solution. More people will see it. More people will share it. And hopefully will be so impressed that they will click the link back to your site.
• If your only online marketing strategy is link building (or any other single tactic), you're setting yourself up to fail. For example, if all you do is guest post, what happens when guest posts become the latest Google victim? Google's rules change constantly. Google's changes also come with collateral damage and you can't plan for when you're accidentally victimized by their latest change. Don't put all your eggs in one basket — also spend time optimizing your site with keywords, videos, and photos, and build a community through Facebook or a forum.
• If you're buying links, make sure you still get plenty of relevant traffic from other places if Google penalizes or deindexes your site. Link buying is against Google's policies, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. Each business owner has to decide what is right for them and weigh the risks and rewards.
It can be quite a challenge to try to do things the "right way," especially since the right way keeps getting adjusted, but if you get back to basics, your chance of being negatively affected by the next change is minimized.
Need help with backlinking or other online marketing strategies? Email us or call 503-583-4520.
Whether you've just decided that it's time to finally get your very first website, or time to redesign your current site, you may not know exactly what will best meet the needs of your business. That's OK. Any reputable, experienced website designer and/or internet marketing consultant can help you determine your goals and objectives and how to translate that into an effective website.
But keep in mind that at the end of the day, the website is YOURS. Professionals can do the hands-on work, guide you and provide advice, but no one knows your business or is as responsible for your success as YOU are. Answer the following questions either in your mind or on paper to help get yourself very clear on what you want to accomplish. Then, and only then, will you be ready to hire a professional to handle your website design and formulate an online marketing strategy.
1. What is the purpose of the new or redesigned website you want? Is it informational only or do you want to sell online?
2. Do you have a logo and/or slogan or tagline? If so, do you like your current logo or does it need to be updated?
3. Who are your potential customers?
4. What is it about your business, you, and your background that sets you apart from the competition? Why do you believe site visitors should do business with you rather than with a competitor?
5. Have you visited your competitor's websites? What do or don't you like about them?
6. Where is your website content (photos, graphics, text, etc.) coming from? 7. What should the navigation look like? How many pages do you need and why? 8. Additional questions found here.Now jump ahead 30 days. Assume your site has been launched. Now what? If you just let it sit out there in cyperspace, well, it's kind of like having a neon sign that you never turn on. Or buying a new car that you never fill with gas. You (or someone you hire) may not need to touch your site every day (especially if it's NOT e-commerce), but you will need an online marketing strategy to get your site found and keep visitors coming back. Need help? Contact Gold Rush Web Marketing by email today, or call 503-583-4520 for a FREE consultation.
Many businesses offer essentially the same products or services. For example, both banks and credit unions provide checking accounts and loans. Discount stores offer everyday goods at low prices. All grocery stores sell eggs and milk. Whatever your category or industry, someone else provides basically what you do. So how do you stand out from the crowd so you're not another "me too" business? The answer is to be distinctive and then shout that difference from the rooftop!It's easy to talk about the “stuff” you offer, but what makes your "stuff" distinctive? Identify what your business does a bit better, cheaper, or quicker than your competition. Not sure? If an answer doesn't automatically come to mind, maybe ask your customers. They buy from you for a reason, so what is it? Perhaps it's something small that you don't even realize you do, but it obviously makes a big difference to them because they buy from you. Maybe you answer the phone on the second ring every time. Or your website has very clear and easy navigation. Perhaps your social media efforts are outstanding because you run a lot of specials or coupons on Facebook that customers love. Once you understand what makes your product or service unique (or the process of how you provide them), build on it to differentiate your organization and make it known in all your marketing efforts— from your website and Facebook page, to your printed brochures and videos. When your target audiences quickly understands how you will solve their problem better than someone else, they’ll choose you over the competition.
Part of identifying what makes your business distinctive is to identify who you are distinctive to. In other words, who is your target audience? Perhaps an industry, or an age group, or a specific hobby? By focusing on a particular niche, you can tailor your marketing efforts and messages with a higher impact for a lower cost. Emphasize the expertise, benefits or unique products you offer just to the audience that wants what you have.
Are you ready to rise above the competition and be distinctive? Not sure what to do next? If you need help identifying and advertising what makes you distinctive and to whom, contact us today— we can help with your offline and online marketing.
When was the last time your website really engaged your customers and was fun at the same time? If you've been looking for something special to catch the attention of your target market— something interactive for your next online marketing push that will be remembered— a contest driven marketing campaign just might be the answer! After all, who doesn't love to win something?
The great thing about a contest is that you do not have to spend a great deal of time or money to garner attention, boost product awareness, and generate sales. If your contest is fun and interesting to your users, it also will likely spill over onto Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks as people tell others how much fun it is, or what a great prize you are offering— all more bang for your internet marketing buck! By taking advantage of the seasons and holidays, you can run effective and fun contests all year round. If you plan a contest around lesser-known National Flip-Flop Day or National Frog Month, all the better! Be sure to plainly spell out all the contest rules (keep them short and simple) and define the contest time period to ensure fairness for all participants.
Types of contests
The contest that will work best for you depends on who your customers are, what they enjoy, and what's appropriate for your business. For example, if you sell baby clothes, chances are that a contest having to do with children will be far more engaging to your target market than a contest involving pets. The winner's prize could be a product you sell or a BIG discount on a purchase (50% off or more). Contests are less apt to be viewed as a gimmick by your customers if you do NOT require a purchase to enter the contest. A few ideas to consider include:
- Photo contests — post a photo and ask everyone to identify where it is or what it is; one winner can be drawn randomly from all correct answers
- Name-generating contests — have a new product or company mascot that needs a name?
- Trivia — ask a trivia question that has something to do with your topic or industry; one winner can be drawn randomly from all correct answers
- Hide and Seek contests — temporarily place a special icon on one page of your site (a page that you especially want customers to visit) and give everyone a clue as to where it is hidden; one winner can be drawn randomly from all correct answers.
To monitor contest effectiveness, track the number of participants, the page views generated, and the return on your investment via click-throughs, revenue earned, and other factors that are important to you. The right contest will act as an attention-getter for your website (or Facebook page, or both), and demonstrate real worth, whether through page views or income. Tracking results can help you decide how to manage your marketing efforts more wisely in the future, too. Have fun!
Did you know that more than 80% of people first search online before making a purchase, versus using yellow pages or the newspaper? It's true — an informative, well-designed, search engine optimized website can be one of the most cost-effective marketing tools your business can utilize. Do you know for sure if your website is HELPING or HARMING your business?
Many websites that are two, five or even 10 years old are not HELPING your business. If your current website is not delivering new leads, making sales, or otherwise getting visitors to do what you want them to do (call, visit your store, sign up for offers — something that HELPS your bottom line) then it's probably time for a website makeover. Ask yourself: Is your current site just pictures and text with no real message? Is your current site hard to read (small, white type on black) or confusing to follow? Is there a call to action? When was the last time you added fresh content?
When a visitor lands on your website:
Many websites fall short in these areas. And if someone who’s looking for what you offer finds your site, but it falls short, they’ll leave. You’ve lost a potential customer. And you may have HARMED your business because they left with a bad impression of your business, and won't return.
- Is it clear who you are and what you offer?
- Does your website look credible?
- Can the visitor find what they want in a few clicks?
- Can they find a way to contact you easily? (phone, email, request form)
Anyone and everyone in business these days has a website. It’s as important as a phone number (even more important to some types of businesses). Yet not all websites HELP build a business. Is your website giving you a good return? If not, contact us today to discuss ways to improve your current site.
Even if your product or service is extraordinary, you have to let people know about it. You have to use internet marketing to your advantage— with a website
, through videos
, blogging, social media
, business directory listings, backlinking
, and more. YOU know your business offers the highest quality/is the least expensive/the most unique/the best value, and so on, but it's a big mistake believing that doing a good job or providing an outstanding product or service is enough to grow your business. It's not enough if not enough people know!
Although you may have a loyal customer base, you also want to grow and reach new audiences. You do this by communicating what makes your organization unique and valuable from your audience’s perspective, not your own. What resonates with those who already buy or are likely to buy your product or service? What generates the “wow” response—“wow, I didn’t know you did that, could do that for me?”
And … you can’t just hope people will find out. You must articulate the value you have to offer. You have to tell them, in a clear, simple and direct manner. In other words, don't make your business "the best kept secret” in your town or industry! Gold Rush Web Marketing can help you to get started with internet marketing
, keep up the momentum you've already begun, and brainstorm new ideas. Call 503-583-4520 or click to email us today!