Starting a new business or taking your brick-and-mortar business online? The domain name you choose can play a big part in your website's success. Your domain name is where your online presence begins, so keep these tips in mind when deciding to purchase a domain name:
Keep it Short. The simplest way for a visitor to reach your site is by typing your domain directly into their browser. Make this easier for them by choosing a domain name that is short and to the point — easy to remember and easy to spell. Try not to go over 20 characters.
Be Simple and Obvious. Your domain name essentially represents your business. Are you an artist creating a portfolio site? If your goal is to brand yourself as the best in your field, then use your first and last names followed by dot com (timstevens.com or timstevensphotography.com). Creating a site for your business? Use the name of your business and/or what you offer such as wendysweddingplanning.com.
Avoid Numerals, Underscores and Hyphens. Sometimes it's not possible to get the name you want because it's already taken. In this case, it is far better to choose a different name altogether than to add a hyphen or numeral to an existing (taken) domain. Customers will likely forget the hyphen or number and end up finding your competition's website instead. So, for example, if timstevensphotography.com is taken, try a variation such as stevensphotography.com or timsphotography.com.
Register Your Domain for Multiple Years. Search engines like Google actually look at the domain’s length of registration to help judge the legitimacy of your site. A longer term registration looks more legitimate and makes them more likely to rank you highly. It won’t necessarily mean a huge boost in rank, but every little bit helps. When you register a domain name it becomes your property for the length of the registration (1, 2, 5 or 10 years). Once that registration period is over you can renew the domain or let it expire. Yes, you will have to spend more upfront, but then renewals are one less thing to worry about in the near term since you will have secured the domain name for multiple years.
Although there are multiple sites where you can register and buy domain names online, we recommend GoDaddy. Their tools are easy to use and their customer service is outstanding.
It is sometimes difficult to be objective when it comes to your own "baby" whether that "baby" is a canvas you've painted, a home improvement project, or your own website. It's even more difficult when poor quality is not something you can judge by physically seeing it, as in the case of a site's technical components located "behind the scenes."
For the purposes of this blog post, we're not talking about whether your website looks pretty, or if you have enough good content and backlinks. While those items are very important, your website might not be doing as well as it could be due to unattended technical components you might not have considered. Below is a list of technical poor quality indicators to watch out for that can result in "penalties" by Google:
Comment Spam on Your Blog. If you've had a blog for any length of time, you have probably experienced a comment left by someone who writes a few words that have nothing to do with your site and who includes an annoying link to their site. They are basically hoping to get a free backlink. Don't let them. Regularly police your blog for such spammy comments and delete them immediately. You don't want Google spidering your site and finding backlinks to unrelated or even illegal sites. That just makes YOUR site look bad to both users and Google.
Too Many Ads Above the Fold. The key here is to have content “above-the-fold.” This old newspaper term refers to the top half of any web page a visitor sees without needing to scroll down (in the olden days it meant the top half of a folded newspaper). Since Google's goal is all about ensuring a quality user experience, even if your site looks nice, if it has lots of ads high up on the page Google considers it to be a less effective user experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see valuable information right away, so give it to them. Evaluate how much benefit you're really getting from those ads on your site. With banner blindness at an all-time high, and users resenting the intrusion of ads inside their content space, would that space you are using for ads be best used for providing information to your site visitors? If you're going to use ads, use a post-it-note as your guide. Hold one up to your screen. If you're using more space on the top of your page than one, you're probably using too much.
Internal Page Linking. While it is good to link various web pages to each other, don't overdo internal links. A rule of thumb is no more than 100 internal links on a page (and really the fewer the better). Focus the internal links to tell a proper story, take your user down a simple path. Links should lead your user through your site, not send them down an endless set of endless unrelated tunnels.
Duplicate Page Title and Meta Content. While you probably know that duplicate site content is not a good thing, also keep in mind that duplicate title tags and meta descriptions are also considered duplicate content. When this happens on multiple pages, this can become a site quality issue in the eyes of Google. Even if you have several pages that are very similar, be sure each page title and its related meta data are not identical.Got questions about poor quality indicators or any other internet marketing topic? We're happy to have a conversation with you! Call us today at 503-583-4520 or email us here.
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.
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.