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Google Reviews – An Old Time Tradition In A Brave New Digital World!

Google Reviews Are Already A Tremendous Influence on Consumer Decisions

So I went to this great coffee house a few weekends ago in Franklin. Set in a historic house It had a gorgeous cottage garden area that surrounded the house that seemed as suitable for a glass of wine as a cup of coffee. When I walked by I could feel it pulling me in. The inside of the house was old but nicely laid out with lots of different and colorful rooms as one would expect in a house built in the 1890’s.  The very nice and modern coffee bar was located near the center of the house and I ordered  my favorite – a Cappuccino Grande and then found an amazing place to write my weekly blog – next to the grand piano on a small single table. I turned on my favorite music thru my head set ear phones and as I sipped on my delicious cappuccino and began to blog I thought to myself “Could it get any better than this – I LOVE THIS PLACE”…

Enticing hey?

Well what I have just done is shared a great experience I had with you. If you were in my family or a friend or associate you might have heard me raving about this place for weeks on end. What a great place… you must check it out… the coffee was great… and you know most of the time if someone tells you about something they like you really do consider it in future decision making.  In actual fact word of mouth information sharing is the most trusted source of consumer information we know of!

So how do we share our experience digitally?

There are many ways to share a great experience digitally thru many popular social medias. You can tell your facebook friends or tweet your followers but the reality is this form of sharing is real time. A day from now know one will go back looking at your old facebook posts or tweets regardless of how wonderful your experience was. So if you want to really clarify a great experience digitally that is going to be read by future potential consumers as well as family, friends and associates then you really have to consider Google Reviews!

I have read recently that online reviews may contribute to 10% of search engine rankings. (where Google Places you in a search result).

So you are looking for a hotel to stay at. You search for Hotels in Mt. Juliet and google returns 3 hotels (listed in Google Review Results order). Our customer and good friend Justin Patel’s Hi Express Mt. Juliet receives many great reviews (all the time). So you can see Hi Express Mt. Juliet is featured prominently in the search results with a link to immediately see the reviews… (HINT HINT – that is most likely what the searcher is going to check on before making a decision to book a room)…

Mt Juliet Hotel Results - Google Reviews

I have also read recently that it will take consumers 2-4 reviews to form an opinion – If I read 3-4 bad reviews generally I am gone BABY! So that stat certainly supports how I feel – and yes I look at reviews when making decisions online!

This Is Great! – Nothing But Great Google Reviews Right?

Getting a whole lot of great Google Reviews could really influence how much traffic your website gets (and maybe how many orders or bookings or prospects). Of course I have not told you the dark side of Google Reviews… the dissatisfied customer! Nothing will knock you over more than reading a bad review about your business.  In actual fact I will talk more about managing your Google Reviews in a future blog but the bottom line is you should actually respond to all reviews… thanks for the great review OR sorry you had a bad experience how can we help change that?  – it shows great personal touch and really shows you are connected to your online aspects of your business.

So the old time practice of sharing your experience with your friends and family certainly lives on with Google Reviews. The neat thing is if you genuinely have a high regard for a business you can share your experience online for others to read. And the good thing is you are fully in control of that review and can delete the review if you ever decided to. One other catch – you have to have a Google gmail account to leave a review which helps validate that the review is from a bonafide users and not an anonymous source.

So as part of getting you in the game I have provided a link to Bear Web Designs Google Reviews. It is embarrassing to say at this stage that we have never had a Google review but this is your opportunity to leave us a review and help Bear Web Design get on the scoreboard. (Of course only If you feel it is appropriate and please be authentic in your review). It is easy to do and will give you a larger voice in your digital world.  I have no doubt your company will receive reviews online in the future whether you solicit them or not. We have just started adding “Google Review” links to customer website to help to promote this critical aspect of Google’s Search Engine.

If you have any questions or need help in this area please be sure to contact me (615 504-6485).

Hope everyone has a great week!

Google Will Drive Traffic to Secure Websites With New Security Standards

So you are surfing the internet on a bright sunny day. The kids are playing in the back yard with Bucky the Golden Retriever and your wife is in the kitchen baking cookies. All is good with the world – if Norman Rockwell was around this could have been his next American Classic – “Dad On The Internet”…

You go to the same website you have been going to the for the last 3 years but as soon as you get there a big warning message takes over your screen “WEBSITE NOT SECURE”. Bang the Norman Rockwell scene vanishes from your home in a matter of seconds. The dog goes nuts and there is a burning smell coming from the kitchen as a shadow falls across your computer screen.

THE WEBSITE IS NOT SECURE – so what does that actually mean?

For the average user on the internet a warning that the website is not secure is the END OF THE SESSION on that website. It doesn’t matter if there is a good explanation or not for this warning – it simply stops the user in their tracks as the fear of what could happen simply supersedes any need to use a website.

For Google it will mean that the website is not using an encryption connection which in plain English means the session between your computer’s browser and the server where the website resides is potentially accessible to other parties who could access your valuable information (or not so valuable information) pending what you are doing on this website. Please note the word “potentially” and this potential risk could be high (OR) low pending where you are accessing the internet. If you are on an open public network you probably have more chance of your information being intercepted than on your business or home secured wi-fi. Keep in mind we have been accessing non-secure website since the web was invented – but of course with no warnings.

We have also used encryption on websites before in particular when we check out of an online shop. Several of the websites we manage are encrypted completely (no matter where you go on the site the data is encrypted) but quite a few websites we manager have secure server but it only engage it for checking out of a store or sending sensitive data. (as that is obviously the most important data to keep secure). Unfortunately this will not satisfy Google’s new plans.

So I need a Secure Server Certificate to Secure My Website?

Secure Server Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. (Boring as crap I know but you have all seen the Gold Padlock before indicating you were secure)… Currently unless a call goes to a Secure Server Certificate that has expired (or is not working correctly) you would not be told the website’s connection is not secure…

GOOGLE IS ABOUT TO CALL OUT ALL WESBSITES THAT ARE NOT SECURE!

Google Chrome Website Not Secure Message!

BUT that all changes in 2017 when Google will start calling out all websites that are not secure. That means ANY website that is not running secure server certificate on ANY page on that website is going to produce this warning flag. It is actually going to be chaos in my opinion as so many websites will not be secure according to Google. But regardless of the initial chaos I have no doubt that the users will stick to current behavior and not use any site that is flagged as not secure and no doubt any of the website that are fully secure will gain more traffic in the short term (as everyone else catches up).

Bear Web Design’s own website has been secure server certificate fully for several years now (actually setup in relationships to PCI Compliance – a credit card / banking requirement). Unfortunately there is an annual cost to having a certificate, updating the certificate to the website and then making the website fully secure in all calls. Based on what we see coming we will be contacting all our clients to identify those costs and the timing involved in adding the secure server certificate to their website before 2017 to make sure they don’t lose traffic (and maybe) gain some web traffic in 2017!

If you have any questions about this new initiate of Googles please contact me or call me at 615 504-6845 and I would be glad to discuss and provide help if  needed!

“See Inside” with Google Virtual Tour

About a year ago “or so” I said to an associate I think I need to really focus on cleaning up the front of my residence as Google was using the front of our house as the street view that you would see when you searched for Bear Web Design. (We have since relocated to an Office on Lebanon Pike but the challenge remains with how we look from the street). Google uses street view (called “See Outside”) to show the front street view of each business as part of the Google My Business / Google Maps listing. It seemed pretty obvious to me – if the view looks old or run down you may just be losing prospects. I must admit I was excited at the idea of the concept “Google Friendly Landscaping” being someone who loves gardening but also realized how many businesses may look “HORRIBLE” from the street view. And even worse – Google can quite often show the wrong building or ajoining structure in street view and totally put off the searcher…

So before you go running to the front of your building (and start crying if it doesn’t look that good) Google has recently launched a great new service called Virtual Tour that actually shows the inside of your business (professionally photographed in a 360 view). This is called “See Inside” and it showcases the inside of your business and it also does additional professional street view photos to ensure YOU LOOK GREAT! We have our first client using this technology – Justin Patel of Integrity Investments and his Holiday Inn Express and Baymont Inn are both in the process of setting up this service. Another business that Justin owns has just completed this process is Primings Cigar Lounge & Bar and folks get ready to get WOWED!

Here is the link to see the view – https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=primings%20cigar%20lounge – and select “See Inside” on the right hand side of the search result… and voila you are in 360 view… You can literally walk thru the entire inside of the business (and sure enough Primings Cigar Lounge & Bar looks absolutely Gorgeous!)….  Play around with the views – walk thru the business and think about how a prospect or customer may have a great experience doing this in your business.

You will also note that the photos to the left are the same professional photos that were taken from the 360 view.  And we can take the same virtual tour links and add them to Justin’s website so we can get people visiting your website to take a 360 virtual tour quickly!

So how do you get this service?  Google Certificated Photographers are the folks currently charged with providing this service. You can see by this example that they know what they are doing and their results are outstanding. There are costs that can vary pending how much photography work is done – but you are paying a one time fee for this setup – no ongoing costs and basically the 360 view remains in place for the lifetime of business.  Just imagine how much traffic this may receive over the years.

And the best thing is that you are now fully controlling the photos that are showed by Google. It is no longer a maybe good or maybe not so good street view. It is professional presentation at its best. So what business would this suite?  Retail, Restaurant, Café’s, Specialty Stores, Events and Promotional Business – basically any business that can entice the customer into their business by showing off the inside of the business…

Bear Web Design has commenced working with American Marketing & Publishing, L.L.C and local rep Joy Collins who is helping us offer this service to our customers. Please contact me and I will be happy to share more information and general costs for this service. We can also setup an appointment to meet with Joy if we feel this is a good match for your business. I am absolutely excited about Google’s 360 view and look forward to “everyone” seeing the Inside of your business soon!

Google My Business (My Goodness)…

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If you are reading this blog you must recognize that Google “Rules The Waves” just like Britannia did once.  Unlike when Britannia ruled the waves and everyone got it so many folks simply do not understand or comprehend the control and influence Google has over your business and many of your prospects. Google is all powerful and frankly all confusing. We (Bear Web Design) made a commitment to be Google Centric Company approximately 5 years ago and it has been a good decision for our business and our customers – but man if you don’t like people “Moving Your Cheese” Google probably is not going to be your thing.

Most likely you don’t know what Google My Business is (My Goodness!) but you might have heard about Google Plus (Google+) and you have most likely seen it and used it before. If you go to Google and search for your company if you are reasonable shape your company will come up on the right hand side of the search (on a desktop) and it shows your physical location – called Outside (a street view of your business) and then business details taken from your Google Maps and your Google My Business Page (formerly Google Plus). If you have added photos to your Google My Business Page then these photos will be showing (if you have paid Google for a virtual tour then that should be available as well  – called Inside (my next blog friends!) – bottom line is that your business is represented on the right hand side of the search by Google My Business (and Google Maps)… Notice the cover photo to the blog – that is what I see when I search for Bear Web Design (in Nashville).

Are you still awake? (Remember your prospects come thru this method to find your website and consider doing business with you so WAKE UP – this is important!). On the left hand side of the search screen is the organic key title pages from your website that Google presents usually picking out your most important pages (most popular). Hopefully this search gives you a really good picture of what a customer or a prospect will see when they search for your company of google.  You can check this out on your mobile so you fully understand what all customers see.

In the event nothing comes up – HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME – you need some real help – if the left hand search organic information is there but your Google My Business and Google Maps is not showing up then Google probably doesn’t know where you are located… (and again you need some help!). Just to add to excitement of all this imagine someone is walking (or driving) and looking for local restaurants to stop in for a bite. If Google knows where you are then it will show them your restaurant as an option – if it doesn’t – TO BAD SO SAD!

So bottom line and cutting to the chase – Google My Business is about listing your business on Google and how it shows up for the local searcher (in particular). Google is location centric and it absolutely cares about what is in reach of it users (the searchers)… It actually wants to deliver the best possible result to the user so they continue to use Google (which ultimately supports the Google Ad-Words Advertisers and associated products).  The key is that YOU PROVIDE the necessary information to Google so it can do that. It is HORRIFYING how much incorrect information is on Google Maps and Google My Business right now. Hours of business is a classic I see wrong all the time. And the reality is it is not Google’s jobs to fix this (it’s yours) and you know who wins if you fix it (you do)…

This applies to mobiles as well – below are the two views (first page and second) on your mobile – just as impressive as the desktop version and still driven by your location, business information and photos… But quite often when they are on their mobile they may be heading your way!

Mobile View - Bear Web Design Google My Business

Mobile View - Bear Web Design Google My Business

 

Supporting this critical area for our clients we setup a Google Business Page for every client we do work for. We have done this as a standard on new client for several years now. We know this will serve them for years to come. Remember Google Rules the Waves and most of your prospects thru the internet will come to your website thru Google My Business. 

If you would like help updating photos or making your Google My Business more appealing to visitors (good photos is the key) please contact us at Bear Web Design and we would be glad to help.

Fall Website, e-News, Blogs & Social Media Marketing Starts NOW!

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As we celebrate Labor Day Weekend (currently on sabbatical camping at Cedars Of Lebanon!) my thoughts as I sit around the camp fire is one of relaxation, refreshment and rejuvenation after a long hot summer but as my mind wanders off into the sounds of crickets and the coolness of the evening I naturally think about work and the upcoming fall.  OK – probably not what you should be thinking about on a camping trip but sometimes your best clarity can come in the most peaceful moments. Not sure why but I feel inspired so time to share!

The reality from a marketing point of view is that we have September, October and November before December and the New Year beckons. Realistically you have 1-2 months to really market your company and then it is Turkey time, Christmas and New Year… So are you (or more to the point) is your Website, e-NEWS and Internet Marketing (Blogging & Social Media) channels ready to ROLL?

 

Let’s start with the Website

Is your website up to date (content, images and multimedia)? And the big question in the world according to “Google” – is your website responsive and mobile friendly. Can a prospect visit your website and understand what you do, what you offer and what you can provide. I have used the terminology the “Elevator Pitch” before to describe the time a first time visit may give you when visiting your website (10-20 seconds if you are lucky). Does your website do a great job introducing your company and services in that period?  So go to your website and see if it does! (If it does good job) you have passed the first test for your Fall Marketing plan. If you do need a new website then September would be the best time to get it going (December if you are focusing on spring Marketing 2017)…

 

So next let’s look at e-NEWS

The most underrated but hardest worker in the marketing tools when it comes to knocking on your customers and prospects doors (hey look at us and checkout what we are doing and we have to offer!!!!). E-News takes a lot of effort to produce (basically sharing a series of quality news items that should be on point, maybe entertaining and of value to receiver. Sustainability is an issue with e-NEWS (one every two years probably won’t cut it) so I try to incorporate a quarters worth of blogs as my primary source of news which helps in terms of production. Whatever your frequency a series of great e-NEWS in the fall will go a long way to get your company attention! A good e-news will pull the reader back to your website and potentially create an action (inquiry, sale or reorder).

 

That naturally brings me to Blogs and Social Media…

which should be more of an ongoing processes you have in your marketing arsenal. I have to admit I have noticed a significant uptick from our clients producing blogs in August which I am really happy to see.  Heck you can write blog from anywhere at any time (even at a campsite – note “The Bear” in the cover photo finding his creative space for some blogging). You just have to get into the creative mode and then just bang it out. A great blog is about what you know (not what you research and reproduce) – expert blogs are really what get read so write about what you know, what you and your company are good at and what is valuable to the reader.

Blogs have tremendous sustainability on the web – if you write a good blog it could be read again and again over the next 10 years and google keeps re-indexing as it gets read more and more. Keep in mind a good hour dedicated to a blog could have great returns for you especially this fall so start your writing engines!

Finally we finish today’s pep talk with “Cloud Thought” media. In the 80’s I had a College Professor that used to talk about having “Cloud Thoughts” implying that a specific idea was a cloud thought. He also used to throw his chalk in the air and catch it while talking which I thought was impressive as well. I always liked the terminology “Cloud Thoughts” and must admit I have been a man of many cloud thoughts over the years. Social media sought of reminds me of that… small cloud thoughts sometimes with lots of thought and sometimes not.  So with your social media plans for the fall you really want to think about several things. First and foremost what social media are you proficient in?  If you aren’t proficient in any then find a team member who is.  Don’t setup a social media plan based on a social media you don’t use (it won’t work!).

It’s all marketing

Generally you have to do the talking in social media or a key team member does as the information you share is going to brief and short so it better be relevant (and interesting). Also think about your clients and prospects demographics. Are they Facebook users or Twitter users (or Instagram or Snap chat)? Your demographics should really dictate this as well as what you are wanting to achieve with your audience. Twitter is a great one way tool in my opinion – very good media tool – here is my most recent cloud thought and the people will read it and retweet if it is good.  Facebook might be series of comments and other comments all talking about the topic you started. Although social media requires less time than other forms of internet marketing it really should have thought and purpose behind it and above all be valuable to the reader.

Well the campfire is starting to die down and the inspiration for this blog is coming to an end. Lots to think about here but the internet is where and how we market our companies today so now is the time to start making game plans.

If you are looking for a partner to help you plan out and execute a great fall campaign then please contact Bear Web Design and let’s chat. Although the fires have died out here at Cedars Of Lebanon on this fine Friday night the fires of marketing for the fall of 2016 are just starting to get going!

Introducing The New Google+

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This week Google is introduced a fully redesigned Google+ that puts Communities and Collections front and center. Now focused around interests, the new Google+ is much simpler (which should encourage more and more businsess to start using Google+). 

And it’s more mobile-friendly with Google claiming they have rebuilt it across web, Android and iOS so that you’ll have a fast and consistent experience whether you are on a big screen or small one. You’ll need to opt-in to this new version of Google+ on the web to see the changes.

If you have a Google+ page then next time you go to it you will see a pop up box that sais “Meet The New Google” – Simply select “Lets Go” and your Google+ Page is updated. Occassionally I have seen an error with this process (so you just do it again) – but there is nothing to do at your end besides selecting “Lets Go”…

And you can see the new look here on our page – https://plus.google.com/+BearWebDesignNashville – larger cover picture with communities and collections becoming more prominent. Of course Google+ is tied to your Google My Business Page and it is critical for every business to claim this page, have it upto date and well branded) as Google is placing these pages very high in search results (quite often above organic results which has been so heavily pursuid thru SEO & Internet Marketing). 

Be sure to contact Bear Web Design today if you need help with you Google+ Page (Google My Business)…

Google Introducing “Mobile-Friendly” Tag Search Results

While sitting in line last month to get my annual auto emission test I was searching on my mobile when I noticed a tag in results “Mobile-Friendly”.  I had never seen it before and recognized immediately what it meant – “Google is telling mobile users what sites are going to be a good experience to visit on your mobile”.  Google’s Search Engine’s aim is to lead you to the best search results but it is now drawing a line in the sand and basically saying if your website is not mobile friendly (no matter how much wonderful content you have on that site) – it is not going to get the all important “Mobile-Friendly” tag.  This tag in my opinion will help users decide whether they actually visit your website. And long term I suspect google may even consider listing Mobile-Friendly results first.

Once I spotted this I started watching out for an announcement from Google. Google is constantly changing and testing new products and I wanted to wait until an official announcement came out before sharing with customers and associates. Sure enough this week Google has made that announcement that they will be rolling this out over the next few weeks.

So what does mobile-friendly search tag ultimately do for your website?

If you do have a mobile-friendly site (responsive website) – well Congrats and Well Done! You not only are making it inviting for your customers to use your website on a mobile device – Google is going to bring your more prospect traffic with the Mobile-Friendly Search Tag. Your choice to head in this direction in the last 12-24 months looks like it will really pay dividends in the upcoming year!

If you DO NOT have a mobile friendly (responsive website) you will most likely start getting less and less mobile traffic (which in essence will also have a bearing on your regular search results as google uses visitation as key ranking parameter).  Loosing traffic generally means less prospects more than anything else but keep in mind you also are wasting your customers time (and causing frustration) when they have to use a non-mobile friendly website.

Is it too late to upgrade to a mobile-friendly website?

I don’t know the actual stats on the internet (which sites are mobile and which are not) – but my suspicion is less than 25% are mobile-friendly right now. Which means some of your competitors haven’t taken that leap yet. I was recently reading a news site on my mobile and saw a great ad for a famous beach town in South Carolina. I clicked on the ad and to my dismay landed on a non mobile-friendly site and simply closed the site. I have since see the ad 100’s of times but never bothered to click it again. I couldn’t believe a tourist bureau would actually invest in online advertising sending you a non mobile-friendly page and expect to have great results – but it shows that lots of companies and organizations have not fully grasped the importance of a mobile-friendly (responsive site).

If you want to verify that google is seeing your website as mobile-friendly please visit Google’s Mobile Friendly Tool. On this page Google really clarifies the biggest issue with websites are not mobile friendly – Readability & Navigation.

Be sure to make upgrading to a mobile-friendly (responsive) website at the top of your marketing plans for 2015 and be sure to contact us at Bear Web Design if you need some help!

What Makes Great Website Content?

This year website content and content marketing are at the forefront of any results focused website. So what is great content? Is it frequency? (how many times you update your website), is it fancy fonts and highlights with every page designed uniquely? Or, is it content copied from a leading competitors website that you know must be good cause they are a great company!
In essence there are three basic forms of content on a website.

Static Content (Content that qualifies you)

Static content generally tells a web visitor about the business, products and services that you provide. Usually this should be a general overview and bigger picture content and it should give qualification to your business. Static content is items such as about us, our team, our mission, our locations, our products, our services, contact us, and it should be foundation that you identify the primary business services and products you provide (generally without major detail).

When a prospect comes to your website they are trying to establish if you are qualified to provide the service or product they need. If you fail here – the visit is generally over and you won’t get their business. Static content should be updated annually (or as required). One of the great mistakes a website owner can do is to create static content when they launch their new website (and never update it again!). Static content is where your primary keyword and key-phrases “categories” are established.

Product/Services Content (Content that details your capabilities and/or product line).
The second type of content is detailed content which is really decision making content. If your website visitor can review this information and make a decision to do business with you (call, inquiry, buy a product) then you have GREAT CONTENT! Google job is to match a prospects question with great content (The answer to the prospects question). Great content provides prospects with answers that they can take action on. How you formulate your content here is very dependent on your business model. Product/Services Content is where your keyword and key-phrases are detailed and highlighted.

If you have ever had a design meeting with Bear Web Design this should help explain why we asked SO MANY QUESTIONS about your business model. Design of a site includes design layout, development functionality and content to support the design & development. Every company has a different business model so we have to ask a lot of question in establishing how your website is setup. A good example of this is when selling products it is critical to provide every piece of information a prospects needs to buy the product (answer every question). Great product descriptions are rewarded highly by google and drive online sales.

Content Marketing (Content that drives prospects to your website).
The third type of content is Content marketing. Content Marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. More and more companies are putting time and money into their content. So with all things equal (Everyone is getting better and better websites) it really comes down to how well that website and its content is marketed (specifically who it reaches). Blogging is the king of content marketing in our eyes and it is also the most sustainable form.

A great blog should be about a topic, an area of your business (key word or key-phrase) aspect of your business. It should always written in the form of answering a question (notice our title – “So What Makes Great Website content?”) I am answering a question that every client we have wants to know the answer to. (as do all our prospects). Once a great blog is in place then it comes down to your reach, website visitors, social media, e-news, other websites that wish you share your expertise.

So next week we will look at Static Content in more detail (and in the next few weeks we will be covering an area of content) to help you apply this to your own website! And be sure to plan on attending our next Website Content Management Class planned for September so you can start to take full control of your website’s content!

Do You Know What Content Marketing is?

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Our company has traditionally worked closely with our client base to ensure that they fully utilize their content management system (Joomla) in order to maximize their website results and their visitors experience on the website.  We have done this primarily by teaching classes (both formal classes and onsite training) as well as providing a “how to” support role to ensure that the client not only has a great looking and functioning website but the content is easily updated with fresh, up to date and relevant information.  This is not only great for website visitors and but also great for Google.  Your content on your website determines your search engine and keyword positioning and this determines how many prospects you are reaching (Google is all about the prospect!).

To our delight some of our clients today are absolute experts at managing content on their website. They maximize the opportunity of using their website by having timely information on their site on a continuous basis.  They have learned how to use Joomla and each edition they get more sophisticated tool to work with. Quite often their content is integrated with blogs, social media and e-news  to maximize the messages reach. Keeping in mind that when a visitors comes (or are drawn) to your website they are generally looking to answer a question and that in essence is what good content does – it answers questions and ultimately leads to an action (a purchase, an inquiry or a phone call).

So What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers.  It has become the “big thing” in internet marketing in 2014 although it has always been very important in our eyes thanks to the creation of great content management systems (Joomla, WordPress and Drupal). This is great news in our opinion as your website should be clearly ranked by the look, the feel, and the great content on your website.  This is also a good shift in the area of search engine optimization that was previously dominated by website manipulation, confusing and questionable internet marketing companies that promised a lot but couldn’t deliver quality prospects.

So how can you start to focus on Content Marketing?
Understanding your website, how to manage and update content and what content you place on your website (both permanent  and ongoing content) is a great place to start. Today our sites are very well structured in this department starting with static content and core content  (both text, images and multi-media) that tells your visitors about your business, products and services while blogs, social media and e-news get news campaigns and messages out (and generally aim to pull the visitors back to your website).  And then it comes down to the quality of your content and frankly that is the area that should have your highest focus.

Excited? Then Join us at our Upcoming Web Content Management Class!
Our upcoming Web Content Management Class is Friday April 26th 2014 at Lebanon Wilson Chamber of Commerce (Upper Conference Room). The class is will be focusing on Joomla 3.X (and 2.X) and this is a great opportunity to find out how your content is structured, what tools you can use directly for Content Marketing and ultimately learn how to use your content management system (which is centered around your editor and media manager).

For more details on this upcoming class and registration information CLICK HERE

Our next blog will be breaking down Content Marketing and really focusing on what is good content. (its not just sending someone an update – it is what you actually say!)

Google Plus Launches Vanity (Friendly) URL’s….

 

If you don’t have a Google+ Local Page (or more to the point if you haven’t claimed and verified your Google+ Local Page) the move by Google to launch Vanity URL’s should really make you consider investing some resources into a Google+ Page for your business some time very soon.

To be clear on what a Google+ URL looks like – until this week if you went to our Bear Web Design Google+ page in Lebanon you would use the URL:

https://plus.google.com/109558858500890501827

As you can see with this image above  – the Google Search Engine also uses this URL in search results….

BUT – As of last week Google commenced offering Google+ Pages (and Google+ Local Pages) vanity URL’s….

And now our Lebanon Google+ Local Page’s URL is this http://www.google.com/+BearWebDesignLebanon

I suspect shortly this will start to appear in the Google Search as well – making your Google+ Local Pages listings even more valuable!  And for companies that have multiple locations Google will offer variations of the vanity URL (usually adding location) – so you can see our Nashville Office location is now http://www.google.com/+BearWebDesignNashville.

This also happened with the Google+ Social Media Page – My Google+ Page is now http://www.google.com/+PeterBeare – so this is not just Business owners that have this opportunity.

So What Is The Big Deal About This?

This is definitely a new form of a domain name for your company being offered by the most powerful search engine in the world that delivers more traffic to your website (and businesses) than all of the other search engines combined….

As with current domain names (and .com’s in particular), if you share the same name as other companies, only one company can have your Google+ vanity URL…. (e.g. there cannot be 2 companies using +BearWebDesign).  So technically speaking the race is on!

Future Business will come through Google+ Local Pages

During this year’s Wilson County Fair we had a call from the Fair Office that a Google+ Local Page online was showing incorrect opening times for the fair. Of course this was a page setup by Google (not by anyone at the Fair) and had completely incorrect information.  But people were literally going to Google and typing Wilson County Fair and Google+ info was being presented incorrectly.  We immediately claimed the page (and updated the information) and linked the page to the website. (Later that week we established that Google+ page was receiving 5000 visitors a day) which really clarified how critical it is to have full ownership of your affiliated Google+ pages.

So What Should Your Company Do?

Before the vanity URL’s were released by Google we were already encouraging all clients to claim their Google+ Local Pages. If you search for Bear Web Design (your company name) Google+ you should see any Google+ Local Pages that have been set up. Google sets these pages up automatically and they are generally tied to Google Maps (and your business location). But the information is general and may be inaccurate, so it is critical to take ownership of your page (at worst someone else may attempt to claim your page) so here are the basic steps:

Step 1 – Find your Google+ Local Page (Google Your Company Name and Google+)

Step 2 – Select Manage this Page (and Claim Ownership) – Note you must have a Google e-mail account and a Google+ Page setup to do this generally)

Step 3 – Verify your business LOCATION – This is the most critical element to Google+ Listings – taking full ownership of your page.

Step 4 –Update your Google+ Local Page  with your accurate corporate information and start posting blogs and updates (just like you do in other social media websites).

Step 5 – Keep an eye out for the URL Vanity Offer from Google (and hopefully you will get the one you want)

If you need help with this process Bear Web Design can assist you. Generally this process can take 2-4 hours with verification usually taking up to a week or so.  But what a small investment for such a great potential return.

And just like domains – when the Vanity URL for your business is gone, it is gone, so get to this as soon as you can!