If you plan to or have optimized your website for search engines, it’s a good idea to know your SEO status. Domaintools.com has a beta SEO score tool that gives you a SEO score. Just go to domaintools.com and enter your domain name is the Whois Lookup field. When your site comes up you’ll see your SEO score. Click on the SEO score link to see how and what is used to derive your score and how you can make your site more search engine friendly. More details on how the tool works at http://www.domaintools.com/seo-score/
Just like your house, every so often it’s a good idea to go through your web site, sweep out the corners and get rid of the dust bunnies. I’m talking digital dust bunnies – those bits of material that meant something once but are no longer connected to anything tangible. They come in the form of broken links and dated information.
Broken links are frustrating for your site visitors and they can hurt your search engine rank. So take the time to ensure that all you links work. You can check them manually, but if you have more than a few pages that can get tedious fast, so use one of the online link checking resources. There are many online. Google “website link checker” or try this handy tool – http://validator.w3.org/checklink.
The web is an ever-changing dynamic place so if you haven’t checked your links lately, you may be surprised to find that the great resource your site linked to no longer exists at the address in your link.
As far as the dated information, I don’t know of a tool to check for it, but you know if your website has old information. Make sure your website isn’t promoting events that have passed or services you no longer offer. Outdated websites may leave people with the impression that your business is as neglected as your website.
I’ve been working with a client who needs a promotional brochure, and when I asked the question, “What’s your core message?” she really drew a blank. It’s hard to drill down to what your company is all about at the core, but one way to think of it is to ask yourself: What do I want people to remember about my company after they’ve read my brochure?
Here are a few examples of core messages:
An attorney: “My law practice focuses on small businesses. I help entrepreneurs get started the right way, answering important questions about legal and business entity issues.”
A sub-contractor in the aircraft industry: “Our company manufactures specialty micro tools for the aircraft industry. We don’t mind short lead times; in fact, that’s our specialty.”
A non-profit agency: “Our agency provides case management services to veterans with drug dependency. We’re the only agency in the state that helps men and women make a successful transition from hospitalization to the community.”
See how easy it can be? Just a sentence or two that sums up who you are, what you do, what you provide.
You may never actually use your core message verbatim in your brochure or other marketing materials, but it sure helps when it’s time to develop copy–especially when you create your list of features and benefits.
If you have trouble figuring out the underlying message you want to leave in your customer’s mind, ask your business partners, employees, or even your favorite clients to help you define it.
Submitted on 2-27-09 by Nancy Simonds, copywriter
So I heard that people are giving up Facebook for Lent. I’m not Catholic, so it isn’t something that I would ever have to contemplate doing myself, but I am in awe about the implications associated with this fact. Any marketer worth his salt should take note. This statement puts Facebook right up there with chocolate, TV, gambling, and gossip. It reveals Facebook as a beloved activity that, to give up is truly a sacrifice. Anyone who thinks that this is a fad or a fluke should reconsider that opinion immediately.
So what should marketers learn from this:
Social Media is on its way to becoming mainstream.
If you serve a general target market, your consumers are there….therefore, you should be there.
If you serve a very niche target market, your consumers might be there…therefore, you should consider being there.
Other marketers are figuring out how to leverage all that traffic. Shouldn’t you be a part of that?
If you have a great social media story, we’d love to hear it. Leave your comments here! If you’d like to know more about how companies are interacting with Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or any of the other social media sites, please contact me. New stories are being created every day!
We launched AAAContainerService.com, a Connecticut compnay offering dumpster and container rental for home or construction clean-up projects.
“Do you know where your children are?” Do you remember that PSA that used to run in the evenings? As a web developer whose seen some unfortunate clients lose their domains or get scammed out of some cash, I’ll ask “Do you know where your domain is registered?”
It’s important to know where your domain is registered and to monitor the contact information on the domain to ensure that you retain control. In many cases your domain name is closely tied to your brand so you should be very protective of maintaining that domain. I’ve seen customer’s lose domain names because they changed their e-mail address and didn’t receive the renewal information. And I’ve seen domains transferred to different regsitries in response to unscrupulous sales techniques.
Most domain registries handle renewals with automatic credit card billing and e-mail notices. If your credit card expires and the e-mail on account with the domain registry is no longer in effect the domain will expire and you may lose your domain permanently if the problem is not caught in time. Make sure you keep your contact information current and do not ignore renewal notices from your domain registrar.
There are a few unscrupulous domain registry companies out there whose practice is to send transfer solicitations that look like domain renewal invoices to domain owners. Domain owners sometimes miss the text that says that by sending a check it authorizes them to transfer the domain to their company. And since the domain owner doesn’t remember who is their domain registrar, they assume the invoice is legitimate and they pay the bill. The company doesn’t transfer ownership–you’ll still own the domain–but why change your domain registration company and pay a higher rate in the process?
In closing, if you don’t know where your domain is registered, find out now, before it’s too late.
This is a question that I’ve received on more than one occasion. Anyone who has a website should care about website optimization. If you have a website, odds are you’ve spent time and money to create it. So what is it doing for you? Too many people create a site and do nothing to drive traffic to their site, then, wonder why business hasn’t improved. In traditional terms, you can create the most beautiful advertisement, however, if you never place it where it can be seen, it’s useless. It’s the same for websites. That is where website optimization comes in. It’s the practice of driving traffic to your website. There are several ways to do this.
The first way to drive traffic to your site is to ensure that your site can be found. This is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. By including meta tags and descriptions as well as improving the content of your site, you can improve the organic search-ability of your site so that people can find you. This is a long-term investment that pays off in gradual increments. Over time, search engine optimization will help improve your search engine rank and make it easier for potential customers to find your site.
The second way to improve your website optimization is a traditional pay-per-click program. These are the ads that show up in the right hand column of a Google search. The nice thing about these ads, as the name says, you only pay for those searches that actually click through to your site. This program is intended to drive unknown prospects to your site.
A third method of website optimization is called e-marketing. This includes creating an e-newsletter campaign and/or blog to help educate your customers. It is a good way to ensure that you have a consistent presence with your existing customers and known prospects. It will remind them that you’re out there and in some cases, depending on the article, educate them about capabilities you have that they may not know about or have forgotten.
The final form of website optimization is inclusion of RSS feeds to your website to pull the latest news from a blog into your site. This can help to keep your site updated with little effort. This will also help your search engine optimization and gives users a reason to go back to your site more frequently as they’ll know that you have updated information.
Basically, website optimization is a means to get your site working for you. Years ago, when people created or changed their website, they would let everyone they knew know about it. We’ve gotten away from that practice. Website optimization takes the best of those practices and incorporates them into a program that will make your website work for you.
MontessoriMadness.com launched Friday. Montessori Madness is a book written by Trevor Eissler about the pros and cons of Montessori schools. The website features a forum where users can continue the discussion.
This week I finished up writing the content for a simple Web site for a massage therapist. She wasn’t convinced at the outset that she needed help from a copywriter, and wasn’t prepared to pay for much more than “tidying up the home page.”
As the project moved forward, she began to see the value of a copywriter’s contribution: clearly stating her core message; developing a powerful call to action for each page; keeping copy concise and easy to scan; and introducing important key words and phrases that potential clients might use to find her in a Google search.
She turned out to be a terrific client. She gave me good raw data to work with, got back to me right away with her feedback, and really understood and appreciated what I was trying to accomplish on her behalf. The cherry on top? She paid her bill within two weeks!
I called her right away and said, “I wasn’t sure how things were going to work out for us, but now I wish all my clients were like you!” Know what she said? “I’d be happy to write a testimonial you can use on your own Web site!”
So, again, what makes a perfect client? Someone who:
*Values the contributions to the project
*Provides what is needed to get the job done
*Responds right away with feedback (So the project stays on track!)
*Works in a collaborative fashion
*Pays the invoice in a timely fashion
*Speaks highly of the work to others and makes referrals
Nancy Simonds, promotional copywriter