Why Do Websites Break?

If you have ever had a website, you know that they are never finished. Nor are they supposed to be. As your business changes and you get new products and services to sell, or you get new information and prices changes for current products and services, your website needs to reflect those changes. But these changes only represent a small piece of what is happening to a website on a daily basis. A website is a complex entity with lots of moving parts, not unlike an automobile.

Imagine you own a car. Obviously you must maintain the car: putting gas in the engine, changing the oil, checking the fluids, checking the tire pressure, rotating the tires, replacing brake pads when they become worn, changing the wiper blades, and servicing parts as they become worn. The good thing with a car is that you usually know what to expect. But what would happen if that car manufacturer decided to update a part, like the oil filter, and the new oil filter didn’t fit your old car? Now you would have to buy an adapter to get the new oil filter to fit the old car. Then, the gas companies decide that the fuel they’ve been selling you needs some new additives to make it more efficient or to meet current EPA guidelines for clean air, but the additives corrupt the seals and your car has to be modified to accommodate the new gas additives. And to top it all off, your car is being driven by thousands of different drivers, all with different driving habits, some of whom break things just because they don’t understand.

That’s pretty much what happens with a website. Hackers, security concerns, new laws and regulations, and advances in technology all put pressures on your website. Nothing is static. Your website is […]

Getting More Referrals Into Your Business

This is a guest post by Doren Aldana, who I will be doing a webinar with next week. Register for the webinar on June 12th at 11am Mountain Time now.  I highly recommend listening to what he has to say…

No amount of advertising, tweeting, posting on social media, or direct mail can impact customers the way a review can. We are living in an era where it’s not what you say about your business that matters, it’s what others say about you that counts.

But you must remember, getting reviews from your customers is a delicate task. The biggest obstacle isn’t overcoming negative reviews, it’s getting them to begin with.
Here are 5 tips to help you get reviews, without annoying your customers…

  • Make writing a review easy. Ask your customers to give you a review without requiring an account. If it’s positive, ask them to share it on review sites (i.e. Google, Yelp, etc.).
  • Be present on multiple review sites. Ask your customers to review you on their favorite review site (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.). Don’t expect or ask them to review you on all of them.
  • Be candid with your customers. Keep your request simple and honest. For example, it might be something like “we know you read customer reviews, and we do too. That’s why we would love it if you would review us…”
  • Be careful when you offer incentives. Some argue that offering incentives can corrupt the process and defeat the purpose of getting truthful reviews. However offering a small incentive (i.e. “surprise gift”), is a way to show your appreciation to them for leaving a review. Just make sure to clarify your offer is for writing a review, not just a good one.
  • Consider your demographics. If your customers are Millenials, they are already used to sharing experiences online. So less handholding is required. However, if you have an older and less tech-savy group of customers, they may need more prompting and detailed step-by-step instructions.

The Testimonial Engine helps you automate each of these steps, and makes getting reviews from your customers quick and easy. Our goal is to get – and publish – your reviews for you, without annoying your customers! Sign up for the webinar here.

You will not want to miss this webinar. […]

Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You

“Be so good they can’t ignore you” – Steve Martin

I don’t like insurance companies. They are in the business of taking your money, then denying claims. This is true for all insurance types: health, home, and auto. Even life insurance expires once you reach a certain age. Basically insurance companies are in business to make money, not to protect you. Except one: USAA. USAA has created a reputation for itself where its members (including me) are fiercely loyal. How did they do that? Let me give you 2 of my personal experiences.

  1. I was driving my father-in-law’s Cadillac. I pulled into a gas station and drive around the cars that were parked at the pumps. As I was doing this, the person parked at the pump pulled out and side-swiped my car, causing a couple thousand dollars worth of damage. As this was private property, not a public road, we exchanged drivers license numbers. He admitted he was at fault, and gave me his insurance information. At first his insurance company agreed to pay, but then this guy changed his story and they denied the claim. My insurance company USAA, stepped in, paid the claim without hesitation, then negotiated with his company after the fact.
  2. Another time involved hail damage to the roof of my house. My previous insurance company denied my hail claims 3 times! I finally had enough and when USAA started handling home owners insurance, I jumped on board. the next time we had a hail storm, I submitted a claim to them. Even though much of the hail damage was old (because of the previous insurance company), USAA replaced my entire roof.

In both of the cases above, USAA did NOT raise my rates. They merely sent me a note thanking me for being a long time customer. I have to say, that they are so good, they can’t be ignored.

Now let me tell you about Vail Resorts. When it comes to being so good they can’t ignore you, Vail is […]

Invitation

I recently hosted a podcast with Doren Aldana and it quickly became obvious that we needed to collaborate to help out not only our WebStores customers, but everyone who reads this blog and newsletter.  So, Doren and I are hosting a webinar on Tuesday, May 29th at 11:00 am Mountain Time called:

“HOW TO ATTRACT 5-STAR RAVE REVIEWS ON AUTOPILOT, So You Can DOMInate on Google+, Yelp, etc., and become the #1 choice!

 

There is limited seating and Doren tells me that this will fill up quickly, so sign up now!

Sign Up Now!

We’re going to show you…

  • The fastest, easiest way to way to dominate Google, Yelp, etc., so you become the #1 choice
  • The biggest reason why you’re unwittingly losing deals to the competition (and how to fix it)
  • How to give yourself an INSTANT PAY RAISE — working smarter, not harder
  • How to systematically convert 20-40% of your client database into 5-star rave reviews… all on autopilot!
  • How to prevent negative reviews from tarnishing your online reputation and brand
  • A proven “set it and forget it” campaign that automatically turns your rabid raving fans into sizzling red-hot referrals
  • 7 ways to LEVERAGE your client reviews once you get them
  • And much, much more! 

 

Sign Up Now!

[…]

What is GDPR and should I be concerned?

GDPR stands for “The General Data Protection Regulation” a privacy law from the European Union that goes into effect May 25, 2018. Even though it’s a European Union law, all online entrepreneurs need to be paying attention because the GDPR will mean major changes for the way we operate. If you use Google Analytics, Facebook pixel tracking, or have an email opt-in on your website, you need to pay attention to this post!

In essence, if you have ANY contact with someone in Europe through your website, such as downloading a lead magnet to get them to sign up for an email list, you MUST comply with the GDPR, even though you are in the United States and are only selling in the United States. You will probably need to re-write your policy page to show that you are compliant. Specifically, the way you collect and handle emails will require a change. Here is the  simplest form:

1. If you offer a lead magnet to collect emails, you CANNOT automatically add those people to your email list if they are in Europe.

2. If they are in Europe and have not previously opted in to be on your email list, you MUST delete them from your database.

3. When offering a lead magnet, you MAY ask them to join your email list, but this cannot be the default. They must specifically state that they want to be on your list.

4. All of this must happen before midnight on May 25th.

Does this mean that you should be concerned and the CDPR police will come knocking on your door on May 26th if you haven’t complied? […]

Influencers: Ordinary People With Superpowers

People are tired of sales pitches. I recently had a friend unfollow and vow to never support a brand because of retargeting ads, as she found them invasive. We are all inundated with marketing messages constantly and consumers are sick of it. How then, as a small business, can you get your message heard? Influencer marketing has become the big buzz word in the last year or two, and the reason is simple: it may be the only real way to get your brand’s message out there!

What exactly is influencer marketing and how can a small business participate? First, let me be clear: many people are jumping on the influencer marketing bandwagon like it is something new. It is not – influencer marketing has been around since Eve convinced Adam to eat the apple. Despite what many people are promoting, influencer marketing is not simply Instagram models with lots of follwers posting photos wearing the latest fashions in exotic places. Influencer marketing instead is about getting someone to take action!

Influencer marketing is about getting someone to take action! Click To Tweet

Consumers may have stopped trusting brands and ad campaigns to tell them about useful new products and inform them how well something works, but they haven’t stopped needing those things to make their lives better. So, where did they turn? To each other! Influencer marketing used to simply be called word-of-mouth. The problem is that word-of-mouth wasn’t very scalable, it was hard to track, and unreliable. What changed? Technology.

We all carry around little computers in our pocket that have more computing power than what NASA used to send man to the moon.  This allows ordinary people to develop their superpowers and become an influencer.  And smart businesses are tapping into this effect.

The strongest influencers out there are people just like you and me. Ordinary people who are authentic and  relatable make the best influencers – not celebrities! The power of the ordinary person is so great today that […]

Be the Best Answer on the Internet

I was talking to someone the other day who was only making about $200 per month from their website. Do you ever wonder how some businesses flourish online, while others struggle to make even a few hundred dollars a year from their website? The answer is actually very simple: be the best answer on the internet. Notice, I didn’t say it was easy, just simple. Regardless of what you are selling, if you provide the best answer on the internet, you will win. You will not only get the best search engine placements, but you will have other people sharing your content, referring you, writing positive reviews about you, and you will sell more. So, just how do you become the best answer on the internet?

The first thing you must decide is what is the question? Who is your primary audience? Once you identify who that person is, what is the question they want answered? This may seem like a bunch of rhetoric, but it really is a necessary step. Let’s say you sell paint. Who is the person that usually makes a decision about what paint to buy? Is it the contractor or the homeowner? If it is the homeowner, is it the husband or the wife? My guess is that it is the wife who makes the decision about how a home is painted, but that information would of course have to be verified. Assuming it is the wife though, what specifically is she looking for? Color? Durability? Cost? Washability or maintenance? Guarantee? Ease of application? Ability to match the exact paint 5 years from now?

It is your job to provide the best answer on the internet. Not just any answer, but the BEST answer. Click To Tweet

Now that you know who your buyer persona or avatar is and what questions they are asking, it is your job to provide the best answer on the internet. Not just any answer, but the BEST answer. Sticking with the paint store example, this means that you do not simply want to use the manufacturer’s photos and description of the paint, you want to provide your own information. This is critical, as information is what your buyer persona is looking for. You are the expert in what you are selling, so talk to your customer as if they walked into your store and were asking you those exact same questions. Specifically, here is my recommendation: […]

Page 1 of Google

Long-time customers and followers of my marketing know that I have always advocated that “if you do all of your other marketing right, the search engines will take care of themselves.” Still, there is something very alluring about SEO (search enginge optimization) and getting listed on page one of Google. This seems to be the Holy Grail of internet marketing. In the recent survey I conducted, it continued to be the most requested item that people wanted to know about. SEO is much like dieting – most people just want to take a magic pill to lose weight, but for it to be really effective, you have to put in the work.
SEO is much like dieting - most people just want to take a magic pill to lose weight, but for it to be really effective, you have to put in the work. Click To Tweet

How can you get to the coveted number one spot on Google?

Start by Taking Our Free SEO Audit

The dream of every business owner is to get their website listed on page one of Google. In order to do this, you must understand a few things about website traffic. The first is that almost 52 percent of all traffic to a website comes from bots – electronic spiders that are crawling your site either for the purpose of indexing your pages or trying to hack into the site. Clearly, security and optimizing your page for the bots to understand your site (and thus list you on page one for a specific term) are critical. The second thing to understand is that Google doesn’t just index your website, but it indexes individual pages within your website (that is why the bots are crawling your site). Your goal should be […]

Own your platform!

Last week, I showed you how you can use YouTube to rank your pages on Google. This is a technique that I highly recommend. But there is a downside – you don’t own your content that you post to YouTube.  That’s right, many companies are discovering that their YouTube channel is not their asset, but YouTube’s. In fact, I had a friend that was recently banned from YouTube. He was posting content that YouTube deemed to be too similar, with the direct intention of “driving people away from YouTube and onto another website,” so they banned him from posting. The amazing this was, he was providing valuable content – it was not spam. He appealled his case to YouTube and was denied.

The technique I described in last week’s article of course is meant to do exactly that: create similar videos all with the intent of driving traffic to your website. What this means is that it coudlget you banned from YouTube.  So should you still do this? The answer of course is yes, but you may need to do it slowly so as to not raise any red flags with YouTube’s AI (artificial intelligence) bots. But remember, you don’t own your YouTube channel and therefore, you cannot rely on it for hosting important content.

This goes for all social media, podcasts, websites and any place you put content on. When you don’t own the asset, you can’t call the shots, and any income stream derived from those places that you have content on could at anytime pull the plug without warning and kill your livelihood. If you want to control your own content you need your own platform. That is why…

[…]

The problem with SEO (and what to do about it)

One of the first things Google looks at in a search is if the search term matches the URL you are looking for. If you are searching for “Gregs Gourmet Goodies”, Google looks to see if there is a domain name names “GregsGourmetGoodies.com”. But, unless you are a recognized brand, most people are not searching for your business name. They are looking for what you have to offer, such as “gourmet cheese dip.” Of course, you might be able to buy the domain name, “gourmetcheesedip.cooking” or gourmetcheesedip.party”, and you could do this for every one of your products, and then re-direct that new domain name to the page on your website where you sell gourmet cheese dip. this helps, especially because Google actually indexes every single page, not just your home page.

The next thing most small businesses worry about is whether or not their page is optimized for search engines, in part because there are SEO companies out there scaring them into buying their services. What these companies typically do is look at what is called on-site factors, and they make sure that your page titles, contain the search term you are trying to rank for and that you use that search term in the content of the page. For example, if we are trying to rank for the search term, “gourmet cheese dip” we would title our page “Gourmet Cheese Dip”, we would include “Gourmet Cheese Dip” in the heading tags, and we would write our copy to include that keyword phrase multiple times in the description, such as “Greg’s Gourmet Goodies offers the best packaged gourmet cheese dip available anywhere. using our gourmet cheese dip, you can mix this with your favourite cream cheese and create the most delicious gourmet cheese dip anywhere. Your guests will still be talking about the great gourmet cheese dip you served them for days. so if you are looking for the finest gourmet cheese dip, look no further than Greg’s Gourmet Goodies.”

But here’s the thing: there are 19,000,000 results returned by Google for “gourmet cheese dip”. The likelihood of you being listed on page 1 of Google is  1 in 1.9 billion, even if you do the on-site optimization I just talked about. Plus, your cheese dip mix is only one of about a hundred products you offer. There has to be a better way. And there is… […]