2016 is upon us, and of course, I’m late to my New Years Resolution. My resolution was to get this post out before the new year. Since people never know where to get started, I’ve compiled my list of “kick in the butt” online marketing things to push you in the right direction for a great start to 2016.
Keep Your NAP Consistent
This one is a bit of a pain, but once you get it, you’re golden. NAP is an acronym for Name, Address, Phone. One of the ways Google determines who goes into their map area when people search for your something in your industry is to look at local website directories, including their own. Google wants accurate information on their search engine results page. They don’t want people to pull up a business and have it contain the wrong phone number or wrong address. So by looking at other local website directories, they’ll get a sense of how accurate the name, address, and phone # are. The more confident they are that it’s right, the more of a chance they’ll show your business in their map listings. That will lead to more website visits.
Once you have accurate results on the above local directories, you’ll see that a lot of them have an area where people can review your company.
I get this call at least once per month. “Will! Someone left my company a terrible review on [extortion based review website]. I know it’s my competitor! How do I get it removed?”
In most cases you can’t get the review removed. The knee-jerk reaction is to call all of your friends, family, and neighbors and ask them to sign up for [extortion based review website], and leave a good review for your business. The only problem with that is that it’s a dead giveaway for what you’re trying to do, and they and won’t show the new ringer reviews. How do they know?
- All of the people you’ve asked to leave a review only signed up for that website to only leave you a review.
- The person who just left you a review hasn’t reviewed anyone else.
- Your company hasn’t been reviewed for months, now you have 18 new reviews in 2 days.
- They were way too vague in their review of you and your company- “Will is great, he rocks, use him”. That won’t fly.
The goal for 2016 is to ask clients for reviews. Technically, you aren’t allowed to ask people for good reviews. You have to ask them to “If you don’t mind, can you leave feedback for my company?” I’m sure you’ll remember to ask your happy clients. Believe me, you aren’t imposing. Clients will be happy to do it for you.
Keep Your Company Blog and Social Networks up to Date
Listen, I know I’m guilty of this one. So I’ve started writing down the most commonly asked questions I get. I’ll blog the answer if I can pull 600+ words from the topic. Then I’m going to share it on my social networks.
As far as the Social Networks go, I use my personal ones a lot- mainly Twitter and Instagram. My goal is to at least, share my new website information through my company Social Networks. It’s true, people would rather follow a person than a logo, but when people are researching your company it’s good to have those up to date with a link to your latest Blog post. Not to mention, those social profiles have links to your website that search engines take into account when ranking your website. They also help with branding and provide another way for people to contact you.
“How much should I Blog?” is a question I get asked a lot. The answer? More than you currently are. However, not for the sake of putting something new on your website. Do it when you have a good point to make and you’d like to bring up to your followers. Do it when you can answer an industry question in depth.
Get More Better at Grammar
Being on Twitter and Instagram for years, I see how the slang has regressed to “if it sounds cool, even if it doesn’t make sense, just say it instead of the proper word, no one will care”. I’m very informal in my writing, so I get it. However, a couple of months back, I found a great Chrome extension called Grammarly. It checks your spelling and grammar when you’re writing online. Is it perfect? I doubt it, as Grammar Nazis will probably see tons of errors I slipped past (ignored) the extension, but it’s already helped a lot. Case in point…
Keep your CMS and plugins up to Date
I’ve seen my share of hacked websites and there are some real nasty hacks out there. Security is a game of cat and mouse. Hackers look for the hole, developers close it. Hackers are getting more and more sophisticated in their attempts to gain control of your website to make it like a mindless zombie that obeys what they tell it to do. Even if it’s only to promote cheap male enhancements pills from Russia.
We prefer WordPress over the other content management systems (CMS). It currently powers 25% of the Internet. Yes. 25% of the whole Internet. Since it’s the most popular CMS, it has the most hack attempts. The biggest cause of hacks I’ve seen are websites that have an outdated version of WordPress, or one of it’s plugins (like a contact form). If you have a website that is built on a CMS, be it WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or any others, make sure you keep it up to date. If you are unfamiliar with how to update it, hire someone to do it before you have to hire someone to clean the hack!
I hope this helps! Any other suggestions? Leave’em in the comment area.