10 Goofs That Tell Clients You’re Not Serious About Your Business

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What Do Your Prospects Think About Your Business?

In business, image is everything. Right or wrong, your clients will make snap judgments about you and about your business. This means that unless you can afford to lose clients, you can’t afford to project an unprofessional image.

Below, we’ve listed 10 areas that are (unfortunately) all too easy for small business owners to ignore. Are you making any of these common internet marketing mistakes? If so, you could inadvertently be telling clients you’re not really serious about your business. Make sure you’ve got your bases covered, and check yourself against this list.

1.  Not having a website

If you don’t have a website, does your business really exist? It’s hard to even fathom why we’re still arguing about this, but the truth is that many business still have no online presence. We promise you, every one of your clients is looking for your website. It’s a must. End of story.

2.  Not having your own domain name

Your “free” website does not give you your own domain name (i.e., www.yourcompany.com). You’ll have to pay for it. But with so many good, inexpensive hosting options, it’s really a minor expense. And the thing is, if your website does not have your own domain name, your clients will wonder why.

 3.  Not having an email address with your domain

Are you still emailing clients from your free Yahoo account? If so, you’re also sending the message that your business is more of a hobby than a bona fide company. Leave the free email account for your personal life – not for your business.

Obtaining a proper email address, such as name@yourcompany.com, is easy and inexpensive. Do it today.

4.  Not having an email signature at the bottom of your emails

Your email signature is a standard closing that appears at the bottom of every email you send. It shows clients and peers who you are and what your business is. At the very least, your email signature should include your name, company name, and contact information. Bonus points for including your company tagline, logo, a link to your website, links to your social media profiles, or other details.

5.  Not having a logo

Legitimate companies have logos. These days, online options make logo design an easy option,  you should not have an excuse for not having some graphical representation of your company. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be unique.

6.  Not having a business Facebook page

Did you know that 93% of all US adult internet users are on Facebook? And that one out of every eight minutes online is spent on Facebook? A Facebook page for your business is no longer a fad or even a luxury. It’s a necessity.

7.  Not having a company page on LinkedIn

With over 100 million members, LinkedIn is the top business social networking site. Your LinkedIn company page gets listed in Google’s and LinkedIn’s search engines, allows clients to follow your company’s updates, and gives you a place to promote services and products. If you don’t have a company page on LinkedIn, you’re missing a lot of advantages.

8.  Not having a Google Places account

97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Not surprisingly, most of them use Google to conduct their search. Also not surprisingly, because Google owns Google Places, listings on Google Places get top billing on search engine results pages. Even if your business is national, a Google Places account will still list important details like business hours, years in business, payment methods and more.

9.  Not having a business blog

The proof is in the numbers: Companies that blog have 55% more website visitors than companies that don’t blog. B2C companies that blog generate 88% more leads, while B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads. Sure, blogging requires time and resources. But these numbers show that you can’t afford not to blog.

10. Not maintaining a system to manage business contacts

If you are your company’s only employee, an old-fashioned rolodex might work for you. But start to grow your business just a little bit, and clients will quickly start to fall through the cracks. To take advantage of every marketing and relationship-building opportunity, you need a system to manage your business contacts. Options include free, online tools like Google Calendar and Contacts, a basic Microsoft Outlook setup, or a more sophisticated CRM tool like ACT or Salesforce.

At the end of the day, maintaining a professional image is going to require a certain investment of time and resources. But it’s simply the cost of doing business these days. Avoid these 10 internet marketing mistakes, and you’ll be setting the foundation for bigger and better things to come.

By the way, Design & Promote can solve any or all of these 10 internet marketing goofs for you, just give us a call.

Most of us assume that if our business has a domain name and a website, “www.yourcompany.com”, that we are the legal owner of the domain name, “yourcompany.com” right? Well, maybe….

Recently a new client came to us to redesign his website. However, when we investigated the registration of the domain name, we discovered he was not the legal owner of his domain — his past web designer was!   That’s because his web designer’s name was listed as the official “registrant” with the domain name. Our client was shocked, but unfortunately, this is a situation we have encountered many times before.

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Whois is the legal owner of your domain name?

The question of domain name ownership isn’t always clear cut.  Just because you are operating the website does not mean that you are the domain owner in a legal sense.  So who is? In actuality, the domain owner is the person (or company) that registered the domain on your behalf.  Many times, this is not the business owner, but rather someone the owner hired to create the website. So if your domain name was registered by your web developer or graphic designer, they may well be considered the “legal owner” of your domain if they are listed as the domain’s “registrant”.   It’s important to confirm that your site is registered to your company or the company owner.  Otherwise, the one who is registered and is considered the “legal owner” of the site, could cause problems for you later on.

How to Check for Domain Name Ownership

You can check whether or not your domain is registered to you on the website http://whois.domaintools.com.  Whosis offers an easy, domain owner lookup to determine the registrant of your site. It is also a handy site to see what domain names are available, in case you need to find another one.  You will need to make an account, but it is free.  Once inside, simply put your domain name in the dialogue box and you will be able to view your whois record of your site, including the most important entry under “Registrant” and “Administrative Contact”.   If you are listed there, all is well.  If not….  We have included a screenshot of our whois of our domain as an example.

What do you do if you are NOT the legal owner of your domain name?

If you are not the name listed under “registrant”, hopefully, you recognize the name that is!  And, hopefully you can identify them as the person who registered the domain name for you. Another hope is that you are still on good terms with the person who set up the domain name ownership for you.

Most web developers, designers, etc. who regularly register domain ownership know that their client’s name should be in the registration, not their own.  However, others may just not realize the legal ramifications of their actions.  In trying to register the website on your behalf, they may have just unknowingly put in their own contact information without any ulterior motive.  In this case, they would probably cooperate if asked to change the domain name registration over to your name.

A disreputable web developer, however, could have registered incorrectly on purpose, either to hold you hostage to their fee structure, or to make it difficult for you to switch vendors.  They may not cooperate with you, in which case, you need to take action.

Resolving Disputed Domain Name Ownership

The main goal is to get your domain name registration changed by the registrar. Now a registrar cannot cancel, suspend or transfer a domain name without consent of the registrant or a court order. So, if you check your domain name registration and find that you are not the registered party, you must ask the registrant on file to relinquish their domain name ownership.  If they refuse, you will need to contact ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and settle the manner using the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

ICANN is responsible for coordinating many functions of the internet including the DNS (Domain name system), IP (internet protocol), addresses, codes (gTLD and ccTLD), space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, and root server system and top-level domain management. In 1999, in response to rising claims of this “cybersquatting” and “abusive or bad faith” registrations, ICANN formed the UDRP specifically to settle such domain name registration issues. About 17,000 complaints have been filed under the UDRP since.

The UDRP has a quick, affordable resolution process in place for those who need it which begins by filing a complaint with an approved dispute resolution provider.  A list of approved providers that can help you regain domain name ownership is available here.

In order to settle a cybersquatting complaint, the real owner or owner of the “trademark” must prove several things: 1) that they have a legally recognized name that is identical or near identical to the domain name; 2) that the registrant on file has no legitimate rights to the domain name; and 3) there has been some evidence of bad faith abuse.  UDRP disputes are settled by mutual agreement, court action or voluntary arbitration and according to ICANN statistics, the majority of proceedings resolve in disposition of the domain name back to the owner.

Your Domain’s Administrative Contact

In some cases, there may also be an administrative contact—someone that has been authorized to change the registrant name.  Many times this is the web developer, because it is common for them to be the authorized, responsible party for the maintenance of the website content and administration.  Also, in the development phase, it is often easier for the web developer to be the administrative contact because he can temporarily host the domain on his own site or in another place before it goes live.

Regardless of how much you trust them, it makes sense to ensure that nobody has the power to be the legal registrant except you.  It is akin to giving your friend Bob the title to your car for safekeeping, even though you are driving it yourself.  If Bob ever needs a few bucks, he can sell the car, and the fact that you have been driving it for the past year makes no difference at all. Bob holds the title.

At Design & Promote, we are experts in the sale and registration of domain names, and you can be assured your site will be registered directly to you.  If you are looking to establish a domain name or are  experiencing problems with your domain name ownership, contact us for help.

 

We have become so used to the online world that websites have become a source of information and knowledge for most of us. So, the naming of a site becomes very important, as that is the identity of the site and that is the way people will get to know the site.

There are many theories regarding the naming of the site. Some people believe that it is better to choose a domain name which is similar to that of the name of the company. In this way, the company and its site will share the identity and will benefit each other.

Another more popular and much acceptable theory is that, it is better to include the keywords in the domain name. This theory has found a lot of followers, as people genuinely believe that if the domain name of the site has one or more keywords, then the site will be optimized in a far better way.

The search engines have many techniques of listing a site in their search pages. One of the important factors is the presence of keywords that are being chosen. You need to choose the keywords and ensure that those words are present in the content of the site. The keywords also need to be marked separately so that the search engines can track them easily. So, this is how, the keywords are related to the search engine page listings.

It is considered better to have one or more keywords in the domain name, as it will be easily spotted by the search engine and it will be easier to get a better ranking for your site. The search engines go by searching the domain names first and then looking into the contents of the site. So, if the keywords are present in the domain name itself the search engines will track it down and then go on to search the content of the site. Once both the domain name and the content share some common keywords, the search engines tend to give a higher ranking to those sites.

So, while registering the domain name for your site, take care to include at least one keyword in it. The more keywords you include in the domain name, the better it will be for your search page rankings. The higher the search page rankings, the better revenue it will generate.

Design & Promote Domain Names – Check Available Domain Names

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