Search Tips for Local Businesses: Your Site Name

This is part 5 of a 6 part series on search tips for local businesses

Should Your Site Name be Your Business Name?

Search Tips for Local Businesses: Your site nameFor many businesses, they want their website name to be the same as their business name. And for many this makes sense. Especially if you are a big, well-known brand. Someone looking for a hardware store in your area may just type in the name of one of the big box stores rather than using keywords. In those instances have your site name (your URL) match your business name is important.

If you aren’t a big brand, you might consider using a keyword in your URL, possibly in conjunction with your business name. If your business is specific to a town then you may want to also consider using your town name in your site name. Both of these can help the search engines know what your business is about and where you are located.

When people search for a Mexican restaurant they may not include the town they are looking in. That’s okay, because the search engines are smart and know the IP address the search was made from—and the town that that IP address is located in. It isn’t perfect, but it means that they will tend to serve to the potential customers the Mexican restaurants nearer to them, not ones across the state or country.

By including your town in your URL you can help the search engines serve up your listing to people in your area.

One word of caution—if you have your town in your URL then you do not want to put your town in every page and description. Sometimes that can be misinterpreted by the search engines as “keyword stuffing”

OK, you want to build a brand and therefore you want to have a website with your name, not a keyword based URL. That’s okay. There are ways that you can have your cake and eat it too. By having two URLs you can take advantage of local search strategies and still build your brand and name recognition.

Not All Website Traffic is Good

In the world of internet advertising, marketers often look at website traffic as an indication that their work is successful.


It may seem like the more traffic that is coming to your website the better, right?

Not necessarily.

Think about it like you would your brick and mortar store. You certainly want more “boots in the door” as one client puts it. But you want more than that as a business owner. You want people who will actually buy your products or pay for your services.

That doesn’t mean that every person who comes in the door has to buy something on the spot or you will kick them to the curb! Depending on your business you may actually have plenty of activity that does not, in that moment at least, seem to generate income.

Potential customers may browse through your shop and not buy now. For some, they look around and learn that your store does not fit their needs or style. Others like it, but don’t see anything right at this moment–but they probably will come back.

You may be a service business and provide free consultations. Perhaps you have a business where you offer free samples. These are types of advertising where you spend your time and/or money/goods in the hopes that you will get some customers. You know that your will not convert all of these trials into clients or customers, but if you are doing it right you will get more than enough to make this a great way of getting new business.

Now apply this logic to your website traffic. You may offer products for sale directly on your website, you may provide information that potential customers “consume” online as a way to get to know you (“a sample”), or your website may allow them to book an appointment, reach you by phone, etc.

These are all great forms of traffic. Some may convert to paying customers. Some will not. Just like the storefront example, there will be potential customers who decide that you are not a good fit for their current needs. That is OK. You don’t want or need every single human being on the face of the planet to be your customer. You want the RIGHT customers.

So when is website traffic NOT good traffic?

Let’s look at the storefront example again. Do you want to have a bunch of people who have absolutely no intention of buying your products or services loitering about, making it hard for your ideal customer to get through the door? Nope, you don’t. Do you want people coming in who are going to steal from you? Of course not.

You may not have a problem with too many people loitering around your site in cyber-space, but we can have problems with people trying to “break in” to our sites. These hackers may try to get in through the front door or they may use sophisticated code to try to come into your site through the backdoor.

Just as you might have security cameras to monitor and safeguard your physical doors, you will want to safeguard your cyber-doors as well.

Hackers will try to break into sites for many reasons. Sometimes it will be to try to get sensitive data. But just because you don’t collect information or accept payment on your website don’t think that you are uninteresting to cyber-thieves.

Be sure that your webmaster is keeping your website protected. The last thing you want to have happen is to look at your website and discover that it has been hacked. Best case scenario it is merely inconvenient–an inconvenience that takes time and money to fix. Something you just don’t need when you are trying to run a business.

Avoid China Domain Name Scams

Whether we have a local storefront or run an international mega-business, we all want to protect our brand. For huge companies with an international presence this may appear to have a bigger impact, but no matter our size we all want to have our bit of  turf. This may be in the form of brick-and-mortar type real estate or domain names which are our cyber-space real estate.

We register our business domain name. We may opt to buy domain names that are very similar to ours, or have common misspellings. As more and more domain name extensions (also called TLDs) are created tt would be possible to spend quite a lot of our hard earned dough protecting our cyber turf.

This opens business owners up to all sorts of domain name scams.

One that is going around (again/still) is from a company in China that claims to be a domain registry. The name of the company and their email address varies, as does the text within the email, but the gist is the same. Some 3rd party in China (or Asia) has requested this company to register a domain name that is the same as yours–or very similar–with and Asian TLD, such as .cn, .hk. The domain registry is contacting you to find out if you authorized this transaction. They typically request a response within 7 days or they will proceed with the transaction. If you did not authorize the registration and let them know, they will “handle” the issue.

How frickin’ kind of them.

How they will “handle” the issue is to contact you and try to strong-arm you into paying an outrageous amount of money for your domain name with the Asian TLDs. AND they will try to sell you some brand “protection”.

Do not fall for this domain name scam.

This scam is hitting the US and European markets. You can read more from European Domain Centre by clicking here.

While some people suggest you respond to the scammer with insults, I suggest it is not worth your time, which is much better spent letting others know of the scam. If no one responds, this will stop. It only continues because people fall for it and send them money!

What if you want to buy the Asian TLDs? Then go to your current domain name registrar and buy them that way. You will get a much better rate and know what you are actually buying.

If you ever have a question about whether or not you need to purchase a domain name, contact your IT department, our marketing department, or contact us at



DIY is Ticket to Business Failure

Alyson B. Stanfield, AKA the Art Biz Coach, has written this about the Do It Yourself mentality that artists have and why it can hold them back from having the success they so deserve.

The same is true for many small business people–no matter what their industry–so read on (emphasis is mine):

Why You Need to Lose the DIY Mentality

Most artists are overwhelmed with the work that must be done to build a business, but they resist turning over tasks to professionals who can assist.

When you seek support for your business from consultants, assistants, and other professionals, you:

  1. Gain valuable time to focus on your genius work (making and marketing). This is what makes you money!
  2. Allow other people, who are probably better trained than you, to use their strengths for your benefit.
  3. Contribute to a more vibrant economy by employing someone else.

If you aren’t reaching YOUR goals, if you aren’t enjoying your business, consider that it might just be you are doing things that other people could do better/more quickly. Yep, you have to pay them, but it frees you up to do what you are good at, and love to do. This gives you more joy in your business (and life) and to grow your business which is a smart business –and LIFE–decision!

Take a few minutes and write down what business activities you are currently doing (or avoiding!) that you would love to have someone else do instead.

Now write down what activities you enjoy doing the most.

Where does your business make its money?

Make it your resolution to focus on what you enjoy the most and finding someone else who can help you with the other stuff. This will allow you to use YOUR expertise while they use theirs to benefit your business and your clients or customers.

Now THAT’s a win-win proposition!

If you are not sure where to start get we can help!

Facebook Timeline Deadline Approaching

The new Facebook Timeline profile updates will be happening in just a few days. If you have not already changed your Page’s appearance, now is the time!

Updating your Facebook page to the new Timeline format is more than a click of a button.

Instead of just letting Facebook alter your page by default, we recommend you take a few minutes to think about your branding and how you want your page to look. Remember, your business is using Facebook to communicate with customers and fans–present and future!

The biggest change about the timeline style is the cover photo. Dimensions for the cover photo are 851 pixels x 319 pixels. Smaller images will be stretched to fit, so we recommend you start with the correct size so you get what you really want in a cover photo.

I know a lot of people are using beautiful photos for their cover image, but before you put up a photo of a fantastic sunset or the view from your office, think about this space. You don’t necessarily have to have a giant logo in that spot, but it is in essence a large billboard of free advertising space. Keep in mind this is a chance for you to have some branding. You can change the cover photo as often as you like, so one option is to have a logo that you “dress up” for the season, similar to the Google icon.

Other items could be a map to your store, a key image about your industry or company, a composite of photos about your business, a shot of your store front, photos from when you first opened or your founder…the possibilities are limitless!

However, Facebook rules state that your cover image is not allowed to have:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section
  • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

Another change with the Timeline layout is that people will now be able to message you privately. Individuals have long been able to do this, but this is new for Pages.

Moving, editing, deleting and pinning items with the new Timeline layout

You may want to “Pin” a story or item to the top of your Page–to do that, hover over the story and click on the pencil icon. This will allow you to edit it, pin it, or hide the story. For example, you might not want to show that you updated your photo 5 times in the last 10 minutes, so you could delete all those notices–handy!

The other icon that shows up when you hover over a story is the star. If you click on the star it will make the story a “highlight” which means it will make it wider, filling both columns.

Play around with the new Timeline. It will be a little different looking, but the most important thing is to be responsible for your business page. Make it look the way you want. If you don’t have time, contact Internet Advertising That Works and we can help you with your cover photo, profile picture or arranging your page.