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Choosing the Best Domain for Your Business

Your company’s website can have a lasting impact on your customers. You’ll want their first experience to be a good one. But in order for them to have that experience, they must be able to reach your website in the first place. Choosing the best domain is one of your top priorities.

There are two parts to setting up your domain-picking out the type of domain you’re going to use and then creating a name for it that is simple enough for people to remember so that they can access your website.

The type of domain you use will be based on the requirements you meet and/or your price range since you will have to pay to register a domain. There are websites available to help you register.

 

Types of Domains

This is how the domain naming system is set up and how it all goes together in a URL. If you don’t know what a URL is, it is technically called a Uniform Research Locator. Simply put, it’s the web address you type in that instructs your interest browser to where you want to go.

When you register a domain, a URL is assigned to your website. The URL includes a protocol, domain name, and file name. If the site’s URL is https://www.example.net/index.html, [https://] is the protocol, [www.example.net] is the domain name and [/index.html] would be the file name. The domain name is what you’re going to be choosing.

Not every type of domain is available to everyone to use. Some of them ask for certain qualifications to be able to use them. Like, use by a specific type of institution or even citizens of a particular country. It just depends on which domain ending you’re looking at using.

 

Top-Level Domains (TLD) Available to the General Public

.com – for commercial purposes

.net – for internet service providers

.org – for non-profit organizations

.info – informational

.biz – business or commercial use

.me – blogs, resumes or personal sites

 

You can also use a country extension like .us or .fr for the United States or France. Country codes such as .cc (Cocos Islands), .to (Tonga) or .ws (Somoa) have open availability. Codes like .ca and .br are only available to citizens of those countries, Canada and Brazil.

 

Exclusive Top-Level Domains

.edu – for educational purposes only

.gov – for US government departments

.mil – for the use of the US military

When looking into these exclusive domains, check the registration requirements to determine whether or not you’re eligible to use them. The requirements are based on the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR), and you must apply for the use of the domain.

 

Where to Register Your Domain

There are many sites to choose from that provide domain name registration. Some of the most popular ones are:

 

Pricing

The amount you’re going to spend on the domain depends on which type you select. On the GoDaddy website, there are four main domains that they offer: .com, .net, .xyz and .store, among others. Prices, for the first year after registration, range from $.99 to $13.99.

Google Domains offers a vast variety of domain name endings with a huge range of prices. For example, the ending .movie costs $320 but .business is only $12, with many in between.

Some of the domains give a price for the first year only and then ask for more during the following years.

 

Choosing Your Domain Name

Now that you have selected a site to use for registration and have a domain ending picked out, it’s time to begin thinking about the domain name that’ll go in the URL. Grab a pen and paper and start brainstorming some ideas for names.

Begin by writing down the main keyword(s) associated with your website and any other words that are descriptive or identifying of your business and the services or products it provides. At least one of the keywords, or a variation of one, should be used in the name. It shouldn’t be too long or too complicated because you want the address to be easily remembered by people wanting to visit the site. Odd spelling can cause confusion as well, especially slang words. The less complexity, the better.

If your business is in a specific city or state, try including the name of your location in the domain. For example, if you’re a business that bakes cakes out of Orlando, consider using the name, orlandobakery.com, or something similar to that. It helps local customers to find and remember it easier.

On the registration website, such as GoDaddy or Google Domains or whichever one you’re using, search possible domain names to see which ones are already taken. It may be hard to find one available at first because millions of domain names are already registered by other companies, so be creative. Some sites will also help you determine the value of your domain. The value is based on many factors.

Different domain endings have more or less value than others. Abbreviations and hyphens, when included in the domain name, lessen the value and if it contains words that aren’t real or aren’t in the dictionary, that’ll lessen the value as well.

Once you find a name that is available to be registered, do your research and make sure the name you’ve selected isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another company, to avoid costly legal problems. Check this before officially registering the domain. It’s better to be safe than sorry, if you’re not thorough, you could jeopardize your business.

Also, to protect your brand, purchase misspelled or slightly varying versions of your domain name. This prevents competitors from using the variations for their own sites and ensures that potential or existing customers are redirected to the correct site even if they mistype it.

Choosing a domain is simple to do. Having a creative but easily remembered name to your company website is going to encourage more customers to come your way and want to stick around.

How Cross Posting on Social Media Channels Can Help You Connect

Social media plays a huge role in the way people connect. After all, it is the most common way that people interact with each other now, and it’s not going away anytime soon. That’s why so many companies choose to advertise via social media platforms; they know that it’s a reliable way to reach people and the best way to get the attention of potential customers. And, the more platforms you utilize, the better chance you have at reaching them.

The problem is that posting on multiple sites can take a considerable amount of time. If you have to create posts for 5 or 6 different platforms, a lot of time is wasted in the creation of each post. Not to mention how long it would take to login to each site and type out each one since they are different. Here’s your solution: cross-posting.

Cross-posting, essentially, is the act of posting the same piece of content on more than one social media platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+.  This is sometimes confused with cross-promoting, which is when you post a relatively similar, not identical, article across different social media platforms, but with varying messages in each one. With either one you use, your posts should always include a link to the original, longer article on your primary website for further reading and information. The social media post is intended to be brief and should give a little bit of insight into your company and encourage the reader to go to your website to learn more.

Is Cross-Promoting Better Than Cross-Posting?

A word of caution. A customer that has a passion for your company, who holds it in high regard, will typically follow your company page on every social media platform that they use. Sometimes, when the consumer sees the same article being posted by you on more than one of your social media pages, because of cross-posting, it screams lazy to them. It may even come across as an annoying spam technique. Even if they see the link to the original article, they might still feel unimportant to you because of the lack of personalization of each post.

To help avoid this, space out the social media posts about 2 or 3 days apart after the original article is posted to your website. The original should also be lengthier and more in-depth than social media posts. Also, remember that some people don’t use many different platforms, they might even use only one. Those few people are less likely to see identical posts.

According to Pew Research Center, in 2018, 68% of U.S. adults say they use Facebook, 35% use Instagram, 25% use LinkedIn, and 24% use Twitter. These percentages vary per age group as well, that’s why it’s important to know who your audience is. Facebook remains the primary platform for most Americans, most of who, use it daily.

It’s hard to say whether cross-promoting or cross-posting is better; it kind of depends on your personal opinion and previous experience with the reactions and opinions of your customers. The personalization that comes with cross-promoting is good because each social media platform has a different type of consumer, but cross-posting can save you a lot of time.

How Cross-Posting Is Beneficial to Startup Companies

Time management is huge when your business is just starting out. Time means opportunities, money, and productivity; that’s why it must be used wisely. If your decision is to go the cross-promotion route, the content creation needed for each individual network can be time-consuming. Your social media manager will be spending at least an extra hour or two doing it this way, that’s less time devoted to the expanse of other important areas in your company. In which case, cross-posting is your best bet.

Differences in Social Media Platforms

Pay attention to how posts are set up on different social media platforms. Each platform has its own restrictions and features. Remove hashtags when posting on Facebook because they are typically used on social networks such as Twitter and Instagram. Posts may also need to be shortened, like when creating tweets on Twitter because of the limited number of characters allowed in a single tweet.

Although, they did double the limit in 2018, from 140 characters to 280, allowing you to make much longer posts. We say, “the longer, the better,” but sometimes short and sweet does the trick; hence why you need a longer version on your website for people who want more information.

When you use multiple social media sites, you can sometimes connect them. Like on Facebook, when you make a post, it offers the option to also post it on another platform, like Instagram. The only downside to doing this is that when you post to them all at once, there’s no delay between when they’re posted.

People are more likely to see the duplicated post. Another way to make cross-posting easier is by using EveryPost, which lets you start with one article, easily alter it if necessary, and then post it to all the social media platforms that you want.

How to Keep Everything Organized

EveryPost is a good tool to use for posting. When creating the posts, don’t forget to insert a hyperlink to your own website and post often to keep people’s attention. And then, you should also maintain an updated and easily navigated site. One that is professional yet user-friendly. The simple act of sustaining an organized system will keep the user’s attention and help you retain them as a customer and follower.

Make things easier on yourself: hire a social media manager. They will keep your company posting regularly on social media and improve the quality of those posts so that you can focus on more important tasks at hand.

In Conclusion

Cross-posting, when done correctly, allows you to better connect with your audience on a more personal level. It especially helps you to establish more connections with people in the younger generation, who tend to use social media the most. Cross-posting saves you time and money and is, in general, very beneficial.

Strategies to Add to Your Content Playbook

Why does a football manager sometimes get sacked when it was the players that performed poorly?

Well, the answer is because he’s the one responsible for planning the strategy and instructing the players in the field.

In other words, he’s in charge of the team’s playbook, and the content of a playbook usually determines the performance that will play out. Poor content usually produces poor results.

The content marketer’s playbook isn’t different.

It’s the resource base for marketing efforts, detailing the strategic process for media planning, management, and optimization.

With a content playbook:

  • You have guidelines to promote consistency across markets and provide a roadmap for team members
  • You save time and energy for your teams since everyone has a document to consult and refer to
  • You have a database of best practices and results of web analyses to improve the marketing of your products or services

If you want your content playbook to play out successfully, there are a few strategies to include.

Create Personas

Creating a buyer persona gives insight into your marketing approach. Doing in-depth research about your ideal customer is important. You want to get to know your customers to better understand why and how they use your product and service.

Having access to this kind of information helps you tailor your marketing message to the right audience. Eventually, you get to attract more buyers just like the ones you already have.

In case you need help creating a basic buyer persona for your business, you can find a  free template online.

Content-Focused Goals

Once you’ve understood the wants and needs of your ideal customer, it’s time to formulate some goals that align with their requirements. Let your goals reflect what your content marketing strategy is looking to accomplish.

For example, saying you want to rank #1 on search engines isn’t a bad idea; however, this accomplishment depends more on other factors in addition to your content marketing strategy.

Examples of content-focused goals include:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Generate new leads
  • Drive more traffic to the website
  • Boost sales
  • Penetrate new markets
  • Launch new products or services
  • Enhance customer relationships

It’s always a good idea to set SMART goals to create a more successful marketing strategy. SMART goals are used to qualify goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. An example is we want to increase brand awareness by 20% at the end of 15 months.’

Content Ideation

Go ahead with your team and get creative with content ideas. Find relevant topics that will both interest your target audience and best communicate your brand’s message.

Great ideas are a good motivation for content creation and audience loyalty. They can drive traffic fast and increase conversion. Bad ideas on their own waste your resources, increase the bounce rate and send the wrong signal about your brand. You don’t want that.

That’s why you should get creative and come up with fantastic ideas to boost your strategy. Generating good ideas isn’t particularly tricky, but it definitely requires a lot of effort. Eventually, you will discover that the outcome is usually worth the process.

Delivery Format

Your ideation process isn’t complete without selecting the best format for your content. For this reason, you need to get to know your target audience because they may vary in terms of how they consume information.

For instance, does your persona prefer visuals or do they prefer to read blog posts? Would infographic content catch their attention or would a video better deliver the message?

Answering questions like these help you reach your audience naturally and helps align your message with what your target audience is looking to achieve.

In your plans, consider repurposing some formats so they could serve other purposes. A vlog can be converted to an ebook, and you can even create a template from it. Repurposing content also comes with its own host of benefits including possibly improving engagement and reaching a wider audience base.

Distribution & Promotion

Distribution strategies outline how you plan to promote the content to your audience. Various channels exist for content marketing–social media, for example, is one of the biggest channels.

The best strategy is to promote your content through the trio of Owned, Earned and Paid media. What are they?

  • Owned Media means distributing content through your own media platforms like your website, blog, email newsletter and social media pages
  • Paid Media means you pay for content distribution on sites like Facebook and Twitter. You can also choose to pay influencers to drive traffic to your owned media
  • Earned Media means other people are distributing or sharing your content. Some ways to earn content promotion include organic ranking, guest blogging, and social media sharing or retweets

 Use Editorial Calendars

We’ve discussed content ideation, delivery format, and distribution channels as strategies to include in your playbook. An editorial calendar is basically a schedule of when to implement those strategies and who’s responsible for what.

An editorial calendar sometimes is all you have to show when team members ask you for the next line of action. It’s an invaluable resource for managing your day-to-day marketing activities.

How much information to include in an editorial calendar depends on whether you are going to use a simple design or would like to opt for other tools and templates.

Keep It Adaptable

As you publish your content and engage your target audience, you will soon start to observe some discrepancies between your plans and real-world experience. Most of the guesses and earlier assumptions about your personas may end up not working out. Once you observe this, it may be about time you changed your strategy.

Therefore, you should make your initial marketing plan flexible, so when you discover that your prospects change their tastes and preferences, it won’t be as difficult or time-consuming for you to quickly and efficiently adapt your content to their current needs.

A flexible culture allows room for frequent reviews of your content strategy. It also brings freshness and relevance to your content, and your audience will appreciate you for it.

When in doubt, consult your Content Playbook and watch how your success plays out.

SEO and PPC-A Guide to Search Engine Marketing

According to a recent Netcraft Web Server Survey, there are approximately 1.8 billion active websites online. Of course, that number changes all the time because the internet is consistently growing and evolving. What is important to note is that Google processes about 3.5 billion searches every day. Research shows that almost 95% of this traffic only goes to websites that appear on the first page of Google’s results page. The first page of Google’s SERP (search engine results page) only holds about ten websites.

Now ask yourself, is your website popular enough to beat almost 1.8 billion other websites to appear on the first page of Google’s search engine results? If not, how can you change that?

One way to do so is to carry out extensive Search Engine Marketing which involves the use of SEO and PPC.

What’s the Difference Between SEO and PPC?

Simply put, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) involves all the steps you take to increase the amount of relevant traffic flowing through to your website from Google. It is all the things you do to ensure that your ranking improves and that your website appears on the first page of SERPs for your chosen keywords.

While there are very many different tactics you can employ such as social media marketing, traditionally, search engine marketing consists of two main processes:

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click advertising)

So what is the main difference between the two?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

To understand SEO and how important it is, you only have to look back at the last time you searched a major search engine such as Google. As soon as you typed in your search terms (often referred to as keywords), Google spits out a host of results that its algorithm deemed relevant to your query. What Google was trying to do was to direct you toward websites that best answer your query. It was, therefore, directing your traffic toward those websites. That traffic is referred to as organic or natural traffic, and websites that best answer user questions on Google get over 95% of it on a daily basis.

For Google to determine whether or not your website is good enough to be ranked on the first page of its SERP and direct all that organic traffic to you, your website needs to meet certain criteria set forth by Google algorithms. Mostly it has things to do with:

  • Keyword relevancy
  • Useful content
  • Clean web designs
  • Extensive link building and so on

There are about 200 other factors on that list, and all of them fall under SEO. As the name suggests, search engine optimization are all the things you do to make your website appealing to Google SERP bots.

NOTE: Organic search results are generally regarded as more credible than paid clicks.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

To understand PPC, you will also need to think of the last time you searched Google. Apart from the long list of relevant websites, there were other results alongside or on top of that list that was probably labeled as “adverts” or “sponsored results.” Either that or as you went to different websites, you kept running into pop-up ads promising to tell you more about whatever you searched for in the beginning.

These are PPC adverts. As a website owner looking to gain more traffic through paid advertising, you would have to bid on specific relevant keywords, but you only pay whenever someone clicks on your advert. The more competitive your keyword, the more you will have to pay per click. This is a more expensive way to gain traffic, and that is why you need to be very careful when crafting your ad-copy to ensure that you get more quality clicks (people who will buy or subscribe to your newsletter) as opposed to quantity clicks of people who are just browsing. You will pay for both.

Which Does Your Website Need: SEO or PPC?

There is a school of thought that says you need both but more of SEO than PPC. It is all about your desired results and the time you want to give it:

SEO

  • It takes time. You could be waiting months, even years for your keywords to rank high on Google.
  • It costs money. Excellent SEO services are offered by professional outfits, and it costs quite a bit.

The thing about it is that as long as it is done right the first time, SEO is an investment that is virtually evergreen and will keep on sending you natural traffic for the life of the website.

PPC

  • It doesn’t take as much time. A well-structured PPC campaign could be up and running within hours and show you almost immediate results. If you craft the copy well and choose competitive keywords (these will be a bit more expensive per click), you will almost certainly get more traffic as soon as your ads go up.
  • It costs money. Just like SEO, excellent PPC campaigns cost money. The best part is that you can determine how much you want to pay for each campaign so you do not blow your budget and you can decide to stop and continue the campaign as you see fit. All these decisions affect your traffic flow.

PPC only works for as long as you are paying for it. Once you stop, the traffic increase to your website will also dry up almost instantly. However, if you craft excellent copies and landing pages that make the most of your paid clicks, then you can experience a wonderful return on your investment.

How to Make SEO and PPC Work for You

To make both SEO and PPC work for you, there has to be a balance. If you have a new website or a new offer, then you might want to consider using PPC to give it quick visibility as you work behind the scene to create effective SEO for it.

The idea is to use SEO as your long-term strategy and PPC as a quick fix for results and visibility.

The Best Ways to Target Organic Traffic Funnels

Did you know that as many as 73% of all your B2B traffic isn’t ready to buy yet? Yes, this applies to targeted traffic let alone the top of the funnel traffic. Most of the people coming to your website are just window shopping. It is your job, or rather your content’s job, to capture those people and slowly convert them into sales. That is much easier said than done.

Targeting Organic Traffic

If you are just starting out or your business website is just getting launched, there is a good chance that you have a lot of ideas on where to get traffic. You intend to:

  • Run campaigns of social media
  • Do outreach to industry leaders for guest posts linking back to your pages
  • Pay Google for targeted ads
  • Maybe even start a YouTube channel to attract visitors-did you know that up to 70% of all consumers say that they shared a brand video at least once?

The point is, there are a lot of avenues through which you can get traffic when you are just starting. However, somewhere down the line, almost every website comes back home to Google. Organic traffic from Google searches is the holy grail of page views and website conversion.

As things stand, Google processes well over 40,000 search queries every second. That comes to about 3.5 billion searches every day and over 1.2 trillion every year. That is a lot of traffic, and there somewhere, your potential customers are busy trying to find you. All you have to do is make it easier for them to find your website and buy from you through high-quality content.

How to Create a Targeted Organic Traffic Funnel that Converts?

The first thing you need to acknowledge is that there are three main types of traffic:

  • Cold traffic
  • Warm traffic
  • Hot traffic

For your website to succeed in attracting the right kind of traffic that buys from your business, you need to cater to all of these categories.

Targeting Cold Traffic

There is a good chance that one of the main reasons why you have a website in the first place is so you can introduce your brand to a wider range of customer as well as give those who already know about you a bit more information on what you can do for them. Cold traffic is composed of all those people who have never heard of you before and don’t even know what you can offer them.

They have probably landed on your website by clicking on one of your ads or following a link you posted on some random comment section for a blog they like. Either way, they are here now, and you need to make an excellent first impression.

As much as they are just browsing, they may actually have the very problem that your brand seeks to solve but since they do not know your brand, they almost definitely NOT going to buy from you yet. As such, you need to create content that introduces you to them. Your goal here is to learn a bit more about them and to allow them to learn about you. Leading these people directly to a landing page will not work. Instead, you should lead them to:

  • Informational blog posts-something telling them more about the issue they may have and how you can help solve it
  • Guides helping them deal with the issue your brand solves
  • Data-driven content that showcases your authority on the subject
  • Podcasts giving them more information and showing your relationship with industry leaders in your niche
  • Instructional or informational videos

The point is, by the time this person is finished browsing through your website, they should get the feeling that they not only know you but that you are very knowledgeable in your niche. Only then will they be happy to sign up to your mailing list. You can encourage them to do that by offering them a free resource not found on the web pages they just visited.

Managing Warm Traffic

Your warm traffic is the kind of person who has already read a bit of your content and maybe even engaged with your brand on social media. These are the people who are on your mailing list but for some reason haven’t bought from you yet. This is the kind of traffic that needs to learn more about the solutions you offer. They need to see that it works for others and that it could work for them too.

You should, therefore, look to lead these people to pages such as:

  • Product demo videos
  • Customer case studies showing how your solutions helped others
  • Free samples if you offer them
  • More lead magnets such as e-books in case they need to learn more
  • Events hosted by your brand

What this kind of traffic responds to is seeing that you can help them because you have helped others. They also need to interact a bit more with your brand. This is where videos showing your employees interacting with other customers or the community around them comes in great handy.

Closing Hot Traffic

Hot traffic consists of people who have either already bought from you or are ready to buy. These are people who have extensively interacted with your content and have consistently engaged with you on social media. It could also consist of people who were referred to you by others who have bought from you. Either way, these people are either ready to buy or are back for more.

You should, therefore, create and direct this kind of traffic to:

  • Sales pages
  • Well thought out and structured landing pages
  • Unmissable offer pages
  • New product pages

You will find that many of these people are coming back to re-engage with you and your products. As such, you should look to upsell them or give them some discount if they refer their friends and family to your brand. That is how you keep your customers while growing their ranks.

All this takes a lot of time, excellent analysis of Google Analytics and top of the range content. Without the right kind of high-quality, convincing content, you will see nothing but high bounce rates on your website.