Why you need Managed WordPress Hosting

managed wordpress hosting, Prairie Giraffe, Gillette, Wyoming

If you have a WordPress website or are thinking about creating a website you have probably run across the term Managed WordPress Hosting. You may have noticed it seems to cost significantly more with little explanation. We wanted to expound on the difference and which one you should probably choose.

Most of the low end hosting you may have seen during your search for the perfect host is Shared Hosting. These hosts keep costs down by packing as many sites as possible onto their servers. If your site is small with not much traffic (as most sites are in the beginning) this option may be a good solution.

When should you consider moving?

Let’s get this out there right away, we recommend moving to a Managed WordPress Solution if your website is tied to your lively hood. If you are making money from your website you need professionals watching your back. Making sure that if the unthinkable happens you are back up in no time.

The purpose of Managed WordPress Hosting is to give you a completely hassle-free hosting experience so you can focus on running your business. Here are just a few of the advantages of Managed WordPress.

 

Speed

Speed is more important than ever. Especially since 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. With professionals Managing your WordPress core, updates, backups, caching and more you know your site will stay snappy.

With shared hosting like what you find on GoDaddy for $10 per month, you won’t have consistent speed because the resources of the server are spread across hundreds and even thousands of websites. Your site might load quickly one minute and then load slowly the next. What we typically see are sites that load slowly most of the time because there just aren’t enough resources to go around.

 

Security

Cheap shared hosting requires your constant attention to keep your site backed up and updated. Or the knowledge of how to set up and configure automation or management software. With Managed WordPress Hosting your site’s security is constantly monitored and if something should get through your site can be restored quickly, and the original issue fixed.

Did you know most “hacks” happen when your CMS is out of date? Check out this article from Cloud Living explaining why you should always keep WordPress and any other CMS you might be using updated. With Managed WordPress Hosting, WordPress is updated and backed up automatically every night.

SSL

Managed WordPress Hosting from Prairie Giraffe includes a free SSL to keep your customer’s information coming to and from your website encrypted.

This helps to prevent “man in the middle” attacks, where someone intercepts the traffic from your site and can see your customer’s personal information.

An SSL also allows your site to show as secure when someone visits your site. As of early 2018 Google is penalizing websites that aren’t secure so this is another reason to make sure your site has an active SSL.

With Managed WordPress Hosting this is taken care of for you so you never have to worry about it.

Optimized

Database, WordPress, CDN, everything is optimized to run as fast and securely as possible. No more worrying about what you don’t know.  In addition to maintenance and upkeep, Managed WordPress servers are specifically configured for WordPress.

Speed is the critical for user experience and SEO. Once you get someone on your site, you don’t want them to bounce because your site took too long to load, you need a server that is optimized to load your site quickly.

 

Dedicated Resources

Unlike cheaper shared hosting plans you have dedicated resources. Your site will not be packed in with hundreds or even thousands of other websites all fighting for the same CPU, RAM, Bandwidth.

 

Uptimes

Your server and site are managed so someone is watching to make sure your site doesn’t go down. Even if you should suddenly have a surge of traffic. With most shared hosting plans you are probably going to have your site become unreachable, crashing, or being charged high overages if you exceed your allowances for site visits.

Managed WordPress Hosting with cloud servers, a surge is no big deal. If the surge isn’t a surge but the new normal. As in your website just became very popular and you’re getting tons of traffic, the server can be scaled to fit the new load. No need to move your site, deal with support, or hire someone to migrate your site. If you’re using Prairie Giraffe’s Managed WordPress Hosting the server is scaled so you have the resources you need and that’s that.

 

Who doesn’t need Managed WordPress Hosting?

If you have a small hobby blog or are just starting out with WordPress you really don’t need Managed Hosting. We would recommend signing up with Cloudways instead. They have affordable rates for those who are just getting started.

The one exception would be eCommerce. This also ties back to the beginning when we said: “if your website is tied to your lively hood.” If you’re going to be making money off of your website we highly recommend going with a Managed WordPress plan from the start.

Have questions or need more information? Contact us about Managed WordPress or any other Hosting question you may have. We’d love to help.

 

🙂

 

 

PPC vs SEO – What’s the difference and why both are important

adwords, SEO, Prairie Giraffe, Gillette, Wyoming

What’s the difference between SEO and PPC?

Your website is all set up and running. You list your services, products, and all the reasons your potential customers should be using you over your competitors. You launch and wait, no one comes or the ones that do bounce off your page (or leave quickly without converting).

 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

The problem is probably with your SEO or search engine optimization. You need to let search engines know who you are, what you do, and do it in a way search engines can understand.

Things like Optimized Content, Proper Tags, Metadata, Schema Data, and Backlinks are important and having a good handle on what these are and how to use them, or hiring someone who does, is important. You may get lucky and Google will crawl your pages and rank your site at the top of search results. This is more likely if you are in a non-competitive niche, however for most of us, that is not going to happen without doing the work.

 

Google Ads and PPC

If you don’t know what Google Ads and PPC are, it’s how businesses advertise on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and other websites all over the internet who are paid by search engines and social media ad networks to display those ads. You probably see these ads every day and don’t even notice.

These ads can show on millions of websites and are a great way to target customers and potential leads who are either showing signs of being interested in your products and services or who have visited your site in the past (retargeting/remarketing).

Not only can your ads be customized to fit your needs and goals, but you can also track conversions and other metrics. This allows you to get a better picture of not only who is looking at your ads, but also what devices they are using, where they are, and if they are your intended audience.

There are many different types of ads to display on these networks and search engines. The majority of ads fall into three categories:

Display Ads: Visual banner ads that typically include an image and text that display in many different sizes. You’ll see these in your social media feeds, on the sidebar, and across the top of many websites. These ads are great for general promotion and retargeting customers who’ve visited your site in the past.

Search Ads: These are the ads that show on the top and bottom of search results and are a great way to get into the first three results of Google. These ads are great at targeting high intent customers who are actively searching for your products and services.

Video Ads: These ads show before and during videos on Youtube and social networks like Facebook. These ads are great at showing people what you do or speaking directly to your ideal customer. They have some of the same targeting options as other ad options and can be very effective.

PPC VS SEO

So what’s the difference and why are they both important?

Imagine your website is located in a city. Your “store (website)” is new to the neighborhood. No one really knows you, what you do, or if you are trustworthy. On top of that, you couldn’t afford prime real estate to the point that your store is 20 miles from town and there is only a single dirt road leading to it (and it’s hidden behind a tree). This is what it’s like for most new websites.

You can direct people to your store using traditional methods like calling them, posting about your store, emailing people, and word of mouth. But people are still going to have to do some searching to find you, because of the long drive and the bad road.

As you can see from this situation you would need to do serious work if you ever hoped to be successful. You would need some better roads, a closer location, a reputation, some advertising, etc. Your product may be really good, and the dirt road going by your shop may be enough that advertising will get customers in the door. However, as soon as the advertising stops most of the new customers stop as well. This is the picture of why SEO and PPC are both important.

PPC is kind of like sticking up a billboard in the middle of your “town (the internet)” and a flier in your potential customer’s pocket (in a non-creepy way). PPC will work as long as you can afford it and is probably going to work well if you invest enough time into learning what you’re doing (or hiring a company like Prairie Giraffe). However, as soon as you stop paying, the billboards and signs come down and the next person willing to buy those spots gets their ads put up. It’s the Pay-to-Play option. It gets people in the door and it does it well, but if PPC is your only strategy, you will pay forever.

SEO, on the other hand, is like building roads to your store, larger, faster, smoother than your dirt trail. Gaining trust from those in your “town” and a good reputation (Links and Domain Authority). The more search engines know who you are, what you do, that other people reference you, and that you are the most relevant result to fulfill their customer’s needs, you will get traffic and people coming to your store (website). The best part is once your SEO has been taken care of and is in good shape, you typically don’t have to pay as much to keep the momentum going.

Granted you should always be working on your SEO (creating content, building backlinks, optimizing your website), but unlike PPC, you don’t have to pay per click or impression and done right you will start gaining more and more organic traffic.

 

Both are important, but which one should I start with?

Short answer, Both!

You can get customers to your site using PPC advertising. But, your long-term strategy should include incorporating SEO best practices into your website from the beginning. Start including the right headers, alt tags on your images, metadata, and schema where applicable. Make sure your site is fast and works great on mobile devices. Start getting local citations with websites like Yelp, Angie’s list (if applicable), Google My Business, Apple Maps, etc. Use content marketing and blogging to show your audience and Google what you do and that you know what you’re talking about.

Look for opportunities to get links to your business. If you have a business where you are an authority on something, see if other complementary businesses would be open to guest blogging opportunities or linking to your site, products, or articles. Also if you aren’t already, start blogging for your own business website. Nothing tells search engines and audiences that you know what you are talking about better than actually talking about it.

Search engines are really good at reading text. They still struggle with images especially when you aren’t using alt tags. So writing about what you do, problems you solve, questions your customers may be asking you, how you do particular things is a great way to build trust with customers and reinforce your relevancy to search engines.

A word of caution. Don’t stuff keywords into your content. By keyword stuffing I mean don’t use the word just to use it. Use the keywords you want to rank for naturally. If reading your content out loud sounds off, or unnatural, re right it using synonyms or other related keywords. Search engines are really good at context and synonyms and are getting better and better at detecting articles that were written just to trick them into ranking the site. You will be penalized and that’s the opposite of what you’re trying to do.

Here’s an article all about keyword stuffing and why it’s a bad idea.

So now go start building those “roads” and authority today for the long term while getting customers to your site and coming back to your site with PPC.

If you need help getting started with any of the concepts we have talked about here, or if they sound great, but you just don’t have the time, feel free to reach out. We would love to help.

 

 

How to use Hashtags to Promote Your Local Business and Events

adwords, ppc, digital marketing, Prairie Giraffe, Gillette, WY

What is a Hashtag?

You may have seen and heard the term hashtag. But, what is it? Why does it matter?

A hashtag is simply a keyword phrase, spelled out without spaces, with a pound sign (#) in front of it. For example, #InboundHour and #ChocolateLovers are both hashtags.

-Hubspot

So you see it’s simple, a Hashtag is a word, phrase, or set of characters behind a ‘#’ with no spaces. ie. #SmallBusinessSaturday, #ShopLocal, or #Caturday2018.

Hashtags were originally used to categorize and make searchable tweets and posts around a topic.

By using a hashtag you are telling the social channel you are posting on to categorize this post into a certain topic.

 

Why would I use a Hashtag?

Hashtags are a great way to drive organic traffic to your social media pages and then hopefully to your website as well.

By using a hashtag associated with your business or the customers of businesses like yours you are making it easier for people to discover you and your business. This can be particularly good for local businesses.

Prairie Giraffe is located in Gillette Wyoming. If I want to do business with other companies in Gillette Wyoming all I need to do is search the official Gillette Wyoming hashtag, #GilletteWy, and just for good measure, I’ll throw in a #ShopLocal.

Now I can see all the businesses who are promoting themselves and their posts as local to the Gillette community and are trying to encourage others to shop locally with them.

Shop Local | Prairie Giraffe | Gillette Wyoming

So you can see hashtags allow you to join in on the conversation and engage with a community of people and businesses you wouldn’t otherwise be connected to.

Unlike other groups and forums, the conversation doesn’t require management. There are positives and negatives to the lack of control. For one, anyone can use your hashtag. An example is #quotes, you will find millions of posts and there will be a lot of “noise”.

However, with a tag like #quotes, there will be tons of people who see that content. If you sell signs with inspirational quotes on them to hang in your home, you should use #quotes, but then also use something a little more targeted to your customers like #DreamLivingRoom, #HandPainted, and #ShopLocal.

The upside is anyone can use and see your hashtag. By using a hashtag in your posts you are joining a larger stream. You are opening up your content to a larger audience. People looking for your content.

Suppose you are wanting to get the word out to attendees of an event your business will be presenting at. You should start dropping in the events official Hashtag and those who are attending the event or otherwise searching that tag will see your posts in the stream of other posts with that same tag.

Use hashtags whenever you are wanting to get the word out to a larger community and engage with new people on social media.

We need to stop and just mention the use of Hashtags is only for social media. If you are using email to reach your customers then hashtags should not be used.

 

Using Hashtags to Promote Your Business

Hashtags are a great way to promote your business. As we mentioned before using hashtags allows you to enter the larger stream of posts and get seen by more people. Tags like #ShopLocal, #SmallBiz, #SmallBusinessSaturday are all good general tags for small businesses.

Other great small business tags are location specific. Like we mentioned before, the Gillette Wyoming Tag is #GilletteWy. By using this tag I am letting everyone who wants to shop in Gillette or is just searching for information about Gillette that we are a part of the community.

Hashtags such as #ShopLocal, #SmallBiz, #SmallBusinessSaturday are general hashtags. The more generic a tag and the more often it is used the bigger the cloud of posts that use it. Then there are hashtags that are more industry specific. We recommend using a mixture of both. You never know which tags are going to help you the most so use both.

General Tags

General tags like #quotes, #rainyday, #ShopLocal, #beautiful, #instagood, are super popular and reach a large audience. Your posts can be washed away in the noise, but also have the best chance of being seen by someone.

Industry Specific or Niche Tags

These are more specific and while they may never see the light of day, they stand the best chance of being gold. Someone searching a Niche tag are probably more passionate about what they are searching for and have a better chance of being fiercely loyal. Which is great for your brand!

#FeedFeed, #CoffeeShots, #OutdoorLife, #ApartmentTherapy, #vitamix are examples of niche tags.

These tags will have a much smaller audience than most of the general tags, but they have an audience that are more likely to engage with your brand and are much more likely to follow you.

You should use a mixture of niche hashtags and general/popular tags. You want your content and posts to be getting out to the most people as possible and at the same time attracting those looking for your products and services.

A picture of this in action would be as Prairie Giraffe we make the following post.

Social Media | Prairie Giraffe | Gillette Wyoming

 

You can see we used very generic tags like #seo and used some very niche tags like #OutsourcedCMO, which is limited to our industry. We want to be discovered by people looking for SEO advice and ultimately SEO services and we want to show up for someone looking for an Outsourced CMO service.

 

Using Hashtags to promote your events.

We’ve touched on it before, but events are great places for Hashtags. It doesn’t make sense for every business at the event to make a page or group about the event.

However, most events have official Hashtags. This allows all the news, conversation, announcements, and anything else surrounding the event to be gathered into one easily searchable place that doesn’t have to be managed.

Imagine you’re holding an event for wedding vendors. You create official Facebook and Instagram pages and you make a few announcements on that page. That’s great. But, by having an official Hashtag for the event, you allow people to join in on the conversation about your event. They can make announcements, tell their customers that they will be there, show off the products they are going to bring and more. Without having to be an admin of your page.

So if you are going to an event, it’s in your best interest to find out what the official Hashtag will be and start using it in your posts that pertain to the event. Are you announcing a product, are you bringing something special, do you just want everyone to know you’ll be there?

There is no downside to using the events official tag. You will be helping make the event a richer experience for everyone and if your competitors refuse to use the tag, you are going to stand out from them.

Another example – let’s suppose you are holding your own event. Nothing too big, just a special sale with some new products and a short class related to your industry. You need an official hashtag. What fun is a party if no one shows up? Imagine though if one of your excited attendees shares your hashtag.

Other people see your fan’s post and click the tag (since tags act as links). They now get to see what’s going on and that they would like to attend as well. You know people tend not to do things unless they are incentivized so you make a deal with your followers that if they like your page and share your hashtag in a post they will be entered into a drawing for a free product, which you hold after the class.

Now you are getting more shares than before and since the prize requires them to attend, even more, people are coming.

This is just an example of the power of Hashtags when used with your Social Media. We will go over more amazing things Hashtags can do in the future.

So get out there and #StartToday, #DontWait, #GrowthHacking, #SavvyBusiness.

 

How to Use Social Media at Trade Shows and Events

social media management | Prairie Giraffe | Wyoming

You’ve paid your fee’s, rented your tables, you’re purchasing your SWAG, and all your marketing signage is being cranked out by the local print shop. You might think you have all your bases covered, but what is going to drive people to your booth? Is this an “if you build it, they will come” situation?

While you will get a lot of people walking by wouldn’t it be better to get people to stop by and actually look for you because of what they have seen online?

Your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) are places for you to let people know what’s going on with you and where you’re going to be. It’s a place for you to connect with your customers and attract new customers. Your channels are a community, not just a series of impersonal ads. Social media is about connection and engagement, not just “impressions”.

With that said you can use social media to reach those who are interested in your business or services or have done business with you in the past. A trade show or event is a perfect opportunity for you to connect with your customers and leads. So follow these tips to drive foot traffic to your booth and create a buzz around your product or services.

 

Before the Event

  1. Find out if the event has a specific hashtag for the event and use it on your Social Channels (ie. #NEWCAHomeShow). A few weeks and up to a month before the show start dropping in the official hashtag for the event into your announcements and posts. Hashtags are a great way to get your posts into a larger community (others using the same hashtag) and get noticed by people who have not liked or interacted with your page.
  2. Like and follow the pages and or social channels for the Event Sponsors, the Event Page (if there is one) and the Location. Such as the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, NEWCA Home Show, and the Camplex. This is a great way to support the event sponsors and get updates about the event.
  3. Share the event on your business page. Let everyone know your booth number and what you will be selling. Linking to the events page or website is also a good idea and with help get the word out to others who may not have known about the event.
  4. Share pictures or videos of what your customers might look forward to seeing from your company at the show (This is a good time to launch a new product or service – start getting people excited).
  5. Take this pre-event time to invite people directly that you would like to see at the show. Visit your email list and send out an invite to past customers and leads, inviting them to come see your booth and let them know what they will be seeing from you there. Also, consider an incentive for these special invites (i.e for those who show the invite at the show, they get a coupon for 10% off, or even something as simple some of your higher end SWAG?)
  6. If you are a B2B business check out your LinkedIn Connections and send an invite to them as well. This can be a great way to get some face time with a decision maker who may have been too busy to come see you otherwise.

 

At the Event

It’s the big day! Don’t lose the momentum you’ve been working hard to create. Keep people interested with the following:

  1. Post a picture of your booth. Make sure to let people know where at the show to find you. Circle your space on the event map and post it with the picture. Make finding you as easy as possible.
  2. Go LIVE! Show your customers what they are missing and what you have to offer. Use Facebook live or Instagram Stories to show people where you are, what you are doing, and talk a little bit about your products and services. This would be a great time to talk about the value your product brings. What makes you different. Chances are some of your competitors are going to be at the show and this is a great way to stand out.
  3. Encourage customers to take pictures of your booth and post it on your page! Offering a small incentive (discount on products or services if they do) or a chance at a prize!
  4. This is a great time to collect “Likes” – a Like can be used as an entry for any raffles you are doing (you could also collect emails as well).
  5. You are going to get busy at the event. Keep the buzz going by scheduling posts, tweets, or updates before the show to post during the show.

 

After the Event

  1. Announce the winners of any drawings in a live video at your location so people know where you are located.
  2. Follow up on emails or leads you collected. Don’t let those leads grow cold. Follow-up with anyone you collected contact information from. This is really an opportunity to impress. Even if someone didn’t have a question, but just gave you their email in exchange for a free gift, send them a thank you for stopping by your booth. This is a great way to remind them of you without being too “salesy” right out of the gate.
  3. And most importantly keep the momentum going – If you generated a lot of new likes don’t lose their interest! Take advantage of all your new followers and keep them engaged with interesting and exciting information about your products or services!

 

These are just a few ideas to help you get the most out of your next Trade Show or Event. Check back for more tips, advice, and strategies and be sure to follow the NEWCA Home Show page on Facebook! Of course, if all of this sounds Greek (or geek) to you, we would love to discuss the ways we can help. 

 

 

How to Focus Your Ads on Real Buyers

adwords | Prairie Giraffe | Wyoming

You set up your first campaigns on AdWords. You researched all the different options. You avoided the pitfall of AdWords Express and you launch your campaign.

You are selling Widgets. The finest Widgets in the industry. You read all the blog posts and know everything there is to know about how to choose the top keywords related to your Widgets.

Your ad copy is great, your call to actions are on point, and from all your research you are pretty sure you will place near the top.

Then something happens:

A month goes by and you aren’t getting as many good leads as you thought you should be getting. You go in and look at your campaigns and everything looks right. You are getting a good number of clicks. People just aren’t buying like you thought they would.

Perplexed you click on the little button labeled Search Terms.

There are searches for “blue widgets”, “red widgets near me”, “widgets for sale”, etc. Further down the page, you start seeing “cheap widgets”, “how to make your own widgets”, “free widgets”, etc.

No Negative Keywords

You have just made an expensive mistake, but an incredibly common one. You didn’t set any negative keywords.

Negative keywords are keywords you don’t want your ads to show for. Some keywords you should add to all of your campaigns if you’re selling a service are:

  • How to
  • Cheap or cheapest
  • where to buy
  • Price

If you’re selling a product:

  • How to
  • Cheap or cheapest
  • Price
  • Make

There are many others but those are good safe words to block right from the start. The goal is to avoid price shoppers so you don’t spend money on people who are not looking to buy. Some you won’t know until it’s too late.

If you are advertising for a restoration company who cleans up smoke damage. You may not know to add “smoking” to your negative keywords, until you get a search for “how does smoking affect your body.”

In this case, you should probably add smoking as a negative keyword and maybe consider changing smoke damage to an exact match or more restrictive match type. You probably just fell victim to broad match and now you are paying $5 for someone who wasn’t even looking for your services.

 

Age and Gender Demographics

Now that you’ve set up some negative keywords and are stopping unwanted clicks from people who aren’t even looking for what your selling. It’s time to go over to campaigns and then demographics.

Look at age and gender. If you own a business that primarily caters to women it may be a good idea to narrow and target your advertising to women.

Or take a look at how old your average conversion is. Some will be Unknown, but there can be some interesting and useful insights. For instance, if it costs $20 to convert a 34-year-old at 12%, but $12 to convert a 60-year-old at 34% CTR.

Armed with this info, you can adjust your bid to increase when dealing with the younger harder to convert demographic. This may not always be a good idea. But, since you know it’s cheaper to convert the 60-year-old you can divert that budget to the harder to convert customer and increase your conversions all around.

Or go the opposite direction. Reduce the bid for the harder to convert audience so your ad moves further down the page. That way you are more likely to only get noticed by those who are really interested in your products or services and are actually reading the copy on the search results.

You don’t want to pay for people who are just clicking on the top of the page.

Location Filtering

Where does your customer live? If you are selling in a particular city you need to limit the locations where your ads will show.

By default, your ads will try to show to the whole US. This is a costly mistake. You will be amazed how fast you can blow through your daily budget by advertising to the entire country when you only work in a small area.

To set this up go to your Campaign and then settings. Then Locations. Enter the location you want to advertise in. Zip code, city, county, state, etc. Don’t forget to save your selection.

 

These are just a few of the options you have to narrow your audience and start attracting more serious buyers. Let us know if you have questions. We’d love to help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEO Priorities for the New Year

seo, gillette, wyoming, prairie giraffe, search engine optimization

It’s a new year. It’s winter. Maybe business is a little slower and you have a little extra time on your hands.

Now is a good time to go over your site and commit some of this extra time to getting these SEO tasks completed. After all, waiting is not doing you any favors.

Here we go:

HTTPS

It’s been a whole year since Google started penalizing websites for not being secure. Whether it’s through “shaming” or actually penalizing your sites position in search results.

It’s easier than ever to get an SSL certificate. Don’t put it off anymore. Some hosts will even install an SSL for you.

If you know what you’re doing head on over to Namecheap and purchase your SSL. They have a great tool to help you choose the correct type and if you host with Namecheap installing it is pretty doable.

If you host with someone else, Comodo or Namecheap have installation, verification, and all the other steps you have to perform in order to get your site using your SSL Certificate.

Once your SSL is installed on your cPanel or hosting account, you will need to replace the URL’s on your website with HTTP, with URL’s that start with HTTPS. There are several tools to help your or a Simple SSL plugin that automatically changes URL’s to HTTPS and redirects visitors to the HTTPS version of your pages.

If you don’t want to learn to install server and site security let us know. We can give you some options.

Mobile Experience

AMP

AMP Project is geared toward making the web mobile friendly. With Code that plays well with mobile devices and loads quickly.

The Accelerated Mobile Pages (“AMP”) Project is an open source initiative that came out of discussions between publishers and technology companies about the need to improve the entire mobile content ecosystem for everyone — publishers, consumer platforms, advertisers, creators, and users.

– AMP Project

Add AMP support to your WordPress website with the AMP plugin from Automatic.  It’s easy and will help your site to be ready as the internet as a whole becomes more and more mobile.

When activating the AMP Plugin or any other plugin on your live site make sure you create a backup. Don’t cause a catastrophe you can’t come back from while trying to improve your site.

 

Responsive

In 2018 and beyond you need a mobile responsive site as a minimum. Your site needs to be able to resize and function correctly on a smartphone.

Head over to this responsive website tester from responsinator.com and test your site. If it either breaks or looks exactly the same no matter what size screen you are using then you have a serious problem.

If your site is not responsive and you don’t know how to make it responsive, contact us or give us a call. We can give you some options to make your site mobile friendly.

 

Build Some Links

Reach out to those sources you have not had time to contact yet and look for link building opportunities.

Who in your industry can you guest blog for?

Who would be willing to feature your business on their blog? Is there a product you use frequently who would be willing to feature your case study on their social media and link to you from their product pages?

 

Local Citations

If you have been putting off cleaning up your Local Citations or getting listed now is a perfect time to get those taken care of.

Are there any local citations you need to sign up for and are there citations with incorrect information? Go through and audit your local citations and make sure your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) are correct.

Having the wrong information out there can negatively affect your local SEO and “confuses” search engines.

Moz has a great infographic of what they have found to be the citation hierarchy and is a great place to find some you may either be missing or not thought of before.

 

In conclusion:

A lot of these are low hanging fruit and some are much more technical. It’s the new year. So set some goals for your website’s SEO and set out to accomplish them. As always, let us know if you need a hand. We’d love to help!

 

 

 

On Page Local SEO Tips You Can Use Right Away

local seo, search engine optimization, Prairie Giraffe, Gillette, Wyoming

Getting your business “out there” locally.

Building a website is not enough to get your local business in front of local customers searching for your services.

You need good solid SEO to make sure your customers find your content and search engines know what you do and what you’re writing about.

If you’ve dipped your toes into the sea of information about Search Engine Optimization you probably went cross-eyed and had that sinking feeling that accompanies a test you haven’t studied for.

You may also have come across articles informing you that there are some differences between SEO and Local SEO for Small Businesses.

It’s enough to make a grown man cry. But fear not. Rome wasn’t built in a day and this problem can be solved with a few actionable steps.

So where do we start:

1. Start by Optimising Your Logo

Rename your logo file. Include your business name and location in the file name. Don’t forget to add this info to the Alt Tag as well. Remember, search engines can’t read pictures. Don’t neglect your Alt Tags.

2. Add Your Business Details

Make sure you at least have your Name, Address, and Phone Number or NAP on your contact page. We highly recommend adding them to your footer as well so that information can show up on every page and post.

3. A Map and Directions

This might be too simple, but if you want people to visit your business tell them how to get there. And show them with a map.

Most themes have a map module and if they don’t WordPress has tons of plugins to allow you to add a map to your site.

 

4. Page Titles and Descriptions

Page titles are a great place to sneak in your location. Leaving your title as “home page” is a wasted opportunity. Descriptions are another place you can include your locations as well as your services.

 

5. Content and Links

Make sure the information you are including on your pages and content is useful. Don’t stuff keywords. Google is not buying your products. People who have a problem they need to be solved are.

Write for them. And, while you’re writing for them you should include links to other useful information and other local businesses. The goal is to solve problems for customers and bring value. Not impress Google.

 

6. Language and Geo-tags

Let search engines know you are in the US. It’s important to not leave them guessing.

 

7. Dive into Schema

Schema.org markup tells search engines what you provide, what your page is about, where you are located, which image is your logo, etc. It’s important to know it make sure you have the correct information marked up.

 

8. Present Your Team

Have your team on your website. Chances are if you’re a local company your key employees are from near where your company operates. Their names are associated with your region.

 

9. Local News and Announcements

Are you holding a seminar, offering a new product or service? Make sure you include them on your website.

Also,

Link to your social posts and be sure to drive traffic to your site with those posts.

 

In Conclusion:

Some of these tips may be too much for you to put to work. Schema markup can be confusing and Schema.org was created for geeks and not business owners.

So if you can’t get all these put to work, focus on the following:

  1. Say where you are based
  2. Say who you are and what you do.
  3. Use your location in page titles.
  4. Rename your image files with information relevant to your business and location.

Once you have this done, head over to Schema.org and try to do the same thing using Schema markup. Remember though, you are writing for people.

If all else fails, talk about what you do, where you are located, and solve problems.
(click to tweet)

If all of this sounds like greek to you drop us a line. We would be happy to help you get your local SEO headed in the right direction.

4 Reasons Your Business Should Be Using Facebook Ads

facebook ads, Prairie Giraffe, Gillette, Wyoming

How do you follow your favorite stores online? You go to Facebook and Like their page. You love the videos they share of their latest products or creating a something amazing or delicious. You feel closer to those businesses, develop a relationship, and engage with them more than other businesses who don’t make the effort to share their activities and day to day with you.

Who stays top of mind with you? A local company who exclusively advertises on Google or a business who has an active Facebook page and uses ads to target those who have interest in what they sell? The answer, of course, is the latter.

Customers are going to use Google to find solutions to an immediate need. However, Facebook is a great place to develop the long-term relationships that will pay off with return business and connections to the larger community in your industry. Facebook is the people ask their friends who they recommend. You want to be on there and ready to be recommended by those you have done a good job for in the past.

We have gone down this rabbit trail enough. This is not a post about why you should be using Facebook. This is a post about why you should be putting ads on Facebook. Here are just a few of the reasons you should be advertising on Facebook.

 

1. Your customers are on Facebook

Facebook is where people are at. Facebook boasts over one billion active users. If you’re trying to reach a particular group of people they are most likely on Facebook.

 

2. Target people in your area or who are interested in your products

Facebook ads can target people who are interested in your products and services. While these are not warm leads they are not cold either. This is far better than cold calling and other methods which are intrusive and can leave a bad taste in peoples mouths.

For a local company being able to target customers Geographically is huge. Being able to target an area within a certain distance of your shop and combine that with interest or affinity targeting will really help bring in the leads.

 

3. Charts and graphs

Facebook ad results are tracked. Using insights on your page and Facebook Ads Manager you can see exactly how your ads are doing. Who’s looking at them? Clicks, likes, reach, cost per engagement. All these metrics let you make decisions moving forward and let you see if your ads are working.

Ad’s without analytics are not nearly as effective. Stabbing in the dark is not a good use of your money. Not satisfied with the results tracking from Facebook? Connect your Facebook ads to Google Analytics and see even more details. Here’s an article from Social Media Examiner on how to do it.

 

4. Keep customers coming back

Facebook is a great way to keep your customers informed on what you are doing and why they should come back. Ads can target those who have already shown interest in your Facebook page and visited your website.

Using Facebook’s Custom Audiences feature, you’ll install a snippet of code on your website that will place a cookie on the computers of those who visit your site. With this installed on your site, the code will send information back to Facebook about which pages were viewed on your site by a specific visitor.

-acquisio.com

Building custom audiences helps move people through your funnel and closer to a decision to buy.

Facebook ads should be part of your inbound marketing strategy and are one of the most affordable options for online advertising. Contact us if you need help getting started or just don’t have time to create ads but know you need to. We’d love to help.

 

 

 

5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Social Media Manager

Social Media Management, Prairie Giraffe, Gillette, Wyoming

Have you ever gone to your favorite bagel shop’s Facebook page expecting a lively page wishing you a happy (insert holiday 🙂 and maybe some specials, a few posts on how to prepare your favorite bagel from home, and other useful info? Only to find a ghost town.

It’s disappointing. Today we even expect our dentist to have an active social media channel. We want to see if they are closed the Friday before Christmas. We love to be able to ask if they accept our insurance or if they recommend a certain type of toothpaste. We want to feel connected.

It’s Not Just You

If you are not managing your social media channels you belong to a large club. There are an astounding number of businesses who started a Facebook page, posted some obligatory test posts, and never looked back.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to miss out on all those opportunities to make a good impression on your potential customers. You can engage with your current customers and remind them why they want to come back.

You need a Social Media Manager.

 

Not an intern or someone’s son who spends entirely too much time on Reddit. You need someone who understands that while you want an active page you are a business and need to do more than entertain (unless your business is entertainment). You need to stay top of mind with customers and you need your posts to help establish and maintain a relationship. Here are some of our top reasons you need a Social Media Manager:

 

We Come Up With New Content.

You need fresh content and you need to stay on brand. Your social media manager should gather what you want to say. Events, sales, services, company BBQ’s, whatever, and create the posts to promote your events and business.

 

We Give You Back Your Time.

Creating all that content takes time. A good Social Media Manager will take the burden of planning, creating, and posting. Giving you back hours of time each week, while making sure your business stays top of mind for your customers and potential customers.

 

We Help You Establish Your Business As An Authority

When people see you have an active social media presence where you are sharing the day to day of your business as well as providing value to your community you show you are an authority in your industry. It’s a great way to show you know what you’re talking about without being arrogant.

Increase Engagement From Your Followers

Social Media Managers keep an eye on and help facilitate an active social media page which will encourage engagement from your followers. Likes, shares, comments. All of these things come from an active channel with followers who come to you to solve their problems.

 

Attract New Customers

Ultimately what all this comes down to is a Social Media Manager is there to help you attract new customers. We’ve gone over how you either don’t have the time or don’t want to spend the time crafting content and strategizing campaigns. However, you need to Establish Authority and Increase Engagement.

 

Where Do I Start?

The items in this list are necessary to help you grow in the modern world where your online presence is just as important, if not more important, than your storefront. Your Social Media Manager can help take this burden off your plate and spend the time to get you on the right track. Our goal is to communicate to your audience what you want to say.

If you’re ready to stop waiting for someday and start getting your Social Media Channels attracting new business contact us. We’d love to help you get noticed and stay top of mind. 

What is Google My Business

google my business, Prairie Giraffe, Gillette, Wyoming

 

Have you ever Googled your business or one of your services? You open your browser, type in your top service, then bang, right there in .0068 seconds your competitor across town pops up. 

It’s frustrating. You know you know you have this service listed on your site. You know you have it linked to from various citations around the web. You know you put in headers and that the keywords are on the page. But still, right at the top is a list of 3 other businesses ahead of yours.

 

Google is trying to help ….. really.

You see this is where Google is trying to be helpful for its end users, and where you can be left behind. Even if your SEO is great, if you haven’t listed your business on Google My Business you will be behind your competitors. Google is trying to show its users relevant businesses that perform the service you searched for from local businesses. We find that a lot of times distance is the tiebreaker as well. Which is great. If two businesses are equally matched then the distance I have to drive to get there is going to be a big factor in me having a good experience or not.

 

Now Google may eventually pick up on who you are, where you are, all that but this is your chance to tell Google through their My Business product what you do, where you are located, hours, and more. This is your “listing” on Google itself. It’s your chance to say what you do and not leave it up to the interpretation of indexing robot spiders.

 

So how do I get started?

 

Signing up is relatively easy. Just head over to Google and Search My Business. Or go Here.

 

google my business

 

Go to start now and Google will walk you through their sign up process. If you already have a Google account you would click Sign In. Either way, if you try to sign up twice, Google will pick up on it and direct you to the correct gateway.

 

Once you are signed up it’s time to enter information about your business. They start with Name, Country, Street Address, Etc. If you have a service business without a physical storefront you are going to want to click the box at the bottom that says “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location”  that way Google will list you as having a service area and not start sending people to your house.

google my business information

 

Once your information has been entered you hit continue. If you checked that you have a service area you will then drop a pin on the map and set that area’s size and scope.

If you have a service area and a physical storefront of some kind you set that on the next page as well.

 

google my business prairie giraffe

 

Now it’s time to verify your business.

Google want’s to be sure you actually exist. One sure fire way of getting that done is to send you a postcard. This postcard will have a code on it that you will have to enter into your My Business account on the location you just created under Verify. It usually takes 1 to 3 weeks to receive the card. Once you receive it that verification process is easy.

 

prairie giraffe my business

 

Once you verify your business it’s time to input your information

 

prairie giraffe marketing

 

On the left-hand side, you will see a menu where you can enter your info, see insights, reviews left on Google, create posts and message clients. We will go over messaging clients and creating posts in a future post. For now, just enter your business info. This is where you can give Google as much information as you want. You can upload pictures of your company and employees in action, enter your hours, what you do, different services you offer. You can even access your Analytics and AdWords Express accounts (if you choose to go with Express, which we recommend you not).

 

Taking back control

 

What it comes down to is Google My Business will actually give you a sense of control over your business. SEO, SEM, and how your website was built can be really overwhelming. Even Google Analytics can be a bit much. Google My Business is the place where you can simply state what your business does and see how you’re doing out there. It’s also a great place to create posts and let your customers and potential customers know if you have a sale going on. All of these things let gain some control of your online presence and move forward with confidence.

 

Need help setting up your Google My Business Account? We would love to help! Drop us a line or give us a call. We can get you set up in no time.