Creative Instinct Blog – Branding & Marketing Tips for Busy Professionals

Informative articles and tips on marketing for small businesses.


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ARE YOU MASTER OF YOUR DOMAINS?

ImageMost would agree that a company cannot do without reliable email and a good website. But too often, when we begin working with a client and gathering information to manage their online presence, we discover they don’t have access to (let alone ownership of) some of the most critical pieces of information to their business. These seemingly insignificant sets of URLs, usernames and passwords are a lot like a set of keys. They open the doors to your business and if left in the wrong hands can lead to devastating loss.

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There are three critical pieces of information you MUST retain control of:

1. Domain hosting (“DNS”) — location/username/password
2. Website hosting — location/username/password
3. Email hosting — location/username/password

This does not mean that you should host your email and website on your own internal server. But it does mean you should know where they are hosted and the account information including logins. Sadly, we often hear of companies unable to make changes to their website because their tech support person left and took the account information with them.  Or, the owner’s brother-in-law set up their email and lost the username and password rendering the account inaccessible when problems arise. Without vital account information, it’s extremely difficult to fix an email problem or have an old website taken down—much less update it. This renders their site abandoned until the registration runs out or the hosting service is cancelled. Then you have to start over with new accounts. What a pain!

To help you avoid all that nonsense, we’ve outlined some helpful tips below. First, let’s review a few basic definitions…

What is a “domain name?”
Your domain is your website”address” — it tells users how to get to your website. It is similar to a postal address. When you write an address on an envelope it tells the mail carrier where to deliver it. This is the same with a domain name. When you type the domain name into your browser you are telling your computer where you would like to go. (An example of a domain name is www.creativeinstinct.biz.)

Domain Host / Registrar:
A ‘domain registrar’ is a commercial entity that manages the reservation of internet domain names. (Examples of registrar companies: GoDaddy.com, Domains.com, Register.com). Domain registrar companies charge anywhere from $10-$30 per year to keep your domain name reserved—giving your website somewhere to “point” to. This registration prevents others from using your website address.  Many people are under the impression that their website ‘domain’ and their website ‘hosting’ are one in the same. This is NOT the case.  Your website domain and hosting are separate, often reserved through separate entities.

Website Host:
This is the server where your website pages “live.”  It is separate from your domain.  Website hosting is a service that allows organizations to make their website accessible via the world wide web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server for use by clients, as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center. Some web hosting companies also provide website development services, or an online site building tool for do-it-yourselfers. (The website server used by Creative Instinct is provided by wix.com. We build a custom website for a client, then set up a Wix hosting account for them with unique username and password. Then we transfer the completed website to their account. Our clients have full control of their hosting account, login and settings, and can access their site for editing at any time.)

Email Host:
Your email and website do not need to live on the same server. In fact, because email is so crucial to your business, it’s best that it resides in a separate account that you control. An example of an email host is Google (gmail) — it is what we suggest to our clients. We do not provide email hosting services. Online email is easy for anyone to set up, and we feel it’s best that our clients have full control of their email accounts. For a more professional email address, we suggest you create an email “alias” that includes your domain name. (Example:  janedoe@companyname.com). In Google Mail, this can be done in the user account ‘Settings.’ Or simply type “email alias” into Google’s search box step-by-step instructions.

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Do You Know Where Your Passwords Are?

Create an initial inventory of all of the things you already have and all of the things you need to get. Create a single document of all of your site credentials and save it in a very safe place. This is like keeping a set of keys hidden under a flowerpot. Be careful where you store this document. But share it with at least one other trusted person – just in case. Kind of like making sure your mom has a copy of your keys in case you forgot your hiding place.

Info needed for domain hosting, website hosting and email hosting:

  • Host entity name and website address
  • Your account number
  • Your username and password
  • The name and email address associated with the account

Need help with your company’s website?

Call us today. It’s what we do. See samples of other sites we’ve done. Visit our Portfolio at www.createiveinstinct.biz. Or contact Gwen Canfield at 501-244-0573, gwen@creativeinstinct.biz.

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SEO MADE SIMPLE

business woman - growth and success graph4 Steps to Great SEO

1.  Site Title, Description and Keyword

A good site title is brief and descriptive, and tells search engines what your site is all about. For example, Kelly & Kate Interior Design.

Your description should explain your site and services/products. Use keywords that people would use to search for your site, e.g., Kelly & Kate Interior Design offers professional design services in the greater NY area.

2.  Page Title, Description & Keywords

A good page title and description describes the content of a site’s page. Be specific and include relevant keywords.

For example, Page title: Children’s Bedroom Design. Page description: Beautiful, unique children’s bedroom designs that match your needs and your budget.

3.  H1 Headers

It’s always a great idea to have an H1 heading (page title as text) at the top of every page. Try to make sure that it’s brief, descriptive of the page content, and contains targeted keywords.

For example: Make Your Bedroom Design Beautiful.

4.  Alt Image Text

Search engines can’t “read” your images, so the Alt Text tells them about your pics.

Make sure the text is very brief, describes the content of your image, and contains targeted keywords. For example: Modern Eclectic Blue Living Room Design.

Need help with your company’s website?

Call us today. It’s what we do. See samples of other sites we’ve done. Visit our Portfolio at www.createiveinstinct.biz. Or contact Gwen Canfield at 501-244-0573, gwen@creativeinstinct.biz.

Article written by Wix. Link to original article: http://www.wix.com/lphtml/seo-part-1?utm_campaign=em_seo_6_11_2013_en&experiment_id=em_seo_6_11_2013_en#


7 REASONS WHY EMAIL NEWSLETTERS STILL WORK

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Marketing tactics for small businesses seem to fall in and out of favor. Some tactics stay tried-and-true, however. And email marketing is near the top of that list. Especially the use of email newsletters.

If e-newsletter marketing has fallen out of favor at your organization, overshadowed by other marketing initiatives, here are seven reasons to give e-newsletters another look.

1. Different People, Different Channels

Some portion of your audience will turn to Facebook or Twitter for your latest news. Others will want your info delivered to their inbox because email newsletters remain their first choice for communications from you. E-newsletters keep you communicating with different people via different channels. In fact, your newsletter can be sent out via email, then archived on your website with tweets and Facebook links pointing to it. That approach meets everyone’s need!

2. Nurturing From Prospect to Customer

The e-newsletter remains an effective way to build a relationship with a prospect, nurturing them along until they become a customer. They obviously like you enough to sign up for your e-newsletter. Now keep moving things along in the inbox, kindly and noncommittally, in a way only the soft approach of a newsletter can do.

3. Staying Top of Mind

When someone buys from you, that’s only the beginning of the potential purchases that lie ahead, as long as you keep nurturing the relationship along. Email marketing newsletters can do that, nonchalantly keeping you top of mind until it’s time for another—or different—purchase.

4. Social Media Sharing

What do people share? Content! Whether they tweet it, link to it , blog on it or share it, people spread the word about content they like, whether it’s your writing, pictures or video. And your newsletter can be a mix of all three. As long as it’s great content people will want to share, the format matters less than the share-ability.

5. Serving an SEO Purpose (Search engine optimization)

Even in an age dominated by Facebook, the search engines are still major players in any online marketing efforts. Getting found by people who don’t yet know about you is key, and, in many cases, SEO is how that happens. You give your SEO a boost every time you add content to your website…which archiving your newsletter automatically does. Easy to do, easy to benefit from.

6. Content Marketing

Content marketing is still a hot topic, and an easy one for you to address if an e-newsletter is already part of your marketing arsenal. After all, what is a newsletter but content?

7. Repurposing Content

Content has value. And the more use you can get out of it, the more value it has. A newsletter can be repurposed content from your blog, whitepaper or Facebook commentary. Or it can be the fodder for any of those. Think “write once, use repeatedly,” and you’ll find your newsletter content is both fed by and feeds several other sources.

There you have it. Seven reasons why e-newsletters are still newsworthy…and still have a place in your online marketing strategy. Not only are they an effective way to stay in touch and top-of-mind, they are very cost-effective as well!

Article by Marco Marini. See original article: http://emailcritic.com/2012/04/email-newsletter-marketing/