Several of my clients here in Vallejo also won awards also - click here for a list & more info.
Vallejo's local newspaper released the results of its' reader poll on Sunday and I'm excited to announce my business won for a 5th year in a row for graphic design services.
Several of my clients here in Vallejo also won awards also - click here for a list & more info.
Google Ads are somehow still mysterious to many small business owners so I thought it might be useful to give a top level mini-overview via my oh so awesome blog.
On a very basic level, running ads on Google means that when someone searches for something on the internet, an Ad you create appears. It's noted with the word 'Ad' in front of it and is typically at the top of the page. Ads appear when the keywords we choose match a person's search online. So, if you're a Chiropractor, we add that word (and dozens of others) to a list of words or phrases people might type into Google when looking for a healthcare practice like yours.
There are many ways to advertise using Google's Ad platform and the search method mentioned above is just one of them. Google also has partnerships with many websites that also show their ads. So, after someone does an online search, these ads will begin to appear on other websites that person/computer visits. A third way that ads are delivered to people is by matching the Advertiser's keywords with a news article or blog post's keywords. So, a person could be reading an article about back pain, for example, and Google would be showing ads for local Chiropractors on that page even though the reader might not have conducted a search yet for one.
In addition to creating keywords, I also recommend adding negative keywords. For example, if you're a Psychotherapist, we would add the keyword 'therapist' to your ad campaign. Meanwhile we would also add the word 'massage' as a negative keyword so that anytime a search term includes massage (i.e. massage therapist), the ads would not appear.
If you've ever had to edit a website in Wordpress then you'll understand what I know: Wordpress sucks.
Harsh words, I realize (sorry Wordpress, it's me, not you).
Here's the thing they don't tell you - it's clunky. And time-consuming. And NOT intuitive (don't believe anyone who tells you it's easy - because it's not). That said, I do recommend Wordpress for a small handful of clients. But you're probably not one of them.
Wordpress is loved by many. Which many? The many Coders out there, that's who. Honestly, unless you write HTML or CSS code and/or enjoy spending lots of time on computers, stay away from Wordpress.
I have created scores of websites for small business owners and individual health practitioners and the reason I often recommend web platforms like Weebly, Squarespace or Wix is because they are EASY. Many of my clients want their sites built for them but would like to be able to make simple updates on their own or train their staff to manage updates moving forward. Wordpress will take double or triple the time for folks to learn their platform and update their website. They're just not worth the time. And they might save you fifty or a hundred bucks a year if you go with their free version (which I don't recommend usually), but you'll lose that money in the time it will take to work on your site.
Your small business website might start having issues in 2018 if your domain doesn't begin with https:. The reason is that Google has begun lowering the ranking of sites without it. Since Google gets 70-80% of all searches in the U.S., this is important.
Years ago, you only needed an SSL certificate (which will convert your site from HTTP to HTTPS) if you were selling something on your site. But now, there are concerns that any website with a form (contact or email signups for example) could be hacked and therefore, require more security.
How do you know if your site has SSL security or not?
Open your website up in your browser - Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. - and look for an exclamation point or error message near your website domain name. The image to the right here shows what it will look like in Chrome if your site has an http: address.
How do you fix this HTTPS thing?
Many web hosting platforms like Weebly or Wix allow you to simply enable SSL security for free with any paid hosting plan. Once enabled, all you have to do is publish your site.
The next thing to do is change your settings in Google Analytics (there's a simple drop down menu for this change) and set up a new site listing in Google Search Console (no, sadly you can't just switch the old one like with Analytics).
If you use Wordpress or another web host you may have to purchase an SSL certificate from your domain registrar (i.e. Godaddy or Network Solutions).
How urgent is this SSL stuff?
Not as urgent as making sure your domain is renewed each year but I'd recommend that no small business end 2018 without having fixed this.
Interested in getting help with updating the SSL on your site?
Why contact Lamb Consulting of course.
Interested in doing it yourself?
Here's a good tutorial on Google for you.
Eight days into the new year and many are just returning to work and wondering what 2018 will bring for their small business. As a small business consultant, Lamb Consulting sees a wide range of people running their own company but a few things cross all industries as ways nearly everyone can work to begin their new year on a better note.
1. Update Your Email Lists
For many small business owners, this one falls by the wayside because they feel they are the only ones who know all their clients and industry colleagues. If that sounds familiar, there's no better time than January in a new year to get your email contact lists updated and organized. Referrals will always be your top driver of new business so why put this one off any longer? If using a mail service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, make it easy on yourself and simply begin by making sure all your contacts there have a first name so you can personalize your emails. Once that's done, work on segmenting your lists into Groups so you can further customize messages. One group could be labeled clients, customers or patients while another could be sectioned off as friends/family. Trust me on this one - it's worth the time.
2. Backup Everything
If you remember Y2K, this is a no-brainer. Every New Year's is an opportunity to remember to backup your files, photos, data, email lists and your website. Dropbox is a great tool (free for the first 2 gigs of space) backing up on the cloud so you can access data from other devices but I'd also suggest a physical, external backup device. For my clients, I download and backup their websites every year - easy to do if you're using Weebly or another web service that doesn't charge extra for such services.
For the 3rd year in a row, Lamb Consulting is so grateful to have been named the winner of the "Best Graphic Design" award in Solano County by the readers of Vallejo Times-Herald newspaper.
"Vallejo has been such a great place to call home for 17 years, and it's the perfect place to win such an honor" said Debbie Lamb, Owner of Lamb Consulting marketing agency. "I'm really blessed to have so many clients here in Vallejo, Benicia and Solano County and I have a feeling some of these fine folks are responsible for this "Best Of" award.
Lamb Consulting is also proud to announce several clients were also included in this year's honors, including The Inn at Benicia Bay, Vallejo Chiropractic and Axelrode Orthodontics. For a full list, visit the News page on this website.
In the world of advertising and marketing, there's one thing I often tell my clients: It's not brain surgery. I'm not saving any lives but I do try to respect my client's budgets. It may look difficult to some, but at the end of the day, your business (especially if you're a health practitioner) is probably way more difficult than mine!
That said - online ads aren't easy for everyone. Below is a common mistake in advertising and advice for folks who've tried it or are considering trying online ads.
Years ago we were all told our website needed to be mobile friendly but now, it's a Responsive design that's the new big thing. What the heck?
In a nutshell, Google now prioritizes responsive websites which are sites using designs that respond to the size of any given screen. This is different from mobile-friendly sites that can actually be two separate sites that look similar.
How do you know if your website is responsive? Easy - if you're on a computer, just change the size of your browser window to a smaller sized window. If the website adjusts with the browser, then it's responding to the new size. If it just crops out the site and the website doesn't change to the new size, then you have a non-responsive website.
For years I have told my own clients to start a blog.
That old saying for Physicians to take their own advice? I guess that's me now.
So, here we go - Blog post numero uno.
And what to write about? Blogs of course!
Here's why I tell small businesses and healthcare practitioners to start a blog: do it for google. Very few folks may ever read your blog but the purpose isn't actually for your clients or potential clients, although that's a nice benefit. The purpose is to get more words in front of google and other search engines. Google loves text! The more text on your website, the better. And most small organizations don't have a lot of text on their site. Google ranks sites on the number of applicable words from any given search. The more words, the more potential matches - or the better chance of your site appearing higher in a search.
That's it - it's not brain surgery - it's blogging 101. Or, Googling 101?
And why Google?
Because they receive about 65% to 75% of all online searches in the United States right now, depending on which source you're viewing. The next closest search engine gets about half that amount max (Bing or Yahoo).
Start writing your own blog with anything applicable to your business or your client's business. Don't think of it as giving away free advice as much as it is helping folks to find your website and therefore find you!
Happy blogging to us all.
Need some help? Well, post a comment here in my blog of course! Or, old school, just buzz me! Thanks for reading.