Need Hosting, Domain or Email Support?

If you host with, grab your customer number and call-in PIN and call our award-winning support team 24/7 at (480) 624-2500


Forget the Phone Book. How to Generate Leads for Local Businesses

Original article
By Ann Handley|June 12, 2012

A big, fat Yellow Pages landed in my driveway the other day with an audible whomp. I promptly picked it up and deposited it into the recycling bin with a second whomp. Harsh, right? But when I’m searching for something local–be it a snow shovel or a cinnamon roll–the last thing I’d do is flip through the phone book.

Chances are, you feel the same way. A study last year by Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 51 percent of U.S. adults get information about local businesses from the internet, rather than from newspapers, word-of-mouth, TV reporting or those tragic phone books.

So, the question becomes, How good is your local business at generating online leads? Here are the basics.

Build a website with your own domain.
This is obvious, right? But according to stat site Statistic Brain, up to half of small businesses don’t have a website.

One business owner told me she didn’t need one because she has a thriving Facebook page with great customer interaction. That’s awesome, for sure.

But think of any social platform as an “in addition to,” not an “instead of.” Why? You wouldn’t build a house on rented land, so don’t place your sole web presence on a platform you don’t own.

I’m a big fan of WordPress for building websites. The software is highly customizable–you’d be surprised how many WordPress-powered sites don’t look like typical blogs–and fairly straightforward to update and maintain. It also allows for easy integration of social widgets, so your site feels more inherently “alive” with customer engagement and interaction. You might consider importing a calendar of local events your business supports, too.

Use keywords to attract local traffic.
There are numerous ways to increase the likelihood your site will be found–a search-engine expert could fill this magazine with information on that topic alone.

But I’ll leave it at this: At a minimum, your site should have your physical address and phone number (don’t smirk–you’d be surprised how many overlook this!) and should contain geographically specific keywords in various combinations. (For example, a roofing company in Glendale, Calif., should include phrases like “Glendale roofing company,” “greater Los Angeles roofing” and “Glendale, Calif., roofing business.”) Place keywords in the page title, header tags and, where appropriate, in the content of the page itself. Use online research tools like Google AdWords, Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery to research the words and phrases people use when they are searching for the product or service you sell.

Convert visitors into customers.
A “contact us” form is a nice start toward giving the public a way to reach you online. But how do you juice up your efforts to convert visitors into leads? One way is to offer free, downloadable how-to kits, guides or worksheets with an eye toward becoming a resource–a trusted advisor who can help potential customers as they inch toward a purchase decision.

I like the way Los Angeles architecture firm Modative offers nicely designed resources to would-be clients, including a site evaluation sample report and a design process guide. Both are free of charge at in exchange for providing your contact information.

Create local profiles.
Claim your profile on search engines and online local business directories like Google Places, Yelp and, yes, A great list of 50 online directories is available on’s blog.

If you don’t claim your profile, you’re either needlessly invisible or you risk letting others publish faulty information about you. Writing at, Jon Schepke, president of digital marketing agency SIM Partners, tells of a family restaurant that failed to capture its town’s brisk tourist trade because Google had it listed as a grocery store, Yelp described it wrongly as an Italian restaurant and Bing had an inaccurate address. Don’t let that happen to you!

Search engines like consistency, Schepke says, so be sure your business’s name, address and phone number are listed the same way across the web.

Encourage reviews.
Customer testimonials (presumably positive ones) enhance search rankings and increase click-through and conversion rates. Positive reviews validate your business not only to search engines, but also to actual, well, people.

The Difference Between Apps and Mobile Websites

Posted Apr 6, 2011 by Joel Sutherland

What is an “App”

An “app” is a software application that is written in the native language of a particular platform. This has some tremendous advantages:

  • By using native code, the application can run with high performance.
  • It is easy to follow the User Experience conventions using provided libraries
  • The app is available in an App Store
  • It can work offline
  • The App can be launched in a single step
It also has some disadvantages:
  • Your native code only works on one platform
  • You must learn development skills that just apply to one platform
  • Your app can’t be found directly on the web, it requires more “investment” for a customer to download it.

What is a Mobile Website

A mobile website is just a website that has been optimized for mobile browsing. It can be reached through a phone’s web browser directly.  There are some great advantages to doing a mobile site:

  • One mobile site can work on any mobile platform
  • It is generally faster and cheaper to develop a mobile site
  • A mobile site can just be a ‘version’ of your primary website.
  • It is becoming possible to embed an Mobile site in an App using technology like Phonegap
  • Customers can google you and land on your mobile site
  • Since it’s a website, it can be easily updated through a CMS

There are some disadvantages too:

  • They aren’t written in native code, so performance can be an issue
  • You cannot access all of the phones features (camera, etc) that are available to apps
  • It requires some number of steps for a customer to bookmark your mobile site
  • It is hard to charge for access or usage

Our Recommendation: Mobile Websites over Apps

There are a number of reasons that we generally recommend putting your resources towards mobile websites before Apps.


When people are looking for information, they go to Google, not the app store. A mobile website is a better way to reach more customers.


It is generally much less expensive to build a mobile website so the bang-for-the-buck is much higher. You also get to develop one version and it works on all smartphones.

Increasing Performance

As mobile browsers become faster, the performance gap between apps and websites is closing.

Future Safety

An individual platform may disappear, but the web will not. You can be sure that a mobile site that looks good on a 4″ screen today will also look good in 5 years.

The Basics Of Neuromarketing By Ethan Hale

SEO is an ever-changing game–which is why online marketers are increasingly depending on neuromarketing to draw and engage new users or customers.

A Panda and a Penguin walk into a bar–and send your Google search ranking plummeting a few hundred places.

If you didn’t laugh at the above, that’s because it’s not really a joke. It’s actually a serious situation for many Internet marketers (like this one), who have had to completely change their SEO tactics because of Google’s sweeping changes.

Over the past couple of years, Google has completely changed the game when it comes to SEO with a series of algorithm updates labeled “Panda” and “Penguin.” Gone are the days when you could stuff your website with low-quality articles packed with the right keywords or link spam exchanges to boost your Google rankings.

Today the game is all about quality–content that’s authentic, informative, and, most of all, attractive to your intended audience. In short, we need to stop thinking about SEO as “search engine optimization” and more as “social engagement optimization,” as Greg Henderson at SEO Desk put it.

So, the question becomes, how do you play nice with Panda and Penguin and turn your website into a more attractive animal? Read more…