Stocking Stuffer December Referral Promotion

Posted November 26th, 2014 in Affiliate Program, Branding, CityMax.com News, Contests by Sean

stocking stuffer image1 Stocking Stuffer December Referral Promotion

Need a second website? Know someone looking to get online? Want some extra cash after the holidays? Citymax.com is running a referral promotion for any new sites for the month of December! Refer any new sites (Including your own!) in the month of December and you will get a $40 referral Bonus in Cash! Simply fill out the form with the name of the referred site and your own site. If the referred site is activated between December 1st -31st 2014 and the referred site stays active for 2 months, you will receive $40.

For Full Promotion Details please visit this page . For any questions related to the promotion, please email us at stockingstuffer@citymax.com

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Grow Your Business With CityMax Affiliates

Running an online business can be challenging, so we’re always looking for ways to make life easier for our customers. We’re excited to partner with several companies who may be able to enhance not just your website with CityMax but your business as a whole.

HootSuite: HootSuite is a social media management system for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks (Facebook, Twitter etc.) from one secure, web-based dashboard. Launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audiences, and distribute targeted messages using HootSuite’s unique social media dashboard.

Moo: MOO is an award-winning online print business that helps our customers print things like Business Cards, Postcards and MiniCards, making it easy for them to share information about themselves or their business in the real world.

Appointment Plus: All-in-One Online Scheduling Software provides customizable software to help businesses with all of their scheduling needs.

Zazzle: Personalized Items and trinkets, great for giveaways or brand recognition in your community and business field.

For more information click on the links above or visit the Marketing Section of your website to see if they can add value to your business and your website!

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Google Places Optimization Checklist, Part 2

Guest Post:  Adam Steele is the CEO at Nightlite Media. His expertise includes SEO, social media and email marketing. This is Part 2 of Google Local Results Changed the Game.

Overview

97% of consumers search for local businesses online. You definitely want to be there when they’re looking for you with Google Places for business.

Google wants to show its users the most relevant, up-to-date, quality information (including companies) possible. This is its mission and just one reason it is the biggest. As such, when it comes to optimizing your Google Places page, you should keep this in mind.

The following are some simple tips and guidelines to a successful Google Places page optimization. The quick tweaks will improve your chances of securing better positions for your business. Please keep in mind that Google Places is constantly changing, and what works at the time of this checklist may change dramatically in 30 days. Saying that, we have tried to keep to the things that have remained a constant for some time now.

Initial Process

  • Select the area/city you wish to target
  • Keyword Search: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. Put in a word that you “think” the average person would type in Google when looking for a business in your city. (NOT the name of a business, but a word or phrase.) Example: ‘Dallas electrician’. Google will suggest other popular words below that term. View the ones that are popular and record them. Make sure you deselect broad and select exact (on the left) and focus your attention on local volume/searches, not global.
  • Identify keywords you would like to dominate in your local town/city and search them for yourself. Not all keywords will trigger Google Places. So, you need to make sure the ones you go forward with bring up Google Places results when you search for them.
  • Record on a piece of paper the top 5 -10 keywords and rank them in order of priority (keep on hand).

Submission

  • Set up a Gmail account if you don’t have one already here.
  • Search for your company to see if an existing Google Places page is already setup. Go to http://maps.google.com and put in your phone number with area code to see what comes up. Try more than one phone number if you have more than one for your business.
  • If after you check, you DO have a page, then you will simply want to “Edit Page” if there is anything you want to change (check below to see if your current Google Places page has the appropriate content listed below.) If you do NOT have a page after entering your phone numbers, then you will want to create one!

Creating A Google Places Page

  • After you have created a Google account, you will want to set up your Page. Answer every question (Leave nothing undone – Google views this as “incomplete”.)
  • Company Name (Without keywords) DO NOT get fancy here. Stuffing your title with keywords is just going to get you in trouble. In the past, stuffing the title offered an SEO advantage, but now it is both risky and unnecessary. Simply put your business name here as it is recognized everywhere else.
  • Street Address: Your business address as it occurs everywhere else online and offline. Consistency and accuracy are KEY. If your business has existed for some time, try and search your own address. Look for the most popular address for yourself and go with that one if it’s applicable–otherwise update it. You would be wise to go back and adjust all those addresses that are different than what you use in your Google Places page. NOTE: If later you decide to make any changes to your address, Google will very likely request to send you a post card before updating.
  • City/Town: Self Explanatory. NOTE: This is the city that you will have the best chance of ranking in for your keywords.
  • Main phone: Same principle as your street address. Take a look how your phone number appears already online. Is it in (xxx) or xxx? You want it to appear in Google Places the same way it does elsewhere online.
  • Website: Use http://www. You want it to be hyperlinked.
  • Description: I would typically suggest using the same one that occurs in your site’s meta data (description tag) for consistency. Keyword rich is fine, but don’t make it spammy. Also, consider your click through rate (CTR). Searchers will see this, and decide whether they want to click or not so don’t be afraid to be a bit ‘salesy.’
  • Category: Few things to know here. Stay the heck away from city modifiers. That is, your category should be ‘electrician’, NOT ‘Dallas electrician.’ Doing the latter will get you in trouble. Google gives you 4 custom categories and one pre-defined. Make good use of them and align them with the keywords you want to rank for. Similar to the Company/Organization field, categories are being screened and the same sensitive keywords apply. Custom categories don’t really have to be too coherent. If you have a lot of keywords you are targeting, try and combine them with other keywords, but again, not too spammy.
  • Service Area and Location Settings: Pretty self explanatory. It is commonly used if you are using an address outside of the city/cities that you want to rank in OR you want to rank in all your surrounding cities. Use this function to define your service area(s). NOTE: You aren’t going to rank in San Fran, if your address is in Austin. Obvious, I hope. However, if your address is in the suburb of San Fran and you want to rank in San Fran and its surrounding suburbs is doable. Being outside of the city you want to rank in puts you at a disadvantage. If you are trying to rank for a competitive keyword and you are not located in the city you want to rank in, you could be hooped.
  • Hours & Payment: Just make sure this is consistent with everything else that is published online.
  • Photos: Yes, you should add photos. Photos uploaded should be saved as ‘cityname-state-keyword’ and then uploaded. Google also gives you the option to “Add a photo from the web.” I like to add a picture from the website. This creates a connection between your Google Places page and your website. This is a good thing.
  • Videos: Yes, you should add video preferably of a testimonial like a customer (not you). These can be YouTube videos. Remember to make sure your files are named after a keyword.

Verification: More than likely Google will want to send a post card. The post card typically takes 5-8 business days to arrive. When it arrives, log back into your Google Places dashboard and enter a PIN code to verify and activate your listing.

Similar to my last post, there is a perk for reading. This articles perk is 3 months of FREE Google Places page optimization…a $300 value!! To enter the draw, send your answer to the following question to adam.steele@nightlitemedia.com. Also, if you like some of the tips above, follow me on twitter for more at http://twitter.com/nightlitemedia.

Question: In the categories section of your Google Places page, doing what can get you in trouble?

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New Partnership with Online Marketing Company Nightlite Media

New partnership with CityMax.com

New CityMax.com partner

We are excited to announce that CityMax has partnered with Nightlite Media.

One of the most asked questions we get is: “How do I get visitors to my site?” Nightlite Media are experts at helping people successfully draw visitors to their sites using:

  • search engine optimization (i.e. getting your sites ranked highly on search engines like Google)
  • social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook)
  • email marketing

We know it’s sometimes difficult to learn and then find the time to promote your site. The reality is that for many of you, getting a company to help you is the best choice. So, our marketing team searched out the best of the best online marketing companies and then put together custom packages we thought made the most sense for our customers. Check out the special packages here.

How important is it to get your online marketing started? Here are some facts that Nightlite Media has put together:

  • 97% of potential customers are searching online first
  • 61 billion online searches were made in August 2010 alone
  • 77% of North Americans are online (that’s a huge 266 million people!)

You can contact Nighlite Media for a 100% free consultation by going to http://websitedynamics.nightlitemedia.com or by calling 1-888- 418-3839. Why not jumpstart your online marketing today!

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Add a Twitter Plugin on Your Website in 30 Seconds

Posted February 15th, 2011 in Branding, SEO, social media by Adrian

twitter 300x225 Add a Twitter Plugin on Your Website in 30 Seconds

Image by Rosaura Ochoa

Twitter is a “real-time information network” that allows people to connect with others that they find interesting. For example, business owners like you can quickly share information with people who are interested in what you have to offer and you can begin to build relationships with potential customers.

If you’re not using Twitter to help grow your company, there’s no better time to start than now!

Twitter Plugins

When you tweet your messages for the world to see, the messages are normally confined to Twitter’s own website and are viewed by those who have subscribed to receive them. As an extra bonus, Twitter also offers a plugin which allows you to install a widget on your own website to display tweets.

Continue Reading »

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Why You Need a Proofreader

Posted February 10th, 2011 in Branding, Small Business Tips by Mara

Image by adactio.

Image by adactio

Mistakes happen. We’ve all been in a situation where we carelessly overlooked something and it’s caused an embarrassing situation. While most of these faux pas happen in our personal lives, from time to time it affects business. This morning we received a Change of Legal Name letter for a business we’ve worked with in the past. It’s a nicely written letter on beautiful new letterhead with a funky new logo. The problem with the letter is two-fold:

  1. They don’t state anywhere in the letter what the previous name of the business is. Although we’ve now figured it out, it took more than three people to narrow it down.
  2. There’s a typo in the URL in the big bolded area where they list their contact information.

Yikes. If you’re sending out a notice like this, you want to make sure it goes out without a hitch and people aren’t left scratching their heads trying to figure out who you are. This letter probably should have been passed around a bit before it left the building.

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How Kenneth Cole Lost Thousands of Customers in 1 Easy Step

Posted February 3rd, 2011 in Branding, Online Marketing, Selling Online, social media by Patrick

Kenneth Cole, international shoe brand and fashion trend-setter, decided to comment on the horrific situation in Egypt this morning. In past blog posts, we’ve explored how your small business can leverage timely events to boost marketing efforts, but we didn’t mean like this:

kennethcolefail1 How Kenneth Cole Lost Thousands of Customers in 1 Easy Step Continue Reading »

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Are You Eavesdropping on the Right Conversations?

Posted January 12th, 2011 in Branding, Selling Online, social media by Mara

eavesdropping Are You Eavesdropping on the Right Conversations?Whether you like it or not, people are talking about you. As a business, you are constantly interacting with people that will have something to say about their experience with you – positive or negative.

The beauty about this day and age is that you can listen in on those conversations. By paying attention to what people are saying, you can:

  • mitigate potentially damaging critiques
  • contribute to conversations and demonstrate that you care about customer experiences
  • identify and address problems within your business/customer experience
  • build a more loyal following

So how exactly do you listen in? Well, in all honesty, it depends on how involved you want to get. Below you’ll find a few different levels of involvement:

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Top 10: Our Best Small Business Blogposts

david letterman l 225x300 Top 10: Our Best Small Business Blogposts

Over the last year we’ve written a few articles on running an online business (hopefully you’ve found some of them to be helpful!). We have also had a few terrific guest bloggers and reviewed some expert speakers. Because our customers often email us with similar questions - about SEO, paid search, and the like, we thought it would be helpful to compile some of this information in one place. You might want to bookmark this post for reference!

#10 How to Boost Holiday Sales

#9 How to Optimize Your Website for Local Search

#8 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Success

#7 10 Free Software Apps to Manage your Business and Cut Costs

#6 10 Website Mistakes to Avoid

#5 Thoughts on Customer Service with Shep Hyken

#4 3 Secrets to Getting More Customers

#3 Using Paid Search to Increase Your Traffic

#2 How to Build an Army of Brand Loyalists (guest blog by Jonathan Kay)

And presenting the #1 blogpost of the past year…. *drum roll*

Basics of Search Engine Optimization (John Lyotier of MarketingClinics.com)

**Bonus** 3 Ways to Convert Website Traffic into Customers

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What is an Avatar and Why Does it Matter?

Posted July 14th, 2010 in Branding, Guest Blogger by Mara

avatar What is an Avatar and Why Does it Matter?Over the past few months, we’ve talked a lot about using social media to grow your online business. But there’s one thing we haven’t yet covered: your avatar.

If you only know the word “avatar” in relation to the movie, that’s ok. According to Wikipedia, an avatar is:

“…a computer user’s representation of himself/herself or alter ego whether in the form of a three-dimensional model used in computer games, a two-dimensional icon (picture) or a one-dimensional username used on Internet forums and other communities.”

So, kind of like how in the movie Jake is represented by his blue Na’vi character, you can use an image and a name to represent yourself online in social media environments like Facebook or Twitter.

How to Choose an Avatar

Your avatar is literally an online representation of you or your business, so choosing one should be done with a little thought. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with it, but you should keep in mind how the image you choose might impact you or your business in real life.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

1.    Use a clear “headshot”.
Social media and online communication is about establishing relationships – people want to know who you are. The exception to this rule is if you are participating as a company, where multiple people will be handling the account. For example, a few of us manage the CityMax.com Facebook and Twitter accounts, so we use our mascot “Max” for our avatar.

2.    Consider the size.
Avatar images are generally shrunk down pretty small, so make sure that your image is clearly identifiable even when tiny. Try aiming for a very plain background for your headshot.

3.    Use the same avatar for all your online interactions.
That’s not to say you can’t change it from time to time, but consistency is good as far as branding yourself or your business.

Although you want to keep to these guidelines, don’t be afraid to show some personality in your avatar – it can help garner a bit more interest in what you have to say.

Have you seen any great avatars lately? Either personal or for business?

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