Holiday Design Sweepstakes Winner

Posted January 17th, 2017 in CityMax.com News, Contests, Website Design by Sean

Thanks to all of our customers who entered the Holiday Design Sweepstakes during the month of December 2016.

The winner was Martha Caceres, who will receive a full custom template for her website.

Keep your eyes on your Dashboard page for future contest opportunities!

Stocking Stuffer December Referral Promotion

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

stocking-stuffer-image1

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

Get Professional Pay Per Click Marketing Services from TitanPPC.com

Posted March 12th, 2013 in CityMax.com News, Contests, E3, Online Marketing by Emily

A lot of customers ask us what companies we think are the best for Pay Per Click advertising. As a result, we would like to officially recommend a new partner company — TitanPPC.com. Here’s a message from them about their services:

Advertise your business using PPC on Google!

We’ve partnered up with CityMax to provide you with world class Pay Per Click Services. TitanPPC.com has over 7 years of PPC experience and we are Google Certified Pay Per Click Experts. This partnership is a huge win for all CityMax customers! The best part is that TitanPPC.com really knows the needs of CityMax users. We have worked with CityMax customers in the past and know the website builder in and out.

What is PPC?

Pay Per Click allows you to get to the top of the search engines by paying for your ad to be there. Compared to SEO (search engine optimization) PPC gets you instant traffic to your website or business much faster. PPC simply means you are paying every time someone clicks your advertisement, thus: “Pay Per Click”.

Is PPC Right For You?

Every business big or small should be running PPC. If you’re a small one person operation, or a fortune 500 company, you should be running PPC. PPC is our passion and we believe that every business in the world should have the opportunity to grow like they have never imagined. No matter what your budget, we can help!

We Have a Special Deal for CityMax Customers

We know marketing budgets aren’t always big, so we are offering 2 special packages just for the needs of CityMax customers. You won’t find rates this low anywhere else online for world class pay per click services.

Please visit us at www.titanppc.com/citymax or call 1-888-325-4508.

3 Tips for Improving Staff Productivity and Happiness

Posted October 1st, 2012 in Contests, Getting Visitors, Productivity, Small Business Tips by Emily
Improve staff productivity with these 3 tips

Improve staff productivity with these 3 tips

Every boss wants a dream team of employees who go about getting everything done efficiently and with a smile. From my own experience, I’ve found the following 3 tips have helped my staff feel more motivated and happier at work because they have a clear idea of what their part in the company is:

Create systems for daily operations and emergencies

An efficient system is one where everybody knows what they need to accomplish and how to do it. They also know what other people on their team are working on so there’s no overlap or confusion. Everyone’s expectations match. To accomplish this, you can do the following:

  • Have regular meetings with your team. Give everyone an agenda in advance so that the meeting stays on track.
  • Have a contingency plan for emergencies, for when you are away or for when you are short staff.
  • Have an operations manual so if a staff member doesn’t know what to do, he/she can check the manual. An online manual is sometimes better as it can have the ability to search for terms.

All these items help ensure your operations run smoothly. It’s also a good idea to continually tweak your operations so you’re always optimizing the productivity of your staff.

Set clear and measurable goals

When employees know what your goals are for the company, it can help them make decisions that best support what you want to accomplish. Try to make goals as clear as possible, realistically attainable and with measurable results. For example: 12 sales per week, complete XYZ project by December or financial statements done by the end of the month. You can set smaller goals and overall company goals. You may even want your staff to help you set some of the goals. Once the goals are set and employees know what the goals are, they will prioritize their work better and spend less time on items that are not important.

Make time to get feedback from your staff

Usually your staff will have some of the best ideas for making improvements and will have the best understanding of what’s not working. It’s worthwhile, from time to time, to sit down and talk with your various employees to give them a chance to voice what they think about the current operations. You can do this one-on-one and/or make time at staff meetings. When ideas from staff are implemented, they will buy into your system more since they helped create it. Giving praise for good ideas will also encourage your staff to come up with more ideas. The end result is everyone is working toward improving the company as much as possible.

By doing the 3 tips above, you show your staff that you value their time and their opinion. You’ve removed confusion and inefficiencies. You’ve given them a forum to know what’s going on in the company and to give you feedback. You’ve set realistic goals so when they are accomplished your staff will get a chance to feel proud of what they’ve done. The end result is happier, more productive employees.

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?

Google Local Results Changed the Game, Part 1

Posted October 31st, 2011 in CityMax.com News, Contests, Online Marketing, SEO by Emily

Guest Post:  Adam Steele is the CEO at Nightlite Media. His expertise includes SEO, social media and email marketing.

Search engine optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in the search engines. As an internet marketing strategy, search engine optimization considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. In this three part series, I am going to focus on local search engine optimization, otherwise known as Google Places, beginning first with a brief history and thorough explanation of what it means to you and your business. My hope is by the time you finish reading part three, you will be able to take it upon yourself to improve your businesses local presence is Google Places. At the end of each post, I will be offering a FREE game changing eBook that I have put together to help you and your business succeed online.

How Google Local Results Changed SEO

SEO—Search Engine Optimization—has been a necessary staple of website production since the invention of the search engine. Many techniques have been invented to make sure that websites appear as highly as possible when customers and audiences are looking for them. It eventually became evident that some massive websites could use these techniques to maintain their dominance indefinitely, even when users were searching for terms only dubiously related to these dominant websites. Also, these huge websites could afford massive firms to provide SEO services for them, which guaranteed them superior results over smaller websites. For this reason and several others, Google instituted local search results.

What are Google local Search Results?

Google first launched their local results system in late 2010. Simply put, local search results are an adjustment to the Google algorithm which displays results from a user’s local area before national options. For example, if someone in Seattle, WA were using Google to search for a common phrase such as “outdoor furniture” they would have once been directed to a results page filled with companies competing internationally. Now however, local results from actual businesses located in Seattle will be given priority and appear at the top of the page.

The local search results also tied in with the expansion of Google Maps. All the local businesses that appear in the search results will also have their locations and applicable reviews noted. This created a powerful incentive for local businesses to begin investing in their online presence, and gave them a reason to consider SEO services for their own needs.

Why do Google Local Results Matter?

Google Local Results or also commonly known as Google Places, are nothing less than a game changer for the world of SEO. The initial impact of the fact that small businesses could now compete with international companies created several serious changes in the way SEO is done, and how seriously businesses need to take their online presence.

Google Local Results changed SEO in several important ways. First, it shifted the focus for any local results from international businesses with massive budgets to small businesses. After all, no matter what, the small business would appear before the larger business when searching for a term that included a geographical region. Of course, only a few of the top results were dedicated to local businesses, and those spots were now fiercely competitive. New SEO firms that dedicated themselves to local results formed quickly and convinced many businesses of the necessity of updating their marketing to include internet saturation. Small Businesses, for their part, had little choice but to take internet marketing more seriously.

It is not an insider secret of marketing that customers are moving more and more of their business online, and not just when they want to order, but also when they are looking for businesses in their own area. Many services assist with this, be they GPS software, Smart Phone apps or others. The fact that Google dominates most searches on the web makes it necessary for businesses operating in limited geographic areas to begin taking their online presence seriously. Not just because they may now compete with international companies, but also because local businesses are now beginning to powerfully compete in their own areas. When a significant number of new customers are discovering businesses online, it becomes absolutely necessary that businesses take advantage of these conditions to compete.

What does this mean for the future of SEO?

Google Local Results ensured that internet marketing and SEO services are now and forever something that locally-oriented businesses should take advantage of. For small businesses, this means it will be absolutely necessary in the future to understand SEO. It may also mean that SEO positions, or a contract for SEO services becomes an important part of companies that rarely dealt with any sort of online marketing before.

Conclusion

As greater numbers of users and customers shift their lives online, more and more once-rare techniques become necessary for operating in the modern business world. SEO is one of these techniques, and has only become more relevant in the face of dramatic changes like Google Local Results. The consequences of Google Local Results are already evident. The opportunities waiting for both small businesses and specialists alike are daunting to even consider. As in every human endeavor though: Fortune favors the bold.

Now that you have read my monotonous ramble, here is a free eBook that will give you the basics to begin improving your on-page game. That is, I will be providing you with instructions to improve your visibility online simply by making a few changes to what appears on your website. NOW, this eBook is ONLY going to be useful for those who take the time to read. As such, in order to receive your free Game Changing eBook, you must answer a skill testing question, the answer of which is in this post.

Question: What is local search engine optimization or Google Local also known as? Send me your answer to adam.steele@nightlitemedia.com and I will send you your free eBook.

Should You Move Your Blog or Not?

Have you ever thought about moving your blog from one host to another, but were afraid of what might happen to your search engine ranking?

Should Double Dragon Jewelry move their blog?

Should Double Dragon Jewelry move their blog?

Cindy of Double Dragon Jewelry Ltd. is deciding that exact scenario. She’s debating whether to move her new blog from BlogSpot.com (one of the most popular blogging software programs) to one that will allow her to keep her blog as part of her jewelry website.

Just to make this clear, her jewelry is being sold on:

silverjewelry-sterling.com

Her blog is currently at:

doubledragonsilverjewelry.blogspot.com/

Her web host, i.e. CityMax which is us, has added a blogging option so she could have her blog on:

silverjewelry-sterling.com/blog.html

If Cindy moved her blog to silverjewelry-sterling.com, she would have to weigh the following:

1. Potential to improve the rank of silverjewelry-sterling.com

Having her blog on her CityMax site will do 3 things that may increase her search engine rank for silverjewelry-sterling.com. First, every blog post is new content on her site. The more often you update your site, the more often search engines will re-index it (i.e. check out your site to see what new info is posted so their links are up to date) and rank your site higher.

Second, each blog post Cindy does will hopefully result in more links to silverjewelry-sterling.com because people like her posts. Each link or “vote” helps your search engine ranking. If a website with a high search engine rank links to your page, this is even better. Their “vote” for your site is actually worth several votes.

Third, each time Cindy posts a new article, this will result in a new page that can be linked to from the search engines to her site. This in turn will mean more opportunities to draw people to her site. The more people who visit her site, the higher her website ranking will be.

2. Cannot take search engine rank of doubledragonsilverjewelry.blogspot.com to new blog

If Cindy already has a good rank for doubledragonsilverjewelry.blogspot.com,she cannot transfer that rank directly to her new blog pages. This is because her blog is moving to a different domain. The search engines will recognize this change as doubledragonsilverjewelry.blogspot.com has shut down and then when they index her blog on silverjewelry-sterling.com/blog.html, they will recognize this as a new blog.

3. Beware of duplicate content as it can get your site delisted temporarily

If Cindy plans to move over articles she posted on doubledragonsilverjewelry.blogspot.com to silverjewelry-sterling.com/blog.html, she could get silverjewelry-sterling.com delisted temporarily. The reason is search engines don’t like duplicate content or even very similar content. It looks like someone who isn’t an authority on a topic, just copied someone else’s content. Everything is automated too, you cannot tell Google: “Hey, I just moved my blog to ______.”

Cindy may want to only post new articles on her silverjewelry-sterling.com/blog.html blog at first and not copy over any of her old articles. After her old blog has been closed for a considerable amount of time (many months) such that the old page content is no longer indexed on search engines, she can then repost the articles.

4. Potential to increase sales on silverjewelry-sterling.com

Cindy is likely to get more people to click to other parts of silverjewelry-sterling.com since her website navigation will be right beside her blog posts. This may result in greater sales. Note that if she didn’t move her blog over, you could argue that she could simply have a link to her jewelry online store.

5. Functionality and Convenience

Cindy needs to weigh the functionality of the 2 blogs. To BlogSpot’s credit, they have had many years to develop their site and blogs are their primary focus. CityMax is an all-in-one website builder and must balance the benefits of developing the blog further against other features that are requested. When it comes to convenience, Cindy may like that she can manage everything on CityMax instead of having to monitor 2 websites.

If anyone has any other reasons to move or not move a blog, please post them in the comments.

Annual “We Care” Night

Posted November 22nd, 2010 in Contests, Personal Message, Small Business Tips, social media by Mara

wecare1Imagine being cold, alone, and having no roof over your head in the depths of winter. In our neighbourhood, Vancouver’s Downtown East Side (DTES), there are thousands of people in this position – and every year we try to make a small difference by hand delivering care packages to help make those nights a little bit warmer. Through generous donations from people and business owners just like you, last year our volunteers were able to hand out over 1,500 re-usable bags filled with items like:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap and shampoo
  • Socks
  • Mittens and winter hats (or toques for us Canadians)
  • Snacks

Continue Reading »

Trendsetters, Influencers and Connectors

andrea-headshotclr_Guest post – Andrea Baxter is a senior marketing professional and a co-founder of Smart Cookies, founded in early 2007. Educating women on how to be smart with their money while living fabulously, the Smart Cookies have appeared on CNN, Oprah, MSNBC, and ABC News. They have published two best-selling books and host their own TV show.

As a businesswoman, more importantly, an entrepreneur, I have come to learn that there are 3 very important people you must surround yourself with in order to help your business grow and make it successful: trendsetters, influencers and connectors. Why? Because these are the people who are going to believe in you, believe in what you are doing and will want to help you grow your business as ferociously as you do.

Continue Reading »

Customer Blogpost! Shelley Nystrom of EcoCandle

Posted July 30th, 2010 in Contests, Selling Online by admin

shelley-nystrom

Introducing our first customer blogger (and iPad contest winner), Shelley Nystrom of EcoCandle!
If you fancy yourself a bit of a writer, and have an interesting business story / tip to share, drop us a line at Patrick (at) CityMax (dot) com.


By Shelley Nystrom

We’ve been selling candles for seven years now. Everyone gets a kick out of our line of candles for men, The MANdle. They always ask how we came up with the idea – but it all happened by accident.

Flashback: a dinner party years ago with friends and family, drinking and being merry. We were talking about the subject of my new endeavor – the new Eco Candle Company store I had just opened in Oshkosh, WI. My main product is natural soy candles, but I also sell incense, bath & body products, and handmade soap. A total “chick store”.

I shared with them that many male customers were stopping in: shopping for their mother, wife, girlfriend or sister. Some were with girlfriends, obediently smelling scent after to scent and politely saying, “Yes, I like that one too” – just waiting to be set free from this trap. But many of them came back to buy candles for themselves. I never anticipated it, but a lot of guys really liked candles!

So the conversation moved to making candles in manly scents. WD-40, dog, meat, beer… Then my friend Isaac blurted, “Yeah, you could call them MANdles, ha!” Everyone laughed, but I was thinking: “Oh… my… God…. BRILLIANT!!!”

I started brainstorming instantly. What kinds of scents do guys really like? How “manly” do they need to look? Shortly after The MANdle was born. Our customers loved them – and still do. People laugh out loud and call their friends over to read them all. Sometimes I get the occasional customer ask, “What’s a MANdle? I don’t get it.” Oh well, we can’t “wow” everyone!

Things I have learned along the way…

• Have fun with new ideas – people are always looking for a laugh and something unique.

• Don’t expect every new idea to work! Nobody buys the “Frat Boy” candle that smells like the aftermath of a kegger party. Seemed like a great idea, but it sits on the shelf.

• Ask your customers for their opinions – they always want to share them. 1) It makes them feel appreciated and special and, 2) They can come up with some really great ideas!

• Protect your ideas – if you feel like a name you came up with for a product or your business really “sells it” then – trademark, trademark, trademark!!! It’s an investment you will never regret.

Back story: I got state trademarks for all of my product lines, but wasn’t aware that I needed to actually get federally registered trademarks to protect myself. I also took my time getting them because I was selling them already, so I should have been protected, right?! No. I wasn’t. A couple years ago, we saw more candle companies stealing our MANdle idea and tried to register it. Too late!

Another company had just trademarked a line of glowing neon candles called “Mandle Candles”. They had nothing to do with our premise of MAN + CANDLE, but the USPTO said it was too similar and confusing to consumers. To fight it would have cost thousands in lawyer fees to try and fight the registration at this point.

Eventually I realized that I had spent a lot of time whining and crying about corporate crooks. I finally decided to put my big girl panties on, stand up and move on. Sad ending to this story, but we definitely learned a valuable lesson and that’s what running your own business is all about. Live and learn!

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