Articles on this Page
- 11/05/19--06:46: _How to prepare your...
- 11/06/19--05:30: _Cook up website suc...
- 11/07/19--15:16: _Top website securit...
- 11/08/19--05:00: _Why GoDaddy Email M...
- 11/08/19--05:30: _How to podcast — A ...
- 11/11/19--05:30: _Your definitive gui...
- 11/12/19--05:00: _GoDaddy Domain Name...
- 11/12/19--05:30: _5 steps to measure ...
- 11/12/19--08:30: _4 business filings ...
- 11/13/19--05:30: _10 tactics to turn ...
- 11/13/19--09:41: _WordPress Ecommerce...
- 11/13/19--22:00: _WordPress hacks: 5 ...
- 11/14/19--05:30: _Why thinking about ...
- 11/15/19--05:30: _Domain glossary —Te...
- 11/18/19--06:00: _Advertising web des...
- 11/19/19--05:30: _How to list domain ...
- 11/20/19--05:30: _10 Giving Tuesday e...
- 11/20/19--11:04: _Domain valuation to...
- 11/20/19--11:30: _Tips for how to sel...
- 11/20/19--15:00: _Wondering how to va...
- 11/05/19--06:46: How to prepare your email subscriber list for the holiday season
- Clean up your email subscriber list.
- Get new email subscribers.
- Build new email segments.
- Update and fine-tune your automations.
- Superpower your transactional messages.
- Mark important dates on your calendar.
- Make a plan for the holiday season.
- Long time, no see!
- Is this goodbye?
- We miss you
- Was it something we said?
- Do you still want updates from us?
- Big spenders: These are the people who have purchased the most from you — often the top 5% to 10%. You can target these customers with new product releases and higher-priced products.
- New customers: New customers are the ones who have made their first purchase from you in the last 30 days. It’s nice to reward them for buying from you with a special offer on their next purchase.
- Churning customers: These are customers who have purchased from you more than once, but who haven’t purchased in an extended period of time — often 60 to 90 days. Verify these timeframes against your average customer buying behaviors. Use a win-back campaign with a special offer, like a free gift with purchase or free shipping, to get them back into buying.
- Frequent buyers: Frequent buyers might not always be big spenders. They’re often looking for something new or exciting, so send them your latest and greatest!
- Specific category buyers: Depending on what you’re selling, you may have categories that appeal to specific customer groups. A great example is a clothing retailer that sells for both men and women. You can segment people who purchase only one type or the other and target your promotions accordingly.
- Customers by region: When it comes to holiday-centered segments, it can be helpful to group customers into geographic areas, which is especially useful if you’re going to have shipping deadlines. This way, you can tailor your emails to warn of upcoming cutoff dates for holiday orders.
- Completed orders per month: 100
- Average order size: $100
- Estimated abandoned carts (75%): 300 cards abandoned
- Abandoned Revenue: $300,000
- Recovered Revenue (3%): $9,000
- 11/06/19--05:30: Cook up website success with SEO for restaurants
- Create compelling and useful website content.
- Target top keywords.
- Make your website mobile-friendly.
- Build business citations.
- Keep your business information up to date.
- Highlight business reviews.
- Create action videos in your kitchen.
- Post video demonstrations of seasonal recipes.
- Capture events in your restaurant. You’ll need a release from participants to post this online.
- Encourage your website visitors to create content for you by designating a place on your site to share photos and videos of their time at your restaurant.
- Select “Search for new keywords.”
- Enter your city name, along with the term “restaurants.”
- Select your product category, then click “Get ideas.”
- Assign one keyword to each page. Never assign the same keyword to more than one page. This confuses search engines as they don’t know which page is more important, so they might not show either.
- Install the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. The free plugin makes it easy to add meta tiles and meta descriptions as well as identify optimization opportunities.
- Optimize each page for its target keyword. Use the keyword in the page title, meta title, meta description and image alt tag. Also include it in at least one subhead and use it a few times throughout the body content.
- Write more than 300 words per page. Search engines see pages with more content as more valuable to users and therefore rank those pages higher. So as you create pages, aim to include at least 300 words — but the more the better.
- Phone number
- 11/07/19--15:16: Top website security posts by Sucuri – October 2019
- How are you connecting online?
- How can you stay safe and keep your data private?
- How much of a digital footprint are you leaving behind?
- Distributing malicious programs
- Unauthorized web access
- Creation and maintenance of fake websites
- Compromised websites
- Implement procedures for encrypting sensitive information
- Practice strong password security measures
- Never leave computers and devices unlocked
- Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders
- Educate employees on cybersecurity best practices
- Use a web application firewall to protect your web assets
- 11/08/19--05:00: Why GoDaddy Email Marketing and WordPress are meant for each other
- GoDaddy Email Marketing and WordPress embrace simplicity
- GoDaddy Email Marketing is WordPress-friendly
- GoDaddy Email Marketing is built for bloggers
- Like WordPress (or a fine wine), GoDaddy Email Marketing has complexity
- 11/08/19--05:30: How to podcast — A complete guide to starting and growing a podcast
- What you need to make a podcast.
- How to plan a podcast.
- How to create great podcast content.
- Technical stuff.
- How to publish your podcast.
- Monetizing your podcast.
- How to get more podcast listeners.
- Conclusion and next steps.
- Microphone: He recommends the ATR-2100 USB microphone, or the Samson Q2U if you’re not in the United States
- Microphone stand: He recommends a “Boom Arm” extension
- Shock mount (to reduce vibrations being picked up on the mic)
- A pop filter or windscreen (to reduce the explosive sounds made by B- and P-words, which blow air into the mic)
- Editing software such as GarageBand for Mac users or Audacity for Mac and PC users (both of which are free)
- Microphone: No. 1 mic recommendation is the ATR-2100
- Recording and editing software such as Garageband or Audacity
- Headset or Earbuds
- A webcam in case you need to do video interviews
- Skype/Zoom/some other video chat service to record interviews
- The Blue Yeti microphone with USB connection (though several podcasters disagreed about this)
- An adjustable boom microphone clip
- Design software
- A vanity URL for your podcast’s name — again this was a topic of significant debate
- Microphone stands
- A shock mount
- Microphone cables
- Backup hard drives (external or internal)/cloud storage service
- The Tim Ferriss Show by blogger, author and speaker Tim Ferriss
- The Chalene Show by fitness, business and marketing guru Chalene Johnson
- The James Altucher Show by entrepreneur and angel investor James Altucher
- Online Marketing Made Easy by online business guru Amy Porterfield
- RISE hosted by New York Times best-selling author and motivational speaker Rachel Hollis
- The Art of the Hustle Podcast by iHeartRadio and WeWork
- Potty training
- Teaching them to sit/stay/come/etc.
- How to stop them from jumping/barking/chasing/etc.
- Training with treats (or without)
- Non-fiction storytelling
- Fiction storytelling
- What are you excited about?
- Where can you add the greatest value, and how can you do it in a unique way?
- What outcome do you want for people who listen to you?
- How to Record and Edit a Podcast in Audacity
- Complete Tutorial for Recording and Editing with Garageband
- Adobe Audition
- Apple Logic Pro X
- Hindenburg Journalist
- First, take your final audio file and load it to your podcast hosting service. This is where your audio and video files will be stored on a server, and from there you can broadcast those files to users on the Internet.
- With your podcast host, you’ll be given a unique web address — an RSS feed — of your podcast. Before you can load it to iTunes, Apple requires you to test and validate it.
- Additionally, Apple requires the following for submission:
- Make sure you have an Apple ID
- Give your podcast a title
- Write your description
- Load your artwork
- Choose the category that best suits your podcast—many podcasters recommend choosing up to three
- Select the language of the episode
- Mark whether the podcast is “Explicit” or “Not Explicit”
- Once you have tested and validated your podcast, and provided the requirements mentioned above, you should be able to simply copy and paste your podcast’s RSS feed into iTunes and click “Submit.”
- Have a timeline to launch and a plan for how you will deliver rewards to people who are donating money
- Start your donations at a minimum of $2
- Make it scalable so that you aren’t doing a lot of work
- Limit patrons to make it more exclusive
- Only offer recurring monthly donations instead of one-off donations so that you can continue earning income
- Early access to episodes (24-48 hours prior to it going live for others)
- Livestreams of your podcast
- Special Q&A sessions after the episode is over
- Shoutouts of your donors in episodes
- Check out more of Patreon’s ideas podcasters can offer fans.
- Start by telling friends and family: Tell everyone on your email list and in your circle about your show and ask them to share it.
- Share it on social media: Use relevant hashtags when you can, and share it to all the places.
- Blog about it: You should create a blog for your show, and have a post for every episode complete with show notes so that you can take advantage of SEO.
- Go to podcast conferences and meetups to meet people in the industry: I don’t even have a podcast and I came home with hundreds of business cards to check out and podcasts to look up.
- Get on other podcasts: The best way I’ve learned to grow your podcast is to hijack other people’s audiences. Try to become a guest on other podcasts, and in your call-to-action at the end, tell people how to find your podcast. Guest podcasting is the new guest posting — so many people with and without podcasts are using it to reach new audiences.
- Find a way into the media: If you can set yourself up as an expert in your field, leverage that expertise to become a source for your local media outlets.
- A beginner’s guide to social media for small business
- What is a media kit and how do you create one?
- 7 marketing ideas for small business
- Get some recording equipment, but don’t pull out the credit card just yet. It’s OK to start with the less expensive equipment and upgrade as you grow your podcast.
- Plan ahead for all aspects of your podcast — like the name, topic, format and content — before recording a single episode.
- Record the podcast, edit it, and get it ready for publication.
- Load it to your podcast host, and share the RSS feed to podcast directories, starting with iTunes (since it’s still the most popular).
- Use crowdfunding, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, etc. to monetize your show.
- Become friends with other podcasters, collaborate with them, and promote like crazy to grow your show.
- Podcast Launch: How to create, launch, grow & monetize a Podcast, by John Lee Dumas
- The Podcast Journal: Idea to Launch in 50 Days, by John Lee Dumas
- Superfans: The Easy Way to Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, And Build a Successful Business by Pat Flynn
- Big Podcast – Grow Your Podcast Audience, Build Listener Loyalty, and Get Everybody Talking About Your Show by David Hooper
- The Messengers | A Podcast Documentary
- A Step-By-Step Podcasting Tutorial by Pat Flynn
- Free Podcast Course by John Lee Dumas
- 11/11/19--05:30: Your definitive guide to holiday email marketing
- A few steps to get started with holiday email marketing.
- Building your holiday email marketing strategy.
- Holiday email marketing optimization and retargeting.
- Research, track and refine your holiday email efforts.
- Conclusion and next steps.
- “Let’s sweeten the Black Friday Deals with …”
- “Are you taking time for YOU this Black Friday?”
- Create a holiday gift guide with tips, advice and consultancy on what’s best to buy this holiday season.
- Send out holiday teaser emails leading up to the holiday in question, getting your prospects excited by promising to deliver exciting seasonal content, news, and offers. Our guide to email drip campaigns will help you get your timing and ideas just right.
- Offer exclusive holiday-based deals, offers and discount codes. Encourage your customers to take action by placing a redemption time limit on the offers you provide.
- Send last-minute emails offering free shipping or reminding your subscribers of their deal, offer or discount redemption deadlines.
- Offer one-click or instant purchasing options.
- Launch a holiday-themed competition, encouraging your email recipients to enter by replying to your email or sharing a piece of content via social media. Brand awareness and engagement in one neat promotional package.
- Go the traditional route by designing and sending out an eye-grabbing custom graphic or image to use as a greeting card.
- 11/12/19--05:00: GoDaddy Domain Name Value & Appraisal: A domain valuation tool
- Why a domain’s value is important.
- How the domain value is calculated.
- How to use the free GoDaddy domain name value tool.
- How to use the valuation results to your benefit.
- 11/12/19--05:30: 5 steps to measure and improve your holiday eCommerce strategy
- Conduct a situational analysis.
- Identify your business objectives.
- Determine your KPIs.
- Set your strategy.
- Experiment with different marketing tactics.
- Launch: Low sales volume with slow growth and the few employees that are present are wearing many hats.
- Growth: Sales volume is increasing rapidly and starting to realize profits. The company uses this cash flow to hire more employees to sustain growth.
- Shakeout: High sales volume but the growth has begun to slow due to saturation and competition. The company is well-staffed, but profits are beginning to decline.
- Maturity: High sales volume begins to decline along with profits. The company remains well staffed but has the money to research and develop new ways to explore new revenue streams.
- Renewal/Decline/Exit: Sales volume and profits are declining with the company no longer able to maintain a competitive advantage. The company exits the market.
- Increase sales: Increase eCommerce sales by 10% in the 3rd quarter.
- Market share: Gain 5% market share by Jan. 1, 2020.
- Customer acquisition: Acquire 1,000 new customers in March 2020.
- Awareness: Increase Facebook impressions to 500/week.
- Revenue/sales: Total sales throughout a specified period.
- Average order size: Average order size of a customer on a single order.
- Site traffic (including source): Total number of visits to the eCommerce site.
- Conversion rate: Rate at which users are converting/buying. Total number of visitors divided by total numbers of conversions.
- New versus returning customers: Comparison between new and returning customers. Highlights loyalty and potential affiliates or advocates for the company.
- Subscriber growth rate: Depicts the growth of the subscriber list.
- Social media followers: Followers on all social media channels. Useful for gauging loyalty and brand awareness.
- Social media engagement: Measures interactions for your brand on social media.
- Click-through rate: Tells the percentage of users who click on a link or asset.
- Cart abandonment rate: How many users add products to cart without checking out.
- Price adjustment: The oldest and most used trick in the book, principally around the holidays. This tactic entails lowering your product’s price to increase demand. Everyone battles during the Cyber Five so sales are a great way to attract eyes. Warning: Be mindful of your margins!
- Paid ads: Placing content online or in a public place (e.g., print or online magazines, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, billboards).
- Pay Per Click (PPC): Placing digital content in media that is charged when clicked on (e.g., Google Ads).
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Optimizing content so consumers can find your products more easily (e.g., websites or blogs).
- Email: Sending email to consumers, subscribers or followers (e.g., newsletters, press releases, blog posts).
- Endorsements/influencer: Getting an influencer to post or endorse your brand to their audience (e.g., social media post, mention in an email or blog post).
- Advocacy: Getting customers to publicly share their positive sentiment (e.g. online reviews, shares on social media).
- Affiliate: Paying affiliates to help sell the product via their personal channels. Typically, affiliates are paid a commission for each sale (e.g., Tapfiliate).
- Co-branding: Collaborating with another brand to attract a mutual target audience (e.g., hosting an event with other like-minded businesses, creating a gift guide with other brands).
- Contest: Creating a reward-based tactic where consumers have the possibility of winning a prize through engagement (e.g., website, social media, email raffle).
- 11/12/19--08:30: 4 business filings to handle before the end of the year
- Annual reports.
- Delayed filings.
- Articles of dissolution.
- Reinstatement filing.
- 11/13/19--05:30: 10 tactics to turn impulse shopping into stone-cold sales
- Keep it simple.
- Highlight your best-selling products.
- Plan for impulse shoppers on mobile.
- Use humor to engage shoppers.
- Make the checkout process a breeze.
- Offer different payment options.
- Secure your website.
- Consider targeted promotions.
- Test your site for ease of use.
- Offer free returns.
- 11/13/19--09:41: WordPress Ecommerce Hosting, powered by WooCommerce
- Choose a hosting plan
- Install WordPress
- Install WooCommerce
- Install WooCommerce extensions (add-ons that enhance the functionality of your online store, such as the ability to auto-populate USPS shipping rates into your cart)
- 11/13/19--22:00: WordPress hacks: 5 ways to protect WordPress from hacking
- Adding additional allow/deny rules via your .htaccess file,
- Restricting login URLs to specific IP range(s),
- Protecting your wp-config file,
- Blocking includes,
- Preventing image hotlinking, as well as preventing directory browsing,
- Not logging in on public WiFi or not using VPN on public WiFi,
- Deleting unused WordPress plugins and files,
- Keeping your server clean.
- Prevents a future hack by detecting and stopping known hacking methods and behaviors to keep your WordPress site protected against infection in the first place.
- Adds a virtual security update. Hackers quickly exploit vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins and themes. A good website firewall will patch holes in your WordPress website software even without security updates.
- Blocks brute force attacks. A WordPress firewall should stop any unwanted visitors from accessing your wp-admin or wp-login page and using brute force automation to guess your password.
- Mitigates Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks which attempt to overload a server or an application resources. By detecting and blocking DDoS attacks, a WAF makes sure the WordPress site is available even if attacked with a high volume of fake visits.
- Optimizes WordPress performance. Most website firewalls will offer to cache for faster global page speed in order to keep your visitors happy and to lower bounce rates while improving website engagement, conversions, and search engine rankings.
- 11/14/19--05:30: Why thinking about cash flow matters to small businesses
- 11/15/19--05:30: Domain glossary —Terms to know for starter domain investors
- Tap into a larger network on social media.
- Laser-target your customers with paid advertising.
- Be everywhere with online local business directory listings.
- Diversify your clientele by advertising on websites for freelance projects.
- Pair your website with SEO for a strong advertising strategy.
- Generate leads offline by advertising through business relationships.
- Go old-school with referrals and print ads.
- Tap into a larger network on social media.
- Laser-target your customers with paid advertising.
- Be everywhere with online local business directory listings.
- Diversify your clientele by advertising on websites for freelance projects.
- Pair your website with SEO for a strong advertising strategy.
- Generate leads offline by advertising through business relationships.
- 11/19/19--05:30: How to list domain names for sale
- Voice.com — $30 million
- California.com — $3 million
- Nursing.com — $950,000
- 11/20/19--05:30: 10 Giving Tuesday email ideas that drive donations
- Your contact list of people you plan to reach via email, phone and possibly snail mail. You may also want to consider an email opt-in drive many months prior to Giving Tuesday to get the word out about your cause early. Doing this will prevent people from being surprised you’re asking for a donation come event day.
- Your images that will be used in social media promotions and email correspondence. Think new headshots of key team members for your website, finding images from clients or events, taking snapshots of your facility or what you’re raising money for, etc.
The emails you plan to send out. You’ll want to write a minimum of four emails:
- One for two weeks out (a save the date type email about the impending Giving Tuesday).
- One for the week before (a simple reminder with a call-to-action to share your campaign with friends, family, and on social media).
- One for the day before (to keep your organization top of mind).
- One for the day of (so they won’t have an excuse for forgetting about the day).
- Note: You may also want to write a second email for the day of, to encourage last minute donors.
- Social media content updates, and the dates and times you plan for them to go live.
- Your donation goal, so you can measure whether or not your efforts were successful.
- The logos you’ll use either for your organization, or specifically related to Giving Tuesday. Some people opt to use the logos directly from GivingTuesday.org, but others choose to blend their own logos with those on the Giving Tuesday website. Others still, create something else entirely that is completely unique.
- Videos for social, email and YouTube, if you choose to do some video marketing. You don’t need a big budget, but filming and editing takes time.
- Volunteers or staff ready to help with correspondence and troubleshooting donation problems that will inevitably come up.
- Contingency plans for anything that might go wrong, such as servers going down, websites crashing, or credit cards being declined. Be sure to update all software related to emails, credit card processing, social shares, etc.
- Confirm all donation links are working properly and simple to follow so people can donate instantly. Don’t make your potential donors scroll through endless pages in order to give you money.
- Keep your messaging simple.
- Suggest donation amounts (and show why).
- Ask your readers to share your fundraising link.
- Share the story of a person (or animal or thing) you serve.
- Spur people to action with a limited-time gift match.
- Welcome donations of time — recruit volunteers.
- Create a video ask for Giving Tuesday.
- Give something in exchange for the donation.
- Use the visual resources available on the Giving Tuesday site.
- Send a final email on “Thank You Wednesday.”
- 11/20/19--11:04: Domain valuation tool: How to price and sell domains
- 11/20/19--11:30: Tips for how to sell your domain name on Afternic
- Visit Afternic.com and click Sell Domains.
- Create an account.
- Enter the domains you want to sell.
- List a price and submit for processing.
- Optimize your listings for better domain sales.
- 11/20/19--15:00: Wondering how to value domain names? Create a bucket list.
- Bucket No. 1: High-value domain names.
- Bucket No. 2: Mid-value domain names.
- Bucket No. 3: Low-value domain names.
- Try GoDaddy’s online and free Domain Name Value & Appraisal tool. This is based on a large data set and includes comparable sales at the end of the valuation results page.
- Dnjournal.com offers a great compilation of top sales by week and year. You can see two-letter .com sales in the six- to seven-figure range. They have data going back to 2004.
- Namebio.com is a searchable site with past sales. You can search using various options to find domains similar to yours.
- It has broader appeal as an attractive domain for anyone interested in trombones in general versus only those seeking sheet music for trombones.
- It’s shorter and easier to remember and type.
- Create three buckets: High-value, mid-value and lower-value domain names.
- Consider if the domain name has the potential to either make a buyer money or save them money.
- Check comparable domain name sales.
- Consider how widespread the domains’s appeal might be.
- Pay attention to the TLD.
- Research the popularity of keywords in the domain name.
- Use the “radio test” to help determine the domain’s branding value.
Isn’t it hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us again? It feels like just a few weeks ago we were throwing off our sweaters and digging out sandals for the summer. Our snow shovels and winter hats have been collecting dust, unused and stored for cooler weather. It’s time to start pulling out the winter gear and, similarly, now’s the time to prepare your holiday email subscriber list.
Email marketing was responsible for a total of 24% of holiday sales during the 2018 holiday eCommerce season. That means email marketing alone brought in nearly $170 billion in revenue for businesses during November and December of 2018.
7 steps to prep your email subscriber list for the holiday season
So, before you gear up to send out your Black Friday messages, let’s get your email list and email strategy ready for holiday sales with these seven steps:
Ready? Let’s jump in.
1. Clean up your email subscriber list
The first thing to do to get your email list ready for holiday promotions is to clean up and remove inactive subscribers.
Start by segmenting your list into people who haven’t opened in more than 90 days. If you haven’t emailed in more than 90 days, then you’ll need to start with people who haven’t opened in the 90 days before that. It could even be up to a year since they last opened.
Next, you’ll send that group of subscribers a special series of emails to ask if they still want to hear from you.
You can use humor to encourage open rates if it works with your brand. Remember, your subject line is very important for these messages. They can’t click to stay on the list if the subject line doesn’t get them to even open the email.
Here are some sample subject lines:
The content of these messages should be straight-forward with a single call-to-action: Click here to keep getting our messages.
Communicate the benefits of staying on the list, whether that’s access to exclusive sales, notifications about new products, or never missing an episode of a podcast or blog post.
Send at least three re-engagement messages to this segment of the list, removing anyone who did click to stay on the list from the segment.
After sending those three emails — if they never clicked to stay on the list, remove them. This might be painful if you’re focused on list size, but a smaller list size actually helps with your engagement and deliverability.
You’re paying to send them emails that are ending up in spam folders and trash bins, all while hurting your deliverability to the people who really want your messages.
Time to let them go.
2. Get new email subscribers
After you’ve bid farewell to some unengaged subscribers, it’s time to build your list back up. You’ll do that in a few different ways, including collecting up all the subscribers you have across multiple systems, testing your email subscription forms for any leaks, and running campaigns to get more subscribers.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these processes below.
Gather all your subscribers in one place
If you’re like most business owners, you’re collecting contact information from your customers in several different places, like your eCommerce system, your landing page software, your CRM, and even your social media accounts. Remember all those email addresses you collected when people wanted to join your Facebook group? Did those addresses actually make it to your email system?
Collect up all those email addresses that you have explicit permission to use, and add them to your email list.
Test your integrations and forms
Next up, test your integrations and forms to ensure that the people who are joining your list are actually making it onto your list. A good way to test is to use a special email address so you can track each form individually.
Rather than create a bunch of free accounts, you can modify your existing Gmail email address, for example, and still check whether or not you receive your test messages. To illustrate this, your email address might be firstname.lastname@example.org. You can add a plus sign after the first half (before the @ symbol), and any words you want after, ending up with something like email@example.com.
This is really handy if you’ve got several different lead magnets or signup forms to test. Examples of these test addresses might look like this:
Just don’t forget to delete all of those dummy subscribers after you’re done testing!
Ask to be whitelisted (or ask for a reply!)
One way to get your subscriber list ready for the holiday is to ask your new subscribers to whitelist your email address or add you to their address book.
Another way to get whitelisted is to have them reply to an email from you. Most ISPs will automatically add an email address to the address book when you’ve sent them an email. By simply asking a question — like “What is the biggest problem you’re facing” or “Which is your favorite style” and asking for a reply (instead of a click), you can improve your deliverability, strengthen your relationship with your subscribers, and get some customer feedback all at the same time.
Re-share your opt-in to encourage new subscribers
Once you’re sure that your opt-in is running like a well-oiled machine, it’s time to share it with the world to get even more subscribers. Here are a few ways you can share your opt-in to get new subscribers.
Share on your social media profiles
This includes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can share as a post as well as in your header image.
Post in related and appropriate Facebook Groups (as allowed)
If you’re a member of a Facebook group that allows promotions, share your free opt-in.
Pinterest can be a massive traffic generator, especially around the holiday season. As a matter of fact, 72% of pinners say Pinterest inspires them to shop when they aren’t actually looking for anything. Your freebie can be just the hook they need to start buying from you.
Update your website
If you’re already promoting your website on social channels and ad campaigns, make sure your opt-in lead magnet is easy to spot. If you’re looking for ideas to promote your lead magnet, check out 70+ ways to promote your email opt-in.
Pair up for a collaboration
The holiday season is also a great time to partner up with other businesses that have similar client profiles. You can create a collaborative product, or simply promote each other’s products to your own lists.
Remember — you can’t exchange email subscriber lists (that’s strictly against CAN-SPAM regulations), but you can certainly tell your customers how great the other person’s products and services are.
Another great option is to create a buyer’s guide that includes products from multiple businesses. You can create it once, and then have everyone share it because their products are featured!
Related: How to make a buyer’s guide
Ask for referrals
Another easy way to build your email list is to ask your existing customers to invite their friends to shop with and buy from you. We all have an innate desire to display what we’ve learned, found, and discovered.
One of the best ways to encourage your customers to share is to give them something to give, and something to keep.
This can be a special offer for each of them, including a discount for their purchase, free shipping or even a gift with purchase.
Asking for referrals doesn’t just have to be for the holiday season. You can build an automation system that works with a specific segment, like automatically asking for the referral after someone makes their fifth purchase.
3. Build new email segments
Now that your list is clean, and you’re beginning to grow your subscriber list, it’s time to dig into your email system and build new email segments.
Here are some of the most popular segments in eCommerce marketing, and what they mean:
Of course, these don’t have to be the only segments you create! Your creativity is only limited by the capabilities of your email service provider.
4. Update and fine-tune your automations
This isn’t directly related to your list prep for holiday promotions, but it’s a really important element of your overall email marketing strategy.
Set aside some time to review all of your running automations and transactional messages to ensure that they’re up-to-date, and helping to drive improved conversion rates.
Automations and funnels are a series of emails that are sent based on a customer’s activities on your website or in your email list. They’re triggered when someone takes those specific actions that you’ve defined.
A good example of an automation, or funnel, is your welcome series or an upsell series of emails after someone buys a smaller product. When you’re reviewing these, make sure they’ve got relevant dates and offers that align with your upcoming holiday promotions.
And don’t forget to check your links!
Before launching your holiday promotions is a great time to build upsell and cross-sell automated messages. Cross-sell products fit into the category of “People who bought this also bought,” while upsells are often accessories and services related to what they bought.
These messages help your customers fill their holiday gift bags and stockings with goodies from your store, based on what they already know and love.
Plus, those automated messages can help you sell more year-round!
5. Superpower your transactional messages
Transactional messages are also emails that are sent based on someone’s activity. The difference is that they’re related to their specific shopping and purchasing activities.
Transactional emails include order confirmation messages, shipping confirmation, and delivery confirmation. It can also include abandoned cart emails.
If you’re not already sending abandoned cart emails, this is the time to turn them on. An estimated 70% to 80% of eCommerce shopping carts are abandoned, and abandoned cart emails can recover anywhere from 3% to 12% of those transactions.
Not sure how those numbers affect you? Here’s how that could impact your bottom line:
And if you think your transactional emails have to be 100%-related to their current purchase, think again! In these messages, you can include cross-sells (other products that customers who have purchased this have also bought) and upsells (including accessories and services related to their new product purchase).
Your transactional messages are also a great place to remind your customers of deadlines, like the last day for ground shipping in time for holiday delivery.
6. Mark important dates on your calendar
Speaking of dates, the last thing you’ll need to do to get your email marketing strategy ready for the holiday season is to mark important dates on your calendar — including anything you need to do for those dates, like update messages in your automations and transactional messages.
As an example, in your abandoned cart email, you may add some text or a graphic with your shipping deadlines for holiday delivery, simply as a gentle nudge to remind someone that they don’t have a lot of time if they’re planning on gift-giving.
After that initial deadline has passed, you’ll want to update that text and graphics to promote expedited shipping. And if all the shipping deadlines have passed, then you may want to promote a gift card instead.
And when the holidays are over, don’t forget to take all those mentions back out of your automated emails and transactional messages!
It’s easy to think now that you won’t forget it, but after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, updating those messages will likely be the last thing on your mind.
7. Make a plan for the holiday season
Tying into marking important dates on your calendar, making a plan for your holiday emails benefits both you and your subscriber list. You’ll be less stressed about meeting your deadlines, and your list will get well put-together emails with plenty of time to make their shopping deadlines.
Things to include in your plan:
One of the biggest challenges around the holidays is shipping deadlines. If your deadlines are too early in the season, you might miss some of those impulse buyers. On the other hand, if they’re too late, then you run the risk of a shipping delay ruining the customer’s holidays.
Sales and special offers
While most people are always bargain hunting, holiday shopping brings out the hunters in all of us. By planning your sales, you can encourage customers to purchase earlier in the holiday season — reducing your stress in processing orders and reaching your goals, and their stress in making sure that their gifts arrive on time.
Some of the most important dates in your holiday planning are the last chance to arrive for the holidays. You’ll need to factor in production time and shipping time for all of your shipping methods.
Wrapping it all up
There you have it! Seven things you can do right now to get your email list and strategy ready for holiday marketing. Of course, these tips aren’t just great for the winter holidays. You can use them for any holiday that resonates with your business, from Valentine’s Day to Mother’s Day and beyond. Happy holidays, indeed!
The post How to prepare your email subscriber list for the holiday season appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Having a great website for your restaurant isn’t just about putting together a nice design. You also need to optimize your site so it can be found by potential customers looking for you online. Without search engine optimization, or SEO, for restaurants, your website is like a billboard in the desert. No one will see it.
While SEO might seem like a daunting subject, it’s really easy to employ some basic techniques to help your restaurant start showing up in search.
6 ways to boost SEO for restaurants
Understanding what search engines look for is important in determining what SEO tactics you need to use. The rest of this post will review ways to optimize your restaurant website for better online visibility and explain how to:
Let’s get started, and look at six ways to boost SEO for restaurant websites.
1. Create compelling and useful website content
The top job of a search engine, such as Google, is to deliver results that are relevant to what the user is looking for. Search engines continuously “crawl” the web, indexing websites for the next time someone searches for that kind of information. They use a number of criteria to determine which sites are the closest match to what is being searched for.
Great content is defined by its high degree of relevance to the theme and purpose of your site as well as its uniqueness. In other words, your content should be well-written, all about your restaurant and completely original.
The best website content for restaurants
Good content for restaurants comes, first and foremost, in the form of your menu. Search engines have gotten very good at crawling menus and have the ability to return results on specific menu items. To make it easy for the web crawlers to digest them, be sure to create web-based menus.
Aside from your menu, be sure to include reviews, awards, social media posts, recipes, photos and videos on your website.
Restaurants have the ability to create rich, engaging visual content that’s both appealing to potential customers and tasty to search engines. For example:
In short, there is no substitute for good content. Time spent creating and refreshing it will pay big SEO dividends now and in the future.
2. Target top keywords
Good website content attracts users and search engines. The keywords used in the content are an especially important part of this process.
What are keywords?
Keywords are phrases and terms that describe the content of a webpage. Search engines use keywords on a webpage to help them categorize the content and decide when to show it in search results.
Keywords are essential in SEO for restaurants.
You must optimize your page for the keywords that your customers are searching for so your webpage shows up when searchers look for results related to you restaurant.
For example, a restaurant serving pizza and pasta would want to target the keywords “Italian food,” “pizza restaurant” and “pasta restaurant.”
Keywords can be short one- to two-word phrases or long-tail keywords.
What are long-tail keywords?
Long-tail keywords are a series of three or more words that people use to find a specific piece of information on the web.
In marketing terms, it’s a key phrase people use when they’re close to making a purchase. They know exactly what they’re looking for. And in restaurant marketing, people use long-tail keywords when they’re close to making a decision about where to go eat.
It’s the difference between “Italian food” and “gluten-free organic southern Italian cooking.” The long-tail keyword is more likely to get the searcher exactly what they want. To boost SEO for restaurants, focus on targeting both general and long-tail keywords.
How to find keywords
Start your restaurant website SEO keyword plan by performing these two key steps of keyword research.
Identify your strengths
Effective marketing for restaurants begins with this. What’s your strong suit? What can you do better than anyone else in your industry? That’s what you want to be known for, and that’s one area you should try to get people to search for.
As you come up with your business-defining keywords, remember to talk how regular people talk.
Ask them what terms they would use to search for a restaurant like yours. Your top priority needs to be the regular words that your customers (and potential customers) use.
Use keyword tools
There are a number of tools you can use, such as the Google Ads Keyword Planner to help you identify the keywords to include on your website.
To use the Keyword Planner, you’ll need to create a Google account, then simply:
The Keyword Planner produces a long list of keyword phrases along with the number of times a particular keyword or phrase is searched each month.
Review the list and choose keywords that have a good amount of searches without a lot of competition.
How to optimize your website for keywords
Once you determine which keywords you want to target, make sure you use those terms throughout your website. Also include top keywords in your TripAdvisor and Yelp listings to drive traffic to your profiles on those sites as well.
To optimize your site for keywords:
Your homepage is the most important page on your business website. Prioritize restaurant website SEO on this page by targeting the most relevant keyword for your business.
3. Make your website mobile-friendly
Mobile-friendly sites, also referred to as responsive sites, work by changing the layout of your website content so it looks good on any screen size. This type of design ensures that important information, such as your menu, location, hours and phone number, is displayed in a streamlined, easy-to-navigate format.
Having a mobile-friendly site is a must for restaurants because it serves both customers and search engines.
Many restaurant customers make their dining decisions while out and about searching on a mobile device — not sitting at their desktop computer.
Having a responsive site that adapts to whatever device is accessing it will make your restaurant’s website easy to view on a smartphone screen and hopefully convert those searching for a place to eat into actual customers.
Plus, Google elevates mobile-friendly sites in search results and downgrades websites that lack mobile format, so responsive design can boost your search visibility.
How to know if your site is mobile-friendly
If you aren’t sure whether your site is mobile-friendly or not, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly test. Enter your website URL, and the tool will run a test on your site and report any issues related to the mobile version.
If you find that your site isn’t mobile-friendly, talk to a developer about converting your site to a responsive design. Or, choose to move to a platform that uses mobile-friendly themes and templates.
A number of website builders, including GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing, will automatically convert your website to a mobile-friendly format when it’s accessed from a smartphone or tablet.
4. Build business citations
Restaurants are local businesses that want to attract local customers. So it should be no surprise that you need to focus on local SEO as much as SEO for restaurants. One way to do that is by creating citations for your business.
Citations are listings for your business on both local and national directory sites.
Directory profiles are important because they help local customers find you and because they send signals to search engines that boost your search rankings.
When your business has a lot of citations, it tells Google that you are credible, trustworthy and worthy of a high search ranking.
Claim your Google My Business listing
The most important listing for your business is your Google My Business page. It’s an easy but important part of SEO for restaurants. By adding your information, you can be sure that you show up prominently when customers are looking for a restaurant like yours.
You can make sure your information is accurate, add pictures and respond to reviews. You also can view analytics that give you insights on clicks, calls, views and who has asked for directions to your business.
Create other national and local listings
You’ll also want to create profiles on other directory and social sites such as:
Adding your menu and other important information about your restaurant will improve your chances of being found on these sites.
Remember, if you don’t create a profile for your business, one will be created for you. Take the time to make sure these listings are accurate and working for you.
5. Keep your business information up to date
Creating profiles for your business is only one part of local restaurant website SEO. You also need to maintain the listings and make sure your NAP is consistent. NAP is an acronym that stands for:
NAP consistency means that your business name, address, and phone number are consistent across all of your business listings, and it’s imperative to achieving and maintaining good SEO for restaurants.
This is more of a challenge than most restaurants realize and, if not properly monitored, can have significant adverse effects on your digital presence. For example, if you’re listed as Tony’s Pizza in one directory and Tony’s Pizzeria on your website, the search engines will treat them as separate entities and will not assign authority to your website for being listed several times.
Be diligent in making sure your business information, including your hours of operation, is consistent and matches your website everywhere it appears on the internet.
Also consider adding schema markup on your site, which is simply a small line of code, that pulls your business information and serves it to the web crawlers in a language that they understand.
6. Highlight business reviews
Reviews are now a primary decision-making tool for consumers. This is especially true for millennials and the up-and-coming Generation Z. But restaurant reviews do more than sway customers to visit your business. Reviews also boost SEO for restaurants.
Search engines want to deliver the best results possible, so they prioritize businesses that they think customers know, like and trust.
So to boost restaurant website SEO, focus on generating reviews on third-party sites, such as Google My Business, Yelp and TripAdvisor, and highlighting reviews on your site.
How to highlight reviews on your site
It’s best to feature reviews in a prominent position, such as on the homepage or in a sidebar, because they carry significant weight in the minds of potential customers.
You can take your best reviews from those left on directory sites such as Yelp and Grubhub, but don’t just copy and paste. This will create duplicate content and potentially damage your search engine ranking. Instead, snap a screenshot and add them to your website as an image.
As with any photo you use, be sure to size them properly, name them with relevant keyword titles and add alt text so there’ll be a description of the image in case it doesn’t display.
Customer reviews work double duty as each one gives search engines a reason to rank your site and website visitors a reason to visit your restaurant.
Start boosting your restaurant website SEO
As you can see, SEO for restaurants isn’t as scary as it sounds. With these simple tactics, you can make good strides toward ensuring your website shows up on the top page of Google search results.
But keep in mind, SEO is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
True optimization only comes with time, diligence and sound processes — there isn’t a quick path to the top of the search results.
With that said, restaurants can work off a strategic plan that uses SEO to attract web traffic, fill seats and ultimately increase revenue.
If you’re struggling with managing your restaurant SEO, GoDaddy SEO Services can help. Just give our experts some info about your restaurant and they’ll do the rest, so you can focus on your customers.
We’ve gathered a few of our most popular posts and discoveries from October to educate you about the latest trends in website and personal security.
Top 10 website hardening tips
There are a number of protective layers you can add to help reduce the risk of an attack on your website. We’ve curated a list of the top ten virtual hardening recommendations to get you started.
1. Maintain frequent website updates
Website vulnerabilities come in all shapes and sizes. To prevent an exploit, ensure that each piece of software on your site is kept up-to-date with the latest patches and security updates.
Regularly patching must include your CMS along with any third-party components you’ve installed like plugins, themes, and extensions.
2. Reduce the attack surface
Only allow public access when it makes sense, and deny access to everything else by default. You can search and harden your website’s access points with server configuration rules, file and folder permissions, or with a firewall.
3. Use input sanitization
While it may sound a bit harsh, you should never trust all users on your website. You can prevent malicious activity by accurately restricting and filtering what’s sent during input.
4. Remove unnecessary extensions
Each additional piece of code on your website is a potential gateway for an attack. Keep only what’s being actively used and completely uninstall remaining extensions to reduce the risk.
Don’t install anything suspicious, unsupported, and – like tip #1 says – keep extensions up to date with security patches.
5. Maintain permission controls
Restrict what each user can do on your website and make sure they don’t have more privileges than absolutely necessary.
For example, if you have an author or editor contributing to content on your website, they definitely don’t need admin privileges.
6. Use multi-factor authentication
Activate 2FA/MFA wherever possible to add an extra layer of authentication to your accounts.
7. Create and maintain secure passwords
Use minimum strength requirements to enforce secure passwords. You can use a password manager to simplify creating and managing secure, unique passwords on your accounts.
8. Only allow secure access
Create restricted access to your website by enforcing the use of secure channels like VPNs or proxies. Make sure all administrators are accessing it from a safe device.
9. Reduce exposure of information
Lessen the chances of a successful brute force attack by reducing the information provided during login attempt failure.
For example, instead of Your password is incorrect send the message Login credentials invalid. Don’t let the attacker know the username was correct!
You shouldn’t write sensitive data to application logs or keep them publicly accessible, either.
10. Monitor your website and log activity
Check for any anomalies in your website logs to detect indicators of compromise. Keep an eye out for configuration errors, user activity, attack attempts, malfunctions, and other important status updates.
Personal online privacy and connecting online
Online privacy is a discussion that every user who connects to the internet needs to participate in.
When considering your online privacy, take a personal inventory of the following questions:
Best practices for online privacy
The first step is to consider the devices you’re using to connect to the internet every day, then implement these risk reduction best practices.
Secure your WiFi router
Most routers have a default admin and password which you should consider changing as soon as you set it up. You can also select a network name that doesn’t personally identify you or draw unnecessary attention — especially in apartment buildings.
Another important consideration is to limit access to your router when you’re away. Finally, you’ll also want to keep your router’s firmware up to date. These updates include important security patches for known threats to your internet-connected devices.
Implementing these precautionary measures can help mitigate the risk of an exploit and prevent attackers from adding your router to a botnet — or worse.
Secure your desktop and mobile devices
You can prevent unauthorized access to your internet-connected devices with these recommendations.
Remove unused programs and applications
This practice doesn’t just extend to third-party components on websites.
By removing unused applications, you can reduce the potential for an attacker to exploit a vulnerability on your device.
Set a screen timeout
Consider setting a screen timeout on your desktop and mobile devices to prevent unauthorized access or snooping.
Cover up your webcam
This recommendation applies mostly to tablets or laptops. By covering your webcam, you can help prevent malware from unauthorized recording or photography.
Update your software
Just like updating the software on your website, the same principle applies to your desktop and mobile devices. Maintain important updates and security releases, and apply patches as soon as a release is available.
In our recent webinar “Security Beyond Your Website: Personal Online Privacy” we tackled exactly these questions to help users like yourself focus on online privacy.
The cost of cybercrimes and attacks
Cybercrimes can target any business or website owner. Even average users who think they’re safe because they don’t operate a large business can become a cybercrime victim.
So, what is a cybercrime?
Classified as any illegal or unethical activity through the use of the internet or a computer, cybercrimes can affect websites big and small. Cybercriminals use vulnerabilities to exploit holes in networks or websites to extract valuable information.
These attacks can target the general public along with national and corporate organizations, and can steal sensitive personal or institutional information.
Cybercriminals may use a variety of methods to carry out their attacks, including:
What is the average cost of a cybercrime?
Last year alone, there were 2.3 billion data breaches—and the fact that you might have a small website won’t make you immune to this statistic.
Small and medium-sized websites typically underestimate the costs of a cyberattack, which can significantly impact trust, rankings, and ultimately revenue.
The reality is that any website that doesn’t implement proper security measures makes an attractive target to attackers, who often leverage automation to find and exploit vulnerable sites.
How to protect your business from cyberattacks
There are a number of ways you can protect your business from cybercriminals.
The post Top website security posts by Sucuri – October 2019 appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
This article was originally published on July 24, 2015, and was updated on November 8, 2019.
An estimated 34 percent of the web runs on WordPress, the open-source content management system beloved by techies and technophobes alike. And for good reason — WordPress is easy to use, highly customizable, and incredibly powerful.
It’s a great platform to help entrepreneurs with a touch of tech-savviness get online. Our Managed WordPress Hosting platform is perfect for the aspiring author, the Main Street coffee shop, or the indie musician — people who want a gorgeous, functional website without a lot of fuss or expense.
On the flip side, we also help professional web designers and developers host fully customized WordPress sites for their clients. These web pros live and breathe WordPress, and with our GoDaddy Pro program, we’ve made it easier for them to build and manage WordPress sites for their clients.
Related: 7 benefits of WordPress websites
We’re big fans of WordPress, and we’re here to tell you all about GoDaddy Email Marketing as a natural companion to the platform. Here’s why:
Ready to take a closer look? Let’s go.
GoDaddy Email Marketing and WordPress embrace simplicity
The team behind WordPress is proud of its simplicity and for good reason! They’ve brought classy web design to the masses — no easy feat. Our mission is to do the same for email marketing, and GoDaddy Email Marketing might just be the simplest email marketing on the planet.
Our software is designed to help you create a clean, modern, branded email in minutes.
Our email composer makes it easy to drag and drop a variety of text- and image-based modules to build the perfect email. You can also create a unique Theme with colors and fonts that reflect your brand.
With GoDaddy Email Marketing, your emails aren’t weighed down by complex, multi-column templates. Why does that matter?
Emails designed with our software are highly readable (check out a few GoDaddy Email Marketing examples here). When your emails hit the inbox, your subscribers will be able to read them with ease and (hopefully) heed your call to action.
That means more clicks and sales for you.
GoDaddy Email Marketing is WordPress-friendly
WordPress and GoDaddy Email Marketing are both simple to use, and they’re also simple to use together with our GoDaddy Email Marketing Signup Forms plugin, which allows you to place — you guessed it — a signup form on your WordPress site.
If you’re not currently collecting email addresses on your site, you’re missing out on gobs of potential business!
For instance, here’s a simple WordPress site for my imaginary doggie cafe.
With email marketing, I don’t have to wait for customers to come back to my site — I can reach out with an email chock full of entertaining, useful content. Even if customers don’t open every email, seeing my subject line might remind them to stop by.
WordPress users with a GoDaddy Email Marketing account can use the plugin to add signup forms using (1) a widget (great for sidebars), (2) a shortcode (great for inline text) or (3) a template tag (great for developers).
There’s no need to worry about matching up fonts and colors. When you use the plugin, your signup form will automatically match the style of your WordPress theme.
WordPress users can easily add our plugin from their WordPress dashboard. Just go to Plugins, click Add New and then type “GoDaddy” in the plugin directory search bar. Locate the plugin and click Install Now.
Complete setup instructions are available in our help section.
GoDaddy Email Marketing is built for bloggers
WordPress-based bloggers will feel right at home on the GoDaddy Email Marketing dashboard. Like WordPress, we make it easy to draft, edit and send (or post) content. But why should bloggers care about email marketing?
They use email to connect with their tribe on a different level, often with a chattier writing style.
Many bloggers set up a welcome email with our autoresponder feature — a great way to tell new subscribers what to expect and point out key resources on your site.
If you also sell products and services, you can use email to run subscriber-exclusive deals, host email-based courses or send coupons on subscribers’ birthdays.
But if I had to pick just one email marketing tool for bloggers, it would be RSS to Email, the mother of all email-based blogging tools. With this tool, you can automatically send your latest posts to your subscribers in a gorgeous, branded email. You add your blog feed, design a quick email and specify the frequency. Huzzah — your blog just became a little more sophisticated!
Like WordPress (or a fine wine), GoDaddy Email Marketing has complexity
By design, we’ve kept the complexity of GoDaddy Email Marketing out of view. But like WordPress, it’s a sophisticated tool, and when you’re ready for more advanced options, we’re ready for you! We offer add-ons like personalization tags and triggers and have a host of useful integrations with apps like Facebook and Eventbrite.
So whether you’re new to WordPress or you haven’t missed a WordCamp, GoDaddy Email Marketing is designed for you. And while it’s easy to get started with GoDaddy Email Marketing, we offer GoDaddy’s signature 24/7 support to help you get the most out of your account.
The post Why GoDaddy Email Marketing and WordPress are meant for each other appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
With the recent surge in the popularity of podcasting, you might be wondering how to podcast for yourself or your business. After all, even former President Obama signed a deal to launch a podcast with Spotify, and other celebrities are hopping on the podcasting bandwagon as well. I recently learned that even NASA (yes, that NASA!) has not one, but several podcasts.
Podcasting still feels like the next big thing, and people want in on this platform before it becomes as saturated as other media platforms have become.
According to Podcast Insight, people are listening to podcasts in growing numbers over the last few years, and these numbers don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
Given that there are fewer than 800,000 podcasts online at the moment, this relatively new platform is a lot less noisy than the 75 million-plus WordPress websites that are out there competing for attention in a wide variety of niches.
In August 2019, I traveled to Orlando, Florida, to one of the largest, if not the largest, podcasting conferences in the world – Podcast Movement. My mission was to learn more about the still relatively new world of podcasting, connect with the power players of the industry, and get the inside scoop on how to do a podcast from the pros.
How to podcast — Everything you need to get started
Interested in learning how to do a podcast? Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide:
The people I met, the sessions I attended, and the connections I made at Podcast Movement taught me about all of this and so much more. We’ve got a lot to unpack in this post, so buckle up because you’re in for an exciting ride.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into how to podcast.
What you need to make a podcast
When I spoke to people at the conference, the most widely debated topic was what you need to make a podcast.
Some people said you could just start with your smartphone and a really good sound editor. Others said you need a boom mic, editing software, a soundproof recording studio and a bunch of other equipment.
At the risk of ticking off the masses on this disputed topic, I’m going to try to be as unbiased as possible and give you a few different options for how to do a podcast.
I will preface this equipment advice with this — it’s understandable to want to purchase the most expensive equipment out there to give yourself the best chance of success. But, it’s also important to note that not everyone starts at the pro level. Sometimes we allow our desire to keep us from even getting started.
And, many of the well-known gurus I spoke to at the conference acknowledged that no matter how you start, your first episodes will always make you cringe.
Besides, you might start and realize you don’t like podcasting at all. Isn’t it better to just work with what you have to test things out before shelling out a bunch of cash? I think so! You can always upgrade later if you decide that podcasting is a medium you want to commit to.
Both of them teach both free and paid courses on the subject, and both have been hired as consultants to help popular online business owners launch podcasts for themselves.
Because they were at the conference, of course I had to pick their brains on everything I could in the limited time we had. Luckily, since they get a lot of the same questions regularly, they were able to point me to some awesome resources they already had on their websites.
Pat’s show is called Smart Passive Income, and he runs a website of the same name. His show features weekly interviews, strategies and advice for building an online business. His show has had more than 47 million downloads.
John, known by most people as JLD, runs a show and website called Entrepreneurs on Fire. JLD’s claim to fame is being the first podcaster to do a daily show interviewing entrepreneurs of all types. He has more than 2,200 interviews on his website, and 1.5 million monthly listens.
Below is the equipment they say you need to get started.
Pat Flynn says you just need the following:
JLD says at a minimum you need:
Other people I spoke with at Podcast Movement suggested having the following equipment before getting started:
Pro tip: Before purchasing any equipment, do your own research, read reviews, and be realistic about your budget. You don’t want to go into debt trying to launch your show!
Website and hosting recommendations
Do you really need to buy a domain before you launch a podcast? That’s a question that I never got a solid answer to. The most common response, however, was that it depends.
If you are launching a podcast of the same name as your business, for example, you might be able to get away with creating a podcast page on your current domain as Pat and JLD have both done.
On the other hand, if you want a name completely different from your business or blog name, it is a good idea to purchase a separate URL. Even if you never use it, it’s good to keep it in your back pocket so you have options.
I personally own several URLs with GoDaddy just in case I use them for future business, blog, book or other product ideas.
Find your perfect domain now!
What about hosting? Do I need a podcast hosting service when I’m just starting out?
The short answer is, yes. You do need somewhere to host your podcast episodes because you can’t exactly record some audio and simply load it to iTunes. You’ll need a podcast host to store and distribute your audio files.
Editor’s note: Need to find a podcast hosting service? GoDaddy has you covered.
How to plan a podcast
Now that you’ve gotten the equipment under control, what’s next? Planning your podcast before you launch.
There are several things you need to consider before you record your first episode, let alone put it out for the world to hear. When you begin your planning process, here’s what you should think about at a minimum:
What will the title of your show be?
While this may not be your first consideration, it is important to figure out what you will call your show before you start recording.
There are several options for your show’s name. Some people choose to use their business name for their podcast, like Pat Flynn and John Lee Dumas. Others choose to use their personal name.
Then there are others who create a name completely different from their business and personal name such as:
If you choose to do an intro and/or an outro for your podcast, you’ll want a podcast name in place before creating it. It’s also a good idea to purchase your domain name once you’ve settled on your name as well.
You’ll also want to consider your show’s subtitle and summary or description. Your show’s summary should be 4,000 characters or less because that’s how much room iTunes gives you to promote what your show is about.
What are your podcast goals?
Are you hoping to make money directly or indirectly off of this new venture? Is this simply going to be a hobby? Or are you just learning how to make a podcast to see if you even like it?
It’s important to establish what you want to get out of podcasting before diving in. Like starting a blog, creating a podcast is not a fast thing to do.
Yes, you can start a blog in less than 30 minutes, but actually creating the content, building your audience and gaining traction with it is an entirely different ballgame.
For example, if this will be a hobby project, you might not need the most expensive equipment to get started. If, however, this will be used as a tool in your business to reach a new audience or yield potential leads, you might want to put more thought into how you produce and launch your podcast.
Who is your target audience?
This might be based on your podcast goals. Your target audience might be the same as your ideal customer avatar if your podcast is launched as a business marketing tool. If not, you should sit down and think about who your ideal listener will be.
The reason this matters so much is you should never go into content creation attempting to appeal to the masses.
Like blogging, book writing and business, if you try to appeal to everyone you’re more likely to not reach anyone.
Let’s say your podcast will be about how to train your dog. Your target audience would be dog owners who are wanting to learn how to train their dog, and your podcast should be developed and marketed as such.
What topics will you discuss?
Using our dog training example, a podcast about that subject would likely have topics including, but not limited to:
You get the idea.
Once you start thinking about the subject and title of your podcast, you can hone in on the topics, and subtopics, most appropriate to create content around.
This was news to me at Podcast Movement! I naively didn’t realize that as with the book industry, there is an entire genre of fiction podcasts. And, like novels, they are broken down into romance, crime, horror, etc.
I was fortunate enough to stumble into a fiction podcast meetup at the conference, and I can honestly say I was fascinated by the various shows that are in existence right now.
The biggest challenge, these fiction storytellers told me, is that they sometimes hit a creative roadblock, and that can be problematic if they are trying to meet a publishing schedule.
Unlike a novel that is released all at once, if you have promised your listeners a new chapter or story each Monday, it can be difficult to continue a storyline without hiccups.
That’s not to say that fact-based podcasts are not without their hiccups.
Many podcasters — both fiction and non-fiction — told me they plan content several weeks, if not months, in advance to ensure they will have something ready to go live on the days and times they have set up for their listeners.
What will the format of your podcast be?
Podcast formats include:
While you don’t have to commit to a strict interview format, consistency is a good idea if you hope to build an audience.
Some of the podcasters I spoke with typically use the interview format, but they also have a regularly scheduled episode where it’s just them either recapping past episodes or doing a deep dive into a topic on their own.
Other hosts will dedicate one season to interviews, and another season to just sitting down by themselves with a microphone.
If you set up your podcast to be an interview series you’ll need to line up people for content creation.
You’ll likely need scheduling software, you’ll need to create a waiver or legal release for your guests to sign, and you’ll have to figure out how to actually host and record the interview.
Some podcast hosts even require their guests to have a certain microphone to be on their show to maintain audio consistency and quality.
Are there branding considerations you need to think about?
If your podcast is a hobby or new business venture, you may be creating a brand from scratch.
On the other hand, if you’re treating it as a business marketing tool, you’ll need to consider your business’s current branding, goals, values, etc.
For branding, you should start thinking about artwork including the image you’ll use on podcast platforms such as iTunes, as well as logos and other images you may want to use on your website, social media, newsletters and in all other messaging about your show.
Virtual attorney Andrea Sager discussed trademarks and copyrights for podcasters at the Podcast Movement conference, and she explained you shouldn’t wait to trademark your brand.
As she explains, “One of the top reasons you shouldn’t wait to file a trademark application for your brand is because you want the maximum protection possible. Once your brand has a registered trademark, the world will have notice of your registration in the United States. It will still be important to monitor your registration for infringers, but your registration will appear in a TESS database search, which is what many new small businesses depend on when choosing a name.”
She went onto say that registering a trademark gives you “the ability to shut down an online business that is infringing on your registered trademark. If all of the online platforms close the accounts of the infringer, then you have shut down an online business without filing a lawsuit. This can save you an incredible amount of money and time.”
I highly recommend her blog if you want to learn more about your virtual rights.
How long will your episodes be?
The topic of how long a podcast should be was another heated one amongst several people I spoke with. And when I got home and researched it I couldn’t find a definitive answer.
Unlike a blog post where the length can affect SEO, a podcast can be as short as 10 minutes or as long as 90 minutes.
Some people I talked to said your content should be just long enough to address your topic. Others swore by keeping it to 20 minutes or less so that someone grocery shopping, on their commute, or working out could listen to an entire episode in one sitting.
You can send listeners a survey in a newsletter, or ask on social media. After all, you’re creating the content for them, so why not let them simply tell you how long they want the content to be?
What’s your message?
One of the podcasters I had a wonderful conversation with was David Hooper. He wrote a book on podcasting called “Big Podcast,” and he says the message you want to spread with your podcast “is the foundation on which everything else about your podcast will be built.”
He went on to say that “a general message won’t be motivating to you or interesting enough to keep listeners engaged — you need to be specific.”
In order to do that David says you need to ask yourself a few questions:
David explained that your podcast’s message starts with you, but it’s not about you.
In a way, you’re just a messenger delivering the message.
How often will you release new episodes?
You have so many options for your release dates.
Some podcasters choose to release 10 episodes at once so their listeners can binge on them Netflix-style. Others commit to once a week or twice a month.
Then there’s JLD, who for a while was releasing new episodes daily. He’s since scaled back, but for several years his listeners got used to daily episodes of Entrepreneurs on Fire.
Whatever you choose for your release dates, do yourself a favor and stick to your schedule.
Like I mentioned earlier, consistency is an important factor in building a new audience. If your listeners expect a new episode every Friday and you suddenly take a few weeks off, they may move onto something else.
How many episodes are you willing to commit to before you launch?
Most podcasters I spoke to suggested launching with at least 5 to 10 episodes. The reason for this is the same reason you should launch your blog with that many posts. If you have a new visitor, you want to give them more than one thing to consume when they first “meet you.”
How to create great podcast content
At some point, you’ll need to start planning what will actually be recorded on your show. With that in mind, here are some simple tips for how to create great podcast content:
Winning at storytelling
At first blush, storytelling may seem like it’s only for the fiction podcasters, but it’s really not.
Storytelling is an important component for every podcast host. It’s the best way to relay your message or share a lesson with your audience.
You’ll set the stage with an interesting subject, you’ll paint a picture, and then you will tell a story that will begin with a hook that keeps the listener there through the middle and until the end of the episode.
Your story needs to have a theme or guiding concept — like in fiction, this key idea will give focus and meaning to your story.
You need a strong character taking action, moving the story forward. You also need a voice, whether it’s suspenseful, impassioned, or comforting, that sets the tone for your story.
With any luck, it will be so good that listeners will come back for another episode to hear another story.
If you are using an interview format for your podcast, there is an art and a science as to what makes for a good interview.
I have to share the brilliance from JLD’s session on top actions world-class podcast hosts take for every interview. Here are his best tips on interviewing guests on your show:
Ask unique questions that your guests haven’t gotten before.
This is sound advice because the truth is, the more popular podcasting becomes, the more likely your guests will be to have heard all the questions before.
A great idea would be to ask your interviewee if they have any questions that they’ve never been asked before. Do this before recording day so they have time to think about it, and give you a solid question and answer.
Give your guests the questions ahead of time.
Don’t treat your show as a shock value news interview. The last thing you want is your interviewee to be stunned or tripped up by the questions you’re asking. That is unless you’re going for a Howard Stern-vibe or trying to entrap your guest.
Chat before you begin recording.
Don’t just dive right into your interview. Most people are nervous to be recorded. So, a warm-up chat helps calm everyone’s nerves and ease into the interview session.
This next tip might honestly be my favorite.
Don’t waste time introducing your guest and reading their bio. You can do that in post-production. Use their limited time to focus on the stuff they need to be there for.
Remember this is a recorded interview and it can be edited.
If you’re having audio trouble such as a scratchy mic, background noise, etc., take a moment to pause the recording and make adjustments and note when in the interview you paused. It’ll be better for everyone, especially your audience.
Make sure your guest’s call to action at the end of the interview is clear and concise.
How can your audience continue the conversation with the guest? Where can they follow them on social media, buy their book/course, learn more?
At the end of the interview, after you’ve stopped recording, engage in a post-interview chat.
As a past guest on a handful of podcasts, I’ve been left wondering if I did OK, when it was going to be released, and what would happen next. In the post-interview chat, addressing these concerns will not only help your guest feel more at ease, it will give you the opportunity to ask for a share once the episode is live, and continue building the relationship.
I’ll add to this that you should also be prepared with backup questions on the fly. While you want to give your guests their questions ahead of time, some people will give short answers and need a little help. In other words, you may find you have to drag the material out of some guests.
Think of it like the people you send a paragraph long text message to, and they send back “Yep” or “OK.”
Therefore, prepare some follow-up questions for those moments that you need additional information, clarification, or for lack of a better phrase “filler.”
Pro tip: Make sure you get a podcast release form from your guest ahead of time.
Attorney Gordon Firemark has a free podcast guest release form you can grab from his website.
Why do you need a release? As he says, without one your guest could demand you edit their episode a certain way, demand payment, force you to take the episode down, and a whole host of other issues. His best advice is to cover your rear, and protect yourself!
Basic production tips
Aside from storytelling and interviewing, there are some basic things you should do before recording your podcast episodes. These include, but aren’t limited to:
Check all of your equipment before you begin recording.
A test may be helpful if you haven’t used your equipment in a few days, or if you’ve had to unplug or restart anything.
I met a gentleman who had done an entire episode into his microphone, only to realize an hour later that though it was being recorded, the microphone wasn’t plugged in.
If you are interviewing someone, make sure they check all of their equipment as well. That’s why the pre-interview chat is so important — it’s a great opportunity to make sure everything is working.
If you don’t have access to a recording studio, try to find a quiet space to record in.
Many of the podcasters I’ve met actually recorded in their closets until they could afford better equipment and recording space.
Another method several people told me they have used was covering their workspace with a blanket while recording.
For additional ideas on reducing background noise, echo, etc., I recommend checking out this article.
Be conscious of where your microphone is in relation to your mouth, and keep that distance throughout your recording session.
This tip I learned from Pat Flynn is so simple, but I honestly never would have thought of it when researching how to podcast.
He said, “If you drift away from the mic or even look away briefly, that will reflect directly in the sound quality of your episode. The key is to stay consistent throughout the whole recording.”
Don’t begin recording without a plan.
You don’t need an entire script, but you should have a flow in mind to avoid rambling incessantly.
Try to avoid “ums” and “uhs.”
Don’t let it scare you to the point that you stutter and get tripped up, but at least be cognizant of how often these filler words are said. Remember, this can be edited later.
Keep in mind that your listener only has audio.
You shouldn’t reference something your listener can’t see. They’re not going to care that your co-host or interview guest is looking at you with a funny facial expression because they are unable to see it.
Try standing while you’re recording.
This can provide better air support while you are speaking because there is less pressure on your diaphragm. You’ll also come across more confidently in your delivery.
Use two microphones.
If you have a co-host or are interviewing someone, make sure you have two separate microphones, and record the audio of each person separately when possible.
Sharing a microphone will throw off the sound and make it awkward to talk to each other.
Do some vocal warmups before you start recording and stay hydrated.
Practicing some simple vocal warm-ups can help clear your voice and get any roughness out of the way.
You may also want to consider drinking some water or tea while recording. Avoid soda, milk and coffee, however, as those beverages can cause coughing, burping and other sound distractions.
If you’ll be recording several episodes, honey in a cup of tea may be a good idea because of its soothing effects on your throat and vocal cords. Take time between episodes to drink some water and relax your vocal cords a little as well.
Some of the podcasters I met even use a humidifier the night before they plan to batch record to hydrate their throats.
Understand that certain topics will be difficult to discuss
Depending on what your podcast is about, you will need to be cognizant of the fact that some subjects will need more thought than others.
For example, if you are bringing up the #MeToo movement, and women being sexually harassed or assaulted, you have to take a careful approach.
One of the sessions at Podcast Movement touched on this beautifully. The creators of the podcast “Believed,” discussed their multi-episode documentary about former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar, and how for years he got away with abusing hundreds of women and girls for two decades.
NPR’s N’Jeri Eaton, deputy director of programming and new audiences, moderated the session with “Believed” co-host Lindsay Smith and editor Alison MacAdam as they told the story of how the show came to be.
Before they recorded a single episode, they had to get clear on the story they were telling, and how their audience would react. The intention was to be honest, unbiased, and sympathetic towards anyone listening who may have suffered the same way as Larry’s victims.
Lindsay and Alison said they had an intense planning session to figure out just how much hand-holding would be necessary for their listeners and to make sure this wasn’t just a show about shock and awe.
Rather it was a show about helping listeners relate to the narrative to see how easily something like this could happen, and why women are scared to tell their stories for fear of no one believing them.
The truth is with hot button subjects such as abuse, diversity, politics, racism and many others, you will have to keep your audience and their reactions in mind.
It’s important to have facts before simply jumping into an episode so as not to offend or misspeak. You can’t bring your own biases into the narrative — instead, you need to do a little research before recording.
Even when your subject matter seemingly has nothing to do with hot button issues, it’s imperative that you plan ahead.
Off-color comments and jokes can destroy a show and a host’s reputation — and if it’s related to your business, it could shut that down, too.
While it’s easy to brush this advice off as “worrying too much about what others think,” the reality is your listeners will be from diverse backgrounds. How you handle what you discuss matters.
Of course, there are some shows that intentionally cross lines and push buttons, but if you want your show to be a thoughtful one, this is something important you must consider in your content creation.
The technical side of podcasting
For the most part, all you really need to do to record your podcast is plug your microphone into your computer, open your audio recording software, hit record, and start talking. Again, make sure everything is working properly before you sit down to record a full episode.
It’s OK if you’re nervous the first time. It’s normal, and with time, you will become more comfortable.
In fact, several podcasters I met recorded several test episodes that have never seen the light of day just so they could get used to being behind the microphone.
Another thing that may help calm your nerves is the realization that you can edit it. You don’t have to be a pro in the beginning.
As Jared Easley, co-founder and co-organizer of Podcast Movement, says, the most important thing when you’re ready to start a podcast is to just start.
Just start recording, and packaging your podcast for public consumption. The faster you do that, the faster you can start learning, tweaking, fine-tuning your voice and sound, improving your delivery, etc.
Record your intro and/or outro
You might want to hire someone for this, but however you choose to do it, your intros and outros should be ready to add to your podcast sooner rather than later.
Some podcasters like to have a different intro every time, whereas others choose to use the same one.
If you are planning on using music for your intros and outros, you’ll need to make sure you are using music legally.
The music you use must be royalty-free, bought and paid for by you, or an original creation by you. Do your research into the music you are using before using it. It’s better to be overly cautious and safe.
Side note: Some of the podcasters I’ve talked to online and at the conference used freelancers found on sites like Fiverr and Upwork for their intros and outros only to get hit with legal trouble.
One had to remove every episode, re-edit with new music, and reload them. Another was hit with some pretty serious fines.
There is a myth that you can use seconds of a song without getting in trouble for copyright infringement. Several attorneys that were at the conference told me this is completely false.
Don’t risk your podcast, your money, your business or your reputation. Make sure whatever music you use on your podcast is legal.
Bottom line: Be careful who you hire, and the music that is used in all aspects of your podcast!
Editing your podcast
Even if you will eventually outsource the editing, it’s a good idea to get a grasp on basic editing techniques.
This is especially important if you have a tight schedule because if you have to publish an episode by Tuesday and your editor is suddenly sick with the flu, it will fall on you. It’s better to have some understanding of what to do.
While we obviously can’t go into a full lesson here on how to edit your podcasts, Pat Flynn has created a free tutorial for editing in both Audacity and Garageband. You can get them on YouTube here:
If you aren’t using either of those software programs for editing, there is probably a tutorial for whatever program you have.
Check YouTube and the website of the software you’ve acquired. Learn the ins and outs, and you might just surprise yourself with how quickly you can nail down the process.
The other popular software programs I’ve heard about for recording and editing podcasts include:
Note: I have not personally used any of these programs, so I cannot attest to their quality. I’m simply relaying information from those I’ve met on my journey of researching how to podcast.
Best WordPress plugins for podcasters
Some of the plugins recommended to me are:
Again, do your research, and read all the reviews before simply installing a plugin on your WordPress website.
What about mobile recording?
I have met several people who record podcasts on their phones.
They said the trick for using a phone to record is to use a high sound quality microphone made specifically for recording audio with your smartphone and install an app made for podcasting on the go such as Anchor or Audioboom.
The most common complaint I heard about mobile recording is that the audio quality is never as good as using a computer.
However, I did learn there are SaaS (software as a service) companies that can take your mobile audio and clean it up, making it broadcast ready. But again, I can’t speak to which of the options available are the best for the money.
How to publish your podcast
Once you have recorded your episodes, it’s time to publish for the world to hear.
Publishing to iTunes
iTunes is the most popular to get podcasts, so you should start there. Here are the steps for publishing your podcast to iTunes:
At this point, you will need to wait for Apple to approve your podcast. This can take up to a few weeks, but could be approved in as little as one to a few days.
Publishing to other platforms
Many podcast directories actually use iTunes to distribute your podcast, but you may need to load it to others. The top four that most people suggest adding your podcast to include:
For most directories, all you will need to do is create an account, add your RSS feed, verify ownership, and then press publish. Click each of the directories mentioned above for their instructions.
Publishing to YouTube
A lot of podcasters are choosing to upload their podcasts to YouTube as well to increase their reach and tap into some SEO juice.
Simply create an image for your podcast, convert the MP3 to an MP4, add the image as a static graphic, and voila! You’ll have a video version of your podcast that you can load to YouTube.
Your static image for Youtube should include your podcast name, the title of the episode, who’s featured on it (i.e. the host and/or guests) and a logo.
Some podcasters choose to add an additional graphic to this static image that represents what the show is about, or who is appearing on the episode.
For example, if I was interviewing an ice cream shop owner, my static image might have an image of the owner, their shop, or a scoop of ice cream.
Of course, to convert your audio to a video file and add a static image, you’ll need video editing software. From what I’ve learned most PC users can get away with using Windows Movie Maker and Mac users can use iMovie for this step.
Tips for monetizing your podcast
At this point, you might be thinking, “Wow, this is a LOT of work.”
And, the truth is, it is.
The work involved is the biggest thing keeping so many people from launching after learning how to make a podcast. However, it can be rewarding, and yield income over time.
In fact, with a little planning, you could start monetizing from the moment you release your first episode.
Here are some ideas and tips you can use to monetize your podcast:
Patreon was one of the sponsors and speakers at Podcast Movement and the crowdfunding platform provided some interesting insights:
Patreon’s advice for the easiest and most scalable rewards were:
If you have a knack for sales, you could start asking brands to sponsor for your show. In the beginning, you might not be able to command much money, but it could be enough to at least offset your equipment, domain and hosting fees.
I highly recommend reading Entrepreneurs on Fire’s Ultimate Guide to Podcast Sponsorships if you want to go this route.
This is by far the fastest and easiest way some of the podcasters I spoke with have monetized their podcasts.
They write show notes for every episode, and in the notes they include a section for products mentioned with affiliate links to those items. I’ve also seen people add a section at the bottom of their show notes for their favorite podcast tools, equipment and services — all with affiliate links, of course.
If you want to use affiliate marketing for monetization, you have to check out “Pat Flynn’s Epic Guide to Affiliate Marketing,” which you can download for free here.
Pitch your business services at the end of every episode
Let’s say you’re a coach or a photographer, and your podcast is a marketing tool for finding new clients. You could monetize your podcast by delivering a call-to-action in your episodes that you are taking on new clients, with a link to your website.
Charge your guests to appear on your show
While this is certainly not popular amongst podcasters, I did meet and learn of a few in the industry who actually charge appearance fees for their guests. How much to charge is certainly open for debate, but some charge based on how big their following is.
When you’re just starting out, this might not be a good option for you, but in trying to be unbiased in this post, I’m sharing actual strategies I’ve heard people using.
Sell premium content for “after the show”
Some episodes simply aren’t long enough to dive deep into the subject you’re discussing on your podcast.
As a result, you might want to consider creating virtual workshops or extended episodes that you sell for download to your audience.
For example, let’s say you’re discussing how to get more mentions in the media. Your premium content could be a digital workshop you sell on your podcast that breaks down the exact strategies someone can use to get in the press.
How to get more podcast listeners
Once your podcast has finally been launched, how can you get more listeners? Honestly, it’s the same way you would get the word out about any other venture you’re working on — you market and promote like crazy, and then you keep doing that even after you start gaining a large audience.
Essentially, you’re going to have to market your podcast forever to keep growing. Here are some ideas to help you do that without breaking the bank in advertising costs:
Like I said, marketing a podcast is a lot like marketing any other venture, so I highly recommend checking out these GoDaddy posts for further marketing help:
Conclusion and next steps
We’ve covered a lot in this post. From the research I’ve done so far into how to podcast, I know firsthand how overwhelming all of this information can be. Here’s a brief summary of what we’ve discussed here today:
There you have it, folks. The down and dirty guide to how to podcast. I hope this has inspired you to consider creating a podcast for yourself or your business.
I know it has personally inspired me to start my own, which I plan to launch in early 2020.
To close things out, here are some additional tools and resources to consider as you research and prepare to launch your own podcast:
Want to launch a new podcast, or grow your existing podcast community even faster? GoDaddy has your back with fast and affordable podcast hosting.
The post How to podcast — A complete guide to starting and growing a podcast appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Whatever your niche or sector, email marketing is a promotional medium that will generate amazing results — if you do it right. Harness that power for holiday email marketing and you stand to increase brand awareness, grow your audience and boost your bottom line, big time.
Studies show that more than 50% of U.S. consumers check their personal email account more than 10 times a day. And it’s their favorite way to receive updates from brands.
During the holiday season, eight in 10 shoppers are influenced by online information before making a purchase.
When we say holiday email marketing, we’re not just talking about Christmas or Thanksgiving. There are countless annual holidays and celebratory seasons out there. By tapping into the right ones, you can transform a promotional email into an invaluable profit-generating tool for your business.
Related: Holiday marketing checklist
Guide to holiday email marketing
We’re going to show you how to create a holiday email marketing strategy for your business from start to finish — a definitive guide that you can use for seasonal success all year round.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
A few steps to get started with holiday email marketing
Whether your holiday email efforts are centered on Hanukkah, Christmas or Groundhog Day, to enjoy maximum promotional success, you need to start planning early.
Get together with your colleagues or team to decide on the holidays you feel will work best for your business and mark them in a dedicated content planner as early as possible. This will give you ample time to prepare, plan, create and deliver.
But, before you start creating content, the first thing you need to do is get under the skin of your customers.
Know your audience
If you don’t know who you’re aiming your holiday email marketing efforts at, it’s unlikely you’ll see any return on investment (ROI). That said, you should build a holiday-specific buyer persona so that your marketing communications will resonate with your audience.
By building a solid customer profile or persona, you’ll be able to personalize your emails to offer a level of personal value to all of your recipients, based on their preferences and needs.
Armed with your buyer persona (or personas), you should make sure that your existing email lists are up to date and your subscribers are segmented into sub-lists (such as repeat customers, frequent buyers, new subscribers, special offer redeemers, etc.) so that you can enhance the personalization of your content for maximum results.
Consider your email subject lines
If you’re going to send out a holiday email, you need to get your subject lines right. It’s the headline that will make people click though, after all.
Tip: Always aim to make your email subject lines short, sweet and relevant.
Here are a couple of our favorites from Black Friday for your reference:
Once you’ve taken the time to plan, get to know your audience and create effective email subject lines, it’s time to start rolling out your strategy.
Building your holiday email marketing strategy
When creating content for your holiday email marketing strategy, you should always try to speak to your customers on a personal level, remaining conversational while designing your emails in such a way that makes your intent clear and concise.
These tips will help you create promotional email content that works for any holiday or occasion.
Create a holiday-themed design
When it comes to holiday email marketing, a digestible design coupled with striking themed imagery will excite and inspire your customers. And that’s likely to result in action — people buying stuff from you.
Plus, if you place your discount codes, deals or offers near the top of your holiday email, you’re more likely to encourage click-throughs and increase sales.
Share holiday gift guides, deals and teaser emails
When you’re creating a holiday marketing email strategy, it’s important to provide a unique level of value while offering exclusivity and, of course, creating urgency — for example, “Quick, buy now while you still can!”
With this in mind, when crafting a holiday email, employing these additional tactics to encourage your subscribers to buy your products or services will yield positive results:
Be aware: While encouraging action and creating urgency works, don’t over do it.
Putting too much pressure on potential prospects to subscribe to your list or buy your products could hurt your brand reputation.
Offer deals and incentives and implement redemption time limits, but whatever you do, be natural and conversational when speaking to your customers rather than forcing their hands toward the shopping carts. Essentially, you should create excitement and leave the hard sales pitch at the door.
Produce a holiday marketing video
As humans, we’re visual creatures. In fact, 54% of today’s consumers want to see more video content from the brands they subscribe to or follow.
By creating a fun, inspirational or topical holiday-themed marketing video, not only are you likely to boost your brand awareness, but you’ll have a powerful asset to share in your promotional emails.
To help you on your quest to video marketing perfection, read our guide on different types of video content to move customers through the sales funnel.
Holiday email marketing optimization and retargeting
With your timing, content, deals, design, offers and visuals firmly in place, now’s the time to optimize your holiday marketing email efforts while thinking about retargeting subscribers to enjoy maximum value from your campaign. Here are four ways to do that.
Set up referral rewards
Reward repeat buyers or first-time holiday purchasers by sending a follow-up email offering an exclusive referral reward.
The reward could come in the form of a discount code, two for one offer, first dibs on brand new products or free shipping for a month — the choice is yours.
By prompting existing holiday customers to encourage their friends or relatives to subscribe to your email list, you’ll have a bigger, more engaged audience to target when the next holiday rolls around. A real win-win.
Deliver post-holiday or follow-up emails
Follow-up or retargeting emails work well when delivered near the end or shortly after your holiday marketing campaign.
When it comes to following up with a holiday marketing email recipient, there are several approaches you can take.
First, if a promotional email recipient has clicked through to a purchase page but for some reason, decided to stop their transaction, it’s possible to retarget them with a cart abandonment email.
Cart abandonment emails allow you to re-engage your subscribers with some sweet holiday messaging while reminding them of their previous purchasing activities.
If sent in a timely fashion, cart abandonment emails earn solid results. If you have a template up your sleeve that you can edit according to campaign or occasion, sending out these types of emails will take minimal effort.
It’s also possible to send follow-up or retargeting emails with personalized holiday gift suggestion or, as mentioned, free shipping or deals with expiration dates. These approaches boost engagement while creating a sense of urgency.
Whatever approach you decide to take when following up with a promotional email, it’s important to include a clear-cut call-to-action to guide your customers to the next stage of the sales process — whether it’s a product page or instant purchase shopping cart.
But, whatever you do, make sure you avoid these costly mistakes.
Tip: When creating calls to action for your promotional emails, keep it simple! Even adding a linked phrase like “Shop Now” can do the trick.
Also, you should make your links noticeable. Most clicked links have slightly larger text or are in all caps, with a different color than the rest of the text surrounding them. Red often works well.
You also can try using a linked image. Visuals immediately catch the eye and you can use them to incite a call to action. The example below features a clickable image that yielded the lion’s share of the clicks:
Embrace email automation
Email automation is a process that makes it possible to send time- or action-triggered emails to your subscribers with relevant content.
With automation, it’s possible to create and schedule emails to be sent to different segments of your subscriber base at times when they’re most likely to be engaged.
Essentially, you can set everything up and monitor your success with minimal intervention.
This practical guide will help you get started, saving you time and money in equal measures.
Don’t forget holiday email mobile optimization
Studies suggest emails that display poorly on mobile are usually deleted within three seconds. And, when you consider that emails are now opened more on mobile than desktop, making sure your holiday email marketing communications are optimized across all devices is essential.
Your promotional emails must be fully mobile-optimized, offering a seamless level of user experience (UX) while looking great on screen. Otherwise, your customers will put them in the virtual trash bin, posthaste.
With testing, time and development, you can ensure that all of your emails work perfectly on mobile devices. But the most effective solution is to use an email marketing tool like GoDaddy Email Marketing that will optimize your designs automatically.
Doing so will allow you to preview them across devices before sending them to your recipients, resulting in time and money well spent.
Research, track and refine your holiday email efforts
Sector or niche aside, your marketing success as a business owner will depend on your ability to test and refine your activities for future holiday campaign success.
In terms of checking and testing your emails before sending them, you might catch typos or broken links, or discover a better way to lay out a module. And by measuring the success of your emails after your campaign, you’ll be able to identify what works well in addition to areas that require improvement.
If you don’t have a marketing team to test your emails, you should send a test to yourself or a trusted friend. It really does help to see your newsletter as it appears in your readers’ inboxes.
Plus, if you’re starting a drip campaign, or continuing one, it’s important to ensure your campaign is functioning optimally.
Here are two tried and tested strategies to ensure you holiday email efforts work for you time and time again.
Benchmark your results
By using email campaign data to your advantage, you’ll be able to benchmark your holiday email marketing efforts, empowering you to make vital improvements during the next seasonal period.
The best way to benchmark your campaign efforts is by analyzing metrics — such as open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates — based on the performance of individual emails. You can do this through platforms like Google Analytics or your email marketing platform’s built-in performance data, using your discoveries to understand your strengths and weaknesses.
By drilling down into your performance data, you’ll be able to decide the best and worst times to send emails, the types of content or offers that work best, and figure out which elements of your holiday marketing efforts need improvement, so you can take action where necessary.
If you measure, track and benchmark your efforts on a continual basis, you’ll keep evolving, increasing your holiday marketing sales year after year in the process.
Failing to do so will only dilute your promotional email efforts.
Peek at your competitors
The best thing about holiday email marketing is the fact that the holidays (in their various forms) happen every year, offering a fresh opportunity to dazzle, amaze and engage your audience every 12 months.
Follow them on social media and sign up for their email lists to gather as much intell as possible.
Peeking at the competition is great because not only can you utilize the best parts of their campaigns to your advantage by placing your own spin on their ideas and delivering them to your customers, but you can also spot content gaps to exploit.
For example, if your competitor is doing a “12 offers of Christmas” campaign — sending out a different deal each day on the lead up to the big day — you could evolve this idea by delivering an email that includes a “12 days of Christmas advent calendar” graphic that your customers can open for exclusive deals and content.
With holiday emails, the sky really is the limit. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to look at what your competitors are doing with their holiday email marketing activities.
Conclusion and next steps
There’s no doubt about it: for businesses of all shapes and sizes, the holidays offer a prime opportunity for increasing your sales, boosting brand awareness and growing your audience.
By planning early on and delivering content that will inspire as well engage your audience in equal measures, you stand to enjoy great success with your holiday email marketing campaigns.
“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches — at scale.” —David Newman, author of “Do It! Marketing”
As a quick recap, here is a rundown of the best general practices for holiday email marketing:
Be clear and direct
Always have a clear goal for every promotional email you send to make your communications concise and impactful. Plus, if you’re looking to attract new subscribers, make sure your opt-in information is easy to read, letting prospective subscribers know what you intend to do with their contact details.
Stay recent and engaged
When dealing with your email marketing lists, make sure you remove any subscribers who are inactive or unresponsive, giving yourself the space to focus your efforts on new customers or existing recipients who are likely to engage.
Exert no pressure
Adding a sense of urgency to your holiday emails with deal and discount code expiry messaging, for example, is effective. But, don’t over-pressure your holiday prospects as it could damage your brand reputation. Make sure your communications are as natural as possible, leaving the hard sales pitch at the door.
Test your emails
Measuring, tracking and testing your emails is essential to your ongoing holiday marketing success. Testing your emails before you send them will ensure you capture any typos or formatting issues across devices.
And, by drilling down into your performance data, you’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t, empowering you to make improvements for future campaigns.
Care for your customers
Make sure you reward loyal subscribers with exclusive content and incentives, and always remember to offer a unique level of value with every single piece of content you send.
Whether it’s a greetings card, gift guide or an exclusive discount code, you should always strive to keep your holiday email recipients coming back for more.
You hear about domain names selling for hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars, but how can you find out what your domain names are worth? Great news! GoDaddy has a domain valuation tool to help you determine the value of your domains.
GoDaddy domain valuation tool
In the past, finding out the value of your domain would mean contacting an expert and trusting their expertise to give you a calculation. This could be inconvenient — especially if you have a lot of domains or if you are concerned the trust may be misplaced.
You can get a valuation of your domains from a trusted leader in the industry.
Ready to learn more? Here’s what we’re going to cover in this post:
Let’s get started.
Related: What is a domain name
Why a domain’s value is important
Just like all the other things you own, your domain could be worth a lot. Think of a domain name’s value like online real estate.
A beachfront condo in Miami is going to be more expensive than a condo in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a storefront in New York or Paris is going to cost you a lot more than one in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska.
Zillow has made things easier to navigate when looking for a ballpark idea of your home’s value or the value of that condo in Miami, but until recently, domain names have been harder to value in an automated fashion.
We all know why understanding the value of your home is important. If you’re planning on moving to another city or daydreaming of a house on the beach, checking the home’s value on an automated tool is really pertinent.
Maybe you’re sitting on one of those great names worth millions of dollars. Even if you don’t have a name worth millions, it’s a good idea to understand the value of your domains. You might find out that a domain you own is worth more than you initially thought.
When it comes to domain names, the uses might be less obvious, but there are some cool things you can use the free GoDaddy Domain Name Value & Appraisal tool for.
How domain name value is calculated
GoDaddy’s domain valuation tool’s algorithm uses proprietary machine learning and real market sales data to estimate domain values, providing you with comparable domain name sales so you can price your domains with confidence.
The tool also looks at similar domain names based on the TLD (Top-level domain) and SLD (Second-level domain) — the words to the right of and left of the dot respectively (e.g., in the case of Cars.com, cars is the SLD and .com is the TLD).
Each domain name is different and the domain valuation tool factors uniqueness (among other things) into the equation, too.
The length of the domain name is also examined. A domain with less than 15 characters has a greater value.
This is especially true with the limited amount of domains still available using just the 26 letters of the English alphabet (excluding numbers, dashes and IDNs).
In 2013, WHOAPI.com confirmed that all the four-letter domains are registered.
Coincidentally, most domains less than four characters long are valued in the thousands, tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars — depending on their TLD and SLD.
How to use the domain valuation tool
First, you want to visit the GoDaddy Domain Valuation & Appraisal page. In the provided box, type in the name of the domain for valuation.
Once the name is submitted, the tool will provide you the valuation results along with an explanation of its value based on similar domain name selling prices, the value of the keywords, the popularity of the keywords and the type of extension being used — .com in the below example.
At a high level, it operates in a similar fashion as appraisal tools in other industries do. These tools look for similarities in other goods that have previously sold somewhere and then figure out how alike or different your object is.
For instance, Zillow considers, among other things, the prices of nearby homes that have a similar amount of space and amenities to determine an approximate value for your home. The GoDaddy Domain Value & Appraisal tool does the same thing, but with domain names.
GoDaddy’s free domain valuation tool helps you figure out the value of the domain names you own — or one you might have your eye on.
The tool also allows you to email or download and print the report for later reference. If you are shopping for a domain, it will tell you if the domain name is available and the price.
If the domain is being sold by an individual, it will give you their asking price and instructions on purchasing it. If the domain isn’t registered, there will be a link to buy it on the front of site for the standard retail price.
How to use the valuation results to your benefit
Now that you know the value of the domain, are you going to keep it, sell it, use it or buy it?
You might want to keep your domain
Knowing your domain’s worth might come in handy when you’re looking to prioritize the renewals in your domain’s portfolio.
Understanding the value of the domain you already own will help you rethink deleting it or allowing it to expire.
You will want to make sure it is set to auto-renew so you don’t risk losing it if it expires by mistake.
If you are keeping your domain, you will want to treat it with all the importance of physical property and keep it safe. Adding in extra protection to a domain name you own, like privacy with protected registration and added account security, like two-step verification, will help further protect your valuable domains.
Related: What is two-step verification?
You might want to sell your domain
Seeing the actual value of a domain might even point you in the direction of selling.
If you wish to sell it at auction, choosing a site with a lot of affiliates, like Afternic.com, gives your domain name the most visibility.
If you have a good domain name, at some point you’re likely to get an unsolicited offer to purchase the domain privately. If you’ve used GoDaddy Domain Name Value & Appraisal ahead of time, you’ll have a good idea of the value it holds and whether or not the offer is on point.
You might want to use it
Using a domain for customized productivity — professional email — or for a website is common. If you use one for an email address, the shorter and easy-to-remember, the better. If you need a domain for your website, find the one with the most market value to use for the address.
Pro tip: Since the value of a domain is based on keywords, among other things, you will want to use the domain with the highest keyword value to connect to your website for better SEO.
If you’re not using your domain for a website, you can actually make money on it by using GoDaddy’s CashParking service. All you do is sign up for the service and when someone visits your parked site, they will see ads that are relevant to them. When they click on these ads, you’ll make a percentage of the revenue generated.
You may want to buy it
The domain valuation tool can be used when making the decision to purchase a domain. If you are looking at a new registration, it will give you insight into its future value.
If you are looking to purchase a domain at auction or from an individual, the free domain name value tool will let you know the market value — but that’s not to say that someone can’t list it for whatever amount they desire.
Find the value of your domain
GoDaddy’s domain valuation tool will give you insight quickly and efficiently on the domains you already own or domains you want to buy.
While it’s still prudent to do your own analysis before determining the value of any domains, having this automated, efficient and free domain valuation tool at your disposal is a great place to start.
Go ahead, see what your domain name is worth.
This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Joe Styler.
The post GoDaddy Domain Name Value & Appraisal: A domain valuation tool appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
In eCommerce, preparation is key to get ahead and capitalize on the increased demand that most companies experience during the holidays. The holiday season is typically defined as the last 61 days of the year covering the months of November and December. In this small window, some industries can see up to 30% of their year’s total revenue. This means that your marketing campaigns, tactics and website must all be working toward a robust holiday eCommerce strategy.
Now more than ever, companies of all sizes have access to abundant resources and information that can help them gain a competitive edge.
Online businesses have the advantage of having a wealth of data at their fingertips, literally. They can track consumer behavior and use metrics to plan winning marketing and sales strategies.
For example, we know from data that the majority of online holiday spending happens during a five-day period known as the Cyber Five. This shopping phenomenon starts on Thanksgiving and goes through to Cyber Monday. A survey found that 54% of American consumers intended to shop during these five days of sales.
Competition has ramped up so much that companies are running Black Friday-level sales as early as November 1 to try to secure a competitive advantage.
So, how do you better prepare for the season that can make or break your company’s year? The answer lies in strategy.
5 steps to measure and improve your holiday eCommerce strategy
We will go through the following steps to make sure that your holiday eCommerce strategy results in a jolly good holiday season:
It’s important to note that not all eCommerce sites are created equal. If you’re new to eCommerce for your business, choose one or two steps to focus on first.
Ready? Let’s take a closer look at each step below.
1. Conduct a situational analysis
Let’s start by looking at what your industry standards are. This will put things into perspective and keep you from getting confused by the generic numbers that tend to be tossed around. After all, you can’t expect an eCommerce store that sells durable goods to sell as many units as a company that trades in fast-moving consumer goods.
Clarifying this early on will give you some insight into how relevant players in your market are performing.
Carrying out a competitive analysis periodically is another way to make sure that you get ahead of the competition and stay there.
Once you have outlined some key metrics in the industry that you cover, identify where your company is in its business life cycle.
The current stage of your company will greatly affect how you interpret your performance metrics.
Take a look at the five stages below. Which one sounds like you?
To figure out where you want to go, you have to know where you currently are.
How to perform a situational analysis
If you’re not sure, a situational analysis does exactly this. It can help you map out how you can leverage your strengths and seize opportunities to be successful.
There are three main models to perform a situational analysis:
All three work exceptionally well to outline strategic opportunities in your current business and will help you to find where your business is currently.
Evaluate past performance
With the strategic opportunities in sight, it is time to evaluate how well your holiday eCommerce strategy worked last year.
This is where Google Analytics and eCommerce platforms come into play. We tend to overlook the vast amount of data that these platforms provide. Granted, the capabilities vary from platform to platform, but they almost always offer the key performance indicators (KPI) you need to make sure that your eCommerce site is streamlined.
Take note of as much information as you can about your performance during the months of November and December.
Try to identify what strategy, campaigns and tactics you were running, too, since this will help you evaluate your previous marketing efforts so you can replicate successful campaigns.
With this done, you’ll have a benchmark of your previous performance and be able to set goals for the upcoming holiday season.
2. Identify your business objectives
What is something that you would want to have if you were lost? Perhaps a compass? Business objectives play this directional role as you navigate through the market.
Without knowing where you are heading, you are bound to run around in circles and run into stagnant performance.
Setting proper goals needs to become second nature to your business. Whether they are related to customer service satisfaction or sales quotas, your goals should always be SMART.
There should be no ambiguity to your goal. It will act as your compass and your business’s heading must be clearly defined.
A good goal is something that can be measured. For example, don’t set “increase website traffic,” instead, try “increase website traffic by 10% month over month.”
While everyone loves an optimist, it is also important to stay realistic while setting goals. Set something that is achievable and challenging so you won’t be too demotivated if you miss your target.
In what direction is your company going? The goals that you set should help your company move along that path. Something too far out of your realm could scatter your team’s focus.
Give yourself a deadline. This will keep you on top of things and keep the goal from eventually fading into the background.
Need some ideas for SMART goals? Here are a few examples for the holiday season:
The fewer objectives you have, the better. This will let you and your team focus on what is important. Otherwise, you risk becoming overwhelmed with all the different factors it takes to keep your site competitive.
With your starting point realized and your goals set, it’s time to put everything into a marketing calendar. After all, your goals now have deadlines!
Getting organized before the holidays hit is a sure-fire way to stay on top of your holiday sales and marketing.
3. Determine your KPIs
A key performance indicator, or KPI, is a quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, etc. In short, these are the performance measurements of your business objectives.
In order to run your site successfully, you need to identify what does and doesn’t work, why it works and whether it will work again.
Each KPI tells a different story of the same action that takes place inside your eCommerce store.
How did someone get to my site? How much did they spend? Is my checkout optimized?
All these questions can be answered by key performance indicators.
Below are the top 10 KPIs most relevant throughout the holiday season. While 10 KPIs are not nearly enough to get the whole idea of how an eCommerce store is performing, the list below does a good job of summing it up.
With these 10 KPIs in your back pocket, you’ll be able to accurately measure brand awareness, marketing efficiency, sales and site optimization. And that’s a win for your holiday eCommerce strategy.
4. Set your strategy
A great tool to explore what kind of growth your company could undertake is the Ansoff Matrix. This matrix analyses and depicts the risk of four different strategies: Market Penetration, Product Development, Market Development and Diversification.
This strategy option offers a focus on increasing the sales of existing products in the current market to increase market share. This is the least risky strategy for a company.
A development strategy involves the development of a new product to an existing market. This strategy tends to be capital intensive and typically involves a lot of R&D or a partnership that gives you access to a new product for your market.
Unlike the Product Development option, Market Development would be the creation of a new market with an existing product. Think expansion. This strategy typically involves moving to another domestic or international market.
Diversification would include the development of a new market with a new product. This is the riskiest strategy for a company, but also offers an entirely new revenue stream.
The strategy you choose to pursue will depend entirely on your business goals, but with the Ansoff Matrix, you are better able to weigh the strategy against the possible risks.
5. Experiment with different marketing tactics
Marketing tactics are the strategic actions that direct the promotion of a product or service to influence specific marketing goals.
Much like the KPI, there is a long list of tactics that can be used for any given strategy.
With your goals defined, your metrics ready for measuring, and your direction set, you are ready to begin experimenting! Use a combination of these popular online tactics to concoct a successful holiday eCommerce strategy.
Another note here is to remember mobile optimization for your eCommerce site.
Mobile sales during last year’s cyber week accounted for 54% of total revenue!
Record, rinse and repeat
Having an eCommerce website gives you an insider’s view that no brick-and-mortar store ever could. No matter what KPIs, strategies and tactics you try this year, measure and record all your efforts. This will not only save you precious time for your plans during the holiday season but also give you a solid foundation for the future.
Each holiday eCommerce strategy varies in cost, effort and effectiveness depending on its execution, so finding the best plan for your brand will be trial and error.
However, once you iron out the details thanks to your eCommerce data, you will begin to see results that you can replicate all year long.
The post 5 steps to measure and improve your holiday eCommerce strategy appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
This post was originally published on Dec. 12, 2014, and was updated on Nov. 12, 2019.
The years move by quickly when you’re a small business owner. Blink on January 1, right after you’ve made your entrepreneurial New Year’s resolutions, and before you know it, it’s Q4 and the end of the year all over again.
Entrepreneurs often multitask their way through Q4. They prep their business for the first quarter of the new year, celebrate the winter holidays with their team, and file required documents to remain in good standing with the state.
4 business filings to handle before the end of the year
Which types of paperwork do small businesses need to file before the year ends? Here’s a look at a few common documents and reports startups must file to stay in compliance.
Let’s look at each of these important year-end business filings in more detail.
Editor’s note: Looking to get more organized? Check out Microsoft Office 365 from GoDaddy for the apps you trust, with GoDaddy’s award-winning customer support.
1. Annual reports
Filing an annual report is due — you guessed it — annually with your local Secretary of State.
Is an annual report the same as an initial report? Not at all.
An initial report, sometimes called a statement of information, is filed when a small business owner first incorporates or forms a limited liability company (LLC).
Initial reports share basic information about the business and its activities with the state. This information includes the name and address of the business, addresses of its members, the name and address of the company’s registered agent, and a brief description of what the company does.
Annual reports, on the other hand, record any changes the business may have experienced throughout the year.
This includes updating any changes made to the business name and/or address, member addresses, changes in registered agents, or drastic alterations to business activities.
You may submit an annual report that reflects many changes made to the business throughout the course of the year, or the report may only note a few changes.
When is my annual report due? This is a great question because due dates vary depending on the state you do business in.
Your legal formation, from an LLC to an LP, also reflects the frequency in which your annual report filing is due.
For example, if you have incorporated in the state of Alabama as an LLC and do business in that state, your annual report is due each year. However, if you incorporated as an LLC in Idaho and do business in Idaho, your annual report is due on a biennial basis, that is, every other year.
The best way to avoid any confusion about annual report filings is to contact your local Secretary of State.
They will be able to provide you more information about your annual report filing requirements. You may also find it helpful to refer to MyCorporation’s “cheat sheet” of annual report due dates, updated to reflect the current deadlines for all 50 states.
2. Delayed filings
In general, I recommend that anyone starting a business forms an LLC or incorporates as soon as possible.
However, what happens if you plan on opening your doors for business in November or December? Should you still move ahead and incorporate the business in the few remaining calendar months of the year? Or is it more beneficial to opt for a delayed filing instead?
Typically when a small business owner decides to form an LLC or corporation, the process begins as soon as they submit their application form and pay a filing fee. However, one should not expect that their effective date of incorporation will be the day after they filed the paperwork.
As a result, it may be difficult to predict the exact date you are officially in business.
A delayed filing, on the other hand, delays the effective date of incorporation. This allows entrepreneurs to file their incorporation paperwork 30 to 90 days in advance and set an exact start date for the business.
More often than not, small business owners will choose to set their start date in the next calendar year. Why would they choose to put it off until next year instead of opening their doors right now?
Once you are considered to be “active” as a business by the state, you are required by the IRS to collect, report and pay taxes for that tax year. This is true of businesses that have only been active for two months.
A delayed filing allows you to avoid paying taxes for two (or less) months in business within that calendar year.
It also ensures you do not pay other fees associated with starting your business, like annual report fees.
Set a specific start date
If you’re sticking to a strict timeline for opening up shop, a standard incorporation filing does not guarantee the business will be active within that timeline.
A delayed filing helps guarantee a specific incorporation date for the business.
You’ll know when you’ll officially be in business, and will be able to set the wheels in motion towards preparing for that exact date.
Delayed filings are prioritized
Concerned that your delayed filing may get tossed into a backlog somewhere? Don’t worry!
This ensures that the state will be able to address and approve delayed filings quickly without you wondering when — and if — they’ll get to your paperwork.
Get a head start elsewhere
Does your small business still need to file for an employer identification number (EIN) or a business license?
Opting for a delayed filing gives you a good sense of when your business will be officially active.
Use the extra time to get the rest of your ducks in a row. Some of these may include but aren’t limited to obtaining EINs, business licenses and permits, getting a lease on a retail space and opening a business bank account.
Related: How to get a business license
3. Articles of dissolution
There are many reasons why a small business may file for a dissolution, and not every reason is negative. Some businesses voluntarily dissolve because they have simply run their course or the owner has decided to pursue another venture.
Once you know you are ready to shut your doors for good, small business owners cannot simply hang up a “closed” sign and walk away from the storefront.
This is a formal closure of the business, which alerts the state that the business is no longer active. As such, the company will no longer be required to file annual reports or continue paying state fees and taxes.
How does a small business owner file a dissolution? Here’s a quick primer for steps to follow in dissolving a business.
1. Secure the vote
Let’s say your business was a corporation. Corporations have a board of directors. That board must be able to approve decisions made by the company.
Before dissolving the business, you would need to meet with the board of directors and take a vote to pass the dissolution.
This vote must be approved by a majority of shareholders. Otherwise, the business will not be able to dissolve.
For LLCs, a formal meeting must be held with the LLC members to approve dissolution.
The one entity that would not need to have a formal meeting or conduct a vote is a sole proprietorship. This is because a sole proprietor conducts business as an individual. Hence, they would be able to dissolve their business without requesting a meeting or vote.
2. File articles of dissolution
This is an application that announces the intent to dissolve the business.
You must include the name of the corporation or LLC, the date the dissolution will go into effect, and the reason for dissolving the company. Are you registered to do business in another state? If so, file an application of withdrawal in that state. This ensures that the business is no longer considered active in another state or responsible for filing annual reports and paying state fees.
3. File Form 966, Corporate Dissolution or Liquidation
Let’s go back to the corporation example. If your corporation was able to secure a majority vote in favor of dissolving the business, it would need to file Form 966 within 30 days of filing articles of dissolution.
4. Cancel business licenses
Small business owners must cancel all business licenses and permits issued to their business.
5. Notify employees
Do you have a staff of full-time employees? You must inform them that the business is in the process of being dissolved as soon as possible.
Make sure you account for their W-4 state and federal withholding and provide each employee with information about the date they will receive their final paychecks, among other important information.
6. Pay off remaining business debts
Once the remaining debts of your business have been paid, the owners can liquidate and distribute the remaining assets to members and shareholders within the business.
Last but not least, take the time to review the “Closing a Business Checklist” provided by the IRS. This list provides additional actions small business owners must take before they close their doors for good.
Remember to file an annual report for the year you go out of business, file final employment tax returns for any employees you may have, and make final federal tax deposits.
Depending on the entity your small business incorporated as, you may also need to report the shares of partners and shareholders, allow for S Corporation election termination, and file final employee pension and benefit plan documentation.
Links throughout the checklist will help guide small business owners to the appropriate PDF forms to fill out and file.
However, filing a dissolution is necessary before the year is up. This ensures your business avoids paying next year’s fees and filing annual reports for a business that is no longer considered to be active in the eyes of the state.
4. Reinstatement filing
Sometimes a business accidentally falls into dissolution. This may happen if you forget to submit your annual report or have a check bounce on filing fees.
We all make mistakes, and the good news is that an involuntarily dissolved small business doesn’t need to remain so.
If you find that your business was involuntarily dissolved this year, you may file a reinstatement to reinstate the business before the year ends.
Much like dissolving a business, reinstating a business comes with a few steps.
1. Determine why the business fell out of good standing
One of the examples listed above might be the reason. However, if you don’t know what happened, contact your local Secretary of State to find out why you were dissolved.
2. File reinstatement forms with your respective state
Depending on the reason why you fell into bad standing, a reinstatement application could be accompanied by another document such as a delinquent form. If you are unsure of which forms to file, reach out to your Secretary of State.
In addition to providing more information about how your business fell out of compliance, they may provide a list of necessary forms to file to ensure you do not forget anything.
3. Pay any outstanding fees associated with your business
Generally, you’ll need to pay a reinstatement form filing fee. However, there may be other penalty fees associated with your business.
Once these have all been paid and your application has been approved, you may successfully reinstate your small business.
Head into the New Year knowing you have your small business back in good shape and the peace of mind of being back in compliance with the state once more.
The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.
The post 4 business filings to handle before the end of the year appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Impulse shopping is a phenomenon among digital consumers. It’s a common tale: Every now and then, people hop onto their laptops or smartphones, and perhaps get distracted by an ad. Next thing they know, they’re considering buying a fun new item — because why not?
Another survey concluded similar results, estimating the impulse shopping industry reached nearly $40 billion this past year.
Ecommerce businesses can increase revenue by designing and optimizing sites that cater to impulse shoppers, especially around the busy holiday season.
10 tactics to turn impulse shopping into stone-cold sales
Use the following actionable strategies to make it easy for impulse shoppers to navigate and buy from your website.
Grab your favorite holiday beverage and let’s dive in!
1. Keep it simple
Here’s a popular web design tip, but all the truer when dealing with impulse shoppers — keep your site simple.
Keep the focus on the most valuable information for consumers, like robust product descriptions.
Consider using a show/hide or accordion function so that site visitors can access further details should they want them. This will remove distractions and create a minimalist product page.
Once a shopper lands on their potential purchase, make sure your call-to-action (CTA) is clear as day. People need to know how to complete a sale — try for almost too obvious. Your CTA should use unambiguous terms like “Add to Cart” or “Purchase.” This isn’t the time for humorous copy or trying to include clever phrases for a purchase button (we’ll touch more on humor later).
2. Highlight your best-selling products
When optimizing a site for impulse shoppers, you want to create an effortless experience, which is also a good practice to target really any shopper. For most established eCommerce retailers, you likely know which of your products are best sellers and why.
Make it easy for those shoppers who are slightly distracted and highlight those products on your home page, hero image, landing pages, or even via gift guides.
Remember, you want to close a sale, so stick with the hits.
However a potential customer found your page, especially if they’re multitasking, they want to see what they came there for, not be confused by different options.
For example, if you’re an organic candy retailer and impulse shoppers found you through a targeted Facebook ad, they want to see your flagship products, not the new vegan candles you’re testing out. Now is not the time to pitch unknown, unrelated or new products.
3. Plan for impulse shoppers on mobile
We have all heard it before — everyone is shopping on their phones nowadays, so if your site isn’t mobile optimized, you’re losing out.
Recent stats from Google show that 80% of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies with mobile sites or apps that help them easily answer their questions.
This is even more important when you think about potential shoppers waiting in the bathroom line at their local bar or browsing online stores in bed after a night out.
To make sure your site is mobile friendly, use Google’s free testing tool or simply pull up your site on a smartphone. Make sure each page displays correctly (not distorted), loads quickly and that your mobile checkout is as seamless as the desktop version.
4. Use humor to engage shoppers
When done correctly, humor sells. Use this to your advantage and inject some humor into your eCommerce site to connect with shoppers, and potentially even nudge them to click that add to cart button.
Creative content and copywriting can be powerful assets when trying to engage with your audience (especially a silly audience).
If you feel like going for comedy is off brand or inappropriate, try to create relatable content in the voice of your target audience. Conversational copywriting can help you engage with impulse shoppers.
Use conversational language to sell your products.
5. Make the checkout process a breeze
If someone is impulse shopping, getting them to put an item in a cart is half the battle. After that, you want to make it an effortless process to finish the transaction.
First things first, when it comes to checkout, do not force customers to sign in or create an account to complete a purchase. Research shows that 31% of cart abandonment is due to websites forcing users to create an account.
Another valuable tool to implement in your checkout process is a progress indicator.
These interactive meters help shoppers understand where they are in the purchasing process. After all, distracted shoppers are liable to be interrupted any moment, so make sure they know they’re almost done.
6. Offer different payment options
Someone who is impulse shopping may not feel like pulling out their credit cards. Alternatively, if they’ve been buying several holiday gifts, they might be reluctant to enter their payment information for an impulse purchase.
Remedy this potential hurdle by allowing additional payment options like PayPal or ApplePay.
These are often saved on a shopper’s phone or browser, which offers them an easier route to buy the item.
7. Secure your website
Imagine the following scenario: you’re shopping at a site you’ve never been to before. All of a sudden, in a moment of clarity, while typing in your credit card number, you think; “Wait, this is a new site… is it even secure?” If you look up at the URL and see a little lock symbol, that thought can end right there, and you can continue on your merry way to more shopping.
However, if you don’t see an HTTPS or another type of security indicator, you might reconsider.
Even impulse shoppers are savvy shoppers. This isn’t their first rodeo — 84% of Americans are shopping online for something at any given time.
As an added bonus, Google uses security as a ranking factor, so not only will it bolster user trust, potentially convert more shoppers, but it will also help with your SEO. Refer to this guide for more info on choosing and installing an SSL certificate for your site.
8. Consider targeted promotions
Take a quick look at your analytics and see what days and times your site’s traffic is the highest. If you’re already seeing an uptick of visitors on times that might constitute impulse shopping (think late evenings or weekends), consider running targeted promotions during those times.
If you see a fair amount of traffic but not a consistently corresponding number of conversions, promotions can make a big difference.
Turn those shoppers into customers with a discount or deal specifically geared towards them. You could also set up free shipping for orders placed over the weekend.
Of course, crunch the numbers to make sure any promotion is feasible within your pricing structure and profit margin.
A recent survey found that 71% of Gen Z consumers would increase their purchase to qualify for free delivery. A small incentive might be the tipping point needed when it comes to either closing or increasing sales with individuals who are impulse shopping.
Related: Product targeting on Amazon
9. Test your site for ease of use
A common website design mantra is to design your site like the user is distracted. (A UX designer even offered this service for a few years, after going viral with the idea of drunk website testing).
While we don’t suggest opening a bottle of wine and A/B testing your site, you can test functionality and make sure it’s as simple and straightforward as possible.
If you’d like to informally test your site yourself, here’s an exhaustive checklist of ecommerce elements and functionalities for high performance.
For those who want to integrate tools into your testing process, here are 18 free options to assess your eCommerce website. Remember you want to go for the easiest possible UX so that they can still navigate (and buy) from your site.
10. Offer free returns
For retailers who still might feel apprehensive about targeting the impulse shopping experience, you may consider offering free returns. You will need to figure out the cost and see if it’s financially viable to offer depending on your product and price point.
However, with that option in place, even if a shopper has morning-after buyer’s remorse , they can still return the product without more of an investment.
You also want a happy customer, whether they purchased first thing in the morning over a cup of joe, or late in the evening after getting home from a night out. A recent survey found that 96% of consumers would shop with an online retailer again based on their return experience.
What’s more, two-thirds of shoppers (69%) say they’re deterred from purchases by having to pay for return shipping.
Get your site ready for impulse shopping
Online shoppers love the ease of one-click-ship, finding products from the comfort of their home, and the convenience of buying with their smartphone. When you throw a little impetuousness into the mix, folks are all the more likely to hit that purchase button.
Remember, as we approach the hectic holiday gift-giving season, more and more of your target audience will be shopping.
Make your ecommerce site super easy to navigate and optimize pages for those visitors. If impulse shoppers represent a significant portion of the industry, that’s valuable business you don’t want to miss!
The post 10 tactics to turn impulse shopping into stone-cold sales appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
GoDaddy and WooCommerce have teamed up to make building an online store with WordPress easier than ever.
Our new WordPress Ecommerce Hosting plan comes with a pre-installed online store powered by WooCommerce, plus a variety of premium extensions including Advanced Notifications, Memberships, WooCommerce Brands and more.
Why a WordPress Ecommerce Hosting plan?
Building a successful online store can be a daunting task. You need to choose the right hosting plan, the right website builder tool, and the right eCommerce platform.
It’s complicated and time-consuming, not only for aspiring entrepreneurs, but even for web designers and developers.
Our new WordPress Ecommerce Hosting plan dramatically simplifies the process. We believe it’s the easiest way to build a powerful and highly-customized online store.
Here’s how it works.
We started with WordPress
WordPress is the world’s most popular website builder. It’s the top content management system (CMS) powering over a third of all websites worldwide. For comparison, the next largest CMS powers under 3%.
WordPress dominates, and for good reason. It’s open-source software built by tens of thousands of developers around the world. That focus and community effort has resulted in the most flexible, feature-rich website platform available.
As the world’s #1 web host, powering over 5 million WordPress sites around the globe, we see WordPress used every day by tech-savvy everyday entrepreneurs alongside web designers and developers.
We partnered with WooCommerce
WooCommerce is the #1 eCommerce solution for WordPress. It has unmatched functionality and usage, powering millions of online stores around the globe.
Together, we’re delivering an exciting new hosting plan that makes building a highly-customized online store easier than ever.
Now it’s easier to launch & manage an online store
Start customizing in 70% fewer steps
It takes 4 steps to set up a typical WordPress online store:
We’ve combined these 4 steps into 1. It not only makes the process easier, but also lets you begin editing in 70% fewer steps than leading competitors.
Guided to success
The GoDaddy WordPress Hosting Ecommerce plan includes an “Action Center” that helps guide you to success. It will prompt you to complete key tasks as you build your site and set setup your online presence. Some of these tasks include activating your custom domain, optimizing SEO, utilizing Google marketing credits, or setting up a business email address.
Free SSL, configured and automatically maintained
The Ecommerce plan includes an SSL certificate that is 100% hassle-free. Once you assign a custom domain to your site, the SSL certificate will automatically deploy and from there the maintenance of the certification is 100% automated.
WordPress updates done for you
Ensuring that your site uses the latest version of WordPress helps keep your site secure and running its fastest.
As part of the GoDaddy WordPress Hosting experience, we will automatically complete all WordPress software updates. No work is required by you.
GoDaddy and WooCommerce bring unmatched value
You can create an amazing online store without breaking the bank. With the GoDaddy WordPress Hosting Ecommerce plan, you’ll get free access to over a $1,000 of WooCommerce extensions.
These extensions allow you to add unique functionality to your site such as the ability to sell memberships, sell personalized products, allow payment plans, and offer rewards.
Is the new WordPress Ecommerce plan right for you?
WordPress is the most-used website builder tool in the world. It offers an incredible amount of freedom and flexibility, making it the tool of choice for tech-savvy DIY entrepreneurs and website designers and developers.
But with that flexibility comes complexity.
If you’re already familiar with WordPress and WooCommerce, or are somewhat tech-savvy and willing to learn, our new WordPress Ecommerce plan will be a great fit.
If you’re looking for a quicker, easier solution and don’t need the highest level of flexibility, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing might be a better option.
Ready to launch your online store with WooCommerce?
Start creating your online store today — plans start at $15.99 per month.
The post WordPress Ecommerce Hosting, powered by WooCommerce appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Editor’s note: This article originally published by Dutch Hill on the Sucuri Blog.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) out there. That’s why it is vital to prevent WordPress hacking.
Statistically, over 33% of websites currently run on WordPress.
This post is not a “one size fits all” overview, as there are many other ways to protect WordPress from hacking. Here at Sucuri, we certainly advocate researching and expanding core security values.
Here are some tips on protecting your site against WordPress hacks.
1 – Use strong passwords & management
Many WordPress websites are hacked because hackers find a way to discover the website credentials, which is called brute force attacks. The risks of suffering from brute force attacks significantly decrease when you use strong passwords.
Creating complex and difficult passwords is a great way to prevent this from occurring. Multiple services and applications require a username and password , for example, wp-admin logins, databases, FTP/sFTP, etc. It can be daunting to even think of how to remember dozens of passwords without either writing them down or using the same password across the board (neither of which is recommended).
Fortunately, you can use a password manager to store and encrypt passwords safely. Though there are several, one password manager we recommend is LastPass.
LastPass is an app/extension that both creates and remembers your passwords so you don’t have to. It will even alert you if some of your passwords are too weak.
You can watch this short video on how to create a strong password:
2 – Use the Principle of Least Privilege
Don’t delegate access to users/developers you don’t 100% trust. If you absolutely have to give access, be sure to restrict it. Grant the lowest set of privileges allowable for each user’s tasks. And once their task is complete, we highly recommended that you remove their access immediately. These are the actions behind the principle of least privilege.
Here’s a simple quote that sums it up best:
“There is only two people I can trust; you and me – and I’m not so sure about you”. ― Shon Harris, CISSP Boxed Set, Second Edition
3 – Keep WordPress plugins secure & updated
WordPress at its core is secure, with developers who constantly update the CMS, as well as a broad community who help further secure it by publishing plugins to assist in these efforts. Installing too many plugins without being certain they are secure can lead to WordPress vulnerabilities or your WordPress site being hacked.
The community built around WordPress is entirely open source, meaning anyone and everyone has access to the code/content of plugins and themes. If you are interested in plugin security, we have hosted a webinar on how to know for sure if a WordPress plugin is secure.
Think of each plugin you install as an extra door into your WordPress site. If you have the best security methods only deployed on the front and back door but forget about securing the ‘side entrances’, you are essentially inviting hackers to exploit these areas too.
Though installing certain plugins can help alleviate the load of some tasks and even add cool and snazzy functionality to your WordPress site, ultimately these plugins can be used against you. Here’s a recent exploit we found within a WordPress Live Chat Plugin.
In this video, we explain the importance of keeping everything in your website updated:
4 – Use a WordPress hardening method
You can use hardening methods to prevent WordPress from hacking, such as:
Most website firewalls apply these methods for you by default.
5 – Prevent a WordPress hack with a website firewall
In 2018, among all hacked websites that Sucuri worked with, WordPress accounted for over 90% of all CMSs hacked.
A common issue we stumble upon often, is that users sometimes cannot update their WordPress version due to incapabilities with plugins or themes. This can leave a WordPress site vulnerable to hacks.
In these instances, we recommend enabling a WordPress firewall to virtually patch the site for you.
A great option to prevent your WordPress website from hacks is enabling a Web Application Firewall (WAF).
A WAF is essentially a pass through for traffic that visits your site, filtering out bad requests (hack attempts, exploits, DoS, etc.) and allowing the good ones to go through.
A WordPress firewall:
The WordPress firewall Sucuri offers is a cloud-based WAF that both stops and prevents website hacks and attacks. Simultaneously, it speeds up your site by using our Content Delivery Network (CDN). No installation is needed—with a simple switch of your DNS A Record, it is enabled.
In the video below, we explain how to protect your website with a website firewall.
Implementing these 5 ways listed above will not perfectly secure and make an impenetrable system from hacks—nothing can. Consider them useful tips on risk reduction/elimination.
Remembering these basic concepts when creating or working on your WordPress website can help you prevent WordPress hacks from occurring. If you are looking for peace of mind and professional help, sign up for our website security platform and let us take care of your website security for you.
The post WordPress hacks: 5 ways to protect WordPress from hacking appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
If you’re a small business owner, you already know that money rarely stays in one place. Cash comes in through sales and goes out when you pay expenses. There’s a flow to it, and whether or not the term is part of your daily vocabulary, cash flow is king.
That would be considered a positive cash flow. In reality, though, bills tend to recur every month, employees continually need to be paid, and unexpected expenses crop up.
This is when having cash flow goes from a theoretical nice-to-have to a critical piece of your business’s financial jigsaw puzzle.
Related: Resources for Funding a Business
Overcoming cash flow challenges
In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Kabbage, 30% of small business owners cited cash flow as their biggest challenge in the first year. A lot of that is due to a lack of experience.
When you’re just starting out, it takes time to figure out how to manage your cash.
Unfortunately, poor cash management is one of the biggest reasons small businesses fail.
Cash flow affects every small business, but it can be especially tricky for labor-intensive industries like restaurants and construction. To be successful in those industries, the more in tune with your daily inflow and outflow, the better.
If you’re on top of what’s coming in and out, you put yourself in a better position to strategically find ways to minimize volatility.
Fewer than 50% of small business owners consider themselves generally knowledgeable about accounting and finance. If finance is not your area of expertise, finding innovative strategies to manage cash flow can involve a fair amount of trial and error.
For the small business owners who don’t feel comfortable with running their business finances, it’s not uncommon for those owners to rely heavily on outside accountants to handle their books. Many providers that work with small businesses have started offering cash flow consulting as a service.
Devising homegrown strategies like developing vendor relationships to gain more flexibility can also be helpful.
There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to professionals for a step up.
Related: Small business funding options
Pivoting for growth
Once small business owners master their cash flow, their attention usually turns to growth. This often means gaining access to additional capital.
In their study, Kabbage found that 20% of small business owners felt they would need more money to reach their long-term growth goals.
In the early years, traditional funding through banks can be hard to come by. Some turn to relatives or credit cards to get the cash they need.
In recent years, though, mobile lending platforms have gained popularity among small businesses in search of fast, flexible funding solutions.
After gaining access to additional working capital, the conversation shifts to figuring out the best way to spend it.
The most common uses that small business owners cite are purchasing new inventory, expanding their operations and hiring additional staff.
How funds are utilized varies greatly depending, but successful small business owners say that the ability to invest money back into their enterprise was a major factor in their success.
Learn more about managing cash flow for small businesses
If you’re ready to go deeper, read Kabbage’s Guide to Cash Flow Management for tips and insights on handling cash in, cash out and cash at rest.
The post Why thinking about cash flow matters to small businesses appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
For those unfamiliar with the world of internet domains, purchasing your first one can sometimes seem overly complicated. Not only do you have to choose a name that reflects your business and is easy to remember, but you’ll also come across numerous terms that perhaps you’re not familiar with. A domain glossary can help you make sense of it all.
Whether you’re looking to invest in one domain name or several, by the time you’ve finished reading this comprehensive domain glossary you’ll have familiarized yourself with many of the fundamental terms. This should boost the confidence you need to become a domain investor yourself.
Related: What is a domain name?
Domain terms glossary
Get familiar with these key terms before you start your journey into domain investing.
Legislation introduced in the United States to prevent the practice of cybersquatting. The unabbreviated name is the Anti-cybersquatting Protection Act.
This person will oversee any maintenance related to a domain name, such as keeping the WHOIS directory updated.
Often, your ideal domain name will already have been snapped up. If this is the case, you can turn to the aftermarket, where interested buyers can either bid or negotiate a price for an existing domain name.
A service that registers a domain name on behalf of its clients as soon as the domain expires.
These services are often available through auctions or your domain name registrar. Backordering is sometimes available free of charge via a registrar.
Vying for a name, usually done via auction. Although, sometimes domain names will come up through a domain name sale or backordering.
This person will be invoiced for any registration costs connected with the domain name and for any ongoing fees, such as web hosting.
When someone purchases and registers a domain name that is trademarked. Often, the domain name registered will be that of a high-profile brand.
There are multiple reasons why someone might engage in cybersquatting. The first is purely for financial gain.
For example, they will attempt to sell the domain name for a profit or sell it for more than it’s worth.
Other reasons for cybersquatting can be to cause reputational damage to a brand or individual.
There is anti-cybersquatting legislation in place in the United States, but legal protection against the practice in the UK is limited.
A domain that had a previous registrar, but has been canceled. A registrar might delete a domain for multiple reasons. Sometimes it can be due to legal issues regarding the domain name itself, or a business/organization might change its name.
A tool for finding out the value of your domains.
There are several tools available, and GoDaddy has its own free appraisal tool.
Internet domains are treated by brokers in the same way as any other commodity. A broker buys and sells domains. If a domain name is already in use, a broker can act on the buyer’s behalf to negotiate with the owner to purchase the domain at the best price possible.
Domain name registrants are obliged to provide their contact details. The details will then be listed in the WHOIS directory.
A person who invests in or buys and sells multiple domain names is sometimes referred to as a domainer.
The last section of a domain name is known as the top-level domain (TLD). This part of the domain name is sometimes called the domain extension. It is meant to communicate the purpose or location of a website.
As detailed below, there are multiple domain extensions:
Generic top-level domains. All readers will be familiar with gTLDs as these extensions are the most widely used on the internet, including .com, .biz and .info.
A new wave of gTLDs was launched in 2014, allowing a much greater range of extensions. These are often generic terms, however, they also can be customized to indicate the nature of the business.
Country code top-level domains are extensions that indicate the country where the website is based. For instance, .au for Australia, .ca for Canada, .es for Spain and .fr for France. These are commonly used, although there are sometimes restrictions placed on them.
Sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs) are controlled by an agency. For example, .edu is reserved for post-secondary institutions accredited by an agency on the U.S. Department of Education’s list of Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies.
Selling domain names for profit. Methods of investment include buying on established platforms, buying a domain name that the buyer hopes will be profitable sometime in the future, or setting up a domain, making it profitable and then selling it later on.
The act of people or organizations seeking to profit from speculating in the domain aftermarket.
Describes when an individual continually registers and deletes a domain name in quick succession while avoiding making payment for it. Domain kiting was possible due to the Add Grace Period (AGP) that allowed domain registrars to cancel within a five-day registration period.
Domain kiting can be used to profit from any advertising or affiliate products that are sold on the site.
The name given to the internet address. This is the name people will usually look for if they want to search for a business/organization online.
Related: How to buy a domain name
Domain name hack
Sometimes simply known as a domain hack, the term was first used by Matthew Doucette in 2004. According to Doucette, a domain hack is “an unconventional domain name that uses parts other than the SLD (second-level domain) or third-level domain to create the title of the domain name.” In other words, it’s using the domain’s extension to create a readable word or phrase.
A list of domain names that have been purchased as an investment. These can be managed by one of the many domain portfolio services available.
Resellers provide domain name registrations to individuals, businesses and organizations.
A similar practice to kiting, domain tasting allowed individuals to test out the profitability of a domain name during the AGP, without investing any money. Tasting was a method that was often favored by spammers. ICANN has successfully put measures in place to prevent domain tasting and the practice rarely occurs now.
DNS or Domain name server
It might also be called a domain name service or system. The purpose of a DNS is to decode domain names and translate them into IP addresses.
Related: DNS records — A beginner’s guide
A practice that occurs once a domain name has expired, that you might also hear referred to as “drop sniping.”
A domain name will be snapped up and registered the moment it becomes available.
Drop catching is an automated practice and there a number of drop catching services around. Some of the registrars will be ICANN registered, while others aren’t.
Detailed lists of domains that are about to be deleted by a registry. Domainers will make use of such lists so they can register a domain name once it gets deleted.
When a domain name expires without being renewed. Domain registrars will usually give a short grace period once a domain name expires to allow the registrant to re-purchase it. If the domain name is still not renewed, it will become available for another person to register.
A way of protecting both the buyer and the seller during a domain transaction. The escrow company will act as a third party to ensure that both parties live up to their side of the agreement. When the agreed amount is paid into escrow, the domain name will be released to the buyer. The seller will then receive the funds once the domain has been signed over to the buyer.
Domain evaluators are assigned by ICANN. The three elements — Initial Evaluation, Extended Evaluation and Community Priority Evaluation — are all overseen by the organization.
A domain becomes expired when the existing holder fails to renew it.
An abbreviation for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. It’s a nonprofit organization that was established in the late 1990s and is headquartered in Los Angeles.
ICANN states that it’s “dedicated to keeping the internet secure, stable and interoperable.”
ICANN plays a crucial role in the expansion and infrastructure of the internet and is also responsible for managing root servers and allocating IP addresses.
A way of reserving a domain name. Sometimes a domain name is bought before a website is built and the domain name is ready for use. The parked domain will not hold any content. However, some will carry advertising to earn revenues. Some parked domains will also be offered for sale.
A term that applies to when a domain is awaiting transfer from one registrar to a new registrar.
A domain name that has a greater value than an ordinary domain and typically attracts more traffic. They do this partly by placing sought-after keywords or phrases in their domain name.
Privacy services are most often provided by your registrar. This means that you don’t need to have your personal information registered in the WHOIS database. Instead, the details of a forwarding service will be listed. This is sometimes provided free with your web hosting provider and protects against domain hacking. Domain privacy and protection is something that is offered by GoDaddy.
The individual, business or other organization that owns the domain name. When a person or business buys a domain name, they then become the registrant.
The company you bought the domain name from is the registrar who manages it for you. Registrars will also offer domain hosting. If you’re not clear who owns a domain name, you can use WHOIS to look it up.
The organization responsible for managing top-level domains. A registry also will create domain names and work in conjunction with registrars to make them available to buy. There are different registry domain bodies, including VeriSign and Nominet.
Domain registrants need to renew a domain name before its expiration date, which is commonly set on an annual basis, but they can also be extended for much longer periods. Generally, there is a limited grace period where registrants can renew the domain after expiration. However, after the grace period has elapsed, the domain name will be available for registration by another party.
The person in charge of managing the technical side of the domain name.
A domain name transfer will change the ownership of a specific domain name, which occurs when a domain is sold or moved.
A type of cybersquatting, typosquatting depends on internet searchers making basic typos when they input a URL or domain name into a search engine. Typosquatting will take the searcher to any URL, including those that can contain malicious content.
A database that provides information on the owner of a specific domain name. Information that can be looked up includes contact info, ownership and length of ownership. The database can also be used to discover domain availability. There are several WHOIS lookup tools available online. GoDaddy has one here.
Domain investment doesn’t have to be nearly as complicated as it might sometimes sound. The above domain glossary will have defined the terms you’re likely to hear most frequently. Now that you’ve read the detailed glossary, you’ll be familiar with many of the most common terms used in the world of domain investing and you should feel ready to invest in your first domain name.
The post Domain glossary —Terms to know for starter domain investors appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Keeping your project pipeline filled can prove to be a daunting task for many web designers, given that it requires you to prospect, qualify and close deals — all while partaking in the balancing act of business ownership. That’s why advertising web design services consistently is a must.
There are various methods you can use to promote your web design services, and this article will cover a handful of them that you can start using right away to get more clients for your business.
Related: How to get web design clients, fast
Try these ideas for advertising your web design & development business
These methods can work for various types of businesses, but today we will focus on web design advertising ideas to help you get more web design clients.
The more efficient you can get at advertising, the more clients you will get, and the better your business can run.
It’s important to keep in mind who your target audience is and the type of projects you are trying to capture through advertising.
Here’s what we’re going to cover:
Each business is different, and not all of these tactics will work for everyone. Try a combination of each of these web design promotion ideas and with time, you will find the ones that provide the most value for your business.
Tap into a larger network on social media
Social media is great for connecting with friends and family, but it’s also a great way to get the word out about your web design services.
Sites like Facebook, Instagram and even LinkedIn are all great channels you can use to your benefit and to find new prospects for your business, and stay in touch with them even after your
projects are finished.
Providing a brief description of your role and involvement in a project can show new potential clients that you’re authentic and it gives them an opportunity to learn more about your business and skills.
Best of all, posting on social media is a relatively low-cost method to reach people. Learn more about boosting your posts every once in a while to reach your targeted audience.
Another great way to get more eyes on your work through social media is to ask your immediate friends and family to share your posts on their social pages. Potential clients are more likely to contact you for services if someone else is recommending you, even if it’s online!
Related: Beginner’s social media guide
Laser-target your customers with paid advertising
Did you know that small business owners say that they earn $3 for every $1.60 that they spend on Google Ads?
Advertising platforms from Google and Facebook allow you to designate a budget and even choose who you want to show your ads to. The accurate targeting methods of these large platforms allow you to reach your exact potential customer with a few clicks.
You can use Facebook and Google’s advertising platforms to your advantage, as Facebook’s ad platform is a great way to target groups of people who are interested in specific categories and topics, while Google’s platform is intent-based.
An intent-based ad platform is beneficial because it means that someone is actively searching for a service or business like yours, and has an active intent to find more information.
On the other hand, people that see ads on Facebook’s ad network may not be searching for your services, but are very likely to be in the market for them.
For example, someone on Facebook may own a business in your local area, or they could be a new business owner who is interested in business services, so they may also be interested in your web design services.
On Google, you can directly target keywords like “web design services in [local city].”
Knowing this information (intent-based vs. interest-based) can help you successfully advertise your web design services online and make the best use of your advertising budget.
If in doubt, you can read a quick primer on how to start using intent-based keywords in paid advertising.
Related: What is hypertargeting?
Be everywhere with online local business directory listings
Is your business listed on an online business directory? Chances are, it could be listed in many more online listing sites.
Think of sites like Yelp, Google My Business, CitySearch, Foursquare, and YP. These are all online directory services that allow you to advertise your web design business by submitting your business information — like name, phone number and address — at no cost. This makes it easier for new potential customers to find your web design services.
There are a handful of online business directory listings that you could potentially list your business on. A recommended way to approach this advertising method is to first list your business on the major sites (Google, Yelp, YP, etc.) and then hand-pick a few more that are relevant to web design.
Editor’s note: Want an easy way to manage all your online business listings? Check out GoDaddy Local Business Listings, a service that enables you to manage all your listings from one convenient dashboard.
Other sites worth listing your web design business are Thumbtack and Angie’s List, as they provide an excellent directory listing platform that allows you to be found by customers that are directly looking for a business like yours online.
Diversify your clientele by advertising on websites for freelance projects
Want to expand your services beyond just local projects?
Websites for freelance projects are a great opportunity to expand your services nationally and even globally by bidding on web design projects from around the world.
There are a variety of websites where clients can post the scope of their web design projects and allow a number of freelancers to bid on the project based on the cost, timeline, scope and reputation of the freelancer.
A great benefit of these sites is that they allow you to browse through hundreds of web design projects and see details about the scope and requirements of a project before you decide to take them on.
Depending on the site you decide to use, you can also check a client’s reviews to decide if they are someone you’d want to work with.
However, one downside of this method is sites like Upwork often take a small percentage of your overall project cost.
Here are a few web design freelance websites to look into:
One thing to keep in mind about projects from freelance websites is that this can be an inconsistent stream of projects, as the needs of every client highly vary, as do their budgets and expectations.
It is a good idea to use freelance websites as a supplement to other advertising strategies.
Pair your website with SEO for a strong advertising strategy
In a highly competitive industry like web design and development, your business website is one of the most important tools you can leverage when it comes to advertising. Thus, it’s important to make sure that your website is well-rounded in terms of having an in-depth project portfolio that shows your work and past projects.
Your business website should also show potential clients what your skills are and accurately portray the quality of work they can expect to get by working with you.
After you’ve taken the time to build your business website, it’s time to optimize it using SEO (search engine optimization) best practices.
The more time you take to boost your website’s SEO value, the more search engines like Google and Bing will show your website in relevant search results for your business.
There are many guides and tools that can help you make your SEO better, but generally, it all starts with making sure your website is regularly updated with fresh new content and updates.
Regular blog posts and updates will signal sites like Google that your website is actively maintained and will show your website higher on relevant search results. Once you’ve published your blogs on your website, you can share them on social media to get even more people to your website.
To get the ball rolling, start by writing blog posts that recap recent projects you completed. Include photos and screenshots of the completed work, and talk about some of the challenges and creative process. This will make your blog posts interesting and will position you as a subject matter expert in your field.
Make sure to share the completed posts with your clients and ask that they share it on their own social media pages for an extra traffic boost.
Related: Roundup of SEO resources
Generate offline leads by advertising through business relationships
Who says that the internet is the only place where you can advertise your business? Sometimes, it’s a good idea to supplement your advertising strategy with strong business relationships that can lead to more clients from word of mouth.
There are many ways to build business relationships that could lead to increased business, and most of them don’t take much except some well worth the time and effort.
In fact, the power of word of mouth advertising is so strong that according to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family more than they do advertising.
One way to build business relationships is by meeting local business owners that might need your business and introducing your services to them.
Remember, business owners are busy, so try to stay away from pitching services. Instead, make yourself available as a resource for anything they might need related to your services.
A good method is to offer to meet with them for a free consultation to cover recommended improvements on their business website. Most owners will be open to the advice and could end up wanting to hire you to implement the suggested changes. At worst, they’ll keep your business card and possibly give you a referral down the road.
Trade shows and industry events can also be a great source of clients, as long as you have the time and money to invest in it. While these events can sometimes be expensive, the return on your investment could pay off if you walk away even with one client secured.
Here are some things to consider before you decide to take your business to a trade show or industry event:
Check for roaming exhibitor passes
Booths and tables can be expensive. Check to see if the event offers a roaming exhibitor pass so that you can freely hand out your business card and talk about your services without paying the full price of a booth.
Do your research
What kind of people will be at this event? Are they in the same category as the type of clients you’re looking for? Will decision-makers be there or managers? You will want to make sure your target clientele will be there before you spend the money.
Collect as many business cards as you can
You can later create a contact list and send your newly found contacts a monthly newsletter talking about your services and recently completed projects.
Consider a geo-fence ad instead
This is a trick that not many people know but is highly effective. Consider creating a Facebook ad for your services targeted to an area that’s within five miles of the conference center on the date(s) of the event to get awareness for your business. More on this strategy can be found here.
Go old school with referrals and print advertisements
Speaking of referrals, this is a tactic that you can implement immediately to start advertising your web design business.
Think of an incentive you could offer your existing clients for their referrals, and before you know it you’ll have them doing most of the work for you. Remember, word of mouth is a highly effective advertising tool, so referrals could easily become one of your strongest advertising methods for your web design services.
Another business relationship building idea that is often overlooked is the tried-and-true method of printing out business cards or flyers to hang up (with permission) and pass around your local neighborhood businesses.
As I’ve mentioned already, business owners are busy and don’t have much time, especially when it comes to making improvements to their business website. If a business owner conveniently finds your flyer or business card at a local coffee shop, it is more convenient to call you about your services then it is to go searching online through thousands of other web design services.
It may sound old school and outdated, but very few people are doing this to advertise their web design services nowadays and it’s truly a missed opportunity!
Start advertising your web design & development business
A strong advertising campaign does not need to be complicated, fancy or expensive. It should work for your business in a way that can sustainably bring you a steady stream of new projects and clients that match the skills and services your web agency provides.
To recap, here are the web design promotion ideas we’ve covered:
It can take some time to find the right mix of tactics, so take your time and be patient. Keep your mind open to new strategies and remember to always keep trying new ways to advertise your web agency.
I recommend starting by ensuring that your social media presence is active and getting a solid business website with an in-depth portfolio up and running, as these are core elements of any successful advertising campaign.
After you’ve implemented some of these promotion strategies and those new clients start piling up, you’ll need better tools to keep track of it all. Save time with free tools and resources built just for web designers & developers. Join GoDaddy Pro for free.
The post Advertising web design & development businesses — How to get started appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
At some point in this day and age, it’s likely you’ll find yourself with a domain you own, but no longer need. Instead of letting that domain expire, why not try to sell it? You could be sitting on your own private gold mine. Early retirement might not be possible with only a few domain names for sale, but you could still get some spending cash.
After all, if you were to end your business, you wouldn’t just throw away your extra products or materials — you’d capitalize on your investments and sell them.
In fact, there are people, and even businesses, who invest in buying domains on a regular basis. Whether you’re an investor with thousands of domains or just have one you no longer want to keep, you have options.
Still not convinced? Take a look at some of these top domain sales for 2019, courtesy of dnjournal.com:
You could be sitting on a gold mine. Will your domain be worth as much as these? Maybe not, but you never know! The best way to find out is to use some of these useful online tools to track domain names for sale. That way, you’ll have an idea of what your name might be worth.
Keeping tabs on domain names for sale
Before you list your hidden gem on the market, do some research and find a good target price range.
NameBio. The best single location for checking public domain name sales prices. You can even tailor your search to highlight similar terms found in your own domain name. You’ll be able to see firsthand how domains have sold historically, and these comps can give you a good estimate for your domain’s worth.
Estibot. This site attempts to give you an automated, free appraisal of your domain. Just be sure to use this in conjunction with outside research. It’s nice to have a quick answer, but watching historical trends and sales is always useful.
GoDaddy Domain Name Value & Appraisal. With over 20 years of domain aftermarket experience powering this tool, you can quickly and easily get a free estimate of what your domain might be worth on the domain aftermarket.
Using these tools, you can get a better understanding of your domain’s worth. At the end of the day, all domains are unique. List your domain at a price that you would be happy selling at.
Posting domain names for sale
After you’ve checked the tools and are ready to price your domains, it’s time to actually list them. At GoDaddy, you have the option to list your domain names for sale via Premium Listings and GoDaddy Auctions.
Premium domains are listed with a Buy Now price, and once they’re sold they instantly leave your account and move automatically to the buyer. They show up for sale on GoDaddy when customers come to search for an available domain name to buy.
The premium domain will also automatically list your domain on the GoDaddy auctions in most cases.
When selling a domain name through GoDaddy Auctions, you can list your domain name a number of ways:
Create a minimum reserve price
Using the traditional, seven-day auction method, you can sell your domain to the highest bidder once it closes — so long as the final offer meets or exceeds your price (this is similar to eBay auctions).
Sell without a set price
Using an offer/counter-offer setup, you can entertain bids and negotiate pricing to suit your needs. The domain name will sell only if you agree to an offer price from the interested party.
If you really want to supercharge your ability to sell a domain, Afternic is the option you should choose. Even though this platform is typically utilized by professionals, it’s open to anyone — and the cost is the same as simply listing your domain names for sale with GoDaddy. It’s a no-brainer for someone serious about selling their domains.
If they are listed with a Buy Now price, they’ll also appear as a premium listing at GoDaddy.
Better yet, a Buy Now domain will appear on more than 100 partner registrars all over the world in addition to GoDaddy. That includes nine out of the top 10 most popular registrars.
And to top it all, managing your listing is easy. Don’t worry about having an account across all 100 registrars — update, manage and handle your listing with ease with Afternic, and watch your domain spread across the network.
Listing at GoDaddy is good, but listing at Afternic is better. Along with the increased exposure, you get access to Afternic’s sales team — experts ready and willing to field questions from buyers about your domain name. They even help to seal the deal! And since Afternic is owned by GoDaddy, you’re guaranteed to get the same great customer support.
Have any domain names that are hiding in your account? Do some research and see what they could be worth.
If you run or work for a nonprofit organization, you’re likely always looking for new and innovative email ideas that drive donations. One way nonprofits and charitable organizations go about doing this is by taking advantage of the buzzworthy event known as Giving Tuesday.
For those unfamiliar, Giving Tuesday, often referred to as #GivingTuesday on social media, falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.
The day offers a great opportunity for nonprofit businesses to connect with current and potential donors, and solicit and receive donations.
In this post we’ll explore some Giving Tuesday email ideas and tips you can use to convert your outreach campaigns into cold hard cash for your organization.
Editor’s note: Want to make Giving Tuesday even easier for your team? Use GoDaddy Email Marketing to create and track email campaigns that integrate with your website.
Planning your Giving Tuesday email campaign
For the best results, you’ll want to begin planning out your Giving Tuesday email marketing campaign about two months prior to the day. Depending on how big or small your team is, it may be a good idea to begin planning even sooner.
After all, a campaign like this can be quite an undertaking, and breaking the tasks down into bite sized pieces can make it less stressful for everyone involved.
While planning, you’ll need a few things in place well before the day arrives. These things include but are not limited to:
You’ll want these elements ready ahead of Giving Tuesday’s arrival so that you and/or your team are not scrambling at the last minute trying to figure out how to drive donations smoothly.
Do yourself a favor: Make a master plan and then execute that plan using whatever schedule you’ve created for yourself.
Bonus points if you can schedule social media updates and emails ahead of time to go live when you want them too. The easier you can make Giving Tuesday on yourself, the better.
It’s safe to say that for most nonprofit and charitable organizations, the primary way you’ll be soliciting donations is by hitting up your email list. This is because your email list is filled with people you’ve already been in contact with, so they’re already warmed up.
Pro Tip: People who have already connected with your organization in the past are more likely to give than a random person seeing a social media post online who has never heard of you before.
Giving Tuesday email ideas
With your planning underway, it’s time to look at some Giving Tuesday email ideas you may want to consider using for your organization.
Now, let’s explore each of these Giving Tuesday email ideas (and related examples) in greater detail.
1. Keep your messaging simple
American Friends of Soroka Medical Center helps support the only major medical center in the Negev, the southern half of Israel. A past Giving Tuesday email from the organization was remarkably simple. Check out this thoughtful call-to-action.
Pfeiffer Nature Center, located in rural, southwestern New York, offers miles of open-access hiking trails and other outdoor attractions. In a past campaign, the nature center and foundation did a great job of putting Giving Tuesday into perspective in its effortless email campaign.
2. Suggest donation amounts (and show why)
The mission of the San Diego Music Foundation is to enrich San Diego, California’s diverse and creative music community through music education for youth, professional development for current and emerging industry professionals, live performances for the San Diego public, and recognition for San Diego artists of exceptional merit or service. In a past email, the foundation provided the following list in its Giving Tuesday correspondence.
Pro Tip: It’s much easier to encourage a donation in the amount you’d like to receive when your donors can see exactly what the funds will be used for.
League of Dreams, a non-profit sports league for people with disabilities ages 5 to 22, lists several ways a gift of $100 might be spent.
The Girls Gotta Run Foundation invests in Ethiopian girls who use running and education to empower themselves and their communities. One of their Giving Tuesday emails listed several gift amounts and describes how that money could be put to use.
3. Ask your readers to share your fundraising link
The Books for Kids Foundation is dedicated to promoting literacy among children, with a special emphasis on low-income and at-risk preschool-aged children. In one of their Giving Tuesday emails, Books for Kids simply wrote, “Please, share this link via email or on your social media with the hashtag #GivingTuesday to spread the word about this wonderful day and our very important cause.”
The more you can encourage your list to share your link, the wider your reach of new potential donors will become.
4. Share the story of a person (or animal or thing) you serve
Friendly House is a non-profit neighborhood center and social service agency in Portland, Oregon. In one of their Giving Tuesday emails, Friendly House told the story of a woman named Cindy.
Readers may be more likely to connect with your mission — and your Giving Tuesday ask — on a more emotional level if they can visualize how your dollars play out in the real world. Whether you help people, pets, or natural places, share something that will inspire your readers to act.
5. Spur people to action with a limited-time gift match
Clinard Dance Theatre is a contemporary dance company rooted in Flamenco. In a previous Giving Tuesday campaign, Clinard promoted a one-day-only match of up to $250 per gift.
The American Lung Association did something similar one year. Their volunteer National Board of Directors created a matching gift challenge where they pledged to donate up to $50,000 for every dollar that was brought in by other donors on Giving Tuesday.
And, your donors will feel like their donation will have a bigger impact.
Pro Tip: Partner with a business willing to be your Giving Tuesday Match donor. They’ll get advertising, and you’ll get extra money for your cause. Win-win!
6. Welcome donations of time — recruit volunteers
Not everyone will click through and make a monetary donation online. Some people on your list may not be in a position to give financially right now, but you can make it clear that their time is also valuable to your organization.
Oakhill Day School is a non-parochial, independent, private day school in North Kansas City, Missouri. In one of the school’s Giving Tuesday emails, their primary call-to-action was to volunteer. They even included a simple link that directed you to a sign up page so you could pick a day and time on the spot.
Pro Tip: Whether it’s time or money that your donors are giving, make it ridiculously easy for them to give.
7. Create a video ask for Giving Tuesday
You don’t need a lot of money to create a short video that moves your readers to donate. These days you can create a video that is shareworthy with nothing but a smartphone. And, there are dozens of apps for both Android and iOS that you can use to edit them and add music with just a few clicks.
Videos let your community see who you are and who you are helping, and connect with your organization on a deeper level.
Instead of being “just another cause” to give to, you become something more meaningful that they can virtually get to know.
Chicago, Illinois-based Northwest Side Housing Center (NWSHC) is a HUD-Certified, community-based, nonprofit organization that engages, educates and empowers the community to improve housing for all.
NWSHC sent a very simple Giving Tuesday message in a past email that pointed readers to their Giving Tuesday video page, and noted that you could make a donation directly from that page after watching.
Again, your potential donors don’t want to click a lot of links. Keep it simple, and only make them click one link to give you money.
8. Give something in exchange for the donation.
Tampa Theatre did a great job of this in a previous Giving Tuesday email campaign.
While they did include a link for instant general donations, they also offered two donating options that came with perks.
One option was to purchase a ticket to a special wine tasting event being held at the theatre, and the other was to buy a year-long membership that included benefits like discounted movie tickets, early access to concert tickets, “bottomless” popcorn and soda, free backstage tours of the theatre, and invites to exclusive members-only events.
9. Use the visual resources available on the Giving Tuesday site
The Giving Tuesday website provides logos to use in your emails and on social media. The official Giving Tuesday visual resources may give your communications a more polished look. But it’s also a good idea to use your own branding — your readers expect that from you.
10. Send a final email on “Thank You Wednesday”
This is the day you can thank your email list for all of their help, recognize big donors, and announce your donation results. While you may not have a final number yet, it’s a great opportunity to continue nurturing your relationships, and share the donation numbers you do have so far.
Be sure to mention additional ways that the community can support your organization as well, in case they missed Giving Tuesday.
Once you have final numbers you can send out another email, and you can also send individual thank-you messages to those who donated. Then, keep in touch and send out a year-end message of gratitude and hope for the coming new year.
Whether you’re reading this in time for the current Giving Tuesday season or after it has already passed, hopefully this post has given you some Giving Tuesday email ideas you can use to drive more donations for your organization.
Remember that at the end of the day, the most important thing you can do is keep talking with your list. The most successful organizations are the ones that focus on building relationships and committing to their community all year long. Until next time, may your donations be huge, and your goals be met!
This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Emma Wilhelm.
The post 10 Giving Tuesday email ideas that drive donations appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
This post was originally published on April 13, 2017, and was updated on Nov. 20, 2019.
Have you ever wondered what your domain name was worth? It’s an important question that’s worth answering. Whether you have a domain that’s about to expire or an eager buyer contacting you out of the blue, knowing the importance of accurate domain valuation is key.
Are you sitting on an unknown fortune like some antiques at a roadshow? Do you have buyers interested in your domains? Are you an active investor with 600 domains, but simply don’t have the time to manually update and research pricing each time the market shifts?
From active domain investors to one-off buyers and sellers, there’s a domain valuation tool for you.
How domain valuation works
Up until now, you had a few standard options for pricing and selling domains — you could ask experts in the field and get some feedback on the value of your domain, you could use some of the free or paid online appraisal tools, or you could guess.
Yet, even if you happen to know industry experts, you’d still run into problems. Scheduling a time to talk, going back and forth over emails — let alone hoping they’d want to sit down and appraise several hundred domains for you. You can see the holdup.
There are a number of automated appraisal tools available that can value in bulk, but most would agree that there’s definitely room for improvement.
Since each domain is unique (e.g., Garage.com is different from MyGarage.com or Garages.com in value), the task to differentiate the nuances of meaning can be daunting for a machine to parse.
Thankfully, with the use of some of the latest technology and a wealth of sales data as the leading marketplace for domain names, GoDaddy developed a tool that we feel is the market leader in evaluating and appraising domain names.
GoDaddy Domain Name Value & Appraisal uses an exclusive algorithm that relies on both machine learning and real market sales data to estimate domain values.
Now, you can get the most accurate and comprehensive domain pricing estimates available. It’s almost like having access to your own domain expert or antique appraiser right from your computer.
GoDaddy’s domain valuation tool can remove a lot of the guesswork associated with valuing your domain names.
Jason Ansel, the creator of GoDaddy Domain Appraisals, had this to say:
“Measured by mean error, the new GoDaddy model is 1.3x better than the best of the four human experts, 1.5x better than Estibot, and 1.6x better than the average of all four human experts.”
Having tested my fair share of automated systems before, I was initially skeptical; but after using this tool for years, and seeing the customer success stories, it was clear — the future of domain valuation is here.
Now that the tool has been in use for several years, we have had a lot of feedback from customers on how they use it.
Use the domain valuation tool for price “gut checks”
One great tip from our customers includes checking large lists of domains with the tool to get a “gut check” against what they think the domain price should be. This helps with finding domains that may be valuable but unfamiliar to you, such as a domain related to an unfamiliar industry or a domain in another language.
Use the domain valuation tool to pinpoint domains for purchase
It has also been helpful to help narrow down large lists of potential domains to purchase. As there are thousands of new expiring domains a day coming to the market, any tricks you can employ to help narrow that down can be very helpful in finding the diamonds in the rough.
Use the domain valuation tool for help with domain list pricing
We know from our marketplace that having a Buy Now price on a domain name you list for sale helps increase the chances that it will sell. Sometimes — especially when you have a lot of domains — the job of pricing a domain can seem daunting.
Using the valuation tool can help give you a starting point to look further into when deciding on your listing price.
Besides the price point that the valuation tool displays for your domain, it will also show some examples of comparable domain sales. This section is found by scrolling below the tool’s price results. There you will see a number of sales that our machine learning tool found that we think are similar to the domain you are researching. This data comes from our own sales database, as well as many public domain sales sources.
It also shows why we think the price we picked is a fair price for your domain. Domains are unique, so it can be difficult to pinpoint the winning price for your domain, but the domain valuation tool does help you to get a good idea of the market around similar domain names.
Make more money with domain investments
So far, the response to the GoDaddy Domain Appraisals tool has been positive. From increased sales to more accurate valuations, customers are having more success with pricing and selling domain names.
We’ve also had success stories from buyers and sellers who used the tool to help find a good market price both parties could agree to.
Research and market awareness continue to be important, but using the GoDaddy Domain Name Value & Appraisal tool could be another valuable arrow in your quiver for making money with your domains.
At the end of the day, a domain name’s value is what someone is willing to sell it for.
We strive to provide fair market value (i.e., what we think the domain name should sell for in an open market) so that you can make educated decisions.
While the valuation tool can be very helpful, it’s also important to keep in mind that it is an automated tool. It’s essential when making any type of financial decision about either purchasing or selling a domain name that you look over the pricing and do some additional research yourself before making any final decisions.
How you determine your domain valuation is entirely up to you, but we recommend going beyond guesswork and seeking out expert advice when possible.
The appraisal tool is an automated tool and should not be used to determine final domain values. As in any financial endeavor, use your best judgment when making financial decisions.
The post Domain valuation tool: How to price and sell domains appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
This article was originally published on Sept. 11, 2017, and was updated on Nov. 20, 2019.
If you’ve ever wondered how to sell your domain name, you’re not alone. Whether you have one domain name for sale or are a serious investor with thousands of domains on the market, it makes sense to leverage the best practices others are using in order to maximize your sales potential. But it’s important not to put the cart before the horse.
In order to profit, you’ll have to choose domain names that have the potential to be re-sold for a higher value.
Not all domain names are created equal, and making sales is a result of smart purchases.
It’s possible to find valuable domains in the aftermarket — it just takes some due diligence.
Also, learning how to value domain names is important. Do some research into what types of domain names typically sell and what ones would make smarter investment options.
In my opinion, it’s best to stick with areas you know so you can easily spot the value a domain might make to the right person or company in your niche. There are some other considerations, however.
Selling a domain isn’t exactly straightforward
After you’ve done your research and acquired some domains, you’ll need to know how to sell your domain name. But it might not be as straightforward as you think.
In the domains market, much of the information (and the ability to buy a domain) is fragmented and can be hard to navigate.
There are hundreds of places where end users go to purchase domain names. Each domain registrar/reseller has different segments of potential buyers that often only look on one site for available domains to acquire.
Getting your domain in front of every possible end user who is searching for it can be difficult and cumbersome.
Afternic bridges the market gap
Fortunately, Afternic provides a better solution by seeking to bridge the market gap.
Our goal is to correct these inefficiencies by creating a domains market with the best possible chance of visibility from interested buyers.
For reference, imagine the MLS system used in real estate listings. If you’ve ever bought or sold a house in the US, you’re probably familiar with the process. Your agent lists your property for sale in one place, and then it populates sales listings across the country on various different websites and listing platforms.
Afternic is a lot like that.
With Afternic, you can list your domain name on their sales platform and have it sent out to more than 100 different partners around the world.
These include other major registrars (the companies who sell domain names to the public), such as: GoDaddy, Network
Solutions, Register.com, Enom, etc. Which means, anyone searching for a domain at these sites will have the ability to see your listing.
This level of visibility will get your domains in front of more potential end-user buyers. It’s easy and free to set up an account, and you only pay once your domain name sells.
How to sell your domain name on Afternic
In this guide, we’re going to cover step-by-step how to list your domains for sale. Here’s an overview of the process:
Ready to dive in? Let’s go.
1. Visit Afternic.com and click Sell Domains
2. Create an account
Enter the required information and set up an account to gain access to Afternic’s services.
3. Enter the domains you want to sell
4. List a price
You’ll have the option to set a Buy Now price, as well as establish a Floor and Minimum price. Once you’ve determined your pricing, click Submit Domains.
The Buy Now price is the published price that will be distributed across the Afternic Network.
The Floor Price is the lowest acceptable sales price our sales executive can negotiate without seeking approval (the floor price is not viewable to buyers). This allows us to quickly close deals on your behalf and capitalize on impulse buyers paying right then and there.
Getting your domains listed is the No. 1 priority as once you list it we begin the process of distributing them across the partner network.
Once you have your domains in Afternic, there are three specific things you can do to optimize your listings for the highest sale probability.
Tip 1: Let potential buyers know your domain is for sale by utilizing a “For Sale Page” or “For Sale Banner”
As much as 40% to 60% of your domain sales could come from leads received through your domain lander.
Whether the buyer contacts us by phone or through the contact form, our sales team is ready 24/7 to engage with the buyer and sell your domain. It’s easy to set up!
There are two options to do this:
1. Use GoDaddy For Sale Landers by pointing your nameservers to NS3.AFTERNIC.COM and NS4.AFTERNIC.COM.
When this happens, a for sale lander will automatically propagate anytime anyone visits the domain — prompting potential buyers to call to speak with a domain consultant or fill out the lead form for a follow up.
2. Use Afternic domain parking by pointing your nameservers to NS1.AFTERNIC.COM and NS2.AFTERNIC.COM.
When this happens, a “For Sale” banner will appear when someone visits BestDomain.com in their browser.
Once pointed you just need to sit back and relax while the world-class Afternic Sales team is put to work for you! By displaying this banner and inviting visitors to buy the domain or speak to one of Afternic’s representatives about acquiring it, you’re further boosting your sales potential.
Tip 2: Price your domains with Buy Now
We’ve found that many domain purchases under $10,000 are often impulse buys. To not lose out on those possible sales, we strongly recommend having a Buy Now price on all domains that you value at $10,000 or less.
Domains with a Buy Now price are three- to four-times as likely to sell compared to unpriced domains.
You have the best chance of selling your listed domains if you set a Buy Now price. Why? We can break it down into two main reasons:
1. Impulse buyers. With a set price attached to your domain, someone can purchase it the same moment they see it — without any negotiation. This often leads to more sales for you.
2. Distribution. By setting a designated price, you’re opening yourself up to a much larger group of companies who will display your domain for sale. If you elect to skip the Buy Now option, you’ll only be listed on a handful of sites, rather than the 100 or so companies you’ll have access to with a Buy Now listing.
Setting a price for your domains also allows our sales team to more effectively engage with potential buyers as there is no time lost waiting on pricing from you as leads come in for your domains.
Tip 3: Opt your Domains into Fast Transfer
For Sale Lander… Check!
Buy Now Pricing… Check!
Now let’s see what we can do to maximize your domains’ exposure across our network.
Some Afternic partners only accept or give priority to Fast Transfer domains so they don’t need to manually transfer domains.
Opting your domains into our Fast Transfer/Premium Network can increase your exposure (and therefore sales) by 10% to 15%.
When you participate in our Premium Network, your domains will be in front of millions of end users through over 120+ partner resellers, including 18 of the top 20 registrars.There are no additional costs involved in opting into our Premium Network and domains have a 33% higher average sales price! It’s a no brainer!
When a domain sells via Fast Transfer the domain is automatically moved, requiring no work on your part (besides telling us how you want us to pay you if it is your first sale!)
Not all registrars are eligible for fast transfer. If your domain is registered at a Fast Transfer Eligible Registrar (like GoDaddy) you should have received an email asking for your permission to opt-in your domains. Once you click through that email your domains will automatically be opted-in and your domains will start receiving the increased exposure.
So if you’re wondering how to sell your domain name, the answer is simple: post it on Afternic.
Once posted on Afternic you can take the additional steps of adding a For Sale Lander, adding Buy Now Prices and enabling Fast Transfer to increase your sales potential.
By following these simple steps, you can get your domains exposed to the maximum number of potential buyers and leverage the network/sales teams to help get your domains sold.
The article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Joe Styler.
This post was originally published on Sept. 14, 2015, and was updated on Nov. 20th, 2019.
Why might you want to learn how to value domain names? Sooner or later most entrepreneurs buy at least one domain. It’s not uncommon, in fact, to name your business based on what domain name is available at the time.
Without a doubt, you’ll need to buy a domain at some point and you might find that it’s already taken.
When that happens you might wonder, “what’s a fair price for this domain?” Or maybe you’re lucky enough to be sitting on a great domain name that you bought for a business idea, and you want to know a fair selling price.
Real estate prices are relatively standard. For instance, if you’re selling your house and a comparable home in your neighborhood — a place with the same square footage and basic features — recently sold, there’s a good chance your home is worth a similar price.
On the other hand, domains are unique. There is not another domain exactly like the one you own or want to buy. You might be able to purchase another 2,600-square-foot home with a pool in your ZIP code, but you can’t go out and buy another lions.com. Lionz.org or lyons.xyz? Maybe. But lions.com? No way.
How to value domain names: Create a bucket list
Since domain names are so unique, it’s better to think of their valuation along the lines of a rare jewel or classic car.
The market sets the value — but, to a certain extent, so do the buyer and the seller. It is also important to note that a domain is not a liquid asset, as you need to have the right buyer, seller and market conditions to make the sale happen.
While the ultimate value of a domain is up to the seller and buyer, domain valuation isn’t a black hole with no point of reference.
I like put domains into three basic buckets when evaluating them:
Putting names into buckets is much easier than putting an exact price on a domain — and it’s a solid starting point when valuing domain names.
Bucket No. 1: Names like la.com
Domain names such as la.com, sv.com and movies.com are perfect examples of Bucket No. 1 names.
These are prime domain names that I would value at high-six up to eight figures in some cases.
A domain with widespread appeal like la.com — which can represent huge markets such as Los Angeles and Louisiana, and appeal to Chinese domain investors because of its slang uses in that language — offers the potential for an incredible return on investment (ROI) for the right buyer.
Buying a domain name only makes sense if the buyer will gain some kind of advantage through ownership.
Related: Top 25 most expensive domain names
Bucket No. 2: Names like Glance.com
I’d put a domain name like Glance.com in Bucket No. 2 because it’s got excellent brand appeal and is short and thus easy to remember and spell. I’d value names in this bucket in the high four- to low-six figure range.
Bucket No. 3: Names like keyboards.net
Domain names such as keyboards.net and trombonesheetmusic.com would fit in the third bucket. Likely valued in the three- to four-figure range, these names are good but not great.
Why? They likely have a more limited appeal.
In addition, it might require more marketing dollars to keep a domain name that ends in .net rather than the more popular .com top-of-mind.
Note: I’m not going to talk about names that aren’t worth much beyond their registration fee, such as yourverylongandhyphenatedbusinessname.org.
Want to search for the perfect domain name? Go ahead, give it a spin:
Tips for valuing domain names
Some of the things I would consider to get domain names into one of the three buckets are:
Make money/Save money
A domain in almost all cases is only valuable in that it can either make someone money or save someone money.
If I have a domain like Kars.com, I need to advertise constantly that it is Kars with a K. If I bought the domain name Cars.com it might save me a great deal in advertising funds over the years.
I also might be seen as a leader in the field as opposed to someone who owned Kars.com or mycar.net. When a potential buyer comes to search for a big purchase like a car, if I win over more buyers because they trust my brand name, I can make more money on my sales.
It’s important to figure out what similar domains have sold for. I like to use these resources for checking comp sales:
When I typed “trombone” into namebio.com I got one result: trombonesonline.com sold for $305 in 2013. This is arguably a better name than trombonesheetmusic.com. Why?
Does the domain name appeal to a wide audience? What about international audiences?
If your name is targeting a smaller audience, you have fewer potential customers in your target pool, thus less opportunity to earn revenue. So a name like flowers.com is worth more than newyorkflowers.com, which is worth more than mayberryflowers.com.
In today’s global marketplace, it’s also important to consider spelling in different countries.
Think color vs. colour or theater vs. theatre. Even within the English-speaking world certain words or phrases mean different things in different countries or different regions. A name with wider appeal will help reach more customers.
Not all top-level domains (TLDs) — like .com, .org, .xyz., .nyc and .vegas — are created equal.
Some TLDs have a wider appeal and acceptance and are thus worth more than others.
Currently, we see .com selling more frequently and at a higher price point than most other TLDs.
The availability of different TLDs for a name also affects value.
To see what names are available, search by keyword at GoDaddy. For example, search “trombones” instead of “trombones.com” and see what results come back as available in other extensions.
The names with less available TLDs to register are typically worth more as they are more popular and harder to get.
Related: Domain extensions guide
When valuing domain names, you’ll also want to research the popularity of the domain’s key terms.
How many people are looking for the term online? How many people are advertising on the keyword, and what does the advertising cost?
You can find answers via a simple web search and by using Google’s Keyword Planner tool. By experimenting a bit here, you can quickly learn which terms top Google searches.
Greater public appeal tends to equal higher domain value.
Use the “radio test” to help value the domain name: would you remember it if you quickly heard it on the radio or saw it in an advertisement? Can you easily spell the name? Is it misspelled easily? Are you using the real spelling for the domain?
For example, cheese.com is worth much more than cheez.com. When you hear cheez.com you can easily mistake it for the correct spelling, cheese.com. In contrast, cheese.com would not easily be mistaken for cheez.com — thus cheese.com has much greater value
Start your bucket list
There you have, my top tips for valuing domain names. To recap:
And if you want to learn more about getting started with domain investing, Andrew Alleman of Domain Name Wire created a thorough guide, Get Started Selling Your Domains: How to list your domains for sale through GoDaddy. It is well worth the read when you’re learning how to buy and sell domains.
The post Wondering how to value domain names? Create a bucket list. appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.