The Netwalker Blog

.com and .net, Powered by Verisign

As you may have heard, a huge number of new top-level domains are being launched in the coming year, including .construction, .sexy, and .photos. This may come as welcome news for those of us who have always wanted to own something like “ILoveMy.Camera,” but it is likely to add a lot of confusion for casual Web users. That’s one of the reasons that we recommend .com and .net, powered by Verisign.

.com and .net are two of the oldest top-level domains, each with over 15 years of exposure, so they are easily recognizable by even the most occasional Web users. In addition, every Fortune 500 company and the world’s 100 fastest-growing companies have a .com, so by purchasing a .com for your business, you’re aligning your business with a very credible domain.

Are you ready to buy a domain name that will instill confidence, credibility, and authenticity in your business? Click below to get started now:

Get started with .com and .net, powered by VeriSign

Add Google’s +1 button to your site

On June 1, Google announced that the +1 button that they introduced for search results pages in March is now available to embed directly into Web sites. Those visiting Google’s +1 page for webmasters can configure a button and receive a few lines of code that can be used to add the button to a Web site. Much like with the social media sharing buttons that we discussed in April, the process is very simple.

What value does this offer to your business? +1 recommendations from people you know influence your search results, so including +1 buttons on the pages of your Web site has a direct impact on how your site ranks for keywords related to your business for people who know people who use the buttons on your site.

First steps in social media marketing

So, you have a Web site and now you want to know how to get people sharing your site through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets. Each of the major social media outlets now offer easy tools for you to enable this functionality on your Web site. Many of these tools allow you to configure the button that will appear on your site and then copy code that they give you and paste it into your site. Here are links to some of the most popular social sharing tools:

  1. Facebook’s Like Button
  2. Twitter’s Tweet Button
  3. LinkedIn’s Share Button
  4. The Digg Button
  5. The Post to Google Buzz Button

Which one(s) should you use? It won’t hurt to use all of them, but we recommend that you add Facebook’s Like button and Twitter’s Tweet button at a minimum. If you work primarily in the B2B market or seek referrals from professionals (such as a client of ours who works in the B2C market but is often referred by doctors and attorneys), you should also consider LinkedIn’s Share button. Digg and Google Buzz are less popular.

Keep in mind: if you’re looking for people to share your content (and you should be), you need to be creating content to be shared. This is where blogging comes in.

Update, 6/6/2011: Google has released code to insert their +1 button in your site, which we recommend adding along with Facebook and Twitter at a minimum. Learn more here.

“What is a blog?”

For some, this post might seem dated. After all, according to Wikipedia, the term has been around for over 10 years. And yet, for many people, the term blog is still somewhat of a mystery. I recently suggested that a client find someone to blog about him. “What does that mean?” he asked. “I mean that you should have someone who owns a blog write something about you and post it on his/her blog,” I replied. And hence we come to the question in the title of this blog post. Since you are reading this post on a blog, you might have some idea of what a blog is, but that doesn’t mean that you could answer that question easily. Wikipedia’s article on the term “Blog” provides a good explanation:

A blog (a blend of the term web log) is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Most blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via widgets on the blogs and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites.

Notice the careful language, including terms such as “most,” “commonly,” and “usually.” It would be nice if there was a simple answer to the question, “what is a blog?” Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), blogs come in all shapes and sizes. There is no simple answer.

As an inbound marketer, what do I like to see in a blog? Here are a few things:

  1. It is updated on a regular basis (the more often, the better)
  2. It offers easy methods of sharing content
  3. The freshest content is front-and-center with popular content also promoted
  4. Readers are invited to participate (comment)
  5. It provides at least one method of subscribing to updates (a “feed” and perhaps email notifications)

How about you? Have anything to add?

“Should I start a blog?”

In a word: yes!

Why? Let’s explore a few reasons:

1. Blogging increases the number of visitors to your site

In 2009, HubSpot, a producer of Internet marketing software, conducted a study of 1,531 of their customers. The study showed that the customers that blogged were receiving 55% more Web site visitors than those who did not.

2. Blogging increases the number of inbound links

Inbound links signal to search engines that your site has authority, which improves your search engine ranking. In the same study, HubSpot discovered that customers who blog received 97% more inbound links.

3. Blogging increases the number of indexed pages for your site

Blogging increases the number of pages on your site (since each blog post is a new page), which, in turn, increases the number of pages that search engines index. In fact, the study above showed that customers that blogged had 434% more indexed pages than those that did not. The number of indexed pages is important because each indexed page increases your chance of appearing in a search results page.

4. Blogging results in leads, which result in customer acquisitions

Ultimately, it’s all about acquiring customers. If a marketing channel doesn’t lead to conversions, it doesn’t matter what the other statistics say, it is not worth the time and money. According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing Report, 46% of businesses with blogs have acquired a customer from that channel, making it the best social media channel as far as customer acquisition is concerned (and considering only the raw percentages). If you’re selling primarily to consumers, that number is 57%, which puts it in second place to Facebook, at 68%.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get started blogging. If you need a hand, give us a call toll-free and with no obligation. Or, check back here in a few days for tips on getting started with blogging.

Google launches +1, makes searching more social

Yesterday, Google started rolling out a new social search feature called +1. The new feature allows users to share recommendations from directly within the company’s search result pages by clicking a “+1” button appearing next to each page’s title in the search results. After you +1 a page, it will appear on the search results pages of your friends with a note that you +1’d it. As the Google Blog states:

The beauty of +1’s is their relevance—you get the right recommendations (because they come from people who matter to you), at the right time (when you are actually looking for information about that topic) and in the right format (your search results).

How does this impact businesses and non-profits? As Kipp Bodnar states in his HubSpot Blog post about +1, this new feature demonstrates that Google is rewarding social businesses (and non-profit organizations). The more you harness blogging and social media to connect to your customers and prospects, the better a chance you have of getting found on Google. As Kipp puts it:

The days of obsessing over keyword rank are over. Instead, make your business social and create relevant information that will help to attract +1s and influence who decides to visit your site from search engine results pages. Blogging and sharing content on social media has never been more important. In a world that is being built on personal recommendations, it is critical that your business becomes social through remarkable content.

It is important to note that the +1 feature is just now beginning to roll out. Google has promised that Web publishers will in the future be able to add +1 buttons to their Web sites to enable visitors to recommend content after leaving the search results page.

For more information about Google +1, watch the video below and/or visit Google’s +1 Button page.

Update, 6/6/2011: Google has released code to insert their +1 button in your site. Learn more here.

How should you treat your best customers?

One of our suppliers recently shared a blog post by bestselling author Seth Godin and I felt that it would be beneficial to share with you as well. Seth asks us to rethink how we define our “best customers” and also encourages us to rethink how we treat them. Read more by clicking the link below and then return here to give me your thoughts:

How should you treat your best customers?

Inbound Marketing Certified Professional

Netwalker Internet Services owner Nate LaClaire has successfully completed Inbound Marketing University and passed the Inbound Marketing Certification exam, earning him the title of Inbound Marketing Certified Professional.

The Inbound Marketing Certification acknowledges the recipients proficiency in Inbound Marketing principals and best practices. These principles include: blogging, social media, lead conversion, lead nurturing, and closed-loop analysis.

In order to receive the Inbound Marketing Certification, the recipient must pass a comprehensive certification exam with a score of 75% or higher.

This certification is administered by HubSpot.

Contact Nate today to learn how inbound marketing can help your business or non-profit get found by qualified prospects.

Toll-free number

As promised, we now have a new toll-free telephone number:
(866) 738-8511

Thank you for your patience as we make the change in telephone service.

New Phone Number

Dear Customer:

Netwalker Internet Services is changing our phone number, effective immediately. The (207) 998-8179 and old toll-free number will no longer work.

Our new phone number is:
(207) 514-7830

Please update your address book immediately. We have changed from a local telephone service provider to the Vonage voice-over-Internet-protocol service, which means that other Vonage customers may now call us toll-free from their Vonage lines. We will soon be adding a standard toll-free number (for non-Vonage customers) and will notify you of the new toll-free number once it is available.

Thank you for your business.

God bless,
Nate LaClaire, Owner