Oct 29, 2014

Google My Business: Are You Keeping Up with How Google Presents Your Biz?

There have been many changes over the past few years regarding how Google presents your online "presence".

In the OLD days, there was just Google Maps - a prospect or customer would Google your biz - either with a NAME SEARCH such as "ABC Company, Inc." or a KEYWORD SEARCH such as "charlotte CNC machine shop".....

(to be continued - please check back soon)

Sep 17, 2014

The Phone Book -- Yellow Pages: online or offline - anyone still using it??

Yellow Pages.  When you get your phone books delivered each year, have you noticed they get smaller and smaller every year.  They try to spin it as the new and improved "compact version", but most think it's because their advertising base is drying up.  Fast.

Upon delivery to our office, the phone books go directly into my RECYCLE BIN.

Regarding Yellow Pages online, I noticed our company phone number was not correct.  Not that we care that much about the phone book or even YP online.

Why? Because why would a prospective customer go to Google or another major search engine, search for "website design company" or something similar, and then click on ANOTHER search directory such as YellowPages.com and start searching all over again?

However, we like ALL our online listings to be correct, so I attempted to register for a FREE Yellow Pages account. After providing my full name, email address, etc., (get ready for spam!) the website said "we'll now call your business phone number to confirm.....yada yada".

Well, ya see...that's the problem with their listing - it's not current, it's not correct, it's out of date.  They can NOT call the OLD business phone number for my company to confirm yada yada, because we haven't had that number for years.

So....I called the Yellow Pages "Customer Service" line - I'm high tech but a bit old school - I like to talk to a human when there is a problem.  I never got in touch with a human though.  However...the automated message told me I'd WON A FREE CRUISE.  I only have to pay this fee, and that fee and yada yada.

I don't want a cruise or a 3-D TV or a new electric car or even a baby's arm holding an apple...I just want my listing correct online (and offline I guess in case there is someone that still uses the Yellow Page books to find stuff).

The message went on to say if I want to claim my cruise, press any key.

NO.  I don't want a cruise that costs me money...I just want my FREE Listing updated with accurate information (phone number).

No option for this option.   The message went on and on about getting my cruise tickets.

Then -  the automated message said GOODBYE.  And then I got a really annoying tone in my ear....like fingernails on a chalkboard.  Then I got a dial tone - disconnected!

So much for CUSTOMER SERVICE from Yellow Pages.  So much for the Yellow Pages.  Period.

Anyone wonder why the PHONE BOOK is dead?

Perhaps a major factor is because Google made almost $16 BILLION during the 2nd Quarter of 2014 - up 22% from the same period in 2013.

Google Rocks!  The Phone Book (offline and online) is Dead.

May 20, 2014

Email SPAM - How To Beat the Spam Gremlins

Spam Gremlins, the evil creatures that generate Email Spam, are something we're told we just need to live with and deal with - like Fire Ants in the Southern USA or cockroaches in the North.  

Whiles this seems true for most people, there are many tactics and software that can considerably reduce the amount of junk emails arriving in your inbox.  Some spam is just an aggravation and a waste of time but other spam can arrive carrying danagerous computer viruses that can destroy data and cost tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

The Website Hosting Packages offered by Cole WebMarketing offers state of the art spam filtering.   Usually during the initial set up, filters are enabled and configured to filter some, more, or as much as possible, using a simple "slider" that goes from 1 to 10. Setting the global spam filter, called Spamdyke, at 6-7 seems to be the norm for most of our business clients.  Graylisting, which provides a secondary layer of protection, can also be activated upon request.

For more details on Spamdyke and Graylisting, please continue reading:

Spamdyke is a spam protection program that filters incoming messages at the SMTP level by blocking connections from mail servers identified as spam sources or that match certain reverse DNS validation rules.  

The Spamdyke program is enabled by default. We can enable or disable Spamdyke and configure its options for you from our online Control Panel's Mail Manager section. Spamdyke can be configured only globally for the hosting account; it cannot be managed per mailbox.

Spamdyke uses several methods to determine whether a sending server can be identified as a spam source:

1. Reverse DNS check
If there is no valid reverse DNS name of the sending mail server, the message will be blocked and returned to the sender with the following error:
554 Refused. You have no reverse DNS entry. Contact us for details.

NOTE: If you are trying to send through the SMTP server of your hosting account and you receive the above message, please change the port of the outgoing server from 25 to 587.

If you are not a customer of Cole WebMarketing services and you receive the above error when sending to a server maintained by us:
If you receive a bounced message with the error "You have no reverse DNS entry", then the SMTP server you use does not have a reverse DNS name. You need to contact the administrator of your mail server to have the DNS entry fixed, or you need to use another SMTP(outgoing) mail server.

. Graylisting/Greylisting (optional)

Spamdyke can also be configured to use Graylisting. Graylisting is the technique of denying mail delivery the first time a sender tries to deliver to a recipient. The next time the remote server attempts to deliver the message, it is accepted. All future messages from the sender to the recipient are also allowed. 

With Graylisting enabled, our mail server will "temporarily reject" any email from a sender it does not recognize. The originating server will try a new delivery, usually in a few minutes, and if the mail is legitimate, it will be accepted.

If the mail is from a spammer it will probably not be retried, as spammers go through thousands of email addresses and cannot afford the time delay to retry a particular message. Standard mail servers, however, always attempt to deliver messages again if they are rejected with such a “temporary” error message, in accordance with the SMTP RFC specifications.

Graylisting is not enabled by default, you need to simply request us to enable it for you.

Note: Filtered Messages and Junk folder
Please note that messages filtered by the Spamdyke program are blocked at the SMTP level. Therefore, in case you have Spamdyke enabled, the messages blocked by it will not be delivered to your Junk Mail folder.

: Filtered Messages and White lists (Spam Assassin)
Please note that the white/black lists do not affect the Spamdyke program. In other words, if you have a certain sender email address whitelisted, messages coming from this sender will still be processed by the Spamdyke program and might be blocked.


Cole WebMarketing is a Charlotte, NC based internet marketing services provider specializing in B2B (business to business) companies.   Primary Services include: website domain registration, website hosting, business email, website design, site redesign, website maintenance, webmarketing consulting, website photography and videography (plus pro video production for website or other online marketing). 

For more information, please visit www.ColeWebMarketing.com and then call 704-456-WEB1 (9321) to get a free quote on our services that you need to ''make your website make you more money''.

Mar 29, 2014

Company Reviews - The Importance of Archiving (saving) Online Reviews of Your Business

It's great to get good feedback about your business.  It's better when your happy customers share their positive experience with your company on the Internet for the world to see.  Popular "review places" include your Google Places listing (plus Google +, Google Maps and everything else Google), Epinions, Angie's List, The BBB, Facebook, Linked In, Yelp, Merchant Circle, and many more. 

Although online reviews are great, sometimes "stuff happens" and one day you see 15 reviews about your company and the next day...they're all gone!  

Reasons vary - yes, a previously happy customers that turned unhappy might delete their positive review, but logic would dictate that if they were displeased enough to take the time to manually remove their good review, they'd also take a minute to replace it with a bad review.  That rarely happens, so the true source of the problem is more likely an automated system to help keep content current (or similar type of old data purging).   Is it common for online reviews to vanish into thin air?  Check it out for yourself; Google "my online company reviews disappeared" or a similar query and you'll see thousands of sob stories about online reviews reported MIA (missing in action).

ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT: To help manage (protect and enhance) your company reputation online, Cole WebMarketing suggests that you manually archive (save) any and all reviews you find online.   Save them to your PC, back them up to the "cloud", put them on your phone, tablet, notebook computer so that if one day some are suddenly are gone from the web, they aren't ''gone for good'' (''gone for bad'' is more like it!).

SAVING REVIEWS: Data Mining is a hugely popular and profitable big business and although it's most commonly done by software, the process can be replicated by humans.  

HOW TO: When you search for your company online, any time you find a review about your company, copy and paste it into an email or a text document file.  Better yet, is do a "screenshot capture" of what you see on the screen - this allows for archiving in an image format exactly where the review was, what date, etc.  Ignoring Photoshop falsification methods, it for the most part preserves proof that you didn't write the review yourself.  Be careful concerning copyright issues, but sometimes or often you can integrate the content (copy & paste) the reviews into your own website.  If duplication like this is prohibited, simply link out to review (s) from your company website.

GOOD, BAD & THE UGLY:  Regarding good vs great vs so-so vs bad reviews...anytime we see a company with all "5 stars" or every review is glowing implying a company never does anything wrong, ever, to anyone...beware.   As much as we business owners try - sometimes you can't keep everybody happy all the time.   It's reality - stuff happens sometimes, whether a business actually drops the ball or whether it's merely a customers perceiving they've been wronged (sad fact: perception IS reality when it comes to customer relationships).  

REAL REVIEWS FOR REAL PEOPLE: Be honest with your online reputation - if a customer wasn't thrilled with their first or last interaction with your business and they post that dissatisfaction online, take advantage of it as an opportunity to show the world that you're human, and sometimes you do make mistakes BUT you do everything you can to right the wrong and resolve the issue.  An example would be a diner posting online what a horrible experience they had recently at your restaurant.  Instinct would make the restaurant owner click DELETE (if that was possible) or perhaps write a scathing rebuttal.  However, the reaction suggested by Cole WebMarketing is that you post a response online, if allowed at that particular review site, to say something along the lines of "This is Bob Smith, the Owner of ABC Restaurant, and I'm truly sorry to hear that we didn't meet your expectations - we hope that you'll give us another chance and to help make amends, we'd like to offer you a "2for1" coupon to be used on your next visit - I've left your name with our Hostess so simply mention this review to her and we'll provide you with this special token of our appreciation".

If your business is located in the Greater Charlotte NC Metro Region, for more information on reputation management and other related internet marketing tactics and solutions, please visit ColeWebMarketing.com and then call us at 704-456-WEB1 (9321).

Jan 31, 2014

Using FTP Software to Upload Files to Update Your Website

There are many ways to update a website.

A few of the most popular include....