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Don’t build your house on rented land.

What do I mean by rented? Investing marketing dollars in someone else’s platform. If there’s an annual subscription, your presence disappears when you stop paying. You don’t own the platform you’re building. Following are some examples:

Own your local marketing

Make sure you own your web domain name.

If you currently have a website and a domain name, have you ever looked at who owns it? This is one of the largest issues we see constantly. Whoever registered your domain, it is wholly within their control to set the ownership as they see fit. You paid for it but you may not appear in the registration anywhere. There is a process to regain control and have legal ownership. It can be time-consuming and aggravating. If you’re currently working with the firm/person who set up your domain, be sure your company is shown or get it corrected before it’s an issue.

Look it up by clicking this link now. You should be the registrant, the legal owner of the domain, at the very least.

Free websites aren’t free.

There is always a cost somewhere. This may be a subdomain, meaning you are “leasing” space on the main domain.

Using Wix as an example, you would see “”. This is not a criticism of Wix, simply an illustration. Any advertising you invest in will direct searchers to Wix and you have no control if they decide to change the rules and start charging you for the service. Advertising can (will) be placed on your pages. Free may be an initial trial period after which you pay. Don’t invest in something where someone else makes the rules and which you can’t move elsewhere if you become dissatisfied.

Review sites

The best way to judge the validity of a review site is whether payment affects positioning. If you can buy your way to the top of the page, money outranks quality which invalidates any results. As an example:

Angie’s List

Local contractors and service businesses have been the basis for the success of Angie’s List. As the organization has grown, their fees and the number of different areas which result in extra charges have constantly risen. For many businesses, Angie’s List is their largest annual marketing expenditure.

There used to be some significance to being part of the list because your position was earned. Now that position can be bought.

“the site is increasingly coming under criticism for failing to prominently disclose its biggest revenue source: advertising fees from the service providers who are rated by consumers.
Businesses that pay Angie’s List are pushed to the top of search results,” Consumer Reports senior editor Jeff Blyskal told CBS MoneyWatch. That isn’t evident to users of the site.

So, what is your alternative?

Persistent listings

These are offered by the major search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo – as well as by a large number of search directories. There is no cost and your listings don’t expire. The only downside is the sheer number, with each requiring registration and verification.
For best results, all listings must be identical (name/address/place) It can be a nightmare to correct at a later date. Tools exist to handle these all at once, allowing for updates on a regular basis with current specials, etc. This is part of the special sauce which makes our marketing programs successful. Ask about it!

Invest your marketing dollars where you can build a long-term presence – which you own. If you would like more information or would like to discuss your specific situation, fill out our “No Obligation Website Review” form.

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