Online marketing can be a scary world sometimes. You invest time and money on building up your brand and improving your online visibility, but it can all come crashing down overnight. It’s terrifying to think of, but it is the reality of the internet – everything is always changing.
While there is no 100% guaranteed way to protect your brand from this risk, you can take a few steps to help you sleep easier and feel assured you won’t wake up to a marketing nightmare. As long as you cover these bases, you’ll be safe from the most common disasters that befall brands online.
Don’t let your domain get snatched up
Website domains are kind of a funny thing. They are the foundation you build all your online marketing efforts on. But, once you have it set it is incredibly easy to forget. It’s one of those things that seems like it should last forever.
But, of course, that’s not the case. If you aren’t keeping an eye on things, it can be easy to one day wake up and discover your domain registration has expired. That alone can be enough to make for a stressful morning, but in some cases you may find you have lost your domain entirely.
Having your domain snatched up when it lapses is shockingly common and can happen to businesses of any size. Even huge brands and public figures like the Dallas Cowboys and Microsoft have dropped the ball and had to pay huge amounts to regain control of their domains.
Thankfully, most registrars now offer services to help you maintain control of your domain. Some allow for auto-renewal, while others offer text message warnings before your domain expires. In the case of GoDaddy, the service keeps your domain safe for almost 20 days after it expires so that you can get them back.
Watch your rankings (properly)
I know more than a few business owners who maintain the same ritual. Every few days, they will pull up the browser of choice and check their ranking for a few specific keywords. So long as they remain fairly high on the first page, they stay happy.
If that sounds like you, I have some bad news. The search results you see aren’t necessarily what others are seeing and you may have been sliding down the page for everyone else all this time.
Every major search engine does some form of customizing search results for individual users based on a variety of factors. This can include demographic data, location information, and search behaviors. So, if you’re regularly visiting your website or searching from inside the office, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be high-up when you search for your company.
Instead, get a real look at how you are performing by using an analytics service. There are a number of free services available, but I always recommend Google Analytics as a starting point. The learning curve can feel steep, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you can quickly find everything you want to know about your site’s performance.
Take control of your reputation
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A small business is gaining steam and popularity. Suddenly it all comes screeching to a halt, as your internet traffic dries up and your website stops converting. The culprit? A single bad review in the right place.
It is perhaps the scariest campfire story you can tell a business owner. Sites like Yelp have become notorious for destroying local businesses who handled a negative review the wrong way.
In some cases, the business owners just try to ignore the bad review while it festers and drives away any interested customers. Unfortunately, ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away. In even worse situations, a business owner can let their emotions get to them and lash out at the reviewer – a move pretty much guaranteed to make you go viral for reasons you don’t want.
Neither of these is the right approach, and both can cause you headaches for a long time to come.
Thankfully, there is a right way to make sure your online reputation remains stellar no matter how scathing of a review you get from a disgruntled customer – address it head on every time. Rather than letting it get to you, keep an even head and treat every customer how you’d like to be treated. You’d be shocked to see just how many angry customers can be flipped into brand advocates so long as they feel their voice is heard.
The most important thing here is to be sure to watch all the major places people are likely to be talking about your business and be able to respond appropriately. This includes Yelp, Twitter, and Facebook. Check at least once a day to make sure you haven’t gotten any new reviews that need your attention. While you’re at it, it also never hurts to take the time to show your thanks to any positive reviews or mentions you’ve received as well.