It’s 2017 … Time You Were Protecting Your Passwords

Why Can’t Small Businesses Manage Their Passwords Safely?

It still amazes me just how bad businesses–in particular, but not exclusively, small businesses–manage their passwords. We’re almost a quarter of a century into the Internet revolution (I date it to 1993, when the popular press began talking about the Internet), and still the average person does a totally absurd job of managing passwords. Working with my consulting clients I see these types of problems: Passwords are absurdly weak: Way too many people (you know who you are!) create ridiculous passwords; a pet’s name, a child’s name, a favorite vacation spot, or maybe even password123. Passwords are being saved unsafely: Written down on pieces of paper, waiting for some unauthorized person to walk off with them. Passwords are lost: If […]

No, You Can’t Stop Your Customers Complaining!

The Consumer Review Fairness Act Protects Their Right to Gripe

Online reviews are a double-edged sword for today’s business. A firm that knows how to manage reviews well can benefit greatly. Businesses that don’t, or simply deserve bad reviews, can be seriously harmed. Perhaps not surprisingly, some businesses thought they’d try a little legal arm-twisting in order to guarantee good reviews. They began including clauses (known as disparagement clauses) in their contracts that ban customers from posting reviews, or even (in at least one case) clauses that require clients to post good reviews. An example of the former type of contract is that used by Prestigious Pets, in Dallas, TX. Prestigious Pets, a pet-sitting company, was upset when a customer posted a lukewarm Yelp review. Well, okay, not just lukewarm, but pretty awful. So Prestigious […]

No, Content is Not King! (At Least Not for SEO, or Small-Business Digital Marketing)

Don't Believe This One-Size-Fits-All Content-Marketing Nonsense

You’ve probably heard the phrase, Content is King. I recently asked for a show of hands at a speech I was giving, “how many of you know the phrase ‘content is king,’” and I was surprised at how many people, in this non-technical, small-business audience, with little understanding of digital marketing or SEO, had heard the phrase. The phrase has become so common in the digital-marketing arena, that it’s spread into layman consciousness. Google the term “content is king” in quotation marks, and you’ll find (at the time of writing) 433,000 pages with that exact phrase. Content is King may be quite correct in some contexts; but in the context to which it is commonly applied these days, it’s completely wrong. What’s that context? One frequently hears […]

Don’t Pay to SEO Optimize Your Site

Optimizing Your Site is Not Brain Surgery ... Whoever Builds, Should Optimize

Last week I published a blog post explaining that most SEO services are a scam (I won’t repeat myself; you can find out about the SEO scam here). I want to explain another way businesses can avoid getting ripped off: by understanding the role of page optimization. There are essentially two sides to Search Engine Optimization: on-page and off-page. On-page optimization is how you code your Web site, essentially putting keywords into appropriate places in the site, making sure the site is readable by search engines, adding an XML sitemap, and so on. Off-page “optimization” is not really optimization per se … it’s getting links pointing from other Web sites pointing to yours. I’m not going to discuss that in this post, just […]

Small Business Beware! The SEO Scam

SEO is 80% Scam - How to Protect Yourself

Been SEO scammed already? If so, you’re not alone. I’ve now been involved in SEO for about two decades. Over the last 15 years or so, I’ve worked with literally hundreds of businesses, large and small, from Amazon to individual realtors, from Zillow to small industrial-equipment companies. Many of these businesses came to me after reading SEO for Dummies (or Search Engine Optimization for Dummies as it was named for the first five editions). [For those of you who’ve been living in the proverbial cave for the last few years, SEO means Search Engine Optimization, and refers to techniques use to convince search engines that when somebody searches for blue widget, or whatever, your Web site is listed at the […]

Six Great Reasons You Should Never Use Google AdWords Express

(Just Mail a Check Directly to Google Instead!)

AdWords Express provides a fast way set up a simple Google AdWords PPC advertising campaign… but a really terrible way to set up a good AdWords account, it’s a method that will almost certainly cost you more money in clicks than you make in sales. First, what exactly is AdWords Express? I must admit that in years of PPC advertising (I first started working with PPC early this century, and wrote Pay Per Click Search Engine Marketing for Dummies a decade ago) I had never used AdWords Express, until I recently examined a client’s failing AdWords campaign. (Express has been around for six years now, though it was originally named Google Boost.) AdWords Express is essentially a simplified version of AdWords (you can […]