GoDaddy is cheap, yes. You can register a domain for one of the lowest costs in the industry. However, there is a drawback to the low price that most people new to the world of website building are not aware of. Registering with GoDaddy can make you a spam magnet.
When you register a domain, your information is submitted to WHOIS (a database of information on EVERY domain address out there on the internet). Some domain registrars will mask your information so your contact information is anonymized. For example, if you do a WHOIS search on Rolf.org, you find this information:
Registrant Name:The Rolf Institute Registrant Organization:The Rolf Institute Registrant Street1:5055 Chaparral Ct., Ste 103 Registrant Street2: Registrant Street3: Registrant City:Boulder Registrant State/Province:Colorado Registrant Postal Code:80301 Registrant Country:US Registrant Phone:+1.4495903 Registrant Phone Ext.: Registrant FAX: Registrant FAX Ext.: Registrant Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
As you can see, a lot of information is available on the owner of Rolf.org. It’s not a big problem since it’s a business address and a business email address (although I’m not sure Susan likes getting the spam she gets as a result of this listing).
But what if you’re a small business, like, say, a Rolfer who may not even HAVE a business address yet? What if the domain registrar puts up your contact information then? The only contact information you’ve given them is your home address, your personal phone number, and your email address, right? Guess what shows up then. For an unfortunate example, check out the information available on this WHOIS record for a Rolfer in Orange County (breathingandwalking.com).
Technical Contact: Corona, Nicole email@example.com 4619 1/2 West Point Loma Blvd San Diego, California 92107 United States (714) 261-1275
Both Rolf.org and Breathingandwalking.com have used GoDaddy as the domain registrar. They have chosen to use the GoDaddy standard domain registration which costs roughly $6/year. Unfortunately, ALL their contact information has now gone live on the internet for spambots to cull their information to use and abuse. To avoid this, you have to pay GoDaddy an extra $10/year for private registration PER DOMAIN. They will then register your information into the WHOIS database with anonymized information. So if you want to register with privacy, you have to pay about $16/year PER DOMAIN.
If you’re going to register your domain with another domain registrar, the prices can be a little better. Bluehost, for example, offers domains with privacy for $15/year. I personally prefer to use Dreamhost because they charge $10/year per domain and there are no issues whatsoever with privacy. By default, Dreamhost anonymizes your WHOIS listings, so you never have to go out of your way to hide your contact info from spammers. So with Dreamhost, privacy is the default, and you save a couple bucks a year on your domain registration fees.
For Rolfers and other health practitioners trying to establish themselves in a new market, the prospect of starting up can be particularly daunting. Often, they’ll get a website started and sit back and wait and hope that things work out well. After a week, they start to get worried because nobody’s finding them, even though they’ve done all the search engine optimization (SEO) they could think of (and kudos to them for knowing what SEO is). When doing keyword searches, they just aren’t coming up! What’s going wrong?
Though the internet is not known for breeding patience in its users, you’re going to have to practice a little meditation, yoga, or whatever it is that helps you quiet your mind. SEO does not pay off right away. Putting up your website will not immediately draw new clients to you, even if you did everything right.
Take, for example, Barbara, the Posture Gal in McKinney Texas. We had her site set up in June, but she didn’t get a call from someone who had found her through a relevant Google search until the last week of July. Does that mean a whole month went to waste? No! In fact, in that time period, a word-of-mouth referral had called Barbara because of her website. They’d heard about her, checked out her site, liked what they saw, and called her as a result. A website is a great way for someone to get to know you, your personality, and your approach. Even if you aren’t getting traffic from searches yet, you will have that added look of professionalism by having a site.
Now, there are ways to increase traffic to your website (for example, listing your business on Google Maps) that can help boost your ranking and get yourself in front of more eyes, but don’t think just setting up your e-shingle will guarantee phone calls and emails the next day. Be patient, be proactive, and be ready as you slowly sift your way up to the top of the rankings.
When you set up your site, how long did it take before you started getting calls because of it?
Last week we talked about a Rolfer’s initial experience with Groupon. Now we’ve got a little bonus interview with a different Rolfer who actually ran a Groupon promotion a little while back with his perspective 9 months hence. See how this Rolfer’s Groupon deal treated him. Read more…
One of our clients just started running a Groupon deal, so we though it’d be a great idea to see how things work when you run a Groupon promotion and to share some of her tricks to making it as profitable and seamless an experience as possible. We’ve changed her name to Kathy for the sake of privacy.
Kathy ran her Groupon on July 16. In the days leading up to the Groupon promotion, she had us set up her online appointment scheduling system through Full Slate for both of her practice locations. She wanted to have the online booking ready to roll so that she’d be able to handle the influx of clients requesting appointments (more on that in the interview responses below).
By leveraging her website, a free business line from Google Voice, and online appointment scheduling, she made the Groupon process a lot easier on herself so that she can focus on doing her work instead of spending all her time on the phone with an appointment book and pencil. Below you’ll find the first report from Kathy on her Groupon experience, and we’ll follow up with her in another month to see how things have gone.
What made you want to try Groupon?
I had been on the fence for awhile. My practice has been growing steadily, but there is still some room to expand. Several other Rolfers had given Groupon a shot and had really positive experiences and I thought I should give it a try. I practice in a place where Rolfing isn’t well-known, so my mindset was that the sheer educational/exposure part would be good. I also asked that Groupon run the deal in early July, which is a time of year I am typically slower.
What specifically did you offer and what was the agreement with Groupon for splitting the commission?
I offered 2 deals: 1 session for $49 or 3 sessions for $109. New clients only. People could buy one for themselves and up to 2 more as gifts. The Groupon rep really pushed for the 3 session option. I was initially hesitant, but an acupuncturist friend ran a deal for a 3 session package and had more of those people stay on as clients than the people who purchased a single session. I could see the logic in that so I went with it.
The split for the single session option was 50/50. The split for the 3 session package was 50/50 until I sold 100. Once I hit 100 packages sold the split became 70/30.
What were the actual sales figures?
I sold a total of 217 “deals”. 154 were for the 3 session packages and 63 were for single sessions.
Why did you choose to use Google Voice and Full Slate as you did?
I really used running the Groupon as a way to motivate me to get a few things done that I had been dragging my feet on. Online scheduling was one of those things. I chose Full Slate because it was easy to use and navigate for both the client and me. I have to give credit to a Rolfer friend of mine for the Google Voice idea. She used it when she ran her Groupon along with online scheduling, and she raved about how easy it made the whole experience. And she was absolutely correct!
The Google voice number simply had a voicemail that directed people to go my website to set up an appointment. I had 50-60 calls, but only 3 or 4 people left voicemails. I was alerted by email when someone left a voicemail.
How have the clients been that you’ve seen so far through Groupon? Any stand out in your mind as particularly good/bad/weird experiences?
The Groupon clients I have seen so far have been lovely. I did have one lady asked for more discounted session before I’d even started working on her, but I guess there’s always got to be one person like that!
So in a previous post, we touched on SEO. A lot of people go “SE-what?” when they hear SEO, so I thought I’d share the Cliff’s Notes on SEO. This is a fantastic resource as it is literally handed down from the gods of SEO, and it’s completely, 100% free. If you’re good at dealing with the backend of your website and want to tweak things to your SEO’s delight, check out the Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide and start tweaking away!