I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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Be professional with the little things…

It amazes me sometimes how people ignore some of the little details that are so easy to deal with.

I read recently that someone would never take advice from a financial planner who can’t afford a quality tie (bad taste is a different issue, of course!) My equivalent statement is that I would never hire someone for SEO help/advice or other digital services (social media marketing, web design, ecommerce, etc) if they can’t be bothered setting up a non-hotmail, non-yahoo email address – Gmail and IP provider emails are not really any better.Receiving professional emails on your laptop

The blog I looked at yesterday came to my attention by the owner asking for guest blog posts. He provided a domain name and his Hotmail details. Why on earth doesn’t he have an email based at that domain name? Especially for someone claiming to know about SEO?

This is a pet peeve, but there are some valid reasons to use a domain-related email address:

  • it builds trust to use your domain name – you have taken the time to get a domain name and matching emails so expect to be in business for more than five minutes
  • it looks professional
  • Hotmail does not build credibility – many people use Hotmail as untraceable email addresses so it is not always seen as reputable. Have you noticed a number of places won’t accept a Hotmail address when you register?
  • every time someone receives your email, you can promote Hotmail/Gmail/your ip provider or you can use your domain name and promote your business. No brainer to me
  • it shows you pay attention to the little details in your business so probably care about your products/services
  • it gives consistency, especially when you list your contact details in one place like on a business card or the end of an email
  • you don’t have to change your email address if you change ip providers or the email service stops (or changes rules in a way you don’t like)

Consistency includes contacts

Consistency is an important aspect of building your brand. It is easy to remember to always use the same colours, fonts and logos, but you also need consistency in the details you provide.not using a consistent font style and size makes your emssgae harder to read, doesn't it?

For instance, I recently received an email where the sender’s email address was different to the one in the signature (and I mean completely different – names and domains varied!) and both were different to the URL of the business! I didn’t try any of them and deleted the email…

Contact details are not only important for branding and consistency, they are also crucial in building trust. A business that uses a different email address to what they advertise or refuses to give any contact details on a website and so on can give the impression of hiding something – not a great way to establish trust.

Personally, I also notice when people use an email address that doesn’t match their URL. For one thing, why lose the promotional advantage of using your own domain name? And why promote someone else’s business instead? Using a different domain to your own also looks unprofessional – especially if it is a hotmail address.

What do you think of a business that doesn’t have contact details consistent with your domain? Does it impact on your sense of trust?

Hosting location not important

Michelle of Shel Designs added an article to her latest newsletter about where your domain name is registered. She states that where your domain name and hosting are located are not important for your site’s ranking. In fact, she writes “Where it is registered or hosted will not affect the way Google (and other search engines) rank your site.”

I have had clients advised to change their registration and hosting to improve their rankings and it really annoys me when I know they could improve rankings easily in other ways instead of paying a lot of money to move without benefit.

The only ways I think hosting affects a website are:

  • great distances between a site visitor/user and the server can make it a little slower. So hosting a .com.au site in Australia or New Zealand would make no significant difference but hosting in the USA might load a little slower
  • time zones can make it harder to get assistance
  • a drastic event near the server can impact a distant site even though the event wouldn’t otherwise impact on it. For example, when the tsunami hit Asia a few years ago, a number of cables were disturbed under the sea. If your site connected to its server via those cables it may have been unavailable whereas an Australian server connection wouldn’t have been damaged. Obviously, this isn’t a frequent occurrence.

Next time someone tells you to move your website, remember that a reputable distant server/host is better than a close one you don’t know or trust. And it really doesn’t matter where you register your domain name, other than for your pocket (there is a huge variation in registration fees.)