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May 13, 2013
Issue No. 53


Quick View


Five misunderstood facts and costly risks regarding your website and email

MBHOF

Client Spotlight: Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame at Massasoit Community College


Mission


COCO+CO.’s mission is to help client partners ethically win market leadership and stakeholder respect by uniquely achieving a harmony of strategic and creative resources.  Objective, experienced and audience-centered, the resulting public relations, advertising and marketing programs will earn trust, respect and confidence.


Blue Chip
Tool Suite


Exclusively for clients of COCO+CO.

Email Marketing Essentials

The industry’s best-looking and most well read email newsletters. Back-end features report who opened and shared them, when and how many times; integrate content automatically with social media; manage subscribers; and more.

Custom Content Web/Mobile

Custom Content always offer a professional presence, integration with social media, advanced navigation, intuitive user tools, multimedia abilities and search engine optimization. Available in Managed-Basic, Managed-Advanced and Self-Service Advanced.

Secure Social Media Management

Secure Social Media Management offers a professional ‘look and feel,’ consistent branding, regulatory compliance and affordability. Complete online reputation management with full moderation control ensures maturity, no embarrassing posts and enhanced security.

About COCO+CO.

Organizations looking for expert marketing assistance turn to COCO+CO., a full-service advertising agency with a depth of experience spanning more than 21 years. These companies seek—and receive— expertise, commitment and reliability.

Bricks & mortar, literally, ensure reliability & quality

COCO+CO. operates from dedicated, modern and fully equipped facilities located in an easily accessible office park. Experienced and talented staff quickly deliver blue-chip materials using industry standard, high-end and state-of-the-art hardware and software.

In-house creative & strategic delivery; no outsourcing

Clients long ago realized that, while it seems less costly to turn to contractors or home-based businesses, there is too much risk. They know deep levels of vendor outsourcing sacrifices quality, accountability and timeliness. They require the peace of mind associated with appropriately insured vendors, data security, regulatory compliance and proper licensing of intellectual property.

Zealously ethical

COCO+CO. not only meets these necessarily stringent requirements, but also uniquely offers the defined and proprietary Connections Process; a mix of creative and strategic disciplines under one roof; important contacts; and a zealously ethical reputation backed by a binding Resolution of Principles.

Greater Boston:
189 Ward Hill Avenue Ward Hill, MA 01835

Voice:
978.374.1900
Facsimile:
978.379.8480

www.cocoboston.com


Web essentials and risks

At a minimum, you will reduce risks by safely storing your usernames and passwords to your domain registrar’s and Web host’s websites.

Five misunderstood facts and costly risks regarding your website and email
Know these dry, but critical essentials; heed warnings

By Tim Coco
President and chief executive officer

If you are like most, you occasionally receive mail or email regarding your website’s domain name renewal or how to raise your rank in search engines. You may also receive and telephone calls about listing your site in Web directory.

Please beware. Most of these solicitations are, at best, misleading and could be scams.

Owning a website involves a number of components. Below is a primer about what you must know, what essential information must be safely stored and what you should expect to pay.

Domain registration

Before you launched your website, your domain name(s) (e.g., www.mycompanyname.com) had to be recorded by a registrar. In the beginning, there was only one registrar, Network Solutions, but now more economical options include GoDaddy or Bulk Register. Network Solutions is the most expensive and least flexible registrar in the business. Domain names must be renewed at regular intervals and your website and email won’t work without them. Prices range up to $35 annually per domain name.

If you haven’t yet registered a name, choosing a name is not as easy as typing it into your Web browser to see if it is available. Many names have been registered, but may not be in use as websites. Instead, you need to conduct a “Whois” search through a reputable vendor. Network Solutions is facing a class action suit from users that allege the company registered for itself domain names that users searched. This action forced companies to buy the name from Network Solutions—traditionally the highest cost registrar.

Each registrar is coordinated by a nonprofit agency, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), to ensure duplicate names are not registered. ICANN also operates a Trademark Clearinghouse to help prevent others from stealing your company name.

The various registrars have gone on to add various services such as domain forwarding, Web hosting, email service, private registration, domain expiration protection, design, etc. You do not need to buy any of these optional services.  However, most registrars provide a free service for you to “point” or “forward” additional domain names to your existing website. You should never pay extra for this service.

WARNING: After registering a domain name, it is absolutely essential you save your username and password. It is extremely difficult to recover this information from some registrars—especially foreign-owned ones. Without a username and password, your domain name cannot be assigned to your website or email. Also, don’t fall for those fake “renewal” emails or postcards. Be sure the company seeking renewal is actually the one in which you have an existing business relationship.

Web hosting

Once you have a domain name, it must be assigned to a computer operating on the Internet 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. Most companies rent a computer or space on a computer to host their websites and email.

Again, while you may rent this Web server (host) from many registrars, it is risky to place everything with one vendor. Your Web designer may also employ features that cannot be implemented by some Web hosting companies. Your designer may write website code specifically for Windows servers, for example, while your Web host provides UNIX-type servers. All Web servers are not the same.

Prices for Web hosting range from less than $10 monthly to hundreds of dollars depending on levels of security, features, etc. For most companies that do not store sensitive client information, there are many reliable, but low-cost Web hosts.

WARNING: Your Web host is also responsible for taking steps to protect the security of their servers. However, many are lax and you could find your own email, for example, being used to send thousands of spam messages. Not only does this slow the server and possibly prevent you from receiving your own email, your domain name may be “blacklisted” by third party security services such as Barracuda Networks. You could lose the right to send any emails at all.

Again, it is important you save your Web hosting username and password.

Email

Most Web hosting vendors can also handle your email accounts. You should never pay extra for basic email accounts. Basic accounts use such protocols as Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3) or Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP).

Alternatively, you may send your email to a Microsoft Exchange server. This server—which you can host yourself or rent—will sync your emails with all of your devices. If you are a Comcast Business Class subscriber, hosted Exchange may be free.

For best results, you should always send and receive email from email client software on your own device such as Outlook, Outlook Express, etc. This allows you to store your own received and sent messages that will be accessible even if you temporarily have no Internet access. You will also be able to use a graphical email “signature” with your own company logo for a professional look.

Several cautions. If you typically send or receive large attachments, make sure your email provider does not set too low a limit on the size of attachments or ban certain extension types. Also, try to avoid using unprofessional email addresses such as AOL, Gmail, Verizon, Comcast, etc. if you’re sending company messages. You should always be able to use the same email domain as your website.

WARNING: If you read your email on multiple devices (computer, smartphone, etc.) using software on your own device (known as “clients,” such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail), you run the risk of permanently deleting messages or preventing them from reaching your other devices. There are workarounds such as selecting “save messages on server” in your options or preferences screens.

Web design

Most companies maintain a website to present a positive image to their customers, prospects, employees and others. Even the smallest microenterprise can look larger than life with a professional website.

Unfortunately, the way the Web evolved, vendors largely broke into two camps—heavy technical capability, but poor design or great design without much functionality because of a lack of “under the hood” coding skills. Luckily, companies such as COCO+CO. deliver both sets of skills in-house. Almost anything you imagine can be built. This is especially important now since more of your customers and prospects expect to see your website display properly and sized correctly on their smartphones and tablets.

Some companies simply try to copy their competitors’ websites. This is a sign of low self-esteem. Your enterprise should strive to be “different.” There are only two ways to compete—price or differentiation. Competing only on price is dangerous since it results in thinner margins. For more, click here.

There are many do-it-yourself website services, but these come with risks. Most use proprietary code which prevents you from ever expanding or moving your website to a new host—an utterly dangerous situation if business continuity or disaster planning is a concern. These may also prevent you from adding important options as you grow, such as animation, videos, forms, downloadable brochures, etc.

WARNING: Would you shop for expensive goods in a dark, back alley store with a paper sign and creepy sales clerks? A poor website is the equivalent.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

If you read those constant email solicitations about “boosting your Google search rankings,” you might think you are nowhere to be found. Truth is, if you’ve listed your website address on your business cards and advertising, you’ll be found by the people that matter most.

Further, signing up for “pages” on Facebook, Google Plus and other social media will also greatly increase your rankings. Make sure your website is listed by the chambers of commerce, service clubs or trade organizations in which you hold memberships. These “inward” links to your website and positive reviews drive traffic and raise search engine rankings.

Of course, there are some prerequisites. Make sure your designer uses appropriate META tags, descriptions and individual Web page names that match your content. You must also keep your website content updated and relevant.

WARNING: Many SEO providers are scammers. They will either take your money and do nothing or create a spam regime that will drive useless traffic to your website that will frustrate users who find themselves on a page they didn’t seek and certainly won’t buy from. Worse, your domain name can become blacklisted, preventing almost any traffic. There is no “secret” method Google doesn’t want you to know about, as some of these companies claim. Also, beware of those telephone solicitations to “renew” your listings. Many will do nothing, but add a recurring monthly charge on your telephone bill. You may already be paying thousands of dollars annually through these scam charges on your phone bill.

For more ideas or learn how COCO+CO.’s blue chip Connections Process can help your business grow, call 978.374-1900.

  Client Spotlight

Recent COCO+CO. work

The Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame at Massasoit Community College took time to recognize the extraordinary efforts of television and radio stations to cover the Boston Marathon bombings. COCO+CO. designed and constructed the site at www.massbroadcastershof.com.

2013 COCO+CO. All rights reserved.