Casey Kelly-Barton, Author at HostGator Blog

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  • How to Build Brand Recognition, One Link at a Time

    Friday, March 17, 2017 by
    branded links Business owners, job seekers, bloggers, and affiliate marketers all face the same challenge: building brand recognition to stand out from the crowd. Social media, we’re told, is the land of opportunity – a nearly infinite network of possible touchpoints we can use to interact with followers, find mentors, listen to our target customers, and establish ourselves as experts in our fields. The problem with standing out from the social media crowd is that the crowd is large and talkative. Three years ago, the average social media user encountered 285 pieces of content every day. That was just the average. Active and highly engaged social media users received as many as one thousand links (or more) daily. It’s reasonable to assume that those numbers are higher now, as more businesses turn to social media to engage with their audiences. Dedicated Server  

    Does your brand get credit for your social shares?

    Each link you share offers useful or entertaining information, but each non-branded link you share also pulls users’ focus away from your brand. This can happen when the link is a long URL that includes the original source domain.
    • For example, for the story linked above, seeing a share with http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/social-media-overload/488800 puts Adweek foremost in your mind.
    Link shorteners clean up the visuals but still deny your brand recognition for the share.
    • For example, http://bit.ly/1b2FbxR presents the same piece of content and serves as a touchpoint for bit.ly.
    In each case, your social media audience gets the benefit of your shares, but you’re not getting a touchpoint for your brand as part of the exchange. Among the hundreds of links your audience sees each day, the ones you share don’t stand out by visually representing your brand.  

    Branded links create valuable touchpoints

    Italian entrepreneur Davide De Guz noticed this missed opportunity after founding ClickMeter, a link-shortening and tracking service. In 2015, he launched Rebrandly to let users brand shared links, include SEO keywords, and track the results of their shares. De Guz spoke to HostGator via Skype about how Rebrandly can help businesses, job seekers, bloggers, and others create touchpoints and avoid getting lost in the deluge of social media links and shares. Here's a quick demo of their rebranding process:
    “Branded links stand out,” De Guz said. “You want to share your brand instead of the brand of someone else.” Rebrandly users can choose their own domain name and extension and then create custom tags for each share. For example, social media expert Jenn Herman switched from using her company tag on bit.ly shortened links to using her own custom domain, jennstrends.social, which keeps her brand front and center in every link she shares.  

    Branded links increase trust

    A shared link is only valuable if people click on it, whether it’s a link to an article your colleagues might like, or a link to a promotion on your business website. De Guz said his company’s research found that branded links get more clicks because users trust those links more. “We allow you to show your name, and you’re sharing information with people who already know you. Depending on the message you’re sharing, the click-through rate is 20 to 35 percent more compared to a generic shortened URL.” [bctt tweet="The click-through rate of branded links is 20 to 35 percent more compared to a generic shortened URL." username="hostgator"]

    Customized links reinforce expertise and authority

    The benefits of branded links are clear for business, but there are also advantages for job seekers and freelancers, too. “It’s important to have a branded link to show your CV or resume,” De Guz said. “It’s a specific way to tell people what your work or business is about.” Among Rebrandly’s domain customization options are many that help job seekers and freelancers define their work at a glance, including .mba, .farm, .investments, .accountant, .graphics, and so on. Jenn Herman’s domain extension, .social, makes her area of expertise clear at a glance.  

    Tools for SEO and link management

    I used a press pass provided by Rebrandly to try it out for a few days. Its Google Chrome extension was a simple and fast way to share links on Twitter and LinkedIn. I was also able to route my Rebrandly shares through my Buffer account. By choosing the “no link shortening” setting in Buffer, I was able to send shares out on my Buffer schedule but with my custom domain in each link instead of Buffer’s.The trade-off for that tweak was that Buffer couldn’t track clicks on those links, so I had to go to my Rebrandly dashboard to see my stats. The dashboard is easy to use, a good starting point for users who might be overwhelmed with heavy-duty analytics. Advanced users can also connect Rebrandly with ClickMeter for premium metrics, and Herman told Rebrandly that she now has better insights into her Instagram traffic, compared to Google Analytics’ tracking tools for that social platform. There are also tools to integrate Rebrandly with bit.ly and with other link-management tools. In my trial run, Rebrandly was an easy way to make touchpoints out of links I was already going to share. I’d like to try the mobile version, but as an Android user, I’ll have to wait. There’s an iOS app available now, and Rebrandly spokeswoman Sian Kate Lloyd said there’s an Android app due in the months ahead.  

    Getting the most value from your social shares

    For me, the goal was establishing expertise and name recognition. For an online merchant, the goal might be directing traffic to the shop. For a job hunter, the goal might be appealing to recruiters. In each case, custom links help cut through the clutter and may help you get more value from the time you spend finding and sharing links, especially if you use them as part of a carefully planned social media strategy. Are you using custom links? Tell us about your experience in the comments below. 
  • How You Can Choose The Best Domain Name For Your Blog

    Thursday, March 16, 2017 by

    choose best domain name for your blog

    You’ve decided to start a blog. You know what it will be about, you know who your target audience is, and you’ve drafted a list of individual post ideas you can use to keep up a regular posting schedule. The only thing standing between you and your first published post? You need a domain for that new blog. Suddenly, your new blog project feels a bit daunting. How do you choose a great name when millions of names are already registered? Should you go with .com, .blog, .cat or one of the hundreds of other top level domain options? How do you protect your privacy when you register your domain? What about SEO? Don’t get overwhelmed. There’s a lot of great information online about the best way to select a domain name for your blog, and we’ve sifted through it to bring you the highlights. (We also know a thing or two about registering domain names ourselves.) Here are the 11 most important things to consider as you decide on your blog’s domain name. Create Your Blog  

    Your domain = Your brand

    What’s your blog’s brand? If it’s a blog for your business, it’s part of your business brand. If it’s a personal blog, it will reflect on you personally, whether you’re seeking jobs, promoting your services to clients, or keeping visitors entertained. Take the time to think about the feelings, values, and uniqueness you want your blog to convey, and use that information to guide your domain name choice. [bctt tweet="Your domain name = Your brand. Don't forget that! #branding" username="hostgator"]  

    Keep it short

    Short domain names are easy to remember, type in, and share. Short domain names also display fully on even small screens, an important consideration now that most US digital media consumers browse on smartphones instead of computers.  

    Pass the “radio test”

    If you say your domain name aloud and a listener can type it into their browser, it passes the “radio test.” This is important because, according to both Entrepreneur and Moz, pronounceable domains are easier to remember and more likely to be shared. [bctt tweet="Does your domain name pass the Radio Test? Say it out loud, and people should be able to type it in." username="hostgator"]  

    .com or bust?

    There are so many top level domain options today that making a decision can be intimidating. Here’s a timesaving solution: Go with .com if you can. Even after all these years, .com is still the market leader and .com still appears to have a trust advantage with internet users. However, there are times when an alternate TLD can enhance your domain branding. Someone who blogs about data security, for example, might choose the .tech TLD, and a blogger who reviews monthly product-box deliveries might be able to work .club into the domain name. You can explore TLD options at HostGator partner Domain.com, which offers more than 300 TLDs, including .design, .wedding, and .recipes. Domain Name  

    Keep squatters away

    Cybersquatting is a real problem, and while registering a domain using someone else's trademark is illegal, squatters (and even domain registrants acting in good faith) can create confusion around your domain by registering variants, like the plural version or the same name with another top-level domain. To avoid confusion, you may want to spend a few extra bucks to register domain names very similar to yours and redirect them to your blog. Some real-world examples:
    • Stabucks.com redirects to Starbucks.com
    • HostGators.com redirects to HostGator.com
    • Amazon.sale redirects to the “Today’s Deals” page at Amazon.com
    You may not have the budget to register every possible variation of your domain name, but it’s a good idea to pick up the .info, .net, and .biz versions if you can.  

    Scout social-media availability

    Make sure the domain name is available as an account name in the social media channels you’ll use. Otherwise you’re setting up your blog for visitor confusion and possible trademark battles (see below).  

    Avoid domain name confusion

    You’re not likely to copy or reference the domain name of a major existing brand like Amazon or Starbucks, but you might accidentally step on the toes of a smaller blog or brand. Spend some time online looking for businesses and blogs with similar domain names. Adjust yours, if you need to, to avoid confusion and potential lawsuits. As Rand Fishkin says in the Whiteboard Friday video below, “it's not your judgment. It's not even your audience's judgment. It's what you think a judge in the jurisdiction might have the judgment about.”
     

    Keywords in your domain name? Maybe

    It makes sense to use search keywords in your domain name as long as they’re part of your brand and you understand you won’t get an SEO value from them. A decade or so ago, the internet was full of generic-sounding keyword-rich domains like CheapCottonShirts.com or RemoteControlCarBlog.com. At best, search engine honchos say keywords in the domain name don’t enhance SEO enough to make the loss of unique branding worth it these days. At worst, Google may even penalize you for it.  

    Hyphens in your domain name? No way

    Take it from someone with a hyphenated name: Hyphens are a hassle. Worse, research shows that a hyphenated domain name can undermine your blog. Not only are they difficult for users to remember and type in, they can also look spammy to search engines. If you’re considering a domain name that only works if it includes hyphens, head back to the drawing board and come up with hyphen-free alternatives. [bctt tweet="Avoid hyphens in your domain names - they're tricky for users and look spammy." username="hostgator"]  

    Protect your privacy

    When you register your domain, you’ll have the option to buy domain privacy protection, which keeps your billing address and name out of the international WHOIS searchable database of domain registrants. With privacy protection, when someone looks up your domain, they’ll see the corporate address of your privacy protection service, rather than your home or business address.  

    Remember to renew

    Depending on the domain registration service you use and the length of time you pay for, you may need to manually renew your domain registration and privacy protection every year or two. This takes only a couple of minutes, but it’s easy to overlook the renewal-notice email, and if you don’t renew within a certain time, your domain name can go dark or be sold to someone else. HostGator helps bloggers and businesses avoid this problem by auto-renewing your domain registration by default.   Take your time choosing your blog domain and remember that if you want something different later on, you can always choose a new domain and 301 redirect your blog to it. Learn more on the HostGator blog about how your blog can make you money and maybe even change your life.
  • Your Essential Toolkit for Starting a Small Business

    Tuesday, March 7, 2017 by
    Online Tools for Starting a Small Business Have you been thinking about starting your own business but aren’t sure where to begin? Or are you ready to start, if only you can find time to get everything into place? Here’s a checklist of some of our favorite services, apps, and other must-have tools to guide you through the basics, save you time, and help get your small business off to a good start. Every business is different, but in general, you’ll need:  

    1. Your business and sales tax permits

    Depending on the rules where you live, you may need a business license from your city or county and/or a license from your state. The Small Business Administration lets you search by state to find what you’ll need for your particular business. If you plan to sell digital or physical goods, you may also need to apply for a sales tax permit.   HostGator Website Builder  

    2.Your EIN

    It only takes a few minutes to apply for a free Employer Identification Number (EIN) at the IRS website. The IRS requires an EIN for many types of businesses, and you can see a list of them here. Even if you’re not required to get an EIN, you can still apply for one. Using it in place of your personal Social Security Number in your business dealings can protect you against identity theft. Your bank may also require an EIN to open a business account.  

    3. Your business savings and checking accounts

    Once you have your license and your EIN, you can set up business bank accounts. Even if you’re not dealing with a lot of money at first, having business accounts separate from your personal ones will save you bookkeeping and accounting headaches later. Look for a bank or credit union with low fees, good service, online bill paying, mobile banking, and a debit card for your business expenses.  

    4. Your business insurance

    Protect your business from the start, especially if you’re a sole proprietor with unlimited liability. Talk to an agent you trust to see if you need additional coverage for your home office or professional liability coverage for the services you provide. If you have employees, you’ll be required to pay taxes toward unemployment insurance, too.  

    5. Your email marketing tools

    Even businesses on a tiny budget should invest in good email marketing tools. One option we like is Constant Contact, which can help you quickly put together professional-looking emails, send them to all or part of your email list, and track responses. Speaking of email marketing…  

    6. Your email list

    Your list is the heart of your business. It’s the email addresses, personal information, and marketing preferences shared with you by your current customers and everyone else who’s opted in to get your emails. These are the people you’ll want to reach with your marketing emails and social media campaigns.  

    7. Your web hosting service

    You need a business website so customers can find you, and you need someone to host that site. Your hosting service should have reliable uptime, good customer service, and the templates and extras you need. Not surprisingly, we’d humbly suggest using HostGator. Add on a backup service like CodeGuard to protect your site in case of data loss.  

    8. Your e-commerce tools

    To sell digital or physical goods online, you’ll need shopping cart software that’s easy to use, like Magento or Zencart. HostGator offers 1-click installs for both of these and several other e-commerce solutions. You’ll also need a service to process customers’ card payments – either a third-party service like PayPal or an independent credit card processor. Look into fraud prevention services, too, to screen transactions and prevent expensive chargebacks.  

    9. Your connectivity

    Your business internet and mobile service should be as reliable as possible. Shop around to find the options with the best speed, least downtime, and broadest coverage so you can work uninterrupted.  

    10. Your point of sale tools

    If your business sells goods at events or in a retail space, you’ll need an EMV-compliant card reader. Services like PayPal and Square offer inexpensive smartphone-plugin card readers. If you work with a card processor, you’ll need a durable point-of-sale terminal and software.  

    11. Your packing and shipping stuff

    There’s nothing quite as satisfying as shipping a customer order out the door. It’s easier to do if you set up an account with the shipper of your choice, get a postal scale, and source your packing supplies before orders start coming in.  

    12. Your contracts

    Agencies and service businesses need a contract to use with clients or customers, to define everyone’s expectations and responsibilities. You can find DIY templates at RocketLawyer and LawDepot, but it’s always a good idea to have a trusted attorney review your contract before you use it.  

    13. Your task team

    Sometimes it pays to delegate small or specialized tasks so you can focus on other business matters. Services like Upwork can help you find people to tackle everything from data entry to product management. On days when you don’t have time to shop or run errands, Amazon Prime, Instacart, or TaskRabbit can help you out.  

    14. Your accounting software

    QuickBooks is what PC Magazine and Business News Daily recommend for small business accounting. It’s also what most small-business CPAs and bookkeepers use, so when you’re ready to outsource record keeping and tax preparation later on, it should be a smooth transition.  

    15. Your printing service

    You’ll need professionally printed business cards to start and maybe more printed items later on. Online services like Vistaprint can store your designs so you can use them on other items later, like thank-you cards, product labels, and postcards for promotions.  

    16. Your professional connections

    Get to know your local and industry business groups to build your peer network, learn more about business ownership, exchange ideas and find mentors. Make connections with local business reporters and send them your press releases and updates.   These are the basics to help you move your small business from idea to reality. What’s in your small business toolkit?
  • Is Your Website Stuck in the 90s?

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017 by
    90s website Nineties nostalgia is already a thing. Companies and advertisers are catering to Millennials with retro mascots and products (Surge, anyone?) as the youngs reminisce about the good old days. Even if your audience is made up entirely of under-35 customers, there are some things about the ‘90s that are best left in the past—like these awful design elements from the heyday of Prodigy and CompuServe.

    It wasn't so easy to build a nice-looking site in the 90s. Thankfully, it's much easier today with the HostGator Website Builder.

     

    1. 1990s style website welcome pages

    In the ‘90s, many website landing pages were weird, pointless digital vestibules featuring a bland background, a notice that you had reached the website, and an “enter here” button you had to click to see the actual site. This seems pointless today, but in the 1990s, navigating to a website (as opposed to browsing around on a portal like AOL) was a new experience for many users. Welcome pages reassured them they were in the right place. 1990s Website Welcome Page Today: Don’t force visitors to do extra work to see your pages. Welcome pages, autoplay videos, or any other barrier between the guest and your site’s content can reduce conversion rates.  

    2. Cluttered ‘90s-style page backgrounds

    The ultimate ‘90s web design trope was a tiled-image nightmare of a background that distracted visitors from the site’s message and, in hardcore cases, created a sense of visual vertigo as your eyes scanned the page. Background photo tiles were the very worst, because the color variations in the images guaranteed that no matter what color the text was, some of it was bound to be unreadable. 1990s Website Background Today: Web page backgrounds should be neutral and definitely not tiled. Let the background frame your message instead of obscuring it.  

    The 1990s wacky font sampler

    Forget readability. One of the joys of having a website in the 90s was using as many fonts as you could on a single page. If that meant a header in all-caps lime green bold PAPYRUS or a huge block of text in purple 10-point Brush Script, at least they stood out a bit from all that tile behind them. 1990s Website Graphic Headers Today: Readability should be the number one consideration when you choose fonts. You can use free preview tools like MobiReady to see how your pages will display on large and small screens. If your chosen fonts don’t scan well, change them.  

    The number-one rule of 1990s font choices

    You had to use Comic Sans somewhere on your site. It’s hard to explain why. You had to be there. Comic Sans 1990s Website Today: Don't use Comic Sans.  

    Keyword stuffing and link building, ‘90s-style

    What’s a meta tag? In the ‘90s, you just included all of the keywords and every possible permutation of those keywords on each page, in plain view—usually in a big, ugly block of text at the bottom or in a sidebar. Bonus points if you used white text on a white background. Another popular black hat SEO tactic from the 1990s were buttons, badges, and visit counters that included hidden links. 1990s Website Link Button Today: Be selective about including keyword phrases in your text so you don’t incur Google penalties for keyword stuffing. Never display a block of keywords on your pages. Use meta tags to include the most important keywords for search engines without displaying them on every page. Be choosy about who you link out to.  

    ‘90s websites were like Spotify, but with prehistoric MIDI technology

    A surprising number of ‘90s-era websites autoplayed terrible, dinky-sounding MIDI-file music. Never mind that you could be using a library terminal, working in a crowded cubicle farm, or browsing at home while your baby finally napped. Unless you remembered to keep your system volume set to zero, you might have to jolt into noise-control mode when you landed on a new site. A lot of these sites didn’t include guest controls for the tunage, either. It was up to you to mouse to your volume control, slap the keyboard mute button, or navigate away as quickly as you could at 2400 bits per second. 1990s Website Midi Today: Keep your site quiet. If music is central to your business, make it easy for visitors to play tracks if they wish, but leave the choice to them.  

    Scrollin’ through the ‘90s

    Site text moved around a lot in the 1990s. Sometimes it scrolled in a loop like the signs in Times Square, sometimes it slid back and forth across the screen in homage to Pong. Visitors had to keep up and chase content as it zipped by. It was the ‘90s. People made site text move because they could. 1990s Website Example Today: Don’t try scrolling designs at home. There are ways to scroll text and other elements to make your site dynamic and visually appealing without freaking users out, but they’re advanced-level moves best left to experienced professional designers.  

    1990s websites offered an array of content choices

    Forget sidebars and navigation tabs. Many site designers threw all their content links into big, bulky arrays that were as ugly to look at as they were tedious to navigate. In many cases, you had to return to the array from each content page because there was no way to click through. 1990s Website Array Today: Arrays have their purposes. Organizing site content is not one of them.  

    Every 1990s website needed 37 pieces of flair

    Badges weren’t just for scouts in the ‘90s. Thanks to the magic of Windows Paint and JPEG files, the websites of the era were festooned with tchotchkes – maps of the country where they were based, small awards most people had never heard of, and web ring logos. Web rings actually served a purpose for a while, by making it easy for visitors to find similar sites instead of having to dig through Yahoo’s directory categories. Mostly, though, these pieces of digital flair were early types of social proof and community-building tools. 1990s Website Flair Today: Unless it’s relevant, there’s no need to fly your national colors on your web site. Too many visual distractions keep your visitors from focusing on your message. Design with your message in mind.   Still not sure if your site is stuck in the 90s? Compare it to the mother of all bad examples, The World’s Worst Website. Just be sure to put on your sunglasses before you click the link, and maybe mute your system volume. Then check out some inspiring design ideas and start building your site! HostGator Website Builder   Images courtesy of the WayBack Machine.
  • Is Your Small Business Making the Most of Online Reviews?

    Thursday, February 2, 2017 by
    Small Business Online Reviews Are you intimidated by the prospect of customers reviewing your business online? A string of positive reviews of your business from satisfied customers can help you win new customers. Even the occasional bad review isn’t necessarily bad news if you know how to handle it right. Here’s a rundown of online review site do’s and don’ts for small business owners.   HostGator Website Builder  

    3 Online Review Do's for Small Business Owners

     

    1. Do thank reviewers for their feedback

    Your customers’ time is valuable, and feedback is information you can use to improve your business or keep it on the right track. Whether your reviewers leave a positive, negative, or middling review, take a moment to thank them for sharing their experience. This shows each one that you value their input. Try to leave a slightly different response on each review, though, to show that you’re responding personally and not just copy-pasting boilerplate replies. Thank-yous also show prospective shoppers that you’re paying attention to the customer experience. This can increase the likelihood that they’ll buy from you, because they know that if there’s an issue, they can trust you to work to resolve it. HostGator Google+ Reviews  

    2. Do invite customers to contact you directly with concerns

    The simplest way to keep customers from leaving negative reviews is to keep their experiences with your business as positive as possible. Customers leave bad reviews when they’re frustrated and feel disrespected, so do your best to avoid slighting your shoppers. Provide great service, follow up with customer satisfaction surveys to spot problems before they spill over onto review sites, and treat each problem as an opportunity to show your customers how much you care about their experience. That said, listening to upset customers isn’t easy. It can be hard to hear criticism of your business without jumping immediately to your own defense, but it’s something every successful business owner must learn to do. Effective listening is a business skill that you can master with practice, and it’s the best way to resolve customer concerns before they turn into an angry online review. [bctt tweet="The best defense against negative reviews is providing outstanding experiences for customers." username="hostgator"]  

    3. Do carefully encourage your customers to leave reviews

    There are different schools of thought about asking customers to leave online reviews. Yelp officially discourages businesses from explicitly requesting customer reviews. Instead, Yelp recommends that businesses link to their Yelp profile on their site and in their email signature line. “Find Us on Yelp” signs can steer customers toward your reviews without making a direct ask. Other marketing experts, though, advise asking for reviews in a variety of ways, such as inviting fans to upload video reviews to your YouTube channel and offering incentives for leaving any type of – whether it’s good or bad. Ask for online reviewsIf you decide to ask your customers directly for reviews, tread carefully. Most consumers are bombarded with review and feedback requests from every business they interact with and can feel annoyed by multiple requests. They may take their business elsewhere if your review requests or incentive programs make them uncomfortable or call your ethics into question. One effective strategy that got me to leave a review for a cleaning service was the knowledge that my cleaners would get a performance bonus if I left a review that described their work and mentioned them by first name. I was happy to do so, because
    • The cleaners were different at each service call, so if I didn’t leave a review, I wouldn’t have to face disappointed workers during the next housecleaning.
    • The incentive encouraged the cleaners to do great work, while I didn’t get any compensation beyond a clean house, which I was already paying for.
    • There was no request for a positive review, only a review that described my experience and mentioned them by first name.
    • This company already had a track record of following up with me after each service call for feedback as part of their continuous-improvement program.
    Because I felt the review request came from the business owner’s motivation to make her business better, rather than to coerce me into saying something positive, I was glad to leave a review. Knowing that the cleaners would get a bonus for their work made me feel good, too. Those are the do’s. What about the don’ts?  

    3 Online Review Do's for Small Business Owners

     

    1. Don’t respond right away to negative reviews

    Most of us don’t enjoy hearing criticism, especially if it’s public and/or harsh. As tempting as it may be to dash off an immediate response to defend your business, wait until you’ve had some time to cool off and think through the best way to respond. Read over this list of ways to respond to negative business reviews, and respond appropriately when you’re ready. A sincere apology, an offer to make the situation right, and private communication with the reviewer can help defuse the situation, show review readers that you care about your customers, and possibly even lead the negative reviewer to come back with a more positive review later on.   [bctt tweet="Take a breath before responding to negative #onlinereviews to avoid reacting emotionally." username="hostgator"]  

    2. Don’t disclose private or personal customer information

    Even when you’re responding to glowing reviews, don’t include private or personal information about the customer or their purchase, even if you know them in real life. You may end up tipping off a surprise gift recipient about what they’re getting from Aunt Edna, or you may embarrass a power reviewer who doesn’t want his followers to know what he buys to treat his chronic elbow rash. Discretion in review responses is especially important for healthcare providers, due to HIPAA regulations. The Washington Post has reported on the fines, lawsuits, and other bad outcomes doctors have faced for revealing protected patient information when responding to reviews. If your business falls under HIPAA’s scope, respond to reviews with the utmost care, to avoid violating HIPAA and to show potential patients that you respect their privacy.  

    3. Don’t fake reviews or “pay for play”

    Writing online reviewsEven experienced businesspeople can be tempted to impersonate positive reviews to talk up their business. (Remember the media uproar over Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s embarrassing alter-identify as WFM stock enthusiast ‘Rahodeb”?) Don’t do it, because you’d likely be unmasked at some point, and then your customers’ trust in you will be gone. Along the same lines, don’t tarnish your ethics by offering customers incentives to leave positive reviews. It’s perfectly acceptable to encourage your customers to check out your business profiles and reviews on Yelp, Google, and other platforms. However, your customers’ choice to review--and what they say in their review--should be entirely up to them, uninfluenced by offers from you. If you have a good customer service program in place and are good at responding to customer concerns, those reviews will almost certainly be positive. Want to know how to embed your review site profiles on your website? HostGator Support has the answer for you.   What are your tips for managing online reviews? Please share in the comments!