Famous Last Words – I Can Do It Myself

Famous Last Words – I Can Do It Myself

Famous Last Words – I Can Do It Myself

Olivia McDonald

The Cowbell Agency

There are no shortcuts when it comes to managing high performing Google Ads campaigns. 

Have you ever had a home improvement project that needed to be tackled and said to yourself “This should be easy. I can do it myself.” only to encounter unforeseeable roadblocks that left you feeling in over your head? And when it was all said and done, those roadblocks lead to far more of your time, energy and money than you expected, and it probably would have been less expensive to hire a professional to do the work?

This “I can do it myself” attitude is the same one many business owners take when they decide to get into the digital marketing space with Google Ads. At a glance, creating and managing your own account doesn’t seem all that overwhelming. However, like that home improvement project, you will soon realize that it is going to take far more time, energy and money than you originally anticipated, and the day-to-day operation of your business may be neglected as a result. At Cowbell, we have a team of certified Google Ads experts who have been trained in the best practices of Google Ads and know the best way to optimize campaigns based on your market, competition and budget. 

There are clear advantages to having an agency get behind the wheel of a Google Ads account and take the results to new heights. For starters, there will be no wasted budget. Your Google Ads Specialist has the skillset to take any budget and maximize results, from making adjustments to ads to improve quality score to reducing the average cost per click to increase the daily number of clicks. Next, Google is doing their best to persuade small businesses to adopt an automated bid structure. They make it seem as though they are helping you by taking the pressure off you to monitor and optimize as often as you usually would. In reality, this takes away the advertiser’s control and gives the advantage to bigger businesses with bigger budgets. More times than not, small businesses with smaller budgets end up paying more per click, quickly eating up the daily budget far quicker which leads to serving ads to less people. Lastly, without an automated bid structure, monitoring and optimizing campaigns takes a significant amount of your precious time. You can’t just set it and forget it. Passing the torch to your certified Google Ads expert frees up your time to focus on what is most important – running your business. 

Running a Google Ads campaign yourself only makes sense if you have extensive experience in Google Ads and its constantly changing landscape. If you don’t, you may be setting yourself up for a costly learning experience. If you want to see results without it costing an arm and a leg, it’s crucial to go to the experts. There are no shortcuts when it comes to managing high performing Google Ads campaigns.

HTML Email Signatures. Look like a pro to everyone.

HTML Email Signatures. Look like a pro to everyone.

HTML Email Signatures. Look like a pro to everyone.

Mike McBride

The Cowbell Agency

Have you ever noticed how some company email signatures simply look better and more professional than others? That is no accident. Those are HTML email signatures that help companies stand above the rest in email communications.

 

What’s so great about HTML email signatures?

The biggest benefit is continuity of delivered design. Many people do the best they can crafting their email signature right in an email program such as Microsoft Outlook or Mail and Calendar, Apple Mail or one of the many web-based email apps. Their expectation is that everyone will see their beautiful email signature just as they see it. This is not always the case. Though an email is technically like an HTML webpage, it gets translated and displayed on an email “client” program as opposed to a far more forgiving web browser. Each email client’s ability to properly display emails is affected by a multitude of factors including software versions, settings, platforms or whether it is being viewed from a computer or smartphone. HTML email signatures bypass many of these issues.

 

How is an HTML email signature different from those built with images, rich text and links using an email client?

The content, styling and imagery with an HTML email are all coded for consistent delivery…fonts, text styling, tables, links, etc. are not contorted into a mess by email client defaults. Images of company logos, social logos, head shots and more are not delivered as attachments in an HTML email. The images are hosted and served. This allows emails to be smaller in delivered size and also less likely to be flagged as spam.

 

If HTML email signatures are so great, why isn’t every company using them?

Creating HTML can be tricky for non-coders or expensive for those using HTML email signature apps or generators. And even after an HTML email signature is developed, it has to be personalized and installed in the email clients of all employees. At Cowbell Agency, we strive to make the design and deployment process as simple as possible. So our clients can communicate as consistently and effectively as possible. Contact us to learn more.

Domain Extensions: Looking Beyond .COM

Domain Extensions: Looking Beyond .COM

Domain Extensions: Looking Beyond .COM

Suzanne McBride

The Cowbell Agency

This month, our agency begins the celebration of its 20-year anniversary. Since late August 2001, this award-winning agency has evolved from U.S.Ad & Marketing to McBride Woodbridge Marketing to McBride Marketing Group and finally Cowbell Agency. Looking back at 2001, the internet was relatively young and .com and .net ruled the domain names. Today, things are different.

Most everyone knows what a domain is, but what about Domain Extensions?  A domain extension is the suffix at the end of your web address that specifies an internet category and/or the country code of the location the domain is from. We’re all familiar with .com, .net and .gov, but did you know there are over 280 extensions delegated globally?

First, let’s look at how they are categorized. They are divided into 2 main categories:

Why are Domain Extensions important to your business?

People associate certain things with different domain extensions, for example, whether the website seems trustworthy (for example “.gov” for government) or even modern (for example “mobi” – for mobile).  And they do it unconsciously. It also becomes part of your branding so you need to choose wisely when registering.

 

What happens if the domain/extension is not available to you?

If you are frustrated that the domain name you want is already taken, try looking into another domain extensions. Here are a few extensions and their meaning:

.museum (museums)

.pro (professionals like legal, medical)

.name (individuals)

.club (club)

.life (wellness, charities, bloggers)

.xyz (means “little universe” – a new trendy extension , and easy to remember!)

.tel (online directory, virtual business cards)

.travel (travel industry)

.store (store)

 

And if you have more than one domain, they can be forwarded to one main domain. So have some fun with it. 

Is your website under attack (or can it be?)

Is your website under attack (or can it be?)

Is your website under attack (or can it be?)

Suzanne McBride

The Cowbell Agency

Is your website under attack (or can it be?)

The average website is Cyber Attacked 44 times per day!

With the recent cyber-attacks fresh on everyone’s minds, now is a good time to think about the security of your website. Hackers are far more sophisticated, automated and organized these days. They root out vulnerabilities in web servers and share them with the expanding hacker universe. What’s worse is that hacked websites can be blacklisted by Google as dangerous and go dark with online searches. To battle this, we offer a couple of services that can help ease your mind.

First, you have an SSL on your site. Perfect! But that’s the minimum that should be done. But what else can be done?

Monthly Website Maintenance:

Cowbell Agency will perform monthly maintenance on your site, such as keeping plugins updated, scan for malware, performance tests, site backups, among other services. Outdated plugins can not only bring your site down, but worse–make it vulnerable for cyber-attacks.  Almost 2/3’s of WordPress website vulnerabilities are caused by out of date or sketchy plugins/themes. Remember, just like you take your car in for maintenance, websites require the same love and attention as your car. 

Security/Firewall Protection

We work with GoDaddy with their Website Security Program. The firewall blocks attacks on the site while the malware scanner searches your site for malicious content and alerts you if any are found.

Contact us if you are interested in a quote or have any questions.

info@cowbellagency.com

Is Your Website at Risk of ADA Ligation?

Is Your Website at Risk of ADA Ligation?

Is Your Website at Risk of ADA Ligation?

Suzanne McBride

The Cowbell Agency

ADA (American Disabilities Act) was signed into law in 1990, and is America’s most important law regarding accessibility and civil rights for people with disabilities, including web accessibility.

U.S. courts apply ADA and its accessibility requirements websites.  The Guidelines for web accessibility covers the 4 principles:

  • Perceivable (how one perceives content through sight, sound and touch
  • Operable (the way someone can use the site)
  • Understandable (how easy is it to understand)
  • Robust  (does coding meet standards, etc)

Rise in Litigation:

Since 2017, the number of ADA title III-related lawsuits skyrocketed – with small and medium business being in the center of the storm.

Why are there so many ADA lawsuits?

There are a few reasons why ADA web accessibility has become such a hot legal topic in just the last few years, including the spread in awareness about web accessibility requirements. Experts estimate that approximately 40,000 demand letters were sent in 2018, and 2019 has peaked with over 100,000 demand letters and over 10,000 lawsuits. 

Since it’s almost inevitable that the court would find in favor of the plaintiff, small business owners often feel that they have no choice but to settle out of court. The cost of defending a lawsuit would destroy even a medium-sized business, but the average settlement agreement still comes to $35,000.

Who has to comply with the ADA?

There’s a common misbelief that ADA only applies to very large corporations, but that’s a serious mistake. All types and all sizes of businesses have to comply with ADA legislation, for their customers, and for their employees if there are over 15 employees. That means that ADA affects:

  • Places of entertainment like theaters, movie theaters, and concert halls
  • Restaurants and eateries
  • Small and medium businesses of all types
  • Large enterprises
  • Retail stores
  • Local government offices, employment agencies, and labor unions

Here’s how Cowbell can help:

We can run a no cost audit of your site to see if there are any issues.  If so, we can add the ADA software for a free 7 day trial period, and if you decide to stay with the plan, the cost is $490/year, plus small set up fee.

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