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.

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. 

How to keep your Domain Safe

How to keep your Domain Safe

How to keep your Domain Safe

Owen Yorio

The Cowbell Agency

Recently, we at the Cowbell Agency stumbled across a very informative article by Greg Oprendek from GoDaddy that dives deep into domain security. The article in question: What you need to know about domain security and EPP codes. 

This article goes in depth about not only EPP codes, but the many different ways to secure your domain. These methods of security include privacy protection, HTTPS, and two-factor authentication to name a few. These different methods are great to keep in mind when registering or owning a domain, as your domain name is an incredibly valuable asset. 

If you need any help with domain security or registering domains, we here at the Cowbell Agency have you covered, give us a call or email us!

You can read the full article here: https://www.godaddy.com/garage/domain-security-and-epp-codes/ 

How You Can Use PageSpeed Insights To Optimize Your Website

How You Can Use PageSpeed Insights To Optimize Your Website

How You Can Use PageSpeed Insights To Optimize Your Website

Owen Yorio

The Cowbell Agency

Last month, Google released an update to their ranking algorithm that puts a larger emphasis on page speed and UX (User Experience). The results of this update are hard to calculate, and it is still too early to see exactly how damaging it is to have a poorly optimized site, at least in regards to page rank. A poorly loading site, however, has always been a major issue to have. The average person won’t wait on a page for longer than 5 seconds to see your content, regardless of how Google decides to rank your page. So, if you don’t already, you should know how to use Google’s website speed tool, PageSpeed Insights.

If you read the article we released last month, you’d know about the three main factors that contribute to Google’s new ranking system, Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These aren’t the only things you should keep in mind when running your page through PageSpeed Insights, but they are the main three. 

Simply enter your domain into the “analyze” bar to begin.

PageSpeed Insights will give you an overall speed rating first, going into more detail below. This is an average of your scores over the main three categories mentioned earlier as well as First Contentful Paint (FCP). This is a measure of when the first image/text is shown on your page. This metric is more meaningful in diagnosing issues than it is for page rank, however, it is still a factor.

Note that this tool will give you the speed rating for your mobile site first, you can switch between site versions with the toggle in the upper left.

After analyzing your overall page speed score, you can review the elements on your site causing speed and user experience issues. You can even filter these problems by how they affect your site, in the top right corner. You can then begin to start optimizing your site, by removing loading issues bit by bit!

Overall, the PageSpeed Insights tool is incredibly useful. Google has provided a way to see behind the curtain, and allow its users to see and do exactly what they are asking of us. These issues can stem from many different things, as websites tend to be complex machines. If you are in need of a web speed touch-up, let us know here at the Cowbell Agency, and we can have your page loading in no time.

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

Google’s Core Web Vitals Update

Google’s Core Web Vitals Update

Google’s Core Web Vitals Update

Owen Yorio

The Cowbell Agency

This month, Google will be releasing a new update to how they rank pages in SERPs (search engine results pages). Among many other ranking factors, Core Web Vitals will now be included in determining page rank. But what are core web vitals, and how will this change how pages are ranking now? To better understand this update, we should break down what Core Web Vitals are, and the metrics on which we focus.

Core Web Vitals (as determined by Google) are three page speed metrics that can measure user experience on a given website. Those three page speed metrics are: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These three metrics can be attributed to a page’s load speed, user interactivity, and visual stability respectively. Let’s look at each one:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – How long it takes to load a full viewport of a page. This should be below 2.5 seconds.

First Input Delay (FID) – How long before a user on a page can interact with elements on it. This should stay below 100 ms.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – A value attributed to how much elements on a page move while others are loading. This should stay below a factor of 0.1.

What Does This All Mean?

Google has done their research, and has seen that users prefer sites that load faster and are easier to use. Pretty simple, but accommodating these changes can become laborsome. Luckily there are tools to measure these factors like LightHouse and PageSpeed Insights. There is also a new section in Google Search Console dedicated to Core Web Vitals, so site owners can hear back from Google exactly what they think needs to be improved on individual sites.

Overall this change is designed to force site owners to design with the user’s experience in mind, which is a great thing. It is not difficult to find sites that are slow, unresponsive, or just not user friendly. If you’re worried about how your page ranking will be affected with this coming update, email us, or give us a call here at the Cowbell Agency.

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