How to Make Your Website Successful
By Lauren Dingus
Whenever I talk to someone about his or her business website, the conversation inevitably goes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Business owners receive countless emails from individuals claiming they cannot find their websites. What follows is usually a list of services, including a guarantee for first page Google rankings. This sets up an unrealistic expectation of how internet search and SEO works.
Unfortunately, there is no cut and dry solution to getting on the first page of Google, let alone achieving the coveted number one spot. Google determines what websites to serve first in a search based on algorithms that take into account a number of factors, including relevance, domain authority, and content quality. In order to make your website successful, you need to create and maintain a presence that your customers find valuable.
Quality Content above All Else
Do not phone it in when it comes to your website. Treating it as an afterthought or looking for the cheapest option available is going to cost you customers. Having a minimal web presence with your name and contact information, and a few keywords sprinkled into a brief list of services is not going to encourage anyone to do business with you. In order for Google to consider your website relevant, and in turn your customers, your website needs to serve as a source of information.
• Write Informative Articles
Customers nowadays are well informed and they are going to do their research before they invest in any product or service. Instead of coming to your business, or calling you, customers are putting their questions into their web browser. You know your customers best. Think of the most common questions your customers ask, or the services they are primarily looking for. Use those questions as topics for articles, or post step-by-step tutorials on how to use your different products or services. According to HubSpot, businesses that update their blog with new content 16 or more times per month get almost 3.5x more traffic than those who post 0–4 times per month. Build up a database of valuable information, and you will see an increase in quality traffic on your website.
• Outline the Benefits
Customers want to know one thing: what is in it for them. If your customers are not able to see themselves using your products or services on the first page, they are not going to click through the rest of your website. Too often business owners want to talk about their company history, experience, or awards they have won. Save that information for an interior page, and let your customers find it when they are ready. Engage your customers by marketing how your product or service can enhance their lives, as well as what they can expect when they choose to do business with you.
Optimize for Local Search
Your business would need to have significant brand awareness (think Target or Best Buy) to rank above every website on the internet for general search terms. Search engines take into account your physical location when they serve you search results, so it is common for a search phrase to include “near me.” Google has stated that 28% of searches for something nearby have resulted in a purchase. Make sure your city is in the page title, you have a local number prominently displayed, and that your address is in the footer of every page so Google knows where your business is located. Claiming and filling out your Google My Business listing will help as well.
Encourage Customers to Review You Online
Online reviews are the modern day word of mouth. Your customers will be reading those reviews, and using other people’s experiences, and your responses, to decide if they are going to do business with you. The only problem is people are more apt to leave a review if they had a negative experience with your business than if they had a positive one. If someone compliments your service, ask that person to consider posting his or her review on Google or Facebook. Just stay away from offering rewards for reviews. You want the feedback to be authentic.
Make Your Website Responsive
Mobile search has outpaced desktop search, so having a mobile-friendly website is necessary. Google also gives priority to mobile-friendly websites in mobile search. With the variety of devices, and subsequent screen sizes that are available, having a responsive website will ensure that your website adjusts to any screen without the need of a separate mobile website. This gives customers the best viewing experience, and prevents them from getting frustrated and leaving your website.
The important thing to keep in mind is that SEO is all about the long game. If you set out with the goal of ranking well, you are selling yourself and your customers short. Your website requires regular attention in order to be successful. Focus on creating a website that offers value to your customers, and you will set yourself up for success.
Lauren Dingus is the web and graphics designer at Speros, responsible for the website development division, including graphic design and branding, content writing, and consulting on digital marketing strategies. For information, contact Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912.354.8900
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Holds Ninth Annual Camp Buddy in Effingham and Chatham Counties
The camp curriculum was designed by occupational, physical, special education and speech therapists with the goal of helping the children retain the educational milestones they achieved over the course of the past school year.
“We strive to help the children in our program bridge the gap created over summer,” said Savannah Camp Buddy Director Pam Hussey. “They will be better equipped to begin the new school year with the skills they gained in the previous year fresh on their minds.”
The Effingham Camp Buddy was held over one week at the Rincon Elementary School, located at 501 Richland Avenue in Rincon, GA. Chatham Camp Buddy was held over a two-week period at Marshpoint Elementary School, located at 135 Whitemarsh Island Drive in Savannah, GA.
Camp Buddy is sponsored by the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society and is made possible through the generosity of the community, friends and family of LDSS and events such as the Buddy Walk and Night of Champions.
ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a family support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, outreach, education and advocacy to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion. Meetings are held every fourth Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact with one another. LDSS encourages people to bring their children. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit https://www.ldssga.org/
(SOUTHEAST GA) Leadership Southeast Georgia, a leadership development program for professionals in a 10-county region, is calling for nominations for its 2018 course. The deadline for nominations is Friday, Aug. 4.
The program fosters relationships among leaders in the region and teaches conflict resolution, self-awareness and critical thinking to improve business and communication skills.
Applicants may be self-nominated or nominated by Leadership Southeast Georgia alumni or community leaders. Residents of Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Screven counties are eligible. Nominations may be made on the Leadership Southeast Georgia website, http://www.lsega.com.
The selection process is competitive and ensures a diverse mix of members from each county, culture, race and gender. The selection committee is comprised of Leadership Southeast Georgia alumni.
Numerous factors are take into consideration for each candidate, including:
Must live or work in the county from which he or she applies; must be willing to serve the community; must be open to growing as a professional; must be eager to learn new skills; must work well and participate in group activities and must be professional, motivated and prompt.
The program is held over five weekends during a five-month period beginning in February and ending in June. Each session takes place in a different county. Since 2000, the program has produced fourteen graduating classes with 267 graduates.
For more information, visit http://www.lsega.com/home.html.
ABOUT LEADERSHIP SOUTHEAST GEORGIA
Beginning in January 1999, leaders representing the business, local government and education communities in 10 southeast Georgia counties set about the task of creating a regional strategic plan for community and economic development.
A regional leadership program that brought together citizens from each of the counties was envisioned as a means of reinforcing the regional capacity to address challenges and capitalize on common opportunities. The region includes Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Screven counties along with their 35 municipalities.
Program content focuses on the assets of the area, as well as potential threats to those assets.
Leadership Southeast Georgia
By Angela C. Canfield DDS
Every sixty minutes, a person dies from oral cancer. The disease is typically associated with long-term tobacco use, but it is becoming more frequent in young adults who have never smoked.
Besides tobacco use, the risk factors that could lead to oral cancer include DNA abnormalities or family history. But the main cause of oral cancers, especially in young adults who don’t smoke, is the human papillomavirus (HPV), which may be spread by sexually active people through intimate or even close contact. HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer, which used to be the leading cause of cancer deaths for women in the United States. Now that more and more women routinely get PAP tests that provide early detection of conditions that could lead to cervical cancer, those cancer rates are on the decline. In fact, these days, a person is three times more likely to die from oral cancer than cervical cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, forty percent of those diagnosed with oral cancers will die within five years. While the disease has few, if any, early symptoms, early detection can make a dramatic difference, increasing survival rates to as much as ninety percent. And now, a routine test that takes only thirty seconds is available to provide that early detection and even offer prevention from the disease itself.
The test is basically a minty mouthwash or saline solution administered by a dentist or other oral health care provider. You swish and gargle and spit it back into the test cup. It’s that simple.
While easily administered, this genetic test has a complex function, looking for oral cancer risk on a molecular level in three ways:
• Cell abnormalities. Changes to your cells could mean a precancerous condition or infection exists.
• HPV. This virus can lead to some cases of oral cancer, or clear up on its own. In either case, I monitor and test my patients more frequently, especially if an infection tends to linger.
• DNA damage. People with certain DNA damage seem to be at a higher risk for oral cancer. These abnormalities don’t mean you have oral cancer or that you are destined to get it, but more frequent monitoring is usually necessary, just to be safe.
While not always present, possible signs of oral cancer could include a mouth sore that bleeds easily and does not heal within two weeks, a lump or thickening in the oral soft tissues, soreness or a feeling that something is caught in the throat, difficulty chewing or swallowing, ear pain, difficulty moving the jaw or tongue, hoarseness, or numbness of the tongue. Some signs of oral cancer might also easily be mistaken for a toothache or a cold.
I recommend to my patients aged 18 and older that they be tested annually for oral cancer. Results can vary from negative to being “high risk” or positive. For patients who test positive for precancerous cells, I usually suggest a follow up visit with an ear nose and throat (ENT) specialist, depending on the levels found. I will continue to monitor high-risk patients and administer follow-up tests as needed.
Can you afford not to be tested? Please talk with your oral health care provider about your risk factors and the advantages of oral cancer screening.
Angela Canfield, DDS, is licensed by the Georgia Board of Dentistry and the National Board of Dentists. She owns and practices at two dental offices: Premier Dental Designs in Rincon, Ga., and Sandfly Family Dental in Savannah, Ga. Contact Dr. Canfield at email@example.com or 912-826-4037.
Charles Bowen to Present “The Economic Impact of the Entertainment Industry on Savannah” to Hinesville Rotary Club
(HINESVILLE, GA) Charles Bowen, founder of the Savannah Film Alliance and owner of Southern Gateway Production Services, will be the featured speaker at the Hinesville Rotary Club meeting Tuesday, July 11.
Bowen will present “The Economic Impact of the Entertainment Industry on Savannah” during the weekly luncheon at the La Quinta Inn and Suites on Highway 84.
Bowen is recognized within the Savannah film community for his formation of the Savannah Film Alliance in 2015. The organization promotes the film community within Savannah and the greater Coastal Empire through advocacy and action via education, outreach and collaboration.
Most recently, Bowen founded Southern Gateway Production Services, a gateway for producers and movie executives to navigate finding the best crew, talent and location services available in Savannah.
After going through a significant vetting process, Southern Gateway Production Services became a signatory to all IATSE National Term Agreements. IATSE is the union that represents most film and television crews. This allows Southern Gateway clients to gain access to the most favorable terms and conditions offered in the industry.
“From our work with Southern Gateway Production Services and the Savannah Film Alliance, I’m able to get a unique perspective into the inner workings of making films in our community,” said Bowen. “I hope to share this information with other area leaders to promote the growth of this promising industry.”
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SOUTHERN GATEWAY PRODUCTION SERVICES
Entertainment attorney Charles Bowen founded Southern Gateway Production Services with the mission to ensure a seamless experience for out-of-town producers by providing connections with local crew, vendors and service providers. Southern Gateway Production Services is a signatory to all IATSE National Term Agreements. Bowen is recognized within the Savannah film community for his formation of the Savannah Film Alliance in 2015. As the founder of The Bowen Law Group, he has also developed a reputation as one of Savannah’s most experienced attorneys in entertainment law. Southern Gateway Production Services is located at 7 East Congress St, Suite 1001. For more information, contact Charles Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-544-2050.
Since 1978, the Savannah Striders has been Savannah’s premier running and walking organization. With members representing various levels of fitness from walkers to elite athlete, the group promotes running and good health and welcomes all who are interested in learning more about health and exercise. The group also hosts or supports events for runners of all ages and holds monthly meetings designed to inspire, inform and motivate runners to reach their fitness goals.
This local nonprofit is one of four groups receiving grants during the 2017 series to support their programs promoting healthy living, active lifestyles or nutritional education. The others include The Living Vine, Savannah Urban Garden Alliance and the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia.
Dr. Robert Rollings was the event’s keynote speaker, addressing attendees on the topic of “Seven Ways Your Heart Health is Linked to a Healthy Lifestyle.” Rollings is a cardiologist certified in echocardiography and nuclear cardiology who has completed a fellowship in cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging and a fellowship in cardiovascular diseases. He practices at Memorial Savannah Cardiology.
In total, the 2017 Encourage Health Education Series features four lunchtime presentations from respected experts who share insights on nutrition and fitness plus general tips for healthy living, along with a healthy lunch, which is provided free to registered attendees.
During each event, a local nonprofit organization is also presented a $1,000 Encourage Health grant to support programs promoting healthy living, active lifestyles or nutritional education. The next presentation will be on August 22, featuring Ross Harding, presenting “The Golden Healers: A Study of Ginger and Turmeric’s Effect on Health.” A $1000 check will be presented to the Savannah Urban Garden Alliance.
This marks the fourth year for the enmarket Encourage Health Education Series conducted in partnership with Healthy Savannah, Sandfly Family Dental, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., Hoist Water, Savannah Morning News, Savannah Magazine and GPB Savannah – WSVH 91.1/WWIO 89.9.
To RSVP for the lectures, visit http://healthysavannah.org/2017-encourage-health-series/. For more information, visit http://enmarkstations.com/EncourageHealthSeries
Founded as Interstate Stations in 1963 by Robert Demere, Enmark Stations, Inc., which recently rebranded as enmarket, is a family-run business committed to offering its customers top-notch service and superior products. Today, the Savannah-based company, which celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2013, operates 60 stores in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Enmarket’s mission is to Enrich Life! Stores offer freshly prepared food and healthy snacks, high-quality double filtered gasoline, beverages, lottery services and more. Enmarket customers can save up to $.10 per gallon by using the company’s Cash Card, a reloadable stored-value card that can be used directly at the pump. Coupons, promotions, and a location finder are available on the free mobile app. For more information on enmarket, please call 912-236-1331 or visit www.enmarket.com. Follow enmarket on Twitter at @enmarkenjoy.
Dentist Angela Canfield to Donate Mouth Guards to Bethesda Academy Football Team
Sandfly Family Dental to Present Custom-Made Mouth Guards to Students at Bethesda Academy in Savannah
(SAVANNAH, GA) Savannah dentist Angela Canfield, with Sandfly Family Dental, will donate custom-made mouth guards to the Bethesda Academy football team for its 2017 season, and the mouth guards will be made in the school colors of navy and gold.
Canfield will take impressions of the players’ teeth at Bethesda at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 27.
Custom-made mouth guards provide stability to the players’ jaws and cushion blows that can cause severe dental injuries such as broken teeth, fractured jaws, gum lacerations and injuries to their lips or tongue.
“Evidence shows that properly fitting mouth guards can reduce impacts that lead to concussions and other severe injuries,” Canfield said. “Anything I can do to protect local athletes from severe injuries is worth my time and expertise, and I’m happy to help.”
The full fitting, molding and examination of each player’s mouth guards usually cost $440. With 44 players on the Bethesda team, Canfield will be donating approximately $19,360 in mouth-protection gear to Bethesda Academy students.
The mouth guards have a one-year warranty that covers dental expenses incurred by players who are injured while wearing the mouth guards. The warranty also pays $1,093.75 per injured or replaced tooth and up to a maximum total liability of $35,000 per incident.
The American Dental Association estimates the use of mouth guards prevents approximately 200,000 injuries a year in high school and college football.
This marks the 3rd year Canfield has picked a local sports team to receive free mouth guards as part of the Canfield Mouth-Shield Program. Applications for the 2018 Canfield Mouth-Shield Team should be submitted to her office. Applications must be submitted by Friday, Sept. 1 to be considered.
ABOUT DR. ANGELA CANFIELD
Dr. Canfield is licensed by the Georgia Board of Dentistry and the National Board of Dentistry. She owns and practices at two dental offices: Premier Dental Designs in Rincon at 5871 HWY 21 South and Sandfly Family Dental in the Norwood Market in Savannah. Both offices provide Family/Preventative Dentistry, Cosmetic Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry, Orthodontic Dentistry, Digital X-Rays, E4D One Day Crowns, Electronic Claims, Intra Oral Camera and Paperless Charting. The offices are open Monday through Friday and offer evening appointments. For more information, call 912.826.4037 or visit http://www.premierdentaldesigns.com/ or http://www.sandflyfamilydental.com/.