Blog

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Search Marketing

Google+ Local: What You Need to Know

As a business owner, you may be familiar with Google Places and the benefits of being found in local search. Recently, Google began offering a new service, as an improvement to Google Places, under the name of “Google+ Local.” This new service boasts a variety of features and benefits to local businesses, combining aspects of social media with an improved layout and a unified presence across all of Google’s services.

Google+ Local is integrated with Google+

Google+ is a social network by Google. According to the search engine giant, over 400 million people use their new social platform, and that number is continually growing. Additionally, over one million business and brand pages were created on Google+ within the first six months of launch. The new Google+ Local allows businesses to reach and interact with people on Google+ through status updates, multimedia posts, events, and hangouts.

Unified Presence

By claiming and verifying your practice’s Google+ Local page, your presence will become unified across Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Mobile.

This unification enables you to easily control the information you share across Google’s services, all from a single page. The new layout also allows you to upload a unique cover photo that can help people instantly identify your practice.

What About My Existing Google Reviews?

Google states that when converting your Google Places to Google+ Local, you can carry over reviews and any uploaded images to your new Google+ Local page. Under the new service, anybody that wants to leave a review for your practice will also need to be signed into their Google+ account. This requirement makes it more difficult for users to post illegitimate, negative reviews that can harm your practice image.

How Do I Get Started?

1. Visit http://plus.google.com
2. Create a personal Google+ page.
3. Select “Create a page” from the pages tab.
4. Select “Local business” and enter your exact phone number.
5. Update all information and request a verification postcard.
6. When you receive the postcard, log back in to verify your Google+ Local page!

If you already have a Google Places page and wish to convert it to a Google+ Local profile, you will need to have a valid Google account and a personal Google+ profile. Once you set up your personal account, you can navigate to the “Pages” tab of the Google+ interface and select “Create a Page”.

It is important to select the “local business” category and enter the same phone number that is used on your existing Google Places profile. Doing so will allow you to select your previous “Google Places” page for the upgrade.  Google states that any reviews you have received should also carry over. Once you claim your page, you can update any information you wish. Finally, request a verification postcard for Google and complete the set-up process after receiving the card in the mail.

If you are interested in taking advantage of Google+ Local, our SEO team can help you claim, merge, and verify your way onto this new social network. To learn more about optimizing your local business listings, please contact one of our SEO Analysts today at (888) 932-3644.

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Company News

Beware of Scammers!

Occasionally, we’ll get a call from one of our members asking us about an “official looking” domain name expiration notice they’ve received in the mail.  In short, the notice is a scam.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the only scam that deceptive marketers are pushing.  We want to expose several of these cons, so you don’t fall victim to their deceptive marketing tactics.

What to Watch Out For

All of these scammers try to lure you in by including enough technical information to look official.  Unless you take the time to read the fine print, you’ll miss the “this is not a bill” language tucked inside their deceptive notice.  There are too many of these scams to list, but the following are the most prominent:

First, there’s the domain name expiration notice.  It has your domain name on it, a bar code, credit card logos, etc., all designed to make it look official.  At a glance, the letter gives the impression that you need to take action, yet, when you read the fine print, it has the “this is not a bill” language in it.  It’s really an offer for services designed to look like a bill.  It’s a scam.  Note: If your domain name is currently managed by ProSites, we automatically take care of your domain renewals for you, so you can ignore any such notice from third parties.

Next, there’s the notice for DNS services.  Again, the notice has your domain name on it, a bar code, and a bunch of technical information to lure you in to thinking it’s official.  In fact, they even added our ProSites names servers within the notice (ns1.prosites.com, ns2.prosites.com, etc.) to really sell the lie.  You have to read through the notice to find the “this is not a bill” language.  It’s a scam.  These invoices are NOT from ProSites and you DO NOT need to pay for this service.

Finally, there’s the foreign domain name registry (typically in China) that sends you an email stating that someone has applied for an Internet Trademark or keyword using your domain name.  The kindly worded email shows your domain name (with the “.cn” or similar China/Asia extension) and states that they want to give you the opportunity to secure the domain name before they are forced to allow the other party to register your name.  It’s a scam.  What’s really going on here is the domain registrar in China is trying to drum up foreign domain registrations by scaring you in to thinking someone is about to infringe on your name.

How Deceptive Companies Find Your Information

Since you have a website, you naturally own the domain name for your site (e.g., www.yourdomain.com).  Current ICANN regulations require that your contact information be included in the publicly accessible domain name database (referred to “WhoIs Info”).  This means your private contact information is on display and made available to anyone who wants to see it.

Because domain registration information is open to the public, spammers and solicitors can easily lookup your contact information (i.e., your name, address, phone number, email address, etc.) and use it to send you spam and advertisements deceptively designed to look like an official invoice or renewal notice.

Private Registration Protects Your Information

In an effort to protect the domain owner’s information, many of the world’s leading domain name registrars offer “Private Registration” services.  Private registration privatizes your personal information within the WhoIs database by switching your “public” domain registration to a “private” unlisted registration.

The following is a before and after example of how Private Registration can protect your information:

As you can see, Private Registration shields your personal information from the public WhoIs database.  The registrar acts as a proxy agent and maintains your real email address on file so you receive important information regarding your domain name but reduces spam emails by using a dynamic email address that that changes frequently.

This inexpensive service is just $9.95/year (per domain) and provides the following benefits and protection:

•  Shields your private contact information
•  Reduces unwanted spam and email harvesting
•  Forwards important communications
•  Curtails data mining attempts
•  Reduces risk of domain highjacking
•  Reduces the risk of identity theft

ProSites members are encouraged to add Private Registration to their domain names by contacting our Domain Administration team at (888) 932-3644.

How to Verify if ProSites is Contacting You

While scammers may try to mislead you with official looking letters and emails, please keep the following in mind:

•  An email from ProSites will always be from an email address with our domain (such as service@prosites.com or domains@prosites.com)
•  A letter from ProSites will always be on our corporate stationary (with our logo)

If you’re ever questioning whether a piece of mail you received is legitimately from ProSites, please do not hesitate to call us toll-free at (888) 932-3644.

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Company News

The Gloves Are On…

White gloves that is.  One of the elements that makes ProSites unique is our dedication to excellent customer service.  We take pride in devoting an entire team of friendly and reliable Member Service Representatives to assist all of our members with their websites. Friendly, toll-free customer support is included with every ProSites membership.

To give you deeper insight on how our Member Services team operates, we interviewed our Member Services Manager, Tara Toler, to explain how we ensure our members receive top-notch service.

Q: What makes ProSites member services different from other website providers?

TARA: First and foremost, it’s FREE! The majority of the requests we receive from doctors and their staff are always free. Our team takes pride in the fact that we are very responsive, and our members can easily contact us with any questions or concerns they have.

Another major difference is that we assign each member to their own dedicated Member Services Representative who helps with any changes or questions they may have. By having a pre-appointed service representative, our members experience streamlined service and improved communication; each time they connect with our department, they are greeted by a comfortable and familiar voice who knows their past needs and can better assist their requests.

In addition to being accessible via phone and email, the “Live Chat” feature on our website gives doctors yet another way to easily connect with us. Our team has gone to great lengths for doctors and their staff to effortlessly contact us.

Q: What is the most common reason ProSites members contact the member services department?

TARA:  We receive a wide-range of requests over various topics, from configuring a member’s email to simply placing a photo on their site.  Most often, our members request simple changes they want to make to their website but don’t have the time to make or would prefer us to make. All of these requests are handled in a timely fashion, and our team works with the doctor until they are completely satisfied with the solution.

Q: Do you walk members through the process of making changes to their website, and do you provide training on using the ProSites website editor?

TARA:  Absolutely!  While most changes are easily made by our members themselves, there are some more advanced changes that members need a little help with and really just want us to show them how it’s done. Once they see how easy it is to do something, they feel empowered knowing they can make similar changes in the future without the need to call for help. Because of the simple “point & click” nature of our website editor, it’s often quicker and easier to make the changes themselves, than to have to call and explain their request.

In fact, most of our members initially chose ProSites because of the access to our Website Editor and the level of control we give them over their website.  Because user control is so important to our members, we also offer training, which covers how to perform common changes that members frequently make on their site. Also, once a member’s site goes live, they receive a CD containing our entire Welcome Manual, which covers everything they would ever want to do to their site. 

Q: When contacting member services, what information should doctors or their staff be prepared to provide?
 
TARA:  Knowing their domain name (website address) will help us quickly access a member’s account. If a doctor or their staff doesn’t know this information, there are other ways that we can easily look up the account. As soon as we access their account, we can immediately address any questions or requests they may have.

Q: When a doctor requests assistance, how long is the turnaround time?

TARA:  The standard turnaround time on a request is 24-48 hours, but it ultimately will depend on the depth of the specific request. For example, a request to transfer content from an old website to their ProSites website may require a little more time and attention (a few days), because we are carefully building their site per their direct instructions.  Or, if a doctor wants to upgrade their site to a semi-custom site, the requested changes are made with the assistance of our design department and can take a bit longer. A smaller request, such as having a few pictures changed out on a site, will come in under the normal 24-48 hours request.

No matter what the request may be, our department works closely with other departments and our members to ensure all requests are addressed in a timely fashion and to our member’s satisfaction.

Q: Complete the phrase, “The member services goal is…”

TARA:  To provide friendly, accurate, and timely service. We want each and every member to have a rewarding experience when they call us for assistance, and we want them to know our support is dependable. Our goal is to allow members to relax, knowing they are in the capable hands of a support team that truly cares about their satisfaction.

Our Member Services Department is available from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm PST. To contact Member Services, please email service@prosites.com or call (888) 932-3644 and they will be happy to assist you.

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Company News

We’re Thankful for… A lot!

ProSites has been very fortunate this past year, so in observance of Thanksgiving, we’ve taken some time to reflect on the many things we’re thankful for and wanted to share them with you this holiday season.

1. Amazing Members: We are thankful to have the best members in the world (maybe we’re biased, but we don’t think so!). To say that we “appreciate our members immensely” is an understatement, and we look forward to helping our doctors continue to grow their practice and attract new patients today and in the many years to come.

2. Driven Team:  Our team is comprised of numerous hardworking individuals who work together each and every day to provide high-quality online marketing solutions for our members. We are proud to employ a team of such driven individuals; and we’re thankful to have a motivated, talented, outstanding team of experts who are passionate about their work, driven by innovation, and strive for excellence in all that they do.

3. Partners: We’re thankful to have strong relationships with leading technology companies, B2B service providers, industry thought leaders, and prestigious medical and dental associations across America. We appreciate the trust they have placed in us and for recognizing us as the top website design and Internet marketing provider for their members.

4. Outstanding Company Culture: We’re thankful for end-of-the-month lunches, team events (such as wine tasting, venturing off to Disneyland, tailgate parties, and more!), and our fast-paced, upbeat work environment that makes ProSites an exciting and fun place to work at.

5. Technology: Our members constantly tell us how happy they are with the ease in which they can control and edit their website instantly, and for that, we are truly grateful! We are proud to have developed our WebEngine Technology that allows users to edit text; upload new photos and videos; add unlimited pages; receive frequent, free upgrades; and more, giving doctors a high-quality website that will always remain up-to-date.

6. Outstanding Growth: All of the points above have played a vital role in helping us achieve continued success and accelerated growth, which has earned us a position on prestigious lists nationwide, such as the Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies; and Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 List, a ranking of America’s Fastest Growing Technology companies.

These are just a few of the many things we are thankful for here at ProSites. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and reflect on the things that mean the most to you. Leave a comment below and tell us what you’re thankful for this holiday season!

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Company News

Fast and Furious

Having grown fast and furious since our humble beginnings, ProSites has experienced success for which we are truly grateful.  As you may know, earlier this year we were recognized on the Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies for the third consecutive year; today, we are honored to announce recognition on Deloitte’s 2012 Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and clean technology companies in North America.

 

Among the likes of technological prodigies, including Facebook, Google, and Tesla, we are excited to be listed on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 and would like to thank our valued members for helping us achieve this prestigious award.

As we strive for continued success, we pledge to continue innovating our services to bring you the latest in website design and online marketing services.

To read the full press release, click here.

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Social Media

Why #Hashtags?

If you’re new to a social network that heavily uses hashtags, such as Twitter or Instagram, you might be scratching your head in confusion whenever you see that curious “#” symbol.

What exactly is a hashtag?

A phrase without spaces, preceded by the pound sign (#) is called a hashtag and has been adopted by various social networks to attach keywords or topics to the social media post. The cool part is, social media websites use these hashtags to categorize images and posts, so when a user wants to search for a specific topic, they can easily find related posts or images.

For example, if you were to post a photo on Instagram of your new dental practice, you could write the description as: “Our new practice is open! #nameofyourpractice #dentist #new”.

Now, any user looking at images or posts relating to dentists (#dentist), new things (#new), or your practice (#nameofmypractice) can see your image or post along with anyone else mentioning those same hashtags.

How do you create a hashtag?

There’s no creation process involved with hashtags.  Simply adding the pound sign (#) with your text immediately following will automatically generate that new hashtag or add it among the other posts that have already implemented that same tag.

Why hashtags?

Hashtags allow social media users all over the world to connect similar ideas, events, and thoughts.  Clicking a hashtag within a post on most social networks will lead a user to a list of every post that has ever implemented that hashtag, which can help your practice gain exposure among users who may not find you otherwise. 

Major social networks that implement hashtag use:

Google+
Twitter
YouTube
Instagram
Pinterest

There’s no need to be intimidated about hashtags.  They’re simple, easy to implement, and give your social media profile increased exposure among the entire social network.  Start hashtagging today!

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Company News

What Happened in Vegas Didn’t Stay in Vegas

This past week our Development Team headed out to Las Vegas, not to gamble (well, ok, maybe there was a little gambling), but to attend the annual DevConnections Conference. Attending DevConnections allowed our team to get the lowdown on the latest development and Internet technologies, such as: HTML5, JavaScript, mobile apps, and other programming trends that we can utilize while developing new and enhanced services for our members.

“Our goal is to constantly improve our member’s website functionality and enrich their contact with patients. Knowing the direction that web programming is evolving towards allows us to remain the leader in adapting future technologies within our services,” stated Michael Elson, VP of Software Engineering and Co-founder of ProSites.

As Internet technologies continue to change and new ones emerge, we look forward to implementing these new advancements to provide the ultimate website for your practice.

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Website Design

Keeping Traffic Up During the Holiday Season

It’s doubtful that your patients’ holiday wish lists contain glaucoma surgery or root canal therapy, and while either procedure may be necessary, they are probably the furthest things from their minds this holiday season.

As with any industry, the healthcare professions experience an ebb and flow, which is more ebb than flow during this time of the year; but relax and allow us to guide you through this holiday season with some effective marketing strategies.

During a slower season, you can capitalize on this opportunity to effectively market your practice.  Whether your patients are considering health related services during the season or not, offering a deal they can’t pass up is a sure way to keep your traffic booming. 

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Practice Marketing

Interactive Tools to Capture New Leads

People choose providers they trust. So, how do you build trust with prospective patients before they ever contact your practice? The answer is relatively simple. Providing interactive features on your website helps patients feel better connected to you and your practice; it shows them that you care and are interested in providing a solution for their needs.

With our (free) new interactive patient surveys, we’ve made it easy for you to capture more leads through your website and ultimately convert them into your new patients. These include:

• Smile Analysis (Dental)
• Ocular Health Analysis (Ophthalmology and  Optometry)
• Body Analysis (Plastic Surgery)

These unique lead generation features enable you to create personalized recommendations for prospective patients based upon an honest assessment of their smile, body image, or visual ailments (depending on your type of practice). Through a fully-customizable set of simple Yes/No style questions, patients have the advantage of completing the survey in the privacy of their own home; making it easier for them to provide honest answers about their image.

When visitors submit the survey on your website, their answers and contact information are sent to your specified email address, making it easy for your team to contact them with tailored recommendations for their needs and encourage them to schedule an appointment.

Interactive features such as these are designed to help you successfully connect with both current and prospective patients online, and ultimately generate new appointment requests. Take a moment to check out our fully-customizable patient surveys by logging into your website at www.ProSites.com.

Don’t have a ProSites website yet? Sign-up for a free 14-day trial to explore the various interactive features you receive with a ProSites website, or call (888) 932-3644 for a free consultation. 

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Practice Marketing

Building Your Unified Brand Image

Creating a strong brand image is one of the key components needed to effectively market your practice. Not only can it help further distinguish your practice from the competition, but it also helps current and prospective patients easily and instantly identify your practice.

At ProSites, we’ve teamed up with fellow industry-leader SmartPractice, to provide coordinated identity packages for dental practices. Through this new alliance, we’ve licensed over a dozen of our top dental website design themes to SmartPractice, so you can now easily order a wide-range of practice marketing materials that match the look your ProSites website.

These options can be customized with your personal message and include:

Appointment Reminder Postcards Recall Postcards
• Sticker Appointment Cards • Welcome Cards
• Business Cards • Letterhead
• Envelopes • Thank You Cards
• Birthday Cards • Patient History Forms
• Sign-In Forms • Vinyl Supply Bags
• Magnets • And more…

To view the current styles available, visit www.smartpractice.com/prosites.

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