Shop Site of the Month
European Autoworks - Vista, Calif.
European Autoworks earns tops marks for its pleasing, professional appearance and an easy-to-navigate website. We especially liked the testimonials and contact info found on every page - a great icebreaker for potential and new customers.
Nominate your shop's site for the AutoInc. 2011 Top 10 Automotive Repair Websites today: www.AutoInc.org/Top10Entry.htm.
Web Wise: Using Google to Go Places
Google Places, the recently redesigned and relaunched Google Local Business site, allows business owners a chance to manage their online presence within the search engine's universe. Ensuring your business' information is accurate and correct on online directories is a great search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, and Google provides business owners with innovative and easy-to-use tools to make the job as stress-free as possible.
• Business photo shoots: In select areas of the United States, you can request Google's team of photographers to come out to your place of business for a professional photo shoot of the interior. The photos will supplement any existing photos on the Google site related to your business. The photos belong to Google; however, business owners can request they be removed from viewing if they are unhappy with the results.
• Custom QR codes: Similar to bar codes, businesses can download a customized QR code that can be used on printed advertising, business letterhead and business cards. Smart phone users can then, through the use of specific phone apps, scan the QR code and be brought directly to the business' Google Places mobile page listing. Even if your website isn't quite ready for mobile viewing, you can still have a presence with smart phone surfers.
• Manage your Google search presence: By claiming your business listing and verifying its accuracy, you can begin managing what people see when your business shows up in their search results. Your Google Places account allows you to upload coupons (including mobile-formatted ones) and post sales or special events for real-time viewing,
• Track performance: Google's even included some analytics tools in the Places account, allowing business owners to view how many people saw your listing on Google, what keywords and phrases they used when your listing came up, and what page they came from.
"One out of five searches on Google are related to a user's location, and very often people are looking for local businesses," Google said in its announcement of the relaunch. If that's the case, I'd advise you to get over to www.google.com/places immediately, claim your listing if you haven't yet, and get to work.
And don't forget to stop by Yahoo! and Bing local business listing directories too. They offer free search engine directory listings to businesses as well.
ASA Web Ways: Your Ticket to NACE, CARS?
Want to attend the International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) or the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS), but money's a little tight? Would $1,000 help out? Time is ticking and the deadline looms for scholarship applications that will help pay your way to Automotive Service and Repair Week (ASRW) events to be held in Las Vegas Oct. 10-13. ASA, in conjunction with the Automotive Management Institute, offers five scholarships to ASA members and one to automotive industry professionals that help defray the costs of attending CARS or NACE. Deadline to apply for scholarships is Aug. 13. Visit www.AMIonline.org or the Members Only section of www.ASAshop.org for applications.
eMarketer predicts that by the end of 2010, 221 million people in the United States - about 71 percent - will be online.
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