Online Courses are Trending … Should You Hop on the Train?

When it comes to modern education, online courses are the latest development. Online courses are not only convenient, but they can help reduce the cost of getting a degree, since the costs of going to college are rising every year. Online courses eliminate the expenses you would pay for housing, meals, and transportation.

On the other hand, are you really getting the level of education you need when you take online courses? There are many positives and negatives when it comes to whether you should attend an online university or take an online course. If you are thinking about taking an online course, consider the information below.

Pro: Online Courses Improve Your Technical Skills

I remember I was talking to a college senior, and he told me that there were students in his classes—older students—who didn’t even know how to use Microsoft Word (mind you this is 2016.) I couldn’t believe it, but this is the truth. If you decide to take an online course, not only will it improve your typing skills, including Word and Excel, but you will be “forced’ to become familiar with other advanced technical skills, like video conferencing, Skype, content management systems (CMS), and personal messaging (PM)/group chat. These are things that you mostly likely wouldn’t use in a traditional classroom.

Con: Online Courses Are Not Held in the Same Regard as Traditional Courses

The stigma about online courses has improved over the years. However, there are still some employees and higher education institutions that frown upon online courses. They believe that online degrees come from places that operate as diploma mills and give easy A’s to their students. Moreover, there are a number of these places that lack legitimate accreditation. A huge number of engineering firms question an online engineering degree because they believe the hands-on experience needed for an engineering degree can’t be obtained if you take the courses online. 

5 Things to Look for in an Digital Marketing Agency

Should You Hire an SEO Agency?

As a business owner, you probably don’t have time to worry about online marketing. But you know how important it is to growing your business. An agency can help you increase your customer base by taking care of this aspect of your business, so that you can be free to do what you do best: serve your customers.

But how do you go about hiring the right crew? Here are 5 things we think you should look for when considering who to hire for your digital marketing efforts.

#1: Credibility: Review their portfolio to make sure they have plenty of relevant experience working with a variety of clients. Not every business is the same when it comes to online marketing tactics. No SEO agency should take a one-size-fits-all approach. This is one thing we pride ourselves in at Thayer Ads. Some businesses will necessitate a strong social media presence, while others will require more search engine marketing. A credible agency will know exactly what you need and will tailor a marketing plan to suit your business.

#2: A White-Hat Philosophy: There are a lot of online marketers who use black-hat or grey-hat tactics to boost your website rankings. Make sure you find a white-hat agency. White-hat tactics are those that follow the guidelines set forth by Google and other search engines, while black-hat tactics break the rules to get faster results. You should never expect fast results when it comes to SEO. Which brings us to our next point.

#3: No Guarantees. This may be a hard pill to swallow, but you can’t expect any guarantees when it comes to results from any SEM (search engine marketing) campaign. There are a number of factors that contribute to rankings, one of which is time. If you remember nothing else, remember that it takes time to get a website to rank in search engines. You can’t just throw up a new website and expect it to rank in days, weeks, or even months. If it does, that’s great, but you should be wary of any search engine marketer who makes extreme claims as to when you’ll experience the results you’re looking for.

#4: References and Data. Going along with point #1, make sure the agency you choose to work with has established credibility. Look for case studies, data, and ask for references to verify their work with previous clients. Reviewing their portfolio should tell you a lot, but try to get more information through other sources.

#5. A High-Ranking Website. Though this factor can be a little iffy (they might have just gotten lucky or be the first established agency in their local area), if a digital marketing agency can get their own website ranked on page 1 of the search engines, it’s usually a good sign that they know what they’re doing, especially if they’re in a big city with a lot of competition in this field. You will want to look at other factors that may be at play, such as the age of their website (older sites tend to rank higher), but if they are ranked well and meet all of the other criteria mentioned in this post, they’re probably a pretty good crew and will work hard to get your site ranked as well.

What About Cost?

Don’t hesitate to shop around. Get multiple quotes from various agencies, and decide which one offers the best value based on your individual needs. Note that this won’t always be the one that offers you the cheapest deal. Cheaper is not always better. There are lots of agencies in other countries like India that will claim to rank your site for $250, and we can almost guarantee that it’s a waste of money. Look at each quote from a whole-package perspective and decide what you need and what you’re willing to spend to achieve your goals. Don’t be afraid to negotiate either; a good agency is usually willing to work with you and your budget.

The Right Way to Guest Blog

Guest blogging can be a very effective way to build backlinks to your website. But you must be careful not to arouse the suspicions of Google and other search engines when link building. There is a right way and a wrong way to build credibility on the Internet, and in this post, we’re going to talk about how to build backlinks without triggering red flag alerts.

The benefits of backlinks

The more high-quality, contextual, relevant links you have pointing to your website from other sites, the more search engines see you as a credible authority in your niche. Keep in mind that quality is important here. If you have thousands of crappy, irrelevant links pointing to your website, you could get penalized. Your link profile should appear natural. (Ideally, it should be natural, and we’ll talk more about how to get natural links in a moment.) The search engines are smart enough to know if you’ve been using spammy tactics to get your website ranked, and they’re only getting smarter by the day.

How to get natural backlinks

Natural backlinks are, quite simply, backlinks that happen naturally. They aren’t contrived or incentivized in any way (i.e. paid backlinks). They happen naturally when you create amazing content that other people want to share. Let’s say you create a high-quality resource such as an E-book or an infographic, full of helpful information that people might be searching the internet for. Naturally, that content is going to get shared by others. People share content in different ways: through social media, through word of mouth, or by adding a link to that content on their website. The more great content you create, the more chances you have of it being picked up and shared on other websites, thus resulting in links that point back to you, and increasing your credibility in the eyes of search engines.

How NOT to get backlinks

There are certain things you should avoid doing to get backlinks to your website:

First off, don’t pay for them. Search engines are smart enough to know when you’ve paid for a link, and paid links won’t be given much clout, if any.

Don’t reciprocate. Reciprocal links cancel each other out. Exchanging a link for a link will do nothing to boost your website rankings, and search engines will know that both links were incentivized through the exchange.

Guest blog with caution. That brings us to the title of this post: the right way to guest blog. If you’re going to offer to do a guest post on another site, make sure you’re not just doing it to get a link. There are definitely benefits to guest blogging, including the benefit of link building. But you must approach guest blogging opportunities as natural PR opportunities. This means trying to find legitimate, relevant websites that are looking for useful content that you, as an expert in your niche, can provide, and offering to do a guest post. If they give you a link back to your website, great. If not, it’s still beneficial to you, since it increases your chances of being seen by that website’s audience. It’s likely that they will not only give you a backlink; they’ll also post the piece on their social media pages. And that basically qualifies as free advertising.

There are several ways to find blogs that will allow you to guest blog. You can do a simple Google search for your main keyword phrase and add the words “write for us” or “guest posts” to the query. The resulting list of blogs will be those that allow guest posting. Go to each result and do your research! Make sure the site is relevant to your niche before reaching out to the site owner to pitch your content. Also be sure the site does not already have similar content posted to it before pitching.

There are also guest blogging communities like MyBlogGuest, where bloggers can find other blogs to guest post to. Proceed with caution when looking for opportunities in those communities, and make sure your content is relevant to the sites you want to post to.

ThayerAds is happy to accept relevant, high-quality guest posts from online marketing and SEO experts. If you’re interested in being a contributor, contact us here!

Client Spotlight: TreeBien Tree Care



We are excited to take on TreeBien Tree Care as a new client for our business portfolio!

They approached us just a few weeks ago after moving to their new location in the Plaza Midwood area of Charlotte.

A little background on TreeBien: Led by a husband and wife duo who run the business out of their home, this Charlotte tree service company has been in business officially for about a year now, though the husband, Mike, has over a decade of experience as a tree service professional. He started pruning trees, grinding stumps and supplying firewood to residents of Fort Mill, SC and surrounding areas in 2002, using all of his own equipment stored in a shed in his back yard. Today, he regularly services over 100 clients in the Charlotte area with the help of a large crew, some of which is outsourced from other tree service companies in the city with whom he has chosen to collaborate.

Up until recently, his wife Chelsea has handled the marketing aspect of the business, but she will be taking a backseat and moving into a receptionist position as her health has declined significantly due to stress. Mike approached us in hopes that we could help him take his marketing efforts to the next level so that he could expand his business beyond Fort Mill. After he told us his plans to move into the city of Charlotte, we were thrilled. Not only are we confident that his customer base will grow; we are excited about the challenge at hand: getting him more online visibility. (Let’s face it folks. Charlotte’s a pretty competitive market, especially in the tree service industry.)

TreeBien Tree care specializes in all types of tree services including tree removal, tree trimming/pruning, stump grinding, lot clearing, dead wooding, and firewood supply. Check out their website and be sure to follow them on Facebook and Google+!

We’ve partnered up with a local SEO agency and will tell you more about them in another post very soon. We’ve decided to outsource some of the work since this will be a pretty hefty project. But it’s one that we are very excited to take on. We’ll be posting our progress, including the company’s growth trajectory and the lessons we’re bound to learn along the way, so if you’re not yet subscribed to our RSS feed, be sure to do that before clicking away! Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.

Thayer Ads Has Launched!

We are so excited to announce the launch of our brand new website! Thanks to everyone who has been patiently waiting for this long-awaited announcement.

Our goal is to deliver best-in-class marketing tools to business owners and aspiring online marketers, and we’re going to accomplish that goal through our blog and possibly through a few other materials (webinars, ebooks, etc.) that are currently in the works. Our business is aimed primarily at small local businesses in Charlotte, North Carolina and surrounding areas, but we do take on out-of-state clients as well. So if you’re a business and you’re looking to grow your customer base, you’ve come to the right place!

Check out our testimonials page to read what some of our best clients have had to say about our work, and if you think we might be able to help you, fill out the form on our contact page.

We are in the process of developing our social media presence and will update you once we have a Facebook page and a Google+ profile. Until then, subscribe to our RSS feed to get our helpful marketing tools and stay in-the-know on current happenings at Thayer Ads.

Thanks again for all of your support. It’s going to be a GREAT 2016!


John & Chuck

Does Online Marketing Work?

Digital Marketing is NOT dead


We hear it all the time.

“We just don’t think online marketing will work for our business.”

I get it. You watched another business owner try the internet lead generation thing and fail, so you figured it was useless for you too.

Or perhaps you’re not sold on a certain aspect of online marketing like social media or SEO.

I get that too. Not every business needs to be active on Instagram or Twitter. Not every company will be able to successfully target their niche market through search engine optimization. Different strokes for different folks…

That’s one of the reasons why we don’t choose to work with all businesses who submit our contact form. Some jobs are much more difficult than others, and we want to make sure we feel confident that we can deliver the results you’re looking for. If we can’t, then we’ll point you to someone who can.

We employ a very unique set of strategies that work best with certain types of businesses. More specifically, our primary focus is search engine optimization and lead generation for small, local business owners, in specialized mobile service niches like home repair or lawn care. We don’t pretend to be experts in all aspects of online marketing. We’re not a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none type of agency. We don’t bite off more than we can chew, and we’re not ashamed of that.

So, does online marketing work? We believe it does. And our client testimonials are proof that it does. It works if you begin with the end in mind. That means having a goal, having a budget, and outlining a concise plan to achieve that goal in a specified timeframe. At Thayer Ads, that’s how we approach every online marketing project we take on.


Check out these Marketing Statistics from Hubspot (one of our favorite marketing software companies), and decide for yourself if you think Internet marketing might be effective for your business. If so, give us a shout. We’d be glad to see if we can help you grow your customer base.