The Week's Features
Three-time cancer survivor is doing what he loves
App, web-based service provides lien-holder contact information
Digital Recognition Network CEO lays out company's vision
Unit designed to bring greater awareness to Move Over law
Buddy's gets farmer's tractor with corn silage in open field
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Tow Expo Dallas
Dallas, TX.
August 17-19, 2017
AT Exposition
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 17-19, 2017
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Las Vegas, NV.
May 9-11, 2018
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Join Mike Stevens of AAA Texas for foundational training on lockout basics with a focus on damage prevention. Topics include: basic lockout guidelines, discussion of locking mechanisms, safety around airbags and more. It will take place as part of the Towing & Recovery Conference taking place at Tow Expo Dallas, August 17-19, 2017 at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas.

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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingAugust 23 - August 29, 2017

City, State
RATES
North:
Bronx, NY
$125
(Pop. 1,438,159)
South:
Charlotte, NC
$85
(Pop. 809,958)
East:
Baltimore, MD
$85
(Pop. 622,104)
West:
San Jose, CA
$200
(Pop. 1,015,785)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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Is Your Website Properly Optimized?

op 06c36By Don G. Archer

As the internet evolved and opportunities arose to take advantage of this new media, I became excited about the possibilities and wanted to move in that direction. But each time I spoke of diverting ad dollars from the Yellow Pages to the web, my rep would discount my suggestions, and say that spending money on the web was ineffectual and a waste.

After a short while, I decided to do my own thing and spend more money online than on Yellow Page ads. Lo and behold, that's when the Yellow Pages changed their minds. They came up with an ad package that included online marketing.

Now they were the experts in online marketing.

I finally realized that who I believed was an expert in marketing was really an experienced sales person in his field. He was highly skilled at getting advertisers to increase their budgets, but not so skilled at helping me properly market my business.

If you're paying someone to optimize your web presence in all its many forms, they might not be doing it properly. If the company you pay to optimize your website isn't properly utilizing the many tools that exist, and they have no knowledge of your industry and what your customers are searching for, they may be doing you more harm than good.

For your website to show up when someone searches for your services it must be optimized for the search terms used. But even if they do use the right search terms, many times the so-called experts don't go far enough. And you're not getting the results you're looking for.

A free SEO Tool called SenSEO measures how well your site is optimized.

Seven Steps to Determining Web Page Optimization

1. If you don't have the Firefox browser, download it, it's free.

2. Once you've downloaded Firefox, search for SenSEO. It's what's called an add-on in Firefox. It's free as well. Download SenSEO.

3. In the Firefox browser open the page you want to optimize, (your website's home page.)

4. When on your page, look in the upper right corner of the browser for a magnifying glass icon. Hover over it and it should say "SenSEO."

5. While on the page you want to get the SEO information for, click on the magnifying glass icon and a box will appear.

6. Within this box, in the upper left corner is an empty search term box. This is where you should type in the search term you want your page to rank for, such as "tow truck" or "towing," for example.

7. After you've entered your search term, then click the button to the right that says "components." This will give you your SEO grade: A, B, C, D, F and a number like 85/100. It may be higher or lower depending on how strong the SEO on your page is.

So what should you look at when using this tool?

When optimizing your page there are many things to consider. These are six items that must be in congruence for your page to rank for the search terms you're looking for.

1. Title Tag. This is what's seen on the tab of the page you are on. If it's in line with your keyword search terms you're fine.

2. Meta Description. This is what shows up under your URL when displayed as a Google search result. It's what your customer sees.

3. On Page Keywords and Keyword Phrases. These are the words on the page you are on. Does the body of the text contain your keyword and keyword phrases? It should.

4. H1 Heading Tag. You should have only one of these per page and it should include your keywords. Heading tags are given more weight than regular text by search engines.

5. Keyword in the URL. You want your keywords to be in the URL of your page. This does not mean you must get an entirely different domain. When editing the page, just add the appropriate keywords after the ".com/"

6. Image Alt Tags. This is a tag that you assign to your images that will show up if for some reason your image fails to display.

I know this may sound confusing but these aren't roadblocks placed in your way just to trip you up. What Google has done is provided a roadmap for success on the web. They provide thousands of pages of information and free tools anyone can use. Unfortunately, most of those last century print ad Yellow Page experts will tell you different. They'll tell you that you need to pay them thousands of dollars per month to get properly SEO'd.

Remember this: Google is in the search-engine business. If what their customers are looking for isn't easily found, or if what they do find is not relevant to the search terms entered, they'll look elsewhere. Everything Google does is designed to constantly improve user experience. When you understand that and align your site accordingly, you'll be helping them out. And they'll be happy to display your site for the search terms you're looking for.

Don G. Archer is also multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at TheTowAcedemy.com. Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, MO. Don is the Tow Business Editor for Tow Industry Week, and his bi-weekly column in Tow Industry Week is a must-read. E-mail him direct at don@thetowacademy.com.
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Harvesting Value from Your Mistakes

6 7cef3By Don G. Archer

When we think of learning, generally we think about our time at school and the process: history timelines, multiplication tables, proper punctuation and grammar, etc.

Some learn through listening, others through observation, and many rely on hands-on experience for concepts to really sink in.

The quickest and most valuable lessons don't come from these timeworn methods. We are conditioned to either continue doing something or stop doing it based upon the consequences of our actions.

That is to say: We learn most from our mistakes.

How many times have you made the wrong choice when dealing with a disgruntled customer? Have you allowed a toxic employee to stay on too long because you "needed" him or her? What about not taking responsibility for your mistakes or the mistakes of your employees?

These all have real-world consequences. However, if you share what you've learned, there's a chance others can avoid making the same mistakes.

One mistake I made that included real-world consequences was when to cut my losses.

It was an overnight recovery on a 53' refrigerated trailer full of dairy products. It was being stored on a warehouse lot where some asphalt had given way. One of the trailer legs was completely buried and the trailer was resting on one corner.

When my guys arrived, they rigged it and pulled it out of the hole; but in haste, they chose the lower-rated strap. It didn't stand up to the load and broke, sending the trailer back to the ground. It was a horrible mistake that could have resulted in a much worse outcome ... and clearly our fault.

I received a call from the dairy company the next morning asking how we were going to pay for the damages.

(This was one of the largest dairy companies in our area, having been around for almost 90 years. They had dozens of trucks and supplied us with loads of work, so my goal was to keep them happy.)

I assumed the damages were limited to the trailer hitting the ground when the strap broke; I quickly learned that they expected me to pay for damages to the products on the trailer. They were suggesting that due to the impact from our mistake, hundreds of gallons of milk and other items had been compromised.

I wasn't aware of any spillage, so I told the company representative that I would have to talk with my operators on the scene and get back with him.

A discussion with my guys resulted in a denial of causing the mess and photographs taken before they even touched the trailer. The images clearly showed that there was spillage before we had arrived.

I took what they provided at face value and now had a decision to make.

To some of you, smarter than I, deciding what to do in this situation might be easy. Suck up the loss and drive on. Why would you bite the hand that feeds you? In hindsight, you are right ... I should have accepted it as a cost of doing business.

I didn't.

I believed my guys were telling the truth. I believed the photos were legit—taken before they started—as is our standard procedure, but I reacted out of paranoia.

Slowly, suspicion began growing in my mind and I started to think the dairy company was using the leverage they had over me to get me to pay for their mistake. It was their lot that had given way, and I had successfully deluded myself into believing we had definitive proof that the initial impact caused the bulk of damage.

What did it matter if I was right? Did I believe the principal of the thing mattered more than the business I received from them? That's the only answer I can come up with, because when I called the company rep back I told him we were only partially responsible. This didn't sit well, and in the end I lost them as a customer.

Rather than hanging a lantern on our mistake and squabbling over peanuts, I should have apologized profusely and accepted full responsibility.

A lesson I learned the hard way that I will never forget.

American Towman Field Editor-Midwest Don G. Archer is also a multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at TheTowAcademy.com. Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. E-mail him direct at don@thetowacademy.com.
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