The Week's Features
Towman hit on I-41 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, Jan. 11.
Homemade wrecker promotes pride of ownership
Dual operating box, other features standout on new carrier
Author of book on towman highway memorials up for Viola Award
Tractor-trailer with an 80,000-lbs. concrete beam rolled-over
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJanuary 16 - January 22, 2019

City, State
RATES
Waterford, MI
$140
(Pop. 72,166)
Auburn, AL
$85
(Pop. 56,908)
Terre Haute, IN
$75
(Pop. 60,785)
Loveland, CO
$135
(Pop. 72,651)
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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Event Data Recorders

event-data-recorder edr-03 174aaBy Brian J. Riker

Event data recorders are becoming standard equipment in many large fleets, yet they should have a place in every fleet. It isn't that we can't trust our drivers—we can—but we need to be able to defend their actions. Good drivers are valuable assets; as progressive employers, we must do everything we can to mentor, support and keep these folks employed.

Video image is impartial. Video data with reliable GPS location, speed and acceleration data can paint a clear picture of responsibility—a picture that can save you thousands in false liability claims.

How did your driver react? Were they paying attention? Did they do everything they could to avoid the collision? These are all questions that will be raised during an accident investigation. It is better to have concrete evidence on your side to support your position.

What if your driver's performance is not up to par? Event data recorders are excellent coaching devices when paired with a competent, respectful and compassionate mentor.

It costs several thousand dollars to hire and train a new employee, so why wouldn't you want to spend some of that money on retention and coaching? It is far less costly to coach an existing employee than to hire a new one ... who may have the same or even worse behaviors.

Drivers, this technology is not for your boss to spy on you or babysit you. You are a professional; they know that. This technology is intended to make you even better—more professional—and to defend you from wrongful claims. It's "game-day footage:" the professional athletes review film of their actions looking for ways to improve, so should you. I have had a chance to use some of this technology to monitor my own behaviors. It was eye opening and has caused me to make several improvements in my own driving style.

Wouldn't you rather have an employer that has your back rather than one that will fire you on the spot to appease their insurance company or some lawyer that is threatening legal action?

Investing in training and mentoring of your team is a must-do. You will never have the best of the best if you do not coach your team to bring out their strengths. Savings also result from better driving behaviors: fuel use, out-of-route miles and wear items.

Event data recorders and telematic devices can help you recover a stolen truck quickly. A recent news story told a tale of a thief that had all his actions captured on a dash camera as he went from stop to stop selling off tools from a stolen truck. This gave police the evidence they needed to prosecute him and the people that bought the stolen equipment.

How about that customer that falsely accuses you of being rude or worse? What about being pulled over for speeding when you know you were going under the speed limit? A simple review of the video or check of the GPS data can put a stop to those allegations before they even get off the ground.

Technology, when used properly, can save us all money and improve our performance. As we fall into a routine we tend to get sloppy. Event data recorders do not get tired or have a bad day, they are ever vigilant and will quickly remind us to be safe. Many systems have instant coaching capabilities, meaning they will sound an alert in the cab for following distance, cornering, braking or other safety critical events. Often these simple audible cues are all a driver needs to bring them back around to their best driving performance.

Not every driver will be a fit for every company. This technology can help you make that determination long before a crash or series of citations makes the decision for you.

I use this technology in my personal vehicles, both forward facing (out the windshield) and driver facing, complete with audio.

Event data recorders and active driver coaching will give you an advantage over others that chose to keep doing things the old-fashioned way. If you deploy the technology, monitor the results and take action.

Brian J Riker is a third generation towman and President of Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC. He specializes in helping non-traditional fleets such as towing, repossession, and construction companies navigate the complex world of Federal and State transportation regulatory compliance. With 25 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator Brian truly understands the unique needs and challenges faced by towing companies today. He can be reached at brian.riker@fleetcompliancesolutions.net
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