I’ve got a website… now what?

You’ve decided to take the leap, the daring yet completely sensible move to launch a website for your business.  You know that an online presence is vital to the success of your business.  After all, in practically all cases, online presences have become the primary method with which potential customers are introduced to businesses.  In the last week you’ve even used the Internet to research day cares, televisions and organic food suppliers in the area and made purchases as a result of that research.

You’ve hired the right team and ensured that your online presence is better in every way to that of your competitors, because you cleverly realize how vital it is to stand out.  Thinking about how you shop online, you realize each time you perform research, it feels like a speed dating session whereby you, like the majority of others, quickly browse 5-10 websites and within mere minutes have narrowed down your potential supplier to one or two options.  A combination of first impressions and your own personal priorities have been the criteria in which you’ve narrowed your choice.

So you’ve got the most visually appealing website that’s the easiest to use in your industry and your products and services are among the highest quality.  Your prices are even amongst the lowest… everything is going for you!  You’ve even ensured that your website has been optimized for indexing by search engines (if you don’t know what this is, please read this article next: What Most Search Engine Optimization “Experts” Won’t Tell You).  But… there are no customers!  Why?

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Social Media Tools that Measure Effectiveness and Keep You Accountable

Today I’ll write a brief article about social media tools that help to measure effectiveness and keep you accountable, ensuring that your social media efforts are making a positive impact on your organization.  I’ve decided to write about this because it surprises me that the majority of companies that have started to leverage social media can’t even answer the simple question, “Is it making me money?”.  My response every time is “Don’t you think it’s time you figure out how to validate and justify your investment?”  When done right, it can easily become the single most powerful marketing tool for a company.

Let’s briefly consider what should be measured during our social media efforts:

  • Are we using social media right?
  • Which of our social media announcements are gaining engagement? Where should we focus?
  • When is the best time to send out our social media announcements?
  • How much engagement do we have?
  • Are we gaining additional fans/followers/traffic?
  • Is the traffic resulting in additional leads?

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If You Build It, Will They Come?

The dawn of the Internet era.  The “dot com bubble”.  Everyone was entranced by the misconception that if they built it, success and riches would ensue.  It was surreal, the entire world was filled with excitement, a reinvigorated sense of energy almost as if a whole new world was discovered, full of innumerable opportunities and dreams to be fulfilled.  Was it all a fallacy?  No!  Then what went wrong?  The same thing that goes wrong over and over again in so many technology projects.  The failure to plan.  While many people would argue that it was more complex than simply an omission of planning and the argument would quickly spiral into a complex in-depth discussion that covers topics ranging from business to finance to sustainability, in the end every time I’ve had this debate I’ve come out with the glorious prize of the opposing party slowly lowering their head and mumbling “You’re right”.  This is not a reflection of my argumentative skills, but merely my ability to showcase the evidence and help them to understand where it all did in fact go wrong.  The failure to plan happened at every stage – planning, investment, sustainability assessment, cashflow analysis, accountability profiles and the list goes on.  It’s scary to realize how many individuals had their hands in the pot, but nobody spoke up… we were all simply spellbound. Continue reading

The Secrets To Online Success Aren’t Such A Secret

The other day I was having a talk with a colleague that I had lost contact with over the past few years.  It was a wonderful time to catch up, right before Christmas and to remember all of the fun and exciting projects we’ve done together over the past several years.  He confided in me that in 2012 he would be leaving Sony to start his own online presence, an entrepreneurial dream that he’s held closely to his heart for several years and he asked me what recommendations I could provide him to help him ensure success, after all he was nervous, all the risk was standing on his shoulders.  At the same time it was delightful to literally feel the passion in his voice and the anticipation of the rewards he could earn as a result of his hard work.  Well after that discussion, I decided that it would be valuable to share with everyone my thoughts on what are the most important aspects of ensuring online success.  I hope that you enjoy this read and it opens your eyes to something you hadn’t previously considered.  If it helps you or your business to improve even marginally then I’ve accomplished my goals, after all successful businesses are built by one small accomplishment after another.  Please note that my advice is assuming that you’ve already done your homework – business plan, competitive analysis, SWOT analysis, etc. and determined that your products and services are competitively viable in the industry.  Now, assuming this, let’s get started…

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What Most Search Engine Optimization “Experts” Won’t Tell You

Today is a symbol of summer’s end.  It’s also the day of the year when the proximity of physical and supernatural world intertwine and magical things can happen.  Sounds to me like an every day sales pitch of a search engine optimization “expert” actually.

I’ve talked to hundreds, if not thousands of clients about their websites, their visitors and the vital link between their websites’ traffic and increased profitability.  During these discussions, I’ve been privy to many insider stories about past experiences with previously hired search engine optimization experts and I can only wish that I documented the feedback that I’ve received over the last dozen+ years, but I had no clue that these particular conversations would have been so surprising, so revealing and so frightening that I never thought to do so.  Sure would have made for a spooky and spine-chilling Halloween story… but because it wouldn’t have been fiction, it would have bordered on the line of witnessing a real-life Horror and since I haven’t bought the “Halloween chills” binder on my liability insurance I’ll save that story for another day…

Instead today I aim to teach you a thing or two about search engine optimization, and about what search engine optimization experts especially don’t want you to know.  I’ll empower you so that in turn you can help yourself to succeed.  If you’ve got the time to learn and to execute, you will be able to take these steps to help increase your targeted traffic and of course your revenue as a result.  You may not be able to do it as fast or as effectively as a search engine optimization expert that has years of experience, but at least it’ll start increasing your revenue so that you can start to realize the value of search engine optimization services and make the decision as to when you want to invest in an experts skillset and at the same time have a better understanding of what they will be delivering.

Why am I doing this? Why reveal what SEO experts won’t tell you?  Because I can!  Because I am 100% confident in my abilities and because I know that it takes years to gain the skills and experience that I have, and while you are perfectly capable of performing the steps that I’ll outline, you’ll invariably spend more time and lose significantly more money  than you ever thought possible.  I can hear you all now “But how can I be losing money if I’m not spending?”  The answer is simple, you’re losing money because your competitors continue to grow and reap the rewards while you experiment and tweak your SEO efforts in an attempt to gain higher search engine ranking.

So then, let’s get down to the details…

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The Significance of Mobile Websites in the Not-So-Distant Future

Within the next 3 years, there will be a dramatic shift of perception as to what encompasses an Internet presence.  While today more than 90% of websites aren’t optimized for viewing on the majority of mobile devices, almost 75% of residents in North America perform research and make decisions daily by viewing a website on their mobile device!  That’s over 260 million individuals in North America making decisions each and every day!  What’s that? Inflated numbers you say? Before you use the “ignore the truth so that I can procrastinate longer” card, just stop and think about it for a minute.  How many family members, friends and colleagues do you see each and every day?  Now, ask yourself this one very important and revealing question – where does their hand end and their phone begin?  You can’t remember… can you?  They’ve been holding their phone so long that there’s no longer a visual disparity between their phone and their hand anymore is there?  In fact if they put their phone down for a few minutes, you’d likely feel awkward, almost as if they were walking around naked, wouldn’t you?  Alternately, you can just check out the statistics reported by reputable companies, I’ve cited references below.  All jokes aside… it’s about to get worse!

Over 70% of the world’s population now have a mobile phone, that’s over 5 billion mobile subscribers1, and in places like the US, it’s 9 in 10 people. With children now more likely to own a mobile phone than a book, with 85% of kids owning a phone as to 73% having books! Now that’s a pretty crazy statistic!

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Why yes competitors, steal all my customers! The importance of website design

Having been in business for over a dozen years, I’ve witnessed a lot of different situations when it comes to website presences.  With a little over 900 professional consultations under my belt, I’m over 90% of my way to having helped 1,000 companies to increase their profits, reduce their costs and grow their businesses beyond their wildest dreams!  Sports stars would get an award for that, they get prominently featured in the Hall of Fame, all I’ll ask for is a hug from each one of my clients when I reach that goal, afterall, it’s knowing that I’m helping their businesses grow that makes it so rewarding.

Most times when I start a consultation, my client will ask me for the “quick fix”.  Despite being taught over and over again, learning the lesson the difficult way that there are is such thing as quick fix, it’s amazing that people are still looking for that elusive gem, the one that’s going to change their business overnight… but it never happens!

Today I’d like to show you why fixing a website is never just as simple as a “quick fix”.  In order to show you why this is the case, I’m going to walk you through a scenario.  Now it’s important for you to visualize this so that you can truly understand what I’m talking about:

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Social Media Marketing – Is it Important?

Still today, everywhere I turn I hear many business owners and executives debating whether or not they should jump into social media.  In many cases, key decision makers fabricate a couple of excuses as to why it’s still not time yet and then move on to other matters.  Ironically, by procrastinating they don’t even realize that they’re sacrificing taking their business to the next level in not just one, but several areas of their business.
Take a quick look online, I’m willing to bet that approximately half of your competitors have already started to leverage social media, and once they gain their momentum and have a solid understanding of how to use it, it’s going to be more challenging for you to continue to operate your business with the same profitable and competitive margins that you’ve enjoyed to date.  The sacrifices are diverse and impact every area of their business.  Social media reduces advertising costs, increases advertising effectiveness, dramatically improves customer service levels, increases executive awareness with respect to their products and services and how their customers interact with them… and there’s more!