Archive for April, 2014

Freshen Your Website And Win Races

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Spring Has Arrived Time to Freshen Up Your Website Vehicle And Win Races

When the sun comes out it seems to bring out the best in people. All of a sudden we wake up and want to get stuck into all the jobs we tend to shelve during the winter months.
With a website, we should be working on that all the time, and some business owners do, but, there are many other mainly small business owners who don’t spend enough time inside their website.
What I have observed is that the micro and small business owner tend to have a small burst of energy so often and then they wain and the energy drains away rapidly.

I created a program back in 2009 and called it OnlineXcellence. It was aimed at the small medium business owner and was based at the time around the XFACTOR program that had arrived on our televison screens.

In the XFACTOR thousands of hopefuls come forward with a dream of stardom, and everyone believes they can sing, that is, until they come in front of those panel of judges led by Simon Cowell who knows what makes a great pop star. Here at ICTADVISOR we tend to think we know what makes a website a great website, one that will have the ability to achieve multimillion pound turnover in sales and of course make a profit.

So, through the launch of the OnlineXcellence program we selected 12 businesses who were up for the challenge of improving their website performance and the key objective being to have the business website, whether it be a brochure site or an ecommerce website, to actually make some money. The plan took each business over a 9 month program that had them attend workshops and gain 1-2-1 mentoring and training for the people at each business who had the day to day responsibility of actually driving the website. Part of the aim therefore was not just to improve the websites performance but to turn these website managers into website champions.

12 businesses came forward, that ranged from websites selling:
Car parts
Hotel accommodation
Holiday park
Organic Foods  (Juniper Fine Foods)
Pipe Laying Services
Optical Training
Organic Milk
Farm Plastics Recycling
Animal Feeders and Rearing Equipment
Foresty Equipment
Arts and Artists

The Road Towards Improving Your Website Win Races And Achieve OnlineXcellence

Just like the XFACTOR there were winners and losers out of the above list. Those of them who did go on and achieve OnlineXcellence went from having previously earned £0 online and 18 months later earning nearly £3m online. In the above list of businesses there were website managers who really wanted the success and more importantly wanted to see their business make more money and willing to pull out all the stops to achieve that aim. Whilst others just doodled along and did not put as much effort in. Every website improved, but those who dabbled saw their website not gain as many visitors and were not wallowing in increased sales. And so even today, some of those websites have only improved marginally from when they participated nearly 6 years ago. Also, in some cases, since the participating in the OnlineXcellence program, some of the businesses that took part either no longer exist, or they have had a brand change, with some of them even moving their business location to another part of Scotland. However, looking at those who did make some changes over this time period, it would appear some of them forgot to migrate their old brand to point at their new business name and so have probably lost their old customer base and website back history they built up.  A lesson learnt here is that website migration is like open heart surgery, it is very important to rejoin all the arteries that are feeding the organ that is the website – treat it like a pumping heart and don’t let it die during the migration.

And, that is probably the biggest problem still observed today – shoddy website migration projects. Small business owners just don’t know how to manage their website effectively. And, some website design agencies make for bad heart surgeons and lose website patients under their care.  It is understandable the small business is on a limited marketing budget and might not always be able to afford the best. But the unwillingness to spend at least a reasonable amount of money on a regular basis to help promote their business website and keep it alive is important. It does take time to learn how to do internet marketing instead of going down the DIY SEO route, and it will make all the difference if you learn how to choose the right team to have in your theatre of operations when constantly trying to improve your website.

It is true what was once said at a Search Engine Strategies conference, – there is lots of websites out there offering Search Marketing Services which you can get without spending hardly any money. But even those websites who offer such services are not that well optimised and don’t follow guidelines as laid down by the likes of Google. There are also many web agencies with just 1 or 2 people delivering website design but say they do internet marketing, but again there is little or no evidence of them having produced websites that actually get traffic and make money.

On the other side of the fence there is YOU the business owner, who has been witnessed facing to having to spend £25 a month to get a website, and grumbles that this is too much to spend on such a vital loud speaker to reach out to potential customers. And, then YOU the business owner cough and splutter because YOU are then asked to pay for marketing services to, and this might cost YOU another £25 – god forbid (and that is a self service product that helps you learn how to do the marketing by yourself). That is a bargain, if you know that it will work for you on both counts.

Getting Your First Website

If you are on a tight budget but want to look the part online with a professional looking website and one that will be search engine friendly, mobile friendly and have all the latest features, you can get a good website that will put you in KOMMAND for £25 a month. And, any decent website vehicle that has to win a few races needs the right fuel. So, start by learning how to mix the right fuel and learn how to become knowledgable at SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) also for £25 a month.

My Website Must Be a Ferrari

OK, let us assume you do have more money to spend on an all singing all dancing website, where you want to look like those big brand websites you have visited and where you have shopped at on the internet.
This is just like going to your 5 star diner outlet and not down the local cafe. You are tomorrow’s entreprenuer, you want style, you want great architecture, and yes, every entreprenuer should have a grown up to look after them, so you want a great real world internet marketing practitioner who can help you plan, implement and launch a website that meets with all today’s coding and marketing guideline standards.
Why? Because doing internet marketing in 2014 is not like how things were done between 2003-2012. Here you might spend £5k, £15k, £50k on a website and they same if not ten times more on marketing. Now you know how all the big brands are legally in the web space you want to be in for your HERO KEYWORDS!

Feeding the Animal in Your Website Tank

Things have changed forever. Listen to those who are real world internet marketing practitioners, Rand Fishkin, Matt Bailey, Danny Sullivan, Avinash Kaushik, Bryan Eisenberg, Will Critchlow, Dixon Jones, they are the really big names in Search today. What they are all talking about? PANDAs, PENGUINs and HUMMINGBIRDs. And yes, even here in Scotland, these words are still quite alien to the micro or small business owner, as they have no idea how these animals are affecting their website performance!

Most business owners tend not to mingle or hangout in online forums which constantly having discussions around such subjects all of which impact on YOUR search engine marketing. I know, you wouldn’t find a racing car driver on a horse trainer forum trying to get some horsepower tips! But, the message to the micro small business owner, and even larger corporates, is take some time out, learn what powers your website.

Business owners should try and find a forum that will help them with decisions on how to get advice on building a good website and then how to market it. Yes. coming to such an online forum and getting the views of a number of real world marketing practitioners who have built websites which have won races, would be like entering a car showroom for the first time and being amongst petrol heads, but you would be getting some seriously good advice before buying your first car. Well, it is the same about buying a website, it is very important as part of your website driving test to learn how to plan towards buying a website that will meet with expectations. Guaranteed, that by visiting a few forums the micro and small business owners could probably learn lots about how to approach website design and what the minimum budget needed is to achieve success at internet marketing.

How long did it take for you to pass your actual driving test, and be confident on the road?
Who was your favourite driving instructor?

Think about it, by spending some time and a little money with someone who is impartial but knowledgeable and been involved in website projects for a number of years, and helped the business plan the layout, provide the web agency with a brief, helped YOU the business owner oversee the build, and prepared YOU for when it came time to drive the website on a daily basis and have it make money for YOU – this would be a dream come true! But you just have to be willing to stick it out the learning to drive a website bit for a while as this will be a lot longer than the time you spent learning to drive a vehicle.

We were all eager to learn how to drive a car, and went to great lengths to do so. It was going to be vitally important to our way of life, to get around and more so should the business we started needed us to deliver goods and services we sold across long distances. Yet, find a business owner who is willing to take a reasonable amount of time to actually learn how to drive a website and have it get more visitors and make more money for that person’s business. It sounds great for 5 minutes to lots of business whether they are micro small business owners and even larger corporates, and then the vision to succeed fades, as many quickly lose interest and simply cannot be bothered.

If you don’t want to drive the website yourself – fine, get someone who has the knowledge to do that for you. Now how much does one pay for a Chauffer these days – and especially a good one!

But, it is recommended that if you are a business owner that wants their website to be built correctly, be search engine friendly and more importantly make you money, then take a little time to drive it yourself for a while, well at least learn what is under the hood of this website racing car you want to win races for your business. Learn your content management software (CMS) inside out. Do you know what makes for a good CMS?
Having that knowledge will help you understand what the true cost is of getting a good website built and how much it will also cost to put decent fuel in the website tank so it wins races and makes you money and so you achieve OnlineXcellence

About The AuthorBrian Mathers a pioneer Internet Marketer since 1998 and creator of OnlineXcellence helping small businesses become successful online and make money.