Say No To Template Websites

keep-calm-and-just-say-noToday’s article comes from my “what in the heck were they thinking file”. Being a passionate champion for small businesses, it makes me furious when I see large companies offering website design services with the inferred idea that it will generate tons of traffic. Here is an example what I mean.

 

I recently met with a potentially new client about doing some search engine optimization (SEO) on their local Tucson business website. They had paid a large company whose name you would know if I mentioned it, to create their website. In addition, they also paid them for a monthly SEO package designed to improve their search rankings. What prompted their call was the fact that they were NOWHERE to be found in a search for a keyword phrase that had very little competition. As I reviewed the site, I noticed several things. First of all, the site was built using the company’s website builder program, which the business owners could have done themselves.  I would have assumed an “expert” paid to build the site could have used something more sophisticated than a template builder program.

 

The second thing that stood out was the first occurrence of any of their keyword phrases in the HTML code. The homepage had about 250 lines of code and the first time any of their content appeared was on line 207. Google looks at that and says, “if we have to crawl three fourths of the way through this site before finding what it’s about, then it’s not a “real” site that we should consider.”  Which means there’s a pretty good chance this site will never show up in any search.

 

The third thing I found as I looked at the HTML code for the images was they were missing keyword tags, which is a very basic element of SEO.  Now that would be understandable if the customer had built it themselves, but to have paid extra for the “experts” SEO package is ridiculous. It’s almost like stealing.

Being a small business owner, I absolutely understand the budget constraints and the need to create a web presence as inexpensively as possible. The prospects of a “free” or next to nothing priced website is very attractive. And that’s fine for a business that needs a portfolio type of site that they will hand to prospective customers. But if lead generation and getting found in the search engines is an important consideration, these sites won’t do.

There are alternatives that are affordable. WordPress is a perfect example of an easy to use, but very search engine friendly website builder program. It’s available on most of the large hosting companies for free and there are hundreds of templates to choose from to create a nice layout.

 

So before you get suckered into the commercials that are rampant today, stopped and analyze what you really want your website to accomplish. Then interview several website designers to see what your options are. Should you decide to go with WordPress, my Ninja Marketing Dojo has a complete tutorial on how to use WordPress.

 

Realize that the return on a zero investment is still likely to be zero, whereas investing a little money in a good website can easily pay for itself with just a few new customers.

 

Gary Wagnon is the chief Ninja Marketing Officer for 800biz Ninja Marketing Solutions and the creator of the Ninja Marketing Dojo. The Dojo teaches business owners and marketers online strategies that increase traffic to their site, improve search engine rankings and converts browsers into buyers.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Avoiding the Social Media Blackhole – Creating Facebook Lists

How many times have you sat down to check your Facebook or Twitter page real quick and ended up hours later not even remembering what you planned to do?  Welcome to the Social Media Blackhole.  Getting sucked in is SO easy.  That’s one reason businesses say their social media doesn’t work or they give up on it all together.  Here’s one Ninja Marketing tip to help you regain control of your social media.

For more Ninja Tips, we are conducting a live workshop on Tuesday, March 26, from 3:30 – 5.    Use this link  to register for the live event or watch the www.ninjamarketing dojo.com site for the webinar version.l

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Effect of Negative Feedback on Facebook

EngagementNegative Feedback to a Facebook page can now affect the page’s visibility. For several years, I’ve been preaching, to my Ninja Marketing Dojo classes, “Engagement” as the key to a successful page. Until recently though, there was no penalty for negative feedback. That’s about to change.

When Timeline launched, Facebook segregated the News Feed by adding the News Ticker to accommodate the bombardment of activity that once clogged the News Feed. While all activity from both users and pages appears in the News Ticker, only the “most important” information appears in the News Feed. For the most part, all posts made by friends do appear, but not so with posts made by pages the user has liked.

FB-EdgeRank-Algorithm

To make that critical leap from the News Ticker to the News Feed, page managers need to understand Edgerank, Facebook’s content algorithm. It’s a combination of 3 factors – affinity, weight and time decay. Affinity refers to prior interaction with a page’s post. The more users engage with content from a particular page, the more likely that page’s posts will appear.

Weight is based on engagement – likes, comments, and shares. Shares carry a larger weight factor than comments; comments carry more weight than likes. Post type, such as regular posts, pictures, videos, etc, are also considered in weight. For example, if someone shares photos, then more photos will display.

Time Decay is the 3rd factor in Edgerank and refers to the life of a post. The most recent and relevant content will take precedence over older content.

Now, Facebook is inserting a 4th factor into the Edgerank algorithm. Negative Feedback actions include hiding a page’s post, hiding all content of a page, reporting a page as spam or unliking a page. Simply stated, Negative Feedback is any clickable negative engagement action a user takes.

Negative feedback averages roughly 0.03% per post, but every page will experience some kind of negative feedback. Based on EdgeRankChecker’s study of 5000 Facebook pages, 76% of negative feedback comes from hiding the post, 16% from hiding all posts, 8% report as spam and only 1% unlike the page.

By now factoring in Negative Feedback in the algorithm, it has become increasingly more important to create engaging content that is attuned to the pulse of your audience. Use controversial content with caution. While it might result in engagement, it may also result in Negative Feedback which would have the reverse effect. Overusing sales messages can also have a negative impact. Sure, everyone wants to make sales but is one sale worth reducing visibility to nothing.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Use Your Inside Voice – Writing Blog Content

Writing blog contentAs you’re writing your blog, keep in mind the audience you’re addressing. Unless you’re writing to 12th grade English teachers or for the Washington Post, don’t worry about the grammatical format. Write for your audience. And most importantly write in your own voice. You are most effective when you write like you are speaking.  Here are some ideas to express your inner voice.

1. Talk To Your Audience – Rather than imagine writing your blog for thousands of people to read, imagine writing it for your ideal client. Or better still, imagine that you’re talking to your best friend. The personal nature of this type of writing will create an instant connection with your reader. They will feel like you are speaking to them directly.
2. Avoid Tech Speak - Unless your audience is the technical person, avoid using industry terminology and use consumer language instead. For example, if your blog is about online security for personal computers or small businesses, don’t use terms like “risk assessment” and “business continuity”, but instead use “virus protection.” On the other hand, if your target audience is the IT person, then use industry terms. You wouldn’t talk over the head of the consumer so don’t write over their head.
3. Use Humor – If you can get a smile or a chuckle out of your audience, your article will be more memorable. Everything doesn’t have to be so serious. A funny story or even a slightly snarky approach gives the reader the message you enjoy what you do.
4. Vary Your Content – Keep your readers on their toes. By varying your content you keep them interested and anticipating your next post. If you use humor one time, ask and answer a question the next. Some other types of content you can use are videos, charts or graphs, lists, industry related reviews, or guest blogs.
5. Be A Problem Solver – Unless you’re blogging in the entertainment industry, your readers typically have a problem they want to fix or want a solution that will make their life easier. If your post can solve their need, your social capital as the expert goes up.

Most important – be yourself.  If you write your blog as you, it will be easy to maintain a consistent message from one blog to the next.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Don’t Go Changing To Try And Please Me – 5 Changes To Business As Usual

We have a love-hate relationship with change. We want the latest technology, like cell phones or IPads.  But we complain vehemently when Facebook changes their layout or anything on their page. We look forward to the new TV season but we continue to do business as usual.

We are creatures of habit, not wanting to stray far from our comfort zone.  Or as Captain Barbosa would say “Yer off the edge of the map, matie.  Here, there be monsters.”  Okay, so maybe we’re not afraid of monsters, and it’s not really the great unknown that we hate about change.  So why do we resist change when it comes to marketing our  business?

Unlike any other time in recent history, marketing and advertising are undergoing radical changes. Even back when television advertising rose to prominence, it was still an interruption marketing model – we interrupt this program for a word from our sponsors. But first the internet and now social media have changed that drastically.

Marketing today is all about relationships. We’ve heard the marketing gurus preach “know, like and trust” as it relates to building rapport for years.  Loosely translated, that meant salesperson must find a way to communicate with the customer. However today, the trust factor is often built long before a salesperson gets involved.

Long before a prospect walks through the door or picks up the phone, they’re doing their homework, their due diligence. It starts at the website then moved to social media sites. If they find a self-centered, “me first” message or a good old-fashioned sales pitch, they hit the back button and check out the next business. But if they find a customer focused, value message, they are moved much further down the decision making path.

Here are 5 changes to a business as usual approach for your online marketing presence.

  1. You vs. We – Review the home page of your website and count the number of times it says “we.”  The more “we’s” there are the faster visitors will leave the site.  Remember, they don’t care about you – only what you can do for them.
  2. Call To Action — Does your website tell the visitor what action they should take? While you may think it’s obvious the visitor will call you upon seeing your awesome site, they may be looking for the e-mail button. A simple “Call Now” followed by the phone number increases the chances they will contact you.
  3. No High Pressure Sales — A common mistake of social media newbies is thinking “I now have 200 friends I can sell to.” Every other post on Facebook is about their current special or their incredible product or service. And they wonder why social media doesn’t work.
  4. Boring Content — Tweeting or Facebooking the pictures of your lunch every day is not likely have friends or followers waiting expectantly for the next installment (unless you’re a food reviewer.) Share something that makes people think or that will elicit a response.
  5. Interaction Is King — Having an audience is one thing but having an audience that is engaged is golden. An engaged audience will not only remember your content but eagerly anticipate your content.

What are you doing to move from business as usual to become a master of online marketing?

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing. The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Google + For Business – Top 5 Reasons To Join

Google+ for business is now open. “Oh great,” I can hear you say, “another social network I have to keep up with.” Yes, I know the traffic is not on Google + like it is on Facebook. And I don’t expect a mass exodus from Facebook. But, here are my top 5 reasons you should be on Google +.

 

5. It’s easy to sign up. To signup, you enter your business name and phone number. Google + then matches that to your Google Places Page. (You DO have a Google Places page, don’t you?)

4. Sharing is Easy – Others can share your business page either through the Share Page button or by +1′ing the page. Either way, it increases the chances of virally spreading your page.

3. No Finding Friends – With business pages, you don’t have to go hunting for friends. You share your page and post the page link to your web site and the traffic comes to you.

2. Build a Following and Improve Your Traffic – Because Google customizes the search function when you are logged in to a Google product (Gmail, Google +, Google Reader, etc.) the results you see are based, in part, on your connections. For example, if someone in one of your circles has +1′d a page, and you do a search on a keyword that related to that page, Google is going to show you that page higher up in the search results than normal.

The bottom line for a business is to have as large a following as possible, so when a follower searches for your catagory, your site will show up much higher.

1. Faster Indexing in Google – The number 1 reason to create a Google + page is speed up the process of getting content indexed in the Google search results. When content is shared in Google +, Google sees the content much quicker and as a result will add it to the search results page, based on the content.

I have seen this first hand within my blog articles. I created a blog article with the title Ninja Marketing Tips. Within 3 days of sharing the article in Google +, it was ranking at the top of an incognito Google search for the term, Ninja Marketing Tips.

Judge for yourself. What is your marketing strategy? Would improved search engine visibility be a plus? I welcome your thoughts.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing. The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Ninja Marketing Tip – Tune In Station WIIFM

“WIIFM, playing all the hits for you, it’s all you, all day.  We only talk about you all the time.”  Is your message broadcasting on Station WIIFM?  It should be, it’s our favorite channel.

WIIFM – What’s In It For Me – that’s what we want to hear when we look at any website, read a blog, use social media sites, read e-mails, watch videos or anything else you put out to promote your business.  We want to know if your product or service will fix our problem.  How can you save us money or make life easier?

Sounds pretty obvious doesn’t it?  In fact it’s so obvious that the marketing message of the business is all about them.  “We offer the best…”, “We have years of experience”, “We give the best service.”  The only problem is, the customer is listening to their channel, not yours.  Customers don’t care about you or your business.  They want to know what you can do for them.

 

If you want to create an effective marketing message address the consumer.  The home page of your website or your blog should point out what you do in terms of benefits to the customer.  Your services page should define everything you do, no matter how obvious it may sound.  For example, if your pool cleaning service, do you provide the chemicals?  You think, “everybody knows we do that” but if your marketing messages, your website or your blog, don’t say you do, but your competitor’s site does, is a good chance they’re going to your competitor.

An About Us page can be a boring narrative of your background and experience or it could focus on your passion, your philosophy and your mission.  There’s something about doing business with, someone who is passionate about what they do, especially if that passion translates into a love for helping their customers.  Even though, in a face-to-face meeting, your passion is apparent, how do you get that face-to-face meeting from a boring website?

Don’t be afraid to let your personality shows through your website or your blog.  Have you ever seen a photo on a business card and then meet the person face-to-face and wondered,  is this your daughter’s picture?  The same is true for your online presence (not just the photos); let your potential customer know who they’re dealing with.  You may think, “but I don’t want to alienate a potential customer.”  I’ve got news for you.  If they don’t like the personality your online presence portrays, chances are pretty good they wouldn’t to like you in person either.

WIIFM is like one of the satellite radio stations, you can tune into it everywhere you go.  Make sure your marketing message is broadcasting on the right frequency.  After all, it’s not about you.

Are you new to Google + or curious about how to get started?  Download my free Guide to Google + at www.800bizninjamarketing.com. Gary Wagnon is the CMN (Chief Marketing Ninja) at 800biz Online Marketing Solutions.  Using an integrated approach to online marketing (combining web site design, search engine optimization, social media and action driven content), 800biz specializes in helping businesses stand out above the competition and drive more traffic to their door.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Ninja Marketing Tip – Have an Out Of Body Experience

I had a phone call this morning from a salesperson (I use the term loosely) offering to sell me advertising.  I felt a desperate need to have 911 standing by in case she passed away on the phone.  In a dialogue that was lacking in excitement or enthusiasm,  it was almost painful to listen to.

The caller started by introducing themself and saying they were offering to sell me advertising.  Woo hoo!  Just what I wanted this morning, to be sold advertising.  When I quizzed her about her publication and whether it was a good fit for business-to-business advertising, her response was “you’d be surprised”.  I’m not sure if that meant I’d be surprised if I got any results, or if I’d be surprised at how many people blindly bought without knowing the effectiveness of the publication.  Needless to say I was not impressed.

At one point during the conversation she said local businesses that need a website could call me and explain their problem, then I could go out to their house and take care of.

As an online marketing guy I typically don’t make house calls to fix a computer problem. Major hint: learn what your prospect does so you can talk halfway intelligently.

So this conversation got me thinking about how you communicate with prospects, whether on the phone, your website or your social media sites.  Are you enthusiastic about your product or service?  (If you’re not, I’m sure not going to be.)  Do you talk about you, or do you talk about how you are the answer to my problem/pain/needs/prayers?

Take a trip outside your body and look at the message you are sending out.  If you were considering  doing business with you, would you or would you buy from your competition?

 

Gary Wagnon is the CMN (Chief Marketing Ninja) at 800biz Online Marketing Solutions.  Using an integrated approach to online marketing (combining web site design, search engine optimization, social media and action driven content), 800biz specializes in helping businesses stand out above the competition and drive more traffic to their door.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software