The Web For Business.com Blog

Internet marketing observations, perspectives, tips and tricks for your education and enlightenment.


You Know Enough. Start Doing.

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Shovels in ground will trump knowledgeI'm going to take a leap of faith and assume that you know lots about marketing. How many articles have you read on the subject over the years? How many seminars and conferences have you attended listening to speaker after speaker giving you great advice? I don't think there's a lack of knowledge out there that's causing marketing challenges.

Do the Work

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think the biggest marketing challenge for a lot of businesses is the process of doing the work. This is especially true for small businesses and entrepreneurs. I might be making an assumption, but I don't think I'm off here based on the number of people I've spoken to. Going by the Pareto principle, my estimate is that 20 percent of companies do the work while 80 percent don't, or do it ineffectively.

Implementation is Key

Part of my business is getting paid to make online marketing plans for companies. I enjoy the process greatly but I'm often let down at the end. There's a lot of business generation potential lost because of a lack of implementation. Imagine designing a car only to find out that the builders left out the engine and transmission. It looks great, but it doesn't go anywhere. That's what a lot of companies have when it comes to their online presence: a great looking website with no performance.

It's a Process

My suggestions are based on principles of inbound marketing. This approach focuses on creating exceptional content that earns the attention of qualified prospects and brings them into your sphere of influence. Your content is what attracts visitors and gives you the chance to convert them to leads. Once you have leads, you can create customers. With delighted customers, you create brand ambassadors who in turn introduce you to new qualified prospects. For the inbound marketing cycle to be effective, all the systems within need to be in place. When you don't implement one or more parts, the cycle doesn't function. This isn't because of a lack of knowledge. It's because of a lack of implementation.

If you need some help implementing or if you still feel you have some knowledge gaps when it comes to marketing effectively online, please feel free to give us a call.

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SEO is Never Complete

Mark Kawabe - Monday, June 18, 2018

Search Engine Optimization NotesSearch engine optimization (SEO) is by necessity a never-ending process. The actions you take today may get you top rankings in the SERPs (search engine results pages), but what happens when things change? Will the approach you've taken still be appropriate?

Google Changes?

Google is pretty much the only search engine most people pay any attention to when they talk about SEO. I haven't spoken to anyone lately who said they want to achieve top rankings in Bing or Yahoo. So, let's focus on Google.

Do a quick search online and you'll find a common statistic that says Google updates their search algorithm between 500~600 times per year. Not all of those will be major updates, but every year there are updates that seem to cause major rankings shifts for a large number of websites. Some sites night not be affected at all, while others might find themselves wiped out of the top positions.

Google's always changing, so if you're going to invest in search engine optimization, you should be investing in monitoring as well.

Your Competition Never Sleeps

Well, maybe they do, but if you've got competitors, chances are they're also working on their SEO. If you bump a competitor out of the #1 spot, they're probably going to do something about it once they notice. What will happen to your site's rankings when your competition improves their SEO? Keep monitoring and find out. You'll probably need to respond.

consequences

If your business depends on having good rankings in the SERPs, then a drop in rankings will result in a drop in revenue, assuming the same conversion rate. If you have 500 people per week visiting your website with a 3% conversion rate, you'll have 15 customers. If your rankings drop and you only have 100 visitors per week, you'll have 3 customers. For most businesses, more is better.

SEO is never complete. SEO professionals will never tell you it is. Do the work - get the results - monitor for changes - take remedial action when necessary. For the health of your business, avoid the mistake of thinking you're ever "done" with search engine optimization.

If you need some SEO advice or assistance, please give us a call!

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For the Love of Pete - Update!

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, June 13, 2018

UpdateWordPress websites are now the norm. As with most content management systems (CMS), there are lots of moving parts, and these are constantly being updated. Failure to update a WordPress website can lead to your site being hacked, which is a generally unpleasant experience for everyone, and could be costly for you.

What Moving Parts?

When you use WordPress, you're using an open source piece of software. The core WordPress installation is updated fairly regularly to fix security and functionality issues. In addition, your site probably uses a theme, which is an add-on to the core WordPress installation. Themes add functionality, and they are also updated regularly to keep up with WordPress changes. Then there are plugins, which are small bits of software that add more functions that WordPress and your theme don't include themselves. These plugins are also updated on a regular basis.

Ignoring Updates

I've been told by website managers that they're afraid to update WordPress because they're afraid things might break. I'll be the first to admit that sometimes, updates do cause problems. However, that's relatively rare, and you can get around breakage by making sure you back up your website files and database first. If we built your website, there's a backup plugin installed that runs daily database and weekly full backups, and you can always call us if something goes awry on an update.

consequences

What happens when your site gets hacked? Stress. Panic. Fear. Unnecessary spending. Avoid it all by keeping your WordPress website updated, backed up, and secured.

With all the technology at your fingertips, there's no excuse not to keep your WordPress website's components up to date. Actually, there's only one: lack of knowledge. It's not hard to learn, and if you need some help, we'll be happy to teach you. I strongly encourage you to get educated, and if you need some help, just click the big green button and we'll take care of you, so you can take care of yourself going forward :)

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The Right Tools for the Job

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Right Tools For The Job.In the online marketing world, there are dozens of tools that you can use to "make your job easier". The problem is, sometimes you don't know what the tools are best used for. You can waste a lot of time using a tool that's not right for the job, or using the right tool but using it improperly.

Your Website

My view on websites is that they should be central to your online presence. Almost everything you post on social media should be referencing what is available on your site. Think of it this way: if it's worth saying on social media, it's worth having on your site as a more "permanent" resource.

Making a website like this creates authority, which is what Google's looking for in a site. Want your SEO efforts to pay off? Then make your website better. Pushing all your good content out via social media may get you likes and shares, but it won't do any good for your site. You're investing money in your site through design and hosting at the very least. Maximize your investment and build an awesome asset!

Email Marketing

Yes, I know. Email is for "old people". "Millennials prefer texting." Yada yada yada. The majority of working people use email daily for work and personal use. Email reaches people across all demographics. Don't buy into the BS that a certain segment of society doesn't use it, because it's not true. HOW people use email is different. Older generations may be more used to checking email on a desktop or laptop. Younger people may check using smartphones. Regardless, they're checking email, so learn how they're checking and respond accordingly. Email on a smartphone? Your template had better be responsive. Personalize your messages and tailor your lists to adapt to changing usage patterns. You can use "old" technology in new and better ways.

Social Media Marketing

Personally, I see people giving up on social far too soon. Why? Because it takes work. Reposting will only take you so far. If you have nothing to say that your audience will find valuable, then don't say anything. Cat photos? Unless you can relate it to your business, please don't. If you're in business and you don't have a lot of time, look at using automation to help with your social media duties. You can set up scheduled posts days, weeks or months in advance. Those same automation tools can help keep you informed about responses etc., so you won't drop the ball when a scheduled post inspires a ton of interest. Again, you still need to put in the work when it comes to content generation, but there are ways to make things go easier.

Search Engine Optimization

Unless you're in the top 10 results for every conceivable keyword search your audience might use to find you, SEO is never complete. There's always more you can do to stay on top and ahead of your competitors, who if they're smart, are trying to get to be in the #1 position themselves. At the very least, you should be monitoring your positions on a monthly basis. Anyone who tells you SEO is dead simply doesn't understand how search engines work. Google (and the others) are constantly evolving and innovating as they strive to bring the best possible user experience to their users. Sites that don't evolve will be left behind.

Conversion Rates

This is the most important statistic most people ignore. Whatever you do on your website, email marketing, social media platforms or SEO can be measured in terms of lead generation. If you're not generating leads, you're not getting anywhere. Period. If you have 100 visitors to your website and you don't have any calls, emails, subscriptions to newsletters or your blog, something needs to change. Otherwise, your investment is producing zero ROI, and nobody likes getting nothing for their money.

When you have so many tools to choose from, it can be tempting to use all of them at once. That's a great way to cut off a finger! Focus on one. Make sure you're using it properly. Figure out your strategy, your processes, and make sure it's integrated into everything else. Only then should you introduce a new tool. Demonstrate mastery, then repeat.

Demonstrate mastery. You do it in your business. You can do it with your online marketing. We can help :)