The Web For Business.com Blog

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


The Invisible Website

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It is unusual to find a site that is invisible in the search engines. I mean, you have to do so little to get a website into Google, yet I found one. Actually, I didn't find it - a client presented it to me and asked what could be done. He said it couldn't be found in the search engines. I didn't believe him, but after a quick check, I found that the website wasn't even indexed in Google despite having been online for more than a year.

Let me explain for a moment why this is so jaw-dropping. Most web developers will submit the work they do to the major search engines as part of their service. They'll either do a direct submission or let the engines crawl the site through links. I link to many of my clients' websites through my portfolio page and that's one simple way to set up an inbound link to a site. So imagine how much effort was involved to have the website NOT be picked up by any of the major search engines. You couldn't even find the website under a specific search for the company's name. That's how bad it was.

Fortunately, with a few changes to the site (there weren't even titles!) and the addition of a few inbound links the site was quickly spidered. It is now found on page one in Google when you search for the company name - which is where it should be. As for other SEO, well, that's for the client to decide.

Search engines owe you nothing. You owe it to your business to ensure your site appears in the major engines. At a minimum, if someone just types in your company name they should find you on the first page of results unless you have an exceptionally common corporate name. (If that's the case, you should really think about talking to a branding expert.)

Be a Drip

Mark Kawabe - Monday, September 13, 2010

Leaky faucets are bad, right? After all, drip, drip, drip, right down the drain.

That's how most people feel about their marketing budgets. Drip, drip, drip - money right down the drain. So what do they do? They stop marketing, and that's bad.

Don't worry about making a big splash - be a drip. Every day, you should be marketing. There needs to be a constant effort - even a small one - but you need to expend some energy to market your business.

Drip, drip, drip.

Those small efforts represent a bucketload of marketing over time. Those small efforts build mindshare in your prospects and existing customers so when they're ready to buy, your name is overflowing in their mind. Yours will be the first company they call and the one they trust because of your consistent marketing messages.

Remember: thousands of drops of water over time will wear away the stone but if they arrive all at once they'll just make a splash and the stone will remain unchanged.

Launch of Road to Recovery Natural Health

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, September 09, 2010

Today is the "official" launch of a new website for Craig Bowman. Craig's a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who is on a mission to guide people to better health through changes in diet and nutrition. He's a hall-of-fame weightlifter, husband, father and now, he's online.

Introducing: www.RoadToRecoveryNutrition.com

Ta da!!

Welcome online Craig!

Now, of course, the fun stuff begins. As I tell all my clients, getting online is the first step. Figuring out what to do online is where it gets interesting. We will be marketing Craig's guaranteed customized nutritional support programs throughout the GTA. In particular, Craig has developed a special cancer support program that has produced some spectacular results in some clients.

If you need some help getting your diet sorted out, give Craig a call.

On another note, the video on Craig's website marks the first collaboration between me and Merv Wrighton of UBU Video Productions. Merv's a long-time acquaintance and has gone into business to pursue his passion for making movies.  I'm sure you'll be seeing more of Merv's work on our websites in future.

UBU = You Be You

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, September 09, 2010

I am always happy when new websites get launched because I enjoy helping clients on their internet marketing journeys. The website is just the start. The real work is getting people to visit.

So, I'm pleased to announce the launch of the new website for UBU Video Productions at http://www.ubuvideo.ca.

This is the site of my friend and colleague Mervin Wrighton. He has opened a business to pursue his passion of movie and video production and from what I see, he's off to a running start.

Merv has done two videos for me to date. The first was for Craig Bowman of Road to Recovery Natural Health and the second was for Catherine King, candidate for town council in Pelham. I'm happy with the process we went through to make them and my clients are happy with the videos that resulted.

Congratulations on your new site Merv!

Vote Catherine King!

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Just wanted to note that a new website for Catherine King is now online.

www.VoteKingWard2.ca

Catherine is running for town council in Pelham (Ward 2) and we're happy to be assisting her attain elected office. Catherine's one of those people who knows how to make a difference and we wish her the best in her campaign.

Just remember - municipal elections are coming up on October 25th so get out there and make your voices heard!

New Online Video Production Services from The Web For Business.com

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Since our first foray into online video things haven't really changed all that much. I mean, YouTube is still a great way to market - it's just gotten bigger. Image quality has been improved, but that was to be expected.

One thing that hasn't changed much is the cost of getting a video produced. I personally think videos offer great value on websites, but the cost of development can be a barrier. On a client's behalf, I did some calling around to several video production companies. The cost to produce a 20 second spot to use online (with some green screen background manipulation) was anywhere between $500 to $1100 - and one company wanted more details before providing an estimate which to me suggests they would have been on the high side of the range.

What does this mean for our customs? It means we've gone out and come up with a lower-cost option for you to peruse. These days even cell phones have HD capability, so you know the cost of equipment has come down. The cost of software for video editing has come down as well. We've made an investment in both equipment and software and can now produce short slideshow-type videos starting at $150.

A long-time acquaintance recently opened his own business doing video shooting, editing and production. For companies that are looking for videos with higher production values than I can offer I highly recommend him. His name is Merv Wrighton and his company name is UBU Video Productions. UBU is pronounced "You Be You". You can reach him at 905-651-2728 or at [email protected] His website will be online soon so you can view his portfolio. He has produced videos for two of my clients and both are quite happy with his work, as am I.

Now Available - Wordpress Blogs

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, September 07, 2010

We are now offering Wordpress blogs as part of our standard hosting package. In other words, they're available at no extra charge - unless you want some customization of them in which case the usual hourly rate applies.

Of course, just because we offer a blog doesn't mean you NEED to start blogging - but in case you wanted to - and have a business case for doing so, we can now make this happen within your website.

Blogging can benefit your site in several ways.

  • A Better Experience for Visitors - they're visiting because they're interested in the services your company provides. The more you can tell them about yourself, the better.
  • More Content For Search Engines - search engines need content to determine how to index your site. Blogging about a variety of topics increases the chances your site will be found. It's just one more strategy to employ. Remember - nothing on its own is the key to better placement.
  • You Look Better - having a blog that's moderately up to date is a comfort to visitors. If your last blog post is May 2009, well, visitors will think you haven't been up to much since then. Are you really still in business? Posting regularly (once a week or once a month is fine - just be regular) will showcase your knowledge, personality and expertise.

Just a few thoughts for you to ponder.

Have a great day!

Your Enemy is You

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, September 02, 2010

This is related to my earlier blog post about how search engines don't owe you anything.

A client and I were discussing a local company that has managed to crowd out the first page of Google results for a variety of keywords and phrases. My client asked what could be done to compete with this company in Google. Two ideas came out of that question.

One: The "Problem" Might Not Be a Problem

When I did some checking into the popularity of the keyword phrases in question, it turns out there were very few searches registered in Google. In other words, the competition was dominant for phrases that few people used in their searches. Fighting to get a top ranking for an infrequently-used keyword phrase is probably not worth my client's effort.

Two: Doing Nothing Is Not an Option

I strongly encouraged my client to do something with his website. Small businesses don't have a ton of time to keep sites updated. Those who do can gain an advantage over time in two ways. First, the search engines will have more content to crawl so their sites will be more likely to show up for a variety of searches. Second, the HUMANS who come to their websites will be more likely to do business with them if the company has a helpful website - which requires content. Doing a little bit of SOMETHING consistently is better than consistently doing nothing.

Our worst enemies are ourselves. Doing the right things for ourselves takes effort. Just ask anyone who's tried to start and stick with a diet or exercise program. You can make a big difference with small efforts over time. Starting today, what will you do to make a difference in your business?

Website Security

Mark Kawabe - Friday, July 09, 2010

A client of mine has their site hosted with a local ISP. Due to some changes at the ISP the FTP login for the website had been changed.

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and if you have the FTP information for a website you have the ability to manage the website's files.

In other words, this is important information.

I called the ISP to get the new FTP login. I didn't identify myself or my company and just told the person on the phone that due to the changes I needed the new FTP login to access my client's website. I was asked for the domain of the website and was given the new FTP information. I was even allowed to specify the password.

Our policy at The Web For Business.com is to provide information like this to the client directly. If a client chooses to give that information to a third party, that's their decision. Nobody but a client can get this information from us unless the client has given us permission in writing to communicate with a third party.

If I was a hacker imagine what I could have done to the website.

Ook. Happy Friday!

Search Engines Owe You Nothing

Mark Kawabe - Monday, July 05, 2010

There seems to be a persistent belief that when one has a website, it will somehow rank in the top results automatically for a variety of keywords of your choosing.

Sorry if this is the first time you've heard someone tell you this, but it's a lie.

Search engines are in the business of providing the most "relevant" results. Defining "relevant" is therefore key to understanding how results are ranked. Here's a primer:

  1. Your beautifully-designed, well thought out and sparkling website is not automatically "relevant" in the eyes of a search engine.
  2. You can "optimize" your website until it hurts, but that may still not benefit your "relevance" to a search engine.
  3. If you are under the illusion that your site "should" rank well in the search engines, keep in mind that search engines owe you nothing. It is your responsibility to understand how THEY work. The onus is not on any one search engine to understand how fantastic your website is.

How search engines work is a well-understood mystery. There are practices that most search engine marketers "know" work, but exactly how they work is a mystery - and the mystery changes from time to time as search engines update their formulas.

For example, it is "known" that Google "loves" inbound links to websites. This is why there are now things called link farms. These are also thinly disguised as web "directories". Link farms add links by the thousands to other people's websites - mostly for free but often people will pay to submit their website's link to hundreds or thousands of these sites. Have you ever been told or read that to be successful in Google they need to get as many inbound links to your website as possible? This is a half truth.

The other half of the formula is something called link "relevance". Let's say you're a breeder of Border Collies. If you ask your fellow Border Collie breeders to put a link to your website from theirs and you reciprocate, those links have some "relevance" as they're coming from one Border Collie breeder's website to another. If you also get a link from a link farm where there is no theme to the page your link is found on, that link will have lower "relevance" in comparison to the one from the other breeder's website. So, you could have thousands of largely "irrelevant" links to your website and still not rank highly in Google.

This is just one area of misunderstanding when it comes to search engines. There are dozens more criteria that make up the ranking formulas of the search engines. How each of them fits into the search engine marketing (SEM) puzzle are generally known by people in the SEM industry.

I will be covering search engine optimization and more during my next seminar series. Contact me if you want to know when our next seminars will be held this fall.