Unanticipated Events and Internet Marketing

It is the middle of May and outside it is snowing. Like many here in Colorado I can only shrug and say “Colorado weather!” although I suspect many folks across this country could say “<insert_your_state> weather!”

But as I ponder this unanticipated weather event, it reminds me how so often, in Internet marketing, we face unanticipated events. It may be that a FaceBook update cancels out all of the marketing you have been doing on FB. It may be that a new Google search algorithm update pushes your site down in the rankings or removes you from their rankings altogether.  These events can and do happen.

You have no control over what decisions social media or search engine companies make. They have millions of customers and make decisions they believe are in their best interests. You need to make decisions that are in your best interest as well.

And that means that the centerpiece of your internet marketing should always be your website. You own it. You can control what appears on it. You control the content. The layout. In the Internet marketing realm, it is (or should be) the one thing you have complete control over.

So what should you do with your site? Two simple things:

  1. Make your site search-friendly. The number one thing search engines in general and Google in particular look for is content. Often I have been told by a client or potential client they want to be ranked number one for their key phrase – something like “Denver website design”. Basically the formula is <geographic_identifier> followed by <industry_keyword_or_keyword_phrase>. And I ask, “Where on your site do you use that phrase?”
    That is usually followed by an uncomfortable silence.
    Create content – lots of content and yes, it has to be original content – and make sure that your content uses your keyword phrases. Then post it regularly to your web site. Hate blogging? That is fine. Post news and industry updates to your site instead. Post case studies. Post testimonials from happy clients. There are lots of ways to get good, keyword-laden content on your site that the search engines will love.
  2. Make your site social-friendly. The easiest way to do this is to make sure you have some kind of social-sharing link on all or most of your pages.  If you have a content management system web site, you should be able to do this in a few minutes.  You can also connect your site into your chosen social platforms – Facebook and Twitter are the easiest as they’re the most well-known.
    Don’t be afraid to think outside the box a little though. If your business is very visual, consider how Pinterest and / or YouTube could bring value. In any case, make your site social-friendly so it is easier to plugin to your larger marketing plan.

If you haven’t already, I urge you to take control of your Internet Marketing by making your web site the core. Add social. Add search. They are great ways to enhance your image, attract customers, and get into new markets. But make sure you understand what your goals are and how you need to get there.

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Building Websites on WordPress

A few short years ago we built most of our websites on pages that were more or less static. If a customer wanted to try something called blogging, we would add a piece of software into the site that allowed them to do this.

We had also been building sites on Content Management Software (CMS) like Joomla and Drupal. While the romance of users being able to update the content was consistently dangled before us, we found pretty consistently that users didn’t like or simply didn’t get how to use the backend interface.

In the meantime, this blogging software called WordPress was getting more and more powerful and users loved it. It had that elusive trait called “intuitiveness”. Users didn’t have to think. They could just put their content in and save or update it.

Before long we started building more and more of our sites completely on WordPress. It has grown to a very large user base (58.5 MILLION sites) and growing.

There are two great features of WordPress that fit very nicely with how EduCyber builds websites:

  1. EduCyber custom-designs every web site we build. Rather than starting with a template and shoving your content into it, we design the look and optimize it for conversion. Once we’ve got the look established, we create a template based on that look rather than vice-versa. WordPress has a flexible template system that allows us to approach design from this perspective.
  2. EduCyber develops powerful database-driven web sites. WordPress has great database features. We use those features and often add to it our own open-source software – onWord – to create web sites that have a variety of features – membership management, ecommerce, and more.

So if you are in the market for a custom-designed, database-driven website, why not give us a call?

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Blogging Basics

ХудожникИконописWas part of your New Year’s resolution to get back to blogging? Most of us know it is good for business. It keeps your site fresh. The search engines love new content. It helps you think about your business.  But you’re just not sure what to do next?  Here are some helpful hints:

Post REGULARLY (AT LEAST twice a month)

  • Write about what you do
  • Write about what you know
  • Write about the questions you answer regularly
  • Write about what is happening related to your industry
  • Feature projects you’re working on

Add

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Graphics to illustrate your point

Search Tips

  • Use  key words in the Title
  • Make sure the permalink has keywords in it
  • Tag each post with 2 – 5 tags
  • Categorize each post with 1 – 3 categories

Plan

  • Write several blogs at once
  • Schedule them to go out over the next several weeks
  • Never wait until the deadline for posting to write several more

Икони на светциХудожник

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Blogging and Consistency

You’ve heard the old adage that the road to heck is paved with good intentions. That appears to be especially true when it comes to blogging. During the design and development phase of sites we have customers who are all excited about the opportunity to blog.

Then reality (and life) sets in. And that blogging thing gets pushed to the bottom of the heap. After all, I’ll get to it when I have time. But then you never quite get the time. And the blog grows stale before you’ve even really started it.

Sound familiar?

Here are a few quick thoughts about blogging and consistency.

  1. The bare minimum you should blog – can’t stress enough that this is the bare minimum – is twice a month. Less than that and it isn’t really blogging.
  2. We recommend at least once a week. One of our customers blogs several times a week and their traffic has gone up around 400% in the last year.
  3. Blogs don’t have to be long – they aren’t college research papers. A good blog post can be two to three paragraphs.
  4. Write about what you do – that way you provide good original content AND you use lots of keywords for your industry.
  5. Write about the questions you get asked regularly. If the people you are in front of are asking, you can bet people are also looking for them online.
  6. If you get stuck on what to write, set aside 10 minutes and perhaps bring in one or more people to help you brainstorm a list of topics. Then you’ll be ready for writer’s block.
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Setting Rules for Social Networking

There was a very good article on setting rules for social networking in the Denver Business Journal earlier this month. David Schachter, the author notes how seemingly easy it is to reach “billions of people instanteously” from your mobile device.

Approaching the topic from a legal perspective – he is a lawyer after all – he addresses key areas like Privacy, Authorized Corporate Communications and how not to get in trouble by dissing people on the Internet. That is all good stuff.

The point that most intrigued me though is the importance for companies to maintain an official site and direct / require employees who engage in social media marketing (smm) to reference the official site. One of the most critical issues for business in smm is AUTHENTICITY. What better way to be authentic than to identify yourself and your company and especially the company’s web site?

Often I speak with those new to social media that somehow want to “jimmy” the system. One way people want to do that is by having staff or relatives create rave reviews under false names. Who would catch you anyway? Seems to be the thought process. If you’re thinking like that, stop. You will get caught. And it will hurt.

Businesses large and small have been caught doing this and suffered the consequences – everything from the embarrassment of having to apologize to the world at large to, gasp, loss of revenue. But by being authentic, by telling people who you are and where the company web site can be found, you show that you are engaged and people will listen, even if you are the corporate mouthpiece.

So don’t be afraid to be you and to let people know who you are. Show them the company site and engage.

I do have to disagree on one point David made though. On the topic of blogging he makes the comment “blogging may be unavoidable” which, as I told David, would be like McDonald’s saying “running TV ads may be unavoidable”. Blogging isn’t something you should want to avoid if you want to grow and prosper. Blogging continues to drive a lot of traffic to our site and the way we have integrated our blog into the rest of our social media, it drives even more.

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8 Ways to Defeat The Evil Blogger’s Block

Most of the new websites we build these days include blogs. We love blogs because search engines love blogs. Adding a blog to their website is the single easiest way for a business to get more visitors. Plus, it gives the business owner a real-time way to communicate with their customers. Hit publish and your message is out there! Very cool.

Except, I see a lot of new blog owners experience the dreaded “blogger’s block.” We’ve all experienced it. It’s also known as I’ve-got-this-new-blog-now-what-the-hell-do-I do-now syndrome.

Here’s my list of 8 Ways to Defeat The Evil Blogger’s Block

1. Feel the fear of the blank post page. Embrace the fear. Then, write anyway. (What? You thought I had some magic way to overcome this? Silly you.) Seriously, you have to practice doing it even when you’re not feeling especially motivated. Kind of like flossing your teeth.

2. Keep a file of stuff to steal, er, borrow from. You don’t think Shakespeare made up all of his plots, did you? (He didn’t.) Neither should you. If a topic is trending online that relates to your field, do your take on it. But strive for a bit of originality.

3. Keep up with what is trending in your field. Create a Google reader account and subscribe to blogs and news feeds about your field.

4. Answer customers’ questions in your blog. Tired of answering that same question over and over? Create a category in your blog to answer them.

5. Review books written about your field. For bonus points, post that review on Amazon.com.

6. Got a meaty topic that you can stretch over several posts? Write a series over a week or two.

7. Repurpose your old content. Have you already written white papers, presentations, even a book? Chop ’em up into blog posts. (And don’t worry they’ll detract from your book sales. If people like your blog, they’ll still buy your book.)

8. Post photos and video of sales, events, presentations, and seminars you’re giving. Where is it written that your posts have to be, well, written?

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