EduCyber is pleased to announce their workshop “Internet Marketing for the Decision-Maker” on Wednesday, November 3 from 8:30 – 10:00. This in person workshop will be held in the 2nd Floor Conference room at 4251 Kipling St. in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
In this fast-paced seminar Brian DeLaet, CEO of EduCyber, will introduce the five main questions any firm should ask of their Internet Marketing company. There is an incredible deluge of marketing offers from Search Engine Optimization to paid search to affiliate marketing. How do you know you’re getting the right mix for your company?
Attendees of this workshop will gain an understanding of:
- What to look for in an Internet Marketing company
- What the current trends in search marketing are
- Whether to venture into social media marketing
- How to build an integrated Internet marketing plan
Further information can be found at www.educyber.com (click on the Register Online for our seminars button). This seminar costs $19.95.
EduCyber, a web design and Internet marketing firm, is based in Wheat Ridge, Colorado since 1998. EduCyber specializes in designing and building websites that are optimized to generate business. EduCyber works with growing companies to position them properly on the Internet and build their sites in order to grow their businesses.
Current EduCyber customers include non-profit organizations like the MaxFund, the West Chamber Serving Jefferson County and Wheat Ridge 2020, as well as for-profit businesses particularly in the home services (HVAC, plumbing, electrical, landscaping) area and e-commerce sites for businesses large and small.
People often ask me why is it so important to use a blogging software like WordPress. I try to explain the intricacies of RSS technology to them – not so really simple after all – at least not to some folks. But now I have a really simple demonstration.
On Monday, September 13th I posted a blog on Setting Rules for Social Networking. To be very precise, I posted it at 2:41 Mountain Time. Nine minutes later I received a Google alert telling me that “Brian DeLaet” had once again been found. . . you guessed it , from my blog that had just been posted.
That says, more eloquently than I can, why you want to leverage technology. And, I’ll put in a plug for our blog tool of choice: WordPress. WordPress is so nice because it is easy to install (most web hosts have an automated installer), is easy to update (usually just a one click update process) and had hundreds of plugins that help you do whatever you might want to do. The plugins themselves are easy even for beginners to get a handle on.
So why would a company want to blog? Let’s see . . . more people coming to visit your web site? More web site visitors inquiring about your services or products? More inquiries turning into sales?
With the speed at which information is made available, you can monitor the news and blog about what is happening as it happens. If you have a tree removal service, for example, you could blog about how important it is for those in mountain communities to leave sufficient space around their homes in case of fires like the Fourmile Canyon fire or Reservoir Road fire. This typically translates into a lot more traffic on your web site and to more tree trimming jobs.
Need help setting up a blog or hosting your blog? We can help. Call us at 303 268-2245.
Some of you will think this is some sort of Dickensian entreaty to eliminate “the surplus population”. But it isn’t.
I’m talking about orphaned web pages. A web page gets orphaned in much the same way a human does. It’s parent dies or goes away.
Let me give an anecdote to explain both how it happens and why its bad. I recently met a very well known financial advisor in the Denver area. We arranged to meet at one of my favorite restaurants for some adult beverages. I got the time wrong and showed up a half an hour early.
So I googled his name so I could give him a call. The first page that came up was from his web site. So, having a few minutes, I started clicking around and thought to myself “This guy needs our service – his web site is WAAAY out of date.”
Once he arrived, I showed him the page and he said “That’s from our old site.” When I clicked on the Home link I could see the new site but all of the old site was still out there and still active. All of these pages were orphaned. They weren’t really supposed to be there.
The obvious solution to this problem is to delete the pages. Right?
Ahh, you were paying attention, good for you. The number 1 Google Ranking for his name was the orphaned page. Delete that and you lose visibility.
There are two steps that should be taken to make sure you get rid of orphaned pages but don’t lose the Search Engine Optimization power that page or those pages have attained.
- Create a 301 redirect so that links to the old page will be forwarded to the new page or the appropriate replacement for the old page. There are different ways to implement a 301 redirect. The best way is to edit the .htaccess file but many web control panels will let you accomplish this through a control panel.
- Then it is safe to delete the old page.
In case it’s still not clear, let me give you one more example. We recently redesigned the West Chamber Serving Jefferson County web site. Before the redesign there was a Google link to the Youth Leadership Jefferson County that was http://www.westchamber.org/lead-yljc.asp. After the redesign, that page no longer exists but if you try to visit that page, you end up at http://www.westchamber.org/lead-yljc-asp/ which is the correct link.
I just discovered an orphan on our own web site today. That now has a proper 301 redirect so folks don’t get lost or confused. Need help with this? Give us a call at 303 268-2245.
Lots of folks start their web design with a logo and maybe some colors. Then they add some copy that seems appropriate and figure out how to navigate through the site and they’re done with the design.
After they’ve finished, they’re ready for Internet marketing – maybe they’ll add a search engine optimization campaign or a paid search campaign (like Google AdWords). The more internet savvy ones will even develop a social media marketing campaign.
But the design and the marketing aren’t planned out together.
That’s a mistake.
Build your web site on a firm foundation
You have to start with a firm foundation. What better foundation for a web site design that your marketing goals? Start with the result in mind and you’ll build a solid site that not only complements your business but actually drives it forward.
Three Questions to consider as you build your foundation:
- What is the main call to action throughout the site?
- How do the various pages flow or drive the visitor towards the call to action?
- How can I forget about the features and focus on the benefits (which is what the customer really wants anyway)?
There are lots of places on the Internet you can go to get a web site designed for less than $100. You get what you pay for however. There are also web sites that will help you with Search Engine Optimization for only $25 or some such nonsense. Again you get what you pay for which in this case can actually be counterproductive to your site. Finally there are some excellent graphic designers out there that learn how to convert their work into html and declare themselves to be web designers. For a modest sum, they will build you a web site. Be very careful in this case also.
There are three main elements to web design that you need to make sure you’ve got covered:
1) Good design
Building a good web site means that it needs to be designed to fit YOUR needs. The problem with most do-it-yourself template sites is that you have to customize your needs to the template rather than having the design customized to your needs. Your site should be visually engaging and should be customized to help you get your message across to your customers.
2) Search Engine Friendliness
We won’t lie to you. SEO is very competitive and can get quite expensive. But a key part of web design is an architecture that is friendly to search engines. Some key elements to include in the design: using key words in file names and in image tags; naming sub-directories well; and the obvious – using keywords in the written content – but then also placing that written content in the best place on the page. None of these are included in your super-cheap online SEO services but more importantly, many web designers don’t use or understand these principles.
I’ve seen some really beautiful web sites but have had no clue what the next step is. Often graphic designers that hang up their web design shingle are the culprits. They design visually engaging graphics that don’t point the user to the next step. A term often used with web sites is “intuitive”. An intuitive web site is one where the user can easily figure out (without having to do any “figuring”) what to do. Navigation, for example, isn’t hidden or difficult to figure out – instead the menu items are clearly menu items and you can click on them to move to the next page.
Having good fresh content for your site is vital for keeping people coming back to your site and to make your site relevant. Google gets this pretty well. So know they have Google Web Elements. Essentially web elements lets you take different content from Google and display it on your site.
Since Google excels at search, I decided to see how difficult it would be to integrate Web Elements into a page at Educyber.com. Our Social Media Marketing Page hasn’t been updated in more than a month so at the Web Elements home page I clicked on News. Choose the size I wanted typed in Social Media in the Create one field, copied the code, pasted it into www.educyber.com/web/educyber-social-media-marketing.php, uploaded it and “Ta Dah” I was done. (Go ahead and check it out – scroll to the bottom of the page)
Now I don’t really like this kind of integration because if anyone clicks the link that Google displays, they go away from my site and off to someone else’s. That can’t be good for business, can it?
But there are some useful features that can work for your site. For example, you can embed a Google Calendar onto your site. So, say for example you hold regular events, meetings or seminars. You can create a Google Calendar, make it public and then pull your calendar onto whichever page(s) on your site you want.
Or if you have a powerpoint presentation that would be beneficial to share with your web visitors, choose Presentations, upload your presentation (or link to someone else’s), then copy the code and paste into your web page – Presto! You have a web presentation.
All in all, Web Elements is a useful application – one of those “Why didn’t I think of this?” kind of tools that can help you engage your web visitors.
We get a lot of clients coming to us when the original designer disappears or the in house designer gets so busy with their real job that the company decides to outsource. When we take on a new client, there are three essentials for a business web site that we go over with them:
- Look. Too many people stop with just this basic tenet of web design: having a nice look. What does it mean to have a nice look? The elements of the site need to flow together. There should be a cohesive look to the site with a logo and color scheme that build and reinforce the brand. A clean, simple site is more attractive and more likely to engage your web visitors. Take your logo (or create one if need be) and use the colors and font to determine other key elements. When choosing colors and images or photos, consider your target market and what they are attracted to.
- Usability. We’ve seen way too many sites that look fantastic but aren’t user-friendly. If you want to build a site that actually helps your business, it needs to be usable. Building a user-friendly site means the first question you need to ask yourself is, what do you want people to do? If the goal is to get the visitor to make a purchase, the navigation and purchasing experience need to be very easy to accomplish and should make it clear how to add something to your cart, how to proceed to check out, etc. If the goal is to get someone to call you, make sure you have the phone number as the call to action. I often tell the story of the customer who said his goal was to educate the consumer . . . “well ultimately I want them to call me”, he said. “Where’s your phone number?” I replied.
- have a search friendly site. Search Engine Optimization is an ongoing task that can become quite expensive. But every web site and every page on a web site should be search-friendly. This simply means to keep in mind your key words as you write the content, name images, and create meta-tags. The Internet is not a field of dreams. If you build it, you also have to market it and provide ways for people to know what you’re about. If you use your key words in your site properly, you’ll have a search-friendly site that will help to drive more people to it.
Search-Friendliness. Having a nicely designed, usable site gets you no where unless you also
Social Media Marketing, promoting your business through internet social media, is a good idea for any business. One of the questions I’m asked most often is “How much time does it take?” and the companion complaint I hear is “I don’t have time for that.”
My response to that is, what business is doing so well they don’t have to take time to market themselves? So, if you’ve made the decision to spend the time, here are 10 tools you will find quite helpful:
- Twitter: Found at twitter.com it is called a Microblogging web site. You have 140 characters per message (the message is called a tweet). You can follow anyone and anyone can follow you. It’s a great way to connect with people in your industry, in your neighborhood, or even to see what the competition is up to.
- TweetDeck: Once you get into twitter, the twitter.com interface won’t be robust enough to manage the people you’re following. TweetDeck lets you categorize and segregate people you follow and makes it easy to reply, forward, or send direct messages.
- Facebook: Facebook.com started as a way for college students to connect but it has become big business and is a great way to connect with friends, colleagues, and potential clients. You can create a page for your business and collect “fans”. This provides a great way to communicate with “your” community.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com started as a way to connect with others in a business environment and has rapidly begun to grow into a site that lets you form business groups and connect with people in different ways.
- StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon.com is a great way to track and share web sites that you come across. Instead of bookmarking them with your browser, bookmark them with StumbleUpon and you can access them from any browser. It’s unique point is being able to “stumble upon” sites that others with your interests have found.
- Digg: Another social bookmarking site, Digg is more focused on news kind of things but is a great way to share your sites and find out what others are “Digging”
- FriendFeed: Much like dogpile.com brings results from different search engines together in one interface, FriendFeed.com lets you bring all your social media sites into one feed. You can also take your feed and import it into your accounts – I get facebook comments on my tweets because FriendFeed pulls them into my account.
- YouTube: I’m so keyed into the written word that I sometimes overlook the visual. But when we were not having good luck repairing my son’s iPod, he looked on YouTube and got step by step instructions. And that is why businesses can benefit – show step by step instructions on how to use your goods or services.
- MySpace.com: As sites like FaceBook and LinkedIn morphed to fit the changing needs of its members, myspace has grown into a “big boys” site with networking opportunities and connections similar to their more business-like counterparts.
- Craigslist: OK, its not really a social networking site but it is a key site to find or advertise things on and it’s pretty simple to figure out and use.