10 Reasons You Don’t Need a New Website

New WebsiteThat’s right. I’m not here to talk you INTO buying a new web site. I’m here to tell you why you don’t really need one:

  1. You paid for a whole new web site five years ago
  2. Websites don’t generate new customers, good salespeople do that
  3. Somebody told me I’d have to write something called a blog. Regularly. Not going to happen. Don’t need it.
  4. You’re not Amazon or eBay – you’re not selling products, you offer a service
  5. I had someone give me a quote for a site. $20,000 sounds like an awful lot. Especially when I get emails everyday telling me I can get a site for $100.
  6. You’ve been in business for more than 10 years and you haven’t needed one yet, why should you get one now?
  7. Your competitors have all had web sites for many years. You’d just be spending time and money trying to catch up to them.
  8. You’re only open 40 hours a week. If you had a web site it could give the appearance that you’re open 24/7.
  9. You’re too small for a brand. You don’t really have a brand so there is nothing to “put out there” for the world to see.
  10. People in your area need your product, not people far away so why give them an opportunity to buy it online?
  11. BONUS: Everyone else has a web site – you can stand out by not having one.

Have you heard these? Have you heard them coming out of your own mouth? If one or more of these reasons belongs to you, then I say, “Welcome to 1995”.

The reality is you do need a web site. A good one. One that is less than five years old, reflects who you are as a company or business, shows to all visitors that you are legitimate, builds up your brand – whatever your brand is, and what about those $100 websites or even the free ones? You’ll end up looking cheap. Is that your brand?

So if after reading this you decide you really do want a web site despite all these great reasons to the contrary, give us a call at 303 268-2245.


Your Web Site: A Unique Marketing Message

One of the questions I ask potential customers is what sets them apart in their niche. Almost inevitably the reply is “Our service”. The obvious problem there is that if everyone’s service is what makes them unique, then it isn’t unique.

It is important to have a UNIQUE marketing message that resonates well with others.

And resonating in the right manner is key. Last week I attended a networking event in downtown Denver. One of the hotels had a free giveaway of Whoopee Cushions. Now their web site stresses they are a uniquely fun boutique hotel and they do guarantee a “completely humorous and modern hotel experience” but does a whoopee cushion convey that? Or are you as likely to turn off potential customers as get them excited? I have a difficult time viewing this as a positive experience but I guess I don’t find fake flatulence as funny as some.

Another example of how NOT to have a unique marketing message goes back nearly 10 years ago to the ad campaign that nearly doomed Quiznos. Remember it? Some referred to it as the dancing rats.  Relive the horror at


if you don’t recall. Associating your restaurant chain with something that looks like a rat turns out not to be a good idea. Whodda thunk it?

So how do you determine what makes you unique? It takes more than a few minutes or a short blog article to get it but here are a few tips to help you get started:

1.       Ask your customers why they work with you / buy from you.

2.       Look at the entire spectrum of your clientele – is there a certain theme or niche running through all (or most) of them?

3.       If you are a service based business, write down EVERY service you have ever offered and then review the list looking for a common thread. Perhaps you are a CPA that offers services tailored to non-profit organziations? Or to home-service companies such as plumbers, electricians and drywallers?

4.       If you sell a product, review your list of SKUs and ask yourself what they have in common. Are they all outdoor products? What group are they most likely to appeal to? Stay at home moms? Fly fishermen? Couples in their 30s who don’t have children?

5.       Set out all the printed marketing materials you use and look at them all. Compare them to your web site and any other marketing you do. What emotions bubble to the top?

Take some time and really think through this. Once you have a good idea, let it cook for a few days to make sure it is done. We took a long time coming up with Partner * Engage * Convert and finally just listened to ourselves as we communicated with customers. Guess which three words we kept hearing and in what order?


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?


Web Site Bridge

I’ve been asked a lot lately what sets us apart from the competition. While we fill a distinct niche, it is often difficult to articulate how what we do is different from others.

Does This Bridge Go Anywhere?Today I’ll use a bridge analogy. This bridge on the right gets me where I’m going. It is very functional. One side of the bridge looks much like the other side. Many web firms can give you a web site. But most of those firms will give you a site that looks both like most of the rest of their web sites and like most of the sites that are out there on the internet.

You’ll notice also that this bridge doesn’t give you much of a view. It just goes from point a to point b. No railings or other features to help you. Notice also that you could probably get by without this bridge. Just a little hop and you’d be across that ditch and on the other side. Other folks design web sites that don’t really help you get anywhere difficult. Those sites have few or no images, and little to spark the imagination. There are no “railings” that you can hold on to and grasp new meaning. And frankly if the site didn’t exist, it probably wouldn’t have much of an effect on business anyway because it isn’t generating leads, interest or new customers.

Now consider the bridge below. This bridge practically invites you to come and stand on it. The path is wide, there’s a pleasant arch to it there are railings. We make web sites like this. First they are visually appealing. They let the visitor know they are welcome to step onboard. Next, and this is the most important part of any bridge, they actually go somewhere. The bridge in the picture crosses a babbling brook that turns into a torrent every spring. Without the bridge, you’d be stuck on your side of the river. With our sites, we help you get where you’re going – each site is designed to help your business grow. We build powerful, data-driven web sites that can streamline processes, attract and retain more customers and offer opportunities to stay connected and build on the relationship.

GoodbridgeAnd just like every bridge has many of the same parts but a good bridge fits in and enhances its surroundings, that is what our websites do. Some firms ask you what template you like best. We never start with a template, instead we spend time listening to you to determine what you need. Then we bring our expertise to bear to build a custom look that not only carries your brand forward but also draws the visitor in.

So the choice, dear reader, is yours. You can choose the plain old bridge (web site) that draws no attention or you can choose a beautifully designed bridge that helps move your company forward. And that is what sets us apart.


Standing Out in a Crowd

2012 04 10 11 32 54 559 E1334356285339Most business owners understand the value of having a Unique Selling Proposition, that special something that sets them apart from the rest of the competition and makes folks choose their company when there are lots of choices.

Only some folks get it better than others. Look at the picture on the left.

The wearer of this tuxedo will definitely stand out in the crowd. But will he leave the impression he desires? Will the ladies think “Wow, I can’t wait until I see that guy again?” or are they more likely to think “Wow, I hope I never see that guy again?”

Are you giving out that kind of an impression to your customers? What is it that sets you apart from the crowd?

We all want to stand out in the right way. Look at the picture of an iPad.

Something about it makes you think “ohh, cool” It looks elegant. If you’ve touched anything techy in the last couple of years and look at one of these, you want to pick it up and start using it. It really is a nifty little contraption that lets you do all manner of cool and useful things.Ipad

That’s how we all want people to interact with our brand. Whether it’s a tagline, a logo, or a product we make exclusively, we want to generate that same good emotional feeling.

Your web site evokes an emotional feeling in visitors. I encourage you to take a look at your site with fresh eyes. What feeling does it evoke? Tired eyes? Get a colleague or customer, someone who hasn’t been to your site (or not in a while) and see what their response is.

For example let’s take an example of whitewater rafts. It’s that time of the year to plan your trip and it just so happens that one of our customers, www.downriverequip.com sells them. Take a look at their site. What emotions do you get?

The idea we are targeting here is that you’re right there on the river. Seasoned rafters will recognize a river map in the background. And yet you can also see the menu and wide range of products available.

Contrast that with this site I just found: http://www.boatstogo.com/. They too sell rafts. What emotions does this site bring up? What is memorable about it? What makes them stand out?

Take some time to contrast your site with the competition. Does it stand out? If so, is it in a good way or is it more like the orange tuxedo?

If it seems like you’re not projecting the right image, give us a call and we’ll help you out  – 303 268-2245 ext. 4.



The Importance of Being Heard

How do you get your message out? More importantly, how do you get your message out so that it is heard above the cacophony of others struggling to get their message out?

That is the trial of the age in which we live. People are constantly exposed to messaging whether it be via TV, radio, online music, Internet browsing, Facebooking, email campaigns, ads in your favorite apps, or a combination thereof (for example, we just signed up for HuluPlus and one of my kids first questions as we were enjoying reruns of a favorite program was, “How come there are commercials? Aren’t we paying for this?”). Now there is group texting as a targeted way to get your message out – this supposedly requires the end user to opt in but we’ll see how long that lasts.

So what is the best answer? There is no single BEST WAY. But it is very important for you to understand who you are trying to reach and what that particular audience is most likely to respond to. In other words, you should not try the shotgun approach. I recommend, instead the artillery approach: carefully determine where your message needs to go, and then fire away, but don’t stop there. Find out if you were on target and if not, then readjust your settings and fire again.

How does that work?

Well in actual artillery you usually have a forward observer who scouts out the location and communicates the coordinates back. This forward observer is crucial. Without one, the artillery has no idea where to fire. In your campaign, you need to do some forward observing. Where is your target? Where will they be when you begin your campaign? How are they “outfitted”? Do they use smart phones? Do they text a lot? How do they receive news and information? Via the Internet? TV? Radio? How do they interact with various media? All of this information should be gathered as part of your forward observing.

In real artillery the forward observer communicates with the fire direction center which actually computes the distance from the target, the precise direction to the target and handles all the other data calculations. For you this means you need to evaluate the data you discover or receive about how your target actually behaves so you can determine which forms of communication are most effective for your target.

The command post is where the power lies – it is the command post that controls the firing of the guns. For you this means now you get to make the decisions: What venues will be used (provided the input from the fire direction center); when the campaign will start; whether it will be shooting only once or “walking the fire” onto the target with multiple shots.

But the story too often ends there. What you need, just like real artillery, is to go back to the forward observer and make sure you hit the target! For your business, that means you need to measure the results of your campaign. Did you hit your target sales? Did you get the right number of leads? Did the phone ring enough times? Whatever you determine, at the outset you want to measure, you have to actually measure. If need be, now is the time to readjust your sites and fire again. If you scored a direct hit, you can determine whether it makes sense to go after the same target again or whether to shift your sights to another, similar target.

While the goal of an actually artillery campaign is to rain down death and destruction, the goal of a business communication campaign is to grow your business. So in your case, collateral effects aren’t damaging. If you focused on one specific area of communication and got lots of collateral effects such as people close to the target area calling, buying  or otherwise doing business, this is even more data you can take into account with your next artillery campaign.

(Details on artillery taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_artillery)


Are You Throwing Money Away?

I often hear comments like “We tried Facebook and it didn’t work” or “I spent $4000 on Google AdWords and didn’t get anything”.  The first question I ask is “What were your goals?” and follow up with “How were you measuring results?” The answer, all too frequently, is a blank stare.

Throwing money at problems is a solution best reserved for government. Well, I’d prefer they not use it either but that is a different discussion. If you are planning to do any kind of online marketing you need to have a plan. Otherwise you can just drive down the highway, open your wallet, and throw the money out the window. You have just as good a chance of someone picking it up and tracking you down as you do getting any kind of results that will help you grow your business.

Here are the important elements to putting together an online marketing plan:

Understand Elements: What are the parts of your online marketing. Often the most important one is the one most overlooked – the website. Often the website is the centerpiece of the marketing because it is the piece you have the most control over. Other elements include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Paid Search (usually Google AdWords)
  • Paid Advertising (on other web sites)
  • Email campaign(s)
  • Foursquare
  • Landing Pages (usually a part of your website)

Understand Offline Elements:  Usually an effective Internet Marketing campaign is folded into a larger marketing campaign. This might include a direct mail campaign, distributing flyers, newspaper advertising, ads on bus benches, billboards, or a variety of other venues. The important part of bringing these together is understanding how they work. For example QR codes can be an effective way to move people from print to digital. It is also important to maintain consistency in brand and message across media.

Start with the End in Mind: You have to have a clue – that is, it helps to know where you want to go so that you can use your resources wisely. So determine what success will look like:

  1. Will it be an additional $x in revenue each month?
  2. Will it be x number of new customers?
  3. Will it be x number of new leads?
  4. Will it be x number of downloads of a video or file?
  5. Will it be x number of new appointments?

You can add to this list as needed. The important thing is that the end is geared toward helping you grow. Once you know where you are going, you can begin to plan how to get there.

Determine Parts to Include: Now you are ready to figure out what all needs to be included. If the goal is to generate leads for your business, you might determine that paid advertising or paid search aren’t the right venue. But running a contest of some kind on Facebook and Tweeting about it on Twitter might be just right. One of the strengths of Internet Marketing is that you can change your mind pretty quickly. If the paid search yields zero results, you aren’t stuck with it – you can stop within minutes. Or start it nearly as quick.

Determine Integration and Flow: It is still important to keep the big picture in mind. If you’re doing a print campaign as well and using a QR code to get people to your Facebook page, test the code with several different devices to make sure it works. Boy it gets embarrassing (and expensive) to direct people to the wrong (or a non-existent) page. Another thing to consider is steps in the process. While the ultimate goal may be getting them to fill out a form on your site, getting them to first “Like” you on Facebook makes it much easier for you to reach out to them in the future.

Determine Measurement Points: We strongly recommend the adage “What gets measured is what gets done” So determine what all you will measure. A good example of this can be seen in the travel industry.  While a very large percentage of folks research travel online, a much smaller percentage actually book online. So bookings would be one thing to measure but “intent to travel” is also something to try to measure. This can be measured by how many people actually viewed a deal on your web site or Facebook page. Or by how many people checked pricing. Or by how many people liked your page.

A key here is to have several measurement points. If you’re just looking at online bookings for example, you might consider the campaign a failure even though overall bookings are up – an indication that people are researching online and then calling. Without several measurement points, you might miss what is actually happening. Of course you can always build in better tracking by adding text like “mention deal 23 when calling” to your online ads.

Determine Evaluation: Once you’ve got the parts above figured out you can determine how you’ll evaluate success. The most obvious measure will be the one that impacts your bottom line. But you also want to be flexible and look at your results. If your goal was x number of downloads of that whitepaper you worked so hard and you fall short, you could say, “I give up” or you could look and see that you actually got more Facebook “likes” than you anticipated and that once you were liked, it was 25% more likely that someone would do business with you.

So the thrust of this part is to keep an open mind and look at all of your metrics to better understand what is working and what is not. For the parts that are working, see if you can tweak them to make them more effective. For those that aren’t working, determine whether tweaking or tossing is the best course of action. Then start your next campaign, incorporating everything you’ve learned from the one just completed.


Radical Refresh

Is your brand / web site / logo old? Afraid it is getting boring? Sometimes it can be a good thing to radically refresh who you are so a new crop of customers can find you. Take your favorite old comic book characters, for example.  DC Comics has radically refreshed their lineup  of comics, not tossing the colors but making them more relevant to a new generation.

If a company with such well known characters as Superman, Batman, Flash, Aquaman and Wonder Woman can do it, so can you.

Here is what DC seems to be doing right:

  • They are keeping the familiar characters
  • They are delivering their content old style (in comic books in stores) and new style (digital delivery)
  • They’re bringing the stories that were started in the early to mid 1900’s up to date.
  • They’re introducing some new characters along with “refreshing” the old characters.

What does this mean for you? Take a look at your brand. How is it evidenced in your logo? In your print materials? In your web site? In your interactions with customers?

How have your customers’ needs changed? What do they need now that they didn’t when you started your brand / business? How can you meet this new need?

Keep this discussion at a high level and paint in broad brush strokes. Consider how you want people to interact with your brand – should they be buying branded clothing? Downloading your app? Friending you on Facebook? Commenting on your blog?

Take this information and carefully consider whether you can meet the needs of your current consumer by: making small changes, doing a remodel, or doing a radical refresh that will bring out a new vision of what you company does and how it responds to customers.иконииконописikoni


Top Five Mistakes in Web Design

With the explosion of the web – from new sites to new friends / pages on Facebook to new followers on Twitter and new connections on LinkedIn, there are distractions and sites screaming out for our attention all over the place. So how does a professional website design agency do it right? Well here are five mistakes we avoid:

  1. Not having a call to action
    The biggest problem we see is web sites that don’t have a clear call to action. Without a next step, people will visit, view and leave. Without contacting you, buying from you, becoming your customer. Sometimes the next step is to click to the next page – that’s ok. The key is to have a next step and many very reputable sites don’t have this crucial feature.
  2. Having too many calls to action
    Having too many calls is just as bad as not having any call to action. Two to four choices is best. If you cram 32 calls to action (I know a site that has that many), you lose people. Divide those 32 calls into four groups of eight each and present four calls to action on the home page and then perhaps give them all eight on the next but you’ll also likely see that you can combine two or more of the items into one, giving your visitors fewer choices. Remember the key is to not make the visitor have to think.
  3. Making the site all graphics
    Print designers make beautiful web sites. But they are often all graphics or flash which might make the website less usable and will definitely leave it ranked lower in search engines. The dirty little secret is that search engines index content and the best content to index is text. Putting the text into the graphics give you (or your designer) complete control over the look of the site but also makes it highly likely that Google won’t index that text, thus hurting your search rankings.
  4. Not providing context – navigation or breadcrumbs
    Many web site owners envision their site as all visitors starting on the home page and navigating through from there to the next level and the next is a logical progression. However with search being what it is, visitors coming through search may end up deep into your web site as their first page. Therefore it is incumbent on website owners / developers to clearly show the context of what page you’re on. This can be done through navigation devices such as highlighting the page you’re on in the navigation or even through breadcrumbs – displaying towards the top of the page where you at and the way back “home”.
  5. Providing too much or duplicate information
    Just last week I was on a site that looked like it was a lot bigger than what it was. There were lots of different calls to action but they all took me to the same form – a basic contact form. Having all kinds of differently labeled links going to the same place is not useful. Providing a lot more information than is necessary is not useful. Cut down on the prose and shoot for bulleted or numbered lists to get your point across. In the same way that you don’t want lots of different links pointing to the same place, you don’t want to have the same information in more than one place on the site. We see businesses making this mistake frequently. It becomes embarrassing when one section of the site mentions a conference on Thursday and Friday and another refers to the same conference but says it is on Friday and Saturday. People don’t know which to believe and it ends up hurting your credibility. Remember to Keep It Straight & Simple (KISS).

If you can avoid these five mistakes on your web site, your visitors will be much more likely to have a productive and enjoyable experience and you will be much more likely to capture their business.



Sometimes that is all it takes. Click and all the pieces fall into place. In our case that is usually what happens. We intentionally go after those “Click!” moments as that is when we know that we’ll be working with a new customer / partner.

Click happens when your internet marketing goals converge perfectly with your web site design. For each industry and even for each business the click is something unique that occurs when we connect what they want to accomplish (more customers, bigger customers, “stickier” customers, etc.) and the plan we have for designing their site come together just so.

While usually the “Click” seems to be an intuitive thing, there are steps you can follow to help you focus on what will click for your web site.

  1. Determine what sets your business apart from the competition. NOTE: Superior service is not what sets you apart. EVERYBODY says that. Consider niches or vertical markets that you work particularly well with.
  2. Ponder or brainstorm with others how you can leverage your unique selling proposition (what sets you apart) be highlighted or leveraged through your site. We recently did this with a tourism related site and came up with a unique trip planner that fits very nicely with their business goals. When we came up with the idea, we could almost hear the “Click” as everyone realized that happened.
  3. Look at what the competition is doing on their sites. Look especially at what they’re doing well and brainstorm how you can do it even better.
  4. Consider every area of what your business does. Too often all the attention is placed on customer acquisition when customer retention or customer engagement may be a better use of web resources. For example if your existing customers can log in and check the status of their account, that frees up more man power to be out acquiring new customers.
  5. Look at what your web site does now. Is it clear? More importantly, is it easy for visitors to take the next step (whatever that next step is)? Obfuscation in the name of design is a common mistake we see in web sites. It doesn’t matter how pretty your site is if it drives people away. Consider how you can streamline it – thinking about what steps or pages can be eliminated or combined.

While sometimes “Click” happens while working on one of these steps, as mentioned in step 2, it is more often considering all of these steps together when it happens.

If Click hasn’t happened on your site yet, take some time to work through these steps and see what happens.


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