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Do You Need a Web Designer or a Marketing Partner?

everybody's building websitesWe’ve been in the industry of web development for nearly 20 years. Perhaps the one thing that we’ve seen the largest growth in over the last several years is the number of “web designers” that there are in America. I should probably say “worldwide” because of all of the India-based designers that we hear from nearly everyday.

Would You Believe That There Are 100s of Thousands of “Web Designers” in the U.S. Alone?

According to several yellow page websites, there are more than 30,000 companies categorized under “web design” and more than 50,000 companies categorized as “websites”. Then add in all of the “one-man-shops” and marketing & ad agencies that have gotten into website design and the number soars.

On top of that – every kid coming out of high-school these days is a “computer guru” according to their parents. If you’re in business and you’re reading this, chances are that YOU know someone who you feel “knows everything that there is to know about computers, web design and ‘all things internet'”.

I’m in conversations nearly every day with business owners and perhaps the most common thing that I hear when it comes to discussing web development is that they know someone who is a genius at building websites.

Here’s Something to Consider: What is More Important? Knowing How to Push Some Graphics Around a Page, or Knowing How to Get Prospective Customers to Visit Your Website?

Website design is child’s play these days. Any web design company who tries to tell you different is lying. You can freely get access to tens of thousands of templates with programs like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and in about a day (for even the least computer savvy person) you can have a website. Website design has gotten SO EASY that Wix,, GoDaddy and others say that they will actually build your website FOR NOTHING. NO COST. NADA. There are tens of thousands of India-based designers who will build your website for pennies on the dollar.

So if all of these people are willing to build your website for NOTHING, ask yourself, “WHAT IS A WEBSITE ACTUALLY WORTH?”

I would argue that a website, by itself, is worth very little really. How much is one of your business cards worth? Go ahead and pull one out of your wallet and have a look at it. It has your company logo on it; maybe your photograph and perhaps some bulleted services that you render and your contact information, right? In your own hand that business card is worth nothing. Admit it, you’ve probably used a business card to jot down some reminder or note that you needed to remember. Now – pass one of those same business cards to a prospect and it just became worth something.

That is how websites work as well. ANYONE can build a website these days. Certainly a professional can create a better LOOKING website. A pro will probably do a better job of organizing the flow and navigation of a website. However, how a website LOOKS makes only a small amount of difference in terms of how productive that website will be.

business-cardsThink about it this way. Grab a hundred of your business cards and stick them in your pocket and walk around with them for a month or two – only handing out one or two cards in that span of time. No matter how amateurish or professional those business cards are – how much good are they doing you sitting in your pocket with only a sporadic few being seen by prospective customers? Now go to your local mall and place one under every windshield wiper in the mall parking lot. More people will see them but will everyone who sees them KEEP them or will they throw them away?

The MAJORITY of websites that we see are basically nothing more than an online business card. If you occasionally tell people to visit your site, then you’ll get the occasional visitor.

Just Because ‘Johnny’ Can Build a Website, Does NOT Make Him a Marketing Person…

marketing-kidImagine that every time that someone needed a service or product that your company provides – that one of your business cards would magically appear in their hands. Picture it – a potential customer is sitting in their favorite recliner, thinking about the very service or product that your company can provide and instead of seeing any other company – he sees your business card appear in his hands. THAT is what a successful and well-ranked website can do for you.

ANYONE can build a website these days. YOU CAN. However, only the very best, most diligent web design companies these days know how to make your website show up at the top of the search engines. Oh sure – they ALL say that they’re good at it – but that too is a lie.

Making a website productive takes a lot of time and effort. There is NO perfect, step-by-step science for every website – that will insure that it will get all of the traffic possible. Every website is different because every industry is different. Some industries are more competitive than others. Where a business is located also determines how competitive that industry might be.

For example, if you’re trying to get a jewelry website ranked well in Big Horn, Wyoming (population 490) then ‘little Johnny’ could be your web guy. However if you want that jewelry website to rank well in Houston, Texas or nationwide on Google – forget it…it isn’t happening unless you hire the right professional (and be prepared to spend a lot of money).

Likewise, getting a real estate website ranked well for “Bombay Beach, California homes for sale” (population 295) is a piece of cake. If you’re a realtor in Charlotte, North Carolina you’ll need to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to rank at the top of Google for even a few important search terms that would drive home buyers to your website.

That is Where a True Internet Marketing Professional is Needed

Chance are “little Johnny, the computer savant” is not going to be able to help you think the way that your average customer or client would think. He can’t; he’s probably still got a lot of MUSH for brains. Didn’t YOU when you were 15-25 years old? Heck, my own brain didn’t clear from an adolescent fog until I was in my 30s. If your average customer or client is in the 25-50 year old demographic and making in excess of $100K a year – do you REALLY want “little Johnny” thinking on your behalf about HOW to get your business in front of those people?

Getting true, productive traffic to your website is more “savvy, marketing” and “reverse thought engineering” than it is technical. It is more about recognizing how your customers and clients think and about how and what they might search Google for – than about how to upload files to a server. It is about how to create valuable content on your website that will get your website seen at the top of Google.

If you ask “Johnny” about what he thinks is the best way to market your company, he’ll probably advise you to advertise at the latest Demi Lavoto or Selena Gomez concert – because THAT’S what and who he’s crushing on right now. Ask an internet marketing professional the same question and you’ll probably get some valuable options and suggestions that will pay off in gaining new customer and clients.

When it comes to that “person that you know, who knows someone, who has a son who has built HUNDREDS of really great websites” – get him to clean his damn room and leave the all-important marketing of your company to a professional.

If “Little Johnny” is still living at home, dressing like a bum, driving the vehicle that mom or dad bought him – chances are NONE of those hundreds of sites he built are worth anything more than your single business card.

If you’re interested in a website that will generate new customer and business for your company, then click here – Hire a Website Designer with Proven Results

Google Adwords is Not for the Faint of Heart or “Tight of Budget”

Buyer’s Remorse…

A second title to this post could be, “Be Careful or Google will take your money and RUN!”A THIRD title could be, “If you’re thinking of running your own Google Adword Campaign, think again.”Now that I’ve gotten ALL of that negativity out of the way, let me preface the REST of this post by saying that I would still recommend spending money with Google Adwords for many clients. I will STILL spend some money with them myself – for our own website. However, I will also state emphatically that you have to be nearly “Solomon WISE” to consider all of the nuances that could go into whether or not your Google Adwords investment will make fiscal sense.You’ve probably heard that Google AdWords can be a powerful lead generation tool.  What you may not realize is that AdWords can also be a huge money vacuum.  If you don’t know how to properly manage your Google AdWords account, you are essentially flushing your money down the toilet more often than adwords expensiveA poorly optimized campaign can be very expensive.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, Google won’t hesitate to rob you blind. They make a TON of money off of “user error” as they call it. You can call them and make every case for a refund and more often than not they will debate you and send you every link to articles across the internet that will tell you how stupid you are for not knowing everything in advance.Worse still is the fact that you can actually make LOGICAL ARGUMENTS using Google Analytics that the Adwords aren’t doing what they are/were supposed to and all you’ll get from a Google rep is, “Who are you going to believe? Me (Google) or YOUR lying eyes.”Consider this recent test:In early March we tested a Google Adword Campaign wherein we spent $150 a day for a week for specific keywords that apply to the web design industry and a targeted area. With that budget split between TWO ad groups of $75 per day when the smoke cleared we had received around 78,558 impressions that week. We received 138 clicks and spent $831.56 for those visitors to our website.That was around $5.60 per click which is not bad. We tracked the results of those visitors and we picked up ONE new client who spent $2000 with us. A little pricey when you consider that Google made 41.5% “commission” off of me – when we typically pay sales reps 25%. However, I think any business person will spend $831 to make $2K every day, right?We spent some time researching the results of those 138 visitors and it appears that we received traffic from 31 paid keywords and all of those visitors spent time on our website and ALL of them looked at 2-5 pages of content. So all in all – not overly impressive, but a semi-successful test. Anytime you can MAKE money, that’s a good thing.NOW FAST FORWARD TO APRIL 1st…and before you ask the question – no this was not an April Fool’s Joke unless you consider “the joke was on me”.I had an idea on Sunday evening to run another test with what I thought was an AWESOME “call to action”.This time I figured I’d spend $500 on April 1st with Google (for that one day) and I’d direct the visitors to a front page that read that the visitors to could dicate WHATEVER web design work they desired for any size project AND they could then name their own price for that design job.Not bad, I thought. So we turned on the SAME keywords as in early March and we upped our daily budget to $500 and we sat back waiting for the phone calls and emails.They never came. In fact even though we spent FIVE TIMES MORE money that on any day in March, we only saw 2,245 impressions AND only (16) total visitors to our website. For that privilege we paid a WHOPPING AVERAGE of $30.80 per visitor. THIS TIME we only saw traffic to our website from (9) keywords and HERE is the interesting part – on 7 of 9 of those keywords (according to Google Analytics) we saw 100% BOUNCE RATES and 0:00 time spent on the website.What took me personally by surprise (and this is where Google Adwords can bite you in the ass) is that for ONE of our 16 visitors we paid $76.61! According to Google’s own Adwords Keyword Tool, that particular search term is valued at $25.72.So how did that happen, you ask?Because I’m personally an idiot and didn’t take my OWN advice and get one our professionals to handle this test…or didn’t get Google directly involved. I was bolstered by my own field test the month before and I wrongly estimated that if $900 worked for a week or so, then $500 would do wonders for one day.What you NEED to know is that Google’s AUTOMATED BIDDING handling CAN spend your $500 on ONE CLICK. If you read Google’s explanation of what AUTOMATED means, you would assume that if the number TWO adword guy paid $27.05 for a search term, then Google would grab perhaps $27.10 from your budget and spend that amount for the NUMBER ONE spot.Oh, noooooo.  They can spend what they WANT to – unless you ALSO select a MAX high bid per term as well. Somehow last month when I only spent a max of $150 in a day Google was more frugal with my money than when I agreed to spend $500.So this little field test prompted me to call Google and get them on the phone. After all, SEVEN of the NINE keywords that they sent those (16) visitors to my site for – LEFT my website after looking at ONE page of my website and 0:00 time.Sound like some kind of error to you? Me too.According to “Melissa, the Google rep” she told me that my eyes were lying to me. She said that these 16 visitors all could have spent an hour on my front page and just chose not to click on any links and that my 0:00 time spent on the page doesn’t reflect any time spent on my website UNLESS and UNTIL they click on another page.Are you confused? I was too.I used LOGIC and asked sweet Melissa the following question, “Last month we spent $831.56 and received 138 visitors and they all looked at 2-5 pages and all spent 2-4 minutes on ANY and every page. On April 1st we spent nearly $500 dollars on the SAME keywords and only saw (16) visitors and on 7 of 9 keywords saw 0:00 time on page and only ONE page viewed…with 100% bounce rate. Does that make sense?”Logic got me nowhere, because as sweet as Melissa was, she just wanted to spend minutes saying things like, “Let me sum up what your questions and concerns are. You spent…” and then she’d simply RESTATE what I had already stated. Then she’d place me on hold multiple times and come back and want to sum up things again…with no explanation or resolution.Now bear in mind that I work with 1100+ clients – MANY of whom spend money with Google Adwords and for whom ALL of them have NO REAL idea as to HOW WELL Adwords work for them. They know that they get SOMETHING from them, but they don’t know WHAT they get. Hence – my field test.What I wasn’t bargaining for was that the MORE you allot for a daily budget on Google Adwords, the MORE you need to be careful. Google can and WILL burn a hole through that budget in NO time whether you get ANYTHING out of it or not.What I could not fathom was how we had NO call to action on our test last month and got something from it…and this time had a KILLER call to action and got nothing but a $500 credit card bill.I’m a pretty smart guy…so I “stayed the course with Sweet Melissa” figuring that I was AT LEAST going to make a new friend with Melissa Google. (I’m certain that was her name…)After realizing that my $500 was gone – never to be seen again – I moved on to more productive conversation with Miss Google. She informed me that I should set my daily maximum which is NOT REALLY A MAXIMUM.

pauseI’m going to hit the [PAUSE] button for a second and broach this little bit of news for the uninformed.

google-money-TACOHELLGoogle can spend $536 if you set your MAX to $500. I still haven’t figured that one out except that I get the feeling that it’s like the Taco Hell drive-through lady who has given me back $1 less change than I was supposed to get on each of my last three visits there. I guess if she gets away with it 40 times a day, she’s given herself a nice raise.  If Google does the same thing with a MILLION people a day, then they make an extra $36,000,000 a day. The Taco Hell chick needs to learn how that’s done.


A-n-y-w-a-y, so anyway Miss Google advised me to set the DAILY BUDGET, then AUTOMATE bidding (both of which I did April 1st AND last month) but to ALSO set a MAX BID LIMIT per ad group.After taking a moment to let that sink in I couldn’t help but think – SHOULDN’T THAT BE AUTOMATED IN MY BEST INTEREST BY GOOGLE WHEN YOU SELECT “AUTOMATE BIDDING”?The answer is OBVIOUSLY, LOGICALLY “yes”…but not according to Miss Google.I won’t belabor that point of contention and debate except to inform you that NOBODY should allow Google to AUTOMATICALLY DO ANYTHING. ANYTHING THAT GOOGLE AUTOMATES will cost you money – period.Let me explain my point. Let’s say you want to come up 1-3 for two separate keywords. For the purpose of this illustration I will use the following:web design – which is valued by Google as a suggested bid of $11.49web design companies – valued at $10.49internet marketing raleigh – valued at $25.72Let’s say I have a $500 budget for the day and I go AUTOMATED BIDDING with a MAX cap.  Google COULD and DOES allow you to spend $76 for one click even when the NUMBER TWO Adword guy might have spent $25. So THAT’S NUTS, right?So let’s use Miss Google’s recommendation of setting a MAX PER CLICK AUTOMATED figure. Let’s assume that I want my Adwords investment to pay off so I need to show up in spots 1-3. I would assume that I will need to spend around $12 for the first two keywords above – but for the most expensive one – if I automated my MAX Ad Groups per click to that $12, then I’d not show up at the top for the third keyword. The only way I’d show up for all three keywords in my Ad Group would be to set the MAX click bid to $26 per click. The problem THERE is that Google would burn $26 on a click that should have only cost me $11 or so. I guess it isn’t “robbery” if you trust that they’re looking out for you with Automated processes.SO, my friends…the ONLY way to go is to set a MAX daily budget and know that Google WILL spend a bit more than your daily budget…and then go KEYWORD by KEYWORD and set the PER CLICK expenditure that you are willing to pay FOR EACH TERM.  The price that Google values keywords for can change every single time you look in Adwords Keyword Tool, so you’ll HAVE to monitor your campaign account to see where you are AVERAGING coming up. If you are showing 1-3 then all is great. If you’re not, then up your max per click a bit. …and you should do this per Adword…not per group.If Google is SAVING YOU TIME with AUTOMATION, they WILL automate some extra money for themselves, no different than my local Taco Hell girl.Be advised. Don’t go for the shortcuts when it comes to Adwords. They can still pay off…but just know that your results MAY vary. You’re not going to get rich off of Google Adwords any more or less than any other, traditional advertising. If you work it smart, it works. Just don’t expect any get-rich moments to come. …and don’t expect Google to refund you any money if you screw up or even when THEY do.Keep your cards close to the vest and keep a tight grip on your money…cause Google is VERY loose with it.keep-calm-and-stay-focusedThe best tip I can provide you is to keep your Adwords SMALL and focused. Small, targeted groups will spend your funds more frugally and wisely (not a word according to Miss Google).  If you use keywords and ads that Google deems to be a low quality score, they can charge you more. Not sure why that is, but it’s kind of like a tax on being stupid.That’s where LANDING PAGES come into play because your keyword that you’re targeting should appear in your ad and on your landing page. That’s ALSO not convenient when you want to sell widgets to people in every city of the United States.Adwords can be complicated and take some time to learn.  However, it’s important to keep your campaign up to date and optimized. If you keep working, you will see positive results…even if THE MOST POSITIVE RESULTS will be MORE for “Miss Google” than for you.Such is life.

When is a BLOG NOT a Blog? Names and Websites Are Withheld to Save Embarrassment.

Blogging for Website Traffic? Um, No.

I don’t usually get into negative posts or blogging, but I can’t help myself as no less that three times within the last year or so I’ve been confronted with re-donculousness when it comes to the decisions that some people make. Lorraine (one of my clients) if you’re reading this I realize that I just made up a word and that isn’t proper grammar. However I did so for maximum effect because ridiculous just doesn’t suffice for the purpose of this BLOG.

I’m going to spend a bit of BLOG time to share three stories that HOPEFULLY will help someone out there somewhere to avoid the pitfalls of these three clients.CASE ONE:A potential client called to inquire about how we could help her grow her online consulting business. She is NOW a client so hence the non-use of her name – and YES I told her that I was going to use her in this post. “Jane” came to us because she was acutely aware that her website was getting NO traffic. When I say “NO TRAFFIC” I mean no traffic. During the discovery stage of our design process she told me of how she used her website to educate her current clientele and to attempt to impress potential clients with her online BIO and BLOGGING.I was desperately trying to wrap my head around how she was educating her clientele since her website received NO TRAFFIC. She then proceeded to inform me that she enjoyed using her website and that she spent an AVERAGE of two hours a day BLOGGING on it.

If you’re reading this and have YET to see the “punchline” coming then you’re probably missing out on the same thing that “Jane” did. According to Jane she averaged spending SIXTY HOURS a month or SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY HOURS A YEAR BLOGGING to N-O-B-O-D-Y.


If you’re not into math that is ONE MONTH A YEAR that Jane has been sitting at a computer sharing her wealth of knowledge with PERHAPS spammers and scammers – who were the only people coming to her website.  Jane is an otherwise BRILLIANT woman.Go figure.When I shared this little pearl of wisdom with her, she responded with, “You know I actually thought about that a few times, but it was like therapy for me anyway and I figured that sooner or later if I kept writing, people would come.Ummm…not so much.THE MORAL OF THIS STORY IS: Is It BLOGGING or THERAPY if nobody is reading?CASE TWO: IS ANYONE “INN” THE HOUSE? NOT ANYMORE…In this case there are NAMES to protect…multiple ones because this client was recently not a client, after having been a client for many years…and they’re now a client again. If you’re confused – don’t be as I think I can clear things up. As in the previous case I have informed them that I was going to use them in this post.

For this story I will call these people, “THE BORED.” (Lorraine, I KNOW it is spelled ‘board’ but I’m trying not to be bored writing this, so work with me.)This client is located at the beach. I’m not saying what beach, but it is on the southeast coast and it isn’t in Florida, Georgia, or North Carolina. THE BORED had been a client for around ten years and we had progressed through three renditions of their website during that time and they had enjoyed amazing success. I’m not sure WHY they were BORED because they live and work at the darn BEACH and this particular BORED led a membership of lodging clients and ALL of their member websites enjoyed awesome bookings that came through their website.Then along came a “spider” – okay a fast-talking, so called SEO guru who did all of the fancy talking and power-word-dropping that he could muster until THE BORED decided that this guy HAD to know his stuff.

notchad<This isn’t “Chad” but it could have been. You know the type…

After all, his hair was perfect; his teeth were white and straight as heck and even his tie dared never to swish to the wrong side when he was presenting his case to be their new web designer.THE BORED couldn’t really help themselves when this guy (let’s call HIM CHAD because that’s his real name) spoke because he was THAT good. Turns out this guy had ONE-MILLION FACEBOOK followers and he was a SOCIAL MEDIA GENIUS and that’s all that THE BORED could focus on. It was as if he was slowly swinging a shiny chain in front of THE BORED. They were sold even before he could quote them a price. Turns out his price was “million dollar worthy” of his FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS. All THE BORED could see was these one-million people just sitting on Chad’s every word. They just KNEW he could get those people to stay in their inns.After six months it turns out that what Chad was REALLY good at was spending their money and tanking their once AWESOME traffic to their website. I guess it takes a lot of money to keep Chad’s hair in place and those teeth whitened.After six months it became apparent to THE BORED that their phones stopped ringing. Seems those one million Facebook followers couldn’t find their way to the phone and evidently though they liked the beach, they didn’t want to STAY there – even for a short stay.Even though THE BORED’S phones quit ringing, MINE rang one afternoon as one member of THE BORED wanted to find out what it would take to get their phones ringing again…like mine did. (Okay, I gloated just a little bit.)The truth is it is often HARDER to “FIX” issues that some firms create with their shortcuts and bad practices – than it is to get improved traffic to a new website.  Needless to say that we’ll be asking the one million Facebook followers to look at a different beach. Seems that Chad was BLOGGING the heck to these One-Million followers but evidently his “pied piper” approach to BLOGGING to the social crowd didn’t work.Again, is it BLOGGING if nobody is reading?THE MORAL OF THIS STORY IS: Facebook CAN be good for your website, but it will NEVER surpass good old ORGANIC rankings to get your website traffic.  I know another scammer who had one-million Facebook followers on his Myrtle Beach Facebook page and he also operated a hotel/motel website and he advertised ALL OVER his own Facebook page and still couldn’t drive 200 visitors a day to his own website.There are TONS of misrepresentations and SCAM going on out their in “Social Media Land”. There are great choices that work, but for every ONE that is good – there are TEN that are bogus. You CAN’T know who to trust, so you need to research and talk with people who do business with these people who are shining their white teeth at you and find out what experiences OTHERS have had before you get dazzled.CASE THREE: WOULD YOU LIKE A LITTLE “WHINE” WITH THAT WEBSITE?In this story I’m going with a SECOND title – and it is:Do you want to be DAZZLED with brilliance, or BAFFLED with Bull-sh**?It BLOWS ME AWAY that otherwise BRILLIANT business men and women become goo-goo-eyed, PUTTY in the hands of ANYONE who can say “SEO” and “META TAGS”.  I’ve been in the business of marketing since 1974 and I have NEVER seen intelligent business people throw away money with ANY kind of marketing without FIRST requiring credentials and PROOF that what they are proposing to them makes fiscal sense. Yet in the case of this story I am going to call the owners of this beautiful WHINERY (Lorraine, I KNOW how to spell “winery”.) – I’ll call them Cain and Not-So-Able.These guys have tasked us and numerous members of their staff to BLOG for years…and VERY successfully so. Cain and Not-So-Able came to us after a few website blunders with other firms. When we took them on, their website was “boasting” 328 visitors a month. Not horrible, but not as impressive as their WINES.We’ve taken them to more than 32,000 visitors per month with good, old-fashioned ORGANIC rankings for anything and everything you could possibly want to be found for…when it comes to “pining for wine”.blogging for website trafficDuring our handling of the website, they asked us to help them get found for winery weddings. We did that. Bolstered by all of those successes they wanted to be found for winery lodging – we did that. Wine festivals – you guessed it.So BLOGGING and good ORGANIC content have been the driving force to push their website to awesome success without having to spend a penny on Adwords or advertising on Facebook, BLOG for traffic< No, this is NOT the attorney-turned Social Media Wizard.ENTER “Puss” – the SOCIAL MEDIA WIZARD – who used to be an attorney. Seems he’s a great talker – just NOT in court. Along the way a couple of years ago – he helped someone put up a website and NOW, one client later, he’s ready to take on a website that is ALREADY gaining more than 32,000 visitors a month. You can’t GET much more “social” that having a wine tasting with 32,000 of your wine-loving buddies every month.E-v-i-d-e-n-t-l-y Puss thinks you can. Puss has GOT to be “Chad’s” long lost brother because he is convinced that now that he couldn’t make it as an attorney, he’s a guru of marketing.Just so you don’t think that I’m sour because we’re losing this client – I’M NOT, because WE’RE NOT.Oh no. What we’re being asked to do is “Give Puss whatever assistance he needs” while he cranks up a brand new website with a huge, new emphasis on social media. The brothers Cain and Not-So-Able want us to continue to host the website…but we need to allow Puss and his team of two to do their magic.I’ve been at this stuff via the net for 18 years now and I can spot BS from 583.3 miles away. That happens to be the distance between my office and the doorstep of Puss’s office. I hopped over the Puss’s website and two things quickly stood out. The first was the fact that while they were using some nice WordPress themes on their OWN website, it was a standard theme template and the images were smudged or blurred in a place that was obviously not meant to be. The second thing that I noticed was that their own website’s front, default page was titled “HOME”.Uh-oh.So I plugged their website into a few tools at our disposal and in the last THREE YEARS their own website had NO ORGANIC traffic from Google. That is NEARLY impossible because our brothers from China, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and India USUALLY can find even the most difficult-to-find websites. Evidently “Peggy” hasn’t found their website just yet. Not in the last three years appears that they DID spend a couple thousand with Google Adwords in December of 2013 but when that didn’t get them any business, they stopped. What I’m trying to figure out is how their social media peeps aren’t visiting their website.


 FYI, they DO have ONE (1) ranking for “Thomas Edison Family Guy” for whatever that’s worth.By the way – these guys BLOG. Oh yea…they need to team up with JANE from CASE NUMBER ONE because maybe they could share some thoughts. Sorry Jane, you didn’t deserve that!I looked over their website to find some clients. None.  So, I hopped over to their social media page and lo and behold they have over 1200 followers. I had to look around. One social media client signed on with them on December 1st. They welcomed her with “Let the journey begin.” Nine days later she posted her disappointment when her journey went nowhere. Seems whatever BLAST they did – DIDN’T.Remember the BLAST was meant to get SHARED in their website. That’s hard to do when you’re getting NO traffic. It’s hard to get traffic when your home page is titled “HOME”.THE MORAL OF THIS STORY: Don’t make marketing decisions if you’ve been product testing your own product too often.So if you’re BLOGGING or BLOGGING to the social peeps of the world…you MAY want to check those analytics to see if anyone is reading. If so, carry on my wayward friend. If not, then maybe it’s saving you some money otherwise spent with a therapist.In the case of CASE ONE…we’re happy to say that “Jane” is now a well-read BLOGGER thanks to us helping her get her website found.In the case of CASE TWO, old “Chad” isn’t around anymore and THE BORED is back to answering the phone. It STILL isn’t ringing like it used to but we’re working on it and phase two of the repair work is scheduled for next week.In the case of CASE THREE, the jury is still out, but I’m betting anyone reading this – DINNER that “Puss the Attorney” will tank the website in question….and I will be asked to clean up the mess.Editor’s Note: Yes my BLOG is read. But YES I’m venting a little bit as this is therapy for ME as well.Until Next Time…if you’re thinking about using social media to assist in sending your website traffic, that’s smart. If you’re thinking about making it the focus of your website’s traffic – think again.

Spring is here, and those birds better not be the only thing tweeting!

If you are over the ripe old age of … oh, say 28, chances are fair that you don’t “use” much social media. Sure maybe you Facebook but so does your grandmother. After that you wouldn’t much know a tweet from a twerk but I promise you, you are letting a HUGE business opportunity slip right on by so don’t be stubborn and learn to embrace some of those things your kids already know.


If you still have no idea what a hashtag is, it is a word or phrase (no spaces) with the # symbol in front of it. … there, your first lesson in tweeting. And what started as way for 16 year old girls to share their sage life experience with the world (or the 63 friends who hung on their every word) has now become a rather powerful tool that you could be using to your advantage AND getting you found much more often in searches! In fact, Google is now showing those hashtags in search results. Test it out. Go to your search bar and type in #Emmys , you will see normal results for the Emmys on the left side where you would expect to see them but the right side of your screen will now be showing social media content that relates to the subject. Not only twitter but blogs as well that people have shared with their Google+ accounts. So, what does that mean for you? Well by this time you should be at least aware that in order to gain ranking you need more content on your website. And while SEO pages or blogs are great, now if you tie those blogs to your social media and share them with the world, you get a nice big BUMP in your exposure as well.


Digital Marketing, if done correctly and you USE all the tools at your disposal, can and WILL pay huge dividends as far as getting YOU in front of your customers. So stop fighting it and go ask your 15 year old to show you how this tweeter-gramer thingy works!

Search Engine Marketing and PPC Advertising

Google-Adwords[1]When formulating an advertising campaign nowadays, search engine marketing (SEM) has become a very important, and arguably necessary, component for both small and big businesses alike.  The fact that almost 20 BILLION dollars was spent by North American advertisers in 2012 on SEM should be an obvious indicator that this type of digital marketing is one of the best ways to attract customers to your product or business.  Many people even go as far to describe SEM as being revolutionary due to it’s effectiveness in which it generates leads/sales for their business.

The most well known type of search engine marketing is called pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.  It is the most widely used form of SEM due to it’s ease of use and cost effectiveness.  So, what is it exactly?  Whenever you do a search on Google, Bing, or Yahoo and see the results, at the top of every page you will see several links with sponsored ads.  These are ads that businesses have paid for in order to be listed at the top of specific search results.  They are listed above the organic search results that rely on search engine optimization (Appnet also offers this type of service in addition to SEM and they are a great supplement to one another).  In essence, this what search engine marketing is.  You pay money to show up at the top of search results.

SEM Example Image
Sponsored (Paid) Ads are listed above and to the right of organic search results.


What are the benefits to SEM and PPC advertising?



When you pay to advertise your product or business, there is no waiting to make it to the front page.  With traditional SEO tactics, it takes time to do this.  You have to create a good amount of relevant, quality content over weeks and months.  With SEM, you can create a campaign and then make it to the front page within the hour!


With traditional advertising, you have to specify where and when you want your ads to show up.  This can be a difficult process as you have to research your target audience and make sure your ad is seen by them.  With search engine marketing, your target audience finds you.  By specifying what search terms you want to show up for, your ad is only seen by people who are already looking for your product or service.  Your ad will not be wasted on a user who is looking for something completely different than what you’re offering.


Managing SEM ad campaigns is a fairly simple process nowadays.  Google and Bing both have some very useful tools that help you manage your campaign quickly and easily.  You can control every aspect of your campaign such as what time of day you want your ad to be seen or which geographic locations you want to see it.  Budgetary control is also straight forward as you can specify how much money you are willing to spend.


One of the best parts of PPC advertising is that you literally only pay for your ad when it is clicked.  Your ad can be seen 1,000 times but if it’s only clicked on 50 times, you only pay for those 50 clicks.  It is far more cost effective than traditional advertising methods.

Search engine marketing and pay-per-click advertising is a booming business and for good reason.  It is a quick and easy way to advertise your business, products, services, etc.  Not only is it time effective, but it is far more cost effective than traditional advertising and when set up properly, it’s been proven to yield a high return on investment.  If you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, you need to be.  If you’re still a little hesitant, contact us here at Appnet and we’ll set up a consultation to assist you with the proper search engine marketing solution.

Tourism Marketing

tourism marketingTourism marketing is very different than it was just a few years ago. Today tourists do their research from home and have filled the majority of their itinerary before they leave the house. Since most people use the internet for research, an eye catching, informative digital marketing campaign is critical.

Your first impression is your website. Make that home page image convey all the feelings your visitors are looking for: fun, relaxing, adventurous, family, warm, sunny, etc.. Spend some extra time to find the perfect image. Make sure it displays in a clear, high quality format. Are the colors comforting or are they distracting?

What information is the visitor looking for? It may not be what you’ve been presenting. Do you have some local content? What’s going on in town and when? What’s there to do for families with young children or teenage children? How about the singles crowd: girls weekend or guys weekend activities?

What do you look for when planning a trip? Chances are, most of your visitors are not so different from you.