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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, Web.com, 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

Boost Your Rankings and Boost Website Traffic

Your search engine placement and Google local ranking matter a great deal to your bottom line. We have heard countless anxiety ladden stories over the 20 years that we have been working in website design and search engine placement. One month your business is ranking well and being found on Google using a variety of search terms. You make one decision to stop a paid service, or cut off a website, and your phone stops ringing. Your leads are drying up. You panic. You start wondering what you did, only to realize you do not have a grasp on what services you had to begin with, and you were not getting valuable and clear advice from your website design company. It is clear that you need to find someone to help you boost SEO traffic. Appnet provides clear answers that you need to help you make the important decisions for your business. We can help you boost your rankings and boost the amount of users you see coming to your site.

It is hard to know who to trust when considering such a crucial component of your business’s marketing. Check out what some of our current and past clients have to say about what it is like to work with us by viewing our reviews on Google or click and view some of our recent work. We offer personalized service to each and every client because that is what the SEO industry calls for. Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ SEO trick for everyone.  Any company that describes such a scenario should be suspect. Our Boost SEO Packages are customized and tailored to the specific needs of each individual client/business.  Our authenticity in approach is not something that every firm offers. Give us a call or fill our our contact form to find out more.

Now more than ever, your online presence is important for marketing your business. This includes: your website, search engine optimization placement, and social media profiles and campaigns. A key component to boosting your website’s rankings on the search engines is to provide reliable, up-to-date information about your industry or product. That means effective digital marketing is one of the cornerstones of your overall business marketing plan. Give us a shout via our contact form or call us when you are ready to find out how to start an account.

Mobile Website Traffic 2014

IF YOUR WEBSITE ISN’T MOBILE FRIENDLY, YOU ARE LOSING CUSTOMERS

TOP REASONS YOUR BUSINESS WEBSITE SHOULD BE MOBILE OPTIMIZEDThese are probably two of the top ten most blogged subjects on the internet right now when it comes to related content about SEO, WEBSITE VISITATION, etc. The numbers are “all over the place” in terms of how people are surfing the net these days. What is undeniable however is that more and more of them are “Googling” from their mobile devices.We run Google Analytics on most all of our clients websites if you compare month to month over the last year you will most often see that people are trending to visiting websites via the iPhones, Androids, tablets, iPads, etc…In May of 2013 we emailed all of our business clients that we were seeing anywhere from 15-22% of website visitors “going mobile”. Over the last couple of years that trend definitely influenced more and more savvy business owners to make certain that their websites were at the very least “mobile friendly”. What that term meant in 2012 is totally different in 2014.Mobile providers found that the internet wasn’t keeping up with mobile technologies so they basically made their devices “mobile okay” in that you’d simple see a smaller version of what you’d see on a desktop. People became pretty savvy on how to manuever around websites on their smartphones, etc. A little scrolling left-to-right and a little “thumb and forefingering” would allow you to enlarge about any website to be viewable.Then in 2013 the largest web development trend was to create “Responsive Websites”. Through a little CSS developers basically began creating websites that in layman’s terms “redesigned themselves” depending on what device was hitting it. If you were on a smartphone, it displayed the site with easy mobile navigation and eliminated the pesky side-to-side scrolling. MOST business websites ARE NOT mobile optimized or responsive…and if YOURS is one of those…then you’re simply making it easy for your competitor to get more of that traffic because THEIR website is making it easier for visitors to navigate.…AND THE NUMBERS ARE BEGINNING TO MUSHROOM…Ask yourself how often you check email on your desktop these days. When you’re at home, how often do you go and sit down at your old desktop? Instead, now you simply reach for your phone, Ipad or tablet, right?So is everyone else!So let’s go back to May 2013 when we emailed our clients and informed them that from 15-22% of their visitors were hitting their websites from mobile devices. Want to know what the numbers look like NOW?They are trending to be around 40% now! We reviewed one, attraction type client last week and found that 45% of their visitors over the last month were from either a tablet or phone. We also own a website called ResortCams.com that shows LIVE VIDEO STREAMS from vacation destinations across North and South America and over the last month we found that of the NEW VISITORS who were coming to our website for the first time – 44% of them were on mobile devices compared to 33% that were confirmed to be on desktops.A responsive web design (RWD) is more important now than ever, with the number of mobile and tablet users continuing to increase at a very rapid rate. You spend a lot of time and money on search engine optimization, online marketing, pay per click advertising, and various other methods to drive traffic to your website. If your website does not provide the visitor with a pleasant experience, allowing him or her to quickly locate information and carry out a conversion, then you are flushing your advertising dollars down the toilet.Some website owners are still going with the “AUTO DETECTION MODE” for pushing visitors to a desktop vs mobile version however Google recently wrote:Responsive design serves the same HTML for one URL and uses CSS media queries to determine how the content is rendered on the client side. This removes the possible glitches of user-agent detection and frees users from redirects. This is Google’s recommended configuration.This alone should get your attention. If your website is not a responsive design, converting to one should now be priority number one on your to-do list! The most recent data or Google searches for – Mobile website traffic 2014 – is showing that nearly 40% of traffic to nearly any website is from mobile.Obviously you want to make your website EASY for every visitor because that creates higher conversion rates. Here are some of the benefits:1. Easy NavigationA responsive design allows your users to quickly access your main menu and all sections of your website simply by scrolling up and down, and NOT having to enlarge the screen or move it around in order to access areas. If your website is a nightmare to navigate your visitors are going to bounce off quickly and find a competing website that gives them a pleasant mobile experience.2. Quick Tap Phone CallA mobile friendly website is especially important for local businesses that are attracting impulse searches by individuals on their mobile phones. Make it simple for the visitor to call your business. It is amazing how many websites do not display their number at the very top for mobile visitors. Often times a local search is being performed to obtain your phone number, so make sure you provide it to your visitor right at their finger tips. This is a great way to get your phone ringing with interested consumers!3. Simple ContactLike mentioned above, a large percentage of local searches are done in order to contact the business. Make sure to include an easily accessible contact form for those that land on your website after business hours or would prefer to send in a request rather than call. Mobile searchers are using their devices on the go, so make sure they can easily get in touch with you.4. Leads, Leads, and More LeadsYour website is a platform to display your products or services, but it is also a very powerful lead generator. Take advantage of your traffic and set up multiple calls-to-action designed to capture the email and name of as many visitors as possible. This list of leads can then be marketed to in the future. Constantly building your marketing list ensures that you always have warm bodies to market your products or services to. If your website isn’t mobile friendly your users are not likely to submit their information no matter how enticing your offer is. If they have to expand your page and make it around to fill out your form then you are missing a lot of opportunities.Contact us at AppNet.com at 888-926-4584 and let us quote you on how to convert your website into a more friendly, responsive website. We rank at the top of Google for search engine ranking and optimization and we’ll create a strategy for your business to get you generating more customers – tomorrow.

search engine ranking scams

OH NO! WE’RE NOT TOP RANKED FOR “FLORISTS IN FLORENCE”…

OH NO! WE’RE NOT TOP RANKED FOR “FLORISTS IN FLORENCE”…Rarely a day goes by that we don’t receive emails from so-called “seo pros” about how much they love our website – but also just how badly it’s doing on the search engines. We work with more than 1100 websites and because of that and the fact that we own hundreds more – we receive emails every day from people soliciting us about how they can help get us that top Google ranking that “we don’t have”.We’ve written about this before so I won’t belabor that today. Our clients receive these kinds of emails all of the time – which creates extra work for us because they don’t know who to trust … so they forward these emails to us looking for more answers and input.If you’ve owned a website more than three months old you’ve certainly got more than your share of these solicitations. You know – they read something like:”Hi, I was browsing around and came to your website and I really enjoyed it. However I also noticed that it isn’t ranking for important search terms that would be valuable for getting you vastly more traffic. I can help with that and would like the opportunity to speak with you about options.”These emails seem harmless enough. What you should know about these emailers is that they are sending those emails out to EVERY email address on every domain name that they can spider and they RARELY, if ever actually perform any research to see where and IF a website is ranking. They simply know that 113% of business owners WANT more traffic and so they burn up the internet emailing these kinds of solicitations.Everyone wants more traffic, so TENS OF THOUSANDS of people fall prey to these scams and spam and spend money and NOTHING in the way of improvement comes from the money spent.ANYWAY – I personally received THIS ONE BELOW today and I had to share it. It looks innocent enough as the young “lady” actually provided her name – Clarissa Griffin. It APPEARS that she even included her domain name – ClarissaGriffin.com.

SEO-bullShe wrote:My name is Clarissa G. and I was browsing around and came over to your site www.skisoutheast.com. I see you have some great work done on your site but there are some problems which are spoiling your Google search rankings and resulting in lower traffic then it could get.I see you have 0 errors but according to W3C validator which needs to be solved right away if you want to index your site on the search engines properly. Currently your site is listed at 3rd position of 32nd page for keyword florists in florence which can easily be improved just by fixing those W3C validator reported errors.I can send you a complete list of changes and fixes we will do for you to improve your site traffic and revenue. Kindly let me know if you want me to prepare the list and best possible price to do the tasks.Regards,Clarissa G.NOW HERE’S THE FUNNY PART…First, if you ever REPLY to any of these kinds of emails you’re most often actually NOT replying to the email address that you THINK you are. In this case there IS NO ClarissaGriffin.com as a reply email address. It SPOOFS or goes elsewhere. Chances are her real name is “Peggy” and “she’s” from Va Duz, Liechtenstein where she’s also known as Leonhard or Bohdan.Translation, NEVER reply to these kinds of emails because if they’re not willing to actually send them from a legit address, then they’re probably NO TO BE TRUSTED with your CREDIT CARD, right?Okay…but for the comedy in this particular solicitation.I’ve received thousands of these kinds of emails before and I’d had some odd ones from time to time. I love it when these emailers tell me that we’re NOT ranked well, when we’re NUMBER ONE for many important search terms.However the emailer above “Clarissa” emailed us on one of our SKI RESORT websites. It ranks at the top of Google for thousands of search terms that are related to SNOW and SKIING and other winter sports related terms.Clarissa really did her homework on this one though as she alludes to “some problems which are spoiling your Google search rankings and resulting in lower traffic then it could get.”She then goes on to tell me that we don’t have any “errors” but then shares, “Currently your site is listed at 3rd position of 32nd page for keyword florists in florence which can easily be improved just by fixing those W3C validator reported errors.”OH BABY! We’re ranked 323rd for “FLORISTS IN FLORENCE” on a ski website!I won’t be able to sleep tonight!Until next time…avoid these emails like the plague that they are!

How Can I Get My Website Ranked on Top of Google?

There are ONLY TWO WAYS to maintain Top Rankings on Google

How Can I Get My Website Ranked on Top of Google?I’m going to go against all of the recent marketing trends with today’s post. If you are searching Google for things like:1. I need top search engine rankings.2. How can I get my website ranked at the top of Google?3. I want my website to get top ranking. How do I do that?AND you want to achieve that ranking in a “cheap” or “affordable” way…

AND by “cheap” or “affordable” you mean for a total investment of $300-$500…AND you don’t want to “do it yourself”…then you’re PROBABLY not going to like the rest of what you’re about to read.

IT ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN.

Want to know the truth that most SEO scammers and spammers COUNT ON to be able to deceive you and take your money? At the same time, do you want to know the truth that most people with top ranked websites DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW?

The ONLY way to gain a top ranked website these days is to:

1. Outspend your competition.2. Out work your competition.

Nothing else works and why should it?

 

Let’s Put Things in Proper Perspective

If you’re in business and have ever placed a newspaper or magazine ad, then you already know that if you purchase the back cover of any kind of printed publication that you’ll get more exposure and response than if you place a small, classified ad somewhere in the middle of the publication.

If you’ve ever placed a television ad spot, then you know that your 30 second spot on some local, cable channel at 2pm isn’t going to perform as well as running a 60 second commercial spot during prime time’s The Big Bang Theory on CBS.

So where in the world did you get the idea that things are all that different on the internet?

 

Okay, I’ll Tell You…

…and this next section could be subtitled…

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE? ME, OR YOUR LYING EYES?

WIX.com. WEEBLY.com. WEB.com. YOLA.com. MOONFRUIT.com

lyingeyesDo those dot coms mean anything to you? If you watch any amount of television and don’t fast-forward over the commercials you’ve probably seen the commercials that WIX runs a number of times every day offering FREE WEBSITES.

How about WORDPRESS, JOOMLA, DRUPAL, COFFEECUP? Have you heard of any of those? All of these tools are FREE as well and with a little time and some patience you can have a very nice looking website up and running.

If you’re a Realtor, according to household real estate names like Zillow, you can have a FREE website running in minutes AND you only pay $10 a month. If you have some products that you want to sale, according to Shopify and many like them, you can have a fully operational eCommerce website for FREE, without ANY setup costs and for only $29 a month (some are less).

By now you can tell that there’s a common thread with all of these offers. You CAN have a FREE website. You CAN. You’ll get no debate here.

AND NOW…THE REST OF THE STORY

Of course I’m stealing this lead in from that wonderful old, radio sage, Paul Harvey.

What ALL of these super-marketing-savvy conglomerates are not telling you is that they know something that YOU probably don’t know. They know that the website that they are giving you FREE – won’t work. Nobody will know that it exists. Nobody will ever see that wonderful, new website of yours without YOU telling them how to go to it.

It WILL show up on Google and Yahoo….around PAGE 103. By the way, FREE WEBSITES are not new. Back in the early 1990s Tripod, Angelfire, FreeServers, FortuneCity, Homestead and others offered free websites AND free hosting.

WHAT IS NEW is that these major players (at least major in that they are spending the most advertising dollars to entice you) are playing against your lack of understanding of WHAT makes for a successful website. One of our clients called me the other day complaining that they had put up an online store on one of these FREE website providers about six months ago. They shared that they had spent DAYS loading up more than 400 products and getting everything looking wonderful. After all those countless hours of getting everything looking great – not one visitor of value had seen the website. Oh they had spammers from the Russian Federation, Ukraine and India emailing them that THEY had found the website. But nobody looking to buy products.

When I explained what was missing, our client felt betrayed and lied to – but they couldn’t be angry when the website didn’t cost them anything. After we spoke a few more minutes she stated, “This is kind of like someone giving you a brand new Ferrari and then not telling you that the only place you can purchase the gas to make it go is from THEM.”

That’s not 100% accurate – but close enough that I’m not going to elaborate on her point.

Earlier this week I met with a potential client from Miami who is in the jewelry industry. Her brick and mortar store is located right next to a famous restaurant on 40th Street in Miami. Partly due to her great location; partly due to her unique product line and partly due to her family name – their jewelry can be seen adorned on such celebrities as Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston, Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade, Mickey Rourke, Beyonce, Billy Ray Cyrus and others.

Despite all of that notoriety and fame – she was frustrated because her website received MAYBE 100 visitors in the last year and a half! She commented about how often she BLOGGED and yet she was so consumed by the THOUGHT that her store website LOOKED great and that it shows all of these superstars wearing their jewelry – that she wasn’t seeing the forest for the trees.

She has had a website since 2009 and in ALL of that time MAYBE 800 people had visited her website. Instead of really addressing the issues as to WHY nobody was going to her website, she decided to build another new website in January of this year – this time using Shopify. She’s spent countless hours getting her product line in the online store. She’s written tons of BLOG articles since January – to the TWELVE people who have visited her website since January.

nogasWhen I SHOWED her these revelations, her only response was to  share the news that she had recently hired a PR firm in Miami (for three months) to help guide her.

Maybe they can help her find another gas pump for that Ferrari.

 So let’s get back to the statement about the only two ways that you can gain top rankings on Google, Yahoo, Bing and the search engines.

1. Outspend your competition.2. Out work your competition.

“Outspending” affords you the option of contracting a SEO-savvy company to write and add in the content pages needed to beat your competition’s rankings. We can setup daily reporting that shows where your website needs help and what kind of content is needed to meet and beat your competition.

“Outworking” simply means that since you’re doing the content writing and work, you’re not having to pay for it.

If you want and need more customers, they are RIGHT THERE on the other end of your keyboard. They are LOOKING for you EVERY SINGLE DAY. If you don’t have a large budget and simply cannot afford the financial investment that it takes to compete with those at the top of all of the searches related to your business – then your only choice is to OUTWORK them.

teachfishAppNet and other companies that operate like we do make our living by building websites and by consulting and teaching many of our clients how to “outwork and/or outsmart their competition”.

It is like that old proverb – “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

WEB DEVELOPMENT ARCHITECTURE LENDS ITSELF TO BETTER FISHING…

It used to be that web design companies HAD to do all of the design, handling of edits, etc. When SEO (search engine optimization) came along it further made it necessary for only a seasoned professional to handle most web page growth, etc.

Now, with CMS (content management systems) that allows most anyone to add, edit and delete any and every page of a website, it is EASIER to build the website that businesses can afford and then teach clients how to use those tools to grow their own websites to a point that it becomes more competitive with those websites ranked at the top.

Perhaps the most significant difference in marketing via the internet and other, more traditional marketing venues is that you CAN effect your own website’s success with a lot of your own sweat-equity. If you are short on budget, you CAN do a lot of the work to grow content yourself. Of course, then you have to ask yourself the following questions:

How much is YOUR time worth?How good are you going to be at it?…and most importantly, WILL YOU DO THE WORK? (Most business owners are too busy to put in the time that is necessary to win rankings.

Most high-quality web development companies will tell you that on an almost daily basis we are confronted with people who are wanting to start an online business, and in so many cases they’ve already heard the “They can get something for nothing” ads. There are so many people who are just getting by financially and they are falling prey to these promotions. Unfortunately, these kinds of things have always been around. However, like everything else these days…because of the internet there are just so many more ways to be scammed.

Once we perform our best “Dr. Phil” impression and bring these people back down to Earth, we are almost always asked a question related to…

 

HOW ARE THEY DOING THAT?

may-news-numberoneThe “THEY” in that question are the people who ARE showing up at the top of Google searches and obviously doing well.

That is one of our most-often-asked queries – “How is this or that company always ranked in the top?” That question is usually followed up with, “How much will this cost?”

Once we share the “HOW” and “HOW MUCH” we usually hear some comments related to, “Well I definitely need to ‘get there’ but what can we do for about ‘half’ that budget?”

It should be simple LOGIC that we can do about one-half of what is needed.

Another response we get is, “Well I had a call from ‘XYZ web design’ where they said that could get me a website for $500.”

MORE LOGIC…

Ask yourself this question – “Does it make any sense whatsoever that you should be able to put up a website that is anywhere from FREE to $500 that will perform as well on Google as a company who spent $10,000 on their website?”

Does it make sense that you should be able to advertise on television and be seen as often as “He went to Jared’s” for $1000 when Jared’s spends MILLIONS?

Of course not.

There are tons of scammers and spammers out there – and a lot of otherwise legitimate companies – who seem to want you to believe that the internet is different. That probably stems from the early days when we all heard the stories of how someone put up a one page website and got rich.

Those days are long gone. You can still “get rich” but not without an investment of time, money or both.

 

So let’s get BACK to the initial question of,”How Can I Get My Website Ranking on Top of Google?”

LEFTHANDEDThe great thing about the internet is that we now have so many tools that we can plug most any website into and give you a pretty decent idea of the worth or value of any website. We can tell you definitively about how much of an investment (time or money) that your competition has in their website.

That IS the secret that the website owners who rank up top DON’T WANT YOU TO LEARN. By measuring your competition, you then can know what to do that is required to meet or beat them.

Then it’s a fairly simple process to compare your website with theirs and then you’ll know how much time and/or money that you have to put in to get yourself on their level.

While there is SOME science to it – it isn’t rocket science.

We were meeting with a group of realtors this past week who made our job rather easy when they first challenged us by stating, “We want to be THE TOP real estate company online for “X”, “Y” and “Z” communities on Google. What is that going to cost?”

All we had to do was SHOW them the following:

“ABC Realty’s” website is a $30,000 website.”DEF Realty’s” website is a $15,000 website.”GHI Realty’s” website is a $12,000 website.”JKL Realty’s” website is a $10,000 website.

We then asked them, “If you’re okay with NOT being in the top four or five, we can strategize less – but if you’re wanting to be in the top four, tell US where you are budget-wise.” In some cities it may only take a $500 website to rank at the top. In competitive areas it can take more.

For example, if you’re a realtor located in Alma, Kansas which has a population of 745 people, you could probably rank NUMBER ONE on Google with a budget of $200-$300 or an investment of about a half days worth of work. However, if you’re a realtor in Miami, Florida where (according to Realtor.com) there are 24,171 real estate agents, you’ll need to be prepared to invest your time and/or money to create a website that will cost you in the ball park of $40K-$50K ANNUALLY to rank up top and get the leads necessary to be a top agent or firm.

THE BEST STRATEGIES are now those that enable you to pay for the website that you NEED TODAY and allot some level of spending (whether monthly or quarterly, etc) that would allow for frequent GROWTH.

GONE ARE THE DAYS where you can put up a website and sit on it for ANY length of time. You’re better off to spend your budget over a period of a YEAR (instead of all at once) because then your results will be more consistent over time.

Any approach that is outside of the realm of outspending or outworking your competition is like chasing after the wind.

 

YOUR MOM AND DAD WERE CORRECT. NULL. NADA. CERO. NIETS. CIPHER. NAUGHT. ZILCH. ZIP. GOOSE EGG…NOTHING – IN LIFE IS FREE.

No matter how small your marketing budget might be – good design and SEO firms can work with you in a fashion that WILL make a difference in increasing your business. Ignoring that your website isn’t generating business for you or putting off doing something about it while others are getting YOUR customers – doesn’t make sense in this competitive marketplace. There are always options and the best time to get started in making a difference is today.

 

 

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 not.google 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.

[UN PAUSE]

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.

SEO Fitness

Search Engine Optimization is kind of like education, it’s a life long process. That may sound a bit overwhelming, but it’s really only logical. Nothing ever stands still, especially the internet. Does it make sense that you can do some one-time SEO work that gets you good rankings and expect those rankings to hold up for two, three, or more years? The more active your website, or “brand”, is on the internet, the easier it is to maintain good rankings.

SEO Consultant

Another way to think of SEO is to compare it to getting in shape. Let’s say you start with a target of getting down to 185 pounds. You develop an exercise regiment, a diet, and a schedule in order to accomplish this goal. Week by week you follow your plan until you accomplish your goal. We all know that if you stop your fitness program, your goal will be short lived. SEO is no different.  A website with low traffic must “get in shape” and “stay in shape” to enjoy the benefits of good search engine rankings.

So what equipment at the SEO gym will help get you in shape. Content is King, this will never change. Those websites with the most content will get the best ranking.  ***Caveat alert*** The most content will get the best ranking IFF(if and only if) that content is properly formatted. This is where 3 year old content can create a problem. As Google changes its algorithms, so too does it change its recommendations. What worked for you 3 years ago, may now work against you.

Let’s say you are a hotel in Myrtle Beach. On your home page you have some content that links to another page on your site about Myrtle Beach Hotels.  The sentence reads, “Ocean Breeze is one of the favorite Myrtle Beach hotels on the beach.” Myrtle Beach hotels is the link and that was what Google used to require. Now Google wants “is one of the favorite Myrtle Beach hotels”, to be the link. You will get penalized if your SEO fitness level isn’t maintained.

SEO Consultant

Many people turn to a personal fitness trainer to help them accomplish their weight goal. Turning to an SEO consultant to help with your SEO fitness is no different, and many times even more important. If no one has ever gone over your website with a keen SEO eye, it is a good first step. Proper site maps, HTML tags, proper 301 redirects, and on and on are some of the basics that are necessary to establish a good SEO foundation. Links; internal, external, inbound, and outband; and  Social Media are more important now than ever before.

The internet changes every second. Many people say that Google changes it search engine algorithm about twice a day. Last year Google had 17 major changes to the way it ranks websites. So here’s the question: Do YOU have time to keep up with what the rules are today, next week, and 6 months from now? Even if you did, would you know how to best implement these “best practices”.  Choosing a qualified web designer can be challenging. Take the time to ask them about SEO and its roll in your website design.

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, etc.website 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 anyway.social-wizard-NOIt 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.

GEO BLOCKING CAN MAKE YOUR LIFE BETTER

IP OR GEO BLOCKING COULD HELP PAINT A TRUE PICTURE OF TRAFFIC AND WEBSITE SUCCESS

“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also sometimes colloquially used to doubt statistics used to prove an opponent’s point.The term was popularised in the United States by Mark Twain who attributed it to the 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who was reported as saying, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Actually it is argued that the phrase probably came from much earlier sources, but that’s an argument for another day and someone else’s BLOG. For the purpose of THIS BLOG post, I want to go on record to say that the old quote applies perfectly to today’s world on the internet. No matter what stats program you run on your website, I’d venture to state that a high percentage of the supposed visitors that ANY website receives isn’t traffic that will EVER do you, your website, OR your business any good whatsoever. Everything is “relative” when it comes to statistics and particular website stats, but there’s a very strong chance that a fairly significant percentage of your daily website traffic comes from sources or visitors who are trying to “pitch you” or perhaps use your website or email or both to SPAM others.I personally operate numerous tourism websites myself. I own GolfNorthCarolina.com, SkiSoutheast.com, ResortCams.com and many other websites that all receive a ton of traffic – both good traffic and “BS traffic”. I’ve been in the business of web design before there was a “Google” and we performed SEO before there was such a thing. Back in the early days, we optimized websites with logical content to effect rankings on InfoSeek, Yahoo and AltaVista – which were the major players in the search engine game back then.TRACKING our results was a trickier thing back then as we’d all run unreliable “counters” on websites and then we migrated to more sophisticated programs like  iStats, WebTrends, Urchin and tons of other visitor tracking tools before Google Analytics came along. GA itself has changed a lot over the years and unfortunately so has traffic.About ten years or so ago we were tracking visitors to our ski and golf sites (as well as our web design website) and were under the assumption that we were receiving thousands of visitors per day, until Google Analytics came along and slapped us in the face with the fact that we were perhaps receiving about a third of the traffic we thought we were. That’s okay, over the years we’ve built up links and traffic that have created websites that pull 40,000 visitors a day and more….or do they? Let me explain…We own a web design website that we’ve tracked visitor data from for years. Last summer we were under the assumption that we were pulling around 8,000 or more visitors per month. Not bad for a niche website that generates us around 6-10 new clients a month. I always questioned our traffic because either 7900 visitors a month were not overly impressed with our work OR MAYBE we were not getting the kind of traffic that we thought we were. Like most website owners, we just “went with the flow” and figured that it “takes a LOT of oranges to  make orange juice”.Over the last few years we’ve seen SPAM emails skyrocket to our websites. I’m certain that you have as well. Nearly every day, we received emails to ALL of our websites (ski, golf, web design – it doesn’t matter) and most all of them are telling me that they can do design work, seo work, link building and more for me. It used to be that we’d get 8-10 leads a week on our CONTACT form from interested new clients. We still get THOSE, but we now also receive ONE of those kinds of emails for every TEN SPAM emails. (Yes, I get perhaps 100 offers a week to rebuild my website, get it ranked better, push more links to it and on and on and on.Like most semi-intelligent companies, we met early in January and set about on a mission to take our traffic up ten-fold for 2014 and part of that process was to launch a new website. We implemented content writing, and a Digital Marketing campaign to “work for us” like we do for our clients.When we implement a new campaign we like to have a “line in the sand” so that we’ll know where we stand at the point of launch so that we’ll know how far it is to “point B” and beyond.So we launched the site and setup a new Google Analytics campaign and immediately saw where tons and tons of our traffic came from all across the United States, which was a good thing and a TON of traffic was hitting us everyday from all over the world.Clients call us all the time astonished at how popular their websites are internationally. They brag about how their business is so well visited around the globe. We listen quietly and then explain that while their websites certainly GET legit traffic worldwide – the majority of that traffic is WIDELY interested in you alright – but MOSTLY interested in selling you or worse.Nowadays – the world (mostly outside of the United States) is interested in scamming you and I with offers that they cannot deliver on. They’re interested in taking money from us and sending TONS OF LINKS that will kill your Google rankings long enough that you’d probably have to change your business name to escape Google’s wrath. “They” are interested in also seeing if they can get into your website through weak databases to use YOUR website to send out SPAM. They are interested in using your website to send out MALWARE that can steal credit card information from your computer – and anyone who visits your websites after they’ve gotten in and infected it. They are interested in posting anti-American sentiments and on and on.What they ARE NOT interested in is doing business with YOU. HOW BAD IS IT? Oh brother, it is bad. Really bad.We ALL know that we are receiving more SPAM than ever and GMAIL, nor any other email host or web host can do much about it outside of ADMITTING that 99.99999% of the people that your website will probably EVER do business with are located within the borders of the continental U.S.Obviously, some of us do business internationally and if so, you’ll need to take special care in how to allow you website to seen by legitimate international clientele – while doing what you can to limit the “crap”.Most small business owners could do themselves a HUGE favor to simply BLOCK visitors from seeing your website unless they live within the United States.  Over the years we’ve picked up some international clients, but not enough to warrant all of the SPAM and potential security issues that come from allowing ANYONE, ANYWHERE to visit your website.The truth is (and it isn’t being preached out there much) is that if you want to cut WAYYYYYY down on the SPAM emails that you get AND NOT LOSE ONE spec of business – the easiest way to do that is to GEO-BLOCK your website.That’s really a pretty simple process. Of course, really industrious hackers and spammers can use proxies to still get to you, but now there are tools that can help you even block those.To illustrate just how “bad” SPAMMING and HACKING attempts are outside of the United States, last night (March 10, 2014) I placed a GEO BLOCK on our web design website. In LESS than 24 hours that GEO BLOCK stopped 473 international visitors from hitting our website. That reduced our traffic by about 40% in ONE DAY, however we also received NO SPAM offers today. Not one!More importantly, we noticed that the GEO BLOCK also did something else that was even more important and beneficial for us. It blocked NINE “visitors” who were TRYING their best to log into the BACK END of our website. They were trying to login to our CMS.WHAT THE HECK???The Target debacle opened a lot of eyes about website security or the lack of it and while the Affordable Heath Care website hacking has been swept under the rug – that website is more insecure than Taylor Swift. However they are not alone. Forbes recently reported that more than 10,950,000 websites were hacked in 2013. In case you’re not great at math – that is more than 30,000 websites a DAY getting hacked.Wanna know where 99.999999% of those hack jobs and malware, SPAM and security breaches came from? How about:ChinaRussian FederationUkraineGermanyFranceNetherlandsIndiaTurkeyCzech Republic…and even Canada.ANOTHER GREAT SIDE EFFECT OF GEO BLOCKINGIf you can afford to not allow traffic from outside of the United States to your website, there are tons of benefits. One is that you’ll know JUST how much of your daily traffic is legit. That will provide you a great sense of appreciation for just how decent your website is converting visitors to clients. Second, you WILL get FARRRRRR less SPAM emails. Third, your website will be soooooo much more secure from hackers and those who are trying to use your website and email for nefarious reasons. Fourth, the STATISTICS that you have been questioning for some time – will begin to make sense.One of the most misleading stats on Google Analytics is your BOUNCE RATE. If perhaps 30% of your traffic is from hackers and spammers, they are probably hitting ONE page of your website (your contact form, default page or whatever) and then leaving after 40 seconds. That visit skews the average time spent on your website AND the average PAGEVIEWS and your bounce rates.If you want to really get a good idea of what your web traffic REALLY looks like AND if you want to be able to delete far fewer SPAM emails – try GEO BLOCKING. It really, really, really works.If your web host or designer doesn’t agree or know how to implement geo blocking, call us and we’ll be glad to make your life a little more secure and free of statistical lies.Also – if you NEED to do business worldwide, you CAN block only those known culprits who are making a mess of your traffic. By the way, we’ve received tons of great comments and from our U.K. brothers. Hey, there’s no way we’d block them.

 

March 19th UPDATE: Wanna know JUST how effective GEO BLOCKING can be? How about this bit of data:In JUST the last 11 days by applying GEO BLOCKING to our own AppNet.com website, we have blocked 5227 visitors blocked from the frontend (meaning our front page) and MORE IMPORTANTLY 39 visitors blocked from the backend or our ADMINISTRATIVE portion of our website!

As stated previously, we’ve also CUT WAY down to almost nil on SPAM in our INBOX.

China
1592

Germany
926

France
581

Ukraine
467

Russian Federation
394

Netherlands
393

Brazil
257

Czech Republic
190

India
134

Turkey
66

Sweden
55

Poland
38

Canada
24

Japan
24

Iran, Islamic Republic of
24

SEO Juice from Adwords via Backlinks?

When looking at improving your search engine rankings there are many, many things to consider. The best advice is to write for the reader. Beyond that lies a long check list that can vary depending on whom you speak with.  After all The Great Algorithm is unknown to all but a select few in Mountain View, CA.

Another discussion is paid vs organic rankings. They are both viable options depending on your budget. Organic ranking does not happen over night. It is the result of multiple steps and a varying amount of time. PayPerClick can get you to the top fast, but many times you may find it difficult to justify the return on investment. SEO

Backlinks are another  important part a solid SEO strategy. Links from from websites with strong Page Rank add some SEO juice to your website.  Getting good backlinks can be difficult. They may come from your Blog that was picked up by someone else. So keep blogging!

A big question is does a PPC campaign create a good backlink from Google and other sites. You will read that these PPC/Adwords have “no follow” links. No follow links tell the search engines to ignore the Page Rank weight coming from that PPC.  SEO experts know that sometimes what the search engines say helps your SEO and hurts your SEO don’t always jive. PPC can tell the search engines many things. It’s hard to believe your purchase of Adwords doesn’t factor into The Great Algorithm somehow.