Last night I did something I have not done in quite some time…I was looking for potential #website gigs on #craigslist – I did find a few that looked interesting, something jumped out at me that #businesses and people have not figured out…While literally anyone can build a #website – There are services like Wix that have made it drag and drop simple. But there are two critical elements being severely overlooked; #websitetraffic and #conversions – A website without traffic or visitors is like a billboard in the desert, and a website that cannot convert that traffic to your end objective is useless. Think about it..would you trust a builder that said they could build you a house for $2000 or forgot to factor in doors, windows, or plumbing? Building a website without giving thought to getting visitors or converting that traffic is poor planning and a waste of time and resources. There are many amazing website designers that can create some works of art, but haven’t a clue about getting or converting traffic. Same reason you go see a specialist vs your general practitioner for a problem with your heart. If your website strategy or current webmaster has no planning for getting and converting your visitors…It’s time to TERMINATE them. If you want more traffic and converted sales or leads through your website and online efforts, let’s talk about your goals for 2016. I’ll Be Back with more information like this in 2016.
Business Diversification: Diversify your business or Die!
Recently, a friend informed me that we was closing his brick and mortar business that had been part of a local community for roughly 20 years. I’ve got similar stories from other friends with brick and mortar or service related businesses.
Here’s a fact: Business is constantly evolving. You and I must evolve with business cycles.
One of the major technologies that has changed the way business is conducted is the Internet, but I’m amazed at some of my old-school friends and business associates that fail to take advantage of or evolve with the way their particular industry is changing.
Everyone knows that having a website for your business today is important, just as having a business card was a no-brainer.
For nearly everyone of my personal friends or business associates that has run into roadblocks with their brick and mortar or service business, some of those issues could have been avoided or minimized if they had diversified via their website. Selling products or services, up-sells, cross-marketing, etc.
How has your business been affected by the economy or technology changes? Did you diversify your business or did you miss the boat?
Share your story with our visitors below.
Online Advertising Insights
I was in the middle of several projects and stopped to look at some of my web stats and noticed a keyword phrase that appears to on the rise; “search engine pro scam”
I received this email the other day relating to the same issue:
As a search engine marketing professional since 1998 I’ve seen the good and the ugly in online marketing. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a full-time student of online marketing. Fact of the matter is that online marketing for those of us who do it for a living can be mind numbing at times. We need to sort out the fads, trends, and principles that stand the test of time.
Regarding search engine marketing scams, I’m amazed at how many emails I get from folks asking me to stop charging their cards or to stop service and they have no idea they are communicating with the wrong website / company.
Here is a thread I found related to the search engine pro scam real estate agents are talking about online:
“Philip Roy” – says:
“I have had the same problem. I wish I knew a way to find a good SEO and advertising company but it seams like they are all full of it. Please let me know if you find a good one.”
“Dan Kennedy Homes” – says:
“Sadly, I’m experiencing the same thing. Major rip off!”
I think folks get ripped off in their online advertising for several reasons:
- Lacking knowledge – My best clients have a basic understanding of what SEO or paid advertising is.
- Instant gratification – Folks want instant results and end up making poor decisions on how they spend their online marketing dollars.
- Chasing the next big thing – There is a new next big thing on the Internet every 60 seconds. Start with the basics.
- Cheap Mindset – We’ve gotten ourselves into a cultural mindset that everything can be outsourced for peanuts (I won’t bother to mention any of the sites here) – You get what you pay for.
Vince Curtis summed it up best – “NO Company can guarantee placement on Google except Google.”
I’ve been saying this for years. Additionally, Google and the other top search sites change algorithms on a regular basis. Any company that promises or guarantees a #1 spot on Google…. run!! Sure, someone can get you to the top temporarily, but it’s the basics that will help keep you there.
Where to find good online advertising and SEO
If I knew nothing about SEO or online marketing I would start with some referrals. I’ve try to work with people I have some sort of connection with friend, business associate, etc. vs. some random person I found on Craigslist or a foreign country I can’t pronounce the name of. Another place I would look is a local SEO / SEM marketing group. Many major cities have local SEO / SEM marketing groups that meet regularly.
Don’t put too much stock into certifications… ask to see proof or results. Certificates are great to show some level of competency or understanding, but the ability to generate traffic and results that turn into profit are two different animals. I’ve personally managed over 2 million dollars in ad spend on Google Adwords and Bing while generating thousands of leads for auto dealers nation-wide, but I have yet to get Google Adwords or Microsoft Adcenter certifications.
What type of experience have you had with an SEO or online advertising company?
Share your story below.
Search Engine Pros Scam – Original article
Is Credit Card Fraud Fact or Fiction?
Some might be wondering why I would have an article here with regard to credit card fraud. After processing credit card transactions for quite some time and helping clients in the past with commerce and payment processing service I have been exploring different payment options and services.
I’m doing some research on PCI compliance and getting back up to speed on credit card processing in general. I used to be an Authorize.net reseller, had an account for 10 years, plus a corporate paypal account for the same period. When I sold off / shut down an old company, neither paypal or authorize.net would allow me to just transfer to my new corporation…so essentially, I was starting all over again.
As I’m looking at some of the transaction fees, add-on fees it’s quite astonishing.
The whole PCI compliance issue is quite amazing to me. I’ve been trying to find articles on the web with regard to small businesses getting hacked, credit card information being stolen or abused. I have not found any yet.
The only articles I’ve found easily with regard to credit card fraud are banks and large financial institutions that have been hacked.
I’m skeptical just as many businesses are that this is a ruse the squeeze more dollars from small businesses and merchants.
In 10+ years of processing credit cards for web hosting and other web related services, I never had a charge back or report of fraud.
I’m interested in hearing stories from “anyone” that is aware of a small business being hacked or credit card information being stolen or misused. If you have a story that supports or refutes the claims of large financial institutions please comment below.
Credit Card Fraud and PCI Compliance
Getting started with PCI compliance? Try some of these resources:
Fake Adwords Display URL? I did not think it was possible, but I finally ran across a Google Adwords ad using a fake display URL. I was looking for a
Canon p-150 scanner. I thought I was going to land on BestBuy.com, but instead landed on a Weebly.com page which then redirected me to Amazon.com (Check out the screen shots below)
While I won’t talk about the ethics of this or how Google missed a display URL that does not match a destination URL…this is some slick marketing. I doubt the individual or entity could be identified by anyone without a court subpoena.
Fake Google Adwords Display URL
Directed me to a Weebly.com web page below.
Adwords Display URL
Typically has to match up with the destination URL unless using a tracking service of some type.
Again, this is a pretty slick marketing tactic. I’m not sure if there is any legal precident of using a corporate domain / sub-domain name to fake out consumers into thinking they are going to a corporate website and then land on an affiliate page.
Once the cookie is loaded, the affiliate will get the sale if the visitor makes a purchase.
Have you run across fake Google Adwords display URLs? or do you use fake display URLs in your marketing? Any Internet attorneys that care to comment on any possible legal issues resulting from the use of this tactic? Comment below or sign up in top right hand corner of this page for email updates.
For more information on Google Adwords display URL policy – click link
Here’s interesting point with regard to Google’s display URL policy for Adwords. There is nothing covered regarding the use of false or misleading display URLs.
We may think the tablet PC has only been around for a couple of years, but a recent article from eWeek shows 123 years of history in the making.
From an SEO / SEM perspective I’m excited about the future of online marketing on the go.
I think we will see more mobile SEO /SEM apps developed to do some of those hard-operations we typically run from a desktop or laptop.
I’m posting this article from my iPhone. Mobile devices and the slew of tablet devices hitting the market are only going to enhance social media applications.
What are your thoughts on tablet PC devices and how they will affect online marketing?
This evening I was crunching some numbers on an ugly website I manage. I know there are some good sources out there on “ugly websites” that are successful, but I wanted to share some my personal experiences.
A couple years ago, I had an automotive site that I managed, graphically, eye appeal, etc. it was not an award winner, but man did that site convert well when compared to the replacement site with much more sophisticated graphics and layout.
After crunching some conversion and revenue numbers on the ugliest site in my portfolio, I was shocked!
So here’s my question to the community; What is your experience with ugly websites?
- Have you replaced your ugly website with something much more polished and sophisticated?
- Did your conversions increase or decrease?
- Did your website visitors increase or decrease?
Here are a few good links for ugly websites:
My personal list of ugly websites:
- Dallas Yellow Pages – This site is ugly, unchanged for several years, but the domain has been alive for approximately 10 years and it indexes very well.
- 1800GetACar – This is one of the ugliest automotive websites I’ve seen, but it has an amazing success rate for connecting car buyers with lenders and auto dealers nation-wide.