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Archive for internet strategies

Website vs. Blog: There is a Choice.

Having an internet presence is essential in this business environment.  As a business owner, you must have a web presence.  But when you are developing that web presence you have many decisions to make.  Here are some of the things you need to consider:

  • What is the goal of my website:  Is it to make money?; Is it to create an online brochure?; Do I want it to be interactive?
  • How much control do I want of my site?  Do I want to pay someone to update the site regularly?  Do I have regular content to update?  Do I have the resources to update my site?  Do I want to interact with my customers and prospects on the site?
  • What do I want the site to look like?  What are the branding colors of my company?  Can my logo be included on the site?
  • What other online media do I plan to use with my company?  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, other social media?  How will my site easily interact with these other online media sources.

When you are putting together your web presence you need to consider all of these things, and probably a few more too.

So, let’s look at each more closely:

What is the goal of my website:  Is it to make money?; Is it to create an online brochure?; Do I want it to be interactive?

There are several different types of websites that you can use.  The most common is a branding site, like this site.  It has information about the company, the leaders, the team etc.  It also includes info about the products and services and they may be for sale on the site.  There are also store fronts that are online that offer a wide array of products or services and that is the site’s main function.  The two other sites that I use are sales pages and squeeze pages.  To see one of my sales pages you can look at:

http://www.entrepreneursvipcoaching.com This page talks solely about my coaching program and the components that are included with it.  It has one purpose — to sell coaching.

http://www.strugglingsmallbusiness.com is one of my squeeze pages.  It has one purpose and that is list building.  If I am working to build my list then I work to drive my web traffic to this site and then once someone has signed up on my list I can send them links to my branding site or my sales page.  But when I pay for traffic, I want information that I can use again and again to build a relationship.

As you build your web presence you might decide to use muliple sites as well.

How much control do I want of my site?  Do I want to pay someone to update the site regularly?  Do I have regular content to update?  Do I have the resources to update my site?  Do I want to interact with my customers and prospects on the site?

As you can see from my site.  I like to have lots of control.  I do work with outside vendors to customize the site, create the look and feel of the site.  I also use Virtual Assistants to add content, articles and set up services or products that are for sale on the site.  But I do maintain quite a bit of control and I know how my site works.  Part of this is largely due to it now be hosted on a WordPress Blog Platform.  Yes, this site is a blog.  And, many of my other sites are moving in that direction as well.  I encourage people to look closely at WordPress because it gives you so much control, AND, you WANT to be able to add content to your site regularly.  Content and information is what makes a site work really well.  Heck, that’s why you are here!  You are reading my “content”, my “information”.  You are deciding if you like me, if you think I know anything.  When a site is built and you don’t add new content to the site, then it becomes stale.  There is little reason for visitors to return to your site. Word Press allows you to control the content, keep it fresh and more (which I will get into in a minute!).

The other aspects of this question are do you have content?  I would challenge that you do.  You have information that you can share with your prospects that will aid in building your business relationship.  Resources, do you have the time and energy to add the content yourself, or do you have the resources to pay someone to add the content?  These are both critical questions.  You need to answer these for yourself.  And, keep in mind that it might change.

What do I want the site to look like?  What are the branding colors of my company?  Can my logo be included on the site?

Yes, your site should help to brand your company.  On this site, we are still working on the branding pieces.  But overall, the branding of the site does fit with my company brand — our colors are orange and red/maroon.  I use a compass as my logo.  Do you see those colors here?  The logo here?  When putting your site together you will want to look at those pieces.  I also have my compass logo in the header.  With Word Press you are able to buy themes that are customizable and you are able to find themes in the free theme directory that are customizable.  Many people become concerned with using a template or in the world of blogs a theme, that other people might be using. 

I believe that if you customize the theme to be yours, then using a pre-built theme or template is cost effective and still accomplishes your goals. I use a customizable theme that is available in the word press directory.

What other online media do I plan to use with my company?  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, other social media?  How will my site easily interact with these other online media sources.

This is the biggest reason that I use Word Press for my site.  It is interactive.  I can easily connect my site with Facebook, Twitter and I can set up so that you too can “tweet” my posts or “ping” them or send to an array of social book marking sites.  I receive traffic back to my site from my posts on these other sites.  A blog also allows multiple types of “Plugins” that give it different functionality.  And, allows visitors to subscribe, comment and be part of the site.  For me, these are all advantages that my typcial website did not provide.  Yes, I had a blog on my site, but now my whole site IS a blog.  That means when I update a page, it “tweets”, and when I add a post, it “tweets”.  Each of these strategies add to my exposure on the web, and that is what I want!

Web Presence is essential.  It is the HOW that you must decide on as a business owner.  The blog format offers you some versatility that a typical website doesn’t.  And, it offers you a Web 2.0 platform that is interactive and can be co-creative.  Your priority is to be on top of creating a powerful web presence that actually adds to your business.

Evaluating the Web Marketing Company

If Internet marketing was easy to handle and put into practice in the form of different strategies, there wouldn’t be so many web marketing companies selling their services for very good money. A reality of the electronic market, web marketing consultancy is often the element that makes the difference between business success and business failure. The thing is that the world wide web is incredibly complex and all sorts of creative and technical aspects have to be covered, which is not exactly part of the average developer’s skills. Advertising, design, web development and sales, these are distinct fields of activity that require separate knowledge and experience.

How many of the business owners that activate online have marketing or web design studies? Very few. The rest of entrepreneurs either try their luck on their own with rudimentary tools and information they play by the ear, or they rely on the expertise and professionalism of web marketing companies. Experts study the market, the business they have to promote, the eventual competitors and come up with the strategies made to increase the return on investment rate (ROI) and enhance the number of relevant visitors. Such progress would inevitably translate into more money for the business in question.

Web marketing companies work will all sorts of experts, from marketing specialists to web designers and IT software programmers. The complexity of professional teams is understandable given the multitude of tasks required to make an online business profitable. When people choose the services of web marketing companies to build the web site from scratch, everything will be covered from the web design part to the search engine optimization and the permanent monitoring of the business performance. What would be the role of the business manager in this context? Although it is simple to leave all the work to experts, a good manager will always want to be in control.

Web marketing companies provide services patterned according to one’s business needs. The business manager is the authority that receives updates and is constantly informed on the evolution of the company. Moreover, no agency or service provider can take decisions for you unless you give them this right by contract. It seems that the highest rate of success comes with people who although uninitiated in the secrets of web marketing, still make efforts to learn about the basic mechanisms and are able to understand strategies and methods when they are exposed to them.

Using Web Advertising Agencies

A web marketing agency is a company that provides various types of marketing services to web developers that need business support. The majority of services available revolve around marketing web design, search engine optimization, pay per click campaigns, marketing and advertising strategies, email marketing and lots of others. All businesses will more or less need to go through these stages of development if they want to grow, but difficulties could sometimes come from the indecision about which web marketing agency to work with. There are lots of companies that advertise online, but there is often a trust problem when it comes to collaborations.

First of all, a web marketing agency that you find in the first results of search engine pages has already got the web developer’s attention by the very top ranking. A company that can be promoted at the best traffic level will very likely do the same thing for you business. There is already a success story in page ranking. Yet, you should not stop at the first web marketing agency you come across. Run a more complex search, carefully read their presentations on the websites and than narrow down the list of possible collaboration to five or six companies that seem more promising to you.

Once you’ve got at this stage, it is time to select only the possible choices that you can contact in face to face meetings. It is not advisable to choose a web marketing agency that works exclusively on the Internet. Being able to discuss directly with the people who are going to take care of your business is very important and conclusive. This is the best way to find out who your clients are, what business history they’ve got, what great results they’ve achieved so far and how they can help your company to increase profit.

Look for specifics in the plan they may suggest. Do not trust or believe a web marketing agency that will promise you a 100% boost in sales. Moreover, discuss link building and see how many they can create and from what web pages. Also inquire about the strategies the company would use to increase traffic. Such elements are essential to understand the professional dimension that a web marketing agency has to offer. And last but not least, never skip references. Facts not words should convince you. Ask for former clients and contact them for more information and a direct look at your potential collaborator’s achievements.