The Web For Business.com Blog

Internet marketing observations, perspectives, tips and tricks for your education and enlightenment.


Turning the Online Monster into your Servant

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, July 25, 2013

Websites. 1000 social media websites. Blogs. YouTube. SEO. There are thousands of ways to market online. What's a business to do? Here are some tips on how to turn the online monster you've created (or are thinking of creating) into your servant.

Plan

When managing your online presence seems overwhelming, it's probably because you didn't plan. If you don't know where you're going, you'll have no idea if you're getting there or not. Fortunately, you can change this whenever you want.

Implement

This is where many people start - they start doing before planning. If this sounds like you, take a deep breath, back away from your monitor and take some time to plan your activities. Make a schedule. Define your goals. Then work on making them happen.

Social media sites make it easy to implement. Slap up a post or a picture or comment and voila! You're done! But how do you know it's what's most beneficial?

Websites or other corporate social media tools that are not current demonstrate a failure to implement. Most businesses can improve in this area. My business included.

Measure

Do you know how many people read your last Facebook post? Did anyone like them? Do you know who they were? How did that Facebook post compare to the previous one - and the one before it?

How about your site traffic? Is it up or down from last month? How about your search engine rankings?

Not measuring the results of online activities means you're shooting at targets without knowing you've hit them. This is why many business owners say marketing online doesn't work for them. They or their staff don't measure the results they get.

Analyze, Study & Plan Again

So you've planned, implemented and measured. Can things be improved? Of course they can. Take what you've done and build on it to make it better.

If you don't know HOW to make it better, you're in luck. There are at least a few million pages of online advice (including this one) on how to improve every aspect of your online presence.

If you've read my earlier blog posts, you'll know this stuff isn't rocket science. It's "common sense" - but we all know how prevalent that is these days. I came across a website just before writing this post that proudly exclaimed their latest news on the homepage - except it was from 2011. When the primary purpose of a website is to create confidence about doing business with you, how does something like that benefit your business?

Most "problems" with websites and online marketing are solved by following the steps above. If you don't have time or patience to follow the prescription, then feel free to call "Dr. Mark" at 905-227-6667. I'd be happy to help you manage your online marketing needs so you don't have to.

What's New for YOU in 2012?

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Welcome to 2012. I'm glad you've made it this far. What's going to be new for you in 2012?

Here are my predictions about the changes most small business owners will make in 2012 to their online marketing efforts.

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If you don't see anything listed above, well, I hope you get my point.

It is my prediction that MOST small business owners will continue to market themselves online more or less the same as they've been doing.

I think there are many reasons for this, and they're remarkably similar to the reasons most other new years resolutions fail.

  • It's too much work.
  • I don't have time.
  • It won't make a big difference.
  • I don't know how I can do things better.
  • I don't have time to learn how to do things better.
  • I don't want to learn something new.

And so forth.

Most want results without the investment required to achieve them. That's nothing new.

What I'm hoping is new this year is for more people to choose to prove my predictions wrong.

I wish you peace, health, happiness and prosperity in 2012.

With my Best Regards,

Mark Kawabe

Social Media Tea Party Sessions

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I like talking about social media. I also like tea. If you're interested in learning about how to implement social media strategies over a tea, please let me know. I'm thinking we'll meet every 2nd Tuesday of the month for an hour or so to discuss ideas and refine implementations. Cost: $20 / person or $15 / person if there are 5 or more people in attendance. Bring your laptop if you have one.

Location: my favourite tea shop in Niagara Falls - LM Teas.

Time: 10:30 a.m. ~ 12:00 noon

Start Date: November 9, 2010

Tea is on me : )

R.S.V.P. required.

Not Your Average Dojo

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Because the martial arts industry is not regulated in Canada, it's "buyer beware". Come to think of it, it's much like that in the web development and internet marketing industry. So, how do you know you're at the right place?

Well, you can talk to Shihan Doug Meagher at Northwest Goju Ryu Karate in Welland. He's now got a new website where he tells people interested in karate how to choose a quality school.

Visit them online at http://www.northwestgoju.org.

The thing I like about this site is its simplicity and its use of video. Granted, Shihan Meagher's delivery could be a little smoother (and he'll be the first to agree with that), but it gets the point across.

The other thing, of course is the content on the site. Content is still king online and if you have something to say about your business or industry then your website is the first place it should go. Shihan Meagher's list is a popular one online and it generates visits.

Northwest Goju - not your average dojo - not your average instructor.

What's Your Title?

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The title tag is one of the most important bits of information on your webpage. Chances are you've never thought about it. Here's an explanation of what it is and why it's important.

Look at the top of this page. Right up at the top of the screen - above the browser's toolbar. If you're on the main page of the blog, you'll see the title: "The Internet Marketing Passioneer's Blog". There it is. Nothing special, right?

Wrong. Search engines love titles. If you look at the code of a webpage, the title will be right near the top, between the <title> and </title> tags. Search engines use the text in the title tag to determine the subject of a webpage. It's one of the most important things you can change on your website, aside from the obvious of having quality content.

I met with a client today whose website's homepage had a title of "index". No keywords. Just "index". When you consider the homepage is the main page of the website and is usually the page you want to show up in the search engines, it's important to have keywords in the title.

Make sure your website developer puts relevant keywords in your page title. Every page of your site should have a unique title. EVERY page.

If you need any assistance with adding titles to your website, I'm happy to help. Just contact me at your earliest convenience.

The Invisible Website

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It is unusual to find a site that is invisible in the search engines. I mean, you have to do so little to get a website into Google, yet I found one. Actually, I didn't find it - a client presented it to me and asked what could be done. He said it couldn't be found in the search engines. I didn't believe him, but after a quick check, I found that the website wasn't even indexed in Google despite having been online for more than a year.

Let me explain for a moment why this is so jaw-dropping. Most web developers will submit the work they do to the major search engines as part of their service. They'll either do a direct submission or let the engines crawl the site through links. I link to many of my clients' websites through my portfolio page and that's one simple way to set up an inbound link to a site. So imagine how much effort was involved to have the website NOT be picked up by any of the major search engines. You couldn't even find the website under a specific search for the company's name. That's how bad it was.

Fortunately, with a few changes to the site (there weren't even titles!) and the addition of a few inbound links the site was quickly spidered. It is now found on page one in Google when you search for the company name - which is where it should be. As for other SEO, well, that's for the client to decide.

Search engines owe you nothing. You owe it to your business to ensure your site appears in the major engines. At a minimum, if someone just types in your company name they should find you on the first page of results unless you have an exceptionally common corporate name. (If that's the case, you should really think about talking to a branding expert.)

New Online Video Production Services from The Web For Business.com

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Since our first foray into online video things haven't really changed all that much. I mean, YouTube is still a great way to market - it's just gotten bigger. Image quality has been improved, but that was to be expected.

One thing that hasn't changed much is the cost of getting a video produced. I personally think videos offer great value on websites, but the cost of development can be a barrier. On a client's behalf, I did some calling around to several video production companies. The cost to produce a 20 second spot to use online (with some green screen background manipulation) was anywhere between $500 to $1100 - and one company wanted more details before providing an estimate which to me suggests they would have been on the high side of the range.

What does this mean for our customs? It means we've gone out and come up with a lower-cost option for you to peruse. These days even cell phones have HD capability, so you know the cost of equipment has come down. The cost of software for video editing has come down as well. We've made an investment in both equipment and software and can now produce short slideshow-type videos starting at $150.

A long-time acquaintance recently opened his own business doing video shooting, editing and production. For companies that are looking for videos with higher production values than I can offer I highly recommend him. His name is Merv Wrighton and his company name is UBU Video Productions. UBU is pronounced "You Be You". You can reach him at 905-651-2728 or at [email protected] His website will be online soon so you can view his portfolio. He has produced videos for two of my clients and both are quite happy with his work, as am I.

Your Enemy is You

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, September 02, 2010

This is related to my earlier blog post about how search engines don't owe you anything.

A client and I were discussing a local company that has managed to crowd out the first page of Google results for a variety of keywords and phrases. My client asked what could be done to compete with this company in Google. Two ideas came out of that question.

One: The "Problem" Might Not Be a Problem

When I did some checking into the popularity of the keyword phrases in question, it turns out there were very few searches registered in Google. In other words, the competition was dominant for phrases that few people used in their searches. Fighting to get a top ranking for an infrequently-used keyword phrase is probably not worth my client's effort.

Two: Doing Nothing Is Not an Option

I strongly encouraged my client to do something with his website. Small businesses don't have a ton of time to keep sites updated. Those who do can gain an advantage over time in two ways. First, the search engines will have more content to crawl so their sites will be more likely to show up for a variety of searches. Second, the HUMANS who come to their websites will be more likely to do business with them if the company has a helpful website - which requires content. Doing a little bit of SOMETHING consistently is better than consistently doing nothing.

Our worst enemies are ourselves. Doing the right things for ourselves takes effort. Just ask anyone who's tried to start and stick with a diet or exercise program. You can make a big difference with small efforts over time. Starting today, what will you do to make a difference in your business?

Search Engines Owe You Nothing

Mark Kawabe - Monday, July 05, 2010

There seems to be a persistent belief that when one has a website, it will somehow rank in the top results automatically for a variety of keywords of your choosing.

Sorry if this is the first time you've heard someone tell you this, but it's a lie.

Search engines are in the business of providing the most "relevant" results. Defining "relevant" is therefore key to understanding how results are ranked. Here's a primer:

  1. Your beautifully-designed, well thought out and sparkling website is not automatically "relevant" in the eyes of a search engine.
  2. You can "optimize" your website until it hurts, but that may still not benefit your "relevance" to a search engine.
  3. If you are under the illusion that your site "should" rank well in the search engines, keep in mind that search engines owe you nothing. It is your responsibility to understand how THEY work. The onus is not on any one search engine to understand how fantastic your website is.

How search engines work is a well-understood mystery. There are practices that most search engine marketers "know" work, but exactly how they work is a mystery - and the mystery changes from time to time as search engines update their formulas.

For example, it is "known" that Google "loves" inbound links to websites. This is why there are now things called link farms. These are also thinly disguised as web "directories". Link farms add links by the thousands to other people's websites - mostly for free but often people will pay to submit their website's link to hundreds or thousands of these sites. Have you ever been told or read that to be successful in Google they need to get as many inbound links to your website as possible? This is a half truth.

The other half of the formula is something called link "relevance". Let's say you're a breeder of Border Collies. If you ask your fellow Border Collie breeders to put a link to your website from theirs and you reciprocate, those links have some "relevance" as they're coming from one Border Collie breeder's website to another. If you also get a link from a link farm where there is no theme to the page your link is found on, that link will have lower "relevance" in comparison to the one from the other breeder's website. So, you could have thousands of largely "irrelevant" links to your website and still not rank highly in Google.

This is just one area of misunderstanding when it comes to search engines. There are dozens more criteria that make up the ranking formulas of the search engines. How each of them fits into the search engine marketing (SEM) puzzle are generally known by people in the SEM industry.

I will be covering search engine optimization and more during my next seminar series. Contact me if you want to know when our next seminars will be held this fall.