Keep Your Website Up To Date Hassle Free

By | Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Web Site Design

Want to add news, articles, tips, and events to your web site? The most cost-effective way to accomplish this is to integrate a blog into your web site. Blogs are a fast and easy way to publish, categorize and archive information in our web site. Best of all, you can publish content to your web site without any technical expertise. How does this work?

The most popular blogging platform is WordPress. WordPress is Open Source, meaning it’s FREE. Your webmaster will need to install WordPress on the web server that houses your web hosting account and customize it so it matches the look and feel of your web site. WordPress is actually a database application, which means Individual posts can be retrieved through search, Tags, and a Category index. Additional benefits include:

  • Blogs are a great way to build quality keyword driven links that point to key pages on your website. Great for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
  • Blog content is almost instantly indexed in Google.
  • Blogs are a quick way to integrate multimedia into your site; add a slide show, pictures, or Video (linked from YouTube)
  • Think of using a blog for your Press Room or News section of your web site. News Articles are automatically archived by date and can be easily searched.
  • Position yourself as an expert. You may not have written a book but you do author a blog.

One of the easy ways to promote your blog (articles and content) is through social media. So once you post an article, you’ll need to tweet about it through your Twitter account. Make sure you include the link to the blog article.

Your Blog can be configured in such a way that every time you add a post, your home page automatically gets updated with the latest news headlines. Don’t be afraid of the word “Blog”. Just because you have a blog doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and become a blogger. You can update your blog as often as you like. Express yourself.

What Business Start-ups Need to Avoid When Selecting a Domain Name

By | Online Marketing, Web Site Design

I recently taught a class for start-ups and entrepreneurs on web marketing. I dedicated one slide to the topic of selecting a domain name. I was extremely surprised how this topic sparked so much discussion and interest. In light of this, I thought a blog post would help others facing that most important decision.

Many of the unemployed today are reinventing themselves and starting up businesses. One of the most important tasks a business owner must consider, second to selecting a company name, is the selection of their domain name. Brands are greatly affected by the ability of the company to obtain the matching domain name. If a company builds a brand around a name to which it does not own the domain name, it can end up directing traffic to another domain owner’s site. If it is a competitor, this surely would be problematic.How to Select a Domain Name

As you list your potential choices, determine how the name will be interpreted in both writing and in speech. Two or three word domains can easily be read in more than one way. A good domain name should require little or no explanation when verbalized. In other words when you tell someone your web site address and they ask, “is 2 spelled to
or two”? or “is it the number 2?”. Having to offer an explanation adds an unnecessary level of confusion and will guarantee that your domain name will be difficult to remember.

Numbers should be avoided and so should phonetic letters; i.e. “fone” for “phone”, “magik” or “Magic”. Also avoid homophones like “sweet” and “suite”. Avoid hyphens; i.e. www.my-company-store.com.

When you search domains during the purchasing process you’ll see the many extensions (.com, .biz, .info, .us) that are available. Domain registrars will always show you the “3rd rate” names like .biz, .us, .info etc. They want to increase the amount of your order by encouraging you to sign up for those names. Do resist for the mere fact that the business world thinks in .com and that’s the way it is. So stick with .com under all circumstances.

Keep your name as short as possible. Remember you domain will be reflected in your email address. If the name is longer but yet easy to remember and spell than that should be acceptable.

And once you register your domain, do put up a placeholder or a splash page until your web site is ready. The experts claim domain name longevity is a factor in search ranking. Now that is another whole topic.

A Day in the Life of Fickr & Twitter – for business

By | Online Marketing

Today we began work on an Email campaign for a client that required a very specific photo image that I could not find through my normal resources. Now what do I do? I turn to Flickr, the online photo management and sharing application. After a few keyword searches, I arrive at the photo that would fit the bill. Flickr tells me about the photographer and includes a link to the web site. I visit the site briefly and decide instead of emailing I would see if the photographer was on Twitter. Sure enough there he was. I followed him and sent him a direct message inquiring about licensing the photo. He responded within minutes and shortly thereafter I had all the information I needed. Moral of the story… #1 Don’t under estimate the role Fickr can play in social networking and Business. #2 More people are on Twitter that you could imagine. Here is a good article about Marketing on Flickr.

Is Your Web Site Ready for 2009?

By | Online Marketing, Web Site Design

The New Year is no better time to prepare your site for the year ahead. Unfortunately, more often than not, organizations don’t update their site on a regular basis. Refreshing your content can contribute to improved ranking and exposure in Google.

Follow this list to make sure your site is in ship-shape condition for 2009:
1. Change the copyright date at the bottom of your site to 2009;
2. Edit your home page copy. Your message should be mindful of today’s economy. Speak to your visitors to demonstrate your understand of the current challenges your target marketing facing.
3. Update your news and blog articles. A 2009 date will demonstrate that you’re on the ball.
4. Take a look at your Page Titles and Meta Data. As your content changes, don’t forget to change your keywords and page titles.
5. Give your inquiry form or linked email addresses a quick test. Make sure they are going to the correct destination and you know who in your organization is getting the leads and queries.

How to Market your Business Online in a Tough Economy

By | Online Marketing

Putting your marketing dollars to work in these tough economic times requires smart thinking and a decisive plan of action. With competition heating up, now is not the time to retreat. Retreating in a recession will give your competitors a position of strength once the economy and business capital markets start to turn around. Here are a few things you can do:

– Look at the trade publications that you may have advertised in and check out their online directory or banner ad programs. These programs traditionally cost less and provide measurable results. Within one month of advertising you should be able to determine if your efforts are driving traffic to your web site. Do not commit to a long period of time. Give it a try for a month or two and see if it works.

– If you are doing Google Adwords you can see how competitive and expensive certain keyword and phases are getting. Instead of going for the same phrases that everyone else is doing, add more campaigns that are niche oriented. Build web traffic from multiple, smaller campaigns instead of one big expensive one. Overall, with this strategy, you should get the same amount of traffic at a lower cost.

– Make sure you existing web site is in tip top shape. Are you putting your best foot forward? Check your content, add cross linking from within your site, and expand or update your content to reflect your potential client’s current issues and challenges.

-If you are not nurturing your existing clients and customers with email campaigns that are relevant to their business than you just have not seen the light. Email marketing (not spamming) is the most effective, low cost, measurable marketing tactic you can add to your bag of tricks.

Forward thinking companies do not retreat when it comes to their marketing efforts during a recession they simply adapt.

The True Cost of Procrastination

By | Online Marketing, Web Site Design

Recently I was at a networking event and asked a person I had just met if they were proud of their web site. She said to me “Oh, we’re working with someone, but we’ve been working on it for about a year”. I thought to myself “a year?”. One full year of missed opportunities. Let me try to actually break down the cost of this loss in terms of dollar and cents.

Let’s say for example your existing web site generates 50 visitors a day. I will add that by not updating your site through the years and bringing it up to today’s standards you will find that your traffic will continually decrease over time. Now you look into a crystal ball and estimate the performance of a new site. The new site would be more visually appealing, search engine friendly content, compliant with WC3 standards, and contain relevant content that will increase your traffic by 100%. This is a totally realistic number. Now you have 50 more visitors per day or approximately 1,500 visitors per month or 18,000 visitors per year. If those numbers don’t motivate you to do something the next set of numbers should. Now we’ll turn traffic in dollars and cents.

Let’s say you decide not to invest in a new web site, but instead try your hand a PPC (Pay-per-click) advertising, the most popular being Google Adwords. When you set-up an Adwords account you will use the keyword tools to find out how much you need to spend per day and per click to be in the top six positions. Depending upon the competitiveness of your business you’ll get a sense of what those clicks to your web site will actually cost. For a B-to-B marketer a cost of $1.25 per click is a reasonable number. In using this as an example here is the actually cost to you by doing nothing. Not to mention you are giving this traffic to your competitors.

Case #1
Keep existing web site. No changes.
Case #2
Keep existing web site but use Google Adwords to generate more traffic
Case #3
Redesign a search engine friendly web site; anticipated double the traffic of existing site
Web site visitors per day 50 100 100
Web site visitors per month 1500 3,000 3,000
Cost Per Month 0 $1,875.00* 0
Web site visitors per year 18,000 36,000 36,000
Cost per Year 0 $22,500 0

*Calculated by assuming the cost per visitor in the Adwords campaign is $1.25 click.

In conclusion, you can see the true value of traffic. A good analogy? A large billboard on Route 3 just before the Lincoln Tunnel. In Case #1 your billboard is blank. In Case #2 you billboard cost you $1,875 per month or $22,000 per year. In Case #3 the cost is equal to the redesign of your web site and your billboard stays up forever. I rest my case.

New Jersey Online Marketing Summit

By | Online Marketing

I am very excited to be attending the up and coming New Jersey Online Marketing Summit that will be held on Wednesday July 16th in Basking Ridge. The full day event will cover topics like social media strategies, search engine optimization, paid search, website usability, web analytics and tracking, email marketing, content management, site search, web site budgeting and planning, ecommerce, integrated marketing and more. It’s great that such an event is actually in New Jersey versus having to go into New York City.

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The Factors You Need to Know that Effect Search Engine Ranking

By | Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization

Electronic handout: NJAWBO Essex Chapter meeting October 17, 2006

Down, down, down. Would the fall NEVER come to an end! `I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time? she said aloud. `I must be getting somewhere near the center of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think– (for, you see, Alice had learned several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a VERY good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over) `–yes, thats about the right distance–but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I’ve got to?’ (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)
Excerpt from ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND by Lewis Carroll

Such is the world of search engines. As your site travels the mysterious road of site optimization, with the insight below, youll be armed with a few ‘grand words’ so maybe YOULL know where you are going.

We are going to discuss several factors search engines (SEs) use when ranking your site. These are URLs, text, links, popularity, submission and HTML code.

To begin to understand these factors one has to remember that the goal of a search engine is to display the most relevant sites first. SEs use a complex site of algorithms. These algorithms calculate the best matches. What makes this art and science even more challenging is that the algorithms are kept secret and often change when work arounds (methods that get through the algorithms) are discovered. For example, in the early days, webmasters would stuff keywords into their pages by add text that matched background color.

Below are the factors to consider:

URL
-If possible do use keywords as part of your domain name
-Purchase other extensions to protect your name and your brand
-Create page name that a relevant to page content; for example www.bza.com/web_design.html better than bza.com/wd.html

TEXT
-Content is king
-Your site should be filled with relevant and keyword content
-Organized content- with heads and subheads
-Write articles, white papers, commentary, news, blogs, write about your keyword subject
-Naturally expand content with good keywords
-Change content often; SEs will visitor when they see new content
-Avoid; doorway pages, write content just for SEO, machine generated pages; small text, text that matches the background, keyword stuffing
-Dont repeat content
-Dont put keywords in graphic images; SEs cant read graphics
-To find keywords and phrases relevant to web sites used Yahoo Search Suggestion Tool , Googles Keyword Tool , WorkTracker Microsoft Ad Center
-Add geocentric terms to target local areas.
-Blogs- with content related to the web site; link back to the web site

HYPERLINKS
-Linking to relavant content within your site. Takes advantage of crawling as well as keyword
-Every page must be linked… No dead ends
-Find out what pages are indexed in Google by searching site:http://www.yoursite.com

POPULARITY
-Measured in two ways; Most frequently clicked link for keyword search on the site and inbound links
-Related to your content- makes you an authority
-Purchased listing/links from reputable sites
-Do not participate in non related link exchanges or link farms
-Inbound links from popular sites, .edu, .gov adds value to your rank
-Press release links like PRWEB.com
-Who links to you now? Go to Google and search link:http://www.yoursite.com

SUBMISSION
-Do submit your site only once. Google, Yahoo Search,
-Dont used any automatic program, submit each page, or more than once,
-Submit to directory, DMOZ and Yahoo
-Organizations, listing plus industry directories

META CODE and HTML
-First 100 lines on code; have the most influence
-Meta Tags are not a magic bullet; Meta Tags are the page title, description (12 to 24 words) and keywords
-Your page title is the single most important factor… should be 6 to 12 words; each page -should have a descriptive and unique page title.

Not to be forgotten
-Dont use Flash for an entire web site
-Get rid of Frames; old technology, search engines cant index and follow frames

To the Rescue

By | Online Marketing, Web Site Design

I can’t begin to tell you how many calls I get from companies that are in a predicament with their web site. Either their web person has stopped returning phone calls or they have just fallen off the face of the earth. For BZA these missions become one of research and rescue. Typically these people aren’t sure where their site is being hosted and many do not have their domain registrar information. As a word of warning, I recommend you treat your web site like a valuable company asset. Keep all your hosting and domain records in a safe place. You can even ask your web person to burn your site to a CDROM. Also make sure you own your domain name. Many companies are surprised to find out that they do not own their own domain name. It is an unethical practice for any company to register a name for a company, charge them for it and keep ownership of the name. Although we love to come to the rescue for clients, and be the hero, we most often wish it were under better circumstance.