How to achieve “Win-Win” in website development

When we build sites for clients at FindMyLocalBiz.com we always make site NAV a focus point, ensure all content is no more than 2 clicks away from any page and that the user will always get to their desired content as easily and naturally as possible. Clear and intuitive site navigation is essential to ensuring a good user experience on your site.

We listen to our clients, respond to their needs, educate them about good Internet marketing tactics and ultimately follow their leads (the client is always right!). Luckily for us we have smart clients, and after open discussions we’ve always been able to reach a satisfactory agreement that addresses the clients desires while meeting good Internet marketing tactics.

Good content + good site navigation + good clients = Win-Win!

The Value of Business Networking, Internet Marketing & Growing Your Local Business

I attended a business networking meeting this morning where I met about 20 like-minded local business owners from a variety of industries – lawyers, dentists, CPA’s, computer repair, IT to name a few.  Each has the need to grow their business as well as help others in the group grow theirs by referrals. And in fact I witnessed about a dozen written referrals actually change hands, indicating this business networking group is working.

Group discussions touched upon how they market their business, and to my selfish interests, what each of these companies do regarding Internet marketing, and how they use (or do not use) their websites as marketing tools. Not surprising most admit to needing help in that area. After all, they are lawyers, dentists, CPA’s and real estate agents, not Internet marketing pros. They spend their days running their business and while marketing should be a key component of that activity, too often it is not. Frankly that’s why we have a business, to help those local business owners that do not have the time , inclination or knowledge to do Internet marketing on their own.

And then I was received this “100 Awesome Marketing Charts” from HubSpot in my email!  Clearly illustrating the impact that the Internet, Google, & Social Media (Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn) have had on how consumers search & find new local businesses, it is a most enlightening read for all of us involved in online marketing at any level.  You may want to read this yourself, and you can download your free copy here .

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Is It Time to Shut Down Your Website? (repost from BNET)

Just as many local business owners are getting on the “I need a website” bandwagon, social media raises the bar to the new chant of “I need a Facebook page now”. We often tell clients that social media today is where websites were 10 years ago – everybody wants one but few truly understand how to make good use of the platform. And just today on BNET a most interesting story appeared, asking if it is time to shut down your website, looking at both business websites and social media as marketing tools.

Lots of useful food for thought for local business owners;  Read that story here .

Best Laid Plans Need to Be Continually Re-evaluated

When we started this company our focus was to help local businesses with their Internet marketing. And we gained success, developed an SEO formula that works, and helped many local business owners increase the traffic to their site and get more business from their Internet & social media presence. That was our plan.

And then something interesting happened along the way. Business owners began to verbalize their dis-satisfaction with their existing websites. We were told that many felt their current website was old, out of date. They sometimes had a Faceboook presence but had not done anything useful with it for a long time. So being good business people, we rose to the occasion and re-wrote our business plans to now include website development for local businesses, and are finding that this dovetails wonderfully with our original premise – that local business owners can do more to attract new customers if they made good use of the Internet as a marketing tool.

So the take-away here is that while it is wise to make plans and work those plans, it is even smarter to accept that the best laid plans often need to be re-evaluated, and new directions acted upon!

The dirty little secret about local Internet marketing

Have you ever received a call – perhaps even a robocall – guaranteeing you position #1 or page 1 positioning in Google’s search results?

Well, according to Google:

No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.

This is not to say that your business can’t achieve position #1 or page 1 placement on Google, especially if your company does business at the local level and is not in a competitive business category. But for the local businesses we’ve served, we at  http://www.FindMyLocalBiz.com find a number of factors do come into play if your goal is to get your business placed on the first page of Google’s search results:

(1) The design, relevance and content of your website to searchers’ queries

(2) The implementation of title tags, description tags and, to a lesser extent, keyword tags

(3) Complete Place pages that contain the information consumers want to know most.

(4) The citations and backlinks to your site to give it the kind of authority that Google recognizes and rewards.

So let’s say you follow the rules and then one day your business starts showing up on Google’s first page of results? What will that mean to your business? The answer may be, “Nothing at all.” It all depends on the quality of your website and how well it answers or addresses a searcher’s needs.

All too often, we find that many businesses become disillusioned when they get no calls or inquiries, even if their sites are featured on page 1. The reason? Probably the site itself. And that’s the dirty little secret of local Internet marketing: No matter how high your position might be on Google, if your website is poorly designed and written, doesn’t answer the searcher’s needs, you will likely not get any response. Which may mean it’s may be time to take a fresh look at your site.

If you built your site yourself, perhaps it’s time to turn to the service of a professional web designer who can deploy skills and tools. And if you authored the site’s content, you may want to employ the services of a professional copywriter who understands the nuances of writing for the web, especially at a time when search engine optimization is so important.

So if you’re goal is to get your business #1 on Google, remember what Google said: “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.” And remember if you eventually do get to #1, it’s best that you put your best foot (your website) forward.