Oct 282011
 

The Do It Yourself Website looks like a blessing, before you know just what you’re getting. Everywhere you look now, you are starting to see big businesses advertising Do It Yourself Websites. People know they need to get involved in this whole Internet business explosion. They just don’t know how to go about it.

The other day, during my Online Marketing System workshop, an attendee began to tell me about their website. They had gone online and paid to set up a website with one of those 1-2-3 Do It Yourself Website offerings. They gave me their web address and I ran it through an online website grader. Their website received a grade of “4″ out of a possible 100!

All surface, no substance.

You know that your business needs to be online. To do this, you need to work with someone that will help you actually build your business. You don’t need some one whose goal is to capitalize on your ignorance. It’s one thing to have a website and another to have an effective website; let alone a real web presence.

You can get a  “1-2-3 Do It Yourself  Website “. But without understanding how it works, it’s like driving a “stick” car without knowing how to switch gears. Just as bad is paying someone to build your website who won’t maintain it, and doesn’t understand marketing or business. How much does a person who understands cars pay at the auto shop compared to someone who doesn’t? These Do It Yourself Websites are just a quick fix when you need a real solution.

At BestWebDesignBlog, our goal is to make your business better.

Getting back to that workshop attendee. I asked them how much they pay for their website? Then I asked them how much their typical electric bill is. I then explained that since they weren’t being provided a real web presence, no one was actually seeing their website. So for that provider, The monthly fee they got from my attendee was 100% profit and their client would never see any return on their investment.

Your website is supposed to help people who’ve never heard of you find your business. So I ask you. Do you really have a website? Or do you just have a Do It Yourself Website? How is it working for you?

 Posted by at 2:19 pm
Oct 112011
 

 Steve Jobs, 56, co-founder and CEO of Apple Computer died on October 5th 2011. Today’s news is dominated by fears of corporate corruption and high unemployment. Now we have one more reason to talk about “Jobs”. His work with Apple pushed the boundaries of what a brand could mean to consumers. More than any other single person, Steve Jobs made the computer personal. 

With Apple, Steve Jobs introduced the world to the Personal Computer (PC). Jobs followed it up with The Macintosh (the Mac). The Mac was the first successful computer with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and the computer “mouse”. These innovations made computing more user-friendly and flexible.

 Jobs left Apple’s helm in 1985. While Apple faltered, Steve Jobs started the company NeXT which contributed to the creation of the World Wide Web. He also developed the company PIXAR which has become a computer animation giant in the film industry.

 Jobs returned to lead Apple in 1996 and it has since  become one of history’s most profitable businesses. Apple became known for attractively designed, innovative, easy to use products. Steve Jobs put his own personal stamp on each one. The iPod, iTunes, the Apple store, the iPhone and the iPad all form an unprecedented string of personal computing “hits”. All tools that made computing “cool” for millions who would’ve never before thought so.

 Through all of this success, Apple cemented a level of engagement with enthusiasts that is often compared to a religion. Every product, each unit, another touch point from CEO Steve Jobs and his Apple Brand.

 We cannot forget that Steve Jobs was an adopted child. For a short time he lived at the very margins of America. Had he not grown up in Silicon Valley, he may have been successful in another field, or not. He may have never been adopted. He may have simply fallen through the cracks.

 As Social Media has proven, our lives are built around circles. Examine these social circles and how they interlock. You will find that the great chain of society is as fragile as its weakest link.

 Steve Jobs was not publicly known for charitable giving. But he created an experience that people did not want to leave. And we are all larger for it.

 Steve Jobs connected consumers to himself and, through him, technology. Which has played no small role in both the world’s march to globalization, and movements like the recent “Arab Spring”. So like an alchemist of old, he did not teach us that mankind is the measure of all things. Jobs instead proved that the possibilities are only as limited as our minds.

 As a small businessman, it is inspiring to know that Apple’s story started in a garage. The giants before them were IBM, XEROX, and Hewlett Packard. Microsoft focused on platform dominance. Apple, instead, concentrated on innovation and building their own brand.

 However large or small your business, whether you have a store or just a phone, ask yourself a few questions. What are your goals? What is the purpose of your business? What are you really selling? Answer these questions for yourself, your team and your customers. Now focus on your strengths. Imagine the possibilities. Now, think differently. Thank you Steve Jobs.

 Posted by at 1:50 pm
Oct 042011
 

 

The fear of change is still your businesses worst enemy. For the past week, a rumor has circulated that Facebook (Fb) is about to become a paid service. Nothing could be further from the truth.

 One would believe that users of the Internet would be accepting of change and innovation. More than 750 million people use Facebook regularly. One would think that more people would do some research before going online and screaming, “The sky is falling!”

 The spread of this rumor is a testament to human nature. People, no matter how much information is at their fingertips, are primarily social creatures.

 Recent changes in Social Media, the new Facebook features and Google+ (plus)’s launch, were bound to cause a little fear. Fear over the impersonal power of the Internet. Fear that as soon as we get comfortable, a corporation could just roll the dice with our privacy and social lives.

 Former Microsoft president Rick Belluzo advises people desiring success to “Become a person who views disruption and change as opportunity.”

 The reality is that Facebook is already a multibillion dollar business. The average Fb user spends over 40 minutes a day on Facebook. Facebook Open Graph wants to get their “like” button on as many pages on the Internet as possible. Facebook has always claimed right on its log in page that it is “free and always will be”. Changing this policy would surely drive people away.

 Most Americans use the Internet. The average user spends over 2 hours a day online. And Google is by far the leading search engine used. Google + is about Google securing a piece of the Social Media market.

 This is a struggle to command the user’s attention.

 By launching Google+, Google is signaling that Social Media Optimization and Social Linking is more important to Online Search results. Facebook, with Open Graph, is encouraging the spread of Social Linking beyond its own pages. This puts more power in the public’s hands, and less for big business, spammers, and dishonest web developers. This is an environment in which a local business, with flesh and blood customers, can enhance itself by embracing change.

 

Ben@bestwebdesignblog.com

Ph# (757)361-0194

 

 Posted by at 3:06 pm
Sep 212011
 

 Having a website, a location on the World Wide Web, directly positions your business to compete with the big chain stores. “Location, location, location.” is a phrase often repeated in the business world. From being in the right neighborhood. To being on the right side of the street.

I used to marvel at the customers who would call my store from the airport to get directions to us. There were plenty of other restaurants in the miles between us. But enough people were so in love with our big box brand, no one else was on their radar.

Now imagine we didn’t have a phone. There’s no way those customers would have come all that way to spend their money. They would not have been able to see if we were open. That is exactly what small businesses do to themselves when they don’t have a website!

Half of all small businesses still don’t have a website and are invisible to most customers searching online . On top of that, 20% of all Internet searches are for a local business. These are people trying to buy right now! People don’t go to Seattle to have a cup of coffee, or Alaska to eat crab.

In this game you need to be on the board! One third of people in America have global positioning systems (GPS) working on their mobile or “smart” phones, and use them. They get local information specific to where they live, walk, or drive. The major Internet search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing…) are pushing local search more than ever. You can get a location right next to the big box stores: online. Let customers know they have options. Reward their curiosity. You need a website as the core component of an effective Internet presence. “Location, location, location.”

 

Ben@bestwebdesignblog.com

Ph#(757) 361-0194

 Posted by at 5:45 pm
Sep 122011
 

 Embracing Internet customer reviews creates a positive cycle of customer satisfaction that builds your brand. Positive word of mouth is the greatest ally a small business has. Having a website gives you a platform from which to define your business. Use tools like Google Places to help customers tell your story. This is part of what is known as online reputation management.
 

 Many people use search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing…) to learn about your business before going to your website. When a negative review shows near the top of the SER (search engine results) page, they look at it first! Because people are leaving reviews anyway, it’s a mistake to ignore them. You must get in the game!
 

 Champion Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once said that people go through life asking themselves three basic questions about others: Can I trust you? Are you committed to excellence? Do you care about me? Fulfill the customers desire to be important to you, and you’ll be important to them.
 

 Be approachable and direct them to your website. Not only give them great service, but also ask for customer reviews. Search for customer reviews from multiple sources (urban spoon, yelp!, etc…). Overcome negative reviews with more positive ones. Respond to all reviews good and bad. Show customers that their opinion counts and you’ll be able to reduce negative ones in the first place.
  

 Now, with the Internet, reviews are track able and customers are choosing if they want 5 star service or not. Be involved. Be their choice.

 

Ben@bestwebdesignblog.com

Ph# (757) 361-0194

 

 Posted by at 7:29 pm