We Have PageRank and We Don’t Care!

By | Business Intelligence, Definitions, Natural Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Tips and Tricks | 2 Comments

I find it slightly amusing and a little interesting that in the midst of this Google PageRank debacle we received out first boost in PageRank. We’re now a PR3!

The best part is, we don’t care!

I’ve been telling clients for years that PageRank doesn’t matter. Let me repeat that, PageRank does not matter. Got it? PageRank is one of those irrelevant metrics that gets thrown in the bucket with Hits and Alexa rankings.

Once more, PageRank does not matter. The only metrics that matter are conversions, traffic, natural search position. In that order. Period.

The Web is No Longer About Presence, It’s About Identity

By | Business Intelligence, Definitions, Strategic Planning, Tips and Tricks, Web Design, Westward Strategy | 3 Comments

We spend a lot of time online, after all it is our job. We’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of business web sites ranging from the mom and pop sandwich shop down the street to established medium sized businesses.

It always amazes us the number of companies that simply have a web presence, a mentality prevalent 5 to 6 years ago, when a company could get away with letting the owner’s son build the website in his or her high school computer class. The graphics are often hokey at best, the message is not longer a fit with the company, and any posted prices are grossly out-of-date.

The game has changed, even though most companies have not seen the shift. The web has gone from an auxiliary marketing medium to a prime time player, and in our eyes the ultimate marketing canvas. Businesses need to get their act together and integrate all of their marketing efforts. A presence is no longer adequate, an identity is required. Is a spinning envelope icon really the message you want to send to potential clients or customers? Shouldn’t you be communicating the hometown atmosphere of your sandwich shop or the fresh sliced meat in your sandwiches?

Whatever ideas or concepts drive you to keep your business going should also drive your primary marketing strategies and your website.

What is your message or how are you different from your competitors? As soon as you can answer this question, seek assistance in building or refining your brand identity and communicate this identity in all of your marketing efforts.

The Web is No Longer About Presence, It’s About Identity

By | Business Intelligence, Definitions, Strategic Planning, Tips and Tricks, Web Design, Westward Strategy | 3 Comments

We spend a lot of time online, after all it is our job. We’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of business web sites ranging from the mom and pop sandwich shop down the street to established medium sized businesses.

It always amazes us the number of companies that simply have a web presence, a mentality prevalent 5 to 6 years ago, when a company could get away with letting the owner’s son build the website in his or her high school computer class. The graphics are often hokey at best, the message is not longer a fit with the company, and any posted prices are grossly out-of-date.

The game has changed, even though most companies have not seen the shift. The web has gone from an auxiliary marketing medium to a prime time player, and in our eyes the ultimate marketing canvas. Businesses need to get their act together and integrate all of their marketing efforts. A presence is no longer adequate, an identity is required. Is a spinning envelope icon really the message you want to send to potential clients or customers? Shouldn’t you be communicating the hometown atmosphere of your sandwich shop or the fresh sliced meat in your sandwiches?

Whatever ideas or concepts drive you to keep your business going should also drive your primary marketing strategies and your website.

What is your message or how are you different from your competitors? As soon as you can answer this question, seek assistance in building or refining your brand identity and communicate this identity in all of your marketing efforts.

Stumbled…Big Time!

By | Search Engine Marketing, Strategic Planning, Tips and Tricks, Westward Strategy | No Comments

I’ve read a lot of information on the benefits and the traffic one can receive from StumbleUpon. We’ve even spent a lot of time working our clients’ sites into mix to see if they get any benefits from it. None of them have… until now. We’ve been stumbled and you can see what it did to our traffic. I’m now a true believer in the power of StumbleUpon!

See what happens when you get stumbled!

Exercise does aGood!

By | Business Intelligence, Natural Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Tips and Tricks | No Comments

It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are already peering at us from around the corner. If you’re like me, you are looking forward to the cornucopia of food that will be paraded about in the next few months. This year I’m trying to be proactive and actually get in shape a little bit before I pig out and then feel like crap. The same concept goes for your website. A little pre-holiday planning and maintenance can get your website fit and trim!1. Don’t OverstuffAvoid those urges to overstuff your site with keywords. Overstuffing typically settles in your meta tags, image alt attributes, and content.2. Use Your HeadingsUse your heading tags appropriately with very targeted keywords and phrases sprinkled throughout. Think about which keywords are the most important for that page and put them in your primary heading, secondary phrases should be put in subheadings.3. Pick Good ALTernativesDo you really need that 4th piece of grandma’s pumpkin pie? Probably not, have a carrot instead. Does your alt attribute really need 47 keywords in it? Probably not. Be selective and write your alt text for humans first and then fit in keywords where appropriate. You could also use this space for misspellings, just be careful about it. You can make it extra scrumptious by also using a title attribute. It’s like Cool Whip on your pie.4. Be FriendlyEveryone has that one family member that just plain annoys everyone else. Be a better person this year and be extra friendly to them. Write friendly URLs and you’ll get noticed by the search engines in a good way. Keep it short and sincere (in both instances).5. Stretch and Touch Your ToesIf you can’t see your toes, you might want to hit a treadmill once in a while. If you can’t see your sitemap, get to work making it visible from every page. Drop the pounds from your sitemap by cleaning out the old unused pages. Stretch out and touch more pages on your site by cross-linking to them in the body content of other pages.I hope these tips help get you, and your website, through the holiday season without wreaking havoc on your body!

Exercise does a < body > Good!

By | Business Intelligence, Natural Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Tips and Tricks | No Comments

It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are already peering at us from around the corner. If you’re like me, you are looking forward to the cornucopia of food that will be paraded about in the next few months. This year I’m trying to be proactive and actually get in shape a little bit before I pig out and then feel like crap. The same concept goes for your website. A little pre-holiday planning and maintenance can get your website fit and trim!

1. Don’t Overstuff
Avoid those urges to overstuff your site with keywords. Overstuffing typically settles in your meta tags, image alt attributes, and content.

2. Use Your Headings
Use your heading tags appropriately with very targeted keywords and phrases sprinkled throughout. Think about which keywords are the most important for that page and put them in your primary heading, secondary phrases should be put in subheadings.

3. Pick Good ALTernatives
Do you really need that 4th piece of grandma’s pumpkin pie? Probably not, have a carrot instead. Does your alt attribute really need 47 keywords in it? Probably not. Be selective and write your alt text for humans first and then fit in keywords where appropriate. You could also use this space for misspellings, just be careful about it. You can make it extra scrumptious by also using a title attribute. It’s like Cool Whip on your pie.

4. Be Friendly
Everyone has that one family member that just plain annoys everyone else. Be a better person this year and be extra friendly to them. Write friendly URLs and you’ll get noticed by the search engines in a good way. Keep it short and sincere (in both instances).

5. Stretch and Touch Your Toes
If you can’t see your toes, you might want to hit a treadmill once in a while. If you can’t see your sitemap, get to work making it visible from every page. Drop the pounds from your sitemap by cleaning out the old unused pages. Stretch out and touch more pages on your site by cross-linking to them in the body content of other pages.

I hope these tips help get you, and your website, through the holiday season without wreaking havoc on your body!

Remove the Negative Words in Your Advertising and Marketing

By | Business Intelligence, Definitions, Strategic Planning, Tips and Tricks | 3 Comments

We often don’t realize it, but negative words have a strong impact on the way we process communications and store information. Some of this information may be elementary, but it is so often overlooked in marketing I feel I have to write on it.

The most abused negative word in marketing and advertising is “Don’t”. I’m sure you’ve seen it so much you hardly realize it is there any more, but think about how many campaigns you have seen with “Don’t Wait!”, “Don’t Forget!” or “Don’t Delay!” plugged into them somewhere. By using those negative word forms you are inviting people to do exactly what you “don’t” want them to!

If your spouse says to you, “Don’t forget the milk”, guess what you will do? If a golfer thinks, “Don’t hit it in the water”, guess where they’ll end up.

Instead marketers should be focusing on positive phrases to encourage conversion, click-through, or whatever call-to-action is the focus of your campaign. Instead of “Don’t Forget!”, try “Remember”. Instead of “Don’t Delay!”, try “Act Now!”

It’s a small change that can have a dynamic impact on conversion rates. Try it!

RFP – Random Friday Post

By | Business Intelligence, Strategic Planning, Uncategorized | No Comments

This has got to be one of the worst pieces of direct mail I have ever received. I know what they were going for, but the execution was pathetic. I blurred the names to protect the innocent guilty.

Worst direct mail piece ever!

  1. Pick a good message and use complete grammatically correct sentences.
  2. If you have crappy handwriting, have someone else write the message before you send it to the printer.
  3. You have two sides of the card to use. Maximize your branding and/or messaging by using a relevant, not vague, image.

Have a great weekend!

A Lesson in Pricing – Courtesy of My Dogs’Vet

By | Business Intelligence | No Comments

Milo is awfully grouchy at that vet for ripping 12 teeth out of his head!Earlier this week we had to take our dog, Milo, into the vet to have his teeth cleaned. We’ve owned him for 2 years and haven’t had him in for that work since we got him – we knew it was time.So I dropped the eager little guy off in the morning and got a call later that morning from the doctor just to let me know he was going under and she would be starting soon. She also told me “a couple” of his teeth will need to come out. Ok, not a problem.Later that afternoon I went in to pick him up and was chatting up the lady behind the counter about all they did to him, only to find out they didn’t pull “a couple” teeth – they pulled 12! Yes, 12 little doggy teeth. She said a lot were pulled because of overcrowding, a common problem with Pugs. The real kicker in all of this is they charge you per tooth they rip out! PER TOOTH! That was the most expensive line item on the bill. More than the doctor’s fees, more than the anesthesia, even more than the drugs they sent us home with!Could you imagine what would happen if we charged per word of copy we changed or per line of code we changed?!?

Yes, Mr Johnson we removed 14 words and added 10. That will be $6,394.

The backlash would be huge and we would be out of business! Yet, when I tried to explain this to the lady behind the counter she acted as if no one had ever questioned this process of charging per tooth.With this pricing structure what would stop the doctor from just ripping all his teeth out and really raking me over?I guess my point is, if you’re in there and you’ve already got your hands dirty and can take care of additional items at that time – don’t charge me for each additional item! I can guarantee you will have happier, more satisfied customers exiting your facility.