Archive for the ‘digital coaching’ Category

No Silver Bullet For Web Traffic

April 11, 2008

During a digital coaching session, a potential customer and I were discussing different mechanisms she could use to drive traffic to her website and generate interest in her business. She told me that numerous vendors have promised her front-page listing on Google within a matter of days if she chose to do business with them.

This morning, I spoke with an old friend of mine who works in the funeral industry. He told me how he gets a call a week from vendors promising him the same success rate for prices ranging from $500 to $3000 for their services (not the purchase of the Google Adwords).

My response to all of this stuff is that it’s bunk. Sure, if you pay enough money, you can get on the front page of Google. With deep enough pockets, it’s easy. The thing is, what kind of traffic do you want to get? Are you willing to pay a premium for people to visit your site who have no intention of buying from you? Are the traffic numbers so valuable to you that when people go to your site they get absolutely nothing out of it?
Why do this to yourself and your visitors? Why pay for traffic when it is not relevant to the service that you are offering? That’s foolish. Relevant traffic is the key.

My recommendation for driving traffic to your site is this: start with unique, updated and useful content. Make your site so good, so compelling, that people share your message with others. Write your content in such a way that Google’s robots pick up on it naturally. The best traffic is free traffic. Once you have mastered this concept and have a site that is working really well, then start paying for Adwords. At this point, you should have been studying the behavior of the people who come to you without your needing to interrupt them with an ad. You will know what content effectively drives your message and subsequently the right words on which to pay for clicks.

The moral of the story is this: target your marketing to people who will possibly buy from you. Make your products so compelling that they will tell others about you. Understand your customers and speak to them directly. This is an organic, slow-burn process that demands a continuous improvement mindset.

You can’t get good traffic with no effort and little understanding of your visitors. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling snake oil.

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The Importance of Coaching

April 9, 2008

We recently went live with a new promotion, and so far, the results have been wonderful. I attribute a great deal of that success to coaching that we received from people outside of Hinutech. We know our technical and business offerings very well (too well, probably), and as a result, we thought that the message on our website was very clear. Turns out, it was clear to us because we wrote the copy.

A coach can be anyone. Your spouse, a paid coach, a group of usability testers. Anyone who is willing and able to give you thoughtful advice on how you can improve yourself or your business is a coach. Seek one out, and you’ll be able to see things through a different set of eyes — your customers.

3 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Site

April 3, 2008

Here are 5 easy ways to drive traffic to your website. Do them well, and you’ll be swimming in traffic. Do them poorly (or not at all), and the worst thing that can happen is….nothing.

  • Comment on other people’s blogs
    • First off, it’s an easy thing to do. If you are an active reader of blogs and see a topic to which you can add value, do it!
    • Your comment will be there forever, so that any future crawls by Google or views by people will pick it up.
    • When you provide a link back to your site, it helps with your own site’s ranking.
    • Ensure that your comments are inspired enough to add value. The world has enough spam and mindless comments, so don’t add to it.
    • Don’t do this as an afterthought to your traffic-generation plans. Do this daily and on a regular basis. Your traffic and other bloggers will benefit.
  • Write good, “sticky” content generates a response in people.
    • When other people comment on your blog entries or Digg your site, it gives social proof of your authority on a topic and will cause search engines to index the relevancy of your site.
    • The more authority that you have on a topic, the more people will write about/link to your content further establishing you as an expert.
    • If you need an example of this, think Seth Godin. What image comes to mind? Aspire to that.
  • Adwords and Pay-Per-Click are good, but nothing is better than good ole’ free search engine traffic
    • LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Algorithms are how Google analyzes the content of your site for relevant and related keywords. In the old days, Google would look at the frequency of words on your site and index them appropriately. For example, if you sold cars and had a site littered with the word “Cars” in an attempt to rank highly in Google, you’d be all set until someone did a search on “automobiles.” With Google’s old algorithms, you’d miss out on that traffic. If you write in a natural language and have good, solid content that is related to the topic that you are promoting, then you should see traffic coming through search engines.
    • Evaluate the content on your site thoroughly to ensure that the search engines are seeing you the way you want to be seen. Open an account with Google Adwords and use their keyword generation tool to scan your site. It will come back with a list of recommendations for words that it thinks would work well were you to start an Adwords Campaign. Do those words describe what you are hoping to accomplish with your site? If you, you’re golden. Odds are, there are some surprises or omissions. Correct those by creating or refining your content.
    • Traffic coming from search engines is much more likely to convert to a sale or a prospect. Why? You answered their need early on in their search.

Each of the points above deserves a great deal more detail, and I will continue to delve into each in the future. However, I am a big fan of lists that tell me what to do quickly (and I also don’t like long, drawn out blog posts), so I thought that I would keep this list short.

Please share your thoughts on these ideas or let me know if there are any other topics you would like me to cover in later posts. My next post will delve into topics such as how to benefit from social bookmarking, email lists and RSS feeds.

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Getting Images To Appear In Google

April 1, 2008

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a multi-tentacled beast. Just when you think that you have traffic coming to your site through natural search and pay-per-click campaigns, you realize that you are missing out on a ton of traffic from Google — Images.

Google’s robots can’t do a heck of a lot with images so in order for them to show up in Google’s Image Search, you need to take care to do the following items correctly:

  • Always, always, always use alt tags
    • Not only is this a requirement to make your site accessible and ADA compliant, but it gives Google something to read and relate to on your site. If I were to promote a technical coaching offering, I might have a photo of a football coach on my site (to be clever and all). It would be a compelling photo with great content surrounding it that extolled the benefits of our offering. However, Google wouldn’t know what to do with the image because it can only see my image as an image — not the brilliant marketing concept that it really is. If I added an alt tag with the phrase “Hinutech Digital Coaching Offers You Technical Assistance and Strategy for Your Small Business”, Google would have something to latch onto and would index this image with a link back to my site/page.
  • Put the image name in the title attribute
    • Similar to the alt tag, the title attribute can be a very useful way to further describe your content to search engines. It can be added to virtually any element that you have on your page, and it will be read by search engines as regular page content. The title attribute is much more flexible than the alt tag and when used properly, can result in huge gains for your index-ability within search engines.
  • Don’t use underscores in your image names.
    • Google sees these as one word. For example, an image named Hinutech_Web_Content_Management_System_CMS.jpg would be read by Google as HinutechWebContentManagementSystemCMS which is pretty ineffective for SEO. Instead, you should use hyphens in your image names to serve as word separators. If I called the previous example Hinutech-Web-Content-Management-System-CMS.jpg, then Google would read it as Hinutech Web Content Management System CMS. For SEO purposes, this is ideal. I get the name of my company, a product offering (Hinutech Web), and a solution that people would commonly search for (Content Management System or CMS).

If you utilize these three tips, not only will you enhance the experience for your visitors with disabilities, but you will also increase your site’s relevancy for keywords and get images in Google’s Image Search. Not a bad deal, eh?

SEO is tough, and often times you will need to go back and refactor a good portion of your site to put these principles in use. This can be intimidating, but it must be done to increase the effectiveness of your site. Moving forward, though, keep these tips for dealing with images in mind as you create and update content.

Note: SEO is a WIP. If you go to Hinutech.com, you’ll notice that we have a great deal of work to do there to get this correct. Do as I say, not as I do!

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SEO Your Blog the Right Way

March 24, 2008

With all of the fluff pieces out there about driving traffic to your blog via SEO techniques, David Skul has put together a very informative 5 minute video detailing some approaches. The gist of it all, however, is to have fresh, relevant, well-done content that your readers/customers find valuable. Just like David’s blog….

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Squidoo

February 7, 2008
I have recently begun playing with a relatively new website called Squidoo that is a way for people to create websites easily on specific areas of expertise. Squidoo calls these mini-websites lenses. I have created two as an experiment to see if I can generate more traffic and interest in Hinutech, and if it is successful, this will certainly be something that I would recommend to all customers who wish to get the word out on their business. Squidoo is kind of like controlled chaos built around social networking. Very cool concept, and we’ll see if it is, indeed, worthwhile.

Stay tuned as I post my results.

Click here for my Digital Coaching Lense.

Click here for my JavaOne Lense.