The King of Bahrain Exercise

Luxury castle palace 68389Whenever I do a consultation with a small business owner who is thinking small – and most of us fall prey to this tendency from time to time – I offer them …

The King of Bahrain Exercise

Here’s how it goes. Suppose you are a massage therapist or a human rights consultant. Imagine you have a good friend and client named Sandy who is going out with a guy from the Middle East.

One day you get a call from a man who is an emissary from the King of Bahrain. It turns out your friend Sandy raved about you to her boyfriend, and he went back to Bahrain and spoke to the King.

For some crazy reason the King wants to experience the benefits you offer, but with a twist. His emissary speaks as follows: Continue reading “The King of Bahrain Exercise”

12 Reasons Why You Should Use PPC Advertising

What Is PPC?

Pay-Per-Click is a form of Internet advertising where you pay when someone clicks on one of your ads. Placement of your advert is determined by your bid price and relevancy. If you bid the most you can gain the top spot, alternatively if your advert proves more relevant than others, you are rewarded with improved positioning for less bid fees.

Here’s 12 Reasons Why You Should Use PPC Advertising

  1. Quick Results, usually within minutes.
  2. PPC advertising is targeted with measurable results.
  3. You only incur a fee when a your advert is clicked.
  4. Organic search takes time, PPC provides you with instant traffic.
  5. It is the quickest and most effective way of promoting your website products and services online.
  6. Organic search results are “art” and science, with PPC the results are guaranteed.
  7. Testing is a breeze. You can try different keywords, titles and descriptions.
  8. It’s cost effective, you determine your spending budget.
  9. Adverts can be scheduled for certain display times.
  10. The domino effect often occurs and your PPC advert may show up on other sites.
  11. PPC provides geographic targeting – you pick where your ad shows.
  12. You can increase or decrease your traffic very easily.

That’s the good news… And here’s the “bad” news…

PPC requires some technical know-how to setup your account. There are many PPC companies to choose from. You’ll need to conduct some in-depth keyword and key phrase analysis to determine what people want. You’ll need to be skilled in the art of writing advertising copy – and more over, you’ll need to know how to write PPC Adverts… they’re a special breed unto themselves.

And last, but by no means least… this is not a ’set and forget’ system. You will need to allocate a certain amount of time each week to review the logs, track the reports, tune the adverts, create more adverts, keep up-to-date on the trends and adjust all of these things accordingly.

Now you know why people outsource…

Here’s a closing thought for you:

Traditional advertising is a gamble (a wise gamble when done properly mind you, but a gamble none the less) PPC is a sure thing – totally trackable, totally predictable, and 100% guaranteed.

The Secret Internet Money Making Formula

In any statistical population there is always a percentage that will accept your offer. In other words, if you keep asking you’ll get a “yes.” Kids do it all the time. As adults we ‘learn’ to stop asking very quickly in our lives because we don’t like rejection. It hurts.

A Sad Young Man

But what has this got to do with Internet Marketing? I’m getting to that, bear with me. I once heard a tale of a sad young man who had limited social skills. His idea of getting a girl involved hanging out in bars where he’d approach a young lady and simply ask her if she wanted sex!

Can you imagine the rejection rate…and the number of times he got slapped or had a drink thrown in his face? Now that’s rejection! But there’s an upside to this story…this guy always got a girl…in the end. He kept asking.

And the moral of that tale? Asking is the key, and we know asking the right way is even better, but we know trying different approaches makes us vulnerable to rejection. It’s quite the conundrum!

Back to the ‘Secret‘

Hold that thought for a moment while we get back to the secret.

So if we simply ask enough times we will eventually get a yes, and if we improve how we asking we’ll get more yeses. Ok, now we’re getting somewhere.

On the Internet a large population is simply called TRAFFIC. And if you have enough traffic you can afford to ask badly and still be successful. Of course, if you ask in more effective ways you’ll do even better – but we’ve got to start somewhere.

Traffic Is the Key

So the secret to making money on the Internet is simply getting enough traffic and asking people if they’re interested. So if you can get enough people marching past your website (where your offer is made automatically and without personal rejection I might add) you will eventually make sales. Granted if your offer is bad and your website is worse, you’ll make very few sales – but you will make some. As the old saying goes, “Even a blind squirrel eventually finds a nut!”

This ’secret’ holds true in the real world as well because the secret to making money in a retail store is still all about having a steady stream of prospects (traffic) walking around your store.

Write & Share

Now making your traffic (prospects) stay long enough to see your offers, and improving the conversion rates so you sell more stuff, well that’s the subject of another article.

But rather than leave you hanging without a practical way to implement the “more traffic” solution – here’s a clue. It’s free, it’s easy and it’s been under your nose from the very beginning: provide meaningful, appropriate content and the search engines will love you for it. In other words, support the Internet at the fundamental level – it was built to share information… so write and share!

7 Small Business Survival Tips

No matter type of business you operate you’ve got to know how to keep your business alive during economic recessions. Anytime the cash flow in a business, large or small, starts to tighten up, the money management of that business has to be run as a “tight ship.”

(1) Pause Before Paying

Some of the things you can and should do include protecting yourself from impulse expenditures. We’ve all bought merchandise or services we really didn’t need simply because we were in the mood, then we sort of “wake up” a couple of days later and find that we’ve committed hundreds of dollars of business funds for an item or service that’s not essential to the success of our own business, when really pressing items had been waiting for those dollars.

(2) Using Professionals

While you may think you cannot afford it, be sure that you don’t “short-change” your self on professional services. This would apply especially during a time of emergency. Anytime you commit yourself and move ahead without completely investigating all the angles, and preparing yourself for all the contingencies that may arise, you’re skating on thin ice. Regardless of the costs involved, it always pays off in the long run to seek out the advice of experienced professionals before embarking on a plan that could ruin you.

(3) Your Financials

Your company’s books should reflect your way of thinking, and whoever maintains them should generate information according to your policies. Thus, you should hire an outside accountant or accounting firm to figure your return on your investment, as well as the turnover on your accounts receivable and inventory. Such an audit or survey should focus in depth on any or every item within your financial statement that merits special attention. In this way, you’ll probably uncover any potential financial problems before they become readily apparent, and certainly before they could get out of hand.

(4) Advisory Boards

Many smaller companies set up advisory boards of outside professional people. These are sometimes known as Power Circles and once in place, the business always benefits, especially in times of short operating capital. Such an advisory board or power circle should include a lawyer, a certified public accountant, civic club leaders, owners or managers of businesses similar to yours, and retired executives. Setting up such an advisory board of directors is really quite easy, because most people you ask will be honoured to serve.

Once your board is set up, you should meet about once a month and present material for review. Each meeting should be a discussion of your business problems and an input from your advisors relative to possible solutions. These members of your board of advisors should offer you advice as well as alternatives, and provide you with objectivity. No formal decisions need to be made either at your board meeting, or as a result of them, but you should be able to gain a great deal from the suggestions you hear.

(5) Joining Associations

By all means, join your industry’s local and national trade associations. Most of these organizations have a wealth of information available on everything from details on your competitors to average industry sales figures, new products, services, and trends. If you are given a membership certificate or wall plaque, you should display these conspicuously on you office wall. Customers like to see such “seals of approval” and feel additional confidence in your business when they see them.

(6) Free Advice

Whenever you can, and as often as you need it, take advantage of whatever free business counseling is available. Your local chamber of commerce or small business advisory will likely have numerous free publications. Most local universities, and many private organizations hold seminars at minimal cost, and often without charge. Take advantage of the service s offered by your bank and local library.

(7) Direction Is Everything

The important thing about running a small business is to know the direction in which you’re heading; to know on a day-to-day basis your progress in that very direction; to be aware of what your competitors are doing and to practice good money management at all times. All this will prepare you to recognize potential problems before they arise.

In order to survive with a small business, regardless of the economic climate, it is essential to surround yourself with smart people, and practice sound business management at all times.

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Are ‘They’ Stealing Your Web Traffic With This Trick?

I got an interesting email recently, I was advised by a new website they’d acquired a database of 36,000 articles…and they wanted to know if any of my content was within it.

So I visited the site and I found they had indeed ‘acquired’ some of my articles. No big problem at first blush – that’s what article marketing is: you write great content and in exchange for someone else promoting your work, you get the bio box with active hyperlinks to your chosen web-page (great for increasing your web presence.)

However there was more to this…

They were stealing my traffic and here’s how they did it:

Generally publishing your article to an official article syndication site is safe, but there’s always someone out there looking twist things up a little. You see, most publishers do things properly – they search for relevant content and then they selectively review it and if it works for them, they’ll publish it. Great – that’s how things are supposed to work.

Then there are the other types of ‘publisher’…

They’ll harvest anything and everything and put it all on to a website…but that’s not the end of it. If they simply did that your articles would be ok. But no, these guys don’t want to create a content specific niche portal site, nah – these guys are looking for traffic to monetize and here’s what they do – they steal yours!

And here’s how:

They take your article content and they ALTER it. This is a MAJOR NO NO and is a violation of your rights and your terms of use. And get this, the way they alter it is dead sneaky. They don’t do it on their site… they do it JUST BEFORE THE PAGE IS SERVED UP (which makes it very hard for people to spot) by adding extra hotlinks to your article copy. If you want to know how they do this I’ll happily explain it because it involves some very clever programming and some underhanded tactics the search engines don’t approve of (but that’s another story for another day…)

Back to your altered article. So your article, which had a couple of links at the very end directing people to your website or product is now sending traffic away from you and over to them – because they stole your traffic by adding extra hotlinks to their chosen words.

And the really clever part is this, your article could be about gardening and lawn-care, and you made reference to a certain brand of lawn-mover in the content – these sneaky traffic stealers can dynamically turn that ‘lawnmower’ word into a hyperlink so it becomes clickable and steals your traffic and offers the lawnmower for sale! I’ll admit it’s clever, but it’s contrary to the spirit of the publishing exchange idea and another example of a writer getting the shaft!

This is big business.

There are some major players on the Internet promoting the technology to do this. In fact, they’re making a pretty penny selling the software to do this. Ironically the technology that performs this little miracle of traffic theft is freely available elsewhere (and I’m not telling you where…)

Anyway, ‘rant’ over. If you use articles to market your products and service (and you should – it rocks!) then you also need to protect your Intellectual Property. Remember, you are creating content to drive traffic to your product or service so when some else adds their links to your content they are in fact stealing your potential customers.

If you need to ’see’ what’s going on here, imagine this: You sell widgets from your store. You spent time and energy promoting your store, you have great advertising and people visit you regularly. Business is good. Then a competitor who doesn’t want to take the time to create valuable marketing and advertising promotions decides it’s easier to simply walk into your store, tap your prospect on the shoulder and while they’re walking them out of your store – they’re selling them their product!

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PS. If you think some scoundrel is hi-jacking your hard work, let’s talk!

Is Your Web Designer Unknowingly Harming Your Business?

Why? How? Because they’re involved in software development. And before you start wondering what I’m talking about, I’d like to remind you that your web site (although cool) is nothing more than a software program running on a computer. And ever since people started writing software there have been very well defined roles and skill sets.

Now don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with roles and skills definitions for software development, however I am going to make it easy for you to figure out the type of web resources you may have at your disposal and whether they are helping your business – or unknowingly harming it (just in case you were wondering.)

An analogy that will help:

Does the interior decorator or designer of your home perform the same duties as the architect? What about the builder of your home, are they the same as your architect? Of course not, the interior designer works with the look and feel of your home, the builder erects the structure and the architect designs the master plan and oversees the development and ensures the finished product meets all the requirements (and the building code!)

There’s no doubt that the builder and the interior designer are absolutely critical to the success of the project, however they follow the guidance of the architect and the plan the architect created. When put like this you immediately see it’s a little foolish to assume all the roles are alike and how easily it would be for an over enthusiastic builder or designer to unknowingly cause you some problems because they had no master plan to follow.

So here’s a quick cross reference and comparison for you:

* Architect – The master planner develops the architectural plan and oversees the project. They stay abreast of changing rules and ensure the sites optimal design and performance. Many factors are considered including marketing trends, SEO, usage data and so forth. The architect is very familiar with the latest construction technologies and with user interface design because they direct those aspects of the project.

* Builder – The Web Programmer codes the pages and works with architect. Some builders (web programmers) are specialists and code only databases while others focus on different specialties. And just like a construction site has a Foreman, there is an equivalency in programming and they’re called the Lead Programmer. The LP often makes build decisions about the project and works directly with the architect. On small build teams the LP and the builder are one and the same.

* Designer – The Graphic Designer develops the look and feel of the site. They work closely with the builder(s) and the architect to meet the final objectives. The GD creates the unique personality of your site – again this is under the purview of the architect and the client. The GD helps to form the visitor’s first impression of your site.

* Sales Rep – Ok, the whole building analogy gets a little fuzzy here, but the ’selling’ on your web site relies heavily on words and writing for the web is not the same as writing for the print world (the architectural plan heavily affects the writing and the web copy aspect, mess this up and the nicest site with best code will not save you because your site will not be found.)

Many Hats

Often times a web resource has more than one skill set, after all there is a well defined career path and each step leads to new skill development. Usually the ‘art’ path and the coding (building) path don’t co-exist together – think oil and water, and writing code is usually more scientific than designing a beautiful interface.

And figuring out how to code the web page is not the same as deciding why that page should even exist, or what that page should accomplish functionally within the framework of a bigger picture – that’s the architect’s job.

However every once in a while you find a unique individual who has crossed back and forth between the art/design camp and the world of technical analysis and coding. It’s rare, but they do exist – invariably they favour one area more than another.

Conclusions

There are at least four (4) discreet roles for your web project:

   1. Architect (plan/design),

   2. Builder (construction),

   3. Designer (look/feel),

   4. & Writer (words/messages).

Now you know why it can be risky assuming the person putting together your great looking web pages is also capable of formulating and architecting your sites master plan, and why your web designer (or your web programmer) may be unknowingly harming your business.

Remember, to a person with a hammer, everything looks like a nail and programmers tend to think code fixes all ills, and graphic designers tend to think that graphics will save the day.

But I’m guessing you’ve figured that out after reading this article…

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Ancient Memes and the Keys to Social Media Success

What makes for a social media success? What critical elements must be in place for the site to come alive? Today I am exploring some ideas I’ve been considering and I’d really appreciate your feedback in the comments below.

Please note, the following thoughts have never been committed to print before and have only been edited lightly – I didn’t want to crush the creative spark that often shows up in such things. So without further ado, here they are:

— Is Technology Key?

The first thing I’m asked about Social Media usually relates to the technology. I ‘get’ this, I understand we think the tool is what makes the solution. It is, and it isn’t. Consider this, if technical wizardry was responsible for social success then why do nerd and geeks seem to have the worst social-life in school? It’s true the nerds built the web and Internet infrastructure, but it was the rest of the world that made it social.

— The Engagement Factor

The site needs to engage the visitor. Actually with the advent of social media sites, we should stop calling people ‘browsers’ or ‘visitors’ because they’re now active participants in the web experience. Social media sites are interactive and include blogs, voting mechanisms, posting features for text, video and audio, message boards, forums, chat groups, and site-wide private messaging to name some common features.

Remember, the key here is not technology, but how the tool is used by the site members. “The best tool is often not the most advanced or cleverest tool. The best tool is the tool that is understood and gets used daily.” This is why email is still the #1 web application.

— Mass and Momentum

There are many “social ghost towns” littering the web, why is this? Each is likely different, however I have noted the successful sites are like engines: they need a spark – an injection of energy – to get them started.

This initial injection of energy is required to create momentum and gain the first critical members which in turn attracts more members and keeps the system growing. It snowballs, and like a snowball it’s fragile and prone to crumbling in the early stages of that fateful first roll.

Ironically, the tool that allows us to forge out and create our own online communities doesn’t allow us to break the laws of human nature. These communities still need to render qualities that ‘real world’ environments provide – if only in a psychological aspect.

Review history, it has the answers to the fate of little communities; they got swept away by marauders and ultimately rolled into bigger cities. Sound familiar?

— Ancient Memes and Mind Viruses

But is that all a successful social media site needs? A group of people and some cool technology – NO. The most important factor is much older and far simpler and lies buried deep within our primitive nature. Success is locked up in something called a meme, or if you prefer a more dramatic image, a “mind virus.”

Richard Dawkins introduced the concept of the “meme” and “memetics” in his book ‘The Selfish Gene’ referring to the imitative process whereby humans transmit ideas, values, beliefs, and practices to each other. The memes that catch on are conditioned by repetition and continued by subsequent generations.

Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches.  Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by a process similar to how an infection spreads – ergo a mind virus.

But why did I mention ancient memes? Simply because I believe the most successful social sites leverage our oldest most ancient memes as well as our newest, and this allows us to embrace these base natures in a socially acceptable and even productive fashion. Consider how many social sites pander to aspects of our natures that as children we were discouraged from participating in: gossiping, time-wasting, forming cliques and more.

I’m not saying social sites succeed because we want to express our darker nature, but those sites that have gained the most momentum have done so by allowing us free rein over our basic human nature.

Something to consider isn’t it?

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A Simple Content Marketing Strategy

The Internet is a network of interconnected nodes of information (content.) The more densely interconnected the information becomes (the density factor) the more useful and valuable it is.

Data + Interpretation = “Meaningful” Information

Without ‘parroting’ the obvious, content (meaningful information) is what people seek online. And in all fairness what people really seek is an answer to some question. Further compounding the challenge is the fact people use words and phrases natural to them – not to a computerized search engine.

It’s quite the conundrum… What key unlocks the door to untold ’search’ riches?

Cornerstone Key Phrases

Keyword phrase demand and supply is at the cornerstone of content provision and armed with an understanding of the search terms, and the modalities of the user’s presentation (how a person perceives the world), you can begin to provide answers to their questions in the form of articles, white papers, blog postings, forum inserts and so on.

Writing is an art, and although most people think writing is easy they’d be incorrect in that assumption: bad writing is easy, good (or great) writing is hard work.

The Artful Dance

And writing to balance the needs of a human with the needs of a computer is an artful dance for sure.

But there is some relief, since the dawn of the Internet the search engines have aimed for purity of search. In other words the engines are attempting to understand the true meaning of your question so they can return the best possible answer.

This means that so long as you write truly to meet the needs of the people (and keep an eye on the engine requirements) you will undoubtedly be rewarded for your efforts.

The ‘Real’ Reason

Writing content so the engines find you is great, however the real reason for this publishing process is the embedded links back to your select sites. As you publish and share your content, those that pick up your work and republish it will also republish your links to your selected websites.

Article marketing (for this is essentially what this is) is incredibly powerful and results in a strong and wide web of connections and links back to your sites.

Of course you need to provide content that people want to read and share…

You’re Not A ‘Blue Chip’ Company, So Stop Copying Their Marketing!

‘Blue Chip’ or not, success isn’t necessarily tied to how good they are, but rather to repetitive advertising. Mega corporations of this world advertise to build distribution and brand awareness. They do ‘image advertising’ which melds certain emotional responses with their product, so you feel the same way too when you buy from them…

Soul For Sale

These large blue chip companies spend literally billions ‘buying’ your purchasing decision. GM spent over $3 billion just a few years back to make you hum “like a rock!” – And it worked. Brand marketing and institutional marketing works, but here’s the catch: you have to have a fortune to pull it off successfully. If you spent $3 billion on making people aware of your company, do you think you’d have issues with sales?

BS Alert!

It’s a fact most advertising is almost all fluff, puffery and unbelievable platitudes and generalities: cheapest, greatest, professionalism, quality, speedy, best and so on. You hear overused phrases like “We’re number one!” Oh yeah? These overworked phrases do nothing to impart anything unique about what you do and why your customer should patronize your business.

The Big Question…

Why would anyone want to waste marketing dollars hardly saying anything to anyone?

And the Answer Is…

It’s because the majority of us are following the wrong levels. We’ve been ‘trained’ to follow level 1 and 2 type businesses, when we (for the most part) are level 3.

There are 3 major levels of businesses serving our needs:

Level 1

…is the largest and represents the government. It is without a doubt the largest influence in our country today and is capable of changing the hearts and minds of almost all of us. You might also include religion in the mix as a level 1 influencer; however religion usually gets less involved in commercial activities.

Level 2

…businesses are the few thousand or so mega-corporations in the country. They are often large multinational chains and conglomerates and have billions to spend influencing your buying decision. These companies are the brand builders, the Titans of their own industries – some of their products are household names with decades of history and acceptance to back them up.

Finally there’s Level 3

…that’s you, me and practically every other business out there. Studies have indicated that most businesses (about 80%) are ‘small business’ – 80% of businesses operating successfully today are ‘level 3′ businesses.

Focus Is the Key

Level 3 businesses cannot rely on broad-based repetition-oriented advertising that builds brand awareness. It’s not that Level 3 businesses can’t or shouldn’t build brand awareness. And it’s not that they can’t spend a lot of money on advertising. They just can’t do it nationally on TV at $50,000 to $500,000 per 30-second spot. Level 3 businesses need to be more focused with their marketing in order to create successful action-oriented advertising.

We’ve Got it All Wrong!

You see, the problem we have is we’re exposed to level 2 advertising in our daily lives and because we see it ‘everywhere’ many people assume that’s how it’s done. Regrettably that is a dangerous assumption, and is often accompanied by a false sense of marketing know-how… “I’ve been immersed in this stuff my whole life, I must know something about it.”

Business Suicide

This line of reasoning is fine if you work for a level 2 company, but it’s business suicide if you’re a level 3 company and you copy a level 2 strategy. You simply don’t have the tenure, the history, the money, the resources and the staying power. Level 2 advertising is not about getting people to take action, it’s about the brand.

Take Action

Getting people to take action is critical for ALL level 3 businesses. It’s what keeps you operating. It’s about getting the prospect to move past that confidence gap and buy from you – to realize that your product or service is the perfect solution to their problem.

Be Direct

What all level 3 businesses must do is develop their marketing messages more directly. Target them where their prospects will see them. The messages must compel the prospect to do something – call in, visit the shop, check out the website, mail in a card, but do something. Move that prospect ever closer to saying “yes”.

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I’m a 3… are You?

Remember, level 2 is about building a feeling that is attached to a product or service, level 3 is all about action. You’re not ‘blue chip’ (yet) so don’t copy their advertising and marketing strategy – your bank account will thank you for it!

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PS. Remember, I’m in the business of helping you communicate your value in ways that make your perfect prospect notice you and then contact you. That’s good copywriting and I do that. Let’s connect!

Is Your Website a Beautiful “Hotel Nowhere?”

Lately it seems I’ve been explaining to more and more people about Internet Marketing. You see, for some reason, folks think that IM (Internet Marketing) is really all about putting up a great looking website. It’s not – it’s so much more than that.

In fact, although a website is a crucial piece in the online marketing puzzle, you can still beat the best-looking website with great online marketing. And what still surprises me is after all the education, all the articles, all the proof, people still think, “If you build it (better) they will come!”

Sorry to disappoint folks – but that’s a dangerous assumption.

— Just Do It Over

For instance, I was just speaking with a prospective client; they were explaining to me their newly developed site was not working for them as they had hoped. During their explanation, they told me they had a ‘solution’ for their problem – they were going to replace all or part of the site with Flash elements.

I politely explained to them Flash wasn’t necessarily going to solve their problem and what they had on their hands was a beautiful ‘Hotel Nowhere’ website, lost in the Internet Wilderness. A ‘do over’ wasn’t going to solve their problems. Permit me to explain my analogy – I think you’ll like it.

— Hotel Nowhere 101

A Hotel Nowhere website is beautifully designed one, it may have some Flash animation, perhaps some cool rollover images, maybe even active menu buttons that pop up and disappear as you move across them. It’s likely to have shading and other graphical elements that are visually appealing. And it’s probably got some words written on it too…but they’re secondary to the ‘look.’

The #1 problem with these types of websites (and some are not as bad as the image I painted above) is that they all suffer the same affliction…

They’ve been built in the middle of the Internet Wilderness!

Now let’s think about this for a moment. What good does it do to knock down your nice shiny new ‘Hotel Nowhere’ website and build another one in the same spot if no one knew about the last one?

If your Hotel Nowhere website is ‘out there’, how do you expect people to find you? A real hotel needs roads leading up to the hotel, it has tour guides, maps, TV shows promoting vacations at the resort, radio adverts telling people about the next special, advertising in the nearby towns, agents and reps out there talking it up and generally promoting it and creating buzz.

In other words, your ‘Hotel Nowhere’ (your website) needs to be promoted and connected to the rest of the world AFTER it’s been built. Simply knocking it down and building another is a waste of time!

— Going from Room to Room

If we continue the Hotel analogy, you need to know your lobby is your main page (usually index.html or default.html) and it’s where guests arrive once they’ve been brought to your hotel. By the way, the bus or coach analogy is a good one for search engines – think traffic and you’ll start to see the imagery.

So you have people in your lobby. If you expect them to stay you’d better give them a darn good reason to ‘stick’ around. And if you want them to explore your hotel you need to give them a map. Oh yes, and more importantly, you will need to ensure that they can get from room (page) to room.

It sounds goofy, but many sites are built with no ‘doors’. A door is a link between pages. I know, you think that I’m wrong – sure You can click on the button and be taken to a page. But did I tell you that search engines are visually impaired?

They don’t see the picture buttons or the image maps like you do; they look for text so they can ‘read’ it. If your doors are not described via text links too, you can expect a lobby full of visitors for about 2 seconds before they get back on the bus and leave.

— Going from Hotel Nowhere to Hotel Somewhere

Building the site should be the second phase of the project – the first phase should have been creating the architectural Internet Marketing plan. However, this is often not the case and the I.M Architect (consultant) is usually ONLY called once the client realizes they have a ‘Hotel Nowhere’ website on their hands!

The good news is that even if you have done things ‘backwards,’ it can be remedied quite easily, and a good I.M Architect (consultant) can work with your designer and other web resources directing them accordingly for proper changes.

In addition, a good I.M Architect will also help you develop other strategies and tactics for connecting your website to the rest of the world and into your overall Internet Marketing plan. Then, and only then, will you start to significant differences. Your once Nowhere website will have become a found Somewhere site.