Saturday, 20 April 2013

Is your Website like "Liptsick on a Pig?"

No offense to pigs, pig lovers, pig farmers or animal rights activists who protest mistreatment of pigs

But as the old saying goes when something “unpleasant” is lurking beneath a pretty veneer,

It’s Like Lipstick on a Pig!

On the surface, having a website is fun.

You can proclaim "I run a website".  Many people will be totally in awe of your skills and knowledge.  And if you've done a half decent job of it perhaps you'll find yourself helping your friends and family with their website needs.

A brand New Shiny Website

I don't mean to detract from the accomplishment -- you launch a website, tick the box and sit back an enjoy seeing it "on the internet".

You dressed it up with nice graphics and funky features.  You use it to showcase your work portfolio, publish testimonials from happy customers, express yourself (e.g. write articles) and much more.

But underneath all the Glitz and Glamour of "website ownership" is a non-sexy fact:

Websites are a pain in the a**– they take time and money to create, time and money to keep them running and effort to make changes.  And if they've not been designed or created with the idea of "content management" then you'll find yourself very upset and frustrated when you need to make changes.

Creating a Website is Easy

The prevailing advice for "Creating a Website" that you'll find on the internet -- thanks to many other bloggers and self-professed guru's is this:

1.  Register a Domain and grab some hosting
2.  Install Wordpress
3.  Write some content
4.  Done


First of all the whole idea of being "done" is a serious understatement.  A website is never truly done.  It WILL need to be updated periodically (frequently if you're trying to build an online business)

If nothing else, the underlying software that runs it will require periodic updates to combat security vulnerabilities, viruses and hacks.

Second, where in steps 1 through 4 did you express your website purpose, list out the major requirements or functions it needs to perform, conduct research (keywords and competitor websites), select a solution (other than Wordpress) and learn about THESE important topics?:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Link Building Strategy
  • Site Content Plan
  • Search Engines and How they Work
  • Website Promotion Strategy and Plan
  • Directories (Web and Business)
  • Article Writing
  • Guest Blogging
  • Website Analytics
  • Monetization (yes, making money with your website)
  • Google Audits
  • Page Rank, Traffic Rank
  • Social Media
  • Acquiring Targeted Traffic
  • etc. (the list of other "oh by the way" topics is quite extensive)
Finally, if you follow the 4 step advice and do create a website (good for you -- it really is an accomplishment), what do you actually KNOW about managing it?  Make sure you can state, hand on heart, that you can make effective management and operational decisions about your website BEFORE you do your victory dance!

    Build it and they will Come (A Basic Promotion Plan?)

    So your brand new shiny website gets launched -- who noticed?

    Sure, the search engines come along and index your site.  But where are your visitors.  You need real traffic to your site (people, not just search engines).  Otherwise what was the point of creating it?

    Guess what?  It takes time and/or money to advertise and promote your website so people know it’s out there.

    Ana Hoffman - Traffic Generation Cafe
    Ana Hoffman
    If you don't have a marketing and promotion budget then you'd better get building your content and links to attract organic and referral traffic.  Not sure how to do this?

    On the left is a blogger I follow -- traffic generation is her specialty!

    I "met" Ana through an affiliation and pleasantly surprised to find myself agreeing with a lot of her advice.  In fact, her humour and honesty is refreshing and rare.  I hope you subscribe to her newsletter - just like me.

    Ana has kindly offered a copy of her e-book "Mommy, Where does Traffic Come From?" to readers of my blog.  To receive this 60+ page book (chock full of great information and actionable ideas for generating traffic), please complete the form below:

    Traffic Generation Ideas
    "Mommy, Where does Traffic come from?"

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    My Website is Broken / Hacked/ Not Working -- What do I do?

    When things go wrong and your website suddenly stops working, you need a PhD in engineering and computer science to figure out the root cause because your website is part of a complex system with LOTs of potential failure points – thank goodness you've been watching CSI.

    A proper root cause analysis has you checking your computer, the browser settings, different browsers, different devices.  You check your virus scanning software logs.

    You contact your internet service provider and hosting company.  If you're lucky enough to have a customer support "hook" you ask a techie to check the web server, database, website script, check for a hacker, hijacker, a virus on the internet ….  

    And if you RUN your business online, a non-working website is a NIGHTMARE!

    The first rule about "owning" anything is to keep the user manual ... What's that?  Your website didn't come with a user manual?  Of course it didn't -- YOU and your resourcefulness (and network of contacts) are the user manual.

    Trust me, in a time of need it's best if you belonged to a community of Webmasters who have the experience and willingness to help you sort out the problem.

    Keep Out (Scammers and Spammers)

    When you operate a website, it’s a beacon for all kinds of spammers and scammers to reach out and pollute your “contact us” email box and comment forms.  

    All manner of web experts and gurus try to ram their products and services under your nose, making claims that sound good but have you questioning “are they real?”

    Twitter your way to untold success and riches
    THE SECRET that experts don’t want me to share that will turn your website into a cash machine
    Read my book and I’ll show you how to get your website to #1 on Google!

    Let’s take that one apart right away … NOBODY can MAKE this happen. End of story. 

    • Don’t check out the amazing price or get suckered into a deal because there’s only xx copies left – Scarcity Tactics can turn the most die hard “never buy online-er” into a blathering idiot frantically searching for a credit card
    • Don’t even share your email address (otherwise you risk being spammed with MORE great deals from various gurus, secrets to success and other snake oil to cure your website problems once and for all)
    This is Internet Marketing (say it like King Leonidas in the movie "300" says this is Sparta!- the high flying world of “make money online” entrepreneurs, doing anything, saying anything to create and build their almighty “lists” – then to get around their “promise” not to share your email with anyone they Joint Venture with another marketer and pump THE OTHER GUYS stuff into your already crowded inbox.  

    Saving the internet marketing topic for later because it’s worthy of its own satirical essay! 


    Hate it or Love it ... Deal with it - Google IS a Dominating Force

    Back to the claim about “getting to #1 on Google”

    There is NO WAY that your website will be guaranteed to reach #1 in Google.  Why?

    1.       It’s WEB PAGES that get ranked (not Websites) and scored by Google for relevance  – yes, I know it’s a technicality but it’s an important one

    2.       If you took the time to really study and analyze a search results page, you’ll quickly see there is NO PATTERN or VISIBLE CLUE why one website/page is #1 versus #2 versus #3 etc. (pssst your friend of a friend who works at Google couldn’t tell you either because IT’S a closely guarded secret!)

    3.       The internet is an everchanging patchwork of “indexed content”.  New websites and webpages enter the amazing super information highway every day.  In fact hundreds of thousands of web pages are added to the internet EVERY DAY

    4.  Google personalizes the Search experience (and results) based on Web History (if you search while being logged into a Google Account).  This personalization means that your website might be top of the SERPs for one person and nowhere to be found for another.

    Google’s index of keywords and phrases changes ALL THE TIME as their little programs (“search bots” or “spiders”) are finding new and updated content.  This fresh content - this UNSEEN COMPETITION - has the power to take you down a position or two – possibly even dump you onto Page 2.  

    And if you believe what you read and hear from SEO experts, you may as well pack up your website if your website ends up on ANYTHING other than PAGE 1 of Google!

    Enter the Experts!

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts tell you (and you listen intently because you’ve made a huge investment in your website) that you need to change your website content to try and reclaim your top spot (like a mad game of “king of the hill”).  You spend more money with the SEO guys and gals to maintain your coveted position.

    Who Wins?
    • SEO Experts Win (thank you for the monthly retainer)
    •  Google Wins (Google Ads revenue from desperate businesses trying to stay afloat on top of the SERPs)
    • Internet Marketers Win (as they try to sell you some “secret sauce” to GET MORE TRAFFIC, DOMINATE GOOGLE / FACEBOOK / TWITTER / PINTEREST blah blah)

      Who Loses?
      • You!

        You are a loser !

        I don't mean literally that you are a loser (i.e. “you’re a failure”.) 

        You Lose your motivation, money, patience, trust, sanity … you FEEL like a loser.  I understand.  When I was "taken for a ride" by a web designer (and his replacement), I felt really really DUMB!

        When you encounter a major setback and truly feel like crap, you might be tempted to throw your hands up in the air in a grand gesture of FORGET IT and let your website die on the vine of wasted time, wasted effort and wasted money.

        Who do you blame when your Website Fails to Meet your Goals?

        Assuming you created a clear purpose, goals and objectives for your website, what do you do if it's a flop?  No traffic.  No Sales.  No Subscribers.  No Customers.  Nothing except virtual tumbleweed ...

        Somebody is to blame -- There's got to be someone or something to take the blame --

        The Web Guys - directly blaming the people that are hired to help and then fail to deliver the goods is justified. They didn't approach your website project properly.  They didn't explain what they were doing.  There was no plan.  They delivered a website but it's just not good enough.

        Blame Google (or Yahoo or Bing) – it feels good to blame the "big guys" or any one of the 100’s of other search engines out there.  They’ve ignored your website or scored it badly and there’s no way you’ll ever be found/seen.  In fact, you've tried to find your website on a search results page using a reasonable search term and you are NOWHERE to be seen.

        Bad Advice from SEO Expert(s) – they took your money and THEN TOLD YOU to read the fine print that they cannot actually guarantee you’ll reach #1 on Google – well, not unless you hurl buckets of cash at their other services – Article Writing, Link Building, Social Media Marketing

        Internet Marketers – there’s no end to the wrath and scorn aimed at THOSE GUYS.  You bought their stuff, smeared the secret sauce, sprinkled fairy dust …. Pffft.  No magic today, or tomorrow, or ever.

        Yourself – ah.  This is the toughest pill to swallow.

        If you blame yourself – and probably you should (partly) then here’s the diagnosis. You’re a business website owner who suffers from either:
        1.  a fundamental LACK OF KNOWLEDGE – you truly didn’t realize what is involved in creating, owning and managing your own website – it can be a real “pig” of a deal
        2.  APATHY and ABDICATION – you don’t really care about your website.  It serves a basic purpose as an electronic business card or brochure and that’s good enough. You’d rather give the problem over to somebody else to solve.

        Do you Need Some Help?

          You can be helped if you are in the FIRST group - I can help you.

          Sharing knowledge and teaching website owners about the internet is What I Love to Do.  And I truly want to help people.

          But I can only help you if you don’t suffer from this terrible "disease":

          The inability to take action

          It is astonishing to me the number of people I’ve met (and by “people” I mean business owners) who don’t DO ANYTHING with the terrific advice they’ve been given … even AFTER they’ve paid for it!

          So it is POSSIBLE that your LACK of KNOWLEDGE is COMPOUNDED by APATHY.

          I’m sorry to say that in this case – as Lord Sugar or Donald  Trump might say to you on the end of a pointed finger “You’re Fired!”

          I want to help you – I truly do.  But you must also WANT TO BE HELPED and be prepared to PARTICIPATE.

          Come and Visit my Site and start helping yourself to some basic knowledge.  Who knows, you might learn something new that will help you on your journey to master the Web!

          p.s. for the record …  I love PIGS … “Babe” and “Charlotte’s Web” are two of my alltime favourite animal movies!