site map or Sitemap

March 5, 2009

When people are looking at Search Engine Optimization of a Web Site they tend to ignore some of the technical aspects of site optimization. All too often people tend to focus on the meta tags, keywords, etc and tend to forget a simple thing such as the Sitemap for your web site. I don’t mean a sitemap page where you click from your home page and can see a list of all the pages on the web site (that is good too for the user) — I’m talking about an XML version that you post on your Web Site and then you register that Sitemap page with the Search Engines to make sure that they go in and crawl all of the pages that you have on your site. This web site http://www.sitemaps.org  provides much greater detail into the proper protocols of developing these sitemaps.

Suffice it to say that if you follow the basics you will get greater results on the ranking of more pages for your Web Site.

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Social Media Marketing Denver

January 14, 2009

The traditional way to do online marketing is to simply create a web site like my company http://www.sextonmarketing.com . However the rules are changing these days.

Social media marketing is focused on user generated content. Social media is about people having conversations online. More and more people are using the web to find information about potential vendors rather than just visit a web site and get bombarded with a sales pitch. Companies are searching for information (positive and negative) about vendors. They want to try and find out more about what their thinking process is, how it relates to them and often most importantly what do other people think of them.

As B2B companies start to explore these avenues more — they soon realize that companies that do it right often can use social media for their own sales and product development programs. They set up online venues and track the postings that are going on for that industry. They can react immediately to adverse reactions — and also see what the industry truly believes about their products and services. In other words — you can get the unvarnished truth.

Several of the business applications that I’ve seen for social media marketing include:

  • Brand building
  • Product Development
  • Free Customer Support / Product Support
  • Consumer Product Reviews
  • Collaboration
  • HR recruiting
  • and many others.

There is an old saying that sometimes bad news can be good news. In this particular case you are looking at social media with its increased reach, accessibility and currency of information — and it can put you out of business quickly if you are not prepared.


What is your baseline?

January 5, 2009

All too often I go into a meeting with a new client and they say “I want to update my website”.

I normally then ask them “what do their analytics say?”  And they often just sit there and stare at me with a blank look on their face. They often respond to me with “I don’t think we have analytics on our site”, or “I don’t know, I don’t really look to see what it says” or they ask me “what are you talking about?”

So lets talk a baseline report for a minute — This is basically a first report on your web site to track changes over time.

If you don’t have analytics on your site — before you redo your web site, add an analytics tracking package to your current site. Even a small web site will typically take 30 to 45 days to redo and this will give you a baseline report of who goes to your site, where do they go — and what are they interested in.  This provides you with the RETURN ON INVESTMENT information you need to measure the value of your investment.

Best of all — You can get analytics put on your web site for free. It takes very little money to add some simple code to your web site pages. Any programmer who is doing your new site, would be happy to assist you in putting this on your old site.

Typical things that you want a baseline report to answer are:

  1. How many people currently go to your site?
  2. What are the most popular pages?
  3. How long do they stay there?
  4. Where do they go when they come to your site?
  5. How are they finding you?
  6. What keywords drove them to your site?

The list can go on and on — but what we are trying to achieve is  a baseline report that we then use to measure the changes we have implemented over time with the new site. In addition, it tells us if we are having success with the new web site and was it a strong return on investment for us.

During these economic times, Marketeers are frequently being asked to justify how they are doing work and the value they bring to the company — without these analytical reports — it is often just another  pretty web site.


New Business Organizations

January 2, 2009

As we look at the financial turmoils in the marketplace it often makes organizations take a look at how they can operate leaner in these tough economic times. In addition, in times of adversity often comes the most innovative solutions to age old problems.

So in that regard, I want to consider a possible change in the way current advertising and marketing agencies currently do business. When I had my old company Digital Metropolis, Inc. we used to say that we called the company Digital Metropolis as we were using the metaphor of a Digital City (yes, AOL had already registered the domain name ahead of us) and we brought in the writers, designers and programmers and with the new digital technologies everyone could work independently. This allowed everyone to use the “Hollywood” production methods used for years. Feature films bring together the best talent for a short period of time to work on a film and then they disband after the production is over.

There are obviously pros and cons to this.

PROs –

  1. Low cost overhead – you only pay talent when you use them
  2. Bring in different talent for each job based on the need of the job
  3. Low cost overhead – you have lower overhead costs on infrastructure
  4. No need for a brick and mortar office buildng – or reduced size
  5. Low cost overhead – did I say this before – health and medical benefits for employees are low
  6. People have more freedom to do what they want to do without the headache of commuting.

Now some of these PROs are obviously from the owner’s perspective —  but lets look at some of the CONs.

CONs –

  1. You have to wonder what your sales force is actually selling – traditionally it is the talent of the agency — is it now the better value?
  2. Freelancers tend to work on multiple projects — and there is often a need to keep them focused on your deadlines and projects.
  3. Freelancers are often looking for a job — with health and medical benefits — as it is expensive to get — if you don’t have it.
  4. Communication between team members can sometimes be a problem, when you are dealing with people not in the office. You need to set up the infrastructure for the team to communicate as a whole. Virtual offices are good — but they only work when the entire process has been planned out.

Consider this posting to be a random conversation — that over time gets to be clearer.