Your First Business Website

For many new small businesses getting their first website is a confusing and often frustrating adventure. DYI or professional design? Which hosting service? How much should I pay?

For personal service businesses, DYI is a good option. Services like offer a wide variety of templates and design options. You still need to pay to register your own domain name, but the fee is very reasonable.

If you are doing online marketing or selling online a professionally is your best option. There are a number of things you should do before you hire a web developer that will help reduce the cost and make the experience less onerous.

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Don’t Fail the Truth Test

This week my wife and I had a short get-away. There are so many great spots to visit on Vancouver Island, and most are within a two or three hour drive of where we live. For this get-away we chose to go to Port Hardy at the north end of Vancouver Island. And, based largely on their website, we chose to stay at the the Glen Lyon Inn.

Unfortunately, we didn’t book ahead, and they were full by the time we got there.


We May Have Dodged A Bullet

We went back to the Glen Lyon Inn for dinner. The photo of their restaurant on the website showed a relatively ‘up scale’ restaurant, with fine china and men in suites and women in dresses. We were concerned there may have been a dress code, but it was our anniversary and we wanted something a little special, so we decided to try it. We needn’t have worried!!


The restaurant was nothing like the picture


No table cloths, no high back chairs, no fine china, and nothing on the menu that came close to the meal depicted in their picture. Certainly, no dress code. In fact, the image is from Getty Images and appears on a number of websites. ( I wonder if they paid to use the image? )


Marketing Take Away

  • While it is OK to show your business in its best light on your website. Don’t be misleading.

    In the age of Yelp, TriAdvisor and Facebook you will be found out. By trying to deceive me with there restaurant picture, they have gotten a bad review on Yelp (one of two bad reviews), Google and Trip Advisor, plus this blog post.

    Show your business in its best light – but don’t cross the line and try and deceive your potential customers.

  • Never piss off a web designer – especially on his anniversary

BTW: A “shout out” to Tiny Eye for finding the copies of the image online.

4 Things For Better Online Marketing

Social media marketing sites such as Groupon and Living Social are becoming very popular. Many small businesses are using these sites to drive traffic to their website. Given the high cost of using these services, mainly in ‘lost opportunity costs’, it is very important that small businesses, in particular, plan properly.

Unfortunately, social marketing services almost make it too easy. A fill in a few forms and it is done – just sit back and wait for the traffic. However, as with most things, a little planning before hand can greatly improve your selling experience.

However, the basics of all online marketing still apply. Whether you are using Pay Per Click or running social media marketing campaign you need do these four thing:
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Is Google ‘Search Plus Your World’ a Game Changer?

We Think So

You may not familiar with, it was only introduced on Jan 10th, it is the addition, some say bias, of Google+ information into the search results. In less than a week, and so far, only in the US, it has turned search engine marketing on its ear. For those who weren’t prepared it could be a disaster, for the early adpters it could be a real boon.
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JW Player Tracking Code

At the CV Posse last Thursday the subject of using JW Player with HTML5 came up. I have asked about adding tracking code for analytics to to the script.

Turns out it is fairly easy. This is pretty much copy and paste from the API:

<div id="container">Loading the player ...</div>
<script type="text/javascript" src="/jwplayer/jwplayer.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">// <![CDATA[
flashplayer: '/jwplayer/player.swf',
file: '',
height: 270,
width: 480,
events: {
onPlay: function(event) { _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Videos', 'Play', 'My Video Title']);
} }

// ]]></script>

The only part I added was the call to the events. In this case the ‘onPlay’ event calls the ‘_trackEvent’ in Google Analytics.

events: {
onPlay: function(event) { _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Videos', 'Play', 'My Video Title']);
} }

Note: You need to add the comma after the ‘width’ when adding items to the list.

There are a number of events to choose from. I will be adding the onReady and onComplete for tracking. The difference between onPlay and onComplete should give me the number of abandoned views.

Creating A Microsite

It has been a long time since I posted, but this is important, so I thought a quick post was in order.

I created my first micro site today.

Micro sites are small sites that point back to your main site. I know some supposed SEO experts that say they are a good idea. The theory being the more links to your site the better. That is pure BUNK.

The search engines are getting very good at detecting when they are being manipulated. But even if search engines didn’t detect that these sites were all owned by the same person, their value is still questionable. They are either low value sites with little content that pass no ‘link juice’ or high value sites with great content that only pass some of their ‘link juice’. Why not put all those great content on the main site and get all the ‘link juice’.

So when do you use a Micro Site?

Here is my situation.

I just signed a client, Section 8 Snowsport. They are busily getting ready for a major ski and snowboarding trade show in London. ( Who knew the UK was home to skiing trade shows? ) With very little time to generate any buzz, I am trying an ‘end run.

I registered the name and made a ‘quick and dirty’ page from content found on the main website. There is very little competition for the shows name ‘Metro Snow’, so hopefully I can get some traction in the search engines before the show is over.

These are my rules for using a micro site.

  • Short duration – just until the show closes
  • Keyword rich URL
  • Low production costs

Marketing Tip – Be Easy to Find

I have been working on a directory and interactive map for local tourism related businesses. The directory is just a simple ‘no frills’ directory, the map has the name and location of the business.

For a variety of reasons I am creating the map manually. Which means I need to get the address for each business being listed. To my amazement, many businesses, particularly restaurants and pubs, don’t have there address on the Home page. Or, if they do it is below the fold, so I have to search for it.

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Tracking Page Speed in Google Analytics

Google has confirmed that page load speed is one of the 200+ variables that contribute to the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). While there are a number of sites that will tell you how fast your site loads to your location, it would be nice to see how long it takes your site to reach your customers. In addition, once your site gets past a few pages, tracking the load speed of each page become a REAL PAIN.

Google Analytics Site Speed metric has changed that.

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Facebook – Now You See It – Now You Don’t

Facebook just released a migration tool that lets you migrate your profile to a ‘business page’. And, as with most things Facebook does – it has its own set of twists and turns. Which was fine – I managed to get everything changed on my account.

I planned on doing a few client accounts on Monday, once I had finished testing everything with my own account – but the tool has been removed.
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