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Valour IT Update

by Joe B on October 28, 2009

Go Marine Team – Donate now by clicking on the button in the bar on the right!

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Website Analytics

by Joe B on October 22, 2009

Many believe that putting up a website is a one-time event. They think once it is launched they can go do other things and forget about it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Your website should be a living organism interacting with other websites, including social media sites. You also have to consider the search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, etc), which index your website’s pages for various keywords to bring potential customers to your site when they search for those keywords. It’s all dynamic and constantly changing and evolving.

It is crucial to know about your website’s traffic if you want your website to help get you sales. If you don’t know what’s happening on your website, how can you know what needs to be changed or improved? If you are using search engine optimization on your website, you must be able to tell if it is effective.

You need to install a good analytics package. We like to use Google Analytics. It is free and is a solution that many small businesses start with. But you need to examine the data it generates, regularly. It is a gold mine!

An analytics package can tell you the following:

  1. Where your traffic is coming from. You will see which websites or search engines are sending you visitors, which keywords or search terms people used to get there, and the links they clicked on. This can tell you if you need to develop more inbound links, or do a better job with content for more relevant search terms.
  2. Information about your visitors. You’ll learn what cities they come from, which days they like to visit, which browsers they use, even what screen resolution they have. This tells you who you are attracting, and provides design considerations for your website.
  3. What’s working in your website – and what isn’t. You’ll see how long people stay, which pages they abandon, or whether they are converting to paying customers from particular online ads but not others. This will help you improve your website, your graphics and content, and your online ad campaigns. Sometimes a small change (moving a graphic from one spot to another, or a change in wording) can make a big improvement.

If you are not using an Analytics Package, get one. If you need help installing Google Analytics, contact us at Wharton Website Design and Marketing and we will be glad to help you.

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Who Is Your Customer?

by Joe B on September 28, 2009

Have you asked yourself that question? Now, how about this question? Is your website designed to reach your customer? Is your website designed around what you like or what you think your customer might like? Have you asked your customers if they have visited your website? If they have, did they like it? Did they find it easy to navigate? Did they find the information they were looking for?

Okay, that is a lot of questions, but they are important questions. Being found by search engines is a matter of providing information that people are looking for, when they are looking for it. Don’t guess what people are looking for. Do some research. Ask your customers. Take a poll. Put a poll on your website! You may find some surprises in the answers you receive that will help you provide better information, better products and better service to your customers. And . . . that’s what it’s all about.

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SEO – Day 3 – Using the Sitemap.xml

by Christi on April 22, 2009

Are you using the sitemap.xml file in your websites? Google and other search engines now look for this file and use it to catalog your website.The Sitemap Protocol allows you to inform search engines about URLs on your websites that are available for crawling. It enables webmasters to include additional information about each URL (when it was last updated; how often it changes; how important it is in relation to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.

Google says, “Sitemaps are particularly beneficial when users can’t reach all areas of a website through a browseable interface. (Generally, this is when users are unable to reach certain pages or regions of a site by following links). For example, any site where certain pages are only accessible via a search form would benefit from creating a Sitemap and submitting it to search engines.”

Using this protocol does not guarantee that your webpages will be included in search indexes. (Note that using this protocol will not influence the way your pages are ranked by Google.) With a sitemap, you can give each of your pages a priority between .1 and .9. Google uses this priority to break ties between two equal scoring pages on your site. This could be the difference between someone seeing your “thank you” page or your “home page”. Again, the value you assign does not effect the pagerank Google assigns to your pages.

Google does have a sitemap generator you can use by clicking sitemap generator.

To learn more about the sitemap.xml file, go to sitemaps.org and Google Webmaster Tools.

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SEO Week

by Christi on April 20, 2009

Key Words

Every day this week you will find a great SEO tip here on the Wharton Marketing blog.

Today’s tip:

Keywords – Use only one key phrase or no more than 2 -3 key words per page. A page that is well optimized for one key phrase is way more desirable and will rank better than a page that poorly optimized for several words.

Use between 200 – 500 words and use your key word or phrase in those words. Don’t force them in so that your content doesn’t make sense. Let them occur naturally. You are not just optimizing for search engines but for your viewers as well.

Research your keywords to see if they are being used by people in search engines. Use analytics to see what keywords were used to find your site in the past.

The wise use of keywords goes a long way in search engine optimization.

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Can Blogging Help During a Recession?

by Christi on February 27, 2009

empty-pocket


During recessions, people generally cut down on spending which can really hurt small businesses. But, you may say, I have lower price alternatives that they may be interested in. Wonderful, that is great news. Now how do we tell them about it?

If your business is hurting, you probably do not want to spend a lot of money on newspaper ads and other, expensive traditional marketing. This is where a blog is a great answer. With your blog, you can tell your customers that you understand they need to cut back and how your business can help them. Not only do you get to offer alternative products and services, you get to connect with your customers by letting them know you understand their problems and you would like to help.

And . . . the best news is blogging is soooo much less expensive than traditional marketing.

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A Note From Herb

by Christi on February 10, 2009

Got this from Herb Lawrence, ASBTDC Director this morning. Passing it along:

I have been getting a lot of e-mails and phone calls from business owners especially in Northeast and North-Central Arkansas wanting to be updated on any federal disaster assistance due to the recent ice storm. I just got this information in and wanted to share it with all of you and encourage you to pass it on to any small businesses or others in the area you work with.

The SBA joined FEMA for a Preliminary Damage Assessment yesterday. As of now they are looking at ten counties Benton, Caroll, Clay, Izard, Lawrence, Poinsett, Randolph, Searcy and Stone. More will probably be added.

Conversation with SBA folks they hope that it will result in a Disaster Declaration before end of week or first of next week and then will be able to get assistance to small businesses.

If you know any small businesses who were affected and they want to stay updated they can e-mail me [email protected] and we will put them on our distribution list to get updated information.

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No Power-Day 7

by Joe B on February 2, 2009



We are on our 7th day with no power. I am currently at a friends posting this. I will be back to regular posting as soon as we get power back on. Hopefully soon!

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Make Money Online

by Joe B on January 27, 2009



Today, I’m going to direct you to a great article at Copyblogger:
Forget Everything You Know About Making Money Online (and Start Making Some).

The guys at Copyblogger offer some great information on their blog so while you’re there, look around.
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I’m writing fast today as I listen to tree branches breaking and falling from the ice that we got last night. We are supposed to get more today – YIKES. Stay safe out there.

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Why You Need A Website

by Christi on January 16, 2009



I recently ran across this article at entrepreneur.com. The question was:

My┬ábusiness is very small, just me and two employees, and our product really can’t be sold online. Do I really need a website?

Definitely, worth reading for anyone who is involved with small businesses.

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