Internet Marketing

5 SEO Strategies

by Christi on March 9, 2011

Even though social media is a great SEO tool, businesses still need to give some thought and attention to the SEO strategy on their websites. This is a great infographic from our friends at Hubspot:

SEO Strategies

Let’s take a look at each of these SEO Strategies.

  1. Make content users desire and will want to share. Content is so important for SEO. When you think about what your target market is looking for, think in terms of what words they might use to find you. Those words are what will become your keywords. However, you may have more than one product or service so you will need to have different keywords for each of those and a separate page on your site for each. When you are writing content for your site, use the keywords you have researched for each page in a natural manner. In other words, don’t stuff keywords in to every sentence. Just make your page interesting and informative and easy to be read.Keep your content fresh. Nothing is worse than coming to a site and finding that all of the information is 3 years old. A great way to keep fresh content rolling out is through a blog.
  2. Build usability and high quality design into your site. Make sure that when people do find you, that you are delivering the information they seek on an easy to navigate site that is pleasing to the eye. Avoid the use of too many rotating pictures and flash elements. Think about how your site will look on a smart phone. Clean and simple is best. Make sure your pictures and other graphic elements are optimized to load fast. It is frustrating to people who visit your website to have to wait for you pages to load.
  3. Make sure spiders can parse all content and duplication isn’t an issue. This kind of goes back to high quality design. If your site is created entirely (or even mostly) in flash, then you are making it very difficult to be crawled by search engine spiders. Keep those flash elements to a minimum or eliminate them entirely. Be sure all of your pictures and graphics have alt tags that accurately describe them. Search engine spiders can’t “see” pictures, but they can see the alt text behind the pictures.Look at your pages and see if you are duplicating content. Search engines may discount duplicate content. Try to keep the content on each page as original as possible and make sure your content is original to your site.Be sure to include an XML Sitemap on your site. This allows spiders to know the location of all the pages on your site, when they were last updated, as well as other information about your site.
  4. Make it easy to reach deep pages with as few clicks as possible. Your navigation is a very important part of your site to consider. Try to keep the number of clicks to get to any page on your site to a minimum. For pages deep in your site, try to keep it to less than 3 clicks.
  5. Use keywords that will garner traffic. Use judiciously in your content. Research your keywords carefully. There are free tools available like the Google Keyword Tool. There are also some wonderful tools integrated into paid solutions like the Keyword Grader in the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Software. As we said in the 1st strategy, use the keywords judiciously.

Use these strategies to get your website found and indexed by search engines and drive traffic to your site!

Key Take Aways:

  1. Businesses should pay attention to the SEO on their own websites as well as using social media to drive traffic to their sites.

Next Steps:

  1. Use one of the keyword tools to research possible keywords for your site and see if you are using them well. Keywords change over time, so remember to do this on a regular basis.

If you would like to learn more about the Hubspot Inbound Marketing software, contact us at Wharton Website Design and Marketing.

{ 0 comments }

Internet Marketing Nightmares

by Christi on February 23, 2011

Have you ever watched the TV show Kitchen Nightmares? On the show, Chef Gordon Ramsey goes to restaurants that are in trouble and tries to help them get headed in a direction that will bring them success. It seems in many cases the restaurant owners in the show have lost their way. They don’t have the passion they need. They let their employees run the business while they hide in an office or the bar. They don’t have methods in place to check for quality.

Internet Marketing

When Chef Ramsey comes in, there is often a lot of yelling and tears and resistance to change, even though it is clear that, without change, the restaurant will fail. So much drama!

How would your internet marketing plan stand up to someone like Chef Ramsey? Does it showcase the passion you have for your business? Does it include clear strategies and tactics to reach those objectives?

When you are marketing on the internet, you don’t get to see your customer face to face. You may not know if your customer is unhappy with your product of service. Your internet marketing plan needs to include a way to interact with your customers to get feedback. Social media is a great way to accomplish this.

It can be a bit difficult to show your passion on the internet. Blog marketing is a great way to show your passion and expertise. You can also get comments and interact with your customers this way.

People who visit you on the internet don’t know if you are hiding in your office. However, they do know if you respond in a timely manner to them when they submit a form or place an order or make a comment. Part of your plan may need to include a plan for timely responses.

Of course, you don’t need the drama, the yelling, the tears, etc. Your internet marketing plan can save you from the nightmare.

Key take-aways:

  1. Even though you are not face to face with your customers on the internet, you should plan for ways to interact with them.
  2. You should find ways to show your passion for your business as part of your internet marketing plan.

Next steps:

  1. Look at your internet marketing plan and make sure you are showcasing your product or service in a way that is helpful to your customer.
  2. Leave a comment telling us and others how you use your website, social media, or blogging to interact with your customers as part of your internet marketing plan.

{ 0 comments }

What’s It All About?

by Christi on August 31, 2010

  • What is web design? Is it about color, fonts and logos? Is it about where the words and pictures go?
  • Should I have a web designer make all my updates or should I do it myself? Can I do it myself?
  • My web designer uses terms I don’t understand like URL, DNS and CSS. If I don’t understand completely, what are the consequences?
  • I have a Facebook page and Twitter account. Can I incorporate those with my website and make them all work together?
  • I have an idea what I want my website to look like, but I’m not sure I know everything that is available to make my site better. Where can I find out that kind of information?
  • My site is okay, but I’m not getting the leads and customers from it that I think I should be getting. What can I do to change that?
  • I’ve been burned by web designers who didn’t listen to me, didn’t return my phone calls, didn’t do what they said they would do. What should I do to avoid being burned again?
  • Once I have launched my website, who is going to look at it? Who do I want to look at it? How will I know who looks at it?

If you have ever asked yourself any of these questions, be sure to come to the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center Class – Website Strategy and Planning. We will answer these questions and more in a casual and relaxed setting (no tests!). Each participant will receive a workbook with lots of resource information and practical information you can actually use!

Sign up at ASBTDC

Locations, Times and Dates are:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Arkansas State University SBTDC
ASU Delta Center for Economic Development
Jonesboro
Cost: $40.00

Wednesday, October 06, 2010
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce
409 Vine Street
Cost: $40.00

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
ASU Mountain Home Campus
Rm. 107 McLain Hall
Cost: $40.00

{ 0 comments }

3 Cases of Savvy Marketing

by Christi on July 30, 2010

In addition to the Wharton Internet Marketing blog, I have a personal blog called A Southern Life. I have been very impressed with how companies are finding their brand names in blogs and connecting with that community. Here are a few examples:

Case 1: Domino Sugar
Domino Sugar

Last December, I posted a recipe that I got from the Domino Sugar site. I linked to the site because I thought they had a lot of great recipes. A few days later, I was contacted by Domino. They saw my blog post and asked me to write another blog with another recipe from their site. They sent me a $20 gift card to pay for ingredients and just asked that I mention the gift card and link to their site again. Of course, I was happy to do that. It benefited the readers at A Southern Life, I got a gift card and Domino sugar got more visits from my readers.

Case 2: Triscuit

Triscuit

In May of this year, I received a similar offer from Triscuit. They were promoting their home farming program. I garden and I blog about gardening and the people who frequent A Southern Life apparently are interested in gardening as well. It was a great fit and I was happy to promote them and I received a gift card and 2 boxes of triscuits!

Case 3: Mikasa
Mikasa

This past week, I posted a tablescape using dishes from Mikasa (my mother actually put the tablescape together with her dishes). I mentioned that the dishes were Mikasa as well as mentioning the pattern. A person from Mikasa commented on my blog. He said:

Hi Christi!
This is Blake with Mikasa. We are loving your mother’s table design! The dinnerware and tablecloth compliment each other so well- the perfect modern meets vintage creation!

We’ll be featuring your blog on our Facebook page today, so be sure to check it out!
http://www.facebook.com/mikasadining?ref=ts#!/mikasadining?ref=ts

Well, of course I checked it out, became a fan and told my friends!

These are three companies that get it. They are joining the conversation and promoting the conversation about their brands and products and they are doing it a very savvy way.

How can you do something like this with your product? Go to Google and set up Google Alerts for your product or brand name. When someone mentions your product, go check it out and join the conversation. You could also get involved in blogging communities that might have an interest in your product. Offer a blogger your product for review. Give them an extra to offer to their readers as a give-away. Start your own company blog and offer information that people will link to and pass along. Their are lots of great ideas out there!

What is your company doing? Let us know in the comments!

{ 0 comments }

It’s Not About You!

by Christi on July 21, 2010

It's not about you!

Whenever you are looking for content for your website, your business Facebook page, Twitter account or any online presence for your business, keep one thing in mind . . . IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! And, by the way, it is not about your web designer either. It is about your CUSTOMERS!

What can you give of value to your customers? You may think the video with music or the flashing images are cool, but will your customers? Or, will they just find them irritating and distracting.

When your customers find you, can they find useful information? Can they navigate easily? Can they easily contact you. What is your customer’s experience with your online presence?

{ 0 comments }

If You Build It, They Will Come

by Christi on June 23, 2010

Is that your web strategy? All your customers are on the web so you should be too, right?

Well, there may be a little more to it than that. A website should be a complementary component in your overall business strategy. Before you even think about color or design you should ask yourself a few questions:

  • What product or service are you selling?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What is your competitive advantage?
  • Where would you like to be in 5 years?

How can a website help you with your overall business strategy? If you don’t really have a plan going in, a website may not really help you that much! A website should help you showcase your strengths and should support your business strategy. A website should be designed to help you reach your target audience and turn them into customers.

Building your web strategy as a part of your overall business strategy is the first step to building any kind of website. We’ll be looking at some of the other steps involved in the next few days. Stay tuned!

{ 0 comments }

Who’s In Your Hood?

by Christi on June 21, 2010

The saying in real estate is “location, location, location!” Where you locate your business matters. You want to be in a good neighborhood. If you are selling clothing for children, you obviously do not want to be located next to an adult novelty store!

The same goes in the internet world. Where is your site located? Do you have good neighbors? I was researching a site this morning that was on a server with over 5,000 other sites. Of those sites, 5 were tagged as being potentially “adult oriented” and that could hurt the innocent site I was researching. If search engine filters decide that you are in a bad neighborhood it will impact every site on that server. They could potentially put a block on that IP!

What if you are in a neighborhood with spammers? Or even a neighborhood with sites that use the host mail server to send out a lot of emails or load lots of un-optimized pictures? These servers could be affected not only by being flagged, but also by being really slowed down while the server is processing the sending of all those emails or downloading all of those photos.

How do you know who’s in your neighborhood? Go to You Get Signal and check out the reverse IP domain check. If you see any problems, contact your hosting company and let them know your concerns. Don’t let bad neighbors hurt your business!

{ 0 comments }

Staying Safe on the Internet

by Christi on May 29, 2010

We discussed internet safety on The Margaret Banks Show on Saturday. Take some time and stay safe on the web! Some of the highlights:

  • Protect your password – make sure your password is not something someone can guess and don’t tell anyone what it is.
  • Avoid clicking on links in emails.
  • Check out what is posted about you. Go to Google search and type in your name and see what comes up.
  • Use virus checkers. There are lots of free ones like AVG and Spybot and Spyware Doctor. You can search for any of them on Google or Yahoo or Bing and download them.
  • Check out how you are listed on spokeo.com. You can remove yourself from the listings by clicking on “privacy” at the bottom of the screen and following the directions.
  • Be careful about who you hand your credit card to. There are now card swiping devices that can connect to a mobile phone.
  • Often emails that are forwarded over and over containing funny or inspirational messages (especially ones that urge you to forward to friends immediately for a blessing or to see what will happen) are actually collecting email addresses. Avoid forwarding those types of emails and ask your friends not to forward them to you.

Privacy is becoming a rare commodity in today’s world. Do what you can to stay safe!

{ 0 comments }

Friday News Roundup

by Joe B on April 23, 2010

Here is our roundup of some of the most useful and interesting  internet marketing news out this week for business.

Foursquare Makes It Easy for Business to Sign Up

YouTube Turns 5 – See The First Video Ever Uploaded to YouTube

Facebook’s “Kitchen-Sink” Toolbar Coming Soon

What Can Social Media Do For Your Business? Simple: Leads

Facebook Recommendations Plugin to Make Website Content Socially Relevant

SEO is Evolving Fast: Will Your Content Be Found?

Turn Your Facebook Profile into a Mini Blog

Facebook to Kill Facebook Connect

Facebook Makes Major Announcements

Twitter Tips for Building Your Business

{ 0 comments }

Market Research Part II – Customers Buying Habits

by Herb Lawrence on March 26, 2010

Arkansas State University – Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center Director, Herb Lawrence contributes another great article on knowing your potential customers:

Market Research Part II Learning about Your Potential Customers Buying Habits

Last week I introduced some of the resources that the ASU SBTDC consultant use when conducting Market Research about a particular industry, I hope you found it helpful.  Today I want to focus on effective market research tools to help learn more about your potential customers and how they buy.

Consumer market research tells my entrepreneur:

  • How many potential customers are in the trade zone
  • How much they will spend on a product or service
  • Where they are located
  • What demographic, socio-graphic or other factors influence buying decisions and how to break the market into homogenous sub groups to target

The first place my consultants start is at Hill Search, the James J. Hill on Line Reference Library for a lot of our clients initial market research needs. Three separate Hill Library resources that we access include:

  • DemographicsNow database -provides extensive demographic information about households and basic consumer expenditure data on trade zones (by zip code, town, county, MSA, state or region).
  • Hill Library New Strategist Demographic eBooks, over 30 on-line books with specific information about how much consumers spend on a wide variety of products and services broken out by demographic sub categories.  One example is “Who is Buying Apparel” and “Best Customers: Demographics of Consumer Demand” eBooks to get detailed expenditure information on jewelry by a variety of demographic sub categories including income, age, education, and more.  This information combined with the county household demographics will determine not only overall county demand for a product or service and segment the households to find out who the best potential customers may be.
  • Hill Library Special Issues database, for industry reports outlining the trends of the past year and forecasts for the coming year.

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center network offices are all paid members of the Hill Search Library which means that their clients have access to all of this data through the center at no charge.  Plus the ASBTDC staff provides free assistance in analyzing the data and helping the client make decisions based on the information.  There is no charge to be a client, nor for any assistance through the centers.

Finding good, reliable market research data is possible.  It is just a matter of knowing where to look.  The Hill Library is an excellent tool, or using the free services of the ASBTDC to help develop initial market research.     Next week, “drilling down” to find customers in your trade zone using Dominant Tapestry Segmentation programs.

{ 1 comment }