Business Cards

Your business card is the best place to advertise your business and your website. Whenever you hand out your business card, always give at least 3. That way they have one for themselves and two to give away. Even consider giving them cards every time you see them, or visit their offices, or however you transact business with them. Business cards are a very inexpensive, but long lasting form of advertising.

There are a lot of marketing reasons behind the simple business card, but there is one unique thing I’d like to bring up regarding website specifically…

Consider using a different domain name for your business card, something that is still inline with your business, so say you’re acme.com, consider acmecorp.com or something else for your website listed on your business cards. And the reason is simple, it will permit you to track how much of your clients come from handing out business cards. This can be a deciding factor when you evaluate your marketing costs. I was able to assist a small business to transition from a $24,000 annual marketing budget between online ads and traditional phone book, to $1,000 annual budget between business cards and a basic yp.com online ad. This was assisted by strong SEO and website enhancements to bring it to the top spot in Google for the past 3 years. Imagine how much we could charge in consulting costs if we saved them $69,000 in marketing costs over three years? It is also worth noting that we’re exceeding the expectations of their marketing efforts each quarter.

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Inbound Links

Inbound links to your website, those coming from other websites, can help your overall website ranking. In the past, this was weighed heavily, but in recent years, the value has decreased. This is probably one of the biggest areas which has been abused in the last 5 years, with people selling SEO by basically spamming the internet with your website address. Google has cracked down and has all sorts of ways to detect this sort of spam. A sample of that includes:

  • The more outbound links on a page, the less value each link holds
  • Links outside of any content (basically just a directly of links) hold little value
  • Links from comment sections of other blogs which are in unrelated topics (links to your animal website from a automotive website)
  • Paid ads on a website rarely count as inbound links Read more of this post

Fresh Data

One thing that can materially affect your search page ranking is constantly updating information. Nobody likes a stale website, and the majority of information available is always changing and updating. Yes, certain pages will always be static, but in most categories of websites, there will always be new information to share. When a website never updates their pages, the information becomes stale, and thus, can lose search ranking.

If you don’t find your website important enough to update, why should anyone else place value on it. Even the most basic advertorial webpages can contain fresh data.

In 2003 I designed a website for a driving school with 14 very informative pages. The information is generally very static, and I have a reminder every 6 months to contact the owner to have him review the website to make any updates to his pricing, fees, terms or policies, as well as any changes due to the changes in driving laws. But beyond that, what we have added is a blog to bring fresh data to the website on a roughly monthly basis. That blog contains student testimonials, announcements of changes by the DMV, or other driving tips as the instructors encounter them. All of this information is relevant information to our visitors and helps keep the website filled with current information.

Google finds this new information, and the more often your website posts new data, the more frequently Google visits your website, and this has an uplifting affect on your search results.

SEO: Moving up the Google Ladder

I am frequently asked by people how they can achieve better search ranking on Google. They have been exposed to all sorts of marketing about companies who claim to bring peoples websites to the first page of Google. However, the truth of the matter is this: Google is constantly changing their ranking system to provide better results to their users, so only truely valuable websites stay on the top. It isn’t hard to get invaluable sites to the top for a short period of time using a variety of black-hat or grey-hat methods. So at the end of the day, only truely valuable websites are going to show up on the top of Google over the long term.

So the first thing you need to look at is your website to see if it is providing a valuable resource to the internet compared to those above your current search results. If you’re not, then you need to start there, improve and ehance your content before attempting to perform any form of SEO or SEM.

The question you should honestly ask yourself is, does the content of my website exceed that of the other leaders? It it doesn’t, work on that first, but once you feel that has been accomplished then the other tools on this blog can help:

Content Delivery Networks

What is the difference between $5/month and $500/month hosting services. Among the level of customer support and quality, one of the largest bennefits is website performance. And while you may be sitting there thinking that you’re running a relatively small, nitche website without a huge following, the performance of your website has a material affect on your search rankings with Google and Yahoo. So if your position on the search engines is important to you, then website performance is something you need to evaluate.

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Feedburner

Feedburner is an excellent service for helping improve the performance and availability of your RSS feeds from your blogging software or other syndicate information. There are several usage for feedburning, including the translation of your feed into several formats (RSS/RSS2/ATOM/etc), caching, reporting and ad revenue. Since the acquisition of Feedburner by Google, you can now insert google ads into your RSS feeds to create a source of revenue from your RSS subscribers. As with the majority of Google services there are reporting services available to help you understand your reader base.

One area we discovered a huge improvement was over syndicating information on our own pages. We have been using an excellent PHP RSS aggregator to display information on our pages called MagpieRSS which reads our own RSS feeds and then displays select content on our pages. We were noticing a pretty big slowdown on the first page load as Magie created a cache, but subsequent loads were quick. We thought it was a problem with Magpie but when we redirected to our Feedburner feed instead of our native WordPress feed, the performance was about 5 times faster.