Blog"Where to start planning a new website?" is a question I am asked quite often. This is a broad question and many resources already exist that help getting to the right answers.
- The ten most commonly made mistakes in online marketing.
- The web development process.
- What to ask before you hire a web developer.
- Navigation and
- Ensure that you get the domain name of your choice, that it is registered in the name of your company, using an email address/es that will always reach you.
- Make note of your registrar, its web address and passwords to your domain registration account.
- Make sure upfront that the web host you select can host the files your developer will create.
- Make a note of your web host's web url and password to your account.
- Meta content (page titles, tags, key words, alt-tags) are not always visible on first glance at the site. Make sure that they are there, that they are unique for each page and that they are search engine optimized.
- Plan for links: Link the content of your pages together. Hyperlinks is another form of site navigation and search engines like it. Also plan for other sites you want to link to or want to request a link from - good for users, good for search engines!
- Add analytics to your site - Google Analytics is a popular choice and ask your web developer to set it up on your site and to show you how to use it.
- Plan for Social Media - which of your social media would you like to integrate on your site and where? Widgets are available from most social media sites (Linkedin, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and more). This can help to keep your site fresh and interesting. Also plan for sharing options to add to the page such as RSS feeds, Email This, Tweet This, Like, comments and ratings options. One quick way to add this is by adding something like AddThis.
|General browsing for fun or leisure||76||78|
|Obtain weather or road conditions||70||75|
|Research other matters (family history, parenting)||70||73|
|Search for medical or health related information||59||70|
|View news or sports||64||68|
|Electronic banking or bill payment||63||67|
|Travel information or making travel arrangements||66||66|
|Search for information about governments||51||57|
|Education, training or school work||50||50|
|Research community events||44||50|
|Order personal goods or services||45||50|
|Obtain or save music (free or paid downloads)||45||47|
|Use an instant messenger||50||45|
|Obtain or save software (free or paid downloads)||33||35|
|Listen to the radio over the Internet||28||32|
|Download or watch TV or a movie over the Internet||20||31|
|Communicate with governments||26||27|
|Contribute content (blogs, photos, discussion groups)||20||27|
|Make telephone calls||9||14|
|Sell goods or services (auction sites)||9||13|
What a scramble to get on the social media bus - we tweet, update statuses, blog, comment and create. However, it is generally accepted that listening is the most effective social media marketing strategy. Here are some ideas for keeping your ear to the ground...
1. Eavesdropping on Twitter - Twitter Search
Twitter Search is ideal for finding out what is being said. No Twitter account is needed - just enter the search term in the search window on twitter.com to find out what others are saying about your topic.
2. Follow #Hash Tags & Monitor Search Terms
The so-called “hash-tag” that prefaces certain terms clusters conversations that include this tag on Twitter as belonging together. At conferences hash-tagged phrases often spring up spontaneously (such as #TedX) to cluster anything being said about this event.
A recent fun example was #doyletweets and #doylequotes, used to tweet about the Republic of Doyle. Doyle fans would tweet comments out about the episode while watching - a search of #doyletweets lets you in on the conversation.
Find a community that talks about topics you are interested in. Twitter Search will point you in the right direction. If you use a tool such as TweetDeck, set up columns for your favourite search terms or hash tags. One of mine is the town of Twillingate - every time there is a Tweet about "Twillingate", it is picked up in my "Search: Twillingate" column. This morning I was saved a speeding fine by a kind tweeter alerting me to a speed trap along the way #Twillingate. Catch negative comments about your business quickly and respond, or pick up on a business opportunity and follow the lead.
3. Follow Industry Leaders
Another technique for listening in on my favourite topics, is to search for authors of my favourite business books on Twitter. A few of my favourite Tweeps are authors @shelisrael (Twitterville), @tompeters (Thriving on Chaos), @anthonyrobbins (Unlimited Power) and @charleneli (Groundswell). Add a comment to share yours...
4. Plug into the Local Community
In our local tourism industry you may want to eavesdrop on what @nltweets (Dpt. of Tourism), @centralNL (Central Destination Marketing Organization) or @DestinationSJ (Destination St. John’s) are saying. Visit their pages (twitter.com/nltweets etc.) if you do not have a Twitter account, or follow them once you are logged in.
Follow @ryansnoddon to get the local weather report even before the weather office does! Each community has its tweet elite.
5. Follow the buzz on Facebook, YouTube or Linkedin
You have a Facebook page for your business? Great! So, what is more important… what you are saying or what “they” are posting? Comments and contributions from others become gold in your research. Why spend millions on research if you could merely eavesdrop on the conversation in your community. Here are some ways to engage your audience...
Have you ever searched for topics of interest on Facebook or Linkedin? Pages and groups reveal much through the conversation that is happening. Outsider comments on your own blog posts or photos are equally useful. While creating content is a good start, engagement and conversation are invaluable. It takes good fuel to start a fire - ask open-ended questions or throw out a provocative statement.
6. Get Google Alerts
Heard of Google Alerts? Let Google do the listening for you... Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. It is as simple as going to Google Alerts once you have logged into your Gmail account and entering the words or phrases you wish to monitor. A regular report will be delivered into your email account. Want to be alerted when something is said about your business or product? Set up an alert - Google sends be a daily email about where the phrase Digital Daisy is used on the Internet.
7. Keep Your Eye on Your Web Stats
A place with much hidden treasure is often overlooked. If a web site has stats such as Google Analytics, you can most likely see from those stats, which words were typed into search engines to bring them to your site. This provides an indication of what potential customers are looking for.
8. Listening to the gurus
Even though I facilitate online marketing workshops and develop strategies for clients, I never fail to learn something new when attending someone else’s workshops. Listening to others in your field of business – a workshop, a conference, a mastermind group or simply a phone call can provide great market research. "Two ears, one yapper" someone recently tweeted... for good reason.Small business owners see both the opportunity in social media and at the same time grapple with a successful strategy for using it. I found this useful article by Rohit Bhargava that captures solutions well.
- Be conversational
- Listen and respond
- Proactively comment and share
- Use questions in stead of statements
- Find groups and participate with those who share your passion
- Complement social media by meeting people - there is no substitute for knowing people in person
- Invoke good karma by genuinely helping, supporting and sharing with others