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Keyword Research Standing the Test of Time

Monday, July 30th, 2018

Keyword Research Still Overlooked by Small Business Owners in Scotland

Lots of small business owners across Scotland are still not doing enough Keyword Research.

I have come across a huge amount of evidence from Edinburgh up through Fife and across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland of no keyword research being done. This is especially ubiquitous in the micro and small business communities where large swathe have not used a Keyword Research Tool. I find this absolutely astonishing.
The reason being when speaking with these micro small business owners, you ask what their biggest challenge is with their website, and they answer – I am not getting any traffic.

And when looking at the content on their pages sure enough, you find that the pages are not using any keywords that their audience is actually searching with and yet that small business could be offering the solution. The problem – keyword research, followed by no on-the-page optimisation to tune pages towards Searchers Intent.

I thought therefore that I would air here again a Video Blog by Rand Fishkin back in 2016 on the topic  titled;

A Step By Step Process for Discovering Keywords – Your Best Keywords

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In Rand’s video he shows a step by step process a step-by-step process to choose and prioritize the best possible keywords that you can use for your SEO campaigns.
What he says in the video is that a lot of people use just a single source like Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Or, they go to Ubbersuggest, which is now the very popular Neil Patel Ubbersuggest keyword tool. Rand only referred to it as UBBERSUGGEST, but since 2016 Neil has bought this tool and incorporated it into his website and spruced the tool up.
Also you should note that the reference to the ALCHEMY API tool is unfortunately no longer available. But that aside the rest of the information in this video blog is still relevant with regards the process in doing Keyword Research.
Once you have a bunch of keyword research tools in your toolbox the video blog goes onto the next important step:

Selecting Keywords that Match Searchers Intent

This involves picking which keywords from the keyword suggestion lists you have created that you are actually going to try targeting. To do that, it’s not really a tool-based thing. You will want to build up your keyword bucket list in something like Excel. You are going to want to sort your list to support what you are trying to accomplish with your SEO, and the quality content you are intent on adding to your pages. This is where Rand’s video blog comes into its own with him highlighting the process you will need to go through.
The next step that is looming is where you have to get very data-driven;

Collecting Keyword Metrics and Sort Filter Prioritise them based on Goals

What you want to do is take all the keywords in each of the lists and get the metrics for them so you can prioritize them properly. Your list of keywords will have metrics for:

  • Volume – how often each month are they searched for
  • Keyword difficulty
  • How hard will this keyword rank in the organic results
  • Does the keyword have click-through rate opportunity

Rand’s video blog provides more in-depth steps to the above process before you reach your fourth step which is;

Determine Keyword Targeting for New Content Creation – Prioritise Your List

By the time you reach this final step you will understand this is a phenomenal way to go through keyword research and keyword targeting. This will help you get the content and the optimization priorities that you need, if you are going to have any degree of success from your SEO efforts.  You will have to choose the right data and the right tools, and use multiple sources. You will have to intelligently build the right kinds of keyword lists. Then, use that metrics data to prioritize your page content etc. The morale of the story is you cannot just throw content onto a page with just pure intuition. Spend the time doing some serious  keyword research and based on what you have read here and saw in Rand’s video blog, you can have phenomenal success.

Of course if you don’t have any time to do this on your own because you are busily doing what you set out to do as a business owner, then consider hiring a professional digital marketing practitioner who has access to all the tools required for this task. And then you could also get help in crafting some quality content if you suffer from writers block!!

Small Business Success Stories in Scotland

Saturday, July 14th, 2018

Small Business Success Stories in Scotland from Web Design and Marketing Company ICTADVISOR

We are constantly on the lookout for small business success stories in Scotland. We want to inspire those who are considering looking at great business ideas. Are you preparing to promote your small business online? If you haven’t been on the ICTADVISOR website before or had us do any work for you, hello, and a warm welcome from me Brian Mathers.

My Website Design and Marketing Company is regularly involved in small business consulting at stages across the process of putting a website in place. If you are preparing to build your first website, redesign a website, require some website performance analysis, or simply want help with small business marketing support services, that is what we have done since 1997.

Good Business Ideas

ICTADVISOR has been part of many good business ideas. Working together with these small businesses helped them find greater business opportunities.  Even before we began building them a website which had to be fit for purpose, the exploratory phase was both exciting and important. More importantly the marketing support provided thereafter helped grow many of those business substantially over the years online.

20 Years on and ICTADVISOR are still delivering business services for small businesses. We love helping the micro and small business owners reach the key objective with our input and that is helping his or her business make money online.

Today, as someone who is also passionately involved in working in partnership with Business Gateway helping to deliver the Digital Boost 1-2-1 program where there are many small business success stories we contribute towards across Scotland. So, in this post we wanted to put the spotlight on a small business owner who has a company in Kirkcaldy Fife called Den Electrics. Why?

We don’t actually have any responsibility for this business online regarding the marketing or website design for Den Electrics. And this post is not to critique the website about whether it is mobile responsive or search engine friendly etc.

This post is commenting on the excellent service delivered by Den Electrics. But want to draw attention to something important inside this website – the content. Producing Engaging Content for website pages is what we talk about all the time. There is even a Business Gateway Workshop that we deliver on this very important topic.

Successful Small Business in Fife Producing Engaging Content

Den Electrics is in our opinion a trusted small business to us locally here in Fife. Why is the brand so memorable to us when we find ourselves with a broken down appliance?
Because, Den Electrics website menu headings and content tells us about;

  • Who They Are
  • What They Do
  • Where Do they Work

Those three important menu links they have and the content within those pages on the website, clearly explain what is on offer and how the business will help you. The content is helping to lead you towards the decision of hiring the business.
There is no doubt, if this business owner at Den Electrics had more time, we bet, there could be an abundance of success stories that they have. Stories like how he fixed our washing machine. The story telling you about how the business has overcome issues and conducted problem solving in order to have happy customers. Those stories install confidence and that business owner becomes the GOTO guy you can trust and whose services you will use again, and so that leads to loyalty.

So, it is worthwhile us highlighting small business success stories? Of course its is. 

Small Business Success Stories in Fife – Den Electrics

Telling the story of how this business delivers customer service might inspire those of you who have your own small business, or thinking about starting one.

You could fall into one of the following categories;

  • Your already a small business trying to grow your brand online
  • Are you someone with a home based business idea getting ready to plan to be online
  • It might be you are setting out to deliver good business ideas towards filling a niche

So, with the help of this story, let us tell you about our experience with services delivered by Den Electrics that impressed us.

In our opinion, Den Electrics is a successful small business owner who cares, who is passionate, and who delivers customer service.

Den Electrics is the type of customer we like supporting. Here is someone that has been in business for a number of years and we have used them on more than one occasion over the last 5 years. The reason being, this business (in our opinion) went above and beyond every time they provided help. Isn’t that what you want from a small business owner?
And if you are a small business setting out to market yourself online wouldn’t you be focused on delivering great customer service?

What Makes a Small Business like Den Electrics Successful?

So, the scenario. The washing machine door would not open after a wash cycle.

Den Electrics arrived and the engineer successfully got the door open. It was found on closer inspection that the door handle on the inside had broken. There was a need for a new door handle. However, he needed to order a new part. But Den Electrics went a step further and lived up to what we truly look for in a Small Business – Help. Because this engineer did not leave us without a non functional washing machine until his business could source a new part. NO SIR. He improvised, so that the washing machine remained functional.
It is amazing what some electrical block connector and a small piece of fence wire can do in order to keep your washing machine door functional. So, we were able to continue keeping our clothes clean until the proper replacement part arrived. Look at this;

Small Business Success Stories

All of the problem surrounding the washing machine was dealt with within 7 days by Den Electrics. The engineer arrived promptly. He assessed the problem. He went away, leaving us that same day still with a functional washing machine, having applied a temporary fix. The engineer returned 6 days later having sourced a replacement part and the washing machine is back to normal.

Small Business Success Stories in Scotland

TADA – This is why we like working with small businesses who have become clients of ours in both Scotland and England.

Because, we, like Den Electrics, like to work with great small businesses that help other small businesses who go out their way to assist customers.

Companies that Help Small Businesses

It makes it all worthwhile when ICTADVISOR become part of the successful small businesses out there that we  get the opportunity to work with.
We believe in being as passionate about being part of your great business idea when getting the opportunity to support your online marketing journey.

Small business success stories like this one about the washing machine engineer reminds me here at ICTADVISOR why, we are a company, that wants to help small businesses.  We begin with trying to find you short term solution. We might find you are short of the following;

  • Time
  • Resource
  • Knowledge
  • Budget

The aim from day one is to help keep the business moving towards increasing their online footprint by helping to address these issues. You need a website because you want your small business to be found. But you might be the only person in this business, and so most of your time is taken up doing what you set out to do – deliver goods or services. So, having a resource to manage the website might not be high on the agenda. On the other hand you might have some time to attend to the marketing support your website needs, but lack website marketing knowledge. And for many small businesses starting out or within their first 2-3 years of business, budget is tight. How do you therefore build and market a website on a very tight budget?

Business Opportunities to Make Money Online – How To Start?

Yet, there you are, sitting with small business opportunities we see business owners come forward with everyday. You know you can make money online but you need to get your marketing message out there. When engaging with our small business consulting services the first thing we do is is help you build an affordable website. Next, we put in place a LOCAL SEO Marketing Strategy. Then, as the business brand becomes better known and your reputation spreads you move to the next level. This is like being in motor racing!!

You might have to start by competing in formula 3 racing. This begins by getting your small business known locally online. The focus might be to get better known in your local region. Next you tackle being the GOTO company in Scotland.  A lot will depend on how much effort you put in during year 1 and 2 to increase your visibility and footprint online.

  • You will need to work hard to better relationships with the likes of Google.
  • You have to work your way up from formula 3 to compete at formula 1. 
  • It takes time to grow nationwide or even have your brand on an international stage.

Watch out for more small business success stories on the ICTADVISOR website.

Because everyone has a story to tell and our aim is to have a Digital Excellence Scotland that is filled with successful small businesses.

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Local Web Designers with Affordable Web Design and Marketing For Small Businesses

Let us assume that you are a micro or small medium business owner that can’t afford the luxury prices proposed by developers and designers based in the city and so looking for local web designers. And, let us also assume that you need to get the most out of both your web marketing and website design budget. This is why we are offering you to have a free chat with a real world internet marketing practitioner first. The chances are you could end up not just working with a good a company who can create your your website and are not just web programmers, but more importantly who also know something about digital marketing. What is always a stumbling block for the small medium business owner is finding affordable web designers and website marketers that can meet with their budget and expectation. When the micro and small business website owner cannot find that solution they will consider not using a web agency and instead decide to build your own website?

The Choice – Local Web Designers or Do You Have Time to Plan, Design, Build and Market Your Own Website?

Your website page is governed by design and having a good content strategy. Do you have sufficient knowledge to build your own website and ensure it will meet with all of today’s coding and marketing guidelines to satisfy both search engines and your target market audience?

Small businesses involved in building their own website with little or no creative knowledge can end up holding back their websites performance, becasue the business owner consider DIY website building never really set out to be a web designer or study web marketing as a subject. People like dabbling, but never really finish the job to the standard of a professional tradesman. Hence, why so many websites fail right after launch.

Website Marketing Best Practice Standards

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Globally Renowned Digital Marketing Practitioner Matt Bailey on Website Marketing Best Practice

Hear What Matt Bailey Says about Website Marketing Best Practice Standards…..

WHAT MATT BAILEY SAYS in his

ENDLESS COFFEE CUP PODCASTS WITH MATT BAILEY

Matt Bailey Says

 

Marketing Standards are important. More so when you are a micro or small medium business trying to get your website found online. But, apart from writing great content for a website page a business, there are other challenges that go with this task. Often the rules that go with laying out the content on the website is just one of many obstacles the website business owner has to overcome. It might be that the website platform itself might not be fit for purpose and you could be wasting your time trying to get found, because the content management software platform was not fit for purpose. Such things are often overlooked by the micro small medium business.

Is your website meeting your objectives and adhering to website marketing standards?

Best-Selling Author, Marketing Expert, Trainer, and Speaker. Matt Bailey has taught:

• Google employees how to use Google Analytics,

• Experian how to present data,

• Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson SEO & online marketing,

• Microsoft’s International Teams paid search and programmatic marketing.

Matt’s has worked with a vast and widely-known clientele, including;

  • Microsoft
  • ESPN
  • IBM
  • Gerber Life
  • American Medical Association
  • Disney,
  • Toys R’ Us, and countless more.

Matt keynotes conferences around the globe, speaking at more than 20 engagements a year, and ICTADVISOR are glad to either have him drop into Scotland every wee while to share with us his vast knowledge in Search Marketing or spend time with him on Skype or recording podcasts when his schedule allows.

BOOKS ON DIGITAL MARKETING WRITTEN BY MATT BAILEY

 Teach New Dogs Old Tricks    Wired to be Wowed  Wired to b Wowed

Social Was Never Ahead of Search Engines

Monday, February 26th, 2018

In all the workshops I have ever delivered, whilst saying in one breath you have to have a multichannel marketing strategy, that has been quickly followed by telling the micro and small business owners that Search Engines and especially Google, is where the money is made and this is where you should spend your time and effort getting found.

Search Engines Retake the Lead in 2017

Many a small business owner thoughdid not heed that advice and decided to follow the lead sheep and go off in another direction. A direction that was seen as the cheapest way to market the business – down the social media channel route.  And look at what has happened.

Image Courtesy of Shareaholic

The above is part of a great article put together by Craig Zevin at Shareaholic and commented upon by our good friend Rand Fishkin

Rand Tweet

Rand added in his tweet information he shared from data gathered by Jumpshot which tells its own story.

Jimpshot Data

The chat on the wires was based around the story and a number of great statistical graphs provided by Craig at Shareaholics which clearly shows that social media’s tenuous grip on being the top referral category is over. For the last three years Social was standing proud holding onto that crown but has had to give back the title to Search Engines. This dramatic turnaround comes driven by change everyone saw in January 2018 to the algorithms behind Facebook’s News Feed.

What Matt Bailey Said About Social Media – Years Ago – Still Stands

I could go back many years before this and whilst driving round Scotland in the company of my good friend and Colleague Matt Bailey author of Internet Marketing An Hour A Day.

As we took in the great scenery of Scotland we talked about the role of Social Media, and he said back then “Your not in social media to make a sale, your looking to find and establish relationships.” And in his book he said “Without a clear goal and strategy, the rush towards social media becomes one with a directive of “We need to be there!” rather than evaluating “What can we do there?” The social media message, as he said then becomes disjointed, because there is no clear message and the purpose becomes lost.

I have looked at lots and lots of micro and small business twitter and facebook pages and the most common thing I see is the neglect to drive visitors to a particular destination and everyone’s efforts were hung on twittering like there was no tomorrow and yet what was it doing for the company? Using different social media brings different results.

Lots of small business owners have something to offer and something to say in telling their story. But they don’t work hard enought at actually driving the audience they want back to their most important doorway – the one that leads people into their OWN website. Instead they leave their audience on a loop out in social media channels by simply hastagging this and hashtagging that but offering no direction.

Matt also quoted in his book “Your company does not have to spread efforts among all the Social Media Channels if it doesn’t make sense”  and “simply throwing time at Social Media will not produce results.

If you ever get a moment pick up Matt’s book and go to page 30 and 31 as even after that great journey we went on around Scotland educating businesses on how important Search Marketing and hour a day is to your business, his words of wisdom and that of Rand Fishkin on working at your SEO strategy remains as being very important.

I once read from another well known Marketing Consultant in the UK who shall remain nameless here. but who said to his audience that SEO was dead. But, this was because he just wanted to have everyone spend their dollars with him doing all your Pay Per Click. But you can’t do pay per click advertising using AdWords without achieving a Quality Score.
That Quality Score means you have to ‘Optimise’ your website page to achieve your AdWords Campaign being successful.

So, this latest study in bringing Search Marketing back to the fore means that SEO is never going away. We just have to do it differently today. And don’t get me wrong Pay Per Click Advertising has its place in the multichannel digital marketing strategy that we should all be working at.

If you want to learn more about where to put your time and effort into marketing your website, there has never beeen a better time for Scotland’s businesses to get along to  Business Gateway Workshop. Their are some great learning topics and they are being updated all the time. And if you want a review of your website’s performance and digital marketing strategy, then who should you have a chat with. I will leave that decision with you………

Internet Marketing Practitioner Brian Mathers
Brian Mathers
Internet Marketing Practitioner
Delivering OnlineXcellence to SMEs in Scotland

Buying Domain Names

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Snake Oil Salesman Selling Domain Names to Vulnerable Small Business Owners in Scotland

Around February 2017 a year ago, the GOV.UK website flagged up a domain name selling scam.

The aim of the seller is to panic people into buying a domain name which comes at a hugely inflated price, has probably been purchased by the snake oil salesman just hours or a few days earlier, and tells you that, because it is a keyword loaded domain name it will put the business owner who buys it at the top of the search engine results immediately.

The Warning Sign of a Bad Website Agency Begins Ringing Alarm Bells

So here we are in 2018 and ICTADVISOR recently received a telephone call from a distraught lady business owner in the Highlands of Scotland. She had recevied a telephone call from a website agency in England with a very persistent snake oil salesman on the other end of the line. It was observed after hearing this lady’s plight that the UK based website agency calling her had only been in business a couple of years.

The lady found the male person on the other end of the phone very persistent. And he was not going off the phone until the lady business owner got out her credit card to pay for not one but TWO Domain Names at £300 each.

At the beginning of this story, at this stage, the lady’s credit card would not allow her to make the payment. So, she told the person on the phone that she would need to speak to her bank. The snake oil salesmen was not happy. He said he would phone back in a few hours as he had ASSIGNED her name now to the two domains and she was liable for payment.

The lady was now very worried and distressed.

On the way to the bank, she thought about her actions and remembered a workshop she had attended and the information she had noted down about overly inflated pricing against domains. About these snake oil salesmen who believe if they have a keyword loaded domain that fits your business, then they target you and insist you buy because if you do this will put you at the top of the search results above competitors in your niche.

By the time the lady arrived at the bank, the bank’s fraud team had contacted her informing her of an attempt (7 times) from a company trying to take money from her account. She explained the scenario to the bank and had decided she was not purchasing these domains. So, the bank cancelled her current credit cards and issued her with new ones.

The Domain Name Nightmare Continued….

The snake oil salesman from the web agency was true to his word. The agency called the lady back a few hours later. But now, this was snake oil salesmen number 2.

The first bandit had now passed her onto to his side-kick. So, he now put the pressure on and explained they could not get the funds transaction to complete from her account. And so again he was not going off the phone until he got the payment. This was despite now the lady saying she had taken advice and was not going ahead with this purchase. Now bear in mind, she has not recieved an invoice by email or anything at this time.

Snake oil salesmen Number 2 from the web design agency said – “but you have entered into a contract and one which cannot be reversed,” claiming the domain names were now registered in her name. But the lady expressed she had not parted with any money and she did not intend too.

The snake oil salesmens reply was she had broken a contract and now they would put her details with an enforcement agency to collect the debt.

The web agency said they could do this because they were partners of both NOMINET and ICANN and stresses that because they are partners with ICANN the web agency has more powerful than NOMINET and that they could block any domain name if their agency is owed money. The threat now, was that the lady’s current website would have her domain name removed.

Female Business Owner Threatened By the Website Agency

So where are we at this stage.Well the lady business owner in question had put the phone down on the website agency as she was beginning to feel sick by it all and felt so foolish having found herself being reeled.

  • One distraught threatened lady
  • Two domain names registered in her name despite her having not parted with any money
  • No invoice recieved.

What was detected from the first call from the Web Agency against the second was the price had gone up. The first transaction they tried to take from the lady’s bank account was NEARLY £600 and now it had gone up to over £700. Not only could they be consistent with price, they had also then forgotten about adding the VAT!!
So, had they now broken their contractual arrangement?

At this point the snake oil salesmen decided to bring in his “line manager“.

There is always a Woman riding alongside Cowboys in these Films – isn’t there!!

So, she certainly wasn’t Doris Day or Jane Russell of their day. But this woman came on sounding all very nice and apologetic and said she could help.

However, her approach was – look we can sell on these domain names for a few thousand on the lady business owners behalf, so just pay for them now and we will drop the VAT charge since we forgot to add it……….WHAT! – How much worse could this get?

And the woman did not finish there. Her final venomous bite – I here you put the phone down on my agent. If you decide not to pay us then it is out of our hands and your situation will be escalated do you want this to happen? So let me help you make these domain names live and see how good they will be for you.

At this moment in time the lady is frightened to answer her phone as she recognises the number from the snake oil salesmen at the website agency.

Looking into this side of our industry, this is extremely shocking, that a website agency can be so forceful. And worse than that – they go and buy a domain name just hours or a few days before – at the going rate that we would all pay for a domain name, but in their case immediately sell the domain name to a non tech savvy small business and hugely inflate the price just because it is a Keyword Loaded Domain in relation to the business they are targeting.

Is it Worthwhile Buying Keyword Loaded Domains?

We did some digging around on the domains that had been offered. They had indeed just been purchased. Their domain authority was 1/100 as was their page authority.

What does Google say about domain names – quite simply, a domain is a domain is a domain. It is not about whether it is keyword loaded, and even if it was (maybe) in the long term it may do you some good. But certainly it is not going to do so immediately just because the business attaches it to their website and thinks in 24 hours (according to our snake oil salesman) the business will be at the top of the search results. Domain Names have to earn their authority and build up a relatinship with the likes of Google who will then consider the domain being trust worthy. And that has certainly nothing to do with it being a keyword loaded domain name.

So, beware. We have not mentioned the actual UK based Website Agency in this article, nor the lady’s name or her business. But the story is true, and we felt it important for small business owners especially that they be made aware of the snake oil salesmen domain name sellers.

SEO Things To Do Rand Fishkin

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Do It Yourself SEO if You Only Have a Few Minutes Each Week

Here at ICTADVISOR we like working with Small Medium Sized businesses in Scotland when we are not working on a large website project. However, those who end up having us support their web marketing activities have come here after trying Do It Yourself SEO.

Do It Yourself SEO for Small Business Owners

Why it is so invigorating to work with the micro or small business website owner? Because this is where the real challenges are seen when it comes to marketing a website. SME businesses don’t have the luxury of being able to spend lots of time on their website so they turn to Do It Yourself SEO.

Also resource is an issue if there is only a handful of people in the business and they are all maybe all at the frontline delivering what the business offers by way of services and products. Having sufficient Knowledge skills to actually market a website is something not everyone either wants to do or is capable of doing. There is a knack to being a professional internet marketer. The small business is good at what it set out to do, be it a roofing business, a tree surgeon or selling dishwashers for example. But getting time to actually implement SEO, Pay per Click AdWords, or a bit of Link Building and Social Media Marketing – for many small business owners – this is just not their forte.

SEO Dabblers

Some will dabble at DIY SEO Marketing but from a lot of case studies and us helped hundreds of businesses over the years, evidence shows that the website is suffering from this approach. For some businesses, because the funds are tight, they take the plunge in both building their own website and then having a go at marketing it by themselves.

This is like – Can’t afford a car or van for my business, but hey, I think I can build my own. Now we all know what that may turn out looking like!

But, if you do think you can do SEO by yourself then here is Rand Fishkin of MOZ – one of the top SEO Guys in our industry providing some hints in this video on how to do SEO if you only have a few minutes each week.

do it yourself seo

Technical SEO Making Websites Great

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Great Small Business Websites in Scotland – Do You Think You Have One?

This is article is not going to get really technical – but in a minute I am going to get all of you small business owners with websites thinking about why you need to at least be aware of Technical SEO and not just One-The-Page SEO.

Now – web developers and website agencies out there – I am NOT putting my headline question above to any of you – because – you will immediately answer – YES – we build great websites – because you are going to say that – aren’t you??

NO – I am asking the business owners in Scotland who have a website this question:
Whether THEY think they have a great website?
What do THEY know about how well their website is really doing?
How well does your Small Business Website PERFORM?
As an SME Owner paying good money for a website, was it value for money?

Measuring Your Websites Performance

The most simplest way to measure website performance is for me to ask you this – Is your phone ringing – regularly? Is your business bank account healthy?

Well – GREAT! If you are in this bracket then YEH, things could be good for you. I say could be good for you,  because it depends on what type of marketing you are doing.
It might be actually, that lots of people really know your brand, and that also, you are doing some form of multi-marketing channel campaigns that are giving you the online visibility you have and so your getting lots and lots of visitor traffic from that. But, who knows – there might be pages inside your website that you are still struggling to get noticed.

So, NO – this is not you – you are saying. I am in the other camp. Let’s see, you do gardening services, or build sheds, or install heating or plumbing, have a small hotel offering wedding functions, your a recruitment company, there you are, tons of small business owners in different fields just trying to make some money. Some of you have been bombarded with emails from so called Marketing Motivators – You know the headline

Hey Did You Know I am a Huge Fan of  – (Someone We all Don’t Know) – And if you Come to my Seminar or Workshop it will be Life Changing for all You Marketing Entrepreneurs out there!! BUT – Enrollment for you to be like this person we all don’t know closes in 6 hours. And we only offer you this deal once a year. So, WOW go check it out!!

With the amount of website owners I constantly have coming to me for help. They have been there – but it just took them about 3 years to realise they are no further forward. The annual turnover is still the same, the business has not grown and the website is – well – just about the same as it was 3 years ago.

I know what many Small Business Website Owners are fixated upon when you come to see me and ask for help – I need to be top in Google!!I hear it all the time.
Listen – I have to tell you – it might be painful to hear – but it is not being number one in Google that counts!! It is not about stuffing your pages with keyword terms, and it’s not pimping yourself out talking your face off doing organic Social Media Marketing on Facebook that is going to cut it either. Paid for Social Media Marketing – well yeh – but that that is another story but not for this article.

Websites Built and Marketed Properly Convert Visitors Retain Customers

Successful websites are converting their visitors, and, can even do this well on PAGE 2 of Google’s results page. Trust me I have seen those results. But that success does not just come from someone saying you just need a content strategy nothing else – just wake up in the morning – do some exercises – go run a marathon – come back write your best piece and that is the be all and end all. You will make lots of money.  Unfortunately – there are lots of things to do in order for your website to be successful. And just one of the many tasks but a very important one is checking on your Technical SEO.

How Much Do You Know About Your Websites Technical SEO?

Let’s come back to this website you have and how aesthetically pleasing you find it. You chose it – AND – maybe like how you chose your last car or van for the business. Yeh, looks great, it’s got wide wheels and a dumping great carburetor that will make it go faster and overtake your competitors vans on the road.

NO? – OK – so let us again get you looking at this pretty website you have – but no one is coming – and no money is going into your bank account. Instead lots of money came OUT of YOUR bank account and went to the people who built your website and promised you great things. Again there could be lots of other reasons your website is not working for you. It could be you did not stick at marketing your site for long enough, and I will touch on this shortly. But let us come back to the topic of Technical SEO.

All Web Developers in Scotland are Great!

We would like to think so. I would love to see the whole of Scotland full of great web designers and marketers. But I have to be brutal. There are a lot of LEGO BUILDERS in Scotland. They build websites, but simply take the parts they can find on the internet, things like templates and plugins, that are easy to hook up to each other and wallah you have your website. No coding or anything – no thought towards marketing or your goals or what you liked or disliked about your competitors website, no checking to see how well they built it to achieve the aim – to MAKE YOU MONEY – but hey look how nicely laid out it is – PRETTY!

Search Engines Hate SEO Messes

Now tell me – as a business owner of a website how often do you look at either Google Analytics or Google Search Console?
You say – WHAT? What are these wonderful tools?
I don’t have access to these tools?
But, er, wait! I think my web developer does?
But he doesn’t allow me to see them, says they are for his eyes only.

NO! And again NO! This is YOUR DATA and YOUR WEBSITE and why leave your future in the hands of a LEGO BUILDER!!

I am not expecting you the business owner to be technically minded. You don’t drive around all day in your Beamer or Jag and keep pestering the dealership every 5 minutes that you are not going fast enough!! But you look at the dashboards and you at least know all is well under the bonnet – no red lights!

So, here is our search engine robot crawling your website pages. And not just yours but billions of pages across the internet. Isn’t that wonderful!

But now your search engine is stuck. It has arrived at your website and found complicated URL page addresses, it has found things your developer hoped it wouldn’t find.
This robot crawler hates wasting time, it likes to simplify everything and sail through your website code and the words you put on the page. Now time is ticking because your website is not performing like the search engine robot expected. And worse than that there is a queue forming behind the crawler robot. Oh my god look – it is your customers. They are waiting on your website loading – aw damn! Oh well – look – they’ve gone, they found another website like yours loading a lot faster and giving them a better experience.

Please – Come Back – My Website Is Great!!

And there is the story for many small businesses – A pretty looking website and business that none of these people coming to look at your website had ever heard of you, and unfortunately not likely to hear of you again. But they saw you for a split second for that search they did – but unfortunately your website did not come up to standard.

Well, how are you going to find out what has gone wrong?

Oh Yes! These dashboards have the answers – Google Analytics will tell me how well that developer technically built my site. That Google Search Console that also talks to Google Analytics lists a whole raft of errors my site is experiencing because Google talks to business owners through that dashboard – shouting at you when you have a Technical SEO problem. And if you continue to ignore these two tools – then why should your website do better and be making you money? Google is trying to help. If as a small business owner you learn to understand a least a bit of this data, you can make some great decisions and I am afraid – you might have to some kick butts too – website builders look out!

And there are some other tools outside of Google Analytics and Google Search Console that can tell you how well your site is doing.

A Great Small Business Website Doing Well in Scotland 6 Months in

Shirley Paterson runs a business called NextGenergy. If your domestic electricity bills are shooting through the roof there is nothing this lady don’t know on how to get those energy bills down. You should meet her. She is a mind of information on how to get the most out of Solar or Air Heat Pumps, and have you put better insulation in your loft.
OK – I am selling this lady – but because I admire her talent and passion for all that energy knowledge she has – just incredible! But, she has been learning new skills.

Now take a look at this.Technical SEO Score

Towards the end of 2016 Shirley had over that year thought she had a great performing website. And, like I said she is knowledgeable in the numbers when it comes to heating your home. But, she got an inkling that her website was just not cutting it. So, Shirley had me do a website audit. Wow! This WordPress website looked aesthetically pleasing but underneath the hood we found to our horror – A Technical SEO mess. It was dreadful – awful – Boo!

From conducting the website audit this gave us a benchmark to step off from and wheel Shirley’s website into theatre and begin operating. My selected tech team and I worked on the site and improved the overall technical website architecture and then we turned our attention to the site landing pages.

What is important to note is that Shirley is like many of you small business owners in Scotland out there. She stayed by her Websites beside! No just kidding.

Shirley, like all of you small business website owners are all governed by 4 key factors – TIME | RESOURCE | KNOWLEDGE | BUDGET. And depending on how far you push any of those levers forward will depend on how well your website will perform. Shirley will tell you herself that TIME is the greatest issue for her. She has so much knowledge to get onto a website page that would be highly beneficial to her audience, but like many small business website owners in Scotland, TIME, is the issue because BUDGET does not allow her the luxury of having someone else do all her day to day website page management and marketing. That is the case for many Small Business Website Owners in Scotland.

And YES – there are some great website agencies and freelance developers out there that do a great job. But for the rest of you wondering why you don’t get more business, don’t just be a LEGO BUILDER. Take pride in the websites you build. All the teams I am working with will always be employed in work building new sites. Because they don’t just build websites, they work as a team to create and follow a standard I developed called OnlineXcellence – and let me be honest – even we have to find time to work at that model ourselves with our own websites. But, we are too busy right now looking after our customers and their websites – because happy customers matter. At the heart of that website design is Technical SEO that will support the On-The-Page SEO and of course the Search Engines.

Great Website Performance – How Long Does It Take to Have a Great Website?

Now that you know you have to take a closer look at your Technical SEO. I know you want me to finish on that all important question above. And you think I am going to answer with – How Long is a Piece of String?No – I shall be honest with you. For you to have a great website, you will need TIME | RESOURCE | KNOWLEDGE | BUDGET – all 4 working together. However, BUDGET is going to be a key factor – especially if you are not very good at driving your own website everyday. Internet Marketing is a skill. If you are intent on doing all those skills yourself, then see how you are in about 3 years. If you are serious about your business growth online and you commit to each of these factors but with a decent annual MARKETING BUDGET that provides you with a decent set of trackside mechanics who are skilled Internet Practitioners with a posse of great talent behind them. Then again, based on the figures for dealing with the Small Business Owner wanting to market their website, whether selling services or products then look at a time window of 12-18 months. Unless you happen to stumble on something that really takes off quickly – like this guys website:

About the Author

Brian Mathers – An Internet Marketing Practitioner at ICTADVISOR with 20+years helping to grow small business websites

Is Your Small Business Website Marketing Strategy Successful?

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Doing Website Marketing For Your Small Business

So You want to do website marketing and be successful online with your small business website. Let us look at what your up against.

According to recent research, 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, and 75% of users never scroll to page 2.
There are lots of small businesses who don’t know anything about their domain and page authority surrounding their websites with many ignoring how to improve their domain and page authority. This is an important step towards being seen as a trusted resource in your niche.

How Will You Go About Marketing Your SME Website?

Not enough smaller businesses blog and don’t do it regularly enough. If your business did more keyword research  you would find that this alone generates enough topics for you to create pages around keyword terms your target market are likely to be using to search for what you offer.

Do You Know Your Industry Inside Out and Have You Created Sufficient Website Landing Pages.

Once you know your industry inside out and have created sufficient pages to turn your website into a magnet you are on your way to beating the competition.

What you want to try and achieve is have Your Business and Your Website being seen as the go to guys.

Not every click will lead to a sale but the value you bring as an authority voice via your blog is an opportunity you cannot afford to miss.

Long tail keyword research is the key towards improving your blog. Long tail keywords might not have huge volumes of searches carried out monthly, but collectively if you target sufficient amounts of these keyword terms through blog topics, and within your content, signpost the reader through to your goal value page, this will over time bring improvements to those pages that matter on your website. It is important to know that long tail keywords make up about 70% of all searches done.

Small business owners with websites forget they are in the minor league and are not going to reach formula 1 within a few weeks or even a year from when they launch their website. But this unfortunately is what small business owners expect, and without spending any money on marketing.

Quality Backlinks with descriptive anchor text are still your priority but small business owners struggle to achieve getting them without help. Going back to what was said about blogging on your website and guest posting on other sites are still a key route in getting these backlinks. But even commenting on other forums and doing some social media also helps.

Depending on your type of business have you submitted your site to the likes of Facebook, Yelp, Thomson Local, FourSqaure and more, which are all important places to get listed.
Did you know that with your Yelp profile it could outrank your website for certain keywords?
How much use are you making of Google+?

With Google+ you can show off the reviews you get and provide information about your products and services. You can write a snippet on your Google+ page and provide a backlink to your blog article or right onto one of your websites goal pages.

Revisit Your Website Content Strategy

Let’s start with how prominent is your website blog?
Do you actually have a blog and does it have a clear link in your menu so visitors to your site can find it?

There are some people out there that will simply promote that you must be doing more Content Marketing and just simply focus on live channels like Twitter and Facebook. But there is still a huge amount of businesses in the SME sector that simply don’t have time or the creative writing streak within them to carry this out. And if you are in this group, then you really have to consider who is going to support your Web Marketing Strategy? To remain competitive you are going to need help to create that content, and do all the other tasks that come with Search Marketing to increase your visibility.

Are You Researching Your Competitors Websites?

It is important to research your competition – but where do you begin?

Without doubt if you are a small medium enterprise you are going to have to make use of a number of tools to achieve this objective. But guaranteed, if you are an SME business reading this, you won’t do competitor analysis – WHY?

Because from experience in having engaged with many small business owners you don’t have time. You are to busy running your business, and more than likely you don’t have the tools. Even if you did have the right tools you did not set out to be an analyst and know what to do with the data generated by these tools.

Some great marketers will simply write lots of stuff and say to you the SME business owner who finds their content that you will be surprised by what you find by doing competitor analysis. REALLY? Yes its true I’d say – You Would. But being blunt, an SME with a website trying to do this on their own is more than likely not going to know what your looking for, WHY?

Because your full time job did not have you set out to be an internet marketer. This is like dreaming – Yeh – I dreamt I fixed my own BMW – it was not difficult at all – nothing to it really!! YEH RIGHT!! Get the picture?

Are You Still Doing DIY Internet Marketing?

A book I think is yet to be written about Website Marketing The Failures and Why. And there would be a big chapter around DIY Internet Marketing.


Right now, there are great books out there such as Internet Marketing An Hour A Day that I suggest everyone should read.

And there are some other really good books, you should consider reading if you were to tackle doing DIY Internet Marketing such as Don’t Make Me Think.

 The content of these and many other great books are based around sharing stories and methodologies of small medium businesses who did Internet Marketing – effectively.

And you will find more importantly that most of these stories talk about the website business owners actually throwing some money at their internet marketing strategy to make money and be successful at Website Marketing.

The books will contain stories about the in-house marketing people that were working hard, possibly full time doing web marketing. What was key is that they invested Time | Resource | Knowledge | Budget into their internet marketing.

But I have seen lots of small businesses who came forward with great ideas and insisted on doing DIY Internet Marketing and are no longer in business. Those people who insist there is nothing to marketing and were so great at doing their own marketing but failed maybe should have applied equations like Porters 5 Forces Model which demonstrates how competition influences every industry and market. But I am afraid to say that many small business website owners don’t do all of these things, instead they follow a DIY Web Marketing strategy that says they simply must be number 1 for a keyword term. This is a recipe for disaster.

How to Gain Good Search Engine Ranking Results

It is not impossible to gain good search engine ranking results for your niche, but there is lots to do. You just need to watch Dagon’s Den and them say to budding entrepreneurs most of whom have come from a small medium business background to be prepared to work hard, be focused and get the help of a professional.

Internet Marketing involves lots of elements from page design, creating focused and detailed content, spending sufficient time doing long tail keyword research, knowing your competitor and I am going to add, get to know your CMS (Content Management Software) Platform inside out. Do you know what features your CMS must have to assist with creating great goal landing pages? Will you know how to use the CMS to achieve conversions from those landing pages? And who is going to craft those pages to achieve the goals? Leaving it all to your web developer could be fatal. What is their marketing success track record?

From Submariner to Internet Marketing Practitioner Hunting The Competitor

People reading this who know me can recall that I spent 22 years in Submarines as one of the Command Team in the Submarine’s Control Room. What was learnt from my time spent there was to Know Your Enemy. Because, that is the first step to defeating it. The job under the water was constant analysis, working out the tactics based on the intelligence gathered.

Learning Google Analytics

When was the last time you as a small business owner looked at your Google Analytics to see if your website marketing is working for you?

Would you know what your looking for whilst you are busy say, selling furniture, or offering financial services, or providing services like plumbing, or Joinery, or you have some fantastic products to sell – but you just don’t know why your pages are not performing. The answer to the first question is that small business owners hardly look at their Google Analytics or even know whether the tracking code has been applied to the website. And the answer to the second question would be NO. Because Small Business Owners are no more interested in sitting for hours pouring over analytical data than I am trying to lay floorboards or fitting a heating system.

So, each to their own. And if you want to have a successful website and not waste lots of time following the DIY Website Marketing route, then seek professional help.

The evidence of failed website design and Website Marketing projects I can guarantee is all around you just like other types of projects you have witnessed. Such as that unfinished extension, that project car you were going to restore still sitting there half done – 5 years later. Walls torn down in your property but didn’t see the finished dream of having more space. And a lot of the time it was down to either lack of knowledge or too busy doing the things you are good at.

Time to rethink your Website Marketing Strategy and be more successful with a website this time around?

Ecommerce Content Strategy Do You Have One?

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Need an Ecommerce Content Strategy Checklist?

  • Running an Ecommerce Website?
  • Do You Have a Content Marketing Strategy for Your Ecommerce Website?

The Rules Have Changed for Ecommerce Marketing

In order to sell more these days you need to engage more with your target market audience.

If you want this marketing strategy to work effectively you have to bring a number of things that have to meet together:

  • SEO
  • Paid Search
  • Creating Blog Pages
  • Doing Internal Link Building
  • Doing Inbound Link Building 

Thought this Definitive Guide to eCommerce Content Marketing from PickaWeb provided a decent flow chart that budding new ecommerce website owners should become familiar with.

There is no doubt though, from experience, what is contained in the guide is what you need to do, but we here at ICTADVISOR know with the website managers we are training they need some hand holding here to implement some of these tasks. There are some really creative individuals in some small businesses but many we come across are simply just to busy running their business and don’t have enought time to actually market their website and implement anything of importance that is included in this valuable guide below. If you want to talk to us about implementing the Complete Digital Marketing System with help from us and our partners – GET IN TOUCH.

Click image to open interactive version (via E-Commerce Content Marketing).

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