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Why Scotland’s Small Business Websites Are Failing

February 2nd, 2014

Small Business Websites Are Stilling Failing in 2014 – Why?

Small Business Owners in Scotland whose expectations for their website is to swiftly achieve getting traffic and achieving sales should take a moment to read this interesting newspaper article http://bit.ly/1ehSwBN

How Far Will Your Business Go on a Cheap Website Solution?

Many of Scotland’s small business owners tend to look for cheap website design as their primary objective. When doing so, they simply put their faith in a web developer, where there are any amount of freelancers, one man web design companies  and even a few small web agencies made up of around 3-4 people that just build websites.

We came across a small website owner recently that requested a website audit from ICTADVISOR because they felt their website was just not attracting any attention.  No visitors and no visibility in search engines, they weren’t even ranking well for their brand. The analysis raised many points and produced a 50 page document of recommendations. The small business was asked during this analysis period how did you choose this website designer? What was your approach towards purchasing the website Content Management Software that you are now working with?  How did you measure the performance of website agency or designer – were they associated with websites that actually made money? We asked the business owner what approach they had taken first of all to put together a specification brief so they could supply that to the website designer?

Choosing the Web Developer is Tougher than Choosing Your Next Vehicle

The answer to all of these questions from this SME and others we engaged with is not unexpected – they simply provide the web developer or agency with a verbal brief given over a 1 or 2 hour meeting.

And, we also know of regular conversations that go something like this:

Hello, web developer – can you build me a website?

Web Developer – Yes we can.

Business Owner – What do you need from me?

Website Developer – Just send over some pictures and content and a logo if you have one.

And of course the SME is looking at the money available to spend on the website and sees the Ad – Get a Free Website, Get a Website for £100, Ecommerce Websites from £299!

OK, we are not saying every web agency acts in this way as outlined above, but many do offer websites with deals that sound to good to be true. Now, there are website solutions that should be viewed as a STARTER PACK that will move you a little way forward to maybe make some money. But, if you have set a goal that you want be doing at least a few thousand pounds of sales per month are you going to achieve that on a cheap low budget website?

Now look around, there are many small medium web agencies that are just made up of tech guys, software geeks that are still trying to be quirky rather than seeing the website as something that has to make money and be competitive.

There is also a lack of knowledge on the part of the business owner, who, expects the website agency, to know everything about website design and website marketing and just expect that agency or freelancer to do it all.

And finally, many a business owner just chooses a website based on the design looking good.  You can hear it now – Yes – I like the colour of that – I will just have one of those! This is usually the point where the website project is likely to fail, as what has been chosen in the end doesn’t actually work. So, ask yourself, do you want a website, built by the web designer you have hired to make money for your business?

Website Project Specification Brief

The small business, prior to meeting the web design agency is also found not to have done any research to determine the specification brief that provides a list of deliverable you seek from the website agency or freelance developer. Unfortunately, for the business owner, this is not like choosing your next company vehicle. Here you already have to hand specification sheets on trucks, vans and cars as to whether they are reliable and more importantly bring some ROI to the business.

Build a Website to Make Money and Achieve OnlineXcellence

There are lots of FREE downloadable website in a box packages, and many a small business owner will be drawn to these because they are cheap, but in the business owners mind, they want to look like some of the big brand sites out there such as ASOS, Cosmopolitan or stores like Lipsy which have good architecture, search engine friendly URL addresses and much more, all of which contribute to a successful website that will end up building great relationships with both visitors and search engines.

But still, there are small businesses that have put in place their website without much thought towards how it will look and perform in search engines plus achieve that all important aim of converting the visitor to actually do business with them. They also forget their is a requirement to spend money on marketing their website. There is no point in having put in place this website racing car, if you are not prepared to have it use some serious fuel to get it round the track . The track you are on could be to win in local web marketing, or regional website marketing or having an eye on your brand becoming well known nationally across the UK or you want to be involved in doing internationalisation marketing at a global level. This will all come down to how competitive your willing to be and more importantly how much budget you have to compete in the race. Just think how much it would cost if you became a new rookie driver about to enter Formula 1 racing?

So, going back to this newspaper article http://bit.ly/1ehSwBN it is not to faraway from the truth as to why so many of Scotland’s business owner websites are failing.

It was interesting to note that a large Scottish Web Agency approached for comment in the interview who we know are good at building websites was asked to comment – there answer was found to be one of surprise!

Big Website Agencies and Small Freelance Developers – Who will Work With The Small Business?

Big well known brand website agencies in Scotland sometimes forgot to consider their position in the market place, when giving out advice to smaller business owners that might just be listening to them or reading about what they have to say – like in a newspaper article.   These bigger website agencies are serious about building websites and many of their clients are big well known brands.

So their job has already become easy. Why?

Big Brands are well known. So, that well known brand website is going to want to be supported by a seriously established web agency. And so when they want to further enhance their website visitor experience to make their brand online even more visible and have an even slicker website to convert even more visitors and make even more money – they spend their investment with a Ferrari Website Agency.  So, the big brand, spends big bucks, but a lot of that will go on Adwords, because they can afford to invest here, and they can afford to invest in more time from the Web Agency to help them rank better organically. Hence these larger website agencies have something to crow about – easily, because it is much easier for really big brand sites to do well in an organic ranking campaign.

With there only being a handful of really good web design agencies in Scotland, then those who we know that fall into this category and good at what they do, are really first and foremost going to concentrate their efforts on wanting to build sites for business owners who are:
truly serious about having a competitive website
have already spent some serious money in the past
will even be willing to spend serious money on improving their branding guidelines before planning and designing the website
and still have serious amounts of money left over to spend with the agency for the marketing of that website.

These bigger brand website owners also have sufficient money in their company to put in place a full time resource to work hard at driving the website – everyday – so they can be an aggressive competitor in this website race. It is still tough for the bigger brands as just like SMEs their web pages have to be found amongst the billions of other pages that are out there, and are chasing the same dream as the SME – to make money. But there is no doubt there journey will be a little easier.

Those few top web agencies who can help a better established brand name business achieve this will therefore command fees that might make a small business owners eyes water. This can range from £15k-£55K and beyond. This is because that is the true cost of going into the race of competitive website marketing. Ask yourself – Would you buy a LADA to race against a Ferrari?

Today, if you are a small business who is considering getting a website for the first time, or you feel the website you have is not working but you don’t know why? You should seek advice before entering into your next website project.

If you are thinking about spending a total budget of less than £3k, say for the whole financial year and you want both a website and to do some online marketing, then you really have to sit down and map out your marketing strategy, that will also include, more importantly, what you set yourself as achievable goals and make sure your expectations are realistic. Just like what you see on the Dragon’s Den, make sure you crunch your numbers before entering into doing Internet Marketing with either a brochure or Ecommerce Website.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Mathers

Real World Internet Marketing Practitioner
Follow OnlineXcellence on Twitter or Connect with Brian via LinkedIn

Search Marketing | Website Strategy | Web Design | Analytics

Video Marketing Techniques For Your Online Business

December 4th, 2013

Shooting a Successful Corporate Video for Your Business

More and more businesses are improving their website conversion rate by learning about video marketing techniques that can be implemented quickly and cheaply in order to promote their business online.

 ICTADVISOR based in Scotland are able to offer affordable video production services through their collaborative partnership with a well established film crew based here in Scotland.  Marketing your products and services using video on your landing pages can generate much greater impact from the target audience you are trying to attract.

One very simple video marketing technique is to just point and click your iPhone and create your own video in minutes and then upload that to your YouTube Channel. But if you want to do things a bit more professionally and really want the search engines to find that directed master piece, there are optimizing dos and don’ts you will have to consider when it comes to video marketing.

The success of any internet marketing campaign hangs on how well you do your market research, this is a must first step that many smaller businesses tend to miss out or just expect their web designer to do.

But what if your web designer just likes building website and does not possess a reasonable level of marketing skills? Unlike large businesses who are likely to have a full time website manager in their company, the smaller business leans on their web developer to do everything in relation to keeping the website powered up. It is vital though that you as a business owner should be involved in competitor analysis and keyword research if you are to perform effective optimization of your text pages or your video.

Apart from making sure your video is recorded in the right format and the piece of film provides the specifics, has a target message in the middle, evaluates then what you are offering and then rounds up the key points, there are also other elements you have to consider that can make or break your video marketing campaign. Here are just a few effective video optimization tips we want to tell you about:

1)You need to have an understanding about the production and script development so your video will provide impact and is able to ask for the money from your target audienc

2) The video should clearly demonstrate the brand value, create loyalty and acquire your audience to follow you and keep coming back into your target niche.

3) Having a video on You Tube doesn’t mean you have to be a large company or have a huge filming budget to create your own brand on film.

4) You want to make sure that the lighting is correct, especially if you are filming products you want to sell

5) Good quality audio and sound will also have to be considered

6) Consider how long your video should be

7) What will be the primary CALLS TO ACTION that you want as the primary take-away

Once your video is complete and uploaded into your dedicated Video Channel such as YouTube, the next step will be getting your video seen and viewed.

YouTube is currently the number one video sharing site, but there are many other sites preparing to go for as equally a big share of the video market globally. Watch out for other names coming up alongside YouTube.

If you want to look reasonably professional making a video will take time.

There is no doubt you will get more use and mileage out of your video marketing strategy if you take a more professional approach to making your video.

Video Marketing Guru Greg Jarboe, who we tend to refer to as Mr YouTube, has proved on many occasions how video is more and more becoming an important aspect of  your SEO (Search Engine Optimsation) strategy and has demonstrated on many occasions how a video can rank well within in Google in a very short space of time.  But you have got to have a certain amount of marketing savvy and some optimisation knowledge in order to make that happen.

So in summary if you are planning to make a video and rather than doing a DIY video, hiring a video production company, consider the above tips and the following:

  • Keep it Simple
  • Hook Your Viewer
  • Focus on Your Audience
  • Write Conversationally
  • Read Your Script Out Loud Before You Press Record (Even do a small audio recording and listen to the tone of your voice)
  • Have a clear Call To Action – remember the audience is still asking – what’s in it for me?
  • Ensure your video has a beginning, middle, and end so people clearly know where they are when watching the playback

The above are just a tips some of which are from a book written by Greg Jarboe You Tube Video Marketing an Hour A Day. This book will help you understand the value of video marketing and how to optimize your video and do it right.

Greg’s book is just one of a number of ‘bibles’ we surrounded ourselves with to ensure our film crews were delivering best practice video production and optimisation in order for clients to succeed in online marketing.

For many of the small medium business community web marketing is still found to be somewhat complex despite the approach to marketing in general is a lot about using common sense. But there are many small businesses who are not at ease in being able to market themselves through the textual word, let alone standing in front of a camera or speaking into a microphone.

Video marketing like every other marketing technique will require you to put in a bit of effort to get targeted results, but it is worth it.

Hello world! ICTADVISOR Our New Look Website

March 19th, 2013

Welcome to our NEW LOOK for the ICTADVISOR website. We are an Internet Marketing and Web Design Company based in Glenrothes Fife For our international visitors that is a region (state) within Scotland here in the UK.

Our new website was long overdue, we had been working on it over the last 12 months but our commitment to our client base limited the hours we could spend building our own new website.

ICTADVISOR LTD is led by Real World Internet Marketing Practitioner Brian Mathers. The company works with both small and large businesses in helping them achieve online growth.

We have affordable web design and marketing services that will meet the budget of big companies wanting to become bigger, and those micro, small medium businesses that want to hit the ground running and ensure that every pound spent provides them with a website that is built to best practice standard. We also want to assure you that any online marketing tasks we do with you are totally transparent so you know what is being done and when and at what price, without the constant fear of ‘feature creep’.

So, if you are looking for web designers or SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Services from a reputable agency that is customer focused and puts our business first then make contact with us.

And if you want to work with carefully selected graphic designers and web builders we have available to work on your project, we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

So, get in contact for an free no obligation chat and let us here about your online vision and help you put in place a website that sees your business achieve what we refer to as OnlineXcellence.

The ICTADVISOR Team Delivering OnlineXcellence