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Rebranding Your Website or Redirecting Your Domain Name

May 30th, 2015

Are you thinking about rebranding your website?
Have you decided you are no longer going to use the domain name in use on your current website?

There has been a number of occasions where a business has said “we are going to rebrand our website” or “we are not using domain name X any more, instead we are going to use domain name Y”. This flags up a number of issues and you will have to take a traffic hit when you conducting a rebranding of our website, or your going to consolidate all the websites you have live into one site, and just how long will it take before we see some positive results from this move. Lots of decisions here and lots of questions that need answered.

Rand Fishkins Whiteboard Friday has tackled many subjects over the years, but we are grateful to Rand who has come forward to address this subject. Rand offers some guidance and clarity on the steps you should consider if you are going to either, rebrand your website or redirect the old domain name and associated pages of the website you have right now to point at a new website development. Watch the Video:

Should You Rebrand or Redirect Your Website Domain and Pages – What is the Way Forward?

These are very difficult decisions to make and yet we have watched businesses simply throw away the old website and replace it with a new one. Your website no matter what condition it is in should be seen as a pumping heart. And if you are going to undertake a transplant and move the website from one architecture to another or you are going to use the same hosting arrangement and retain using the same Content Management Software, but totally redesign the website and use a new domain, well. you have to be careful as to how you approach this task.

Did Your Website Rebranding or Redirect Lead to Website Failure

On many occasions ICTADVISOR and its OnlineXcellence Marketing Practitoners end up arriving at the bedside of your business – after – the operation has been done, and in a number of cases by someone who simply was not qualified and knowledgeable enough to carry out such a complex operation and this has led to website failure. There are a number of freelance developers and small website agencies who are more in the field of programming and don’t seem to take too much to do with the marketing of a website. In a lot of cases here this is simply because this is not the developers or agencies forte. We have lost count how many web agencies say “we only build websites, we don’t do marketing”. And even those who do make reference to website marketing on their websites, you can spot pretty quickly whether they are any good at doing internet marketing or not.

So, back to the operating theatre. The reason you might be conducting your website transplant is because you had more than one website and it has become difficult and to costly to try and manage them all. Or your business has decided to change it’s name and maybe its direction so you want to be known by a different name or you have decided that this new domain name that you have purchased is what you want to use now and get rid of the old domain name. How do you go about that?

If you are considering making some serious changes to your website and if you and your developer/web agency want support, then get in touch and let us know what you are considering doing with our website and explore whether we can help you in the operating theatre!


Doing SEO Website Marketing Everyday

May 28th, 2015

Website Marketing – What do SEO People Do Everyday?

If like us you are in the business of providing SEO Website Marketing Services to your clients, or you are the in-house website manager doing SEO tasks at your place of work and responsible for the company website to keep bringing in new business, then what is actually being done either by you or us to achieve that?

Why is it a web marketing practitioner or the person you have taken on as an employee to manage your website, gets challenged so much about – how much time they are spending doing website marketing? There are people out there in the SEO industry who are the most trusted voices that can tell you exactly how it is at the coal face when it comes down to marketing a website. One of those people that helps us do our job back here in Scotland, is Rand Fishkin CEO of SPARKTORO and former founder of MOZ  over in Seattle. Watch the following video and find out from Rand what us SEO’s are now doing every day in order to bring traffic to the company website.

All of us who deliver SEO Marketing Services are constantly asked to justify what we do in order to get paid. But trying to explain to business owners what is involved and how many hours will be required on a monthly basis to achieve improving the websites performance is often challenging.

If you are a company owner then once you have watched this video hopefully it will migrate many of you who are still locked into the old ways of doing SEO and introduce you as to how you should be doing SEO website marketing today. You need to forget about the old SEO model of here are some keywords, and some content now get me to position 1 on Google. And then have your website manager or support simply rinse and and repeat the process. That model does not work any more. This is not the reality of the way SEO tactics are applied today. And trying to get business owners to understand this is the challenge. Plus many cannot seem to grasp how much time us or their in-house website manager needs to create a page and a marketing strategy to support that page.

More often than not now, I have to find ways of actually educating those business owners I come into contact with who insist on using their own pre-conceived ideas towards trying to market their website rather than listen to sound advice from someone who has been working in the web marketing industry for nearly 20 years.

Let us ask you this question. Most of you want a car, a van or a truck to support your business activities. Do you really just turn away from all the brand names out there and say – no – look I can build a better truck than you myself. Now just how long is it going to take you to build that vehicle? You will probably spend more time trying to get it right rather than get on with what you set out to do and that was to deliver either your services and products, and do so with a reliable vehicle at your disposal built by someone who knows a thing or two about how to build a car, van or truck.

So, some questions for you business owners:
How are you tackling implementing your SEO website marketing?
Are you really confident you can do this all by yourself without the help of real world marketing practitioners who do this job day in day out?
Maybe you feel your employee needs help to become a website champion?
How much do you wish for that your company can achieve OnlineXcellence and beat off your competitors?

You know what you have to do now!


Digital Marketing Courses in Glasgow Scotland

April 13th, 2015

Digital Marketing Course for Website Managers at City of Glasgow College

CoGC_LOGOCome and join other digital Marketers and sign up to the first of a number of Digital Marketing Courses in Glasgow beginning with understanding Website Marketing Fundamentals. Sign up for this two part course for digital marketers if you work either in a large or small business and have the responsibility for managing the business website.

The Next Session Starts in September 2015 and will run between 6pm – 9pm dates to be confirmed

Are You The Website Marketing Manager in Your Business?

If you have the responsibility of being the website manager and your role day to day is driving the website by creating and managing pages that have to attract visitors and more importantly convert them into customers, then come and join this Digital Marketing Course being run at City of Glasgow College.

Website Marketing Fundamentals Course from Real World Internet Marketing Practitioners

These Digital Marketing Courses in Glasgow will roll out a number of modules over time, but the first to be delivered is the Website Marketing Fundamentals Course that will run over two evenings at City of Glasgow College. This web marketing training program has been put together by the industry’s most respected practitioners, authors and speakers seen as the most knowledgeable both here in the UK and the USA. And so this internet marketing training program introduces to you real world Internet Marketing experiences that will teach you:

Traditional on-page concepts
• Keyword research to site architecture
• Link-building
• SEO measurement
• Create a standards document based on your business goals
• Make a new or redeveloped website search friendly and user friendly
• Defining the purpose and the goals of your website
• Respond to the calls to action on your website
• Assess your resources and budget
• How to develop your brand
• Researching the market
• Choosing web page editing software CMS (Content Management Software)


Matt Bailey – Author of Internet Marketing An Hour A Day

Mat Bailey Internet Marketer

Matt Bailey is is one of the highest rated speakers world-wide for his ability to communicate complex information in a practical, humorous way and since 1998, he has taught at over 1,000 companies, conferences and workshops.

Back in 2011 Matt teamed up with well known Internet Marketing Practitioner here in Scotland Brian Mathers and together they are helping to deliver their OnlineXcellence for Scotland Web Management Program to Scotland’s small and large business community that want to be successful with either a B2B or B2C website.

Whilst the course will involve looking at your website it will also refer to key parts of Matt’s book. The course is going to be jointly delivered by Brian and Matt who during the course join us on a video link. But, you will also be introduced to other leading Web Marketing Practioners in Scotland who have delivered a number of successful website projects.

Improve Your Digital Web Marketing Skills and Achieve OnlineXcellence

After you have completed the two part Website Marketing Fundamentals course, we invite you to join the second suite of Digital Marketing Courses in Glasgow to further assist you in Achieving OnlineXcellence with YOUR website.

This two part course will run at City of Glasgow College from 6pm – 9pm on the 20 May and 27 May 2015

How to Optimise Your Website

A key objective for anybody involved in trying to market their website is to ensure they optimise their website pages to attract both visitors and search engines. A common thread known to many seasoned digital marketing managers is SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. However, come and join this course and find out that SEO is just a component (one of many) that is part of the make-up that is infact Internet Marketing, which you will find is a much bigger subject and teaches you much more towards how you must work towards getting your website optimised if it is to rank in the search engines.

Website On The Page Conversion Tactics

There are still a lot of websites when analysed do not have any goals setup against important landing pages.

  • How do you know if content on your pages is actually bringing you quality traffic?
  • Have you applied clear call to actions on your landing pages and are you measuring their effectiveness?
  • How do you know whether the design of your page is helping to convert visitors into customers and clients?
  • What Tools are you using to measure the peformance of your Website?

These questions and more we will help you answer if you attend the course offered by City of Glasgow College that will Improve Your Digital Marketing Skills.


Kommand Your Website It is WordPress and Then Some

February 21st, 2015

Built Using Kommand

A Content Management Software Tool Easier than WordPress to Use

Being a fan of WordPress as it provides you with potential to help you create a beautiful and functional website despite their being some problems you might be faced with such as security and plugin issues. So, when you find such a product you are going to be reluctant to switch to another Content Management Software Editor, and there are many to choose from. That was of course until KOMMAND came along. This product has been developed in Scotland by Glasgow based ADEO GROUP who also have a presence in London, Newcastle and Dubai.

When ICTADVISOR first tested this CMS during early 2014, not unlike other Content Management Software KOMMAND did have some problems, but we hasten to add they were trivial when we compared the website editor to other CMS platforms in this affordable price bracket that came with their own limitations that prevented these other platforms being useful to marketers. If you are the Website Manager in your business, or you are the business owner who wants to manage their own website and be in control of its destiny, choosing Content Management Software is daunting. How do you know you what to look for by way of features in this very important piece of software you need to invest in?

Popular Content Management Software (CMS) Platforms

There are going to be Website Management Software packages that you will hear about, Joomla, Magento, Umbraco, Drupal, and of course WordPress. With any of these products if you are not someone with knowledge of actually attempting to build and design your own website, there is a good possibility your finished website is likely going to look somewhat ‘homemade‘ and not ‘professional‘ looking. So, to get the best out of these well known website management platforms, it is recommended you hire a professional web designer. But, after the web designer builds the website and hands it over to the business owner, there is a risk once you start to use it – you can break it and end up having to bring the web designer back to fix it again. And this problem even exists with WordPress. An additional risk everyone needs to be aware of when using WordPress is the problem surrounding Plugins! Plugins let you add in features to your website to enhance its usability. You might want an ‘Event Manager’ or SlideShow Rotator’ – that is just two plugins from the thousands that are out there. The problem is many Plugins get neglected, and become obsolete. So, why use KOMMAND?

The Challenges Faced By Small Business Owners When Choosing a CMS

KOMMAND has the features you are used to and will look familiar if you have been a user of WordPress. If you are going to be a successful Website Manager you will be looking for a CMS that has all the marketing features you need to be able to create successful website pages. And you want a Content Management Software (CMS) that is regularly updated and can generate for you a website that delivers to your website visitor the WOW factor.


The most important take-away from having experienced using KOMMAND now in 2015, is that the design team behind the creation of this product are listening to Marketers and Business Owners who want to be able to drive a website with confidence and now when you slip in behind the management dashboard to add, remove and update pages, you can do just that with the most versatile drag and drop content management software platform ICTADVISOR has been exposed to over the years. And, having witnessed usability tests watched Web Managers and Small/Medium Business Owners manage their website with ease and not worry that they might break their website when doing changes, because it is that easy to manage and make changes to ALL parts of the site that is supported by easy to understand training documentation and how to videos.

This Content Management Software is affordable to the business starting out on a tight budget and is a CMS that is scalable and can grow with your business.

Website Marketing Case Study That Increased Visitor Traffic

January 9th, 2015

How A Blog Page Generated over 17.5 Visitors in Just One Day

You know many adverts and soap programmes on television tend to show us Brian’s as not being that clever for example – there is Brian at that has got himself stuck to a magnet in a scrapyard, and some time ago we saw a soap star who played the role of Brian the teacher in Coronation Street. This isn’t fair, there are good Brian’s in the world – I would like to think I am one of them.

How to Better Yourself At Doing Website Marketing

And here in the business world of search marketing and web design which is the industry I am so passionate about, I have found another good deed person by the name of Brian, he is Web Marketing Consultant Brian Dean of Backlinko .

So the message today is about taking Brian’s more seriously. And I want to start by drawing your attention to an article here ( that Brian Dean has written, which I think is important for business owners with websites to have a read of.

In lots of the marketing forums I hang out in I find in a lot of cases it is only ‘gurus’ like myself that hang out there (OK ‘guru’ is the name some people use to describe me) but really I am just a humble Web Marketing Practitioner, delivering Search Marketing Services to business owners who want to see their websites perform better.

So I commented to Brian Dean of Backlinko today, and said I tell you what I am going to do ‘Deano’ – and that is simply to have any business owners who stumble upon my Facebook page to take a few moments to go and read the article this article that he has written.

Why Brian Deans Article on How to Get More New Visitors to a Website in Just One Day Got Me Excited

Well here is my ‘Because‘ answer. (Now don’t get mad) – but I think business owners, especially those in the Small Business Community are struggling to make their websites work for them.

Just in the last day or two I have spoken to a videographer, a tree surgeon, and a small business that sells manufacturing machinery, and all of them are not happy with how their business is performing online.

It is either the website design that is letting them down, or their marketing – but in most cases it was found to be both.

Did you know that web design really has become more important to Google when it comes to look at your website?

The search engine is looking much closer at your coding and how well the site’s architecture has been built. And you therefore want to ensure you put yourself in the hands of a web developer who is much more than just a ‘box builder‘.
That web developer, even if they don’t like doing or being involved with the marketing should at least know what the minimum design criteria has to be to meet and read Google coding guidelines.

Small business owners tend to try and go down that DIY route in order to try and keep their website cost down. But many small business owners are ‘dabblers‘ and don’t really know what to do or what it takes to market their website.
The biggest stumbling block is how to create website pages that will engage the customers you want.

And so I commend Brian Dean today who has put together an article that really maps out how to plan and then publish a web page and one that will convert the reader into a potential prospect.

Struggling to Create Content Your Website Pages Can Have Some Success With?

If you are a small business and run a website, I can bet the biggest challenge you face is you are having problems thinking like a journalist!

I bet you went out and bought an all singing all dancing website which you insisted must have a content management editor features that allows you to create edit or delete website pages, but now you have the website still wondering why you don’t have traffic and visitors.

Let me tell you, this article by Brian Dean – I for one will certainly be making reference to more in the coming months when I am delivering my OnlineXcellence Web Marketing Program to those small business owners who want me to improve their website. Brian’s article is just one of many steps involved to improve youe website, and it will teach you to become better page editors and probably lead you to squeeze more out of your website landing pages.

I remain of the opinion that there are still many business owners all over the UK that need to be educated if they are to achieve with their websites what I refer to – OnlineXcellence!

Search Engine Optimisation is Alive and Well

January 4th, 2015

Have You Stopped Doing SEO On Your Website?

During 2014 there were a handful of people in our search marketing industry, some of who are very well known here in the UK that go out of their way to poo poo SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

On a number of occasions, certainly during the last year, as I trawl through article after article I will stumble upon a few from those labelling themselves as ‘UK leading web marketers’ that say SEO is dead.

Thing is, what you find is these comments usually come from someone who is telling you they spend millions with Google on AdWords and that this is the only way to get traffic to your site. Don’t get me wrong, I agree you need AdWords.

But, for a moment consider those who are running an Ecommerce website, and making use of Google Shopping Ads (formerly known as PLAs – Product Listing Ads) that now involves the use of AdWords and your Google Merchant account.

An important component in the mix to achieve this advertising success using Google Shopping is that your actual website ‘landing page’ should have good quality content that should include your keywords against what you are promoting on the page. So, if this is not doing SEO for a page what is? And, if you get the content balance right for the page, won’t it do a bit better over time in organic listings once the page has built up its popularity from you promoting it?
Of course it will. So, during 2014 SEO is very much alive and continues to evolve.

The topic of SEO continues to spark some healthy debates and I came across one just recently online in an article about what happened in the SEO world during 2014, during which I clocked a great comment from a woman I have long admired on the SES circuit Shari Thurow who said:
“Is it me or am I the only person to notice that Google is trying to change the way that we (humans) interpret user interfaces?
Something as simple as changing a link color or feature might seem like a small change, but it is a significant one. Clickability and tappability are very important for usability and UX.”

Sheri went onto say:
“Also, I find Google’s interpretation of mobile UX to be very lacking. So the label as “mobile-friendly” means Google’s interpretation of a positive mobile experience, not what my usability and information architecture research, studies, and tests have indicated.”
Shari believes, sincerely, that websites and other computer interfaces should be more user centric than technocentric and says that from her observations Google tends to be more technocentric.”.

I have read a lot of Sheri’s articles and of course her book When Search Meets Usability.

Sheri also says that “No website needs to accommodate the latest trends. That is often a tremendous waste of time, staff, and money. Smart search marketers should know when to implement a tactic or strategy, and know when to dismiss flavor-of-the-month tactics. Don’t be an algoholic”.

Sheri’s Books deliver a lot of common sense and her knowledge on site architecture and usability should not be ignored. It would be wise for many a budding web developer to sit down for a moment and read this book before building your next website. Another comment from Sheri that endorses something I talk about at my workshops is on the subject of PageRank.

Sheri says PageRank (PR) – it’s still there. (and I agree) – and she goes a step further by saying “It’s more important to understand the principles behind PR than the gory details. PageRank is about validation…quality validation (And this I absolutely agree with her upon).
There are some great article links she provides here:

A Wikipedia entry (the HITS algorithm is a good read, too):

And not forgetting someone I often follow on Twitter Danny Sullivan and here is his article:

There are a few people in this world at the heart of our industry who are the leading lights for me, and during 2015 I have decided that I will spend a bit more time sharing with my community important stuff from the likes of Sheri Thurow who for me continues to write and endorse things I truly believe in when it comes to SEO, Search Marketing and Site Architecture issues and that is why also I continue to promote to the small business website owners how they can achieve OnlineXcellence.

AuthorBrian Mathers
Internet Marketing Practitioner in Scotland Building and Marketing Websites for Small Business Owners

Measuring Website Performance – Are You Doing This?

April 20th, 2014

Which Dashboards to Monitor and Measure To Improve Website Performance?

Are you measuring website performance? At ICTADVISOR measuring website performance and conducting deep drilling website audits has become a popular service that we deliver to clients, especially over the last 6-9 months where we have seen a substantial increase in the  number of website performance reviews being asked for on a regular basis. During the initial interview process we need to gather information from the business website owner and just one of those very important questions is:

As a small business website owner do you make use of both Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to measure website performance?

The answer often is not surprising – “no, not really”.  Of the SME businesses asked, many are either not using either of these two products, or each google product has been set up but by the web developer and the data residing in the web developers Google Account. In lots of cases it has been found that the web developer had decided not to provide access to the data so the business owner could not see how well the website was performing. Maybe this is because it would show that the web agency has not done such a good job of building a successful website? Or maybe it is the website agency that was heard to say “Website Marketing – no – don’t talk to us about that – we just build websites” – Say What – Are You Kidding?

And of course even today, there are still Small Business Owners eager to tell you they have Google Analytics in place and are only using the tool to measure HITS! OMG! – Quick, get a doctor, this person needs help.

Another observation is that hardly any of the small business owners interviewed knew of the importance of Google Web Master Tools and making sure it was properly connected to Google Analytics.

So if the small business is not making good use of these important Google Products, what answer comes from the next question – How Many People small business owners are using Google Adwords?

Not surprisingly the answer is “Yes, used it once, lost a lot of money and wouldn’t use it again” or “I don’t click on those Adwords Ads, as these are Agressive marketers, and I am not one of those”.  Incredible answers. Yet, you ask some of Britain’s small business owners what is your most successful marketing channel? The answer is – Google Adwords – and many see it as the umbilical cord they would not cut.

It is amazing to find that it is always the small business community who tend to answer with a negative comment about the use of Adwords.

The Google Product Tools You Need for Measuring Website Performance

Yet, without the combination of the ANALYTICS, WEB MASTER TOOLS and ADWORDS, your website is not going to get off to a head start and could wait a very long time on gaining success. Because, all you are doing is flying blind with your website.

Other business owners leave these tools in the hands of their web developers, but this tends to create even more problems for the Small Business Owner. Look around at many of the small website agencies advertising online and they offer everything – website development – graphic design – copywriting – search engine optimisation, you name it they do it. Then you find that the web agency is made up of either all programmers, or all designers, and none have done any form of marketing. Like the quote from an agency interviewed – “we don’t do marketing, we just build websites”. This was because they were confronted by questions about their websites not performing, and yet they advertised on their website, how important search engine optimisation was!! Astonished is the only word that can describe this.

So, what is the reason for so many small business websites failing, it is because small business owners don’t take sufficient time to learn how to make best use of any of these dashboard tools. And, many SMEs think they will get away with just doing DIY WEBSITE MARKETING. Therefore, it is not surprising when asked to do a website performance review, the outcome in the report points towards many red lines of highlighted failure across the website, as the business does not really know what they should be doing with those tools, or how they and not the web agency should be responsible for the websites destiny.

Is Your Website A Racing Car – And is it Winning Races?

If you consider your website a racing car and you were preparing to go out on the track and win races, would you simply go to a mechanic and say – build me a racing car like that one over there?

This other racing car you looked at – over there – how do you know how good the performance is of that other racing car? Would it not be important to understand first of all, to analyse how your competitor is winning those races?And so from this intelligence thinking, you can take the approach towards building your next website by making sure from the intelligence you gather from these all important dashboards, that when you come to the web agency and ask them to build something that will be hopefully better than the competitors racing car, it is you who drives the website design project, not just the web agency.

Of course you might go down the route of building your own website? How long do you think that might take you? Will you be able to think like a web developer and be as creative as web designer and so, get the layout right so the page converts, or build the right menu infrastructure and a page architecture that is aesthetically pleasing to the visitors who you want to land on them?

If you decide to stick with the approach of using a web agency, an answer you might get from some of the small web agencies who you approach and ask them to build a website for you is, “yes, no problem we will have it ready in a few days”. Now, does that now sound like a recipe for disaster?

And so, you find that this type of web agency will not ask many important questions about the design, navigation, look and feel etc. They will just go off and build – what they think is right, based on their own level of skill. Therefore, what you might end up with is a website built simply to the knowledge skill level of the web designer who might simply be a ‘box builder’ and have no internet marketing knowledge.

Box builders are those who will just download a site like WORDPRESS, JOOMLA, DRUPAL, (and there are others), and simply build on what they know. Whereas put these products in the hands of serious web developers and agencies who truly understand what web marketers have to achieve in order to win and make money, is like night and day.

Finding web agencies who actually demonstrate best practice and understands how important it will be for the site to meet with minimum coding standards and ensuring that scripts load swiftly along with a number of technical specifications that will be important if the website is to achieve its objectives, are far and few between. ICTADVISOR with its Website OnlineXcellence Program to assist small medium businesses has been exposed to hundreds of web agencies since 1998 having been engaged to joint share in projects where the web design team were already in place and in some cases had already built the site before our web marketing knowledge had been called upon to help the site make money.

So, this article looked at how to make use of the right dashboards so you can measure the performance of your website. And, it suggests to you that you must learn these dashboards and know what to look for, if you are to then manage your website developer or agency, because they might just be – box builders – and not have any knowledge of how to get your website to make money.

No Keyword Research Equals No Traffic

April 20th, 2014

How Much Regular Keyword Research and Competitor Analysis Are You Doing?

In our industry that is Search Marketing, we tell business owners everyday that Keyword Research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities you have to be involved in doing on a regular basis. Ranking for the “right” keywords can make or break your website.  No matter which way you cut it, the road to your website page offering its products or services is in most cases going to begin with words typed into a search box.

Conduct Regular Website Performance Analysis

Conducting a website performance review on a regular basis and monitoring the dashboards that matter is going to contribute towards you doing Keyword Research, but it is amazing how many business owners still do not contribute sufficient amounts of time and effort to this very important task. And in many cases, especially in the small business community there are lots of business owners who don’t even know where to find a keyword tool that they should be using in order to conduct this vital analysis.

The First Step Towards Building Your Successful Website

When you come to build your first website or decided you are going to redevelop the website you already have, keyword research should be at the forefront of your strategy to ensure when you build this website vehicle that has to make you money (otherwise why are you in business), because the words are the ‘fuel’ that will help the paying audience you want to find you and then engage with you. But here we are in 2014 and still many businesses are failing to conduct this all important task. If you are to brief your web developer properly and provide a detailed web design specification, that blueprint will be constructed based on this first step – Keyword Research.

Do You Really Want To Rank Number One For Your Keyword?

Keyword research will continue to be a fundamental task to fuel your website even after your site is built and launched. Trawling through keywords and measuring their performance will be a regular rinse and repeat exercise  to find out what keyword terms are actually being entered into a search engine and whether they are popular with target market audience you are keen to attract. ICTADVISOR are always amazed to find when speaking at events here in Scotland just how many businesses are not doing any keyword research – at all. The problem is mainly inherent within the micro and small business community where the business owner and staff involved in running the company are to busy doing just that – running the business – and don’t have sufficient time, resource, and budget to do any form of regular website marketing. And yet, when you ask a business owner what they want the website to do, the first answer is usually – “I WANT TO BE NUMBER ONE ON GOOGLE” or “I NEED SALES” and yet to achieve either of these is always going to start by doing Keyword Research. We should throw a comment into the mix here, that you all can’t be NUMBER ONE for your preferred keyword. Let’s make something absolutely clear, it is not about being NUMBER ONE, but it certainly is about being on PAGE ONE of your preferred search engine that you want to aim for. But there are still a couple of other steps you need to overcome. When your business finds out what keywords your target market audience are likely to enter into a search engine to find your website, another step you will reach is How To Do Competitor Analysis.

How To Win Against Your Website Competitor

Competitor analysis and keyword research really go hand in hand. Once you have compiled your keyword list you have to go back out to your preferred search engine such as Google and test those keywords you have researched, and ask yourself more questions:

  • Who is the competition?
  • Who is already ranking on page one right now in the search engine you are optimising your website for?
  • What does that competitor website look like?
  • Is it aesthetically appealing?
  • What approach has the competitor taken with the design and layout in order to ASK FOR THE SALE!

Are you finding from reading this that the process to having a successful website with successful landing pages is now taking a number of hours of your time? Of course it is, because it does take time to compile this data that is the fuel to make your website win races around the internet track!

Now to be a successful website business owner your next task that you have to overcome, is that all important goal you must get once you have managed to get traffic and visitors to your web page offer – Conversion.

That is another story to tell……..See You Soon.

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

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 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.


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.