“If we define authenticity as simply being your true self, then we really shouldn’t have to look for it in the first place. If we’re looking for it, then we’ve already lost it. And that is what we can call the paradox of authenticity.” – Jordan Harbinger
15+ years building web sites and having the big picture, long-view on Internet, here are some truths I know and use daily helping clients:
1. Don’t launch anything online, not even Youtube or Facebook, until you fully OWN a domain name and have a web site. Having a website lets you point visitors somewhere so you can make them do something: buy, contact, signup, read, watch, join, discuss, etc.
2. Never let your web designer register your domain name. That includes me. In fact, I specifically tell my clients to register themselves.
3. Register your domain and web hosting with separate companies.
4. Use a CMS like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, unless you are building something super-custom, in which case, get some professional guidance.
5. Most business web sites with fairly standard content needs won’t cost more than 5k. That includes a blog. If you have some area of the site that needs some fancy functionality, it might cost more.
6. Use Google Analytics and Google Webmaster from day 1
7. If you are building an online shop, use Shopify or Magento (both are CMS’s), or one of the many similar variants. WordPress should be a tertiary choice for an online store.
8. Page layout and design is all about eyeball management. YOU decide what you want visitors to do. That’s page layout 101.
9. Responsive design is necessary. 40% on average are visiting from mobile and tablet
10. The site should be tested in multiple browsers before launch.
11. Content (text, pics, video, audio) is still king.
12. Each page should satisfy left and right brainers. Some like pics and bullets, some like the long read.
13. If your web designer can’t change the color of something on the page, hire a new web designer. Everything on a page can be changed. Everything. Really.
14. If your web designer doesn’t give you a back-end management tool to change/update your content, hire a new designer. No discussion. In 1996 I had to do the updates for clients, but today, the tools exist for clients to do the changes themselves. I still have clients that ask me to do the updates, but the tool is there for them anytime.
15. Adobe Flash is circa 2000 and should be used very sparingly – if at all. HTML5, Jquery, and cool CSS makes most things great and is SEO friendly.
16. If your web designer says he will get you x number inbound links for cash, hire a new designer and then Google “black hat vs white hat”
17. Register your domain name for at least 2 years. Google considers domain age in SEO ranking.
I probably missed about 100 others, but there you go.
It’s amazing that some companies just don’t get Marketing. They are me-focused and not customer-focused. I just registered SaveAWhiteboard.com. Can you imagine that nobody in the digital whiteboard space actually thought of this? How many searches are made each month for “Save a Whiteboard”? Will find out soon.
“First there is just one lily pad in a corner of the pond. But every day the number of lily pads doubles. It takes 30 days to fill the pond, but for the first 28 days, no one even notices. Suddenly, on the 29th day, the pond is half full of lily pads and the villagers become concerned. But by this time there is little that can be done. The next day their worst fears have come true. That’s why environmental dangers are so worrisome, especially those that follow reinforcing patterns. By the time the problem is noticed, it may be too late. Extinctions of species often follow patterns of slow, gradual accelerating decline over long time periods, then rapidly collapse. So do the extinctions of corporations.”
For those who don’t know, Frank Kern is one of the leading Sales & Marketing experts. This is a MUST READ for anyone building (or re-building) their web site or any kind of Marketing. TRUST is what you are trying to build, and through several layers of trusted action, you create customers.
“In every sales situation, there’s always an action or series of actions a prospect typically takes before he buys. We call these actions “response indicators”, and they are the key to your success. Example: In a car-buying scenario, people rarely buy a car without first taking it out for a test drive. Therefore, the test drive is the response indicator. This is why when you go to a car dealership, the salesman’s first priority is to get you to take the test drive.” – Frank Kern
Got a business? Option 1: Get clicks. The more clicks, the more customers. But that’s a losing game because someone else will pay more for clicks and it’s a never-ending game. Option 2: Be a great story teller about your mission/products/services and put it on the web. Hope the story gets traction. Option 3: Do both. That works best.