Contrary to what some people might think, website statistics were not invented by the Brothers Grimm. They’re not fairy tales, nor are they numbers pulled out of thin air by College Johnnies who want to show how smart they are. Website statistics are built on real-world data, and they can tell you a lot about what your website is — or is not — doing for your business. […]

Apr 5, 2012

Google Hate Me

Running your own website and trying to get it to rank well in search results can be a frustrating experience. Even though you put a lot of time and effort into your site, and you think you’re following all the rules, you still feel like you’re walking around in a t-shirt silk-screened with “Google Hate Me” in 8-inch letters.

Google, like most other search engines, isn’t out to get you. But search engines are pretty picky about the quality of their search results. Some sites don’t rank well simply because of poor SEO practices. Other sites, however, may do a lot “right” with SEO and still not rank well because they also feature very big “wrongs” in other areas. […]

Does anybody remember 1-inch analog video tape? Back when I was a lad (which I’ll define here as “when I still had hair”), if you wanted to learn how to edit video, 1-inch video tape is what you worked with. A video editing console was as big as a Volkswagen, had knobs the size of baseballs and hummed along on a three-phase power supply that needed an air conditioning booster just to keep from igniting the fabric of your bell-bottom blue jeans.

Video technology has changed a lot over the years. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the essential grammar of visual communications. Just as every natural spoken and written language has a grammar — a set of structural rules that governs its composition — the international language of video has a “grammar” all its own. […]

As I’ve mentioned previously, the difference between a confusing visual mash-up and an online video that can help you sell often boils down to what happens after you shoot the video. Post-production — what you do with your video editing software — is where you assemble the whole project and get it ready to go in front of your potential customers.

You don’t need to develop professional-grade editing skills to produce a solid sales video. The basics of editing a sales video are straightforward — you just need to apply them consistently. Here are three important areas to focus on when you take your online sales video into post-production: […]

When Google rolled out the initial “Panda” update to their search algorithm a little over a year ago, a lot of formerly profitable websites abruptly disappeared from the search engine. The update was touted as an attempt to sort out “quality” content from the vast wave of repetitive, duplicate and/or barely literate riff-raff on the big, wide Internet.

The definition of “quality,” obviously, is subjective. Duplicate content is pretty easy to spot, but deciding what constitutes “quality” content is a bit more difficult. As it stands, 67 percent of the search world (Google’s market share) has to play by Google’s definition of quality. Some of Goggle’s take on quality is yet being argued in court cases, but regardless of the various legal results, the basics of Panda-friendly website construction aren’t going to change for the average site owner. […]

Back in the Internet’s version of the Age of Steam — around 2002 — retail giant Walmart (which was still officially “Wal Mart” at the time) made a bold move to insource all of its Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) functions. EDI is a critical behind-the-scenes operation that allows huge retail chains to manage their supply chains and logistics. […]

Many of our E-commerce customers are dreamers. Some of them are BIG dreamers. It sort of goes with the territory. There are plenty of examples of successful E-commerce websites out there on the Internet, but for every success there are at least two or three (or more) complete fizzles. It takes a lot of small business grit — and a strong vision of success — to enter the world of online retail sales. […]

If you’re even a casual user of social media sites like Facebook or Google+, by now you’ve probably come across at least one or two businesses that have some sort of presence on them. Maybe you’ve “liked” them, “fanned” them or “connected” with them. Think about it the next time you click on one of those little buttons or icons: You’ve just made that business very happy, because you’re directly engaging with its online marketing. […]

Now that you’ve had some success with the basics of making a video for your website (you are using my Tips for Online Video That Sells, right?), you’re no doubt impatient to absorb some additional pointers that will make your videos even more useful. You still won’t quite be ready to take your clips to the Sundance Film Festival, but even small improvements can give your online videos more selling power. […]

Search for the term “bounce rate” on the Internet, and you can find any number of very technical explanations. Some of them even include a nifty mathematical formula or two. But as a business owner, here’s all you should really care about: Bounce rate is basically a measure of the percentage of visitors to your website who take one quick look and run away screaming. […]

Most business owners have heard the old saw: Marketing is the gas that makes your business go.

If consumers don’t know who you are and what you do, they can’t do business with you. Simple enough, right? But let me ask a follow-up question: What kind of gas mileage are you getting from your marketing? Don’t take a guess; speculation won’t do. Unless you want to risk a lot of wasted money, you need the hard numbers. […]