Interestingly enough, in the 24 years that I have been designing web sites as well as marketing and hosting them, they have gone through many changes. The one aspect that has not really changed in all this time is the complexity in designing a web site. We see the ads for ways to build a site in less than one hour. Yes, you can do this but the problem is twofold. Let’s say that you want to leave your hosting company that you created it on, good luck moving it. These sites are created using WYSIWYG, “What You See Is What You Get”. This is not clean programming. It is literally thrown together by a software program with the only logic being that everything will end up where you want it when you first create it. This makes it very difficult to make major changes or transfer it to another server. Also, if you want to add internet marketing to the site for visibility on searches, it is extremely difficult. A professional programmer knows how to set up a web site so a marketing person can develop a marketing campaign with site changes and modifications on a regular basis. Automated site development can not accomplish this.
This leads to another issue that is occurring quite a bit with web design. Years ago, one person could create a web site and add it to a server for hosting and register a domain name. It is no longer that easy to do. Web sites that represent a brand new business web site, domain name and hosting can accomplish this fairly easy. But, the problem with this process occurs when the business owner tries to expand the web site with professional email addresses, a data base or wants better customer support. You are now limited if you do not have a team of professionals behind you.
One of the biggest problems that we face at NetCetra is the client that uses an inexperienced web designer, who is trying to do everything himself. Saves the client money up front but then pays for it with the additional outside support and time it requires to get the project completed. Our favorite is the designer who is creating a new site for one of our hosting clients and convinces them to move the site to the hosting company they are working with. Our support team generally gets an email asking us to change where the domain name is pointing to from our servers to the new hosting company. The problem with this is, the owner of the domain name has control over that. Our support team tells them that and they don’t understand why we cannot do it. Then, the support team asks them where they are putting the email address information. Again, lots of confusion and eventually they generally say that there is no problem. They are going to start all over again. That’s fine if the client is not storing messages and contacts on our mail server.
The bottom line regarding web site design, hosting and marketing is if you want it done correctly, you will really need a team of professionals to do correctly the first time. Web sites are constantly expanding for even the smallest client. Google adds requirements all the time i.e.; responsive web sites and secure web sites. You must comply with these rules if you want Google to keep you visible to prospective customers.
I get this question asked quite a bit. The answer to this question has changed over the years. I use to say that it depended on the type of business. Now I cannot think of any business that would not prosper from using a You Tube channel to increase their visibility. You Tube, which is owned by Google, is the second most active search engine after Google’s search. People like the stickiness of videos. Now that mobile is taking over the internet presence of most users, videos make perfect sense. A lot folks would rather view something then read it.
So what does the average business have to offer in a video? Meeting the owner is a good start. Testimonials are always great. One of my client, Joel Braun Construction, used his smart phone to show the before and after of a bathroom reconstruction and then interviewed the owner. He captured all the important aspects in three minutes. Added the video to Facebook as well as his You Tube channel and web site. We made sure to add some descriptive keywords to You Tube’s description.
Another client of ours, Lang Smoker Cookers, has been very successful using video. I was at his farm in Georgia when I mentioned to him that we had several request regarding starting a fire in the Lang Smoker Cooker. Ben Lang added wood to a smoker; I pulled out my smartphone and videotaped him starting a fire. I added it to his new You Tube channel and imbedded it in his site and newsletter. Within 3 months we had over 60,000 views. We realized that we had hit on a great way to stay in front of both prospective and current clients. We then added channels for user testimonials, tips and cooking school. In the three years, that we have been using these channels, we have had over 1.5 million views.
The point is that anyone can do the same thing using a smart phone or doing something a little more professional with a videotographer. Think about your clients or someone you would like to have as a client. Talk to them on the video as if they were there
The last point I will add is, if you have a business that can offer tips on how to fix or install something, these are great. I used this type of video to fix my storm door to learning how to add a chart to Excel.
Very Powerful Suff.
Here it comes and you don’t even know what it is or what it is doing to you and your internet habits. Big Data is the culmination of all your movements on the internet. Congress gave companies permission to track and sell this information to any customer that can afford it both in price and volume. It allowed UPS to figure out the best route to take with their trucks to reach your house or office. It lets Dell Computers decide what you, the consumer, wants.
One of the programs that came out of this is called Programmatic Buying. It allows brands to use audience insights and technology to tailor messages to the right person, at the right moment, in the right context. It helps brands respond to real-time signals on an impression-by-impression basis across screens and across channels. For example, if a mom’s online shopping gets interrupted with errands, programmatic buying can help the retailer she was visiting reach the mom on her smartphone as she shifts to shopping on-the-go. That’s just one of an unlimited number of scenarios brands can use to engage audiences with programmatic buying. Does this sound familiar? It is sometimes called “remarketing”. You may have looked on an ecommerce site at a product and all of a sudden after you left, it seems to be following you on ever commercial site you visit.
It is now being formulated for the smaller merchant. Companies like Double Click, owned by Google, will be leading the technology. They feel today’s consumer is connected, interested and engaged. Think about all the people that sit there and stare at their smart phone. That is the market.
Example: Nike’s Phenomenal Shot pushed the boundaries of real-time advertising to capture the energy and excitement of the World Cup. Within seconds of a memorable match, or shot, Nike delivered immersive 3D display ads across sites and apps in 15 countries. Fans were then able to interact with these moments, making them their own, and share them on social networks. Real-time buying made it possible for Nike to deliver a beautiful, mobile-rich media experience with over 2 million engagements.
Like it or not, if you are a businessman who sells a product or service and wants to engage the younger generations, you better start studying or get someone that can guide you through it.
Generally when you shop on line, you will notice that the web address uses a SSL certificate. You will see a lock before the address that shows something like https://www.shoponline.com. What does this actually do for you and the web site? It protects where you go and what you do on that web site. The main reason for it on eCommerce sites is to protect your credit card and billing information.
Recently, congress has decided to allow vendors to sell your surfing patterns and demographics. This is called “big data” and it is very important information for larger companies. Big data allows business to figure out what you do online and how to sell you products and services and other things by tracking you on the internet. Google has responded to this ruling by making a ruling of their own. As we all know, once Google determined that the majority of people viewing the internet were using smart phones, they then required web sites to be responsive to all size screens in order to be found in their search. Now they have announced that in the next several months that they are going to require web site owners to use a SSL to secure their site to protect their visitors. They said that when the policy goes into effect, if a web site is not secure, they will not show up in the Google search.
This means that when you have the SSL or https added to your web site, the person going to your web site cannot be tracked at all and all cookies are blocked in your site.
This is a major rule change by Google like the responsive web site to make your internet surfing a better and safer experience. The bottom line is, if you own a web site and need to be found in the Google search engine, which represents 75% of all searches, then you going to need a SSL certificate. They can be purchased yearly or up to three years from your hosting company. They vary in price BUT do not settle for a free one. These are not valid. If you have a C name domain, i.e.: shop.mydomain.com as well as a regular site with that domain name then purchase a wild card certificate. It will cover all web sites that use your main domain name.
Worth the Time & Money?
You, as the owner of a domain name, should always be the registrant (owner) and the Admin Contact. The Technical Contact should be someone you trust as a second level administrator to assist you in making changes if you cannot. Even though the registrant is the owner, they do not have the ability to make changes.
The other question that is asked quite a bit is whether the name should be privatized for an additional cost. I use to tell clients it was not necessary but in recent years this has become a source for spammers email addresses. So my answer now is to spend the couple of extra dollars and privatize the name.
Most businesses do not change domain names very often. Even if they do, the domain name can be redirected to the new one so you do not lose a possible client. This is the reason I believe that when your domain name comes up for renewal, you should consider upping it for 5 – 10 years. You can always change the information such as the address of the business, email address or any other contact information. Most registrants use email address. This can be a problem if you are trying to edit your information and you no longer use the email address included in the document. Always maintain a current email address or expect problems if you need to make changes. Not all registrants use this form of ID but the majority do.
I would recommend that you review your information now even if you do not intend to make any changes just to be sure it is correct. There are two quick steps to this process if you do not know who your registrant is. The first thing to do is go to: www.internic.net and fill in their “whois” with your domain name. This will tell you who the registrant that controls the domain is. The second step is to go to that registrant and look for their “whois” link. Add your domain here as well and it will tell you all the important information. If you cannot see the information then contact their support team.
It will be well worth the time. Some clients lose control of their domain names when they have incorrect information and do not receive the notice that it is going to expire. Unfortunately, we get calls about this every month.
In a report recently published by the UN, they have announced a backlash from many countries that do not use English lettering or .com from ICANN. ICANN is the body set up under the Clinton administration to create a commercial type environment on the internet. Continue reading
One of my medical journal clients just found out the hard way that Constant Contact does not accept permission based email addresses from LinkedIn. The journal had over 2000 addresses from their Constant Contact list unsubscribed by the company that they deemed not acceptable. I was told that beside the sign up forms that they offer for the web the only other acceptable tools for sign up are the Facebook tool, text tool, QR Code and the APP market place. Now my client must do a personal request for each address to sign up directly. Very time consuming.
Yes, There Really is a Need for a Professional to do the Job
Why Pay Someone Else?
This is a subject near and dear to my heart. In business, for the longest time, everyone assumed that the job of Public Relations is a job anyone could do. It wasn’t, and isn’t, unusual to see someone with no background in media relations to be asked to do them.
Why pay someone to write a media release when we can do it ourselves? Ah, but therein lies the problem. Continue reading