I’ve been on a call with an internet marketing mentoring client today, where we are still in the early stages of working together, and I’m busy checking the basics with him, to ensure his website is working, before we get stuck into new product creation and all that jazz.
This is a bright guy, pretty tech savvy, great contacts and certainly very clued up about internet marketing in general.
However, we are discovering some pretty major holes in his internet marketing strategy, and after the call, I got to thinking why that was. I have come to the conclusion that these holes have largely arisen because of the following reasons.
He’s been spread too thin.
Multiple sites, multiple online activities, joint ventures and a busy day job to boot (which is in his area of expertise online so that’s cool).
This is a very good thing to do, overall, because it leverages your time, but it can mean you don’t tend to check stuff, you tend to trust your techie person to do the job right.
He hasn’t had a regular mentor.
Having an internet marketing mentor brings discipline to your online activities. At regular intervals you have calls with your mentor and that not only makes you do stuff (usually just before your call!) but you tend to follow your mentors’ system, which has been tried and tested and proven to work. Working to ANY system in the beginning online, is good news because you haven’t the expertise or experience to create your own.
Going through the basics with him made me think about how easy it is, in any kind of business marketing, to forget the basics.
In the same way that a shop on the high street might forget to make sure that their signage is obvious, when on foot, or driving or on a bus, it’s easy with internet marketing to forget the obvious stuff, or parts of it at least, and a fresh eye will help enormously.
So in this two-part article, I’m going to outline my “Eight Brilliant Basics”, simple things help you make sure your website is working and to help you look at your website with a fresh eye, to help you make sure you are not missing anything obvious.
1. The URL Says What You Do, On The Tin & Points To the Right Site
One of my clients has a four word URL, containing great key phrases, which say what the site is about very clearly. He uses this four word URL as his website. However, the Google Keyword Tool shows that this 4-word phrase is not searched often enough to give back any meaningful data.
He also owns the three word URL I discovered today, and when we checked on Google, we found that, not only is it searched over 3000 times a month, but his URL is sitting on Page 1, position 5 of Google, for that 3 word key phrase . But there was nothing on the URL – not even an index page – and it wasn’t redirecting to the main site. When you see it listed on Google, the site title is the URL and the description was a load of gobbledegook. Quelle Horror!
I don’t know how that can have happened, as I wouldn’t expect a URL to get indexed with nothing on the site, but perhaps it contained content at one time.
I thought this URL warranted something a bit better than just a PHP redirect, as its been indexed, so we took a screenshot of his real index page, inserted it into a new, search engine optimised index page (with meta title, meta tags and a meta-description) and made it a live link so that if clicked anywhere, it took the visitor to the main site.
Now, next time the bots come a’crawlin, they will pick up the meta-description, the page title and it should improve the position even more. Any traffic won’t be wasted.
2. Your Metatags Exist & Are Correct
Following on from Point 1, you really need to make sure your site has metatags and that they are relevant and correct.
When you do a search on Google, the organic results are displayed down the page. Here’s a screen shot I did for one of my search terms “internet marketing mentor” (click to enlarge & view).
You will see a blue heading for your listing, a brief description and a clickable URL. When you do a search, you will also see that certain words are bolded. This draws your attention to relevant results and it’s very useful because it shows you where you can improve your listing.
There are number of factors, including the age of the URL, that Google takes into account, (this is the much talked about Google Algorithm) but including your key phrase in the title, meta-description and meta-tags of your site definitely helps.
I got to Page One, Position Three for the key phrase “Internet Marketing Mentor” by making sure (among other things) that this happened on my site.
TIP: The “All In One SEO” plugin can help here if you are using WordPress.
The blue heading shown in the search results is your website’s Title, and if you don’t tell Google what to show there, it will simply pick up the first few lines of your page.
The description is whatever you tell Google to display, and you should certainly make sure the first line of your description contains one or two of your key phrases.
3. There’s A Clear Call To Action
When visitors arrive at your site, is there a clear call to action? Does the visitor know instantly what you want them to do?
The best call to action is to offer them something of value, in return for their name and email address. That way, you have captured their details and you have their permission to contact them again (unless they unsubscribe, and you should always offer them an automated way to do that).
You must decide what your “most wanted action” is, ideally on each page, and make sure it’s bloomin’ obvious to your visitor. Make it really easy for them, don’t’ make them hunt for it.
Perhaps your signup box is on the left and not the right, or perhaps it’s hidden “below the fold” so that they have to scroll down?
Or are you confusing them with too many choices?
This is the classic mistake I see on most sites. In one of Malcolm Gladwell’s brilliant books, it may have been “Blink” he put forward the notion that the human brain can take in a LOT of information all at once, but there is an instant filter, so that you really only “see” what your brain perceives to be the 3-4 most important bits of information.
You want your “most wanted action” to be one of those things.
TIP: Just by interviewing someone – an expert in your field – on Skype and using the Pamela recording tool on Skype, you can create a unique lead product of interest to your marketplace. No expert is going to say no to an hour’s interview, especially if you are going to promote their product or service too (via an affiliate link, obviously!). then you can get the interview transcribed, which will be very reasonable (try my recommended transcription service, the wonderful Aa at DIVA, short for Direct Internet Virtual Assistance, who offers an Administrative & Concierge Services at Tel (US): +1.602.714.8777 and Skype: aa_arquiza)
4. There Is An Obvious 1st Product To Buy
Perhaps this is not your visitor’s first time on your site. Perhaps this is a return visit and they are ready to buy.
Is it immediately obvious what they should buy first?
This is called your “Lead Product” and if you are a regular on this blog, you will know that I talk about this a lot, having learned it from Michael Masterson excellent book “Ready Fire Aim”. In that book, he asserts that, until you are able to sell your lead product profitably, you don’t really have a business and I like that, because it gets you to FOCUS.
Focus is something that’s sadly lacking in most online businesses today. I’ve suffered from it before and I fight the tempation to avoid it every day.
In the early days, you may not know what your ideal 1st product will be, don’t worry, just go with what you have.
Ideally, later on, you will have split tested many Lead Products to see which converts your visitors and subscribers to customers the most effectively, but if not, start with something under $100 or £50, but I would venture that even that is too high. Try for under $50 or £25.
Again, you will have ideally split test your prices when you have found your optimum Lead Product.
TIP: You can use the free code supplied in Google Website Optimizer to split your traffic between different sales pages, to test different lead products or prices.
I hope this has given you something to think about, and that you check your existing website for the first four of my “Eight Brilliant Basics”. Tomorrow I’ll cover the rest and I’d love to hear your comments – as always just click the “Share Your Thoughts” link there.