Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lets keeps this short... make it long!

Randall McCarley of 14th Scout blogs today:

Long pages are considered an authority by both the search engines and the viewer. The standard rules for copywriting apply: write as much as needed but not one word more. A single comprehensive page gives people something to reference. It’s something that naturally gathers links!

I agree but you must ensure that your copy is not too long otherwise it bores your website visitor(s) and drives them away!

Nice post though Rand!



Monday, October 30, 2006

Preferred SEO & Internet Marketing Blogs

I read a lot of blogs, not as many as some as being a one man band I have to do some paying work but enough to keep me informed and entertained.

Below I listed my preferred Internet marketing and web optimization blogs that I read on a regular basis:

SEO Moz - Rand Fiskin and his team based in Seattle operate a very active blog thats always in the thick of the action!

Kim Krause Berg - owner of Cre8asite, Kim's experience in the web industry is second to none. Her blog really is a highly informative read.

Bill Slawski, SEO by the SEA
- great sounding blog, with some detailed Blogging on Google's Patent(s?) applications. What Bill doesn't write isn't worth reading about.

Randall McCarley's 14th Scout - newer to the scene (for me anyway) Randall posts original blogs and shows he can create original content, written in a personalized style that has you coming back time and time again.

StayGoLinks from Barry Welford - Barry's blog can come across with a slightly technical flavour but really stick with his posts, they offer some real insights into the web being used on cell and mobile phones. With an increase in mobile phone surfing this blog is one to watch!

Sophie Wegat, Think Prospect - not long on the blogging scene but Sophie (a highly talented web designer based in Australia) is already attracting some big named guest commentators in the SEO and web world. Posts only occasionally rather than daily, but what Sophie blogs about gets you thinking.

Peter Da Vanzo V7N Marketing News - I am not sure if Peter owns this blog or just guest blogs here. Either way his thoughts are highly relevant and original.

Michael Gray's Graywolf Blog - I came across this blog by accident based on his observations of a whale sight seeing company. I like his style of blogging, he takes himself seriously BUT not too seriously and has an excellent knowledge of web marketing. I always look forward to Michael's posts.

Happy hunting!



Friday, October 27, 2006

Borat The Movie - Friday Fun!

From his days of Ali G, Sacha Baron Cohen has come far with his Kazakhstan based character Borat, so much so I prefer this character over his previous incarnation.

Using (and getting away with) bigotry, sexism and possibly some homophobism he portrays an innocent minded simple Kazakhstani reporter that travels to America to see a modern western nation in all it's glory. What he manages to get away is legendary, perhaps non-PC though always very funny and I for one cannot wait to see the film. I

I have to admit its given me the urge to go visit Kazakhstan, and that can only help the country's profile.

Borat, he's on his way to a cinema near you!

For trailers check out the following website:


The unofficial Borat website:


His bigotry is slightly wrong, but his sense of timing is so right...



Thursday, October 26, 2006

Nothing in life is truly free!

We all love the concept of free but as we all know there's usually a catch somewhere down the line...

I have a client with a website hosted on free web hosting supplied from a telephone company that seems to have automated telephone menu's and many faqs on its website to avoid direct customer contact.

We have tried unsuccessfully to connect to the free web hosting space only for my client to be advised today that as they are no longer using the company's telephone, broadband or dialup services that they will be no longer able to update the web pages.

Why this is not made clear on the telephone company's webpages is unknown!

This issue sucks and the client now faces the hassle of having to find a new web host and likely lose the site whilst the company involved updates it's DNS servers to point to the new web hosting servers.

The client by avoiding paying for web hosting will have to go through the inconvenience of changing web hosts. If he had paid for professional business web hosting from the beginning he would have not wasted a week waiting for a response from the current company involved.

Its always a case of you get what you pay for. If you get something for free its not always going to be what you want (and you might not know it till its too late).



Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Go Go Go, Google Gadgets!

I found a mention of Google Gadgets this morning on Google's webmaster blog.
Checking out the Google Gadgets website I found the following on page description which will give you a better idea of how much you can do with them:

"Google gadgets are miniature-sized devices that offer cool and dynamic content - they can be games, news clips, weather reports, maps, or most anything you can dream up. They've been around for a while, but their reach got a lot broader last week when we made it possible for anyone to add gadgets to their own webpages."

Having a look there are a LOT of gadgets to choose from. I was more interested in tools and some there caught my eye - especially if they are useful or related to web marketing.

Now I have to make the decision of which gadget I add to my allthingsweb site based on which one would be of MOST benefit to my website visitors?



PS For fun and games I added a Quote of the Day to a page on my website. Keeps me entertained anyway!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dropping Google Adsense into this blog

I never really wanted to put Adsense in to this blog but more and more I see it as a potential way to test Google Ads success on other websites and blogs that I own.

I have another website (albeit an old e-commerce site that is functionally no more) that I used articles on as linkbait to draw in an audience I intend to incorporate Google Ads into that one too. The site is of a slightly adult theme so I won't mention it here for the time being.

This blog is a great test case for me to put Ad sense on and see if it can generate genuine clickthroughs which pay me a percentage of the CTR.

I'll try using subtle and not so subtle advertising and check which does better. I think I already know but it won't hurt to experiment with Google Adsense, learn, have fun and make a little money along the way.

So from tomorrow you're going to see Ads posted on this blog, I won't though be posting Ads on my own web site All Things Web.

I'll let you know how I get on!



Monday, October 23, 2006

Small business website solutions & the questions to ask

I get approached by many small to medium sized businesses on a regular basis looking for an online website solution.

The first question that usually sets the tone for the rest of their enquiry for a website is "How much is a website solution going to cost?". No details or brief is thought about previously - if I ask how many pages I am usually advised "we will leave that up to you." Its not much to go on and doesn't help me get a better idea for your business.

So for those who are looking for professional website solutions for your small business here's a list to consider asking any prospective web designer BEFORE asking directly about prices and costings:

Do you have experience in working with small businesses?

Can I see previous examples of your web design work?

What kind of style of design do you think would suit our business? (simple, modern, trendy, traditional)

I'm thinking x number of pages... home, contact, products, etc, etc - would that be enough or do you have any other ideas that might suit? (and yes its likely any designer is going to increase the number of web pages for both your benefit).

How should I supply the company logo, images and copy to you - in a digital format, or can I give you brochures for you to scan in and use?

Can you write my web site copy for me?

Can you build an online contact form?

Can you supply web hosting or can you work around my web hosting I have already purchased?

Will your design be table based or CSS layout? (this alternative MAY be more expensive if the designer is not used to CSS design websites.)

How long will your design take to put together?

Do you recommend Flash, Javascript or Dynamic HTML for fancy effects? How much extra is that? (Be careful here, any web designer worth their salt should tell you less is more with most users if you are wanting to animate your website)

Why should I use you over your competitors? (This is a good question to sound someone out)

Can you optimize web pages for search engines?


Do you charge by the hour?

Do you charge for amendments throughout the year or does the price reflect that?

Do you charge a fixed price by bespoke project?

If I increased the size of the website significantly how negotiable are your rates?

If any of you out there are web designers have ideas on how the best information to get from a prospective small business client please comment here - I'd love to have your input.




Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday fun - surviving in the office

I've worked in many offices on a full time basis in my time - much of which I hated - so much in fact I became a gliding instructor and worked in the great outdoors for six years!
I found this article on the Guardian newspaper:
20 ways to survive working in an office

My favourite (number 16):

A consultant is someone in business with an ego so large it takes more than one company to support it. At a personal level, consultants work either by trying to inspire fear or trying to be friends. It's in trying to be friends with you that they inspire the most fear. The acid test of a consultant is whether they can say, "Everything's fine, we'll be off then." No real consultant can.

Did make me smile!

Back on Monday



Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bitching at Microsoft?

Everyone hates Microsoft and gives them a good bitching whenever they can.

I started using Mozilla Thunderbird a good couple of years ago - exporting all my emails from Outlook into the free Thunderbird email software which I primarily got for its blog reading capabilities. I also wanted to move away from the hold Microsoft has over the IT market.

Log on this morning and find Thunderbird has lost my profile so no accounts or emails, nuthin!

Initial panic set in before I then went onto Mozilla's online help pages to see if I could find an answer.

I duly found one and took what I thought the necessary steps would be to correct what had happened (I found almost 2 GB of emails which I then backed up to an external drive to keep safe).

I resorted to deleting all profiles from Thunderbird and starting again - copying in all the files from the back up that I made.

No luck, Thunderbird didn't want to know. After scouting around for a few more minutes I bit the bullet and phoned my IT engineers. And guess what?

"We don't support Mozilla, Firefox or Thunderbird products as we specialise with Microsoft."


So next time you're cursing Microsoft just remember there's plenty of engineers with experience in Microsoft that'll likely cost you less and get your machine fixed faster.

Mozilla Thunderbird - lose your email at YOUR PERIL!

BTW if anyone knows someone who can help I'd be very apreciative.



Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Is Google the new Hotel California?

When Google takes new employees on is it like the Eagle's song "Hotel California" in that no-one then ever leaves?

I know Google goes out of it's way to protect its own algorithms but surely some details must get passed out to the wider world? No individual working in a company can be that secretive ALL of the time, can they?

Or is that the team of engineers are broken down so one team does not know what the other team of engineers do - that way limiting damage?

Why has no engineer ever left and set up as an SEO...? I guess either contractual obligations prevent them or the money and kudos of working for Google is just too good to be true!

I'm only curious as many SEO'ers have tried to "crack" Google's algorithms but at best they are only good second guesses or best out of date...

I know Google likes to keep us in the SE world second guessing but at times I think it drives everyone mad.



How to get money to start a small business

There's a multitude of ways of getting money to start your own business and to help those looking I've listed a number of ways you might want to consider.


I had the luxury of coming straight out of University with no money and in slight debt so took the self employed plunge straight away. Without family responsibilities and financial pressure I didn't have to much to worry about whilst I set my business up and got going.

However if you have bills to pay and mouths to feed you'll want AT LEAST 3 months salary in the bank to help you over the first 6 months or so when you set up shop.

Its also an idea to put a portion of what you earn away from each project so that if work does dry up and you have a lean period you'll have something to fall back on. trust me from experience on this one! Once you go down the route of having to work elsewhere you're spending valuable time that could have been used to source new business.

Approach a local bank.
Most of them want business owners as you'll be a more active bank customer than the average personal or checking account customer. In fact you may even find it rather too easy to get loans as banks can chase new business customers and offer very competitive deals. Play hard to get if you feel more than one bank is courting your business. Driving down the interest rate of loans and costs of processing cheques and putting an overdraft in can save serious amounts of money down the line.

The bank will want details of your business though there is a backdoor route of having a personal loan instead - but that means you won't have been honest with the bank as to your intentions with their money. Not a route I personally recommend (seeing as I am married to Bank Manager!)

Borrow from friends or family.

A risky venture as this depends on how positive your relationship is with the friend or family member you are borrowing off.

Any money you do borrow ENSURE you draw up a contract to say what is to be paid and at what rate and over what period - this protects all parties. Borrowing money like this is risky - assess how strong your relationship is with the family member or friend lending you the money. If you feel you may, down the road, fall out with that person over money then do not borrow from them. Its as simple as that.

Grants and government funding

Many governments support organisations and initiatives that may be able to secure grants, loans and funding for new businesses.
A couple I am aware of here in the UK are BusinessLink and The Princes Trust.

Lease Funding

This may be a route you wish to go for the purchase of expensive equipment - this can help with cash flow. Also banks prefer to spread the risk of lending so if you're already lease funding you may find a bank is happier to lend you money.

Don't be tempted to spend more than you can comfortably afford to lease. It might look good in the office but if it costs twice as much per month then thats going to eat into your spending far more than you thought.

Avoid leasing a flash new car. Wait a while (like 2 years) before considering a car - a brand new vehicle does not make your business, so unless it is a total banger and gives a poor impression of you then live with it for a while.

Venture Capitalists

You could approach Venture Capitalists though with the online boom and bust era long gone but still painful in memory you may find these types of investors wary of new small businesses.

In most cases when you're looking to get any kind of funding you're going to need a detailed business plan - a roadmap for your business' future development. Without one its highly likely nobody is going to take you or your small business seriously.

So what you waiting for? Go get that money to start your small business today!



Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Marketing small businesses online

If you're the owner of a small business and have decided you want to get online I have listed below some steps you should consider to help you get the best.

Do bear in mind that even though there is a lot of information and companies offering marketing for small businesses it still takes time and effort (and some money) to get the results you want.

Currently there are over 8 billion pages listed on Google, so if your company is not on there yet then do consider it can take time.

Many businesses make the mistake of having a very generic - less than 5 to 10 page website without considering the niche that they fill in their (offline) market. Yes the number of pages is dependent on budgets which for all businesses are an issue but for small companies can prove to be a major financial headache.

Remember it is a case of you do get what you pay for. I have seen this time and time again. ALWAYS ask any web related person to show you proven results or portfolio.

Identifying the niche is going to sufficiently help you get ahead and fill any available "void" online. Remember that the web has been out there for a long time and its like any internet marketing savvy competitor may already be ahead in the "game".

Patience and effort is the key. Simply throwing a cheap website together and submitting it to a search engine is not going to get you to the top of SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) any time soon - for competitive keyword phrases anyway.

Before you start marketing I suggest you pick the top 5 websites in your field that you believe offer:

Professional looking websites (clean looking layout, decent branding, high quality images, fast load times)

High levels of Accessibility

Easy to use, structured navigation

The key is to look for the site you felt easiest to get around and find information on.

Take the best bits that inspire you and plan that into your website.

Moving onto the online marketing:

Search engine optimization helps if carried out correctly. Speak to a search engine specialist who has a proven and extensive portfolio. Prices do vary significantly in the SEM industry. My own take as a business owner would be to spend more on the research and optimisation than the website.

Think about employing a freelancer to build the initial look and feel of your site. Then use software like Contribute to edit and add your own pages. Make sure you plan a course of action as to which pages you wish to add and which ones you wish to edit. Its easier to put together if you planned your content previously.

Start with looking at keywords and plan to write natural sounding YET interesting copy around that. If you are not sure which keywords to use then check out your competitors and see which ones they seem to be utilising - hint, look at the source code via your browser - in Internet Explorer "> View > Source".

PPC - Pay Per Click can offer traffic to your website in a matter of minutes but can be expensive especially if you target generic keyword phrases and attempt to outbid everyone else. Bear in mind that Google's PPC program can alter your Google Ad's position if it generates a high level of clickthroughs based on the copy in the Ad.

Consider using seperate pages with a PPC program to bring people directly to products you want them to see rather than have them arrive at your home page and then have to try and find your product or service in your website.

Ensure you include if possible a search facility within your own website - they generally tend to be popular with users.

Affiliate marketing - not one I am a huge fan of (it;s where you use a link or graphic to advertise your website on someone else's website) as in a lot of cases if your brand is not highly recognisable or your product or service very generic it's unlikely you'll generate many visits to your site.

Make sure every visit counts. If a visitor arrives at your site and leaves within a few seconds its not going to leave them with a positive lasting memory. You have under 10 seconds when a visitor hits your site to get them to at least think highly of your site and your business. A poor impression is unlikely going to have them remembering you when they come to make a purchase decision.

Build links to your site. This is easier if you have a resourceful website as in time people will link to it naturally which always helps on search engines. If you have a 50 page website with ORIGINAL content and is updated fairly regularly against a 5 page website that doesn't seem to say very much and rarely gets edited which one is a potential buyer going to likely think more highly of? (Yes there are always exceptions to the rule but overall buyers get a higher feeling of trust from a site thats invested in time and effort by staying up to date).

Other ways to market your small business online:

Use a forum - note though that a lot of forums are not as tolerant as they used to be about promoting your business. You'll have to join a forum and work towards becoming an active forum member. By placing links to your website in your forum signature and posting regularly ON TOPIC can help encourage to look at your website.

Blogging - perhaps overhyped the past couple of years but shows no sign of abating. Using software called news readers people can stay up to date with any regular online communications you decide to make.

Online PR - press releases - thousands are released online daily so make sure yours stands out from the crowd. Well written press releases can generate significant interest from online news agencies who then can send you a lot of relevant traffic.

Social networking - sites such as Digg, Reddit and Stumbleupon are popular and can send you visitors directly to your site. I see Stumbleupon showing in my web traffic logs on a daily basis.

As you can see there are many ways of marketing a small business online, some cost, some free.. all require effort and planning.



Monday, October 16, 2006

Small businesses NEED affordable SEO too

I return to my desk this morning knackered after a weekend in West Ireland for a wedding (and great fun it was too).

As I suffer/sit here with the weekend just a hazy memory (thanks to Guiness!) I'm always aware that small businesses want a piece of the SEO action to get their websites ranked in search engines so they can generate more business for themselves.

However a large number of small business owners feel SEO is either:

  1. too expensive after paying out for the design of the site
  2. some wonder why their web designer did not do the SEO included in the price in the first place
  3. some have unrealistically low expectations of what should be paid
  4. some believe throwing £50 at the website marketing will get them number one on the search engines
  5. a con or rip off
Your small business can compete online against players with far deeper financial pockets but you're going to have to accept that any keywords you wish to target are likelyto be "long tail".

Using long tail keywords is likely not going to increase your website traffic by a huge margin but it is a given that the more words are used in a keyword phrase the more likely a searcher is intent on buying or enquiring.

Be careful that you avoid the type of SEO - which is generally of a cheaper nature- where they ask YOU what keywords you wish to target and promise your site will be listed in 30 search engines LIKE Google.

How do you know the keywords you are wanting to be found for are generating any traffic at all? What data will they provide to you to ensure you will not be barking up the wrong SEO Tree???

Below is a list of questions a small business should be asking when requiring affordable SEO:

How many years in experience does your SEO specialist have?
Testimonials from previous clients... current results from some samples of client?
What keywords does the SEO company come up for in Google? (I come up for web optimisation expert on the first page of Google to back up my skills and claims!)

What types of tools does the company use to get the job done? (Note not which ones exactly).

Basically what processes do they carry out to get results (you should be hearing keyword research, article writing, new content on existing pages, adjustment of page structure where necessary, adjustment of tags, link building, the list goes on and on). Again a basic outline here will do - if you wish a detailed proposal to be given then expect to be charged for that (the company is effectively giving you the plan to carry out the web optimisation task here).

If the SEO company you are talking to sound vague or say its all smoke and mirrors then forget them. You want a company or consultant in web marketing that says online marketing is based on careful research, testing and analysis and an understanding of what gives the best experience to a visitor AND search engines.

If I you feel I have missed anything here then let me know... with the amount of Guiness consumed at the wedding I can't promise I've got everything!



Thursday, October 12, 2006

An introduction to Meta Tags - a fantastic podcast!

Everyone has heard of meta tags but some people seem to get confused by what tags should be included and what should be not.

This introduction to Meta Tags from the team at Fresh Egg is an interesting podcast on the best way to utilise meta tags in your web page code.


The Fresh Egg team includes Ammon Johns who gives out a helluva lot of information helping to clarify what meta tags should be used.

Good stuff.



Using Link bait effectively

I blogged on a business community, that I belong to, the fact that my website was on the 1st page of Google UK for a certain keyword phrase.

After I posted the blog, quite a few members posted to say that my blog was in fact an advert and I should have put it in the section that deals with advertising.

I think I know why perhaps some members were irked:

One, the headline I used to stand out from all the other posts for that day was:

"How to get your site listed on the first page of Google"

That got a lot of members interest and so far there has been 181 views - which in a 24 hour period on that network isn't too bad a figure.

Two, when they reached the page instead of TELLING them how to get their webpages on page 1 of Google I in fact told them how well MY business had done with getting listed for a certain keyword phrase - "internet marketing expert" - which was set as a link to Google UK to back up my claim.

Out of that 180 views or so, 25 people visited my website - 8 via my listing on Google, 3 made contact (1 via the network) and one confirmed he wishes me to provide a website consultancy in November. So as link bait the blog worked.

It was quite a positive start, however with the few complaints and some saracastic posts on there, and the fact I work ethically - and like anyone else capable of making mistakes at times, I apologised and promised not to do it again.

Thing is I checked the website's own guidelines and it does say:

"Act with professional maturity if you join debates"

"Do not post comments that are sarcastic"

"If you have any complaint, criticism, doubts, fears and anxieties with any Member...
...take the matter up directly with the relevant person in a constructive way through Private Messaging."

A couple of the posters - with 2 childish commenters in particular - really should have been more helpful in their posts.

My last apologetic post seemed to settle things down but like a red rag to a bull some other members still commented after I'd made that apology. I do not intend to reply to these posts and consider the matter closed.

Finally the lesson I learned is that when using creative blog headlines it DOES encourage people to click on your link - however ensure that when people reach your blog content you give them the details and info they were looking for.



Wednesday, October 11, 2006

SEO Book and other publications

I purchased Aaron Walls SEO Book late last night as I'd promised myself a work related gift after the completion of a large project.

I occasionally purchase the odd ebook - it pays to make sure that my own learning is on the right tracks. Results that I get suggest I am but its nice to have a comfort factor.

A quick run through (noticing 280 pages) left me initially thinking that what is mentioned in his SEO book was what I have taught myself these past few years, so that made me feel good that my own ideas and thoughts have been on the same line as the author's.

I am hoping there's some nuggets in there that I don't YET know. I'm really hoping though that its not too repetitive or "expanded for its own sake".

So far the best SEO guide I have ever bought was Jill Whalens "Writing for Search Engines". Simple and to the point without the useless padding that some other authors use to make it appear their ebooks on SEO are giving "value".

Aaron at least offers a money back guarantee if I am not fully satisfied but its doubtful I'd have the nerve to write to him to request a refund.

I'm going to dig into the book a little more later and hopefully my second blog about Aaron's SEO Book will be far more positive. I'm secretly hoping it will be!



Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Google purchases YouTube

Wow, Google purchases You Tube for 1.7 US BILLION Dollars. Not bad for a company that set up in a garage 18 months ago.

Can't see whats all the fuss, I make that amount every week...

... in my dreams though... sob, sob! ;)



Internet Marketing Expert - my aim of world domination continues

I blogged previously that I had pleasantly discovered that for the keyword term "internet marketing expert" my company website - All Things Web - was to be found on the 4th page of a Google UK search.

I'd not deliberately targeted that keyword phrase and decided that it might be worth amending the home page slightly to increase my site's relevancy to Google for this phrase.

I pretty much just adjusted the Title tag, the Description tag and a few paragraphs and headelines on the home page. Nothing too spammy, just a clever re-write of the content to make it more appealing.

Seems to have done the trick as on a UK search on Google I am now to be found in position 7 on page 1's results. This may NOT last but it's pleased me no end that my site was ranked higher for a little more SEO research and work.

Lets hope it stays that way... :)) (high quality link building here I come)



Monday, October 09, 2006

Tendering for business contracts

If you're supplying your web services to "big" business or the public sector (governments, schools, hospitals, etc) you're going to be well aware of tendering for contracts.

For most small businesses though a simple quote will usually do giving brief details of what will be done and at what price. This has pretty much been standard practice for All Things Web over the past few years.

However I am finding my company is being requested for more formal tenders these days as the All Things Web web optimisation business has grown.

I'm pretty confident when it comes to writing tenders but as I am always keen to learn more I have approached a local UK Business Support Agency for help.

They have provided a detailed website on how to write a tender and I feel it is of a high enough quality to share with you.

Heres a link to Tendering for Contracts

Do bear in mind the pages I link to are written specifically for UK business. The way tenders and proposals are written in your part of the world may well be similar but I would advise you do check first before you start sending out proposals.



Friday, October 06, 2006

My hectic Web & SEO week this week.

I've been working on a big web site for a property developer in Bristol for the majority of September. The site is coming to completion and will be set live shortly.

I'm really pleased the way things have gone and its been a joy to work with the client. They have a great outlook on their new site and I feel privileged to have carried out this project on their behalf.

I have also carried out web marketing consultations x2 and also updated 4 client sites. Plus I have had the "enjoyment" of getting up at 5am this week (I'm normally up around 6-30am) and visiting business breakfast network meetings to generate new leads.

You know, I am so looking to a spot of relaxation this weekend but I know my nearest and dearest has plans for me to finish off some DIY and sort out the garden in time for Winter, not my idea of fun... heh ho.

Catch you next week.



Thursday, October 05, 2006

Extending your business network

Over the past 5 years of self employment I have connected and now work with quite a few people attached in some way to the online world:

web designers, graphic designers, programmers and coders, web hosts and the odd web optimizer too!

I always find the time to look for other marketing experts in fields I do not cover. This way I can be most effective for my clients if a specific non internet marketing issue arises or a strategic sales plan is needed to further grow their business.

Yes, the web is highly important to gain new business but do not forget so too is planning and creating specific sales & marketing plans to cover promotional activities offline or in conjunction with your online marketing activities.

One such sales & marketing specialist I know and recommend is Mark Ace of MC Associates based in Bristol, UK.

Mark is highly experienced having worked with the RAC and Ford Motor Company at senior levels implementing business to business sales and unique marketing strategies.

Mark said recently his success is down to:

"...the implementation of profitable sales & marketing strategies together with the coaching and leadership of the people involved. Since 2002, my clients have achieved some breath taking successes of which I’m very proud. I have also made many friends along the way!"

Mark's niche is that he provides highly original and creative sales & marketing support through a range of ‘results orientated’ services. He is careful to make sure his work generates profits for his clients by also providing effective leadership coaching and training of the people involved

If you're looking for a marketing expert that when he says he delivers actually DOES then check Mark's informative website out.




Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Appointment Reminder Service

Personally I prefer a good old fashioned 365 page diary (and I get to lug it around too) but this site:


ffers a usefully FREE reminder service.
Just tap in your email address and details - if you put in your cell phone number they will also text you. A useful service which I'll be plugging in important dates and details to help prevent me forgettng the wifes birthday and wedding anniversaries.

Only downside? It uses PST for time instead of good ol' GMT! (So if you're in a different time zone to Pacific Standard Time then you're going to need to work out the difference)



Tuesday, October 03, 2006

All Things Web logo modified for an Image Ad for Cre8site

I am placing an ad on the popular Cre8pc website and have spent a while trying to get a small image to get the attention of users. Having looked at other ads on the page I wanted something to stand out on the page without having to use animation to make it stand out.

Here it is below:

I think I've got it after a lot of playing with levels and layers in Photoshop. Does the strapline make you curious enough to click on it?

I was going to go for "Website Optimization for Small Business" but that sounded boring so I used the concept of a lighthouse beam staring out from a dark night....

Anyone care to comment? I'd be grateful for your input!



Secrets of SEO poem

Secrets of SEO in four lines...

Look for keywords, in a dark bottomless dreary pit,
Apply those keywords, my friend, for that is the secret,
Test your keywords, is it giving you a hit?
Refine those keywords, otherwise your SEO work ain't worth ****

(I'll leave that last word to you)

Here ends the sermon.

(I'm well aware its a little more than keywords but heh I'm just having a little fun with ya)



1000 word webpage revisited

Yup my forecast was right.

I just checked out the 1000 word webpage - I first blogged about it back in June of this year.

So far they have only sold 34 words out of a possible 1000. If they had sold a few hundred then I would be more impressed.

From a Google PR basis it has a 5 out of 10 but I would think this is from the amount of attention it gained when it first came online.

Looks like its not doing too well... if you're going to jump on the bandwagon maybe its wise to do it before it leaves town????



SEO Case Study 2 - Downend Weddings Winter Photography

I had the pleasure of working Stuart Schofield of Downend Weddings recently in carrying out some basic SEO work to his website.

Stuart wants to target the Winter Wedding market as this is becoming more popular as wedding venues are easier to book in the colder months as opposed to the summer. He also wished to increase his ranking for "Wedding Photographer in Bristol"

He also specialises as a wedding photographer but feels there is a strong niche as a winter wedding photographer across the UK.

I advised him that Wedding Photographer in Bristol as a keyword phrase is going to be more competitive than Winter Wedding photographer - due to the number of websites competing.

I advised Stuart that he would need to carry out some of the basic web marketing processes himself and I was prepared to show him how to do that. This reasoning was down to him having a modest budget and I am always happy to help those who want to do some of the work themselves.

First off I carried out keyword research to explore the various phrases his website really should be targeting. Once we had agreed on targeted keyword phrases I explained to him that his home page had no real content for search engines to index. By demonstrating competitor photographers websites that had text on the page (and as HTML, not embedded inside images), good copy together with a few dozen links was helping them to get high rankings on the likes of Google.

So we reformatted the content on all the pages, updated the meta-tags and created a new article. I explained the importance of the Title tag over the Description and Keywords meta-tag and why it should reflect in less than 70 characters the content on the page.

We created a page on "Hints and Tips on Romantic Winter Weddings" as this would likely generate more links to that page over time and help to increase his overall ranking on search engines.

The site currently (as at 03/10/06) ranks number 1 on a Google UK Search for:

Romantic Winter Wedding
Winter Wedding Tips
Winter Wedding Photographer Bristol

Its an early start and I have explained to Stuart that it may take time to rank against others who are entrenched in the top spots, but I am positive that his site will see an overall increase in traffic and conversions of visitors to enquirers.

In conclusion I would say this website should now see an increase in traffic levels based on new niche content and researched keywords. Overall the site will need to generate more links from other websites but with Stuart now able to find websites and directories to get those links it should only be a matter of time.



Monday, October 02, 2006

Matt Cutts evil twin

I found this blog this morning about Matt Cutts (he's a Google engineer thats VERY popular in the SEO industry) - but its not about the real Matt - its from his evil twin.*

I did find the blog VERY amusing.

More here - Evil Matt Cutts

* for those unsure the site is a parody of Matt Cutt's blog



Music to do SEO by....

I work on my own a lot (all together now... aaaaaaaahhh) so the only companion I have whilst in the office carrying out web optimization is music streamed over the internet or online radio.

Search Engine Optimization can be a series of repetitive tasks at times so the type of music I listen to can seriously help me stay enthusiastic and get going even faster.

I'm a fan of rock and trance music (though about an hour is all I can manage unless the tunes are really uplifting):


Live 365 has thousands of stations to choose from - its a free service with annoying ads though you can pay to have the ads removed. Its not expensive but I think I'd rather stick with the advertising. The ads to get you to join as a paying member are VERY creative.


Not sure how I found this website... ah yes I was looking up Kelly Clarkson and Sony's site was linked to from her official website. Yes I do have a thing for Kelly Clarkson, and no, my wife does not know. Nothing to worry about, its not a stalker thing and if it was I wouldn't have the time anyway! ;)

I've found a band on Sony's Musicbox website by the name of Flyleaf - the song I really like from them right now is "Fully Alive" - the lead female singer really has an amazing voice. The guitar riffs ain't bad too! I could listen to this song all day. The only problem with Sony's website is that when uploading files to my web server it seems to affect the music stream and breaks up the sound for a few seconds. Rather annoying.

Other music or radio stations:

Little Chris
Kelly Clarkson

Radio 1 - fan of Jo Whiley, sometimes Chris Moyles

Radio 2 - Jeremy Vine from 12pm to 2pm - more of a talk show but some interesting subject matter and clever songs attached to each subject...

What music are you into when your doing your SEO work? Let me know.....



Sunday, October 01, 2006

Weekend blogging - anyone blog outside the 9 - to 5?

The weekend.

For most the time to catch up with friends, gossip or sleep.

But maybe for some it is the time to catch up with reading blogs ready for the week ahead.

Looking at my own traffic blogs, visitor numbers dip hugely over the weekend. Is this a case of business blogging is done only during our standard Monday to Friday working week?

If so what has happened to our ideas of communicating 24/7? Or do we need time away from blogging about our business to recharge our batteries?

If you know of blogs that only seem to be updated over weekends then let me know. I'll list them here for the benefit of my blog readers.