Monday, January 26, 2009

Why is content soooo important?

Recently I wrote that content was king and I want to expand a little on that because I had a recent experience that really highlights the point...

I was driving down a highway, actually the 417 between Ottawa and Montreal, and like any highway was going past various exits without really paying much attention as they were not MY exit, when something caught my attention...the ferry boat at Hudson just before you get to the western edge of Montreal. You see, I love water, water sports, fishing (I have several seasons of professional tournament fishing in my background), snorkelling and scuba diving, canoeing, sailing, kayaking, boating, water skiing, you name it, if it involves water it pretty much captures my attention. So I pulled off on a little excursion to see this ferry link that I had never seen before...what the heck has this got to do with websites you ask? Here is my point, I got off the highway because I came across something that was of interest to me, and I went and investigated. Why? Because a sign directed me. It indicated that there was something there for me to investigate.

Your website content is like that highway sign and if your web presence doesn't have the content that is relevant and of interest to your site visitor, google won't easily find you, and prospective visitors will not 'pull off' to look and investigate! In 2008 google averaged 37 billion inquiries monthly. How much is it costing you because your "signage" isn't working?

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse

Monday, January 19, 2009

Web Presence=Relationships

I'm stuck on the web presence theme...I truly believe that a web presence vs just a website is what will separate online success from failure for the SMB marketplace. Why? Because generally we do business with those we like and trust and a web presence is a sure way to build that relationship online and it is in the online virtual world that more and more relationships are being initiated. How many? In 2006 Google was receiving 2.7 billion queries monthly, in 2008 that has grown to 37 billion! (See "Did you know" for an informative change of perspective.) How many of these inquiries are important for your business?

When did you last 'google' for information on something you were looking for? Do you recognize that action as the beginning of a prospective online relationship? One way to think of this relationship for your website is as a site visitor...when you go looking for 'something' online what do you look for, the website that says, "Wow have we got a deal for you!" or the one that provides you with all the relevant information you need, in an easy to navigate well thought out manner? When you come across the latter (which is a very small % of websites by the way) you know that you've found a prospective solution for your need, a solution that you can have confidence in.

What truly separates a website from a web presence? A comprehensive plan that incorporates your bricks and mortar operations with your online initiatives in a manner that supports and enhances. If up to now you have only viewed your online activities as another 'item' on your list of organizational must haves, I urge you to re-think and re-engage with your online development so that your business, with a comprehensive web presence, will have a far greater likelihood of successfully converting site visitors to real world clients.

The cost of not pursuing this development route? You'll lose the potential relationships that 37 billion monthly inquiries (and growing) could mean for your operations. Your call...

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse

Monday, January 12, 2009

Web Presence=Relevant Content="Sticky info"

What, you ask does that mean? Again, I want to stay on the theme of a web presence and today a brief comment on content, in a nutshell content is question about it!

You've probably heard the old adage for business success, "Location, location, location", how, if at all, is that modified in our internet world? I offer you this "Information, information, information" as a replacement. What you want is to have relevant information that engages your visitor to stay on your website and go through a 'conversion' whatever that may be for you and your organization. Is this valid? Let's look briefly at a real example...

Industry: Home renovations

Competitors: and

These two sites offer consumers a similar product, ultimately both want the homeowner interested in a renovation project to connect with one of their service providers. Here is a big difference, Homefocus about 1.5 page views per visit and Home Renovation Guide (HRG) about 4.5, which visitor is more engaged with the information, and therefore more likely to take action? The numbers don't lie and the HRG site has been steadily on the increase for over two years because they are progressive and offer what...relevant information! Articles, pictures, links, all to provide visitors with the information they are seeking.

No content, no traffic, no conversion, no business or...

Interesting and engaging information= interested and engaged visitors= happy to follow through and convert= great business. Take action today.

We're at the edge of the future...

Andy Xhignesse

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Back to Web Presence...

The other day was having a discussion with a business owner and introduced the idea of a web presence as opposed to a website...well I had some explaining to do! So I thought I'd take a moment to clarify a little of what I mean by a web presence. I say a little because this is a lengthy topic and I already have the tendency to 'wordiness' (don't tempt me!) and so I'll uncover little by little what I mean by web presence and what the benefits are vs a website approach.

There are many elements involved in the creation of a web presence but they all start from the same place, a good plan that integrates all facets of your business. You see, I believe that a web presence allows your business or organization to benefit fully from all that the internet has to offer, it is not just about having some info up there for people to see, a presence is a way to really extend your message to your audience that is inviting and interactive, it engages your visitor to the point that they will take a next step, whatever that next step might be that is relevant to your business outcomes. Just as with anything else in your business or organization you need a thoughtful plan that views your ongoing internet activities as another doorway to new visitors. This requires that you invest adequate resources to the task, but as study after study shows, the internet is now the best investment you can make for your organization/business with the greatest ROI when properly executed.

You can think of it a little like this:

Website: A place where people end up by chance;

Web Presence: An online location that visitors go to with intent;

Inaction is costing you, who knows how much but I guarantee it is costing you, get started it's free to plan!

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse