Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 5, 2015
There are a lot of people who have websites (or webpages) in this world. There are a lot more, however, who don’t have websites. When it comes to business, a general question that has to be asked is whether it’s viable for the owners of that business to have a website or not.
As a former internet marketing consultant, the overall answer is easily yes. The reality, however, isn’t so cut and dry. Let’s explore the positives first.
A website can be a great extension of your advertising, if done properly. If you have products, it’s a great place to not only share information about them, but, if applicable, you could set your site up to sell your product at all times of the day. A website can highlight your expertise, tell everyone what you do, tell something about you, and allow you to share your expressiveness with a whole new audience of people. If marketed properly, your website can see a whole lot more people than you’d ever meet.
One great thing about having a website is that, even if you don’t really do business online, it offers you many ways to accept credit card payments if your business doesn’t presently accept them. For instance, for my businesses, I accept credit card payments by sending people online links that will direct them through Paypal so they can use their credit cards. Paypal takes 2.89%, but that’s a small price to pay for having my money quickly, as it allows me to transfer funds to my bank account immediately and have them in my bank account within 3 days, sometimes sooner. There are other services out there that offer similar services.
Of course there’s the other side.
A website can make you look bad if the site doesn’t look good, or isn’t uniform. If you write the copy yourself and you’re a terrible writer, it can highlight shortcomings that you may not want others to see. If your product doesn’t photograph well, or can’t be easily explained, it could make marketing difficult. There’s a dicey balance between trying to show yourself as an individual that people can trust as well as a professional who’s open and inviting to strangers.
Then there’s this thing about keeping your website fresh and interesting, not only to the people who visit but to the search engines. The best optimization in the world won’t help your site out if, once it’s completed, you let it go and never do anything else with it.
Search engines such as Google will send out what they call spiders, that will go through your site and rank its validity. If nothing changes after a long time, they stop coming by on a regular basis. When that happens, you could drop off the face of the search engine universe, which means that the only people who will find your product are the ones who know to look for you. If that’s what you want, fine, but if you want more, that’s not going to work.
Websites take one of two things; time or money. Either the owner has to learn at least a little bit of HTML to consistently make changes and alterations, as well as, hopefully, add content, or the owner has to have the money to pay someone to do that for them on a regular basis.
Also, a new owner has to make a decision how they want to spend their money, and what a website is worth to them. For instance, there are many hosts that offer the opportunity to create a free site, usually a one page site. If you’re a business, it doesn’t look good for you because your business name isn’t highlighted as much as the host, such as Freewebs, Homestead, etc. You also can’t optimize much because it’s not really your site.
You could decide to use one of many programs to create your own site to upload, and I’ve seen a few people who have done a nice job with it, but formatting pages so they look uniform can take time, and also some knowledge, and if you’re not the type for that then you probably shouldn’t go there. These days there’s a lot of people using WordPress software to create their own website; it is and isn’t easy, depending on your skill level.
Depending on what you want, creating websites can take a lot of time, and might cost you some significant dollars. There are some companies that have templates you can use and then work on customizing, but they pretty much look like other sites.
Before you pay any money, talk with the person you’re thinking of using to try to decide just what you might want. For instance, I had one client who, when we first talked, said she only wanted five pages, which wouldn’t have cost that much or taken long to complete. By the time we were finished, we were over 15 pages, with research on top of the creation of the site, and the cost ended up in the thousands. This client was ready to pay it; are you ready to pay it?
Also, please have a vision for what you want your website to look like? I manage the website for one of the organizations I’m a part of and, while I was out of town, they decided they wanted to freshen up the website. The problem is what they put out there for proposals was generic and didn’t say anything, and when I finally saw it I told them that. I asked why they wanted a website change and they said they wanted something new; that was it. If you’re going to accept whatever the person who creates your website, no matter what it looks like then fine, but if you want something more specific you’d better mention that up front.
The same thinking has to come into play if you think you want to add a blog. I hate cruising blogs, only to see that many of them haven’t had an entry in over six months, sometimes years. Blogs aren’t for the uninspired; it takes some kind of discipline to continually write entries, and, if you’re writing a business blog, the worst thing to have is a blog that has no recent activity. Some people try to write on a niche that’s too tight, and they find that it’s hard being confined to that one thing, so they just stop writing. If you don’t really believe that you have enough in you to consistently keep updating it, then it’s best not to start.
So, should you have a website? Time and money; if you have either, then yes. If not, then no… possibly. After all, if your competition has a website you’re immediately at a disadvantage.
At least make an informed decision either way. For a quick, down and dirty list, click on this website outline of pros and cons (this was taken from a website I shut down so it looks odd; just look at the information in the middle), check out my webinar titled Social Media, SEO & Your Business (upper left corner), or just ask someone, even me. However, I’ve pretty much given you everything you should need. 🙂
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 24, 2014
Back in July I wrote a post titled Are You Spreading Yourself Too Thin. In that post, I talked about how sometimes we all try to do too much and how I had way too many things going on, especially with all the travel I was doing at the time.
I listed some things to think about, but point #4 was especially telling, though most people seemed to have missed it:
Don’t be afraid to let go of certain things, but make sure you look at it from all sides first before doing it.
For those who don’t know me, I have a main business. With that main business, which is incorporated (which means, by law, that officially I’m both the president and CEO of my organization), I had basically 3 business divisions, two of which I market off one website.
First off, I’m a health care finance consultant. In essence, I help hospitals generate more revenue and bring in more cash while making sure they stay compliant, which means aren’t doing things that are illegal. I’m very good at that, with my biggest success being that I helped one hospital increase their revenue by $730 million in one year; not many people can say that.
Second, I write about and talk about leadership issues, which includes diversity, communications, and all things that involve employees and, well, people in general. With that part I’ve spoken in 9 states and given presentations, and over there on the left, under the Twitter bird, you see the first book I wrote on leadership (I have people reading what will be the second book, coming out sometime early in 2015).
Third… I have a business called SEO Xcellence. The purpose of that business was building websites, doing SEO work and writing. Because of that business I presented in public 4 or 5 times locally and, well, y’all know that I have written for lots of folks other than myself, and still do on occasion.
Let’s talk about this last one.
This business started kind of on a whim. I gave a presentation to a consulting group I belong to as a last minute replacement because our scheduled speaker notified us she couldn’t make it. In one day I put together a presentation on social media marketing, and I gave that presentation the day after. It was such a hit that within a week 3 of the people in that room were clients of mine.
That was quite a rush! Over the course of the next few years I’d build some websites for people and organizations, optimize them, and write some of their content. It was a nice way to make some extra money when I wasn’t traveling as much, which came as we changed presidents and the economy was in the tank. Hospitals weren’t hiring consultants, companies weren’t doing any leadership training, organizations weren’t hiring speakers outside of their area to save on costs… but writing gigs were everywhere.
Over time, it got tiring building websites, and it also wasn’t overly economical anymore. I’m not a designer; I build basic websites that tell the story of a business; in other words, SEO friendly sites. These days, websites are either templates or monsters, both extremes from what I do, and I just don’t have the time to keep up with the technology.
I still know SEO, but marketing it to people who have no idea what it is and learn that it doesn’t necessarily conform to ROI (return on investment) like other businesses do was very difficult. Frankly, it’s hard enough marketing my health care talents without trying to figure out how to market for something that, based on a person’s business, might not work for them.
So, I stopped marketing overall, but I kept up with blogging. Not as much as with this blog, but I was still putting out the articles on some kind of schedule.
Then I got my last gig in Memphis, and I was gone for basically 18 months. Some of my blogs started to suffer.
apple in central New York
My local central New York blog probably suffered the most, but that was okay because it’s a personal blog. My finance blog started to suffer as the quality of guest posts seemed to get worse, and I didn’t have the time to read and fix all that stuff and still, hopefully, write my own articles here and there.
The blog on SEO Xcellence? Truthfully, many of the articles I wrote there work just as well on this blog. The differences were twofold, but neither major. One, the audience for that blog was, hopefully, business people who might be looking to hire someone to do the services that I was writing about. Two, most of those articles were much shorter than things I’d put on this blog. I’ve mentioned on this blog in the past about how what you write changes depending on who you’re writing for.
Anyway, during my week at home over Labor Day week I came to a decision that it was time to shut down SEO Xcellence for good. As an act of serendipity, while thinking about it that week I got the notice from GoDaddy telling me that the domain would expire in the middle of December.
That’s pretty perfect timing if you ask me. What I did next was go to the blog and highlight articles I thought I could use on this blog. Then slowly, over time, I moved all those posts over to this blog and saved them as drafts. I also went and looked at any articles I thought I could use here and saved them as well.
Whenever I did that I immediately made those posts private on the SEO blog. I did that because I knew that after some time they’d drop off the search engine’s record, meaning that when I re-posted them over here I’d be good, and there wouldn’t be any question of duplicate content. Actually, since all my sites are on the same server and under the same account I might not have taken a hit anyway, but why take chances right?
How many articles did I move? Well, let me just say that many articles you’ve seen over the last few months started over there, and if I decided just to pop what I brought over here up twice a week until they were gone, I wouldn’t have to write another post until the first week of May. Now that’s valuable stuff!
Not only that, but with some help from Mitchell Allen I’ve marked many articles on that site to be used to help create an ebook about blogging. Yeah, I know, there are lots of them out there, and our buddy Adrienne Smith just created her new course on building a blogging community (by the way, that’s not an affiliate link for me; anything you buy goes totally to her) but at least it would be another product for me; gotta keep making stuff. 🙂 Anyway, more proof that there is always a use for old content.
In about 40 minutes or so, the very last blog post on that site will appear. It’s very short, telling anyone who’s ever read it (very few people I might add) that it’s all going away, and to come here to look at why. Truthfully, I probably should have consolidated these two sites a long time ago. It’s so much easier having all my similar content in one place, don’t you think? Also, I’m not linking to it because, since the link would go bad in less than a month anyway, I’d have to remember to come back here to remove it.
Shutting down the other site and the other business takes a great load off my mind. I will never build another website unless it’s for myself or a friend. If I get writing gigs, I’ll get them because of this blog. If I get asked to speak at another conference, it’ll be because of this blog.
I’m not the first person to shut down a blog, but I’ve seen many people do it, go on to something else, and not think about the content they have on that site. I’m also not the first person to shut down a business, as my buddy Peter and his brother shut down a business a couple of years ago. It’s not an easy thing to do but sometimes it’s necessary.
By the way, this actually aligns with some of the goals I set for 2014, and I actually mentioned that other business. Nice to see I will accomplish at least one of the goals I set for myself.
Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’ll be thinking about more things as time moves on also. Focus needs to be my goal because my eventually wished-for outcome is to have $10 million in the bank in 10 years. Yeah, it’s pretty audacious; but remember, every rich person who made it on their own started with a dream. 🙂
And I can resume trying to build the audience up for this blog again; yay!
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 10, 2014
A couple of years ago on a different blog I wrote an article talking about re-purposing blog posts. That post was more about internal linking by making sure to take old blog posts and add those links to newer posts to help enhance the SEO benefits of new content.
In this instance the concept of re-purposing content is more than talking about blogging. Most people have something that they’ve written previously somewhere on their computers. What they forget is that much of what was already written would make great blog posts or articles to put on their websites. If you’re looking for a lot of content and don’t have the time to write something new, going back through old files could provide you with what you need.
Some of it might need to be updated or edited but that’s no big deal. Writing for people in your office or your clients is a bit different than writing for publicity or advertising purposes. Your other content might be written more directly or contain information that’s probably proprietary in some fashion; no sense taking any chances that you’ll put something out there that wasn’t totally meant for the general public. I often find outlines on Excel spreadsheets that I can turn into blog posts or articles.
Unless you’re a financial advisor, you probably have a lot of files that don’t have time limits on what’s going on. Tax information and investing changes don’t fare well over time. Talking about products or processes can be timeless.
Even if some of your previous content is already online in other places, you can get some benefit out of it by linking to it and then writing about it, talking about what was on your mind when you wrote it, what changes there might be to it now, or anything else you can think of. After all, it was original when you wrote it, and it still represents you in a positive light. I do that all the time since I have multiple blogs; I think it’s interesting using your own stuff for ideas, and the links could get people to visit your other spaces.
Take some time to go through some of your old files for new web content; you might be amazed at what you’ll find.