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Thread: Your website is a waste of money!

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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    Your website is a waste of money!

    So your business needed a website. You heard from a friend that he knows someone that can design a website for your business at a very good price. 3 Weeks later and you can say you have a website, it is pretty and you are proudly telling everyone to look at it.

    But exactly what is the purpose of having a website anyway? I mean, surely paying such a large sum of money for a piece of the Internet must have a purpose! Is it for entertainment? Perhaps you got one because everyone else has one? Maybe it is because all your competitors have one? Or maybe it is because you want to utilize it as a marketing tool? What ever your reasons, ultimately the Internet has a sole purpose for your business and that is to get exposure.

    But does your website give you that exposure? Does it actually work as a marketing tool? Well, for the majority of businesses the answer is an unfortunate and quite loud NO!

    Do you believe the Internet is all hype and the reality is that it is a complete waste of time? Well, do you? Do you only keep your website live just to be able to look professional and to say, we have a website? Then your website is probably just wasting your original investment. Yes I said it, your website is a waste of money!

    Why is your website a waste of money?

    Most businesses, whether or not you are small or large, knows at least the basics of marketing or sales. This is a given, else you wouldn't have a business, right. So why does your website not work. Why do you as a large business have to rely on your big marketing budget to make it work for you? Do you want to know why? Well I will tell you why!

    When we look at the statistics that the OPA recently published on Internet usage in South Africa, we get a very good picture of just how powerful the Internet is in South Africa as a marketing tool. Although the OPA only represents a handful of websites in South Africa, their stats gives you a very good idea of what the online market is like. Well very few of the conventional marketing resources can boast with 7,8 million unique users, but still your website is wasting your money. Well, you are not alone; the majority of business owners and marketing teams feels exactly the same way as you. They also wonder sometimes why they are still doing this Internet thing.

    But the other side of the coin is also true. More and more businesses invest more and more money in their Internet marketing. More and more businesses are getting more diverse and employ SEO's and Internet marketers to expand their marketing into this explosive resource. More and more businesses are outsourcing their Internet marketing to specialists at a large cost. Certainly they must know something you do not. If ROI is the key to a successful marketing campaign, why has your website been a waste of money since day one?

    The real culprit

    In our discussion on the reasons a website doesn't work it became clear to me, given I was upset when I started the topic, was that there seems to be a misunderstanding amongst website owners on exactly how the Internet works as a marketing tool.

    In conventional marketing there is a difference between selling and marketing. On the Internet these two different methods merge into one. The reason for this is that conventional marketing relies on a big budget and lots of repetition. I like to call it interrupt marketing simply because the idea is often to get into people's faces. To stand out with the biggest, brightest most colorful billboard is often the way to get noticed in conventional marketing.

    But on the Internet it is different. On the Internet, interrupt marketing is called spam and the consumer actually has more choice to ignore you. The consumer is a lot safer because no salesman can knock on their palisade fence with a piece of iron, and no telesales company can phone them during dinner or their favorite TV program to sell them a holiday package they will never use. The consumer can also close those annoying little pop-up ads before their 20k image loads on their ultra fast South African Internet connection. The consumer has a choice.

    But even the most basic element of the Internet is totally different from conventional marketing. In conventional marketing you do not spend hours on ensuring that the construction of the billboard is 100% correct before you can start advertising on it. All you need to know is how many cars drive past and the exact location and size of the billboard.

    You do not care how the television signal reach television sets all over the country, you just care about the demographics and the time the ad is supposed to run. The technical detail is not important.

    The Internet is different, way different. In the online environment technical detail becomes the most basic part of your Internet strategy and here is a surprise to you all. Very few web designers actually knows how to design a website so it works for your marketing strategy. It is no coincidence that your website is a waste of your money, yes the basic construction of your website is often the first stumbling block and reason for your websites miserable failure.

    Who designed your website?

    So this brings me to a very interesting question, who designed your website? Was it your sisters' son's friend from high school? Maybe it was a graphics designer that designs the most awesome flash animation or maybe even a large web design company that you were referred to by a friend?

    The fact of the matter is that your website needs to meet a few basic requirements to even stand a remote chance of functioning for what it was intended as marketing tool. It needs to be designed technically correct, it needs to be compiled for ultimate sales advantage and it needs to have ultimate usability designed into it. Yes this is the basic requirement that all Internet marketing is based on. You can do everything else right, but if these basic principles are missed, the site is dead and a waste of money.

    So who is to blame?

    No it is not the web designer. They are doing what they know best, they are not sales people but specialists in technology. They know how to create features on a website and that is what they are trained to do. Most web designers are guided by their clients on how to design the website. At the end of the day, their success is measured on pleasing their customers. They are restricted by the fact that they need to utilize their knowledge and expertise to keep a customer happy. They build the shop, the web site owner is responsible for the display in the window and the selling of their service or products.

    What makes a website tick

    Technical design is the first step. One of the largest suppliers of traffic to any website is natural ranking in search engines. The majority of sites are not designed correctly for search engines to make accurate assumptions on what these sites are all about. Basic HTML is also being replaced with JavaScript, Flash and images. All of which causes problems for robots when they index sites.

    For these robots it is the same as having a good conversation with a wall. They cannot follow links nor can they thoroughly understand the theme of each individual page, that is if they can index any of the content at all.

    The basic coding and design structure of a site is crucial for the success of one of the prime online marketing techniques for any site, SEO.

    Although SEO, Viral Marketing, Editorial marketing and banner advertising can provide a site with targeted traffic and hot leads, a further problem arises. Websites are designed for their owners, not for the prospective customers. They are filled with information that consumers and visitors are not interested in. Finding real information is tedious or impossible so they simply move on to the next site and the next, and the next, until finally they get the information they were looking for.

    Integration of datamining and Social Media Marketing (SMM) for retention and conversion purposes doesn't exist in the majority of South African websites. In other words you are marketing a site without having a salesman to sell your products or services 24/7 to visitors, that is to say if you get visitors at all.

    As with conventional marketing you are being ignored. On the Internet it is even more so. If you do not provide the required information or usability the visitor moves on and you are forgotten before the next mouse click.

    It is too technical!

    I often hear "it is too technical!" My answer is always the same, Yes it is.

    We are not all web designers or SEO specialists, infact we have businesses to run and salaries to pay.

    So how on earth can we solve this issue?

    It is simple and called management. You need to learn how you can manage your website as to enable you to still give all your attention to your business. If you have 30 minutes a week, you can outsource most of the responsibilities and just by means of reporting and understanding those reports, know exactly what is going on with your website. By empowering yourself with the correct reporting and management techniques, you will be able to take decisions and prevent being mislead by your service providers. Running a web site requires understanding not the technical know how, technical expertise is employable, but it is your understanding of the Internet that makes you successful online.
    Last edited by Dave A; 15-Mar-10 at 08:10 PM.

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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    continue

    Making informed decisions

    The Internet is filled with information about internet marketing, but for some reason there is very little real information on managing your website if you are a business owner. Further more there is a lot of misinformation and for most people it becomes confusing to distinguish between facts and fiction. Therefore it seems to be a challenge to equip yourself with the necessary information and knowledge to be able to successfully utilize your website. So what to do?

    The best and sure way to ensure you are dealing with an expert in Internet marketing is to do a search on their name in a search engine. Most experts make use of Internet marketing strategies themselves in order to sell their services. Their success is normally reflected in their web presence and media mentions. This way you can ensure that you are safe and dealing with a true expert.

    Once you decided that the person you are dealing with is reputable it is normally not to difficult to find the information you are looking for by reading their articles, forum posts and blogs on the specific topic. Signup to their newsletters, blogs and forums where they are active, this way you can ask for their help free of charge and open discussions to other experts also active in the same communities.

    Buying books on Internet marketing can be a complicated start in getting informed on Internet marketing. Authors of books are normally not experts themselves but they have done a lot of research on the subject and sifted most of the useless information to get the real facts. Therefore a book can be very useful and make for a quick solution to your problem.

    Attending courses can be very useful. Many people prefer this because they are then able to ask questions if they do not understand. Normally you also have some kind of support from the facilitator when you try to apply your knowledge.

    You can also get a consultant in to assist you in setting up a process to manage your website. Again do a search for the person's name to ensure that you are dealing with an expert.

    The fact remains, you need to get yourself into a position to be able to make judgment calls and manage your website, else it will not work for you. When you employ sales or marketing staff, you ensure that you get the best you possibly can the same should go for your 24-hour salesman. Yes that is your website! Invest a bit of time into merging marketing and sales techniques into your website, you will be surprised to see what it can deliver!
    Last edited by Dave A; 15-Mar-10 at 08:10 PM.

  4. Thank given for this post:

    AndyD (05-Aug-10), wynn (15-Mar-10)

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    Silver Member Vincent's Avatar
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    Interesting article - can't wait to hear your full presentation on the 7th March. Reading your article I've fallen into many of the pitfalls that you've mentioned.
    Off topic slightly, What is Viral Marketing? I've heard this mentioned often, but what is and how does one go about doing Viral Marketing.
    Vincent Marino
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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    Viral Marketing? Mmmmmmmm I will write an article on that! Perhaps I can highlight a few issues there in terms of conventional marketing as well. Viral Marketing has it's definitions which imo is meaningless, if you think lateral and aren't to worried about creating sensation then you can easily setup a Viral campaign. But let me work on it first.

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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    Vincent, I just wrote a few words on Viral marketing I would love to get comments on it

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    Silver Member Vincent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chatmaster View Post
    Vincent, I just wrote a few words on Viral marketing I would love to get comments on it
    Yo call that a few words.
    I'm going to print it out and then read the article.
    Vincent Marino
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vincent View Post
    Yo call that a few words.
    Yes. It's that Chathead

    I think it's brilliant. I know one article already that is featuring in the next mailing.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    The article just scrapes the surface of viral marketing. There is so much more to mention when it comes to it that I feel it is a few words. lol

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    Expecting new clients from a small biz website

    I know this is an old thread, but it is a very interesting one. I would agree that most small businesses over-estimate the marketing effect of their websites. It can still be worth it to have a website as a type of "online brochure" but to expect it to attract new clients without considerable time and resources invested in it is naive. Take the keyword accountants: Google SA returns 117 000 sites. Of those sites 99% of people wont go past the first 10.

    We have a lot of accountants registered on our website Find an Accountant and a lot of them get great leads from it. So they rush off and build their own websites, sometimes even cancelling their listing with us, only to return in a few months with zero action on their own sites. And those that do have websites often report that the majority of their website's traffic comes from Find an Accountant.

    Marketing a website to atttract new customers is a fulltime and expensive job.

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    Within in reason a lot of people will agree with you.

    However, my view is that a Website must:

    >> Contain a company profile.
    >> Contain contact information.
    >> Allow Customers to preview information.


    Problems that you’re Website will face:

    >> Search engines & cost.
    >> Hosting Cost, Website Maintenance Cost and Quality of host service.
    >> Additional Advertisement Cost.


    The truth: A website exists to give information. You still need good reference, quality service and proper advertisement “if applicable” your website’s only job is to allow for easy access.

    That to me is case and point.
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

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