Tips for a Powerful Web Presence: The Four Horsemen of the Webpocalypse

Original article published at Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) July 9, 2018.

Tips for a Powerful Web Presence

I recently gave a talk to a group of entrepreneurs on what it takes to have an effective web presence in today’s market. The topic generated a lot of interest, so I thought it would be helpful to share it with a broader audience. In a nutshell, I will be covering four focus areas that are vital for your web presence.

No one can deny that having an effective web presence is key to the success of today’s business. I have discovered that this requires using a holistic approach. It’s not enough to just build a website, it’s not even enough to have search engines crawl your website, it is not enough to pour money into paid advertising campaigns, and it’s not enough to just create some social media accounts. They all need to work together to promote your brand and realize your business goals.

THE PROBLEM: A couple of years back, I was in my previous company office and the Marketing Director called us all and proudly said – “We got approval to spend $120,000 for website redesign and separately another $30,000 for online advisements.” I looked at this approach and thought to myself – what a waste of money! It wasn’t a Holistic Solution, it was what I call “a Webpocalypse.”

The company thought they were not effective on the internet because the website needed a redesign, or that a few ads might turn more people into clients. They used different agencies for each initiative; this is what I call a piece-meal approach.

To me, in the web world, these are the Four Horsemen of the Webpocalypse — Website, SEO, Paid Keywords, and Social Media.  You need to tame all these horses in order to have a sophisticated web presence that goes beyond the status quo.

First Horsemen of the Webpocalypse: The Website

“Conquest” – to me, in the web arena, is your Website. You build it, you launch it, and you are ready to conquer the world. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Will your website experience stick positively in the minds of the users?
  • Do each of your pages tell a story? – Will your customers engage and be able to relate to their own emotions?
  • Is your website content optimized for search discovery?
  • What about the mobile experience? More and more people are using their mobile devices to do business.
  • Is your website running processes efficiently behind the scenes? How easy is it for your website content to be kept fresh and relevant?
  • Is it sitting on a secure platform? It is vital to protect your key web assets – your domain and your website host. Here’s an article that shows how a particular website host, WP Engine, prevents millions (yes, millions) of attacks each month for their customers. At Komaya, we ourselves recommend such host for our customers. Make sure your site is protected.

It’s not all about the website looking good, it needs to stick in the minds of the people who visit. It should have a great user experience, not just by aesthetics, but by functionality, and a feeling that they are invited.  Additionally, your website should be easy to maintain and update, empowering your marketing team to promote events, launch new campaigns, and instantly react to changing markets. If website content updates can only be done by a developer, the inherent latency can result in missed opportunities in connecting with potential clients.

Second Horseman of the Webpocalypse: SEO

“War” – to me, in the web world, is SEO, the war of search engines and the fight for your website to climb to the top of their results. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Are all of your web pages ready for the current demand of today’s search engines? What sets your page apart from every other website on the internet? Why would your page climb up the SEO ladder?
  • Have you considered search engine spaces such as Google’s Knowledge Graphs?
  • What about other search channels? Is your web presence dependent upon a couple of search engines, or are you also showing up on the other platforms that people use to search for businesses?
  • By the way, are you for any reason still using Meta Keywords on your web pages? This technique is a bit dated and not effective with today’s highly sophisticated search engines.

SEO is not all about just putting the right keywords on your web pages. Yes, it is very important to consider context and industry-specific keywords when you are writing web page content, but also to understand that there are other aspects to consider, such as Knowledge Graph technology, that you have access to. Is your web page ready to show up in that Q&A type of result that you have seen on Google? Do you make use of all the real-estate that Google has given you by utilizing the Post Knowledge Graph feature when you have an upcoming event or announcement?

Third Horseman of the Webpocalypse: Paid Keywords and Ads

“Famine” – to me, in the web world, is the Paid Keywords and Advertisements. This is the wasted money spent on under-researched advertisements and simply, the wrong keywords. We have seen many companies and their marketing team’s frustrations and wasted resources, month-after-month, with negligible to even nil outcomes. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Are you spending too much for premium keywords, or conversely, not spending on advertisements at all?
  • Have you researched the keywords that your potential customers are searching on, or did you consider the niche your company is in? Check out Google Trends to discover search trends for your products and services.
  • Are these same keywords also reflected throughout your website content and SEO optimizations?

We have seen both extremes that have brought famine to a business’s online presence. Some companies put in enormous amounts of money into extremely competitive keywords that cost very high dollars on each click. In turn, this results in them concluding that online advertisements are too competitive and not very cost-effective.

On the other side of the spectrum, some companies think they do not need online advertisements at all – the internet will just discover and come to them on their own. Yes, some extremely niche companies may have a different agenda for reaching their target audience, but unless you are like Tesla with no advertising needed to-date, you should probably include an ad strategy in your integrated marketing plan. Have you thought about why Coke, Macy’s, Lincoln, or just about any successful company advertises? We find it’s usually best to utilize both an organic search and paid advertising strategy mix for reaching your target audience.

Fourth Horseman of Webpocalypse: Social Media

“Death” – to me, in the web world, represents Social Media. Why the comparison with this horseman? We see so many entrepreneurs and companies create social media accounts, but after just a few posts go silent, deathly silent. The Pale Horse of the Apocalypse took over. We at Komaya call this as lacking the social heartbeat.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Have you contemplated having a social media audit done for your company? What is your current state? How strong or weak is your social heartbeat?
  • Does your branding and website look-and-feel carryover into your social media account profiles and imagery? The user should instantly feel comfortable and identify that they are in the right place.
  • Have you conducted any industry research on which social media channels are appropriate for your company? More so, what channels you shouldn’t even be creating accounts on?
  • What channels are your customers and competitors using? Why Facebook, why Twitter? Is there a specific reason the audience is extremely active on one versus the other?
  • Have you identified what channels the Influencers & Experts in your company’s niche are using? Do you follow and interact with them? This will not only help you figure out which social channels you should be active in, the Influencers may just happen to mention your company to their followers.

There are many other considerations such as what time of the day you should post, the days of the week that your potential customers are likely to be using that particular social media channel, etc. Are you following the “rule of fourths” when posting on social media? It used to be the rule of thirds – one-third of your posts are about your company products and services, one-third you share helpful tips, and one-third you share an industry experts’ posts. But now, the fourth rule has come into the picture – customer support. If you look around, companies like 1800flowers, Zappos, Walmart, are directly providing real-time support to their customers over social media building confidence, trust, and solving issues with minimal delay.

THE SOLUTION: As a start-up or emerging business, consider stepping into today’s internet world with a holistic web presence strategy.  Just a website or a piecemeal approach can likely slow down your business growth potential. All the aspects discussed need to work together to tame the horses and effectively market, attract, and engage your target audience.

Time Management & Online Presence: How Do You Know When To Do The Work Yourself

The title sounds a bit complicated, but so is the subject.  You have a growing business, and you’re already spending a lot of your time brainstorming and planning your goals for the future.  You know that a large portion of those goals involves your online presence.  Without an effective online presence, your company won’t continue to grow in today’s market.   But, you are extremely busy, so how do you know what things you can take care of yourself versus which things you should farm out to another employee, subcontractor, agency, or business?

Here are some things to consider when making the important decisions of time management and online presence:

 

  1. It is better to work smarter and not harder
    I’ve seen companies repeat the same work over and over again rather than once-and-done. For example, if you don’t have a transparent logo— and each time you want to use your logo somewhere, you are spending a couple of minutes “cropping out the white space” around it, that’s not a good use of your time. If it’s a task that can be reused, you may want to consider doing it the right way, so it will save time in the future. As for the logo example, if this means hiring someone to make a transparent logo for you, get it done.
  2. Expertise always costs less than doing it yourself
    This seems counterintuitive, but it’s true. If you hire an expert that can knock out the task in a day or less, or perhaps even an hour or less, isn’t that worth far more than the amount of time you’d spend to learn how to do the thing in the first place? You need to consider the value of your time and the amount of time you’ll spend personally on the project. If it’s not something you know exactly how to do, you need to seriously consider hiring someone who knows what they’re doing. You wouldn’t walk into a diner and ask for a lobster, you would go to the seafood restaurant for that. People specialize in certain things for a reason, and everyone wins by allowing each other to showcase their own talents.
  3. The experts have tools that you don’t
    It’s important to understand that the experts often have the equipment that you don’t have. If you wanted to make a t-shirt, you probably wouldn’t want to sit at home and color on a shirt with a paint pen, because it wouldn’t look very professional. You may try to sit around at home and figure out how to work a vinyl cutter or computer program to make the shirt, but that may take hours and still yield results that are slightly off-center. The best thing is to go to someone who has a t-shirt press. Just like a t-shirt factory, web experts have valuable design tools, tools for adding captions and logos to videos, post scheduling tools, and so on. It may not be worth it for you to buy the proper tools if you’re only going to use them sporadically. It’s better to let the experts pay for them and use them for all of their clients, and then everyone benefits.

There are still things that you can do yourself, and fortunately, there are some amazing tools that make that task easier for you (we’ve listed a couple examples below), but above all— you know what you can and cannot do effectively.  If your finished project is not going to be something that will wow your potential clients, you need to hire someone who will. And at the end of the day, wowing your customers is worth its weight in gold.

Online Tools to Try to DIY:

  • Canva — Graphic Design & GIF Creation — http://www.canva.com  free, $12.99 a month pro subscription
  • Magisto — Add your Logo and Caption to Movies, Movie Creation — http://www.magisto.com  $19.99 a month

If you prefer to not DIY, feel free to contact us for the latest and greatest in web design, SEO, and social media services.

For An Extraordinary Web Experience,
Komaya

A Holistic Approach to Having an Effective Web Presence

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I have a holistic healer and she often reminds me that I need balance in my life.  In her eyes, it wouldn’t do me any good to eat terribly and then just scarf down antacids, or to work out every single day only to eat piles of junk food.  It’s much better to do everything in moderation, develop healthy diet and exercise habits that I can maintain every day, and also to do yoga and spiritual growth exercises that make me happy.  Plus, time with friends and family is ideal, and everyone needs to curl up in a blanket, watch a movie, and hit the recharge button every now and again. Being holistic is really just about being whole — it’s focusing on the entire picture and not just on what is going wrong or right.

A Holistic Approach

The same is true for your web presence.  At Komaya, we see a lot of companies that want to hit social media really hard or run a really strong Facebook ad.  We sometimes see CEOs that think blogging with keywords is the way to go or would bet money that their SEO strategy is the best in the country.  The problem sometimes with tunnel vision is that you can often lose sight of the bigger picture.  You can also end up focusing so much on one thing that you have to work really hard in the future to right a different wrong.  Back to our health and wellness example, rather than eating 12 doughnuts and having to hit the gym twice as hard the following day, wouldn’t it just be better to only eat one doughnut and go to the gym for a half of an hour in the first place?

When you’re working on your web presence, and the strategy for it, you need to remember that a holistic approach is always the best one.

By taking a step back and looking at the larger picture, your business will be healthier overall.  We like to remind clients to do this by concentrating on SEO, website, and social media.   In the long run, these things will all feed one another as well, and they need each other for long-term success.

As another true-life example, let’s look at it this way.  Let’s suppose you wanted to buy a very specific kind of potato chip dip and you needed it for a party tonight.  You probably would first go to social media, and ask if anyone knows of any recommendations (because after all, you’re not really sure what it’s called or what you’re looking for).  Someone probably tells you that the brand is called Best Dip.  You then might go to Google (or another search engine) and type in “brand + potato chips + your zip code” or something similar.  The search results say that Star Mart has your product.  You then go to the Star Mart website, you see via their online catalog that the product is there, and then you use maps to find out exactly where that store is.    You may even revert back to social media to ask if anyone has any tips on how to get there exactly or where you can find street parking.

The point of the above story is that in this case if there wasn’t a social media listing for Star Mart or Best Dip, you would have been out of luck.  If Star Mart hadn’t used the keywords Best Dip + potato chip + some relevant zip codes, you would not have known they sold your product.  And had there not been a maps or Yellow Pages listing, you might not have found the store.    Everything works together, and it is vital that you have a combination of all of the things to make your brand successful.

A Powerful Web Presence

Without social media, you’re unable to receive real-life reviews of your product, and you’re also unable to communicate or interact with your customers.   Without a website, you’re unable to sell your product (because people can’t truly buy via social media).  Without SEO, you’re unable to let people find your product.  Without blogging, you’re unable to explain your product.  And without all of these things, working together in perfect harmony, your product has a much lower chance of success.

For more information on creating a holistic and powerful web presence and how best to achieve it, contact us today.

How to Stay Productive Like Elon Musk

Having good productivity is important. The greater your productivity, the higher your revenue and the lower your unit cost. However, many businesses struggle to get high levels of productivity.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Elon Musk is my favorite example of someone who has found a way to be highly productive. He has one secret strategy for this, that he has shared in interviews.

Prioritize

The first thing that Elon Musk does every day is spend half-an-hour dealing with critical emails. He looks for things that need to be done at once, or they might set back his day if left undone.

Another important task he does is schedule his day. He looks at what tasks are required for the day. He will ignore the tasks that won’t add any value to the final product and will do the tasks that will make the most impact first.

Your Business

The same needs to be said for your business. You should separate your tasks into three categories: critical, must do, and not important. Everything that is not important should be ignored, and then you do all the tasks starting with the critical list.

This might be more challenging if you are used to handling tasks on a First In – First Out basis. However, this is rather unproductive, and it can mean there are lost opportunities. Instead, you must schedule in everything.

Don’t Forget Downtime

It is important also to remember that you need downtime. Be sure to take time away from your business to relax. Elon Musk has several hobbies and interests that allow him to take a break from the business. This downtime can make you more productive when you are at work.

What are your productivity tips? What do you do to relax?

Let us know in the comments below.