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Layout Options for Web Design

Recently, I was asked to give a presentation in California on layout options for web design, so I’ve decided to share that information with our readers. Whether you are a web designer or a business owner, it is important to understand the basics of good web design to help you make decisions about your website. The first and most important thing to understand about ANY website, is that is primary purpose is to share content with your visitors. This is true whether you are selling physical goods on your site or you have an informational brochure site for a service busienss where you are just trying to attract customers to call your office. As Bill Gates said way back in 1996, “Content is King.” And it remains so today.

So, what exactly do we mean by “content?” It has been said that “Content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life.” It can include:

  • Text
  • Images
  • Audio
  • Video

Ryan Diess say, “Content marketing is about transforming people that DO NOT know, like, and trust you into people that DO know like, and trust you.” As we can see from that quote, this is why it is so important that you are able to share content with your visitors in a way that […]

Incentivized Referral Marketing

Soon after I reached 1500 followers on Instagram, I was asked to join a company’s “ambassador program.” I was flattered, so I checked it out. Basically, they wanted me to promote their product and in return, they would pay me a 20% commission for everyone that bought their product through my link. That sounds like the definition of an affiliate program, so it got me thinking…What’s the difference between an Influencer, Brand Ambassador, Advocate, Affiliate and JV Partner?

Word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing there is, but there is no reason why it all has to be organic. Click To Tweet

Truth be told, all of these are some form of incentivized referral marketing. No matter what you call it, the idea is to provide some type of incentive to get other’s to market for you. Word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing there is, but there is no reason why it all has to be organic. Giving people a reason to share your product is a smart move for any company (as long as there aren’t industry regulations preventing it, such as in the financial services industry).

How do these different marketing terms relate?

As previously stated, these types of marketing have been used interchangeably. A lot of businesses name their referral programs with the term ambassador or advocate in the headline. It doesn’t necessarily mean that is a true ambassador or advocate program. Some people may refer to them as “rockstars” or “road warriors” (a term we used with my first business).

So are there any significant differences between a Brand Ambassador, Influencer, or Affiliate Partner? Technically, there are differences depending upon someone’s definition. For example, an influencer often has tens of thousands of followers and is paid a lump sum by the sponsoring company, regardless of the actual number of sales made, whereas anyone can be an affiliate marketer no matter how many or few actual followers they have, since they are paid for each sale they bring to the company. You can do a Google search on the differences between each of these terms if it is really important to you, but the one thing that they they all have in common is that they are content creators.

Each of these types of marketers is creating their own unique content on behalf of the company. It might be a blog post, an Instagram photo, an online review, a YouTube video, or a simple recommendation vie email, but what makes referral marketing work is that the person promoting the product has created their own unique spin on why someone should buy the product. And that is the reason why this type of marketing is so much more effective than traditional marketing (where the company is the one producing the content).

Think about it… […]

You can make a difference!

My friend and mentor, Ken McArthur is producing a feature length movie called “The Impact Factor.” This is a story that needs to be shared with the world. And you can help make this happen. I have already committed to a monetary pledge and have also donated some of my material at incentives for his KickStarter campaign. For as little as $1, you can help make this film a reality. For $10 you also get my book, “The Influencer Effect,” in both digital and audio format (as well as being listed in the credits of the film). In fact, you get over $1000 worth of benefits for a $10 donation! But the real point is you get to see this story brought to life.

Ken has shared the story he is portraying in the movie with me, and it is really powerful. You can see a short trailer on his KickStarter page. Only 37.55% of Kickstarter Film & Video Projects are successfully funded. The Impact Factor currently is at 66% funded with 22 days to go. Join me in helping make this film a reality! Visit:


How come I’m not listed on the first page of Google?

This is still the question that most business owners ask. However, I always tell my clients that if they do everything else well, the search engines will take care of themselves. This means that we need to look at what is going on with your website and your overall web presence to see why you are not listed on page one of Google.

You should also understand that Search engines are not the only source of traffic (in fact, I would argue, they are not even the primary source of traffic for most sites.)

I would argue that search engines are not the primary source of traffic for most websites. Click To Tweet

You hear stats all the time that Google accounts for somewhere between 70% to 90% of the search market. While this clearly makes them the market leader and dominant player in the search world, that does not mean that they are the only ones driving traffic to your website! Various studies indicate that organic search drives somewhere between 34.8% and 51% of total website traffic. Social media drives another 5% to 25.6% of traffic. Paid traffic accounts for maybe another 10%. Where does the rest of the traffic come from? The answer is often YOU! People either click on a link that you put out on the internet (such as a directory listing or blog post), they enter your url directly into the address bar, or they get there through an email that you sent them. This is as much as 60% of the traffic that comes to your website and it is traffic that YOU (not Google) control.

I recently had a conversation with a client who had discovered that he was “invisible” to the search engines and was really concerned about this. Then, I got a message from a another client asking me how come he didn’t show up on page 1 of Google. Despite the fact that most of your traffic comes directly from your own efforts, these companies (like most of us) value the free, organic traffic that Google sends our way. So, I did an analysis of his website and here is what I found, and the solutions  that I recommended: […]

Tech Tidbits

Is the Facebook News Feed Really Going Away?

In January of last year, Mark Zuckerberg noted, “Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands, and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” For nearly a decade, the News Feed has been the jewel in Facebook’s crown. However, over the past couple of years, Facebook has been locked into a battle with misinformation, troubled by privacy issues, and found itself trying to counter a decline in original content (photos, videos, status updates) shared by users. As a result, you may have heard the rumors that the regular Facebook Feed as we know them will be ‘going away.’ The same may be true for Instagram. It seems that day is getting closer.

Mari Smith recently stated, “What we might see is a combination of both regular feed posts in their original format, interspersed with vertical Stories. (And, possibly unskippable ads.) Navigation will be horizontal, tap and swipe. Nothing would be vertical any more.”

Certainly, Facebook seems to be pushing stories and the horizontal scrolling recently. Which is amusing to me, because horizontal scrolling is much less intuitive and vertical scrolling, especially with the layout of mouse wheels to enable easy vertical scrolling.

Another option that Facebook seems to be experimenting with is a “Grid View” instead of the traditional vertical view, as shown here:

The problems with the news feed are much bigger than just shifting to stories and the horizontal scrolling format. All businesses go in cycles, and it may be that the public is simply over sharing personal data with big businesses. Perhaps social media has reach it’s apex and is in a decline? Let me know your thoughts in the comments at the end of this article.

Page Rank is Still Important

PageRank is a system for ranking webpages developed by Google and named for founder Larry Page. It’s used to give each page a relative score of importance and authority by evaluating the quality and quantity of links pointing to a web page. Yes, you read that correctly, Google ranks pages, not websites, so it is to your advantage to get every page of your website indexed by Google, not just your homepage. Here’s how it works: each link from one page to another casts a vote, the weight of which depends on the weight of the pages that link to it. It’s believed that Google recalculates Page Rank scores after each crawl of the Web.

Due to SEO companies trying to spam the system, Page Rank is no longer displayed. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist or that it isn’t used in search results – quite the contrary. Page Rank remains Google’s secret sauce ingredient. SEO PowerLink recently conducted an independent study on the various factors that affect search engine placement. You can view the results of that study here.

Similar to Page Rank is your site’s Alexa ranking. Your Alexa ranking is based on a combined measure of Unique Visitors and Pageviews. It is a good practice to see how your site stacks up compared to other sites. For example, here is WebStores Ltd Alexa rank as of this writing:

As of December 2018, there are approximately 1.94 billion websites in the world. That puts in the top 0.06% of all websites in the world! The lower the number the better. The top 3 sites are 1.) Google, 2.) YouTube, and 3.) Facebook. Wikipedia is #5, Yahoo is #9 and Amazon comes in at #10. Most websites don’t even have an Alexa rank, as they don’t get enough traffic for them to be measured (they stop measure at about 20 million). Since your Alexa rank is based on unique visitors and page views, getting other sites to link to your pages helps to improve your rank, and the best way to get people to link to your site is to provide quality content that others find it worth linking to. Find your Alexa score here.

You will also notice that YouTube is the second most visited website in the world. It happens to be owned by Google. Imagine having high-quality links from YouTube pointing back to your website. that might do wonders for your Page Rank and search engine placement – just saying. (Hint: create video content about your website and link your videos back to the page on your website talking about what you discuss in your video!)

Speaking of Videos…

When it comes to getting more views for your videos, the most important thing you can do is […]

The Inconvenient Truth About Content Marketing

According to HubSpot, content marketing generates THREE TIMES more leads than paid search advertising. Whether or not that is true, content marketing certainly establishes authority and credibility that paid advertising cannot match, and therefore could easily generate 3 times more sales than paid advertising. But one thing both paid advertising and content marketing have in common is the need for consistency. I’ve had customers try paid advertising, and give up after one month saying it doesn’t work, because they didn’t get any new sales from the ad. In a recent podcast, my guest Preston Rahn, talked about how he sometimes runs ads for a year just to build a following before he even starts to ask for a sale. The return on content marketing can be even longer – you must consistently be producing content on  a regular basis for an extended period of time before you build up the “know-like-trust” factor with your followers to where they look upon you as an authority and are willing to spend their money with you.

This naturally brings up some questions:

  • How long is an extended period of time?
  • How often must I be producing new content?
  • How can I reduce the amount of time I spend creating content?
  • Should I be contacting my list every time I create new content?
  • What platforms should I be creating this content on?
  • Is it really worth it?
  • If paid advertising also take a time commitment, is there anyway to speed up the process?

Since we are all stressed for time, these are valid questions.  I’ve been blogging now since 2007. That’s 12 years of writing a new article every single week. This does not count the thousands of images I’ve created and posted to social media sites or the hundreds of videos I’ve made or guests that I’ve interviewed on my podcast. No wonder I have enough material to write a new book at least once a year. And, on top of all that, I manage to create hundreds of ecommerce websites for my clients, teach classes at the college level, and produce a series of my own online courses. That’s a lot of content. Still, I don’t generate nearly as much content as some of my colleagues do. I have a friend who has created 500+ videos on his YouTube channel. He is a one person company who has been doing this for a little over 2 years. That is almost 1 video per day for each work day. To put that into perspective, Donald J. Trump tweets 10 times per day and has produced over 37,000 tweets.  I have friends and colleagues that have produced twice as many tweets than him! Think about that:

365 days per year x 10 years = 3,650 tweets. You would have to tweet more than 10 times per day, every day, for 10 years to create that much content.

According to Neil Patel, the top 3 content marketing challenges are:

  • 69% say they lack the time
  • 55% struggle with producing enough content, and
  • 47% with producing engaging content.

Yet most consumers (90%) find custom content valuable. I’d say it’s the reason they might very well buy from you instead of a competitor. If everyone of your competitors is selling similar items, and they are using generic product descriptions and photos, then writing your own stories explaining why a product is awesome and telling that story with your own photos will make you stand out.Ah, but the time commitment. As John Buscall said, “Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.”

Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign. ~John Buscall Click To Tweet

Consumers today are exposed to more online content than ever before, so it’s even more challenging to rise above the noise. And it’s only going to get worse. But remember, the goal of content marketing is to build a relationship. Let’s remember that as we try to answer the questions above and see how […]

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