I have the pleasure of speaking with all kinds of Netrepreneurs almost every day. I get asked every question under the sun that has to do with websites, social media and marketing. And as I am known for I don't mince words. My answers are based on the reality of what is involved -- sometimes to the chagrin of the person I'm speaking with.
Very often those who reach out to me want to get to the bottom line. What is the easiest way to profit online? Simple non-complicated advice, please. "I want to make money!" Shortly after that statement comes "...without spending a lot of money." Sigh...
What prompted this post was an email I received today...
I have a website with the same design for about 6 years now. I know I need to update but I just don't have the budget for a new site. My last web designer ripped me off and is nowhere to be found. Do you have any suggestions on how I may be able to improve my search engine rankings so I can make more income to afford a new site? Thank you for your time!
Cart before the horse. You can't sell visitors with an outdated design. And if you still have the same design, what else have you not been keeping up on? Socials, networking, SSL, CDNs? You get the idea.
Every business model and market has different demands and requirements. Depending on the saturation, competition, potential available market you have to rise to that occasion. What you have to do and spend is almost unique to every new site. Actually having a "unique" site helps -- a lot.
What is clear is that online is the playground of rabid competitors, hard workers and smarty pants. Regardless of what T.V. commercials will have you believe, just putting up a nice looking basic website is just the start. Having a stale design certainly is not competitive nor would having a new design in of itself improve your rankings.
We want to do the least amount possible while expecting results. That doesn't happen online (or in any off-line business for that matter).
Investing in Change
What is a common thread is the hesitancy to keep up with technology. What many mention is their concern that by investing in WordPress today, they will have to reinvest in the latest greatest new thing down the road. I get that. The only thing consistent about online is change.
While the latest online "tricks" (no such thing) or tools are constantly changing, I can assure you that WordPress has gained steam for well over a decade now and is still going strong. I have every single one of my sites on WordPress and will use WordPress for my new sites still on the drawing board. So check that excuse off the list.
WordPress isn't going anywhere -- but up! Your new website is an investment worth making now because the longer you wait, as with all things online, the more catch-up you will have to play. Not necessarily in the design aspect but in the branding, positioning and exposure arenas.
"So? Chop-Chop! What's Your Best Advice?"
Here you go!
Know those you trust and only trust those you know.
- 1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
- confident expectation of something; hope.
- confidence in the certainty of future payment for property or goods received; credit: to sell merchandise on trust.
- a person on whom or thing on which one relies: God is my trust.
- the condition of one to whom something has been entrusted.
You Need Partners; Not Vendors
If you have a great idea, a unique idea, and the work ethic to make it happen, you will have to rely on others to assist you. There is just no way to completely DIY your whole project. Even after 20+ years I have a tight knit group of folks I know I can rely on when I hit a wall! I also stick with those products and service who have proven the test of time. When I don't have to worry about my products and services working; I then have the time to work my business!
From ancillary services, to networking, to advertising, social media and hosting -- don't buy the hype, don't make decisions on cost alone. For goodness sake don't buy into the quick, fast, cheap and easy claims of success. They simply don't exist.
Do not take advice from websites or unknown individuals simply because you perceive they know more than you. Take the time to vet the services and tools you are looking to use and make sure they have a positive history. This is he only way to determine if you will be able to trust and rely on them for the long haul.
Look at all your service providers as partners in your business' success. Partnerships will benefit your bottom line more than the product or service that gives you a low-ball price today and no support or reliability in the future when you need it.
Time for Due Diligence
Know what you want and find those companies you can trust and go for it! If you have partners you can trust on your team to weed through all the information and those "solutions" that many times only have the provider's interest at heart, you not only don't waste critical time making mistakes, but you also save money by not spending it in areas that are not necessary or effective.
That is why it is so important to investigate your potential partners to make sure they are trustworthy, ethical and reliable. You've heard the saying "consider the source." Do just that! I get asked about statements on non-legit scammy websites regularly. Don't let information that goes against the necessary and required investment and hard work required to succeed online override your common sense.
If the source has no longevity or lacks credibility; don't pay attention. Experience and trust can only be gained after years of walking that walk. It isn't instantaneous (even if your site is on WordPress). Remember that State Farm commercial... "They can't put it on the Internet if it isn't true." with the creepy date that's a "French Model". That commercial was effective because is makes a valid point. Many folks believe what they see online purely because it's online!
When it comes to your online business project, taking the time to learn just enough to know who has your best interests at heart is time well spent. Being able to discover when you are just getting a sales pitch is crucial. Your gut will tell you the difference -- follow it!
Here are a few things I do when investigating a new business partner:
- I review their site and FAQ. If the site is brochureware (a handful of pages with generic blah-blah-blah) that draws concern for me. There is no reason to not have every bit of information a potential customer may want front and center on a website!
- I then email to see if I get a prompt and courteous response. This gives me an indication of what I can expect if I decide to trust them with my business.
- Before I make the final decision, if possible, I talk to them on the phone to get a feel for their genuineness and personality and support levels.
- I look up their domain name at a WHOIS lookup to see how long they have owned their domain. This is a good indication of how long they have been in business.
- I search for the company name to see what is out there.
- If I am making a major investment I will also check with the local Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been lodged. I'm not a fan of the BBB, but folks don't hesitate to complain there.
Taking the time to cover the above can help you find the right partner to work with and that you can trust. If you cannot get a warm fuzzy based on the above regardless of how tempting a sales pitch is, walk away.
Every day, I see the "big name" companies and fly by nights alike take advantage of what their customers don't know to get into their pocketbooks. Who is at fault here? Both sides.
- The big name companies for relying on what their customers don't know as part of their business model and the fly by nights by being only interested in getting into your pocketbook and then they're done with you.
- And the customers, who are unwilling to learn enough to know they are not getting what they need to succeed or what they thought they paid for.
Once you find partners you can trust; from hosting to applications to development and post-launch support, you are then free to do what you do best because you know your six is covered. Running and growing your business!
Pretty liberating feeling, isn't it?
At your service,