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Are web developers short changing your business?

01 Dec 2010

You already know that in order to grow your business beyond your current customer base, you need to look at the incredible growth potential which the internet provides.Advertising in the various media available will often leave you, the business owner, wondering if the money was well spent. Did you experience growth in sales directly related to your advertising spend? How much did your brand seep further into the public consciousness because you spent a certain amount of money promoting your brand?Was it worth it? Your advertising company will have ready answers and statistics, of course!Now take a look at how online marketing works.You are able to track precisely where each and every sale comes from. Using applications like Google Analytics you are able to identify with pinpoint accuracy the exact source of your customer, right down to what they typed in to find you and which site they came from.This ability to track the effectiveness of online marketing, coupled with the massive potential market on the internet, means more and more people are having websites created for their products or services.  Because of the growth in demand for new websites, many companies and individuals are offering (some for exorbitant fees) specially designed and created websites with promises of multiple features, online presence and sales success for your company. All the add-ons are there – at a cost – and a range of baffling technical terms are bandied about to prove how much the web people know about this (and how much of a luddite you are!).Web hosting, shopping carts, metatags (embedded code specifying page content), onsite optimisation, SEO, SEM, online security features are some of my favourites. They must know what they are doing... right? Think again!In my experience, many of the sites built for consumers today are almost invisible on the major search engines. After paying a multiple four or even five-figure fee, you type in your business name and guess what... your website isn’t even on Google’s front page! So you call your web experts and they offer you additional optimisation for a few more thousand to get front page results!Will this work? Maybe...What does work are specific online marketing techniques that will put your website on the front page within hours.  In my view, to set up a website in the first place without front page presence in mind is ridiculous.To show how much small business owners are being ripped off, I ran a little experiment recently to prove a point to a friend who had a website which wasn’t showing up on Google. I created a new business with a highly competitive name. I used a range of SEO techniques and organic search-oriented content, and some simple promotional strategies.  Within three days the business had the number one spot on Google with over 75 million competing pages! This is the magic that can be achieved with the power of the internet combined with the secrets of online marketing.So let’s dispel some common myths here:

  • Metatags carry very little weight with search engines – they are ignored.
  • Onsite optimisation usually amounts to stuffing poorly researched keywords into title tag and description areas, resulting in your site looking spammy and amateurish with very little benefit in ranking.
  • The traffic you are getting to your site which looks impressive in the statistics is mainly automated (robots) and will not bring you sales – don’t be fooled into thinking these are customers.
  • Having hits on your site does not push you up the search engine rankings – having inbound links from authority sites does.
  • Having a particular product on your website will not automatically result in it being found by your potential customers. Only by publishing content using the product name in tags, titles and descriptions in the correct way, will your product be found.
  • Hosting does not have to be expensive – the two biggest hosting sites in the world, Godaddy and Hostgator, will host your site starting from around $10 a month!
This is how it works.  All the major search engines follow these rules.Having a website means nothing. Correct marketing of your website is the only way you will grow your business.Don’t be ripped off.