Time to get back to business. Hope everyone had a great holiday and is ready to work. The two times a year that I take a deeper look at business trends and economic forecasts are at the end of the year and at the end of 2nd quarter. End of the year is more a reflective time for some reason, like after the game. End of 2nd quarter is like taking inventory during half time while there's still time to change the results before year end, mid game.
No one that runs their own business, or is directly responsible for one, can ever really take their mid off the game. Sure you might go on vacation and spend time with your family, but you just can't help thinking about what you have going on. Sometimes it helps to get disconnected, a fresh perspective, see from a different angle and get some rest, but successful people rarely take their eye off the ball if ever. You love what you do and you know your competition is constantly grinding. So while relaxing, I try to take a closer look at what my competition is doing right and measure what's working for me.
One of the things I do at these two points is look at the big picture. Reading through economic forecasts for different industries and countries can give you great insight to why your efforts aren't measuring up to predictions or worse, the numbers are climbing up and you have no idea why. According to The World Economic Forum, Forbes and The Balance to name a few, the economic outlook for the US is strong and set for steady growth.
No matter what business you're in, investing in yourself is never a bad choice. Educate yourself, educate your people and increase the advertising budget. Hope you are off to a great year, game on.
The only people I hear spouting about new domain name extensions (gTLD's) are the one's who have a stake in their success as a registry or those looking to recoup their investment. Truth is with the scarcity of good dot com extensions dwindling at less than insane prices, good .com domain names are going up in value. The time to buy is now while traffic is slower over the summer months and before the market starts to pick up again in the fall. If you're unaware of all the other extensions and when they came about, there is an info graphic here at Key-Systems.net from a few years ago.
When buying a gTLD, ask yourself when was the last time you went to one, and where does the the majority of spam come from? I think you'll find that the answer is a .garbage extension. Registering one of these will drive help traffic to the .com, .net or .org domain names respectively above it. There are 882 domain extensions at last count, but your customers just know of the top three. If you're looking to increase your brand or to expand a product line, while the US economy is beginning to soar again, buy now before prices return to pre 2005 levels. There is a market correction coming that will swing .com names up beyond any levels we've seen them at. Get them before they turn into gold.
There's a lot of talk about traffic and SEO and I wanted to mention a few key points on building volume. First, your sites needs to built correctly so search engines can read it. That's a technical discussion for a later date, but needs to be in place for other methods to work. Setup Google Analytics and a few others so you can triangulate and see what's actually working. Without a measure your're driving blind. If you don't have a blog, add one. It will be the most read page on your site and you can feed it directly to social media. The Post Viewed tag in the lower right corner of each article here is misleading, it's not how many times it's been viewed, it represents how many times the Read More tag has been clicked. For the record, the main page of this Tech Notes blog gets viewed between 3k to 7k times on any given day.
Dynamic content isn't just tailoring your site to your unique visitors, it's generating relevant and fresh new content for your site. Having this dynamic content is what is going to improve your SEO score and the quality of traffic you receive. There's no way to short cut this process. Some of the most intelligent minds at Google are continually working the algorithm to weed out the junk and click bait. If you write compelling articles and add epic content regularly, your numbers will begin to perk up. If you work it, expect about a 25% increase in qualified traffic and that will be significant to any business that you're in. Google has some great webmaster tools here. Give the PageSpeed Insights test a try and see how your site scores. Your site may need more work than you think. Keep it fresh and keep it growing, make a bigger target.
If you're read tech news whether it is to keep up or researching new companies, Tech Crunch is a valuable resource. On TC each article about a company has in-depth information on the right side column. It links over to Crunch Base just click on the company title and you'll open up a whole chronological history of the founders, funding they may have received, investors, acquisitions and changes within the organization.
For the full info and additional research you should get the pro subscription that allows drilling down into companies, key players, websites, domain names and more. It has a nice java interface, looks like it was built with DHTMLX, but more than likely a custom cut. Well worth the subscript for professionals.
There's a insightful article on The Wall Street Journal about the continued closings of retail stores. The Business Insider had an article earlier about the same topic. It's all the more reason to get your business online or tune it up and expand your marketplaces, no matter what type of products you sell.
The article focuses on retail outlets declining and how more people are finding the convenience of online shopping. What the article doesn't say is that the shopping habits of retail are being carried over into all business classes. B2B (business to business) decisions are being made the same manor. If your business isn't found or engaging enough, customers are going elsewhere at light speed. To further that statement, the experience they find while using your site, is exactly how they perceive working with your organization to be. It's your corporate image. It's your credibility and it tells how well run your organization is, be it corporate, a government agency or a charitable organization.
Not many people will ever see your place of work, but chances are they will visit your website at all hours of the day. Just ask your analytics guy. People follow up in the evening, weekends and at all hours of the day outside of normal business hours. It's how research is done. The more advanced will employ secondary research groups to dig deeper, but generally what they see in the search results or after trying a few URL's (domain names) is it.
Two key points for making more money. Get a great domain name for your business and keeping acquiring them while they are inexpensive. Some businesses own hundreds of thousands of names. Disney has about 20k names, some pharmaceutical companies own even more. The internet isn't going anywhere and isn't going to be replaced anytime in the next 30 years. Names you could have bought 10 years ago for a few thousand will never be available for sale again for less. Buy words in English and .com extensions. These will always be the best most memorable search friendly names that bring affluent customers to your door.
Build a scalable and dynamic website. Keep adding relevant content and you'll keep driving targeted traffic. If you sell widgets, you want to attract people buying widgets. Your website needs to the best you can present for your market and dynamic. Dynamic is fresh, evolving content and interactive. Interactivity is how you listen to your customer's needs. This is how to communicate, make it easy and make it fun, gamify it.
Read more on web development and building your user engagement here.
Writing is a huge part of building a great website and also the point where most sites fall short. Writing content isn't easy for most developers, they are good with the technical end and years ago with Visual Basic, I remember contests where it would challenge developers to write a function with less words last guy. Kind of like the show Name That Tune, where contestants had to identify a song within a few beats. Writers do a similar thing with landing the hook in the first sentence of a book. The challenge is can you grab the reader's attention and hold it with the first sentence. I've come up with a great one for a book I'll finish someday so I'm not going to reveal it here. One of my favorite comes from British historian and author Stewart Colette in his book Mumba. Here it is, "When you fall in love after the age of thirty, it's usually with someone else's wife." And, the Snoopy classic, "It was a dark and stormy night".
I enjoy writing without all the syntax and code sometimes, simply just to paint the picture with words is a true art, almost a lost art. Programming is art form, too. It's satisfying building a site and seeing it all come together, both form and function. The only drawback to coding is that the language changes often and web programming is an incorporation of many languages. For people outside the industry this would be like having to do your job in Russian and Italian starting next month. It has stabilized in the last 7 years and that's made development very productive.
There's a lot to learn in web development, you have to be a designer, graphic artist, software developer, marketing professional and author to make something worth going to. I am a one man band that enjoys getting it all done. If you're looking to have some work done, I'm looking for a good client. Feel free to call or send a message and let's see what you have in mind.
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Found a great show on SC eTV, StartUp-USA. The host Gary Bredow provides a candid and in depth view of start up companies and their founders. Great for the aspiring entrepreneur and anyone that's considering stepping out on their own. .
They interviewed the owners of companies that had varying levels of success, each with a unique path of tribulations and victories. I though the show was well done. The interviewer asked the questions you'd want to know the answer to and a nice graphic visual on the funding timelines.
If their show isn't available in your area you can watch episodes from their website at StartUp-USA.com