Why Show Up?

Today at the store, we had not one, not two, but three repeat customers come through our doors. They were greeted like family.

Just like they should be.

And the sales we’re good.

It didn’t happen by magic or some kinda voodoo.

It happened by showing up… Every single day.

You must focus on what is absolutely critical to your business. If you a blogger spending that 30 minutes a day to flush out a blog post is key to your success. A realtor paycheck is directly related to how many lead gen activities you do. In retail keeping the door open is vital.

Am I saying it has to be you ringing the register. No.

What I’m saying is to step back sometimes and see if what you’re working on is really moving your business forward.

In Mastering the Rockefeller Habits (A fantastic book by the way) the author talks about how just doing 1 thing that keeps your business moving forward has a dramatic impact by the end of the year. Think about it. 365 things that are absolutely nagging you about your business will be fixed one year from now if you implement this.

But, you must show up to do them.

In the store next to me, it has closed 4 and opened 5 times since we started our business.

The people who ran those businesses didn’t show up. They are no longer there.

That is the consequence of not showing up in the retail business.

Another, more positive example is a wholesale supplier that updates their website everyday with at least 2 dozen new products. Clearly that doesn’t work in every industry. Imagine if you were Net Jets, introducing a new program everyday would be really strange if not corporate suicide. But, you get my point. You have to do the most important thing in your business everyday.

Today, was a good day for the business. Tomorrow? Who knows.

But, at least I’ll be there to find out.

- Mark

Sunday Links

I wanted to start this week off school with a new feature that I’ll be doing on Sunday. It’s called Sunday Links (for lack of a better name) and it will feature 3 of the best articles that I have come across this week.

Here they are…

The Billion Dollar Smart Cover via Asymco.com
http://www.asymco.com/2011/03/13/the-billion-dollar-smart-cover/

“It gives an insight on how an up sell can be inhernetly designed in an offer. I was walking around Downtown Disney and they not but three different up sells right at the register. This is what the corporate is doing to increase their margins. Also, the last line is really compelling but a very good point.”

JetPack for WordPress
http://jetpack.me/2011/03/09/blast-off/

“Matt Mullenweg talks about his vision of WordPress JetPack which is a plugin that brings the best features of WP.com to the self hosted version. This are some really cool features in the plugin bundle and it will replace several plugin installs in just one big ol’ pack. Now where is Rocket Man when I need him.”
10 Tips on Adding Content Marketing to Your Mix
http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/03/10-tips-content-marketing/

“In this post I talked about how adding content to your eCommerce store is a surefire way to get a boost of rankings in the search engines so, here is a good checklist to think about when adding content to your site.”

That will do it for this week’s edition of Sunday Links, enjoy your Sunday.

- Mark

New (Feb 2011) Google Algorithm Change Results

Google once again made this announcement today indicating that there will be a significant change in their algorithm which will affect approximately 11% of the search results.

Whenever Google makes a change like this site owners take notice. Important to note: If you own a local small business the majority of these change will not affect you primarily because when someones types your company name and or the service you provide then “generally” you site in your local area is the most relevant. So it will show near the top of the pages.

Obviously there are ton of factors that go into ranking a page in Google but it seems it all comes back to relevance. Keep that in mind as you tackle the SEO of your site.

I have not seen any significant changes in my sites as of yet. Most of the pages are basically where they were before the change.

One thing I have noticed is some of eZine articles and squidoo lenses are not being ranked as well.

Also, I have noticed some of the Hub Pages links not ranking as high, going from position 4 down to position 33.

For some bizarre reasons eHow and Wikihow has not been affected. But, the other article/how to sites have been. Google seems to have labeled those sites as “spammy” or certainly less relevant for folks who are searching the internet.

Regular websites (html, WordPress, etc) has not changed in the serps. Even my 1 page sales letters seem to be totally unaffected.

I am still looking into this, and what it all means. If I find anything else going on, especially if it impacts eCommerce sites I will let you know.

Are you guys seeing the same results? Leave your comments below.

- Mark

 

Increasing The Value of Your Website

Gold by D'Arcy Norman

Increasing the Value of Your Website

I was browsing the just ended “aisle” at Flippa.com and I started to notice a trend among some of the websites that were fetching premium dollars over some of the other sites.

The distinguishing factor was revenue.

Depending on whether the site had even $1 in revenue could be the difference of hundreds of dollars in the ending price.

So, in this post I wanted to share with you some of my observations,and things that I see in my business when it comes to increasing the value of your website.

SELL SOMETHING

If you want to sell your internet empire one day for a profit then you better get some “real world” revenue at the end of all those bits.

One of the best ways to do this is to actually sell something. I know this seems obvious but so many people mess this part up.

Jay Abraham calls this phenomena, “selling from your heels”.

Think about it.

If the primary focus of your website is to turn a profit, then everything about it should be geared toward fulfilling this goal.

There are two categories of products that you can sell. Physical and Digital. Let’s begin with physical…

PHYSICAL PRODUCTS

This is what I do a lot of,  primarily because of my retail background.

If you are not in retail or do not currently have a physical product that you are manufacturing than this category is considerably more difficult than selling digital products. Using micro niche sites I have the content (blog posts, articles, pages, buyer’s guides, etc) and SEO properties of the website all geared toward the one thing that I want to sell.

This helps climb the Google rankings, and also provides some extremely relevant information to a niche that is generally underserved. Also I go through great lengths and testing to find the right price point and product mix.

The simple truth is people like buying stuff.

And if you have the goods that folks are looking for (on the web) than it can be an easy sell. Believe me, Amazon doesn’t have to break my arm when it comes to buying the next school text-book I need. They just sit there quietly optimizing, and making sure the goods are in stock.

When a customer wants something they go to Google (or Amazon) and… Voila! There is the item. If you don’t have it the customer scurries on to the next dealer and so on until they find what they’re looking for.

The major takeaway here is that you must have the goods if you want to play in the physical product game.

DIGITAL PRODUCTS

I love these things. The idea of selling an extremely high profit margin product, with no delivery costs is very tempting and can be incredibly lucrative.

However, it’s not easy. In fact selling a digital product online through SEO is tough.

It’s not impossible, but be prepared to suck wind for a while.

Until you build a list, or know how to utilize PPC very well, or deploy market leadership strategies, or have some monster backlinking strategies. This arena is tough. One of my strategies in 2011 to improve my profits is to do more market leadership (like this site).

With the exploding growth in apps, and fantastic delivery options for publishers this is the part of my business that I am looking to grow in 2011. Adding a digital product to your website is an excellent way to monetize and ultimately add a ton value (in terms of revenue) to your web page.

Traffic By Design By Zouny

Does your website attract buying traffic?

IS IT BUYING TRAFFIC?

One important thing to keep in mind as you build out your site is to do a check to see if your niche has buying traffic. A way to test for this is to build out your site, and once you start getting some traffic see if they click on an ad, or hit the buy button.

For physical products, I find a good conversion rate is .25-.50% same thing goes for digital. If 1 out of 200 visitors click the buy button that is a decent conversion rate when you are just starting out. obviously, if you can do better, great. But, I like to stay conservative.

ARTICLES & CONTENT

Adding articles, video, podcasts, etc. All add some value to the site. However, depending on the quality of the content is how much value they will bring when the site goes up for auction. The big thing to keep in mind about content is it builds page rank, and gets you traffic.

Both of these factors will have an impact when you go to sell your site.

DOMAIN NAME

Selecting a great domain name with some “on target” keyword phrases is a great way to build value to your site.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind when you are browsing for a domain…

  • .COM is always better. It’s getting difficult to get an on target keyword domain but this is still the marquee of all domain names.
  • Do your research first. Find out the traffic numbers a competition of your target key phrase. Use Market Samurai to find all of this out.
  • Under 20 characters. Keep it short and the domain name’s value increases.
  • No Hyphens.
  • No Misspellings.

There are full Internet Marketing courses about domaining that are available in the market because this topic can be incredibly complex. However, just start having a look around Flippa.com. You will start to notice the sites that pull the “big dollars” are the ones that follow these classic domain name conventions.

THE BUILD OUT

You can increase the value of your website by doing the build out for people. Building websites still costs money, and time. (Even if it is relatively cheap.)

If you can do the build out in a professional and high quality way then it will increase the overall value of your site. I use WooThemes or Elegant Themes as the basis for my websites. WooThemes Canvas Theme is an ideal template to work from.

If you are not technical than you should learn how to outsource this side of the business. Do not get bogged down in the details. You have to launch your site at some time, and you can always do iterations.

Just get it going!

People pay for quality. So, the more skilled your design team is and how well your site converts is all going to impact the overall value of your website.

LOW VS. HIGH?

Articles/content and the build out are two low value added activities. Even though these two tasks add some value; it is in no way compared to the proper domain name and revenue the site generates. I bet you can tell what the high value activities are…

WHAT TO START ON FIRST…

The income generated from your website is the most vital part of adding value. Money, is the true factor that gets your website to go from $50 to $1000. This fact parallels with my retail experience no matter how good your site looks, or what location it is in. It is the income that rings through the register that makes the difference in the asking price of a business or website.

WHY AM I DOING THIS?

I hope by now you can see where I’m going with this. The reason for doing all this hard work to your website is… To sell it one day.

Hopefully for hefty profit.

Right now I’m building my business on this very assumption. I’m getting the income (cash flow) today, with the increase in value (upside) when I go to sell it tomorrow.

That will do it for this time. I hope you got something out of this post. If you did, please pass it along through the interwebs.

Talk soon,
Mark Del Degan