Don’t Worry About Validation
Being afraid to ask questions to your online community will only hinder your progress. Get your validation from offline sources of your life, like work, sport or hobbies.
Have a Vested Interest
Like a website with a clear commercial nature. If you don’t know what you’re trying to sell and to whom, you will flounder about in mediocrity.
Plan Your Tests
Before you start them. If you’re starting a PPC campaign for example, take the time to read up on different testing methods and the steps involved.
Keep It Simple
It’s easy to become overwhelmed. Take everything one step at a time and don’t be too fancy – you have enough on your plate.
One of the reasons small business can’t live without SEO is that fact that it is one of the only marketing channels available where the smaller players can compete with, and even trump big business.
Consider the marketing alternatives and the costs associated with achieving global exposure on TV, Radio or Newspaper?
So how exactly can small business utilise search marketing to compete and even thrive on the web while big business can’t?
1. Focus on the Longtail
The basic premise of the Longtail is that our culture and economy is shifting away from mainstream products and markets to a number of small, specific niches. Many of the typical constraints such as production, distribution and marketing are changing and being alleviated by technology and the internet.
Take a big site like Amazon, they must cover all their bases and sell a large number of unique items in smaller quantity. However, when consumers are faced with unlimited choice, shopping around to get exactly what you’re after becomes much easier. Niches are so successful because they allow people to satisfy and fulfil their specific interests.
With SEO it is easy to measure exactly how profitable your different niches are so that you can focus on the highest performing ones.
2. Unlimited Ad Budget
Traditional marketing tells us that we need to ‘set a budget’ for our marketing costs. When you can measure the exact cost of a conversion, why not simply keep purchasing ads while it’s profitable? As long as every ad click is costing you less than you’re making from that click (accounting for overheads), then there’s no reason to threshold your budget.
In big business, how often have you heard a marketer tell you ‘we don’t have the budget for that at the moment‘?
As a small business, armed with the tangible information of digital ads, you can now say ‘we have an unlimited budget for ads that work‘.
3. Create Valuable Alliances
Unburdened by bureaucracy, small business can easily align with other business’ when it’s mutually beneficial. Big business can often be slow to change because of procedures and legal issues making it take much longer to create strategic partnerships.
Ask your strategic partners to link to you and they will do your marketing for you. Make it easy and beneficial for them to talk about you and they won’t be able to help themselves.
4. The Personal Touch
How often have you phoned a call centre, only to be greeted by a faceless voice that tells you they can’t help because ‘it’s not standard procedure‘?
Small business has the luxury of taking the time to add that personal touch. If it makes sense to both the business and the customer, why not break the rules? When you can give people something they don’t expect you’re giving them a reason to remember and talk about you.
Rather than trying to disguise it, emphasise the fact that you’re small. Shout out the advantages to the customer; lower overheads, faster responses and savings passed onto the customer.
5. Change Often, and Quickly
With so many freely available research tools, it’s easy to stay on top of trends and discover new niches. When there is a shift in direction in a market, how long does it take a big business to react?
Small business has the advantage of flexibility. If it makes sense to change, you can do something totally different tomorrow. If it doesn’t work out, change again.
This post was written by Jack Archbold, a contributing author to Superuser and freelance SEO and Trainer.
Photo by Fisserman.
Selecting a Webhost can be a daunting task, particularly if you’ve had no prior experience in the process. With so much competition, fake reviews and scams it’s hard to figure out just who to go with.
Before choosing your host, ask yourself these questions:
1. What would happen if my site went down?
2. Would I lose customers as a result?
3. What would the net cost of losing those customers be in real terms?
4. Would I be harmed in any other way? i.e. Not being indexed by search engines or losing potential incoming links
It’s worth paying for a quality host
If you’re creating a website with business in mind, then by answering the above questions it’s likely you can see the value in paying for a decent host. However, even if you’re just wanting to host a blog, or a hobby-related site it still may be worth paying for quality to save you time and energy.
Always research your host
Before making a purchase based on gut feeling or whether their site looks nice, it’s always a good idea to do research around the host you’re considering going with. Simply do some searches of “host + complaints”, if it’s a dodgy host this should quickly reveal warning signs to you.
Fake review sites
It’s a better idea to search for “host + complaints” as opposed to “host + review” because many scammy hosts will go so far as to setup a bunch of fake review sites and aggressively SEO them so they rank for the top review search results.
What should I look for in a host?
If you have specific software you wish to use then you should definitely check the requirements and ensure the host can provide those. However if you’re interested in a faily simple page or a blog then generally look for:
• the ability to create sub domains
• The ability to modify your .HTACCESS
• Cron Jobs
• Ruby On Rails
Another factor to consider is hosting with a provider in your own country. This will give you a relevancy boost for local searches.
Hosting multiple sites on different domains
If you’re just want to host a blog you may be better of going for standard web hosting, however if you plan to setup multiple sites it is worth considering going with a host that will let you host sites of different IP addresses. Although considerably more expensive you will have the benefit of being able to link between your sites and have the link equity count towards ranking, an example of such a hosting provider is Pair Hosting.