What is a Content Management System?

One of the most important factors in building a website today is maintaining it. In the past, this meant hiring a professional web master to keep your website up to date and to add/edit any content on the website.

Technology has changed and it’s now easier than ever to manage the content of your website without a web master. A content management system will provide you with all the tools you will ever need to manage your website’s content, media, and search engine optimization strategies.

There are numerous platforms available for free, but some of these usually require a little technical knowledge to set up. Hiring a web programmer to install a free content management system is relatively inexpensive and often is the only expense involved.

These are the platforms we recommend:

  • WordPress (the most popular CMS/blogging software available today)
  • Joomla!
  • Drupal

All three of the above mentioned are available for free and have a large community of developers and support groups. They are very easy to install, even for beginners, and they work right out of the box.

Key Benefits of a CMS:

  • Password protected management section
  • Ability to manage your site 24/7 as long as you have an internet connection
  • Update, add, or delete any content on your site
  • Media management
  • Social network integration
  • User management
  • SEO integration

Another benefit of using any of the recommended CMS’s is the ability to expand your website by utilizing the community associated with the platform you choose. For example,  Wordpress has over 11,000 available plug-ins that can make your site function and look completely different from the default installation. From simple form submissions to complex database queries, there is usually an existing plug-in that can do what you need.

If you are in the process of building a new website, you should absolutely consider building it on top of a CMS. It may take a little longer to build, but the management of the website after its completion will save you more time and money than you can afford to throw away.


Breaking Down The F-Shaped Pattern For Better Website Design And Sales

It’s very important to understand how the design of your website effects how a user interacts with it. There is a very specific zone that researchers have confirmed to be the most important part of your website’s design, the “F” Zone (or the “F-shaped pattern“). This is the pattern that your site visitors will use to scan your website on their maiden visit.

What Is The F-Shaped Pattern?

When a user first lands on your site, they first glance at the header, the top of the “F”. They then scan down the left side of the website which is the vertical foundation of the “F”, and finally they then scan right below the header finishing the final piece of the “F”.

Research shows that these areas of your site should contain the most important details about your business, and also contain easy contact, or call to action, methods. The more prominence this information is given within the confines of the F-shaped pattern, the more likely your site visitors are to engage you.

Take a look at your existing website with the “F” zone factor in mind. If after performing this test, you don’t feel like your “F” zone is offering the right information, it may be time to consider redesigning your website.

Just remember, if it is that time, make sure to use the “F” zone to your advantage.


How do you market your website

How do you even begin to answer this question, right?

Well, the easiest and most important answer, derived from the title of this post, is a simple yes or no. Do you market your website at all?

If the answer is “no”, you need to re-evaluate the expectations of your website and read this entire article and explore our website in much greater detail.

If the answer is “yes”, you are most definitely in a better position than those who answered “no” and should still read this entire article and explore our website to ensure you’re doing it right.

If your answer was “no”, please consider the following statement as a professional tip, and not a slap on the hand. If you have a website, but don’t market it, how do you expect people to find it? Marketing a website is just like marketing a brick and mortar business. You can’t just slap a sign on a building and expect business to spontaneously erupt. You have to cultivate it over a period of time and continually fine tune your marketing efforts until your business grows into a brand that people recognize and trust.

This same concept goes for your website, and I assure you, this is one million times more important than offline marketing. Why?

  1. There are billions of web pages on the internet compared to your local/national/international competition. You’re competing with them all for Search Engine Rankings.
  2. The internet is the go-to resource for almost all products and services purchased in today’s economy.
  3. The opportunity to grow your business using the internet is far greater than growing your business the traditional way. There are billions of web searches everyday and I guarantee a shocking amount of those searches are related to your area of expertise.

If you’re doing no marketing at all, or don’t have a website to market, we encourage you to assess the value of owning, and/or marketing a website. Contact us and we’ll be happy to get you started. It’s easier than you think.

If you answered yes, you should write down the marketing adventures you have taken to date, and make sure the following are on the list. Remember, this list only pertains to online marketing.

  • SEO | Has your site been optimized for the SERP’s? (Search engine results page)
  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click)
  • Social Media Outreach

Please also remember that Google is not the only search engine out there. You may answer, yes, we do PPC, but do you only do Google Adwords? Did you know that Yahoo and Bing also offer PPC advertising? Even more important, the most popular social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter also offer PPC at great prices. The lesson there; don’t limit yourself, explore all options.

The true secret to marketing your website is not actually a secret at all. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of websites online totally dedicated to explaining the different aspects of Internet Marketing. If you do a search in your favorite search engine for “internet marketing techniques“, you’ll be over whelmed at the options available to you. You’ll probably be disappointed to learn that you will need some assistance with a lot of these techniques but you’ll also find quite a bit that you’ll be able to do on your own.

The most important thing is that you start marketing your website immediately.

Try this:

  1. Visit your favorite Search Engine
  2. Using keywords, search for things that are relevant to your business (don’t search your business name, although, there is a lesson to be learned there too!)
  3. Study the search engine results.

Did you find any companies that you are in direct competition with?

Did you find your company? If so, on what page of the SERP’s did you show up?

This simple test will prove, above and beyond any research you do, that it’s time to market your business online as soon as possible. If the competition is ranking higher than you, chances are, they’ve already dived into the world of Internet Marketing and you  have a lot of catching up to do.


Be Invited. DON’T Invite Yourself!

The other day I was speaking to someone about Internet Marketing and how to be successful for the long haul. In particular, we were talking about a certain celebrity and not wanting to be like them.

In a moment of Zen, something came out of my mouth that struck home. Do things that get you invited and make sure you do not invite yourself!

But isn’t Marketing about inviting yourself? Marketing is about putting your product in front of people and that’s why we do it!

Well, yes… and no. There are correct and incorrect ways to market. This celebrity, for example, has done everything they can to force themselves into the public’s eye. While they are “hot” right now, they came on so quick they will burn out. They never build a loyal fan base!

Sure, they have and will make some money. But how much more could they have made if they had done it the correct way with a plan that builds longevity?

Think about the last time you were heading to a party and the different feelings you had going there with an invitation versus just hearing about it and showing up? Remember the reactions from the people there when you walked in the door? When you are looking at your internet marketing strategy, always understand you will be more successful using the tools that get you invited onto computer screens than forcing yourself on them.

What are some of the things you should focus on?

The search engines for starters. When someone enters a search and you appear because you are ranked and did things the right way - that is powerful. You are marketing yourself to be put in front of their request. Just make sure what they click on is what they want and you are set up to convert!

Social Media is another great area to use. Having a following of people because they like you and you don’t always try to sell them is helpful. People like that. Plus, when you act as an expert and give good advice, more customers will start to listen to you based on your quality contributions.

Blogs are great option also. Write something that you are passionate about! People will read it. People will also start to want to know more about the author (you) and your knowledge on the products you blog about.

And what should you avoid?

Forcing yourself into the rankings. When you buy “bad” links that might come with some quantity but do not add value to your site, you put yourself in danger of hurting more than helping. Plus, consumers are better at noticing who should be there and who shouldn’t! Take the time to get the rankings correctly and it will have a much greater ROI.

Your website has to be able to handle the customer. There is nothing worse than putting your website on the front page when you can’t back up your talk. How many times have you spread the word of someone who gave you horrible service? How many times have you spread the word of someone who did their job? There is a reason why websites such as Rip Off Report exist!

SPAM. Do not get on Twitter, Facebook or a variety of other sites and send SPAM links out. I don’t even want to waste the time explaining this one. Advertising under some other category and misleading customers when they click your link because it takes them to your site which is completely different - also a “no no.” Internet users are more savvy this day in age and hit the back button pretty quick if it’s not what they want.

I do want to note: some things work for the short period that you typically want to avoid. If done correctly these can be used to accomplish your goals… but your internet marketing company can typically advise you about what’s best.


2010 Is The Year Of Internet Marketing

Note: Jeff Plucker is the newest addition to the ProspectMX team of internet marketing consultants. If your company is in need of SEO or internet marketing in the Atlanta-area and you’re interested in learning more about how ProspectMX can boost your business in 2010, please contact him.

Question: How much do you know about your website and internet business?

What percentage of your revenue is generated online? How many people search for your business? How many people search for what services your business offers? If you increased your online presence by (fill in the blank) percentage what would that do to your bottom line?

Roughly 2 billion searches are done everyday on Google! Is your piece of the internet pie what you want or know you can have?

You can write me a check, I’ll take a picture of it with my cell phone and immediately have it deposited into my account. Takes all of about 2 minutes…

As for traditional advertising… TV, radio, magazines, billboard, etc… while there is a decline in their quantity and effectiveness, I will admit they are not going away. However, newspapers are widely shutting down, going online, or drastically reducing their staff to cope with the change. And how many of you now record shows so you can skip the commercials? With the iPod, CDs and satellite radio who really listens to their radio anymore?

More and more people are “living” on their computer. My brother, for example, shut off his cable and uses the internet’s many options to watch TV, movies, gather news and communicate.

What does all this mean? It means that 2010 is the Year of Internet Marketing!

Get The Most Out Of The Year Of Internet Marketing

“As of 2009, an estimated quarter of Earth’s population uses the services of the Internet.” - Wikipedia.

2010 is the year that successful companies will realize they must have a proactive approach to the internet in order to maximize their overall marketing and sales goals. They must capitalize on the internet’s power and mobility:

  • increasing traffic to their website
  • converting the traffic into a lead or the lead into a sale

Companies will be capturing the interest of roughly 1.5 billion people that are online everyday. Trust me…this is a piece of pie you want to have!

But what does internet marketing really entail? Is it as simple as just having a website? Or doing a PPC campaign? Or using Social Media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter? Am I restricted to just my website? Or is it one of the dozens of other services out there?

To give a short answer… a true internet marketing campaign entails everything that the internet offers. And everything the internet offers is extensive. Since no one wants to read a blog longer than War and Peace, I will break it down as simple as possible.

The Building Blocks Of Great Internet Marketing

It all starts with the website. People want pretty, but a website needs certain things that sometimes makes pretty - well, pretty difficult. Once you have the design then you must make sure it’s optimized. Pretty doesn’t sell blue widgets. Starting to get a little discomfort in your head?

You must optimize for the search engines. What does that mean? How about your conversion ability? It’s great that you have 1000 people coming to your website a week.  But if they aren’t converting - what have you really accomplished?

What keywords do you rank for? How ARE people coming and how MANY people are coming to your site? What is your competition doing?

Oh… and does anyone have some Tylenol? I have a full blown headache.

The Marketing Piece Of Internet Marketing

Now that we have the website ready - what’s next? Now you have to get it seen. Since you don’t just want your friends and current customers being the only ones on your website - do you do organic? Pay per click? Now more questions come up…

How do I do that? Where do I do that? Is it more important to go from 5th to 2nd, or 12th to 8th? How long does it take? What are the benefits of one versus the other? Are these the only two options?

What happens if I just want to skip this step and use social media marketing? But Facebook will not help my business you say? Twitter is for celebrities like Ashton Kutcher… not my multi-million dollar business! Think again. You have customers that love you… now let’s use them to spread the love!

What about using other people’s websites? What happens when someone uses the internet to harm your business? What can you do? And can it be done wrong? Will Google punish you if it’s done incorrectly? How about blogs, articles, press releases, forums, etc?

Ahhhh… please get me the Extra Strength Tylenol… it’s a full migraine now!

Hire The Right Internet Marketing Firm

How do I know which internet marketing firm is correct for me? How do I know it’s not someone that just wants my money? Or a kid sitting in his basement that I never see? Can you really know “what I want” by just a 15 minute conversation on the phone? Or more importantly can you really know “what I need?”

Because I might want the fries… but an apple is better.

So… 2010 is the year of Internet Marketing. It’s the year more and more companies will maximize their online presence. But it’s important to do it correctly. And it’s important to hire the right firm.

But mostly - it’s important to start early! This is one area you don’t want to wait while your competitor is doing it.

Yes… keep up with the Joneses on this one!