Jump to content

Cre8asiteforums Internet Marketing
and Conversion Web Design


Photo

$2000 For a Search Engine Thrill Ride...


  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#1 sanity

sanity

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 6889 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 12:27 AM

$2000 For a Search Engine Thrill Ride and Low Conversions?

Kim (cre8pc) has writen one of the most thought provoking posts on SEO and conversions I have ever seen:

Dear mom and pop. For $2000, make sure the web site works for the people you built it for.


Well worth a discussion. :applause:

#2 BillSlawski

BillSlawski

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 15644 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 02:15 AM

Web site optimization is vital, and can't be emphasized enough.

All of the linkbuilding and traffic building in the world are immaterial if people can't or won't use a site.

It goes beyond usability, to other areas like credibility, and persuasiveness, too.

Rand wandered into some similar ground, from a slightly different perspective over at SEOMoz yesterday:

SEO vs. Conversion Debate Shouldn't Exist
http://www.seomoz.or...tail.php?ID=744

#3 Ruud

Ruud

    Hall of Fame

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 4887 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 08:16 AM

With prices being what they are I certainly would spend my $2000 budget on out-house SEO.

Usability (or call it sensability) would come first.

I scour a large number of news sites. Many of them aren't the smallest out there and it does still surprise me to see an ad dynamically written in the document followed by

);document.write(' '); document.write(' '); } else if (!(navigator.appName && navigator.appName.indexOf("Netscape")>=0 && navigator.appVersion.indexOf("2.")>=0)) {document.write(''); } //-->

These professionaly designed sites (large budget) make the IE using owner very proud while 25% of its visitors see the darndest things on it.

No, if I were a mom & pop store and I had $2000 to spend on my site, I would buy myself some hours free of regular work. Then I would look at my favorite, trusted sites while very now and then clicking back to mine. Once I knew for myself what could be done better I would spend the remainder on a dedicated budget-concious person who loves to work with small sites.

#4 Jammer

Jammer

    Gravity Master Member

  • Members
  • 123 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 08:28 AM

My 2000$ would certainly not be spent on (direct) search engine optimisation. Alistapart.com once featured an article titled something like "Accessibility is Search Engine Optimization". I pretty much agree with that.

Designing with webstandards almost automatically means you'll get a website which is both accessible and usable. As a bonus it's SEO'd as well (at least 99 times out of a hundred).

If my mom & pop were to have a website (which is highly unlikely :) ) a 2000 dollar budget would be enough for the entire website. Not just the SEO...

#5 cre8pc

cre8pc

    Dream Catcher Forums Founder

  • Admin - Top Level
  • 13681 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 10:46 AM

2000 dollar budget would be enough for the entire website. Not just the SEO...


Right.

The very reason these sites are "mom and pop's" is because in so many cases they are literally working from the kitchen table. Not because they can, but because they must.

My SEO career was entirely made up of small biz clients in the 1990's because then there was a burst of "I have to have a web site" needs. Nobody was thinking of good design or credibility or persuasive design then - not the way it's on minds nowadays.

I'm guessing that Mike Grehan, when he asked the $2000 question, was only thinking in terms of marketing. He wasn't saying, "If you only had $2000, what would you spend it on." It may sound like it, but I'd be surprised if that's what he was thinking.

I think he genuinely wanted to know what $2000 would buy a small time operator.

But, for many of us, the question is pointing to a dangerous idea, which is limit where to place the bulk of one's small budget.

I'm happy you liked the blog post Sophie :)

#6 DonnaFontenot

DonnaFontenot

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 3828 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 11:03 AM

Great post, Kim. This whole discussion interested me from the start, because, as I called myself in one of my own blog posts, I consider myself to be a Blue Collar SEO. My definition for that is "I work in the trenches with small sites that have no reputation to precede them, and no budget to speak of."

For $2000, I have often done quite a lot for a small company that encompassed both SEO and usability. Sometimes, it only takes a few minor tweaks to turn a site that visitors would hate into a site that they would love. Your example of asking for a users uber-private information would take ... what... 5 minutes to undo?

So, let's say there are 10 major faux pas' on the site (in usability terms), each taking up to 1/2 hour to rectify. 5 hours of time, even at $100/hour, would still leave 3/4 of the budget left over. Most of us can do onpage optimization with our eyes closed by now, so that part can often be accomplished pretty quickly. Now, we still have time to get them some decent backlinks.

Granted, $2000 is never going to make them rank #1 for vi@gr@, but many mom and pops can easily compete for their target market, if they have a decent, seo'd site, with some decent backlinks, and are aiming at the right keywords.

I know that $2000 can really help a mom and pop, because I've done it myself. The few times I've had to tell someone they couldn't afford the changes was when their site was far too messed up (and too big to easily change it). But 90% of the ones I've come across don't have that problem. They just need a few nudges in the right direction.

#7 bwelford

bwelford

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 9023 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 11:11 AM

My SEO career was entirely made up of small biz clients in the 1990's because then there was a burst of "I have to have a web site" needs.

I think this is an excellent thread. It's all about where do you put your $s and your own time and efforts. Mike Grehan's article that you refer to in your blog post, Kim, suggests that you largely forget SEO if you only have a budget of $1,000. This all has got me thinking that my next newsletter is going to be titled, "Do you really need a website?" :) Oops perhaps this is the wrong place to mention that!

Edited by bwelford, 25 January 2006 - 11:11 AM.


#8 dgeary9

dgeary9

    Mach 1 Member

  • Members
  • 334 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 12:26 PM

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. About half of my web analytics work is done for very small businesses. I wouldn't call them "mom&pop" - IMHO, anyone with $2000 to blow on their website is a step above that. Same general industry perspective though, most web analytics professionals laugh at the idea of doing anything for a client for less than 5 figures.

Personally, I like the work - it's a lot more holistic than working with larger clients. I get brought in to help with some web analytics, and I end up sticking my nose in usability, marketing strategy, content dev... (and trying to avoid SEO until I know more :) ). I think clients show up with a "name" for their need ("I need SEO/analytics/marketing help"), but what they really want is a website that works better.

I have to say though, if I were prioritizing where I thought someone with $2000 should spend their budget, I don't know that I'd put usability first, as important as it is. I'd think I'd advise them to put most of it towards talking with someone that could help them build a good marketing strategy, and point them in the direction of good self-help resources to execute on that strategy. There are definitely some mom&pop websites out there that have good SEO and bad usability, but my subjective guess is that there are vast numbers more with manageable usability and no traffic.

Deb

#9 Ruud

Ruud

    Hall of Fame

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 4887 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 12:55 PM

Personally, I like the work


It's great, eh? Count me in too. One of my sales points is that I don't work for but prefer to work with. A site, a project, has to become more than a little bit "yours" or you don't put in that extra umph a good project so often needs.

I find that with smaller setups it is often easier to get both parties to function that way. The <buzz word alert> synergy it creates is a very satisfying experience for both parties.

what they really want is a website that works better


Spot on. Here too with a smaller setup you stand a better chance of working together and saying "well, yes, you ask for X but when I'm honest with you you should get Y".

Love your view and ethos!

#10 dgeary9

dgeary9

    Mach 1 Member

  • Members
  • 334 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 02:31 PM

It's great, eh? Count me in too...Love your view and ethos!

View Post


That figures, the great Canadian ethos, small is better :) .

(fellow Canuck somehow trapped in the land down south...)

#11 randfish

randfish

    Hall of Fame

  • Members
  • 937 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 02:36 PM

I've said no to so many companies now because their site, service or product simply wasn't worhty of ranking in the top 10 spots.

If you've got a great business and a great site, what do you do with $2000 to promote it. That's how I was interpreting Mike's challenge.

Kim - I should have made a 6th option (for the "got a crappy site" set) :)

#12 Ruud

Ruud

    Hall of Fame

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 4887 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 05:53 PM

That's when it's great when you can beyond SEO and say "listen, we need to work on your site man, seriously".

I hardly need to sell "no" but sometimes the "yes, but..." is too costly for people, no matter how genuinly you want to work with them.

#13 cre8pc

cre8pc

    Dream Catcher Forums Founder

  • Admin - Top Level
  • 13681 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 06:48 PM

It may be easier to pay for marketing and seo and avoid any site evaluation because for many folks, getting a site review is downright scary.

As hard as I try to present bad news in a nice way, and try to convey that I never critique the art of design, some folks will still come away insisting I shot an arrow into their heart.

For a site that looks fine and professional I can always find conversions issues, abandonment, confusion, broken links, faulty navigation, content that is hard to understand and sometimes I can't understand the value proposition or complete an assigned task which was intended to generate a sale or some form of revenue.

Its never ever my wish to make anyone feel badly about their site. Rather, my goal is to find where it's broken and help find ways to fix it so that when people run a search, find it and click into it, they stay there.

I guess my point is that I wonder if sometimes its not how much money someone will pay to get help with their site, but what kind of help they can emotionally handle.

With smaller businesses, the designer is often the same person who owns the site, makes the products it sells, writes the content, designed the logo, and is figuring out how to bid on keywords and buy Google Ads.

To me, we're talking about how to do business with two very different target clients - corporate or small business or sole owner/johnny do it all.

Okay, that's 3 targets. :)

#14 dgeary9

dgeary9

    Mach 1 Member

  • Members
  • 334 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 07:39 PM

Lots of times small business owners can be really attached to their creations, but I've also found them to be incredibly responsive to demonstrated ROI - e.g. "I suggested you fix that, you did, now you're making more money, here's my next suggestion..." If I put a little bit of time into building that trust (e.g. being right a few times without challenging their most preciously held design elements), I often get far more interest in my data than I do in larger companies, which tend to have a lot of "yes, but..." syndrome (too many people with a vested interest in resisting change). Only one person to convince can be challenging, but once you have them convinced, you can have so much fun!

#15 projectphp

projectphp

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 3935 posts

Posted 25 January 2006 - 07:57 PM

I think that if you have $2,000 to spend, you will spend it, fullstop :)

IMHO, a far better approach for Mom, Pop, Single Guy and Divorcee by 23 is to get educated. A large corporation can throw money ata problem without really "getting it", but a small business needs to understand what they are doing, at the very least in big picture sense.

For that reason, I like Ruud's suggestion above, about buying some time, but I would add that personally, I would spend at least a quarter of the $$ on educational material, be those books, ebooks or whatever. That way, you get at least an overview of the Brazillian things a small enterprise needs to be able to keep ontop of.

I also think the $2,000 question forgets the biggest assets small businesses have: time and enthusiasm. If the focus is on how little $$ you have, you need to balance that with time, effort and education. The equation for business is pretty simple:

Value of idea * Money To Invest * time and effort = results

That is the equation to balance. You need a valid business idea to start with, obviously. But increase the money to invest, and you can decrease the time and effort, and visa versa. Notice as well, it is multiplication. No time or no money or a bad idea = 0 results. You need at least some of all three.

#16 MaryKrysia

MaryKrysia

    Gravity Master Member

  • Members
  • 157 posts

Posted 26 January 2006 - 12:12 AM

I posted a feedback to Mike Grehan's article as soon as I read it. My response came from a feeling of outrage at the elitism that jumped out at me as I read the article. I was contact and asked if my feedback could be printed. Here is my 15 seconds of almost fame: http://www.clickz.co...cle.php/3579881. (I am showing off because this NEVER happens to me).

If there is ever a next time, I will remember to ask for a link. :thinking:

Lots of times small business owners can be really attached to their creations, but I've also found them to be incredibly responsive to demonstrated ROI - e.g. "I suggested you fix that, you did, now you're making more money, here's my next suggestion..."



I have also run into this. At first there is some resistance to change, especially from small business owners who have spent so much time carefully crafted their beloved web site . . . only to discover it cannot be found by the SE's and and does not convert. Sometimes it's difficult to be tough and truthful but when changes start bringing desired results . . . talk about HAPPY CLIENT!

Mary

#17 Ruud

Ruud

    Hall of Fame

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 4887 posts

Posted 26 January 2006 - 08:20 AM

For every mom-and-pop Web site, there's an affordably priced small SEO willing and able to offer the best possible basics for $1,000 to $2,000. SEO can be made accessible to most site owners, along with some education for DIY continuing SEO, such as link building. I can give someone a few days of ethical SEO for the same price. It may or may not be at the same level as the services you and your friends offer, but I have proven it works over and again with small-business sites.


:applause:

Worth to be quoted in its entirity.

I'm really quite pleased with the number of people who actually go for the smaller site/company.

It's great when you have worked yourself up from a couple of bucks an hour to hundreds - but sometimes I wonder if certain companies ask a higher price simply because they can versus because they must.

Maybe I'm looking at it the same way people do when they SEO a non-profit site. You have high-profit jobs, non-profit jobs; why not have mid-profit jobs?

Either way, their clearly is a large market out there. Small sites/companies "desperately" looking for real, good, solid SEO.

#18 DonnaFontenot

DonnaFontenot

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 3828 posts

Posted 26 January 2006 - 08:46 AM

Way to go, Mary! Woohoo!! I feel like I've found a kindred spirit. :D

#19 AbleReach

AbleReach

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 6467 posts

Posted 26 January 2006 - 02:28 PM

And, Mary's two cents were used as the summation. Nice.
:cheers:

#20 MaryKrysia

MaryKrysia

    Gravity Master Member

  • Members
  • 157 posts

Posted 27 January 2006 - 02:18 AM

I also feel good knowing there ARE kindred souls who believe as I do: giving small business owners as good an opportunity as possible.

Either way, their clearly is a large market out there. Small sites/companies "desperately" looking for real, good, solid SEO.


So true, this marketing is becoming larger all the time. Just two years ago, most small businesses had web sites in order to have a "web presence." Today, more of these same people are becoming more informed about the possibilities for their web sites and want to know how to go beyond simply a "web presence."

Mary



RSS Feed

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users