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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Getting People to come (and STAY) at your website...

    (Not sure where to post this?!)

    I've been working on a website for a local company offering professional services who is on a shoe-string budget.

    The website looks good and while there isn't tons of content, what is there comes across as professional.

    The company has been promoting itself by word-of-mouth, business cards, and getting involved on local web-forums.

    The problem?

    No one is visiting the website!!!

    Bigger problem?

    Traffic plummeted from maybe 10 visitors a day to ZERO for the past four days?!

    Most of the traffic came from discussions started in local online forums, but after those conversations tapered off, there went the traffic?! (And it makes the company look like a spammer to keep self-promoting on the same sites.)

    Minus a million-dollar TV budget, bimbos in bikinis, etc...

    How in the world do you get people to visit your website and then get those same people to return with their friends?!


    All promotions for the business have been direct contact with potential customers in online forums or face-to-face, so you'd think that would lead to decent results...

    (This is not an SEO issue.)

    It feels like telling 300 people there is a great new ice cream shop on the corner of 17th and Pine Street and nobody shows up...

    I need HELP helping my client figure out what is wrong?!



    Debbie

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    You can't look at a four-day period of time as significant. It takes time to build a buzz. Sounds like the client is doing some good things to promote his site and his business. Does he have the money for advertising? Local radio ads are often dirt cheap, and very productive; newspaper ads cost more, but are good, also. Posting flyers in local stores can help. Trying for link swaps with other local sites, perhaps. Putting his kid on a sidewalk in a sandwich board, even.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    The problem?

    No one is visiting the website!!!
    Why would we visit the web site? This is an important question. What is there to do there? This client of yours is a professional? What do they do? What does their web site have to say? Why would this professional's clients or potential clients go to the web site?

    If this professional has clients/customers already, then they are contacting via other means (mail, telephone, email? personal?). Are these means deficient? If not, a web site isn't going to replace them.

    You can also try a nice intro usability test: sit someone down behind a computer, and ask them to look at the main page of the site. They can scroll wherever, but ask them not to click on anything.
    Give them a (quick) moment to look at the site. Ask them what they think the site is for. What does it do. What could they do there. You can also ask them to speak their thoughts out loud from the moment they first set eyes on the site as well (tell them you didn't build the site, so that they are brutally honest and aren't afraid of insulting you if they think they would).

    Use regular people and if you want, try someone who's possibly this professional's target group. But grandma should ideally have an immediate and clear idea what the site does, who it's for, and why it's there.

    This could should a possible major flaw in the site: maybe it's not clear in some important way.

  4. #4
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Generally we ask you to request a review of a website in the Content Reviews forum, but I understand that this is a client's site and not your own. Please feel free to post a link to it here and we'll see what we can do to help. It's hard to know why the content isn't pulling in visitors if we can't see the content.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Sounds to me like no one is interested in what the this guy is selling. In that case you could have the best web presence in the world and still wouldn't matter. A web site is a very small part of marketing. The problem your client is facing does not sound technical, it just sounds like there needs to be more marketing or really… the product(s) flat out suck. If the people selling product are not doing a good job than no one is going to visit the site, that simple.
    The only code I hate more than my own is everyone else's.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    The website looks good and while there isn't tons of content, what is there comes across as professional.
    No offense, but what looks good to you may not look good to many.

    I'm just saying.


    The company has been promoting itself by word-of-mouth, business cards, and getting involved on local web-forums.
    Message boards are one of if not THE worst way to promote yourself.

    I tell my clients to not even think about doing that.

    In most if not practically all cases, word of mouth doesn't work unless the product or service is really cool, really fun, really interesting.

    Business cards do not work for most if not practically all businesses in the way they would hope for.

    Yes, "Sam" can get sales from his cards, but how many did he have to hand out, and how long did it take him before getting that sale?

    If your client handed out, say, less than 1,000 cards, I'm sorry, but the odds are that less than 100 probably went to their site.

    And if the cards are crap to begin with....

    How good is their visitor tracking system, anyway???

    Maybe it isn't working right, and they have more going to their site than they think..

    Even Google's system has messed up in the past.

    Traffic plummeted from maybe 10 visitors a day to ZERO for the past four days?!
    That means nothing. Even some of the best sites cannot get a decent return rate from first-time visitors - and you are basing it on just 10?!

    Can't tell ya anymore unless you show the site's url.

    How in the world do you get people to visit your website and then get those same people to return with their friends?!
    Sorry, but in practically every single case, a business owner has to advertise/promote (mostly advertise).

    Word of mouth comes in second.

    Craig Newmark (CraigsList.org) had to advertise/promote at first before word of mouth took over.


    (This is not an SEO issue.)
    Well, SEO is highly overrated, so we don't even need to go there anyway.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Member learn-direct's Avatar
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    I think organic seo (i.e time) and the advice already mentioned is the best option to gain hits when your on a low budget. Unfortunately you will have to wait.

    <snip/>
    Last edited by ScallioXTX; May 28, 2011 at 16:26. Reason: please wait 90 days to avail of a signature

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Max View Post
    You can't look at a four-day period of time as significant.
    Unless my client runs out of $$$ and hits Skid Row!!


    It takes time to build a buzz.
    Let's talk about "buzz"...

    What exactly is that?

    How do you create it?

    And how do you know when you have it?


    Sounds like the client is doing some good things to promote his site and his business.
    My client is new to the area and really doesn't have much of a network.

    He is an accountant by profession and trying to expand and help people with financial planning (e.g. estates, trusts, real estate, tax planning, etc.)

    Like lots of people in the U.S., it sounds like he's one paycheck away from real financial trouble.

    I helped him build a modest website that promotes his new business venture. It talks about how most people need more than just an "H&R Block" or accountant once a year. (Being financially successful requires someone who sticks with you over life changes.)

    The plan was to have content that gets people thinking about things like: College-Savings Plans, Estate Plans, Wills, Living Trusts, Refinancing Your Home, etc. and then come to his office to get financial advice and help. (I think he would also like to do workshops.)

    He has some articles posted on his website, a listing of common "Financial Myths" and "Financial No-No's", Cases Studies, Office Hours, and even dates for "Financial Planning Workshops"...

    You'd think people would LEAP for free tips on such things, but the response has been abysmal!! (Maybe it is since people distrust Wall Street or because he is new in town...)


    Does he have the money for advertising? Local radio ads are often dirt cheap, and very productive; newspaper ads cost more, but are good, also. Posting flyers in local stores can help. Trying for link swaps with other local sites, perhaps. Putting his kid on a sidewalk in a sandwich board, even.
    All good ideas, but I think he's broke...

    What I don't get is why people aren't at least visiting his website...

    It sounds like he has been talking to people in the community (i.e. at the store, getting gas, in the park, approaching local groups, etc) and they seem interested at the time, but apparently they aren't using his business cards and flyers when they get home to visit his site?!

    (My client is a younger guy, seems really smart, and looks very professional in his demeanor. I've met his wife and they have the sweetest little girl, too. He seems like definite "Financial Planner Material" to me, at least?!)

    I feel really guilty because I went and inflated how I could build a super website that would attract lots of new clients and catch him up with the 21st century.

    Looks like I don't know squat?! (And I thought CSS was hard...)


    In 1996, you could have poorly written HTML and *any* content, and you had a "buzz".

    To be successful today, do you have to be Amazon.com or Yahoo! or TMZ or BBC News before people will notice you?!

    Sincerely,



    Debbie

  9. #9
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    he's one paycheck away from real financial trouble. … I think he's broke … He seems like definite "Financial Planner Material" to me
    Hmmm...

    What I don't get is why people aren't at least visiting his website...
    People are busy.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Why would we visit the web site? This is an important question. What is there to do there? This client of yours is a professional? What do they do? What does their web site have to say? Why would this professional's clients or potential clients go to the web site?

    If this professional has clients/customers already, then they are contacting via other means (mail, telephone, email? personal?). Are these means deficient? If not, a web site isn't going to replace them.
    See my response to BlackMax. That should answer your questions.


    You can also try a nice intro usability test: sit someone down behind a computer, and ask them to look at the main page of the site. They can scroll wherever, but ask them not to click on anything.

    Give them a (quick) moment to look at the site. Ask them what they think the site is for. What does it do. What could they do there. You can also ask them to speak their thoughts out loud from the moment they first set eyes on the site as well (tell them you didn't build the site, so that they are brutally honest and aren't afraid of insulting you if they think they would).

    Use regular people and if you want, try someone who's possibly this professional's target group. But grandma should ideally have an immediate and clear idea what the site does, who it's for, and why it's there.

    This could should a possible major flaw in the site: maybe it's not clear in some important way.
    Hmmm...

    That's an interesting angle...



    Debbie

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    Generally we ask you to request a review of a website in the Content Reviews forum, but I understand that this is a client's site and not your own. Please feel free to post a link to it here and we'll see what we can do to help. It's hard to know why the content isn't pulling in visitors if we can't see the content.
    I'd have to ask for permission first.

    Obviously *seeing* the site would help, but let's say I can't get his okay and so we have a "black box"...

    I think my response to BlackMax gives enough of a gist of the website to help us problem-solve...

    Honestly, I don't think this is an issue with my web development skills, or his writing skills.

    I think *we* are missing something much much simpler...


    For me, one thing I am probably missing is that I read LOTS every day. I spend at least 2 hours every night over supper pouring over the NY Times, Wall Street Journal BBC News, Time, LA Times, etc. I also read lots of books.

    So for *me*, I just assume every one - with any hopes in life - reads to educate and better themselves. (Don't mean to sound like a snob, but most people I work with and associate with are avid readers and always trying to learn new things.)

    Has the Internet and the average American's brain rotted to the point that only "Dancing With The Stars" and Twitter stimulates their brains?!



    Debbie

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DoubleDee
    he's one paycheck away from real financial trouble. … I think he's broke … He seems like definite "Financial Planner Material" to me
    Hmmm...
    I didn't word my last message too well, now did I, Ralph?!

    All I'm saying is that while he was successful as an accountant, he is having a hard time expanding his business to becoming a financial planner - especially in these hard financial times and with a new move and a new child in his life...

    He is a small business owner, but I believe he knows his stuff even if he isn't a billionaire like Donald Trump.


    What I don't get is why people aren't at least visiting his website...
    People are busy.
    But how do you get people to follow through?!

    (People waste 1/4 of their lives every night online watching dogs that say "I love you" and watching "Jersey Shore". Wouldn't you think learning how to better plan for your retirement or your kids' college education would out-rank that?!)



    Debbie

  13. #13
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    I am quite surprised that you have to "get permission" to leave a link somewhere to his website.

    Over the last 10 years, I have helped many business people with their website content. Many of them knew their business backwards and forwards. What they didn't know was how to present their content on the web.

    Your client may have wonderful writing skills when it comes to print media, such as a brochure or a newspaper advertisement. However, web content is written much differently than content for other media. It is my guess that it isn't that he doesn't know what to say; most likely is that he doesn't know how to say it effectively on the web.

    These two links may help you understand what the problem may be:

    http://www.kerryr.net/webwriting/guide_web-vs-print.htm
    http://www.useit.com/alertbox/print-...e-content.html
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack32
    In most if not practically all cases, word of mouth doesn't work unless the product or service is really cool, really fun, really interesting.
    I disagree. I know of two businesses who get quite a bit of business via word-of-mouth (and in fact, the mobile phone I bought came from word-of-mouth).

    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie
    You'd think people would LEAP for free tips on such things, but the response has been abysmal!! (Maybe it is since people distrust Wall Street or because he is new in town...)
    Those free tips are everywhere: your client is competing with content mills, where people are paid pennies an hour (or maybe just free pr0n) to write out keyword-heavy pseudo-content with an eye out for google rather than real human beings.

    His competition is doing the same thing (offering free financial tips). Take a look at Edward Jones (the company... and yeah I'm biased, I really like that company). Oh, Jack32 there's another company who does a lot of business via word-of-mouth. It's a company but each financial representative has their own office, usually one per small town and in larger cities there'll be one per large neighbourhood. So each rep has his/her own office and must build his own network of contacts and clients. The company doesn't do it for him/her.

    Anyway from your description of him, assuming the web site does have decent content etc, he's only going to get traffic *after* he starts building his personal network.

    He's got some hard times up ahead. If he gets past them, though, and he's competent and trustworthy, he'll do ok.

    His web site isn't going to bring in customers. His (potential) customers are going to check out his web site. It will need to reassure them that he's as good as they thought he seemed to be in person. Has to compliment him. But I don't see it as a place where it will find clients for him who later meet him.

    My opinion anyway. Again, I say this without knowing the content/layout/presentation of your site, but I'm thinking the current lack of traffic isn't a fault of the web site right now.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    DoubleDee, he didn't approach enough people to make a dent. It's as simple as that.

    Also, doing word of mouth and boards, just makes it worse for him from a psychological standpoint.

    Everybody is thinking: Jeez - we are handing out cards, telling folks about the site (word of mouth), we are going to boards - yet very few are going...!

    See what I mean?

    Then you throw in boring accounting stuff...

    No offense, but what were you expecting?

    He has to spice his site up, perhaps make it more about what he does, put a spin on what he does...

    Two to three times a week, put in edgy, innovative, entertaining tips, pictures, links to other sources. Among the more serious articles, write fun and interesting ones also, put in trivia, quizzes...

    If he has a personality and a sense of humour, have him put it in there.

    It sells!

    Example: accounting funny - Google Search

    Of course not overdoing any of this.

    If you feel that his url name is boring and typical, suggest he find a more jazzed up domain name. Make it SOUND like his site is interesting.

    TheBeanCounter is taken, but is just an example.

    But if he really likes that name, or a name that is already taken by the COM and NET extensions, have him see if the FM extension is taken.

    Having a COM or NET extension is not that big of a deal anyway, while at the same time the FM draws in more attention, curiosity.

    You also have BIZ.

    He could say on his card and ads: Making & Saving More Money for Your BIZ

    Just a thought.

    But, even then, you cannot rely on word of mouth, message boards, social networks... There is no way around advertising.

    I'm afraid that is the bottom line.

  16. #16
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    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    People waste 1/4 of their lives every night online watching dogs that say "I love you"
    Then there's your answer. Produce a video of a dog saying "I love [insert name] Financial Services". The dog could go on to say how he was helped: he started in a damp, flea-ridden kennel and now lives in 5-star condo kennel. This would go viral on YouTube, and there'd be a tempter that if you visit the site, you'll find more cute videos (if you look hard enough) and find out how to acquire your own luxury kennel dream home.

    That is, if you can be bothered pandering to the masses and what they apparently like.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    Then there's your answer. Produce a video of a dog saying "I love [insert name] Financial Services". The dog could go on to say how he was helped: he started in a damp, flea-ridden kennel and now lives in 5-star condo kennel. This would go viral on YouTube, and there'd be a tempter that if you visit the site, you'll find more cute videos (if you look hard enough) and find out how to acquire your own luxury kennel dream home.

    That is, if you can be bothered pandering to the masses and what they apparently like.
    Ralph, were you being serious or mega-sarcastic??


    Debbie

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    I am quite surprised that you have to "get permission" to leave a link somewhere to his website.
    Most larger clients I have had would fire you on the spot if you started posting code or content on some user group online!!!

    And since the business, website, and content are not my property, I don't think its appropriate for me to be posting my client's name, business, or website online unless he is okay with it... (Especially since it isn't common knowledge yet like Forbes.com)


    Over the last 10 years, I have helped many business people with their website content. Many of them knew their business backwards and forwards. What they didn't know was how to present their content on the web.
    Well, that sounds like the situation he is in. (Or more like the situation I'm in.)



    Your client may have wonderful writing skills when it comes to print media, such as a brochure or a newspaper advertisement. However, web content is written much differently than content for other media. It is my guess that it isn't that he doesn't know what to say; most likely is that he doesn't know how to say it effectively on the web.
    So can you give me a high-level summary of what you mean?

    This is a new concept to me. (Again, I am used to spending my life pouring over think computer books and manuals and in-depth, 15 page exposés in magazines like The New Yorker or Slate.)

    What, does he have to strip things down to your average viral talking "I love you" dog level?!

    OMG! LOL ROFL Ur my BFF. Oops! GTG.


    These two links may help you understand what the problem may be:

    Web Writing vs Print Writing
    Writing Style for Print vs. Web (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)
    Oh, great, I'll check those out right now!!


    By the way, while you may be onto something here, remember that the problem in my OP is that people aren't even visiting the website...

    Your advice might help with people not staying or not surfing around or not returning, but it doesn't explain why people won't even go to the URL.


    Debbie

  19. #19
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    She listens so well, doesn't she?

  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Those free tips are everywhere: your client is competing with content mills, where people are paid pennies an hour (or maybe just free pr0n) to write out keyword-heavy pseudo-content with an eye out for google rather than real human beings.
    Yeah, I guess it is no longer the 1990s... *sigh*


    He's got some hard times up ahead. If he gets past them, though, and he's competent and trustworthy, he'll do ok.



    My opinion anyway. Again, I say this without knowing the content/layout/presentation of your site, but I'm thinking the current lack of traffic isn't a fault of the web site right now.
    Maybe I have unrealistic expectations of how many "interactions" you need to have with potential customers before they visit your website.

    I would think if you speak face-to-face with 100 people about your business, and each seems interested in what you are offering and takes a brochure, or flyer, or card, that you'd get at least 10-15 hits on your website?!

    Now, how many visitors convert to customers is another issue.

    I think what is frustrating to both of us, is that if people don't visit the website, then there is no need to improve the site's content or design...

    And the more I hear myself talk, this can't be something wrong with my web development skills or his writing skills because for the most part, the issue is that people just aren't following through and visiting the website.

    Sure, when people do visit the website, they aren't staying very long - which could be issues with my design or his content - but the first concern is just getting people to go to the site.


    Debbie

  21. #21
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack32 View Post
    DoubleDee, he didn't approach enough people to make a dent. It's as simple as that.
    Are you speaking from actual experience?

    So how many people does he need to approach to make an dent?


    Also, doing word of mouth and boards, just makes it worse for him from a psychological standpoint.

    Everybody is thinking: Jeez - we are handing out cards, telling folks about the site (word of mouth), we are going to boards - yet very few are going...!

    See what I mean?
    Yeah. I could never walk up to strangers and pitch some business ideas I have.

    I took this project because it seemed like a good way to learn the business side of building a web-business. (And it's been a real learning experience, because I am quickly learning that I am CLUELESS about building a business from scratch!!!) I am re-considering some "sure deals" that I was working on when I first came to SitePoint...



    Then you throw in boring accounting stuff...

    No offense, but what were you expecting?

    He has to spice his site up, perhaps make it more about what he does, put a spin on what he does...
    I follow you, but remember, in the past week, no one has visited the website, so "spicing up accounting stuff" isn't the issue...

    (I don't know if it was you who said online forums don't work, but that is what is ironic. A few weeks ago he went to a few forums in his area, started discussions on some topics, got a decent discussion started, and had maybe 10 visitors per day from 3-4 days before the threads moved on and traffic dropped off. It is the face-to-face interactions that seem to be a "dead duck in the water" almost from the start... And again, I think he comes across just fine in person. In fact, I bumped in to him at the store, was so impressed by him and his business ideas, that I thought quick and convinced him to let me help him build a website! Personally, I just think people have become so superficial in the last 15 years - thanks to Reality TV and YouTube - that people aren't focused on long-term, serious topics. Everyone wants "instant gratification" and it has to be "entertaining" like talking dogs... I guess I can't relate to your average consumer and pop-culture in 2011.)


    Two to three times a week, put in edgy, innovative, entertaining tips, pictures, links to other sources. Among the more serious articles, write fun and interesting ones also, put in trivia, quizzes...

    If he has a personality and a sense of humour, have him put it in there.

    It sells!
    If he can get visitors, those are good ideas.


    If you feel that his url name is boring and typical, suggest he find a more jazzed up domain name. Make it SOUND like his site is interesting.
    No, I think his domain name sound very professional and it is a unique, one-word name like Google, so he did a good job there.



    But, even then, you cannot rely on word of mouth, message boards, social networks... There is no way around advertising.

    I'm afraid that is the bottom line.
    So what he is doing isn't "advertising"??

    I'll have to tell him to check into radio ads like BlackMax recommended. (I'd be curious to see what they cost. I assumed you'd have to spend tens of thousands of dollars...)



    Debbie

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    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack32 View Post
    She listens so well, doesn't she?
    Care to explain what that sarcastic comment means??

    (I'm reading through everyone's responses, pondering the suggestions, and responding with follow-up questions and comments...)

    Geesh.



    Debbie

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    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post

    Traffic plummeted from maybe 10 visitors a day to ZERO for the past four days?!

    Most of the traffic came from discussions started in local online forums, but after those conversations tapered off, there went the traffic?!
    So he had traffic... small or moderate and now he doesn't have any. That means no one is going back for seconds, no one is recommending the site to their friends or other contacts, no one is "sharing" it on FB or any of the Social Media. Two reasons come to mind: He either doesn't have what people who are looking at estate planning are planning or he isn't presenting it well.

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    Most larger clients I have had would fire you on the spot if you started posting code or content on some user group online!!!
    I didn't ask you to post code or content. I suggested that it is okay to post a link to the site. You know, the same link that someone mind find on a Search Engine if they were looking. Or is the site private? If it is, then it is understandable that no one is visiting.


    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post

    So can you give me a high-level summary of what you mean?

    This is a new concept to me. (Again, I am used to spending my life pouring over think computer books and manuals and in-depth, 15 page exposés in magazines like The New Yorker or Slate.)

    What, does he have to strip things down to your average viral talking "I love you" dog level?!
    Not quite sure what you mean by "high-level". There are a whole lot of sites that start out with something like "Welcome to my site. My site can do this for you. My business has this much experience. My business has state-of-the art equipment. My business is better than all the rest."

    It's all about the business and not about what the business can do for the customer. There is little effort to understand the customer's needs or real desires. In simple terms, "People don't care what you have, what you can do, or what you know except that in how it will benefit them." Before it became politically incorrect, that was called "salesmanship". You show people how they will derive genuine benefits from a product or service, that it will fulfill their needs and desires and they will not only want it for themselves, they will recommend it to others.

    Ask your client, "What are the five questions that your customer's ask you when you meet for the first time?" Does his content address those questions in terms that anyone looking for financial planning can understand? That's what it needs to do. At least that is the tip of the iceberg.

    Does he stay away from over used words like "innovative" and "state-of-the-art?" Those words, meant to build credibility only really show that he has added them to his vocabulary along with half the rest of the web.

    So, a few more chips off the iceberg. And really, calling it an iceberg isn't too much of a cliche since apparently his content is leaving people cold.

    No, he doesn't have to strip things down or resort to gimmicks. People recognize those as easily as they do the words of someone flaunting their education with big words. He needs to talk to his visitors in the same way and with the same professionalism that he would use with any prospective client he might meet... with the difference that in "talking" on a website, it's a monologue and he won't be able to see the response until he looks at his visitor stats.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

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    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    So he had traffic... small or moderate and now he doesn't have any. That means no one is going back for seconds, no one is recommending the site to their friends or other contacts, no one is "sharing" it on FB or any of the Social Media. Two reasons come to mind: He either doesn't have what people who are looking at estate planning are planning or he isn't presenting it well.
    Okay, that is a valid point, however, I think he's more worried about people he meets face-to-face that are never visiting his site.

    (It's probably not that hard to start a discussion in a forum, and get people to click on a link and land on your site.)


    Ask your client, "What are the five questions that your customer's ask you when you meet for the first time?" Does his content address those questions in terms that anyone looking for financial planning can understand? That's what it needs to do. At least that is the tip of the iceberg.
    Okay.


    So, a few more chips off the iceberg. And really, calling it an iceberg isn't too much of a cliche since apparently his content is leaving people cold.
    Maybe it's him or the topic...

    Like I said, "I" think his in-person "business proposition" as well as what is up on his website is interesting and can provide value to others. (Of course, I'm not all of these people not going to his site.)

    Maybe he's not a good salesman?

    Or as others has suggested, maybe he's just giving up too soon?



    Debbie

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    Some things I've not seen mentioned (though I'll admit my senile old brain only skimmed)

    CONTENT is a very important factor -- but it has to be unique content of value... and more important is CHANGING content, as in new content on a regular basis.

    Sometimes you can actually go overboard by launching with several pages all at once -- if it's content that people will read once and not need to read again (VERY common) that's one time traffic... worth no more than a bounce!

    While unique content of value -- like a reference page with instructions, will often bring people back time and time again... it's actually a massive investment to make one. Some really good examples are W3Schools (even if it is webrot at this point), the tutorials on HowtoForge, or the content often found on sites like Instructables.

    If you can't do content like that and only have single reads -- you need to add them slowly so people keep coming back to see the new ones. /snip While it can actually be the same amount of content, building that habit into the user of visiting regularly can be way more important than any one time flash in the pan.

    It's like a client I had a few years ago who was worried about his graphics poor site having no traffic. He had plenty of content -- but it was all static -- unchanging, never changing, and once you'd seen all of it, little reason to go back... or if you did it was to just one page. On my advice he just started adding one small extra page a week... within a month he started having 'regulars' coming through to see what's new.

    ... and NEVER underestimate the power of a forums or the ability for people to comment on your content. Not only is it a great way to keep people coming back just to talk to each-other, it's also one of the best resources to data-mine your visitors to find out what they want, what improvements they think would help, and to leverage as your own unpaid fact checking staff. "User Generated Content" -- there's a reason it's taken off so big.

    After all, the heart of the Internet is communication between people. Play to that whenever possible!

    Also it would help if you took a little time to read up on certain marketing techniques -- not the flashy artsy stuff, but the core concepts of things like the seven cornerstones of propaganda, indoctrinational speech, or the methodologies of social engineering. There's something in the human psyche of most people that makes them hardwired to respond how you want if you know the triggers.

    I'll run down the seven propaganda techniques real quick:

    Name calling -- that one's easy, though it can just as easily backfire. REALLY GOOD name calling is subtle using words that on the surface don't seem good/bad. It's also NOT just about putting things down, but subtly using words that can promote things in people's minds. A great example is the fabrications on the FSF's "Windows 7 sins" website... they'll use words like "corporate" which you don't automatically register as name calling; but in todays mindset has a negative connotation with many people. They throw about the word freedom even when it's the opposite of what they're promoting -- just because it invokes a "feel good" attitude about the topic. The more subtle, the better this one tends to work -- something I never really mastered (I fully recognize I'm as subtle as a brick through a plate glass window) but I generally recognize it's use almost immediately.

    Glittering Generalities -- vague blanket statements that if you think about them usually aren't actually supported by any sort of rational thought and as a rule are actually meaningless -- but they sound good and feel good, or sound bad and feel bad... that feeling brings us to the next one...

    Transfer -- The use of symbols, comparisons and rhetoric to take good feelings about something unrelated and "transfer" it to your viewpoint, or to take negative feelings and "transfer" it to what you are arguing against.

    An example of both glittering generalities AND transfer from an old 50's film reel is the phrase "A Real American" being applied to a politician in a campaign.... It's a glittering generality because it's no less true in fact than his opponent.... and it's transfer because they are trying to exploit your patriotism to increase your favoritism of the candidate.

    Testimonial -- We all know what testimonials are. Endorsements, typically from someone important, easily recognized, or that engenders a natural trust... -- The latter of those plays into the next one too:

    Plain Folks -- laid back attitude, dressing like the target audience, talking like the target audience, pretending to care about their concerns... You see Testimonials and Plain folks tag team a LOT... And when done en-masse you get:

    Bandwagon -- I'm doing it, she's doing it... don't you wanna be a pepper too? This one plays to the lemming in the majority of people -- as it turns out mom was right, if your buddies went and jumped off a cliff... most people it turns out would go do it as well.

    Card Stacking -- the most insidious and often the hardest to recognize... Because when done properly it reads like a completely unbreakable convincing argument as it presents nothing but facts that support the viewpoint being pushed. That's easy... Problem is it omits anything that disagrees. Religion prior to the enlightenment was the MASTER of this -- actively stamping out anything that disagreed with their agenda. Many people don't realize that things like book burnings are EXACTLY this type of mind control... but so are things like people saying "there's less IE users today because it's share dropped to 48%". Percentages are an all-time GREAT at pulling this off as the majority of people lack the brain cells to rub together and say "wait, a percentage of what?" -- Polling agencies pull this all the time; you want to make a liberalist agenda look popular in a poll, go ask a thousand people on the lower east side of New York City... you want to flip the result around, do it on Manhattan island near the east river. Some polling agencies will even poll 10,000 people, and then reject 9,000 of those as "invalid" keeping the thousand who make their viewpoint stick. "of 1,000 people polled"...

    Some of these aren't easy to do, others are too easy and can lose effectiveness if overdone... but if you can master them, you can effectively shove two fingers up your users nose and drag them wherever you want.

    As true masters of it like Joseph Goebbels, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, JFK, Sergei Eisenstein, and countless religious leaders ranging from Pope's to Cultists have proven time and time again. You master these, and it's a hop skip and a jump away from being able to convince people that if they dress in purple robes and drink the cyanide laced yogurt, the aliens from behind Haley's comet will come down and take you to Starbase Koloth.

    At which point getting them to visit a website regularly is a piece of cake.
    Last edited by Black Max; Jun 9, 2011 at 12:10. Reason: removed offending analogy


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