How To Build An Online Business That Will Last

It’s quite rare for me to publish a guest post on my blog.

I got chatting to Lewis Ogden a couple of months back after he published an epic post for Matthew Woodward on his methods for finding new money making niches. It was a really solid post and I recommend you take a few minutes to read it some time soon.

So I decided to invite Lewis to share his thoughts on building an online business.

Over to you Lewis…

If you paid any attention to Google and SEO over the last 6 months of 2013, you would have witnessed a tidal wave of angry people, complaining about how Google screwed their business. Whilst sad that these people have lost a lot, and in some cases everything, they really should have been asking themselves these 3 questions;

  1. Does my business/website rely solely on Google?
  2. Do I deserve to rank #1 for this keyword?
  3. Is my website built for the user or search engines?

By answering these 3 questions honestly, you can quickly determine if you have a website that will stand the test of time, or will succumb to an Algorithm update 6 months or even 2 years from now.

Here are ten guidelines to follow to ensure any business you start in 2014 is one for the future.

1) User Experience over SEO

user experienceThere is more and more emphasis being placed on user engagement in the ranking factors.

Bounce rate, time on site, CTR all play a part in your overall SERP position and how Google see’s your site. Gone are the days of micro niche sites, 5 pages of crappy content plastered with affiliate links.

Today is the day for awesome content, engaging video and captivating images. Your site structure should make navigation a breeze for the user, it should not look like a maze of “silo links” designed to control link juice.

Your site speed is even more critical now than it ever was, you have less than a second to capture your readers eye, anymore than that and they are gone, never to return again. If your site loads like in the blink of an eye, you bounce rate will drop…simple.

Your content is the foundation of your business, not how may backlinks you have.

If your content is built for the reader, is helpful and provides what they are looking for, they will tell others.

If however, your content looks like a robot wrote it with, keywords bolded and italicized all over the place, you have no business. You have a game of cat and mouse…and guess who the cat is?

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What I’ve Learned Auditing and Removing Unnatural Links

link-cleanup

The past year has meant I have spent a lot of time doing something I’ve never had to do before, and something only a small number of SEO’s specialised in before April 2012. Over the past year I have worked with at least one site per month that has received a link penalty of a manual or algorithmic nature.

When should you clean up?

If you’ve received an unnatural link warning or you have seen a significant decrease in rankings around the time of a penguin update then you need to take action as soon as possible.

google link warning message

If however your site is ranking fine but you are sat on a site with a number of shady links in your link profile then it all depends upon your niche and your risk profile. In these situations I would rather build some more high quality links than start a major link cleanup exercise.

Get as much Link Data as you can

The mistake too many people make is just relying on one or two soruces of data for their Link Audits. Personally I will try to obtain as much data as possible from ahrefs, Majestic, OSE, Google Webmaster Tools and any reports the client might have from past SEO agencies. Continue reading

Why Do People Share Content?

In my recent content strategy post I told you that I would be writing up some articles on how to promote the hell out of the content you had created.

image001I think it’s important for anyone involved in digital marketing to understand what will motivate someone to share your content and when they are most inclined to do so you can develop the next step in your strategy.

Most marketers have a good grasp of the Extrinsic Motivators (price, features, benefits) of a product or a piece of content but we often struggle with the Intrinsic Motivators (how does the product align to a person’s feelings or goals). People are thinking feelers not feeling thinkers.

What do we know about People?

  • we depend on mental models
  • we want to be in control
  • we don’t like change
  • we’re not great at remembering
  • we love a good story
  • we are highly visual by nature
  • we do have some limitations
  • we are social creatures
  • we’re curious
  • we don’t want to put in a lot of effort
  • we love patterns
  • we make mistakes

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Psychology and Advertising – Video

As a bit of a psychology fiend I just wanted to share this video I found a few days ago on Youtube which explains the different ways in which advertisers use persuasive psychological techniques in their advertising campaigns.

The video covers peripheral messaging and it got me thinking about it’s correlation with online marketing.

The concept of peripheral advertising is essentially what the term implies; the marketing is conducted as a secondary effort to the main project, promoting the product or service tangentially.

The other element of the video I thought would be useful was the way in which people are influenced by colours and the associations we have with them. Something to consider the next time you are designing a landing page or infographic.

Anyway it’s only a few minutes long and you never know you might learn something new :)