emmajane's blog

I'm not going to build your Web site ... yet

This week I had a great meeting with a local organization that wanted me to give them a quote to revamp their Web site. I listened and asked questions and talked to them about their goals for the organization over the next few years. And then I did something really radical. I told them they were boring. I told them they were never going to accomplish their goals if they weren't excited about what their organization was doing.

They stopped trying to look professional and just let the tiredness sink in. Here was a burnt out bunch of board members trying to sell memberships for an organization that was no longer inspiring them. It made me sad. So I asked them to tell me about the things that do make them excited.

The tone in the room instantly change and they started bubbling out ideas of the kinds of things that make them excited. None of the ideas had to do with selling memberships or products through their Web site. We talked more and they got more excited. I looked at my notes and suggested two key changes for their organization:

  1. Double your membership price.
  2. Host an annual event -- exclusive to members -- that has all of the characteristics of the things you love.

The membership and the event are tied directly together. You can't be a member and not get a ticket to the event; and you can't attend the event without being a member.

I could tell it was one of those moments that was going to either change everything or nothing. So I sealed the deal with this: I told them I wouldn't quote on their Web site. I told them to hire another firm that I liked to make a simple four-page Web site. And I told them to go ahead and make the organization something they were excited and proud of.

My prediction is this: a year from now they will have doubled the size of the organization. They will have found more members who are also excited about what is possible. They will have tripled their current volunteer base. And they will be ready to build an interesting, engaging and truly useful Web site that provides value to its members.

Does your business excite you? Or does it just make you tired? Let me know where you're at -- maybe you too need a reminder about why you're actually in business. I'd love to hear from you.

My Dream Web Site Workshop

I've worked with a lot of frustrated small business owners who can't make their Drupal Web site behave the way they want. Learning Drupal can have a steep learning curve -- so this fall I'm going to teach you to treat the learning curve like a half-pipe with a brand new workshop: My Dream Web Site: Take Control of your Drupal 6 Site.

If you've been struggling with your Drupal Web site and can't quite figure out how to make *that thing* over *there* look like this other web site you saw this course is for you. Featuring Fusion Drupal Themes My Dream Web Site walks you through the fundamental building blocks of creating a powerful Web site -- yes, all the building blocks including CCK and Views.

The full workshop includes three individual half day Webinars. Each session includes a brand new Design to Theme workbook. If you're feeling budget-conscious you can sign up for any one of the sessions:

The Early Bird Coupon Code (because every new workshop deserves a worm) expires September 24th and is good for 25% off: IES4XAET. Registration is very limited.

The three-pack workshop includes a recording of all sessions and two months of follow-up tech support. This is not available to people who register for fewer than three sessions. The three-pack is your best deal. Register now (and don't forget that coupon!): My Dream Web Site: Take Control of your Drupal 6 Site.

Instigation and Investigation

I subscribe to a weekly newsletter from the million dollar coach, Alan Weiss. Every Monday he sends me a little thought-provoking message to start my week. This week's "Focus Point" goes like this:

There is a marketing difference between instigation and investigation. You should use "outreach" alternatives such as blogs and newsletters and speeches to instigate people to think differently, react to your intellectual property, and exhibit your thought leadership. Then they may be prompted to investigate your background, your depth and breadth, and that's what a web site is best at—displaying credibility. You don't want an overly promotional web site or a low key blog.

You can subscribe to Alan Weiss's newsletters at Summit Group Consulting.

Optimizing Your Site for Search Engines

If you've been following along in this little SEO mini series. You should now have a huge list of all the key phrases your site should be using and it's now time to actually fix your site.

Complete each of the following steps to improve the content on your Web site so that you rank rank higher in the search engines for your top prospects key phrases while your prospects are at their point of need.

  1. Use the mega list of keywords that you created yesterday to update the text on each of the relevant pages on your Web site.
  2. Ensure every single one of your Web pages has a unique page title that contains juicy keywords. The title is the bit that is displayed when a person bookmarks a page and the main link that appears in a search engine listing. Be descriptive!
  3. Break your page into smaller sections with sub-headings. Add bold and italics to key words and phrases on your site.
  4. Monitor your site's stats for search phrases people are using to find your site.

Give it a week or two and then re-test your search engine ranking for the key words and phrases that are important to your top prospects.

With these simple steps any small business can propel their Web site to a higher search engine ranking. You'll be able to get a better match between your "most wanted outcome" and your prospect's "point of need."

Go forth and rank higher!

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I had the opportunity to attend one of Emma Jane Hogbin's teleconference sessions on Effective Email Campaigns and how to market effectively using these services. What a wealth of information to be had in an hour. Well worth and time and money one would pay for these services. Emma Jane is patient, clear, knowledgeable, and understanding when it comes to any question you ask her on this subject and more.

— Amber Graner

Ubuntu Member

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