Monday, December 29, 2008

Broadband on the go

For the business on the move, over on my personal blog I've reviewed Digicel's mobile broadband service. Finally there's an alternative to the C&W/LIME monopoly on high-speed broadband!

http://steves-dominica.blogspot.com/2008/12/mobile-broadband-is-here.html

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tourmandu.com

Of interest to our local tour operators is a new start-up, Tourmandu.com. It's a site for tour guides world wide, where tour ops can create a profile for free (sign-up is quick and easy.).

Since it's new, and Dominica has no tour ops presently listed, it offers a chance to get into a potentially good idea from the beginning, and the extra exposure is always a help.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bringing it all together, part 2

I wrote recently about sites that bring your social networks together. This makes it easier for my friends to see what I'm up to. And saving time for me is why I've brought together all my e-mail accounts into GMail.

So why should I run several Instant Messaging programs when I can combine all in one program? Pidgin http://www.pidgin.im/ does just that, allowing multiple IM accounts such as Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail chat, along with the chat now available in Facebook. It's also good at notifying you when mail arrives in one of your various accounts, and can be extended by means of a host of useful plug-ins.

UPDATE: the latest version of Pidgin continually froze when exiting. So now I use Digsby.com!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When your e-mail is hacked...

It's a worse-case scenario, but increasingly common. Your e-mail is hacked. This article shows what you can do to minimise the impact, in the event.

There's also a link to a Phishing Quiz, when you can test just how aware you are of those e-mails that lead to websites that steal personal data. I was pleased to score 100% on mine!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Facebook Pages v. Facebook Groups - Which is right for you?

Regular readers of our blog know that we've been promoting Facebook as a great social media site for small businesses to establish a presence (here and here). Traditionally, there have been two different ways of doing this - through a Page or a Group.

With the rapid growth of the Facebook community that is upon us, we recommend creating a Facebook Page for your business, as it gives you more depth, versatility, and interactivity with your customers.

Here is a summary of the differences between a Facebook Page and a Group (from InsideFacebook.com):

Facebook Pages — Facebook “Pages” (that’s with a capital “P”) were created to give businesses their own profile on Facebook. In fact, originally, the code that made up a Facebook “Page” appeared to be almost exactly the same as that which generated user profile pages.

Pages give your business or brand an identity on Facebook. With a Page, those interested and following your brand can become “fans”, and when they do so, all their friends will see this. You can store photos, videos, information about your company, and custom applications on your Page. All activity on Pages gets posted back to your Mini Feed for all your friends to see. Click here for a detailed overview on what fields you can store on a Facebook Page.


Groups — Groups on Facebook are similar to Pages, but are meant to be built around a group of people rather than an individual business or brand. Groups have no “become a fan” feature, and do not share as much information with users’ friends as users interact.

More information about the differences between Pages & Groups, see this article on The Goggles Do Nothing Blog.


The Facebook Page is therefore a more powerful marketing tool. When your followers sign-up as fans, you can easily send them updates. You (and your fans) can upload photos and videos, creating more content on a daily basis. There is also a discussion board and new features are being added all the time.

So if you are on Facebook and you have a business, ramp up your marketing efforts and add a Page today!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Location, location, location

This cruise ship season is set to be one of the biggest, certainly in terms of ship arrivals, so despite the economic downturn we have the potential to at least keep our heads above water. And as I watched a prime location store getting refurbished, I thought surely it'll be some kind of duty free or souvenir shop  - you can see it right from the cruiseship berth. Turns out to be a tropical fish shop.

And as I walk around a hardware store right on the Bayfront, and see tourists milling around desperately trying to find something interesting to buy, I think again that we so often fall shy of maximising what we have.

If the store on the Bayfront was a website with top position in Google, I'd certainly be making more of it!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Facebook Connect vs. Google Friend Connect

Following my recent post on implementing Google Friend Connect on Visit-Dominica.com, this article discussesGFC and Facebook's version, FB Connect. For me the difference is simple - GFC took just 10 minutes to set up and get running on a real website.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Google Friend Connect meets Visit-Dominica.com


We've implemented Google's new Friend Connect service on Visti-Dominica.com. This allows people to log-into their Google, Yahoo or OpenID account in order to post reviews of any of our listings, be it a hotel, a hike, even a business.

We recognise people expect to interact with a website and this is a great way to do so! So sign in and post your reviews now.

Read this for more about Google's Friend Connect.

Travel Marketing - Finding the Nuggets

Much of the information coming out of the travel industry news this week predicts doom and gloom for those of us in the tourism and hospitality industries. But as has been noted in an earlier blog post, there are reasons why we in Dominica can look at this as an opportunity.

Further, I've gleaned a few shining nuggets out of this week's travel industry news. It only takes one or two good ideas to help you focus your marketing and improve your business.

1> Look to Europe

This is a natural market for Dominica as Europeans tends to take longer vacations, making the extended trip to the Caribbean worthwhile. Further, our geographic location between two French territories and our Creole heritage give us a leg-up in the French market.

With this as background, a reported increase in online travel sales growth in Europe (from PhoCusWright's "European Travel Overview Report") is indeed good news for Dominica:
Online sales growth for leisure/unmanaged business travel for 2008, projected at 19 percent, is significantly greater than the 3 percent rate expected for the European travel industry as a whole. (HotelMarketing.com)
Have you focused any of your marketing efforts in Europe?


2> Try Priceline.com and Kayak.com

The Chicago Tribune reports that "Highflying days are over for online travel sites," but there are two websites who stand alone: Priceline.com and Kayak.com.

While the big three travel portals (Travelocity, Expedia and Orbitz) saw declines of more than 25% in online bookings, Priceline.com & Kayak.com have shown growth. These two sites focus on budget travel, which is top of mind with consumers in this economic climate.

So get visit these sites, see what they are doing right, and get connected with them wherever possible.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our Facebook Page

We've added a Delphis Ltd. page on Facebook to complement our existing presence. Join us!

Friday, October 24, 2008

"One of these days I'm going to get myself Analysed"

Apologies to "Taxi Driver", but I was reminded of the importance of the long-term use of Google Analytics, when a past client dropped their long-standing Analytics code for their site in a re-design. Bad move - losing years worth of data. Obviously it wasn't seen as important, and if you want just 5 reasons why it IS, read this! 5 tips for using Google Analytics

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Testing times

"With real incomes falling, house prices declining and unemployment rising it can't be long before households start to forego spending for saving to a more significant degree."

And that's just the UK. What this means for our tourism industry is that we need to change focus. Firstly, your marketing dollar needs to work harder. If you still use brochures, no more lying around your office! Of course, your primary focus is on the Web, so get pouring over your site traffic analytics and find your strengths and weaknesses.

We need to focus even more on the niches, for they are the most resilient - the diving for example, being a world class product,  will attract the people to whom the present economic climate is merely a hiccup.

And look to the region: even travel within the Caribbean is tested by many factors, but it is our closest market.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Blogjackers?

I guess it had to happen. With every great innovation on the internet, it seems a 'dark side' inevitably emerges to take advantage of it.

The latest trend is in hi-jacking personal data and potentially, your blog. Known as CookieMonster, this malicious software can trick your browser into giving up authentication codes, allowing it to access your user account settings on a website, and in some cases it can take over your blog.

WordPress has now put in place an easy way to keep your administrative information secure. If you have a WordPress Blog, take 2 minutes right now to log into your blog and switch over to HTTPS for your administration panel. Full instructions and more details on how to do this can be found here.

Blogger.com is still vulnerable at the writing of this post, but I'm sure they are working feverishly on a solution. What our blog for updates.

We continue to recommend that small businesses in Dominica 'get a blog' to reach out to the world-wide blogosphere, promoting their businesses and generating traffic to their websites. The value of having a blog far outweighs the inconvenience of dealing with outlaws like CookieMonster ;-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Social Networks, Still Rising

Social Networks are here to stay, no doubt about it. Savvy business owners know this and make an effort to get their businesses on FaceBook, MySpace, and other Social Networking sites.

The graph below (by HitWise) shows the market share of social networks (blue line ) versus search engines (red line).





So get networking before your business gets left behind!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Site optimisation tips

This article has some great tips for any website owner. For example:

Content on the Homepage - I find that with a lot of B2B sites, there is a tendency to make the homepage flashy with a huge image taking up the entire "above the fold" portion of the page. Yet you have to remember, if this is the user’s first time to your site, they are looking for information and they are looking to find this information quickly. Time is very valuable to them. If you don’t communicate what your product or solution is on your homepage, how do you expect the user to find what they are looking for? Don’t make them work for it. Present a brief description as to what you do and how you can solve their needs on your homepage. If you offer B2B price management software solutions, then state that on your homepage. While the first part of the solution is getting the searcher/user to your site, the second part is keeping them there. Strive for site stickiness.

http://ask.enquiro.com/2008/10-overlooked-optimization-tips-by-business-to-business-b2b-marketers/

Monday, August 11, 2008

Reunion 2008 website relaunched

We've just relaunched the official Reunion 2008 website. Though we're half way through the year, the best part of Reunion is yet to come, and this site, with it's focus on events, will be the place to go for definite information on what's happening, when.

Check it out!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Facebooking your business

I've just read a good article about how Facebook can help your business, and it mirrors my experience. Which is why I now recommend Facebook as much as I recommend a blog.

Key points are that Facebook Pages, and to some extent Groups, are invaluable tools to promoting your business/brand.

Full article is here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pulling your social networks together

As you adopt the Web 2.0 approach to marketing your business (or just having fun) you may end up with a couple of blogs, a photo-sharing site, a Facebook/Linkedin profile, maybe some micro-blogging. Fortunately you don't have to send a friend half a dozen URLS to these pages.

There's a growing number of sites that bring together - 'aggregate' - your social networks. I'm evaluating several: Swurl.com but there are several others around, such as Lifestream, Tumblr, etc. There's also Friendfeed.com.

They all allow you to plug in all your social networks, and they bring them together in one conveneint URL you can give out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Key to search engine success: give people what they want

"

What is the one big thing that Google, Yahoo, Live Search and all the rest are trying to do? Deliver relevant search results. That’s it. That’s why people use the search engines they prefer, because it helps them find what they’re looking for. If it doesn’t, they’ll switch to another search engine. And if that one works out, it will likely become their “go to” search engine of choice, and as long as it continues to deliver good results, there’ll be no need to switch.

Now take a look at your web site. Is it the most relevant/informative/entertaining/fastest/easiest – or whatever metric matters to you and your audience – web site out there? If it isn’t, then no matter what your marketing department, sales team, CEO, stakeholders et al have to say about it, your web site doesn’t really deserve the #1 position on the SERPs, does it?

You might see some other web site at #1 that you think does not deserve to be there. The good news is, if they really don’t belong there, they probably won’t be able to maintain that position. The reason is simple; the search engines are competing to produce the most appropriate results for people – that’s how Google got to be #1. But if any search engine finds that their market share is dropping because they aren’t delivering the results, they’ve got a problem, so they’re regularly tweaking their algorithms to improve the results."


Full article...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Firefox 3 is out

Although FF 3 isn't officially launched till Tuesday next week, I decided not to wait and got the beta, since the latest version is the final release.

It's impressive; easy to install. The best aspect of FF3 is the better memory usage.

Not all my extensions work, but they are being upgraded almost daily.

In short - get it!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More on Windws Live Writer

I am most impressed with Windows Live writer for handling multiple blogs (or even just one). I also love the 'Blog This' Firefox extension that lets you easily blog something of interest on a web page.

Get it here

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Help with multiple blogs

If you do a lot of blogging, especially if you have several blogs and on different sites (Blogger, Wordpress), it can be a hassle switching 'identities'. I've just started to use Windows Live Writer. Once you set up all your blogs, it's a breeze to switch between them and post; it's also easy to format precisely since it's a WYSIWYG editor. And of course you can compose a post off-line. Get it here.

Friday, June 6, 2008

You've Got 10 Seconds...

Did you know that the average website visitor spends 10 seconds on your page before making a decision about whether or not to keep reading?

That is why it is essential to have your Landing Page fine-tuned to visitor expectations.

What is a Landing Page? It is the webpage on your site that visitors reach after clicking on a Google AdWords Listing. Here are a few tips for creating a Landing Page that works!

Tips for a Successful Landing Page

  • Be Consistent

    Make sure the text on the page is consistent with what you are offering in your ad listing. If your Google Ad announces your "7th Night Free Package" be sure that this package information appears on the landing page.


  • Have a clear Call to Action

    Know what you want that visitor to do when they reach your page. Is it to make an online booking? To use the Skype button to call you? Or to download your latest Newsletter? Have a clear idea of your goal.


  • Make it easy. Make it obvious!

    Don't hide it or make your visitors scroll down the page to find what they're looking for. Put the most important information in the top portion of your webpage so they can see it immediately and click on it. Then you have successfully closed the deal.

Follow these tips for your Google AdWords Campaigns - and for all your advertising - and you will see much improved results!

Don't have a Google AdWords Campaign? Contact us to discuss how it can help your business.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Google update

Once in a while Google re-jigs it's 'algorithm' that determines how results show. For some, it means a radical change in how one's site ranks, and I read a good article on how you can deal with it.

In short, there's not a lot you can do! The 5 main points are:
  1. Don’t Panic
  2. Keep Your Site Well Optimized
  3. Pay Attention to the Search Engines
  4. Continue to Refresh Your Keyword Basket(s)
  5. Be Patient
You can read the full article here.

Dominica Blogging workshop

Today sees our Blogging for Community Tourism workshop! More to come...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Send LARGE Files, Easily!

Have you ever had to send a 34 mb file to someone and just didn't know how to go about it?

There are several websites that offer just such a service - for free. EatLime.com is one of them - and it's fast & easy.

Just visit the Eat Lime website (http://eatlime.com) , click the "Add Files" button and browse to the file on your computer.

The file upload begins immediately.

You have two options on how to share the file:
  1. Enter the e-mail address of the person with whom you want to share this file and click Share. EatLime sends an e-mail notification for you.

  2. Use the "ShareLink" address which you can copy and thenpaste into an e-mail or IM (instant message).

Sending large files can be both time-consuming and frustrating when attempting to do so through e-mail. Often, you don't know if the recipient ever received the files. With EatLime, the task is made easy and your files are stored online to avoid filling up your mailbox!

TIP: Enter your own e-mail address and send an e-mail to yourself for future reference.

Time to back-up!

Hands up: who hasn't backed-up their most important data in a week? No excuses accepted - you know your hard drive will fail sooner or later. Of course there's always the trusty option of burning a CD or DVD, but this requires you to remember to burn a copy.

There are however several excellent online options. These offer distinct advantages to a CD back-up. First, they can be automated, updating changed files on a regular basis. Secondly, these services give you a back-up that is stored elsewhere. Third, these services often offer reasonable back-up space for free, or larger amounts of storage for a small annual fee.

Mozy.com gives you 2gb of storage for free, XDrive.com allows 5gb for free, Carbonite.com charges US$50 a year for unlimited storage. I use iDrive.com: 2gb for free and unlimited for $50 a year. The key aspect of any online service is the software that comes with it that automates the back-up process. This works in the background, backing up your essential data on a regular basis, without you even having to remember to do it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

If you've got a website, use it

I'm just reading the DOMLEC annual report, noting they herald their new website as part of their 'information portfolio'. Ironically, none of the power outages of the last few weeks - and there have been many, including the last two days in a row - have appeared in their Outages calendar.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Website redesign tips

"Every site owner and Webmaster has either contemplated or participated in a website redesign at some time in the history of their sites. Unfortunately the vast majority do not factor in the search engines and SEO when completing their website redesign. How many times have we seen people come to us after they have performed a site redesign only to see their search engine rankings tank?"

So true - and the #1 tip is don't redesign your site for the sake of redesigning it. Read more....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Blogger v. WordPress

Now that business owners are becoming convinced that blogging is a good idea for their businesses, I am frequently asked the question,
" Which is better, Blogger or WordPress?"

It's a very good question and my answer is that both have advantages.

At Delphis Ltd, we currently run (or manage) 3 Blogger blogs and 4 WordPress blogs, so we're in a good position to compare the two. Of course, they're not the only two blogging tools around!

Advantages of Blogger.com

Its ease of integration with photo services such as Flickr is a major plus. After uploading a photo, you simply click the 'blog this' button above it and it is automatically sent to your blog.

However, there are features for a business blog that Blogger lacks - like a sidebar Search Box widget and online statistics. Having said that, the speed at which Google indexes new blog entries (within minutes!) is a huge advantage!


Advantages of WordPress.com


Amazing online stats that keep you up to date with what's happening on your blog. You can see:
  • Most Popular Posts
  • Referral Sites
  • Links people clicked to leave your blog
  • Keywords used to find you - I find this an especially good toll to help discern what my blog is missing!

I also prefer the way WordPress handles 'categories' and 'tags'. (Tags act like keywords for blogs and are very important in driving traffic to your blog.)
The categories feature lets you organise your posts in a more compact manner than Blogger's 'labels.'

Finally, I believe the Search Box to be an essential element on any web page, even more so with a blog.

For these reasons, I have been recommending WordPress.com to my clients who are creating blogs for their business.


Get Blogging with our WordPress Tutorial

Have you started a blog yet? If you haven't, or are having trouble getting yourself set up, we've got some help for you.

  • Join us at our next Blogging Seminar in Dominica, or

  • Get a copy of our WordPress Blogging Tutorial which will soon be available as a PDF Download for just US $5.00.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Millenia.dm Launched!

A brand new website to help promote one of Dominica's newest businesses, Millenia Ltd., was launched today.

Millenia is a full service Architecture-based Company including Engineering and Land Planning services. With offices in Dominica and St. Vincent, they will be serving both the local and regional markets.

Visit Millenia's new website and see why Millenia slogan is to... Live Different.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Blog Means Business

More Blogging for Business

Many people ask me why they should have a blog for their business. "Isn't a blog just for teenagers?" they query. The answer is an unequivocal NO.

The Blog has become a very powerful e-marketing tool for businesses to present a personalised, up-to-date, and interactive environment to communicate with their customers.


Personalised
You can give your customers a little more insight into who you are and what your business is really all about. Your posts are nearly a one-on-one conversation where you get the chance to speak directly to your customers in a casual environment. Be yourself, build your relationship with your prospective clients one post at a time.

Current
The natural structure of a blog presents your more recent posts first, so visitors see what's happening right now, today. A simple scroll down the page keeps them in touch through yesterday's posts, then last week's. It's an on-going dialogue between you and your visitors.


Interactive
Since visitors can post comments on your blog, you have the opportunity to interact with them. Ask for their feedback on your latest product or promotion and find out what they really think. (These comments can be moderated and edited by the blog owner.)

Get blogging
Here are several ways to use your blog:
  • Announce upcoming events.
  • Release a brand new vacation package.
  • Discuss a new product or service you are offering.
  • Request feedback from your clients or customers.
  • Address a current issue or concern.


Dedication

While blogs are fairly easily to set up, they do require commitment and dedication to make them a success. Experts vary on how often to post, but I believe posting an average of once a week is necessary to keep readers interested and pique their curiosity to keep coming back.

So get yourself over to Blogger.com or Wordpress.com and start blogging today!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The traffic pie chart


I'm often asked 'What should the ideal website traffic sources pie chart be?' Overdependence on traffic from just search engines (and that really means Google) leaves a website vulnerable to any changes in the indexing algorithms.

The ideal is a balance, but the key is to monitor the changes to the chart's percentages over time. Referring sites % low? Do a reciprocal links thrust for a while.

Here's an article on what to look for in your Google Analytics.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why???

I've never understood why web designers use javascript to force a user's browsers into a full window. It's not just annoying for the user, it's arrogant, suggesting the designer cares not about a user but about his own ego.

Anyway, there is an easy fix - at least in FireFox. Just go into your options and disable Javascript from resizing your window. Shame it's taken this long to find, because I continually having my browser window forced to full-screen. Why??? I don't understand it... it's arrogant.... Sorry. I'm calm now...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Real estate blogging

I was pleased to be able to set up a client's blog recently. Real Estate Caribbean will be a good way for them to focus on land & property opportunities in Dominica via the blog-sphere.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Better Strategy for e-mail

Lifehacker's got some great tips for a better strategy regarding email. I particularly like #8:

"Learn to make suggestions instead of asking questions.

Stop asking for suggestions or solutions and start proposing them. Begin with the small things. Rather than asking when someone would like to meet next week, propose your ideal times and second choices. If someone asks, "Where should we eat?", "What movie should we watch?", "What should we do tonight?", or anything similar, do not reflect it back with "Well, what/when/where do you want to...?" Offer a solution...."

Read more

Friday, February 15, 2008

Backup!

For me it's been something of a Holy Grail: the perfect backup regime. But with high-speed always-on Net access it's never been easier to ensure your data's backed-up and safe. Because let's not forget Someone's First Law of Data: "it doesn't exist if there's only one copy of it."

Anyway, there are several free online backup services available, and my fave is idrive.com. Free for up to 2 Gb, and reasonably priced for 'unlimited' (150gb in reality). Their system tray application is good since it can be used to define scheduled back-up 'sets' - so you could backup automatically any changed files on a daily basis - if not as and when they change.

So at least I know that the next time a hurricane or earthquake hits, my data is safe!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Web Pages That Suck

...is like someone dragging their finger nails down a blackboard. There is some truly excruciating web design on show, and a lesson to be learned - if only 'always get someone to do a real critique of your new look before committing to a design'.

But for a site that's about best practices in web design, I'm amused at their lack of a search feature. What would it take to have a 'search this site' box which I could use to find articles on say navigation? And if there is indeed one, I couldn't find it.

And I did like how the circa 1996 'spinning globe' image is so derided, but they themselves love the 1996 rotating 'New!' button!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Blogging for small businesses

It's still yet to really take off here - which is silly because it's so powerful a tool - but blogging for small businesses is discussed here. Look out for a Delphis workshop on blogging in the near future!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Postini tip

I use Postini to pre-filter my e-mail for spam before it gets delivered to my e-mail client. A good tip is to sort by Subject. That way you'll see all the Russian spam together (usually first), and it also has the advantage of grouping same Subject messages together - and multiple e-mails from different senders with the same subject is a sure sign of spam!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Domain Tasting and Front Running

'Domain Tasting' and 'Front Running' is a registrar - Network Solutions in this case - who will reserve a domain name because you've just searched for it. In doing so they force you to buy that domain from them! So either be prepared to buy immediately... or don't do a search using NetSol!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Customer Reviews Close the Deal

If there was any remaining doubt as to the high value of customer reviews in getting your hotel more bookings, this has put it to rest:
TripAdvisor Reviews Double Conversion Rates

Online shoppers who look at TripAdvisor hotel reviews on long-haul travel specialist Hayes & Jarvis site book trips at double the rate of online shoppers who have not seen the TripAdvisor reviews. Read full article at HotelMarketing.com

So if you aren't taking advantage of TripAdvisor.com -- or at least putting your customer testimonials on your website and linking to TripAdvisor - you could be missing out on a lot of business.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Putting a price on free advertising

Often, for all your efforts on paid advertising, it's the free publicity that surpasses it.

We're very fortunate in Dominica to have a tourism product that carries with it an inbuilt 'wow' factor: our unspoiled natural beauty inspires so many people. So for all our efforts in the marketplace - trade shows, magazine adverts, online marketing, one good magazine article so often exceeds the exposure we pay for.

Of late Dominica has got rave reviews in many publications - and one such caused the above peak in traffic to an accommodation website featured in the article - a 3,000% increase, for minimal cost. And this is just one of many, fairly regular, good reviews.

While quite often it's true there's no such thing as bad publicity - last year's earthquake and Hurricane Dean turned the spotlight on us briefly, and we bounced back quickly from the damage of Dean - anything that damages the key perception of our island will damage that free publicity we so need.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Best Practices in Search Marketing

More and more website owners are becoming involved in Search Marketing. It is a natural progression in the evolution of doing your business online.
Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, is defined by Wikipedia as a form of Internet Marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in the Search Engine result pages (SERPs).

Several years ago, many of our clients thought all they needed to do was put a website on the internet and the business would start flowing.

In our small market here in Dominica, that was actually sometimes the case! We had plenty of clients who received bookings the first day their websites went live. One key to this success was that their brand new website was linked in from our network of high-traffic Dominica sites, such as avirtualDominica.com, so it brought traffic to their door immediately.

But these days, as more and more businesses go online, the competition has increased and everyone must work a little harder to grab the attention of a prospective customer.

That's where search marketing comes in. You have a website, but how do you make sure it gets listed well in the search engines for your keywords and that it brings traffic and clients your way?

You must stick to our Three Golden Rules:

1) Know Your Keywords - Know what your best keywords are and integrate them into the content and titles of your pages.

2) Content is King - Good Content is essential. It's what your customer is searching for in order to decide whether or not he will buy your product or service.

3) Link Building - The age old idea of networking is still critical in today's electronic marketplace: get good quality links from other websites to yours. This increases the quality of the visitor who reaches you and ultimately helps drive your site higher in the search engine rankings.

If you need help with these services, there are many qualified marketers out there. Visit our corporate website for more information about Search Engine Marketing Services from Delphis.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Show me the stats!

An e-mail was recently received by many locally about signing-up to a new regional tourism website. Closer inspection however showed the recommended fee was US$2,000. Well, you could donate as well. But it wasn't clear what you got for your money.

The first rule of Internet Advertising is 'Ask about the traffic'. It's the beautiful thing about the web - all sites capture a wealth of traffic statistics, and if an advertising medium can't - or won't - share with you, it's a huge red flag.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Travel Search Insights

"On average, customers make 12 travel related searches, visit 22 websites and take 29 days from the first time they search until they make a purchase..."

From an interesting study on how people search for travel 'products'.

Read more...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What the client wants....

"Only downside for us was that whilst we were waiting for the whales to resurface (45 mins I think) they opened the punch and played the same tunes over and over, and very loud. The boat had several families aboard and no one was looking for a party boat, although they tried (and failed) to make it so."

A comment that illustrates one of the flaws we so often see in our websites too - we want to give the client what we think they want...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Hands up who hates PowerPoint presentations?

And we've all been to terrible ones. And yet we all still do them.

Here's a great article that suggests how, if you can't do without, to do a better presentation.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Driving traffic

Today's the day I reset and archive the database that tracks click-throughs to client websites from our Big Two Dominica websites: Visit-Dominica.com and aVirtualDominica.com.

Visit-Dominica.com sent 56,354 click-throughs to client websites, while aVirtualDominica.com sent a massive 211,877 click-throughs. Looked at the other way, a typical client website gets around 15% of their traffic from their links from our websites.

And these figures don't include direct e-mail enquiries sent to clients form these two websites (or the others in our network of Dominica sites, such as News-Dominica.com).