1 Andrew: Welcome folks to your monthly expert interview with the Facilitators Inner Circle. My name is Andrew Huffer and this is part of your free upgrade to your membership. It is part of our mission to make sure you are getting maximum value from the Facilitators Inner Circle 24/7. We are taking a bit of a different angle in this month s interview. It s for those people who could be thinking about developing a new website or redeveloping your own website and wanting to know where you should focus your efforts so you are getting maximum value for your time. To help with that I ve got hold of one of WA s internet experts his name is Peter Butler and he s the head honcho at Smarter Websites. Peter s mission is to help professionals and businesses to grow their businesses using the power of websites and blogging, lead generation and social media marketing. I ve used Peter to design my own website as well as my own internet marketing campaigns and found it simple to use and even though he is a bit of a nerd the guy knows his stuff. So welcome Peter it s great to have you on board today. Peter: Thanks for that Andrew, nice intro thank you very much. Andrew: Any time that was a complimentary one for me! Peter we want to use your expertise today to cover the big three s relating to website design. Folks today we are going to spend half an hour on the call and we re going to basically milk Peter s brain dry throughout the process. If you are sitting at home make sure you are sitting there with pen and paper ready to make some good notes, if you are on the road be focused and when you get home do a replay of this interview so you can make sure you are getting maximum value. Peter, I m going to start with the dark side, because I know you are a bit of a Darth Vader fan. What do you believe are the three big mistakes that people are making today when they are looking to design or redevelop a website? Peter: I think the first thing is the online brochure model where people get caught up in the colour, the graphics, the design, the fonts etc. All those elements are really important, yes it has to look good but websites that are just online brochures aren t going to work, that was a model in a bygone era. Today it s really about engagement. About establishing trust, credibility and authority that s a stand out thing it s not an online brochure. The second mistake would be going cheap and that s not to say you have to spend a lot of money either but you don t use a friend or someone who knows a little bit about it, you have to come at a website from a marketing angle. In my organisation to give you an example, I have a web graphics person absolutely important person in the business. I have a developer for the techy side, but we come at it from a marketing angle, it s all about the marketing. It s a tool in your business, it needs to look smart and help you with your branding, but most of all it should pre-sell your business. The other thing is that when people get a website done, they think they have this thing on the internet and great people will come to it, however if someone is on your website they are obviously interested in what it is you have to say or sell or the service you provide. They are doing their due diligence so they are interested, however they might not be interested to buy right now they are just doing their homework or setting up. Most business owners make this mistake they don t try and get
2 that persons information or some sort of value exchange. Like on my website, The 7 keys to a Profitable Website, if someone s checking me out they need to find those answers out. I need to set up a system whereby they can find out more about what we do, we are starting the relationship journey, and it really is about relationship and engagement. Andrew: So the three big mistakes you see are people treating it as a brochure, going cheap and failing to grab people s details when they first visit the site. Peter: Absolutely, you have to inspire confidence, the thing is that people have this big disconnect with what we do offline and what we do online, like offline a lot of business owners network, they meet people, they follow up they get on the phone so that s what they do offline, what we have to try and do is take what we do offline and reproduce that in an online version. This thing that the corporates did 10 years ago and here is valid evidence, even if you look at the banks how they are marketing themselves they ve got the local manager, they are getting back to this relationship, engagement, personal connection model, they realise that going corporate just didn t work. We as small to medium business owners need to do the same; it needs to be about engagement. Andrew: Absolutely and as facilitators our profession relies on our ability to engage with people in a workshop or engage with our clients. I can see the real connection there as well. Peter: So for your group of people this is really in your face, if they are not connecting or engaging in any way on their website then they are leaving a lot of money on the table. Andrew: What do you see as some of the big changes in terms of web design and functionality in the internet in the last 3 years? Some of the big changes you ve been seeing. Peter: The first one leads on from what we ve been discussing this focus on engagement, the standout point. With the onset of social media marketing and all the social platforms that comes into it. Some people don t play in that space. I suppose the defining question really if you are contemplating entering that arena is are your clients playing in that space? If they are playing in that space, you need to go where they are. It s really cut and dry, you don t need to be super knowledgeable about it, and you do need to consider return on investment absolutely. But there are a lot of things, and this leads into the second biggest change (and we ll come back to that point a little later), is the fact that you can manage your own website. We use Word Press exclusively; all our websites are built in that. It s a content manage system and it s absolutely brilliant, it s a blogging platform for those who aren t familiar with it. That doesn t mean to say the websites have to look like the old blog style, they can look very corporate like but effectively it s a really easy content management system. You are able to edit, add content, edit pages, and add new pages whatever you like really easily. It s so simple, if you can send an - you can manage your own website. Imagine this you have a subject line in an , well you have a subject line in a post which is a news worthy article or a page, you have a subject line you write it in. You have your
3 content, you have your text editing tools, there are a couple little things you can do to SEO (search engine optimise) each post and page and we can perhaps cover that later on too because that s really easy for business owners to do now. The second point would be the fact you are able to manage your own website, the third big change which I eluded to earlier is this social media marketing and what we call social signals. Social signals is the two prong front there, it ties in to social media marketing, engagement all of those aspects that also ties into search engine optimisation. What Google have realised today and there s been three big changes in Google over the last three years, the first one is real time search results, what I mean by that is that everybody knows PDF documents they know adobe created PDF documents originally so five years ago if you were searching for PDF in the Google results, you d have 10 results of adobe all about PDF, what people realise is hang on there s all these other PDF software developers out there so why aren t we giving them any credibility and why aren t we showing them in the search results? That s where the real time search results come in, so the person who has the newest or most relevant, that s more valid than this static content, so it s about this dynamic content. Andrew: It s not just a lock and leave approach it s about thinking how can I appeal to people with content that matches their needs at the right time. Peter: Exactly, so you need to be proactive. When I tell people that sometimes they go I don t have time, I don t know what to do but you don t have to do a lot the more action you take the better results you will get, you can outsource it but it s not hard and you don t have to do that much to stay in front of your competition. Andrew: Very good, so we re talking engagement, managing your own site and that social media marketing and social signals. Peter: Getting back to the three big changes with Google, we had real time search results so the most authority of relevant newest and freshest content has an edge. The big thing for us is that gives us a chance against the big boys, if you are passionate about your subject and you can write about it often (and you don t have to write novels) 300 word posts or something relative like sharing a story or an update that you had with a client, whatever it is - it is really powerful, it engages people. The second thing is local search results, again if you went back 5 years if you searched for a restaurant chances are something in California might come up, Google had a real disconnect, now you have to remember playing the game with Google is quite simple their philosophy is user experience and that is it. Good user experience. They want people to get the results in that first search page of what they are actually after. So the local search results is really powerful and again it gives the local business owners a chance to work really well, but you have to play the game with Google. In the last 8 months the changes in Google are huge, local is outranking everything else, with your Google tools there s a whole heap you can set up - analytics is one, but that s racing historical data it can also give you some real current data that is useful (I could spend a whole day talking
4 about that one subject) but you have to play the game with Google, so local search results is a standout, so we ve had real time, local standout results and the third point eludes me.. Andrew: In terms of the major changes, I think you have already alluded to the value of engagement and the ability for people to manage their own websites without having to rely on their expert design is another key thing there too. Peter: Absolutely and the third point has come back so thanks for that, which is the social signals and SEO. So again you are talking about the last three years the changes have been huge but especially in the last 8 months, last year Google had two things Panda and Penguin were algorithm changes. So changed the way they looked at websites, so a lot of hierarchy websites dropped of the planet, no surprise to me at all because some of the way and the search engine companies, and I tell you there are a lot of smoke and mirrors out there. A lot of people are paying huge money and they really aren t getting the results or the results they could. They are in a position and again this is a benefit for the small to medium business owner if you want to play the game the way I recommend, is that Google are now looking at social signals. So with your website you can imagine that if someone comes to your website and they read this new post that I ve been recommending people do and that means they are on your website longer and then they make a comment on that post, because with the platform that I recommend you are able to make comments. You get to authorise that comment before it goes public by the way for anyone that may be concerned. What that does is keeping them on their even longer and Google see that comment so they see that there is engagement. That s a strong social signal so you will earn brownie points with Google. Not only that, if you go to a website and make a comment, you ll benefit too. Just set up what s called a gravatar. A gravatar is a globally recognised avatar (just Google it you ll find the instructions) there is a post on my website to find out more about that. For the person making the comment on that post, they will get a link back to their own website, giving them brownie points with Google. To win the game with Google it s almost like you have to have 100 points right - a 10 out of 10 score. Now each one of these little things we do it might rank half a point, it might rank 5 points but the bottom line is doing lots of little things will earn you brownie points it will help for Google to favour your website and give it a higher ranking. Other social signals let s talk about that. You ve made a post and people come and comment on it, there are other social medial tools where I found one of my posts and also one of your posts Andrew was shared on Facebook so many times by people who have read it. There s other people who are driving your business and what I mean by share is simply this, there s a little button there so someone has read it and they click on the little button it then sends it to their Facebook or LinkedIn page and all of a sudden you are then put in front of an audience that you would not of otherwise
5 been put in front of. That is going to bring up the traffic, so you have tor remember in this online space you are pleasing two entities, people and search engines. Search engines will bring you more people, so you have to do it so the search engines favour your content but not SEO it so that it s not legible or engaging to people so there s a balance with this SEO. So social signals is the third big change and it is huge, it is virtually the new SEO. Andrew: It s something people really need to be on top of. Peter: Absolutely and for those who have already started on that journey, great keep going. There is a balance with time though you could effectively spend half a day on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and not actually make any money. Obviously there s a balance and that s a part of what we help business owners to do, as you well know Andrew, where we help them connect their website to their social media platforms so they have really smart leverage. They do a blog post, it gets added to their website great, oh the other thing too is a blog post and again this is on social signals is that when you add new content to your website it sends out a ping which says hey new content here. As an example a colleague we have Tony, he received an he wasn t sure if it was spam or not. It was - so, I knew other people had received it and I had and I thought OK there s a newsworthy post. So I wrote a post, I published it and later I went to the Google search and I picked the title of the subject. It was a very commonly written about subject, spam server or something there was over three and a half million results. So I did a search and low and behold not only is my post on page 1 in Google, it s position 1 in Google, I did that search 6 minutes after I published it! Pretty powerful stuff, it shows you the real power about real time search results. That s how quickly new content can get published and known and what we call indexed by the search engines. It s a really powerful thing so the benefits are all interwoven you can imagine all these dots connecting by that ranking, it s a social signal, it s helping the website get ranked better. The other thing is that Google don t actually rank websites at all, they rank web pages. Page by page by page, so your homepage is virtually not your website, it s a simple page it stands on its own and this is a mistake that a lot of business owners make - they try and use too many keywords. So what do you want your homepage to be known for? Lets drill down and look at one of your service offerings, what would be a service offering that would be common amongst your group Andrew? Andrew: Something like strategic planning, Peter: Ok so fantastic, you have a page talking about Strategic Planning so your title should be Strategic Planning now if you think your audience might search (this is another change with the local search results that I referred to earlier), if the geography is important so let s say you wanted to just focus on the Perth area Andrew, then you d put Strategic Planning in Perth if you thing that might influence the search engines for ranking you and also the people. Remember we are playing the game with two entities here, search engines and people. If strategic planning in Perth is going to benefit you then you d put that as your title.
6 The next thing you do on your page is your copy that includes your primary key word. This is the mistake a lot of people make; they try and put 10 or 20 keywords on each page, good luck with that. My recommendation is I use a rule so I have one keyword, so the primary key word, for example Strategic Planning but there s two other keywords that I want to be known for which are what we call long tail keywords. Andrew: So in this case could be Strategic Planning, Facilitator, Perth. Peter: Exactly yes so this is easily done you can actually do your own SEO, a lot of people pay us to do it but quite often we ll set up a certain number of pages but we ll put in tools that will show people and give them a score on each page so they can actually do it themselves. It s an involvement thing. So Strategic Planning, Facilitator and Perth. If those three words are so related to what someone is going to be searching for then leave it at that don t find any others, people just add too much and what they are doing is diluting the power of the rating. I ll give you a good way to think about it, imagine that you had a title that had 5 words in it, so you have a score of 100% if you are ranked really well. Each one of those words would account for 20%. So then if you have 20 keywords, well each one only has a score of 5% power so you are diluting the power. Just getting back to trying to rank each page, there are other things you can do, name your images strategic planner in Perth if you are adding an image in the page because Google do check that as well. Also bolding some of the keywords, using them as headings say in a word document and this is simply like playing in a word document. You have titles in a word document same thing in the web page; you have a heading 1, 2 and 3 etc. You would try and use the key words in some of your headings; it gives the page more power. Here is the kicker if someone took the time to do that, 10 or 15 minutes you are pretty well done. When someone is searching Strategic planner in Perth and guess what your website comes up in the search results, not the home page but that page you ve optimised. The real power in that is they ve found the answers they are looking for by the back door, so they don t have to filter through the other stuff. So they don t come to the home page and they can t find anything about Strategic planning in Perth so they leave your site, by finding the exact page, then they are going to read the content because it s valid to their query, they will stay on the page longer which means it s going to help your rating in Google because our engagement level is higher, if you have a comment facility then even more powerful. Andrew: I want to make a switch now because we probably only have about 5 minutes left, and I think you ve already covered this pretty well. What would be your recommendations if people are looking to get a website built or redeveloped, what are the questions they should be asking their designer when they go and talk to them about it?
7 Peter: Look it s interesting you use the word designer; I suppose we fall under that category but I prefer to think of myself as a Marketer. I would recommend number 1 to put on a marketing hat, don t think design. Don t look at pretty pictures, think about the journey when people come to your website you want to take them on a journey. You can t have all the information on the home page, there s things you can do by having a really powerful USP (unique selling proposition). It s the most powerful thing you need to tell people what it is you do and why they should do business with you. You really need to have your marketing hat on. It s all about trust, credibility and authority you need to show people that they can trust you. Andrew: One of the key questions would be to ask your website developer is, what are the core marketing aspects I need to be across? Peter: Exactly don t get hooked up into the design aspect. When I m presenting and showing people what I do, I don t look at websites, we don t have a computer on because that s not the conversation I want to have - that is secondary. Of course you want it to look great and it will but it s about the marketing. I would say let s have a marketing conversation please and consider the fact that ok we want to establish trust, credibility and authority how would you recommend that I do that? Because for designers, graphic designers, God bless them, we need them but they aren t marketers and they aren t suppose to be. They are supposed to make things look sexy so ask them those questions, how are we going to establish trust, credibility and authority? Andrew: That to me sounds like a core question that will then set up everything else around it. Peter: Absolutely everything else will flow from that, the other thing too is that in talking to a lot of people because 80% of my work is rebuilt, so that means someone s had a website and it s not working for them and they now have to spend more money rethinking and doing that. It s good they are taking the action because some people live in hope with their online brochure and you need to make a change. The bottom line is if your website isn t bringing you in prequalified leads (and to be honest I don t have my phone number up in the header panel and there s a really good reason for that) I want people to read a bit more about what it is we do and how we do it before they go to the contact page to find that information. Now I m not recommending that for everyone, some businesses need to have their phone number there but that s the things we work with people on establishing that, is that important for you. This is the question that I found a lot of web developers don t ask the people they are possibly going to work with, Can you give me a list of model websites or competitor websites that you are up against? because I want to have a look. And this is again a possible designer because they simply come from a design mode, the developers are the techy people they are the ones that do all the coding and make things work but the marketing person needs to ask the question because you need to have a look at what the market place is doing. Now that s not to say you ll do exactly the same, a lot of mistakes can be made for that, I talk to the client first get an idea of how we re going to get this engagement level up and get that confidence for anyone that comes to the website and build
8 that trust but it s by looking secondary at other websites in that arena you can get an idea of where people are at and most times if you are an earlier adopter you ll be able to get light years ahead of your competition pretty quickly. Andrew: Fantastic, perhaps just to turn around it a bit I d be looking at what questions my web marketer is asking me. One of the questions you asked me when we did my website is, What are the goals you want to achieve with it? Peter: Absolutely. Andrew: That just helped me focus on what the hell do I really want to do with this. Peter: That comes back to the journey, what is the journey you want to take people on as I said you can t have all the information. I worked quite recently with a client who needed, we had a slideshow image we were telling the story (with) because you have to tap into people s emotions, this is an emotion driven business you have to engage these people push a few pain points to get them engaged with what s their problem. You can provide the solution and leverage through testimonials. This person we had 5 slideshows we didn t need too many. They reckon you something like 8 seconds to engage with people, it s not long. We put in 5 bullet points one in each of the slides, because the system we used is contract managed this particular client went back and edited their website after we went live with it they are able to do that. But they added so many words to the 5 bullet points that they lost the power because they were trying to tell the whole story from the home page, they had forgotten what I d coached them on about the journey, Andrew: So they need to flirt first and then give the detail later. Peter: Absolutely get them to click on the button and the slide to find out more, so they are on the site longer so it s helping with SEO but then they re indicating they are interested in more you ve captured them. It s the same as reading a good newsletter; you have a headline for a reason, in your information in the heading it s to get you to do what? Read line number 2. Then you have a bullet points or sub headlines to take people on a journey and your website is no different. Andrew: Pete we are at the end of time now, I d like to say a sincere thanks for your time and effort I know you are a very busy lad with doing what you do and I know you have a lot of things on the go right now. Thanks to our members today for coming on the call and listening to this - just remember about the website process it s not something you should let overwhelm yourself. I think from what Peter is saying - think about the goal you are trying to achieve, who you are trying to engage with and what are some of the tools you can use for that. Also think about the marketing results you want to get from the process. Peter, if people want to check out your site and your work to get a bit of an idea what s the address? Peter: That would be
9 Andrew: And they ll get a full view of the work you do and the websites you ve built. Peter: Absolutely, I hope the listeners take on board my points and work through them it s a lot of information but I hope it provides value to their business. Andrew: Absolutely thanks very much. Peter: No problems at all thank you Andrew.