Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Modern Business: We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

This is Rogelio Rivas trying to learn his guit...
This is Rogelio Rivas trying to learn his guitar lessons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I had a very interesting discussion with a friend of mine who, like me, works in the technology industry as an Electrical Engineer (I develop software). He told me a story about a music shop that does a bunch of stuff from selling instruments to giving instrumental and vocal lessons. This place has a Web site too, set up by the owner's son. It's a JPEG, or image. No text, keywords, nothing, just the graphic.
I'm only writing about this because I feel the guy who owns this shop should be a lesson all business owners can learn from: You need a Website for your business, and chances are your nephew shouldn't be designing it unless he actually has some HTML skills; honestly for a static page suitable for most businesses HTML is all you need.

I promise you though that if you make a picture like you would for a newspaper ad and put it up online like a Website, it will do nothing for your business except cost you money. You need text that can be indexed by search engines, you need keywords in meta tags, you need more than a picture on a page, or else the only people that see your site will be those that you tell about it. Let's face it, if the only people who use your site are those people who you tell about it, well then you might as well not have the site because it won't tell them anything they don't know or can't learn from you.

Your Website is a marketing tool. People don't pick up the phone book anymore to find music lessons, they open Google and search the Web, and if you don't have a Website that can be found, you've already lost the sale and you haven't even had a chance to give a pitch. You can't sit back anymore, and rely entirely on word of mouth and a few coupons or weekly paper ads to keep customers coming through your doors.
There are more and more music stores popping up all the time. Further, face it it has got to be hard as hell to stock a music shop with more than the high-school-band staple instruments, so why should they get their instrument from you instead of the guy down the street or the guy online?

Another thing my friend mentioned is that this guy has no YouTube videos for his store, which could be shared via his Web site. In fact, I'm told he has no such desire, but what he doesn't realize is that if I were to stumble across his site (and I would since they're now ranked #1 on Google thanks to Paul, my friend) looking for guitar lessons I could see that they offer guitar lessons, maybe even see some pricing. I'm a conscientious shopper, so I want to look around. Perhaps right below them I would find another site, which also lists guitar lessons as part of their services, but hey wait, they have a video of this guy who gives the lessons working on some awesome riffs and great chord progressions, clearly he knows his craft and art, I don't even give the other guy a thought because this guy is awesome and I know I'll get an education with him, because he's obviously brilliant.

The first guy though, he lost a sale, but he's also loosing revenue too that he doesn't even have to work for, keep inventory for, and has almost 0% overhead (other than the time you invest). The videos store owner #2 has been making of him playing the guitar and maybe even giving a few lessons (maybe with a student or maybe just a video lesson) will begin to generate revenue for him from the Ads he can opt-in to having played before the YouTube videos he makes for his store. The other guy, he's still loosing sales and missing out on untold revenue because he refuses to shell out some cold, hard, time and make a few videos to promote his store (but they should never sound like an info-mercial).

So, while you're figuring out which guy is making more money; I need coffee before I start working on that chapter that always needs written.

Does your Web-site need a make-over?

Un-named Template 1
Un-named Template 1 (Photo credit: DavidScherer)
I'm always looking for new clients, and trust me, my quote won't send you into cardiac arrest, but it will guarantee better page-rank, SEO, and of course, style. If you like your look but hate your rank, or no matter how you spin it I can help. Check out my Flickr if you'd like to see my design portfolio.

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