Monthly Archives: February 2013

Feb 26

Overcoming the Most Common Real World Website Challenges

By Rebecca Murtagh | Book News

Buy the book Million Dollar Websites on Amazon.comMy first book Million Dollar Websites, is published and I couldn’t be more excited!

Writing a book is no small undertaking, as those who have done it will tell you. When writing a non-fiction title, having a compelling reason to put it all “out there” makes it all worthwhile.

Why did I write Million Dollar Websites?

I wrote this book to empower those who depend on a website to make better decisions, save time, money and realize the full potential of the website investment.

For many years, I (and others like me) have been approached by organizations of all sizes to figure out why their website is not delivering the results they need to be successful, and how to make it better. From multi-national corporations to the solo-entrepreneur, the goal of the website may be different, but the challenges are often quite similar.

Optimization is great, but I always feel the frustration and pain of businesses who wish they’d had ample insight to get it right the first time.

99% of website failures are 100% preventable.

I’ve spent much of my career providing businesses and brands the information they need to make informed decisions about the digital extension of their business. I share real-world examples of the good, bad and the ugly in this book that industry experts have given 5 stars! Read book reviews and more about the book on the website: http://milliondollarwebsite.tv

Overcome 9 Real-World Website Challenges

1. The Website Process is Outdated and Broken

Most websites emerge from “project-dom” unable to deliver results and ROI.

Web designers, developers, SEO’s, copywriters, webmasters and marketers are focused on delivering the best of their craft. While they may be very talented in delivering their professional contribution; design, coding, search engine optimization, copy and technical management of the website, few, if any, have a horse in the race, so to speak. So, when left to guide decisions to get the project done, consume the budget, and/or generate profit related to their bottom line, little consideration may be given to how the website will support the bottom line of the business the website was created for once it is live.

I explain what must change in this dynamic. After all, the very day the website “project” goes live, these professionals move on to the next project. They must, as it is the core of their profession. However, on that very same day, for the business or brand the website was created for, the website is expected to evolve from expense to asset. After inheriting the website, many will struggle to quantity, measure, maintain or improve the success of the website, and very often leave it to run its course to obsolescence.

2. Make Everyone’s Role More Effective and Enjoyable

In the book I outline how to manage the website process in a way that makes everyone’s contribution more meaningful, efficient and effective.

Gain insight from those I call “the web elite” and learn how simple tools can enable you to communicate more effectively with the talented professionals that will create the most visible aspect of your brand. By proactively managing the process, you make everyone’s contribution more productive, enjoyable, and significantly increase the ability of the website to deliver the results needed to compete and win online today.

3. Be Empowered, Take Control

The information I share in this book has saved many, many clients many thousands, tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, over the years. Although the agency, vendor or web team may have been satisfied with the outcome, it has cuased me much pain to witness businesses and brands feel victimized and frustrated after investing a sizable budget into the website.

I want to help others avoid this frustration. Million Dollar Websites enables brands of any size to save time and money, armed with information and knowledge vital to proactively managing the process to compensate for the outdated approach most of the web industry takes toward the web creation process. (I hope this book will promote the dialogue to change that!)

4. An Owner’s Manual for the Website

The web industry has conditioned those in the industry, and those who purchase web services, to view the website as a budget line item every one, two or three years, rather than the vital business asset it can, and should be.

When the business does not own the process, the website (very) often fails to meet expectations and goals.

In the book, I provide a clear path to building a better website, emphasizing the important role leadership from the business or brand plays, while outlining, step-by-step, what needs to be done before any entering into any discussion about website design, budget or features. Million Dollar Websites outlines what it takes to create a successful website…whether you are a large corporation, small business, or a business of one.

5. Transform The Money Pit Into a Money Tree

Instead of delivering revenue as a business asset (what I fondly call the “money tree”), the website becomes a money pit for far too many businesses and brands.

So many businesses and brands are forced to invest in compensating for the website, rather than correcting the inherent properties of the website itself.

A website may fail to appear in search, fail to convert visitors to customers, unable to be updated, or serve as little more than a brochure. As a result, after investing in website creation, additional money will be required to realize performance the website was expected to deliver on its own.

Brands will often turn to advertising, PPC or search engine marketing, monthly SEO programs, or maintenance programs to fill in the gaps. All of these methods can be powerful in the context of promotion, or required in leveraging a website. However, additional investment should not be required to make up for what a website should deliver on its own merit.

Million Dollar Websites, reveals the most common mistakes, and empowers readers with best practices used by the web elite to deploy the most successful environments on the internet.

6. Knowledge Makes All the Difference

If your success depends on a website in ANY way, this book is a must read.

Written as a non-technical guide to every aspect of the website, this book engages deliberately engages the C-Suite, and entrepreneurs to take leadership to facilitate collaboration and proactive engagement with webmasters, web designers, programmers, SEO’s, internet marketers, PR, customer service, sales, marketing professionals as vital contributors to the website.

Million Dollar Websites provides tools that facilitate communication that keeps everyone on the same page to create a website every stakeholder will be satisfied with.

7. What it Really Takes to Compete and Win Online

Today’s digital landscape demands speed. Customers, search engines, the media business owners, shareholders and stake-holders demand quality websites. There really is no time for you to learn-as-you-go. Most who have tried to build their own website will tell you that there is much more to a website than creating a few nice looking pages.

Those who defer control to their in-house experts, agencies, vendors and consultants do so at their own peril. What you don’t know can, and likely will, cost you. Million Dollar Websites empowers businesses of any size to create a highly strategic website that doesn’t cost more, but is capable of delivering more.

8. Avoid Costly Mistakes – Save Time and Money

Million Dollar Websites puts you back in control of the website without having to learn code. Gain invaluable insight use to create the most effective digital environments on the web. Refer to Million Dollar Websites time and time again to apply timeless best-practices to emerging trends to prevent common mistakes and greatly increase the success potential of the website.

9. Its Time to Share

So many websites fail do to lack of information. Writing the book is just the beginning in the quest to help businesses and brands create websites that can, and will, deliver the results they need to compete and win online.

Join the discussion – Gain insights from the ‘Web Elite’!

Join the web elite and other professionals of all levels seeking to build a better website on the Million Dollar Websites  Google+ Community where we will feature Hangouts, website reviews and discussions about the latest web trends, real-world challenges, and support one another to build better websites.
I’ve also created a LinkedIn Group to foster discussion about the website.

So, buy the book and join the conversation!

Feb 20

60% of Brands Admit Their Website is Average or Below Average

By Rebecca Murtagh | Clicks to Conversion

Is Your Brand Listening to Customers When Optimizing for Website Conversions?Is your brand listening to its customers?

A recent survey reported by WhatUsersDo has revealed what some may view as startling.

60% of brand owners rate their website as average or below average.

Despite the stated goal by 78% of those surveyed being “extremely” or “quite” committed to delivering a quality user experience to customers, an alarming percentage of brands admit knowing that their website will disappoint their customers.

Unfortunately, I do not find this surprising as most (not all) brands I have worked with are more interested in aesthetics than performance, and few care to refer to data when it comes to defining the user experience.

Optimization Improves Conversion

Anyone in the business of optimizing a website for search, clicks and conversion understands what a powerful difference the investment in a quality website can be. The data simply does not lie.

And, apparently brands understand this, and know what needs to be done. In fact, 93% of brand owners acknowledge that optimization will, indeed, improve conversion.

So why the admitted failure?

Why Websites Fail

Econsultancy Senior Research Analyst, Andrew Warren-Payne says it well; “…it appears that the approach taken to user experience is reactive and based on hunches, rather than a planned approach to testing that begins at the start and continues throughout any improvement project.”

This is a common pitfall among those that those tasked with creating or managing the website frequently encounter. Some will trust their instincts, some do not have the budget for user testing, and some simply do not care about how well the website serves the customer.

Data Makes All the Difference

As I always say, the bottom line is the bottom line. User testing, performance data, measurement against KPI’s and goals are vital when calculating the ROI and performance of a website. Websites don’t come cheap, so why are so many brands willing to leave so much of the planning, design and optimization to chance?

Data is invaluable in planning a website. Most organizations invest in the website to support financial goals. It is an indisputable fact that if the C-Suite, department or business owner expects the website to deliver bottom-line results, they must be prepared to invest the time and/or money required to create a website customers can use to support those goals.

Data doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many sources of data to enlighten the brand.  Third-party testing, customer surveys, website analytics, or a combination thereof can be extremely enlightening when planning or optimizing a website for usability and conversion.

5 Ways to Optimize the User Experience of a Website

  1. Invest in proper planning, execution and optimization of the website.
    (I cover this extensively in my book Million Dollar Websites – shameless plug, but it had to be said)
  2. Use data, not hunches, to plan and measure performance of the website.
  3. Perform user testing on an existing website before investing in a website redesign.
  4. Perform regular user testing on the website using KPI’s to measure ROI as well as usability.
  5. Use customer insights to optimize the user experience.
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