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Engage Web » 2010 » August

Dragons invest in antiques valuation website

Posted on August 31, 2010

If you watched last night’s episode of Dragon’s Den on BBC 2 you will have seen the website valuemystuffnow.com. The owner of the website, antiques expert Patrick van der Vorst, was seeking £100,000 investment for his online antiques valuation website. In his pitch he mentioned how visitors to his website would upload photographs of their antiques in order to receive a valuation within 48 hours via email.

It sounded like a good idea, but as Duncan Bannatyne and Peter Jones pointed out, with an average order value of around £4.50, a low conversion rate and a reliance on Google Adwords for traffic he was never actually going to make a profit. This was compounded by the fact that every time Patrick spoke of what he needed the investment for he stated ‘Google Adwords’ in order to increase his traffic levels to circa 100,000 uniques per month.

Every time he mentioned this, I shouted at the TV ‘NO!”. This is not the way to increase your traffic levels and, as Peter and Duncan had already identified, you wouldn’t make a profit doing that. Yet still Deborah Meaden kept repeating that they needed to increase their advertising on ‘Pay Per Clicks’ (as she called it).

Value My Stuff Now

Value My Stuff Now

Surprisingly, Deborah and Theo Paphitis (more…)

Posted by Carl Hopkinson

Should you look for local SEO companies in Cheshire?

Posted on August 30, 2010

The WorldOne of the questions that many people have when they’re looking for an SEO company is whether it’s best to go local, or does it in fact not matter where your SEO company is from.

This is actually a difficult question to answer and, to some degree, depends on what you expect from your SEO company. For example, if you expect to have a ‘hands on’ approach to your SEO and you want to be able to meet with your SEO company regularly, popping in to see them and have them visit you, then you’re probably better off with a local company. Also, if you want your SEO to be (more…)

Posted by Matt Jones

SEO Titles: the decision of Solomon

Posted on August 29, 2010

king-solomon-babyWhen faced with a tricky title, like everyone in SEO will be at some point, I am often torn between wanting to be catchy and wanting to stick by the rules of search engine optimisation. On the one hand, a catchy title is likely to catch the eye of the Internet user who performed the search in the first place. On the other, without the correct keywords in the correct place (such as the title) the search engines are less likely to feature my title somewhere that the Internet user will actually see it when they perform the aforementioned search.

But then again, if I don’t have something catchy, the Internet user will click on someone else’s title… Ugh. Which is more important?

At such times, the decision of King Solomon comes to mind. The wise king of old was confronted by two women, both claiming to be the mother of a child. Faced with a very difficult choice, Solomon decided to (more…)

Posted by Cheryl Mathews

Facebook’s trapped cat claptrap

Posted on August 28, 2010

Moggy bothering Royal Bank of Scotland employee Mary Bale hit the headlines this week.

If you’re unaware of who she is, she’s the mumsy 45-year-old who was caught on CCTV disposing of a neighbour’s cat in a wheelie bin.

In the hilarious yet disturbing footage, she is seen petting fuzzy bundle of fur Lola, lulling her into a false sense of security, before grasping her by the scruff of the neck and popping her into the bin like a balled up chip wrapper.

The cat was rescued 15 hours later by her owners, and they posted the video on Facebook in a bid to find out who had mistreated their precious pet. Bale was soon identified and, after defending her actions by proclaiming “it was only a cat”, saw the error of her ways and apologised profusely.

We’ll never really know her motives. Her elderly father is known to be ill in hospital, so she may have acted on an impulse to have some element of control in her life. She may have mistaken the furbag for Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch, and thought she was putting him back in a bin where he belonged, or she may simply not like cats. What was interesting was the reaction to the footage; pretty soon, a Facebook group called ‘Death to Mary Bale’ had been created and was attracting lots of followers. Calling for the summary execution of Mrs Bale, its members suggested that she be (more…)

Posted by Mark Glenning

Increasing your links with blog comments

Posted on August 27, 2010

Hitler does not allow blog commentsLinks are widely recognised as one of the most important factors to your website’s improved search engine rankings. The more links you have (assuming they’re from good quality, relevant websites – and we can’t stress that enough) the more Google will look upon your website in the same manner as a father would look upon his child as he takes his first steps.

Sickly golden syrup analogy aside, the point still stands. If your website has loads of good quality links from similar websites, your website will perform better. With that in mind, one of the best ways to increase the number of links to your website is by commenting on the blog posts of other websites within your industry, adding a link to your own site within the URL field.

Now, this raises one or two important points – points that must first be made clear before you rush off and start spamming the bejesus out of your competitors.

Firstly, while the anchor text used within a link is important in SEO (the text used for the link itself), and the name you add when you post a comment becomes the actual link text, your name should (more…)

Posted by Carl Hopkinson

New Google search feature to foil flailing fingers

Posted on August 26, 2010

Search colossus Google has taken a PC approach to its latest feature, one which seems to have been designed to thwart those with chubby fingers, poor spelling or weak typing skills. I bet you thought we meant PC as in personal computer then didn’t you? No, we mean the horrid term ‘political correctness’ – and Google is pandering to those who fail miserably to even manage to search for something on the Internet.

Having a reputation for letting new, interesting, things slip out under the radar, the latest thing that has been unleashed from their nerve centre (presumably located in a dormant volcano, complete with a monorail and boiler suit-wearing goons and being scoped out this very instant by a suave British secret agent) is an incremental search. In other words, your search results update the instant that you type something in.

This has obvious disadvantages, along with its many advantages. On the plus side, it does mean that you don’t have to type the whole of ‘Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch train station timetable’ into your search box to check the departure times from everyone’s favourite Welsh train station, but on the other hand it could prove problematical if you want some information on (more…)

Posted by Mark Glenning

Why a fixed fee to SEO your website spells danger

Posted on August 25, 2010

charlatanIf you were approached by someone offering you financial advice, business advice, legal advice or even medical advice, you would expect them to be qualified. You would expect them to have studied to get where they are today, and you would probably expect to see evidence of these qualifications.

Equally, if they gave you inaccurate advice, you would expect to have some form of comeback. You should be able to appeal to a governing body, take them to court and receive some form of financial compensation if their incorrect advice has cost you dearly – which in the case of medical advice could be very dear indeed.

However, in the case of search engine optimisation this is never the case. You don’t need to have taken any courses, passed any exams or indeed have any real experience of SEO before you can dispense advice as though you were in expert. All you need to be able to do is to (more…)

Posted by Matt Jones

How important is the design of my website?

Posted on August 24, 2010

Pub ManMany business owners look for ways of saving money wherever they can – it’s one of the most important aspects of running a business. The more you can reduce your expenditure, the less turnover you need in order to make a profit… a penny saved and all that. However, there are ways that you can save money that result in long term harm to your profits; scrimping on your website is one such money saving tactic.

Most businesses realise they need a website, even if it’s just to act as an online brochure to be mentioned on your business cards. As with everything you spend money on, you’ll want to get your website for as cheaply as possible – but you could end up throwing money away on a bad website; one that will not earn you a penny, or a single referral. If that is the case, what use is having the website in the first place?

Your website needs to look professional. This should be a ‘given’, but sadly many people who offer to build websites for seemingly bargain prices don’t actually know the first thing about designing a website. This means you could end up with an amateurish website that turns people off, rather than entices them to call you, or to (more…)

Posted by Carl Hopkinson
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