Internet Marketing - a Practical Approach
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS THE FIRST EDITION
OF THE BOOK AND SO SOME OF THE CONTENT OF
THIS WEBSITE MAY BE OUT OF DATE

The website of the second edition of the book can be found at
Digital Marketing: a Practical Approach

CHAPTER 2 : GETTING STARTED ONLINE

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2.1     INTRODUCTION

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2.2     DOMAIN NAMES

go online *pg 40* For which country has what suffix, check out this list or this map.

go online *pg 41* Choosing a domain name: For more information try a marketer's perspective on choosing the right domain name.

Here's an example of why you need to think carefully when communicating a domain name verbally, in this case, on the radio - poor verbal-domain-name practice.

Although it is nothing to do with domain name selection, how it is configured online is still a domain name issue - take a look at what happens when you get it wrong - holy-bad-website batman.

Don't forget there are also domain name sections on my own website in tips, hints and advice and interesting articles. There is also a a whole section on domain names from me.


2.3     WEBSITE HOSTING

go online *pg 47* For an example of (a) problems that can occur, and (b) the sort of data that can be collected by a third party, take a look at this article from Netcraft.com - BBC News Knocked Offline by Performance Changes.

mini case *pg 47* The cost of downtime: Facebook in September 2010 [reports say that this one was cured by turning the whole system off and turning it back on again - the same as we all do to solve PC problems!], Foursquare in October 2010 and Twitter in July 2012.
At website level, November 2011 saw what I think is a good example of 'online' still be the country cousin of marketing. The story revolves around the launch of a new range of Versace products available only at retailer H&M [H&M x Versace]. As hordes of shoppers descended on H&M stores around the world and Donatella Versace arrived at the H&M Regent St [London] store, thousands of customers logged on to HM.com to snap up a designer frock. Or rather ... they didn't - 'cos the website crashed. So, all the money that was spent on this launch and nobody thought to beef up the servers to cope with the demand? I bet nobody forgot to book security staff for Donatella or make sure the shops were fully staffed that morning? See what I mean ... poor relation.




2.4     WHO DEVELOPS THE WEB PRESENCE?

Throughout the book - and particularly in my classes - I rail against websites being 'owned', or under the control of, techies or designers. My comments about marketers 'owning' the organization's web presence is based on my own experience. For those who think I am just prejudiced against designers and techies and that this view is not held by others, take a look at:

My stance that the organization's website is the property of the marketing department doesn't go down too well in some quarters [notably, techies, see what is it with me and IT?], but I have stood by my argument since 1996 and I'm not going to change my mind anytime soon. However, one thing I perhaps do not cover in sufficient detail in both my 'dream team' section and sections of this section's 'Decision Time' is that of whether the work be completed in-house or have it out-sourced. Realistically, few organizations will have the 'dream team' experience in-house.
Even the likes of Tesco who have their own 'online' department will use external suppliers for specialist functions of the website [the check-out, perhaps]. Indeed, there are many software companies who have built businesses around supplying specialist elements of e-commerce sites - everything from keeping product images up-to-date, through 'customer experience management' to linking customer's online orders to the company's logistical support. As with all other apsects of Internet marketing, the answer lies in the organization's dependency on the web. I've developed [and maintain] everything on this website myself, and I have very basic 'design' and 'technical' skills - but my business or livelihood do not depend on this site, it is a support service for the book. A similar argument can probably be made for many offline organizations, particularly SMEs. At the other end of the spectrum are organizations like Amazon who depend on the web for 100% of their income, and so employ all the skills necessary to compete effectively in their market.

Although the title of How To Create An SEO Positive Company Culture suggests it is about SEO, I think [as you will see from my comments at the bottom of the article] that the advice - and the ethos behind it - can also be applied to web presence development as a whole.I particularly like the 'web Czar' title for the person who is responsible for all aspects of the organization's online offering.

The 'out-source or not' issue is the subject of this commentary - Etailers should minimise in-house development work - make sure you read the comments at the end. There is no conclusive answer to this issue.

For those of you who haven't experienced the great marketing vs IT debate and may consider it is my own personal view, take a look at this research from a respected organization - Bridging the Ecommerce Technology and Marketing Divide. Note however, in the book I concentrate on IT's involvement with website design, this research takes a wider perspective.

go online *pg 49* Boo.com is a 'text book' example of how poor website design [plus a business plan that was, well ... rubbish] can sink a business. See what the BBC had to say back in 2001 - Boo's journey to failure. Boo is also in this list of Top 10 dot-com flops.

Although How Can We Get Rid of Bad Websites? does not mention websites developed by 'amateurs' specifically - but I suspect some of the problems hi-lighted in small business websites are the work of amateurs.

How To Design Your Website For Dollars, Not Your Ego is an article which makes the point that aesthetically pleasing design is not always what is required to meet the site's objectives. I totally agree - and I particularly like the line; "The new page looked stunningly attractive but said very little".


2.5     WEBSITE ANALYTICS AND E-METRICS

The title of this article from two of the best in the business at FutureNow - The marketer's common sense guide to e-metrics tells why I have included it in this section, but it has lots of good stuff about website design also.

go online *pg 52* For more information on server-side and browser-based e-metrics take a look at Web Analytics: Client-Side, Server-Side or Hosted? - note however, that the author uses 'client-side' rather than 'browser-side'. Another article that covers the basic issues is The marketer's common sense guide to e-metrics.

In the previous section of the book I talk about the skills required in a 'dream team' of participants in website design. This article - Building Out a Web Analytics Team - considers the same issue for e-metrics.

go online *pg 52* Definitions of terms used in e-metrics from the Web Analytics Association.

Such is the nature of my book that I really only address the basics of the various elements of e-marketing, well Geo-Personalization: Your Opportunity tells you what can be acheived if you put some thought into it. Note that I could have put this link in the next section.

In this section of the book I have included an image from my Google analytics indicating where visits to alancharlesworth.eu originate - this one is an update as the site approached 5,000 visitors [NB I would really like to know why I had 21 visitors from Belarus one day in April 09!].

latest update Here's an excellent introduction to Google analytics.

Don't forget there are also e-metrics sections on my own website in tips, hints and advice and interesting articles.


2.6     THE INTERNET AS A TOOL FOR MARKET RESEARCH

go online *pg 64* How to Hear the Voice of Your Customers - Hone First-Person Intelligence From All Forms of Feedback.

Although I do address some of the issues raised in this paper in this section and some more in chapter 9, you will learn a lot about using the web as a medium for market research from it. It's so good I'm taking you to my review before you see the actual thing - strategic planning for the real world.

Using pretty basic software [available free online, or more complex that you have to pay for] you can track entries on blogs or other CGM websites for keywords, like your brand or product name. This means you can be proactive in reacting to criticisms. Is this an example? See unintentional bait and switch by Argos. [Note that I have also included this link in chapter 9 where we consider the issue as part of social media marketing].

Market research also includes checking out the competition, 2 Ways to Legally Spy on Your Competition gives some advice on how this can be accomplished online.

It is becoming more and more the case that social media sites are a great source of market research data [so much so that maybe it should be part of chapter 9, and not this one], this article from Facebook - What’s on your mind? - gives you some idea of the data that can be gathered. Of course, in this instance, the data is used for advertising on Facebook. Or what about the profile data that is freely available on SM sites?

I find that when they hear the words 'market research' most students think about formal research similar to that which is conducted offline - but as How to Conduct Competitive Research shows, the web can be used to find out plenty about your competitors.

Don't forget there are also market research sections on my own website in tips, hints and advice and interesting articles.


2.7     PROMOTING THE WEBSITE OFFLINE

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