Archives for October 2009

Of course I charge for what I do – I run a business!

Mad about the BanPeople’s reactions to my job / business frequently amuse me, but none more so than the responses to various promotional links I place in the places I network online.

As some of you know, yesterday I wrote a list of “10 Things You can Post on Your Facebook Fan Page” – and at the end of it is a promo for a special offer we’re running on setting up Facebook Business / Fan pages.

Last night I posted a status update on Facebook mentioning this, and received the following response from someone:

“Wow, you CHARGE for something as simple as that? Its easy to do for FREE”

Anyone who has read my articles, posts and comments over the past 10+ years will know that I have ALWAYS said that you don’t have to hire someone like me to do your SEO, set up your Facebook fan pages, write your articles, do your blogging etc etc etc – you can do it yourself, and in fact I provide a whole host of articles aimed at helping you to do these things yourself, the aforementioned 10 Things You can Post on Your Facebook Fan Page included.

Recent articles and freebies I’ve published on the site include:

The list goes on, but one thing all of these have in common is that I tell you you CAN do this yourself – if you want to and if you have the time.

OK, so a lot of the articles I write and the freebies I give DO have a link or promo for one of my services, but this is always the afterthought – the main aim of the article is to tell you that this stuff isn’t that difficult to learn – *I* learned how to do it, so you can too!

However, like anyone, I have to make a living. I give out free advice, help people out for free and even take on work on a pay by results basis on occasion, but at the end of the day I have a family to feed and a shopping habit to fund, so I charge for my expertise and time.

So to have someone (and it happens a lot) come clod hopping over my posts with ‘And you charge for that? But it’s easy to do for free!’ really really gets my goat.

Yes, I charge for my services. I charge for my time. And I charge for my knowledge. It’s up to my readers and contacts to decide whether or not they want to take the free advice I give and do the work themselves, or pay me and my colleagues to do it for them.

As for the person complaining about me charging for something “so simple”? Well, he’s a business coach. I’m thinking of posting “Wow, you tell people how to run their business? And you CHARGE for that? How far into the course does the ‘post unprofessional comments on other people’s posts’ module kick in?”

Grrr….

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jan Tik

Is there such a thing as a Google Authorised Adwords Reseller?

This question is popping up more and more in my inbox – and the answer is yes.

Google tells us:

There are five Authorised Google AdWords Resellers in the UK:

There is one Authorised Google AdWords Reseller in Ireland:

  • Yodel
  • These companies are authorised by Google to resell Adwords to you, and they are the only companies that can claim to be an authorised Google Adwords reseller.

    This is different to a company such as ours, selling you Google Adwords Management – we make our money by charging for our time, and you pay your clickthrough costs direct to Google.

    What does a company have to do to become an Adwords reseller?

    Again, from the horse’s mouth:

    The AdWords Authorized Reseller Program is not a good fit for everyone. We work with a wide variety of businesses, but we do find that our most successful partners share these traits:

    • A dedicated direct sales force who can actively sell AdWords to local business customers with a goal of achieving at least 500 accounts
    • Customer support for advertisers, including AdWords account management to handle questions and requests
    • A reporting system for keeping advertisers informed about the performance of their AdWords advertising
    • A billing and collections system for customer invoicing and payment collection

    Will NikkiPilkington.com become an Authorised Google Adwords Reseller in the future?

    It’s unlikely, to be honest. We’re a small agency, and we like it that way. We don’t work locally on the scale that Yell and Reach Local do, and we don’t have the sales or support resources to handle 500 accounts. We do offer Google Adwords account management, but we don’t want to be the conduit for payment for your clicks. To us, it’s much better if you pay Google direct and just pay us a management fee. We do offer reporting, on a monthly basis, as well as support for questions and requests.

    I think it’s clear, from looking at the companies who ARE authorised resellers, that this appeals to a certain type of company and their clients – and we’re not that sort of company.

    Hope that clears the issue up, but do remember that if you get a phonecall from someone claiming to be a Google partner, Google representative or Google subsidiary, and they’re not one of the above companies, it’s probably a Google scam.

    Does more content mean higher Google listings?

    uprightIt’s a simple question with a not so simple answer – my answer is “Maybe”

    Adding more content to your site is a great thing to do, from a visitor perspective and from a Google perspective, but only if it’s done properly. Simply adding meaningless content for content’s sake is never going to be a good thing.

    Well thought out content can be really good for higher Google listings though, for a number of reasons:

    • If well written and optimised, you have a better chance of writing specific content for different keyphrases you are focusing on
    • More content = more pages, and gives Google more to index
    • The more pages you have indexed for different phrases, the more likely you are to show up in long tail searches
    • The more well thought out content you have, the more useful your site becomes to visitors
    • The more useful your site becomes, the more likely it is to be passed on, Tweeted, Socially Bookmarked, etc

    So, yes, more content can be good – but think it through. Badly written, over optimised content written purely for search engines won’t do you any favours at all.

    Have a think about what you could add to your site right now to make it more useful to visitors AND help with those higher Google listings.

    (photo credit: shioshvili)

    Self pity is no substitute for hard work (or get your head out of your ar&e and stop feeling sorry for yourself!)

    headUpArseA couple of things over the past couple of days have put me in mind of something someone said to me a long long time ago.

    No-one in this life will give you anything – you have to work for it

    I don’t know if the quote came from a philospopher, a film, a song, or whatever – but it’s something I’ve carried around with me ever since.

    Recently I’ve had a couple of conversations that have made me want to trot out this observation, although in one of the cases I kept my mouth shut 🙂

    Conversation 1 was with a potential client who came to me having been told that his website would never sell anything. He had no money to spend on his site so had, in his words, ‘given up’. Now, I’ll be honest, his site wasn’t the best – it was pretty bad, but it only needed a few tweaks to make it ‘OK’, and the products and prices were good. It was no less professional looking than some of the eBay stores that sell loads, but it wasn’t making any sales.

    It tuns out he’d built the site, and expected the world and his wife to beat a path to his door. He thought that he’d automatically appear at the top of Google when people searched for his type of product, that sales would go through the roof, and he’d be in clover. The reality was he had an OK site, no search engine positions and no sales. So he’d given up.

    I’m in the middle of writing an article about time vs money – the gist of it being that if you don’t have the money to spend on promoting your site, then you need to find the time to learn how and to do it. LOADS of people spend no money at all on internet marketing, do it all themselves and do really well from it (i’ve always told you it ain’t rocket science!).

    If you don’t have the time, then usually you’ll need to find a budget to pay someone else to do it.

    A quick chat with the guy detailed above, and we established 25 instant ways he could promote his site without spending a single penny. I said I’d help him out a bit by tweeting about his store, and that I’d send a few interested people his way, but the majority of the work had to be his. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on.

    Conversation number 2 was with someone else who’s been floundering a little lately. He feels his business isn’t going as well as it could, but sees others in his industry charging double his day rate and bringing in the business easily. In the course of our conversation he blamed his location (not near any networking groups), his lack of success in promotion, the fact that he wasn’t ‘as good as’ some other people, in fact pretty much everything apart from the fact that he wasn’t working hard enough.

    Off the top of my head I can think of 10 things he could do to bring in money pretty much instantly. I tested one of them myself last night and proved my point.

    The point I guess I’m trying to make is that it’s easy to sit down and decide you’ve done all you can to further your website / business. It’s easy to be jealous of others who seem to be more successful than you. It’s easy to give up and blame everyone around you.

    And a bit of self pity occasionally does no-one any harm… 😉

    But when you let it rule your days, your ‘working hours’ and your thoughts, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. You can stick your head up your ar&e and tell everyone around you that you’ve ‘done your best’ while looking longingly at the success others are making.

    Or you can get back your fight and do something about it.

    I can GUARANTEE to each and every one of you that has hit that point that if you sit down for an hour with a blank piece of paper and send me a list of the things you’ve done to promote your website / make more sales / bring in more leads, I’ll be able to add 5 more things you could do. A fresh pair of eyes, as it were. In fact do it – right now. Send me an email telling me a little bit about your business and a list of the things you’ve done to promote it. I’ll give you 5 more.

    They may not be easy, they may require time and attention, but apart from that they’ll all be free.

    Promoting a website isn’t hard. Admitting you need help sometimes can be.

    Guaranteed Google Listings – why you shouldn't believe the hype!

    liarI know, I know, I’ve posted about this before – but it rears its ugly head all the time and it really really bugs me.

    This time someone on a forum I participate in tells how they received a sales call from a company purporting to be called ‘Chrome’, who are allegedly a ‘subsidiary of Google’ and can offer GUARANTEED front page Google listings for a tiny amount per month (about £125, small money for the business he’s in). Apparently this is a ‘one off offer’ and ‘only being offered to one company’.

    Luckily the person receiving the call knows a bit about online marketing and realised this was rubbish. Even more so when he asked them to email him the info and they refused, saying that they couldn’t email info as it was only open to one person and they didn’t want lots of info going to different people.

    O-K….. so let’s look through this properly here:

    • False claim number 1: “We’re a subsidiary of Google called Chrome”

      Google themselves say in their Webmaster Help: “Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google.

      Also, Chrome is the name of the Google browser – I’d say these people are counting on reaching website owners who know Chrome is ‘something to do with Google’ and will fall for their ‘subsdiary’ tactics.

    • False claim number 2: “We offer GUARANTEED front page Google listings”

      A couple of things here really. I covered a lot of the ways in which a guarantee can be made but not quite true in my “When Is A Guarantee Not A Guarantee”:http://www.nikkipilkington.com/internet-marketing-articles/when-is-a-guarantee-not-a-guarantee-nikkipilkingtoncom-internet-marketing-expert-uk article, but Google, as always, get the last word on this one:”

      No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google

      There you have it – from the horse’s mouth.

    • Dubious claim number 1: “We can’t email you info, you have to buy on the phone as this is only offered to one person”

      What sort of a company selling Internet advertising of any kind (and there are many reputable ones out there) would refuse to email information over and insist you buy on the phone without looking into their company? One that has something to hide, maybe?

    I could go on, but I’m conscious that all I’ve done recently on this blog is have a moan – there’s plenty to smile about in the SEO and Online Marketing world, so maybe I should lighten up a bit 🙂

    I’ll leave it to you the reader to have a look through the rest of the comments Google themselves make about choosing your SEO expert. Just be aware when you’re on the end of a phone call guaranteeing anything and alleging a special relationship with Google, all isn’t necessarily as it seems…

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