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Posts Tagged ‘HubSpot’

Does Your Website Suck? 5 Free Tools to Help You Find Out

By John Joyce on October 29, 2010 - Comments 2

Your site might look fine on the surface but it could have many issues you’re not even aware of and this could be hurting your lead generation and customer conversion efforts.  Here are five tools that will allow you to take a look under the hood and get an in-depth diagnostic view of your website:

1)  Website Grader

Website Grade for www.thesmallbiznest.com

Website Grader actually gives your website a grade, X/100, based on it’s adherence to “searchability” best practices relative to the other sites that have been tested. (currently 2,973,941 sites have been graded) A report is generated and offers areas for improvement including the following:

  • Checks for a blog and gives a grade
  • Number of indexed pages
  • Readability level
  • Inbound links
  • Do you have a permanent 301 redirect of yourcompany.com to www.yourcompany.com?
  • Is your domain going to expire soon?  (it’s important to show the search engines you’re in for the long haul)
  • Do you have an RSS feed?  Do you have a conversion form?

2)  W3C Validator

W3C Validation Service

The W3C Markup Validation Service checks the markup validity of Web documents in HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML, etc. The whole concept behind the W3C organization is to encourage the use of standards compliant, user-friendly and accessible code. The feedback from this tool is extremely technical and would be best suited for your website developer.

3)  Pearanaltyics

Pearanalytics screenshot

Pear Analytics has a more friendly user interface and offers great detail on how to fix website issues and the degree of difficulty for each recommended change.  Some of the relevant checks they perform are as follows:

  • 404 error handling
  • Do you have analytics installed?
  • Domain age (the older the better)
  • Duplicate content
  • Do you have a sitemap?

4)  Reactionengine.com

Reaction Engine

The Reaction Engine is another bare bones technical tool that is geared toward the developer crowd.  The key difference with this tool is that it analyzes the SEO performance of a URL based on a given key phrase.

5)  Woorank.com

Woorank

Woorank is a very comprehensive reporting tool with a great looking interface and the ability to save a copy of the report as a pdf.  You can drill down and gain a great deal of insight from stats such as:

  • Traffic to your site
  • Valid robots.txt file
  • Usability
  • Related websites
  • Directory listings
  • Social media presence

The one caveat I did find when trying each of these tools?  Some of the results are inconsistent, for example, Pear Analytics reported that I did not have an H1 heading and the others saw that I did.  So, if you’re going to take the plunge and optimize your site using free tools, make sure you get a second opinion before making any big changes.

Of course, if you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, please reach out and we’ll give you a hand.

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Why Is Transparency So Hard?

By John Joyce on February 23, 2010 - Comments 0

Small Business trust and transparencyIt’s really not that complicated.  Our parents taught us growing up that honesty and respect breed trust, right?  Those two simple core values are vital components to success in any aspect of your life.  Chris Brogan, blogger extraordinaire and author of Trust Agents, says, “Today, the most valuable online currency isn’t the dollar, but trust itself.”  So, why do so many forget this simple fact?

President Obama offered “total transparency” during his campaign for the office he now holds.  It sounded simple enough.  “The system is broken and we need to involve the people we represent in the legislative process.”  That’s what I heard.  That’s what I expected.  Boy was I wrong.  Not even translucency.

Toyota is the number one auto maker in the world and has enjoyed a spotless reputation for decades.  I had a Toyota Camry for five years and never spent an extra penny for anything beyond scheduled maintenance costs.  I think Toyota is one of the best (tied with Honda) at listening to their customers, turning that feedback into action and delivering a reliable product at a reasonable price.  But, they recently strayed from their core values.  They had enormous goodwill (trust equity) in the bank and all they needed to do was tell the truth about faulty gas pedals, fix the problem and move on.  Their lack of transparency, however,  will now cost them much more than replacement parts and labor.

Now, if you would like to see the antithesis of the previous examples I’ll turn my attention to Hubspot.  Hubspot recently schooled us all on operating transparently and protecting the trust of customers and supporters.  If you’re not familiar with Hubspot, check out the book Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs (The New Rules of Social Media).  Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, co-founders of Hubspot, have created an entire platform to help businesses transition from outbound marketing (interruption marketing) to “getting found” with inbound marketing strategies.

There is no better free marketing information available online than the quality content that’s available from Hubspot.  That’s right, I said FREE.  Blog posts, video content, white papers, and a suite of “grader” applications that allow you to gauge the effectiveness of your online marketing efforts.  I love the knowledge and insight these guys share on a regular basis.  They’re really smart and I trust what they’re saying because it works.

Rewind to February 11, 2010.  Blog posts start popping up alerting readers that Twitter.Grader has been hacked and “Twitter users who have granted access to their accounts to Twitter.Grader have all begun tweeting a bizarre and unauthorized message.”  Holy crap!  What do you do?  Pretend it didn’t happen?  Blame someone else?  Nope.  You fix the issue and immediately address your customers in a blog post.

Not only did Dharmesh co-author a great book on inbound marketing but he also wrote a primer on “Transparency 101″ – condensed below:

Honesty: “#1.  It was my fault.  I developed Twitter Grader — and I’m the one that developed this particular feature that ended up getting hacked.  I should have known better.  I was an idiot.”

Respect Customer Fears/Needs: “#2.  HubSpot is being super-paranoid about how we deal with the issue.  We’re shutting down several of the grader.com applications (not just Twitter Grader) and will be reactivating them on completely new servers with increased security.  This level of caution is likely overkill (and expensive), but it’s the least we can do.”

Keep/Build the Trust: “#3. OAuth is a very good thing. For those of you that don’t know what OAuth is, it’s what allows users to grant access to specific applications without revealing their username/password. Twitter supports OAuth. As such, Twitter Grader allowed users to “authorize” access. This is much better than asking users for their user name and password. Because of OAuth, although the malicious user was able to post to people’s twitter accounts, they never had access to the user’s account credentials. Given that many people use the same username/password on multiple websites, this could have been very dangerous. But, OAuth ensured that the problem was much more contained.

Kudos to Dharmesh and the rest of the team at Hubspot!

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Do You Know How To Reach Your Target Audience?

By admin on February 20, 2009 - Comments 0

As business owners adjust their modus operandi in response to the current unprecedented economic downturn, inbound marketing will rise to the top of their priority list.  If marketing to the disinterested is counterproductive in a booming economy then it’s an even greater waste of time and money today.

The days of “inviting everyone to the party” are behind us.  Mass marketing is dead.  It’s time to welcome the era of advocacy marketing where you position yourself/your company as a trusted partner to customers and prospective customers.  By developing and sharing relevant information and guidance you will attract more qualified inquiries.  Build it and they will come.  Even if the prospect isn’t ready to purchase, they’re likely to recommend your product or service to a friend since you have effectively presented value.

The concept of inbound marketing is fairly new and can be comprised of many different mechanisms such as landing pages, SEO, social networks, and blogging.  There are services out there like HubSpot which aggregates analytics from the various mechanisms, however; it’s not a silver bullet.  Content is still king and you are responsible for developing a consistent message across all media.

New Marketing Labs announced on Tuesday that it acquired the Inbound Marketing Summit which should prove to be a very worthwhile event this year.  You’ll have the opportunity to hear Chris Brogan, David Meerman Scott and Paul Gillin share the latest strategies, tools and best practices to utilize new marketing methods to grow your business.

Bottom Line: Stop blasting to the masses.  Perfect your message (A/B and multivariate testing across all media).  Build community among customers and empower them to be evangelists.

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