Don’t Listen to “Them!”

Photo Credit: http://sxc.hu/profile/StillSearc

So I got an email a few days ago that made me realize my blog reader was missing a blog I want to be reading (and you just might want to add it to yours, too!). Nicole Dean posted a fabulous entry about being overwhelmed with all the marketing methods, how sometimes social media ISN’T the right thing to do to promote your business, and listening to everyone who suddenly thinks they’re an expert. Go read that and then come back. I’ll wait here since I’ve already read it.

Done? Good, then let’s continue that train of thought and go off on a bit of a related tangent…

This also applies to your website. I see so many small business owners and entrepreneurs get a good basic website together, or their plan for one ready, and then it falls apart at the seams and becomes a mess because they start listening to a dozen different people who think they’re experts at website design, usability, marketing, etc.  As Nicole pointed out, many of these same people haven’t made a dime online.

They’ll tell you that you HAVE to make your site fancier.  You have to offer live chat.  You have to sign up with all the various wishlist, rating, feedback, review, and shopping engine sites and incorporate them into your website.  You have to blog.  You have to get on all the social networks and link to them.  You have to learn search engine optimization.  You have to offer lots of free things to get people to sign up for your list.  You have to use autoresponder sequences instead of newsletters.  You have to do a newsletter instead of autoresponders.  You need a membership program.  You need… you need… you need…

No wonder new online business owners get overwhelmed!  Enough, already!

You know what you don’t need?  You don’t need to jump off a cliff with a “friend” or neighbor’s advice!  You’ll drive yourself batty if you keep implementing more changes that “someone” advised you to make – then un-make – then make again – then change – then tweak – then delete – then add again.  Is that really an effective way to spend our time?

I’m a huge fan of blogging, social networking, etc but I also take it one step at a time and figure out what’s actually working for me.  If something isn’t generating traffic or sales, I need to look at why and consider whether it’s a good investment of my time (might be, I might just need better strategy, or it might not be the right thing for me to be doing).

Some things to consider when it comes to your website:

  • You don’t need every social network linked to on your website (unless you truly are active on all of them, Nicole’s points on this are excellent).
  • You don’t need a fancy flash intro, flash headers, or your entire website designed in flash.  In some cases, used carefully, flash rocks.  But it can also annoy visitors, slow down your site loading time, and keep search engines from fully indexing your site.  For some products/services a simple, “boring” one page sales letter with excellent copy works best.  (Consider spending that flash budget on a good copywriter or to study copywriting instead.)
  • You don’t need to use one specific website host or your business will fail (there are many good hosts out there, and many bad ones, but trust me there’s more than one that will work just fine for you).  If someone is trying to push you into one host, it’s probably an affiliate link.  There’s nothing wrong with that, and many of the best hosts have many affiliates because they’re good.  But some have affiliates only because they pay high up front commissions.
  • You don’t need to do anything *exactly* like someone else to succeed (be you!).  Don’t copy someone else’s style.
  • You don’t need to agonize over every single line of code on your website.  Yes, there are times where it’s worth it to really look at the “under the hood” nuts and bolts when you’re optimizing.  But most of the time I suggest you go by Bob the Teacher‘s motto: “Take Action, Revise Later” and just get it good enough for now.
  • You don’t need to follow the search engine advice that 20 different people give you – most of them are probably wrong, and some may even be giving you dangerous advice.  If you want to learn SEO, please buy a reputable book or find ONE reliable person to learn it from.  Once you understand the basics then branch out and learn from others or experiment.  Don’t take advice from Joe down the street or people you don’t know in forums on how to do SEO.

And the most important one… you don’t need to get every detail of your website perfect before you launch it or promote it! Yes, first impressions count, I understand that.  But if you wait until every little thing is perfect you may never launch.

I’ll tell you a secret.  When I look at my website I can come up with at least 17 things I need to change or that irk me right now.  But I launched the new design a couple of days ago anyway because it was a heck of a lot better than the old one.  I’ll tweak it as I go.

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11 Comments

  1. Well said, Michelle. It’s so hard to know who to listen to and easy to waste time listening to too many advisers. But it’s best to find one person whose advice works for you and stick with them and keep information overload at bay. There’s enough to do as it is! And by the way—your new site design is impressive!
    Jeannette Koczela recently posted… Taking inspired actionMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Jeannette. :)

      And I agree – find that person who’s advice clicks with you and follow it!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Vernon Muhammad, Michelle Shaeffer. Michelle Shaeffer said: Blog: Don't Listen to "Them!" http://bit.ly/a9uNcy […]

  3. Fab post! Although I don’t agree that a one-pages is all someone needs for their site, I DO agree with all the rest. As a web designer, I find my clients often asking their employees, spouses, and basically everyone and their mom what they think of the design that they and I have created and coming back to me with a million useless, unrealistic and expensive changes. Meh! Not every tool is good for every business. Hurrah to you for telling the world!

    1. Oh definitely. I should have worded that better. LOL There aren’t many purposes that a one-page site works for – but there are a few. :)

      Totally agree that not every tool is good for every business. I think that’s a common challenge for web designers. We want to deliver something that will get results but it’s hard when advice comes to the client from 10 directions and it’s all different.

  4. I feel a whole lot lighter after reading this, Michelle. I am one of those small business owners you’re talking about – overwhelmed and always feeling like I should be doing so much more. I’m going to cross off “learn more about metatags” from my to do list for now and keep focusing on writing and reaching out…..Thanks for your insight and guidance in the BetturUrBlog challenge.

    1. Hey Denese, thanks for coming over from #BetterUrBlog – and yes, it’s okay to cross things off your list! You can always come back to it later IF you decide you want to. It’s your list and you’re allowed to cut it, edit it, or even tear it into confetti and throw a party if you want to. :)

  5. Your article is great. I might add that you need to learn “not to listen to those that email you daily telling you to buy the “program of the moment” because the one selling it has been making 6 zillion dollars a month for years but now wants to “give” the program to you for a few bucks. I have started a “unsubscribe” program for those people offering me such deals.
    Being very new to this I did get signed up to every “deal” recommended to me, until I spent half my time reading the email, afraid I would miss the golden chance.
    I enjoy reading your articles. Thanks

    1. Very good reminder, William, thanks!

  6. Michelle, you are so right about this! It’s so easy to get stuck in the planning and tweaking stages that the implementation never happens. As always, good advice for those of us who are recovering perfectionists. :)
    Lisbeth Tanz recently posted… Discover the Secrets to High Impact Business NetworkingMy Profile

    1. Yes, recovering from perfectionism is a moment by moment battle. :)

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