3 Things Not To Do To Your Website

search engine optimisationMuch is written about how to get people to see your lovingly crafted website, and much of this is designed to get you to spend your hard earned cash to employ Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) experts. Unless you have an internet based business that relies on reasonable amounts of traffic being directed to your site then this is entirely unnecessary.

First of all you need to look at how the internet searches work. Looking at things simply, bots (from Google, Bing etc.) wander around the internet taking a look at our websites. We don’t want to do anything to deter them so make it easy for them (plenty written on this subject). The search engines then operate on this mountain of data. We supply keywords or phrases and the search engines do the rest.

We of course want our sites to appear near the top of the results and with smartphones and tablets this is even more important. Here are 3 things that you really should not do to your website.

Have a poorly designed website – search engines like quality so your site should be clean and easy to use although it need not have been designed by a top designer!

Demonstrate untrustworthiness – if you offer advice you must demonstrate qualifications. If you offer online shopping then show security certificates, links to independent testimonials etc.

Never take into account the needs of users – these days users are lazy. They type the minimum but expect to see a website, directions to your shop etc. Ignore user needs at your peril.

The full article can be downloaded by clicking on the link  Learn To Love Your Bot

 

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Innovation, a panacea for small retailers?

Research shows that consumers gain most pleasure from the act of shopping, rather than from the outcome or purchase.  The idea of ‘shopping as leisure’ has defined many new retail developments such Cardiff’s new St David’s shopping centre and the Trinity shopping centre in Leeds (other retail experiences exist!). Could innovation be a way to help smaller retailers now that others have shown the way?

I had the pleasure of living in Cardiff when the St Davids centre opened and waited to see if it would sink or swim. The effect it had was to help the city climb up the UK retail index. At the time many smaller independent traders were uncertain as to whether this would put them out of business or act as a magnet to attract more customers for them.

A  recent study showed the impact on traders in the nearby Victorian market and arcades, with only 10% of the 90,000 people walking along the City’s High Street each week confirming that they visited the Castle Quarter arcades.

This poses the question – in today’s continually innovative retail market, should smaller, traditional retailers adapt their stores to the changed retail habits of today’s consumer? What can they do to make sure that consumers enjoy the experience, as well as the purchases that the independent traders are known for?

Where can retailers turn to for ideas and advice? Banks and Post Offices turned to theme parks for help in making queuing experiences less painful so maybe some alternative thinking would help?

Could a bookshop offer a great cup of coffee to fortify tired shoppers or keep hold of them for longer? Could the male barbershop be enhanced to pamper men in the same way as ladies hairdressers?

 

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What happens to our creativity as we get older?

In 1968, George Land conducted a research study to test the creativity of 1,600 children ranging in ages from three-to-five years old who were enrolled in a Head Start program. This was the same creativity test he devised for NASA to help select innovative engineers and scientists. The assessment worked so well he decided to try it on children.  He re-tested the same children at 10 years of age, and again at 15 years of age. The test scores results were astonishing:

Test results amongst 5 year olds: 98%
Test results amongst 10 year olds: 30%
Test results amongst 15 year olds: 12%
Same test given to 280,000 adults: 2%

“What we have concluded,” wrote Land, “is that non-creative behavior is learned.”
(Source: George Land and Beth Jarman, Breaking Point and Beyond. San Francisco: HarperBusiness, 1993)

For most, creativity has been buried by rules and regulations. Our educational system was designed during the Industrial Revolution over 200 years ago, to train us to be good workers and follow instructions.

Today we measure our childrens’ education simply by the number of exams passed and the grades obtained. Similarly, we grade the effectiveness of educational institutions according to league tables. Not only are we allowing children to become less creative, we are actually helping them to do it.

Later in life, we then tell them they have to be more creative and so we send them on courses or ply them with self-help books.

This is just plain wrong, we need employees with the creativity of 5 year olds.  Maybe we should just employ 5 year olds?

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Do you ask the BIG questions?

There are many lists of things that highly creative people do. I’m not going to replicate one of those here but just leave readers with one question to answer:

Do you ask the BIG questions?

Creative people are curious and highly creative people are very curious indeed. Rather than just wander through life they will wonder how, what, why, when etc about almost everything. They will not be trivial questions like ‘I wonder why Mrs Jones painted her door blue’ but more profound like ‘If you could track the water molecules in a river, where would they go?’ or ‘If the mountain came to Mohammed, how many lorry loads of rock were there?’.

Such thoughts lead to other things, ideas get played with or maybe shared and then the Eureka moment happens!

Creative people also have a habit of saying ‘Hold that thought’ and then going off on another tack or suspending belief completely. One of my favourite quotes is from an old children’s favourite – Winnie The Pooh.

“Hallo Rabbit,” he said, “is that you?” “Let’s pretend it isn’t,” said Rabbit, “and see what happens.”

So do you ask the big questions are are you concerned with how many hours it is until you can go home from work? Do some homework, think big, daydream, go off-piste with your thinking and play. Let me know how you get on.

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