Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Christmas Internet and a merry New Year

So we seemed to have survived another Christmas, despite a raging flu-pandemic that has hit most of Ireland. So next up is New Years and the start of 2009 - a year many are predicting to be an economic free-fall, which it will possibly be. A lot of people who have spent the last few years in senior, management and professional careers are now seeing an opportunity to setup their own company. Also, the government has this new businss incentive for start-ups which should prove interesting.

The next step most people seem to take after coming up with the idea is to setup a new website. Having hindsight and experience, I would always advise setting up a website and SEO ahead of starting to trade. Once you're sure the business venture is a runner - set up the website without hesitation.

Websites need time and maturity to help them with SEO - setting up a website after you start trading gives you a slight disadvantage. There is nothing wrong with setting up a site before you're ready to trade - chances are nobody will find it for the first few months - but the longer the Search Engines Index your site, the easier it gets to optimise it!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Saving money with O2

We recently moved to O2. We had several good reasons.

  1. Vodafone were costing us a fortune - up to €200 per user
  2. O2 have the iPhone
  3. Vodafone were costing us a fortune no matter what plan/add-on combo and they don't have the iPhone.
Ok so it's 2. And there is probably a million people to tell me that you could buy an iPhone and stay with Vodafone and another million to tell me that Vodafone is the same. We've tried every package and add-on and idea from Vodafone only to see the calls go up.

Well, it's not. And a lot of our business friends have higher costs. We moved to O2, got iphones for everyone for €50 and our bill is coming in at €90 per head. Ok, that's only after 2 months, to be fair, but it is a substantial drop.

My advice - whoever you're with - you could save money by moving simply because your existing network won't actually get you a better deal. They could look at your spend over the last 6 months and tell you which package would have cost you less but they won' we moved and we're delighted.

BTW - if you didn't know already- the iPhone rocks. It's more than a gadget. Its a necessity. The App store, accelerometer, browsing capabilities. Even people with the LG "iPhone killer" version readily admit the iPhone is a lot more intuitive, capable and feature packed.

What do you get:

  • Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) with Google Maps
  • an iPod
  • YouTube
  • Touch Screen
  • Accelerometer (detects motion in the handset, like a Wii. Has Wii like games too)
  • Millions of apps to download

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hmmmm.....the 'R' word

The 'R' word is back and with a vengeance. R is an important letter in ROI - Return on Investment. If a website is the most important tool of the modern age, then surely search engine optimisation is the most important tool in increasing the return on that investment.

I still find it hard to accept that so many business still don't see that having a site and not having a plan for building traffic means that no matter how much was invested in the original site, the site has, almost no value. It's not until SEO or SEM comes along that the site begins to add value - to both the domain and the business itself. For many companies, particularly those with a smart multiple domain strategy, the domain and website have an asset value of their own, aside from that of the owning company.

I've heard this too many times: "But we're the best supplier of cakes in Dublin. We're supposed to come up number one. Everyone knows that!" Yip, try telling that to Google though! No, really, you should tell Google and that's what SEO and SEM are for!

I also can't believe that so many companies believe that they can compete with strong websites, particularly national or even international players by paying someone €1,000.00 or so as an "investment" in their website! That's not an investment, it's a moderately priced flyer.

Your website doesn't inherit or mirror you're business' real life presence on the internet. When you adopt a full, proper internet development programme, you are essentially opening an Internet based business of sorts.

You need to therefore be aware of things like Blogs, Social Media (for connecting you and your associates, partners and clients in a business and social network) as well as SEO and SEM.

Why do I think SEO delivers better as a value-add over any other form of advertising ? A well optimised site that continues to grow with unique, original and infomrative content will continue to grow traffic, generate leads and grow your business. Far better than any paid advertising.

Paid Advertising requires a constant budget - stop paying and you kill your traffic, leads, sales and business. A well optimised site will continue to grow. You'll get free traffic. You'll get people "clicking" into you and you'll sell. Your site can be sold as a going business asset of it's own right!

Monday, December 8, 2008

New launched

We're delighted to announce the official website for SEO Ireland, We've been working on it a while and even though I'd like to get more done with it, there's a lot to be said for getting it up and running!

Tomorrow/this week I plan to post about why people should be investing more in their web infrastructure - websites, booking forms, new content and SEO - during the upcoming recession we've all heard so much about.

We've also been doing a lot of work doing some SEO for hotels site, Like booking a hotel in Amsterdam, a hotel in Barcelona or for hotels Dusseldorf

Sunday, November 16, 2008

MS Live Webmaster Tools

Apparently its been around for a while but I only just thought checking to see if Microsoft had a Webmaster Tools site just the other day and it turns out they do. It's pretty much a copy of some of the things Google provides. If you've used the Google Webmaster Tools before, this will be a very familiar experience.

The authentication process is a little more involved and it checks to see if you are an authenticated user EVERY time you want to access a site statistics (not sure if Google does this everytime, it's a good idea). It means you can grant access to a remote user and then revoke it at a moments notice.

One tool stands out - the backlink checker shows the domains linking back to you and the sites rating in a scale of 1-5. The scale isn't very thorough and it's even more blunt than the 1-10 PR ranking method of Google's. But it is nice to see a tool that shows you each and ever page that is linking to you. I look forward to seeing Microsoft (and Google) adding some more innovative tools!

Visit the Microsoft Webmaster Tools Site.

Monday, November 10, 2008

a quick plug for two charity sites

Ok, I never wanted to make this a Blog for plugging other sites but I do want to mention two charity sites we've been helping to optimise. World Vision (Ireland) - at and their new alternative gifts site, is a new site and I would ask anyone who has a blog or newsfeed or site to add a link to this domain. They are a wonderful charity that helps some of the neediest and most vulnerable children in the World's poorest spots. SEO Blog

I've been meaning to setup a blog for ages and now I've finally got round to it. Over the past 6 years we've launched, redesigned and managed over 200 websites and optimised over 120, covering almost every industry and business sector.

I think SEO and Web Development is one of the most interesting fields to work in. It's diverse, dynamic and brings you into contact with a lot of new ideas. There a lot of people "offering" SEO too, some very good and many who couldn't explain SEO to you if you gave them the answer.

I hope to use this blog to help people discover more about the web, to showcase ideas and to have the odd rant/praise/....