Do What is Right in Business, Give Back

The last few years have been tough for many Americans and tougher for many of the builders and real estate professionals we have the pleasure of working with.  When I founded my company in 1995 I named it Builder Consulting because we were building computers, networks and websites while providing computer and Internet consulting.  I knew many people in the real estate industry so naturally that was a strong part of the business with many of the builders taking my word that this whole ‘Internet Thing’ was going to be BIG.My little ‘hobby’ business went from an extra bedroom at my house to a Main Street office with clients worldwide because of the customers.  When customers started calling and stating they could no longer pay for website hosting, updates or marketing we had a choice to make.  I met with our accounting staff and told them if the customer is legitimately unable to pay and having trouble then Internet Builder Consulting was going to pay it for them and help keep them in business.

My accountant told me it was a bad idea, my office manager actually fought with me about it (she is no longer with the company) but my heart said that we help people when they need it rather than hurt.  These were the people and companies that helped us succeed and the last thing we needed to do was take down their websites so no customers could find them and no leads would come in.  The decision was bad for ‘business’ costing nearly $25,000 in services we paid for customers in the first year alone but I believe it is the way business should operate.  Business should not be just about money, making more and taking more from people – it should be about helping and making things better.

Some of the customers were literally shocked when I called them back to let them know we would be paying for their services until they got back on their feet.  Wallen Builders was a successful New Mexico builder/developer that called to say they were having financial troubles and could not pay to complete the new website.  I called them back and told them we would finish the website, host it and market it for the rest of the year at no charge to help.  Unfortunately it was not enough and they closed the following year but the marketing director, Gia Tidle  let us know that what we did helped them survive and pay their staff a few months longer.

Gary Bringus of Heartland Homes spent his last marketing money with another ‘builder design’ firm who took his money and never produced a website for him.  When he contacted us and asked for help we designed and built him a new website for 1/2 of what we normally charge.  Heartland Homes built some beautiful custom homes throughout Kansas City until the market crash and medical issues nearly closed the business.  In 2010 Heartland Homes made the call to turn off the website and save every penny they could to pay medical bills from nearly a year Gary spent in the hospital.

Rather than turning off the website we looked at the situation and agreed to pay for the services until he was back on his feet and business was stable.  After a few years of paying for customers websites, hosting and marketing it did add up to a significant amount of money that was causing occasional cash flow issues for Internet Builder Consulting so I choose to pay it out of my own pocket.  The last few years I have paid myself around $15,000 a year as the CEO of one of the top Website, SEO and Social Marketing firms in the country.  It’s was easier than I expected to go from making $175,000+ a year to what is considered poverty but I did it and I live a happy full life not needing anything.

Business is not about how much money you make, it is about how many people and companies you are able to help.  Internet Builder Consulting has been recognized as The Best Place to Work in Kansas City 4 times now and we have a happy team of the top experts in the country who do what they love and take care of customers.  Since 1995 I have never worried about the money, there were been several start-ups I was involved with that brought in more money than I ever thought I could spend.  Money has never been my goal, being the best at what we do, knowing the Internet, Search Engines, social networks inside and out and actually watching the people we work with succeed because of what we did for them is what drives me.

I had to make some adjustments in life to take a zillion percent pay-cut but it made things much simpler and more manageable.  Until things are better and the people who helped us grow the business from a side hobby to one of the top website, SEO and Social Marketing firms in the country are back on their feet I will continue to pay.  There is always another day and another dollar but there may not always be another chance to help a company or a friend stay in business when times are tough!

If you believe in what you do, the people around you and doing what is right than putting your money where your heart is makes sense.

Robert ‘Dot Com’ Jackson

Internet Expert, CEO

Internet Builder Consulting

816-842-7774

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Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Blogger, Twitter, Google+, SEO & Online Marketing

The one question every business owner asks when we meet for a consultation is “What do I need to be doing to rank higher on Search Engines and reach more customers?”.  The answer is a complicated one since there is no one thing that will lead to online success, it requires specific properly setup and optimized ‘Online Building Blocks’ starting with the website. 

No Online Marketing will be successful without a properly built and properly optimized website as the foundation.  The website must be readable by search engines, must contain multiple ‘calls for action’ to entice online suppers to submit a request, question or share information and the format of the website must be user friendly.  A website is “more than Meta Tags” today, the backend code is a requirement (still missed by many bad website companies and Template websites) but dozens of other key elements are required for online success.

Keystone template website without META Tags or basic SEO
This Template Website was produced by a a communications company for the customer and published without META Tags which ranked the website lower and lost the customer sales.  The customer did nothing wrong but noticed months later that old ‘marketing websites’ were ranking higher on search engines than the main company website.

The website IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ITEM for online marketing success.  Make sure the website is built by someone with experience, expertise, focus (they build and market websites as the primary business – not an ad agency or public speaker or other type company that builds websites on the side to make extra money) and longevity.  There are hundreds of  unemployed people starting website, social marketing and graphics design companies.  There are more with expertise in public speaking, mortgages, ad agencies or even print marketing firms with little to no expertise with websites, Search Engine Optimization or Social Media Marketing that now present themselves as ‘website companies’.

The most capable website companies will have a minimum of 10 years experience designing, developing and marketing websites. Any company with less than 5 years experience is still ‘learning’ how to build a website and anyone working from home is someone to be avoided.

Once the website is built properly, optimized and submitted to Search Engines the next step is building awareness of the new website.  The top algorithm used to rank a website is how many other websites (that have value, not link farms) are linking TO a website and what content those websites have on them.  Search Engines track how many links go to websites over periods of time which brings Social Networking into play as an key role in any SEO success.

Facebook Social Network, Social Media Marketing

Facebook is the # 1 location on the Internet, Facebook is the # 1 source of referral links on the Internet and Facebook has more traffic from people who spend more time on Facebook than any other website or search engine.  The importance of Facebook cannot be overlooked, there are millions of potential customers on Facebook every day.  The few people who do not use Facebook can still find information from Facebook on Search Engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing since content from Facebook is fed to Search Engines.  Setting up a business profile and a business page, optimizing the page and creating a successful social media marketing campaign with regular updates, posts and interactions will help rank websites higher and potentially reach millions of people.

Facebook Internet Marketing Experts, Internet Builder Consulting business page

Facebook is like High School where popularity and interactions mean everything.  Setting up a profile ad setting up a page has no benefit unless there are multiple people connected to the page who interact, comment and share information or posts.  This is where it may be worth hiring Social Marketing Experts like www.SocialMarketingBuilders.com to create, optimize and CONNECT everything so that Facebook and Search Engines value the content ranking it higher.  At a minimum all companies need to have a Business Profile setup with a Business Page for their company, product or service.  Ideally it is worth hiring a company with teams of Social Marketing Experts to create, optimize and train you for around $350-$550 so time and efforts are not wasted.

Twitter social network for Social Media Marketing

Twitter is the text message wonder of the Internet setup with 140 character length messages with the idea that people would ‘Tweet’ updates from cell phones.  Twitter users are loyal and there are millions of them so setting up a Twitter account for business is a requirement.  Setup the Twitter account then link the Facebook account to it (do this in Facebook) so that updates from Facebook are automatically sent to Twitter like we have setup at www.Twitter.com/WebsiteExperts.  Connecting the accounts reduces the amount of time spent with updates and ensures everything is up to date across the online board.

Pinterest social network for Social Media Marketing

Pinterest is the new top player on the Social Networking playground with a simple visual approach.  (View our article explaining Pinterest earlier this month for setup details)  When we first came across Pinterest it seemed like just another annoying social network to learn.  Once we setup the account and spent time to research what items to ‘Pin’ that would being value to business we started seeing increased traffic on company websites from Pinterest.  The average visit from Pinterest spent nearly 5 minutes looking through the website, 5 times longer than Facebook visitors.  Our company builds websites so the main thing we used on Pinterest was thumbnail images of websites we built with a description of the website.

We then setup another ‘Board’ for Social Marketing and another ‘Board’ for company training classes and speaking events.  We removed the default Boards that came with the account and spent time considering what would showcase what we did, who we are or what we can do for customers to create the most effective Boards for business and a few fun things.

Pinterest Boards page on Pinterest Social Network

Pinterest requires a few hours to create, setup and then locate enough content to ‘Pin’ so that it is effective.  Spend a few minutes connecting and ‘following’ other people since they tend to follow you back similar to how Twitter users follow people who follow them.  If your company sells homes then Pin photos of homes for sale or floor plans while others can Pin photos of electronics for sale or any item located on the Internet.  Pinterest is not permitted is not permitted to Pin items from Facebook but Google+ users are welcome to Pin any photo from their accounts.

Google+ Social Network for Social Media Marketing and SEO

Google was the 800 Pound Gorilla on the Internet for years until Facebook took the # 1 spot away.  Google tried to buy Facebook and when the offer was turned down Google decided to create it’s own Social Network.  Google+ is the result at http://Plus.Google.com with a combination of features from Facebook, Twitter and a few new ideas such as ‘Circles’.  The article on Google+ Setup and Optimization outlines the key features and benefits of Google+ if you are just getting started.  One unique benefit of having a Google+ account is that Google announced that websites are being ranked higher on the Google Search Engine based on usage or interactions from Google+ accounts.

Google+ Internet Builder Consulting business profile on Google Plus social network

When a company has a Google+ profile setup with the company website listed on Google+ and other users connected who ‘Like’ or ‘+1’ the website then it will rank higher for other users on Google.  In short Google is enticing people and business to use Google+ with the added benefit of ranking higher on the Google Search Engine.  Setup a Google+ account, place contact information, website links and a profile online and spend a few minutes adding people to your circles.  It may not be the top social network yet but Google is spending millions on development so it will only get better.

Google Blogger Blog System (formerly Blogspot) for Online Marketing

Google purchased Blogspot and combined it with their other Blog system to create one of the leading online Blog systems today www.Blogger.com.  Setting up a Blog (web log = Blog for short) is free, fast and reaches millions of potential customers online.  If a Blog has enough traffic and the right content it will be republished, shared and even sold online at the Amazon Kindle Store.  A properly written Blog will also help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), establish creditability for the writers or company and provide fresh content for social networks or websites. 

Creating a Blog is about creating content about your company, services, products or solutions and related information people may be interested in.  There is no wrong way to write a Blog, simply make sure you DO it and always ‘sign’ the Blog with contact information including a phone number and full website address.  Write articles about your area of expertise, industry news or information and your company.  Once a Blog is setup be sure to link it to Facebook so any updates are automatically sent to the Facebook business page and even the company website similar to how Google Blogger feeds scrolling Blog articles to the Internet Builder Consulting website Home Page.

LinkedIn Business to Business Social Network

Last is the LinkedIn Social Network typically used for Business to Business connections.  There are no grandmothers sharing recipes or families uploading photo’s of the weekend trip.  LinkedIn is focused on business and company or professional information although it will accept direct feeds from Twitter and Facebook which may contain any sort of content.  The LinkedIn network suggests connections based on mutual places of employment, mutual existing connections and feeds nearly everything on the LinkedIn website to Search Engines.

Setup a LinkedIn profile and then a LinkedIn company page for the best results.  Company Pages and Personal Profiles are both indexed and sent to Search Engines so people may locate you or your business on Google because you have a LinkedIn page.

The list above outlines the very basic requirements for online success today.  Take the time to setup at least the basic profiles with a description, contact information and then practice every week until you are comfortable with each of the social networks.  If your business needs a BETTER built website, Search Engine Optimization or Social Networking setup, training or Social Marketing solutions contact Internet Builder Consulting online or call the experts at 816-842-7774.

Robert ‘Dot Com’ Jackson
Internet & Technology Expert
816-842-7774 Corporate Office
Internet Builder Consulting – Building BETTER Websites, SEO & Social Marketing Solutions since 1995