Scooters Free Shipping

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jun 18, 2008

Roadrunner I-Scooter photo featuring one of the most popular scooters available.On CNN this morning, they reported a 25% increase in production for road scooters. Not the kind the kids stand up and push with one foot, but the kind you ride. We used to call them mopeds. But, then mopeds evolved into more horsepower and a sturdier ride that boasts 75 miles per gallon!

So, “scooter” it is. Now think about this. Detroit is laying off people right and left in the car manufacturing business, right? Scooter manufacturers are ramping up staffing to meet demand. Stores are selling out before you can get from looking at the website to their storefront.

Can you see the problem coming?  Sure. You get to the store only to find one or two types of scooter left for sale.  “Next shipment will be coming in next week sometime.”

So, what’s the answer? Selling scooters online of course…and the secret sauce…offering free shipping! Check it out. Here’s one of the top sellers I found where you can buy a scooter online and have it shipped to you for free.

These guys are pretty smart.  They even have an online chat feature.  Wouldn’t you want to ask people questions before you bought a scooter?  Of course.  This is the only website I’ve seen selling scooters that both offers the low prices, free shipping AND online chat.  Good job guys.

Visit this site just to get some ideas for layout or maybe you’re even interested in buying a scooter online as they’ve done their homework with making things easy to find.  If it was my site, I would have the online chat piece up top in the right corner as a main feature.  They’d double their sales in a week I’ll bet.  But, that’s just me.

Tell me what you think of the scooter website.  Or share your view/experience with the scooter craze happening right now. Add your comments below.


Test Your Website Now for Mobile Readiness

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jun 17, 2008

Mobile Readiness TestHow does your website score on the mobile readiness chart? As of this date, here’s the report for my Website Waves Blog. As you can see, there’s work to do. And, that’s okay. A blog is a phased-in process, y’know? The important thing is what got me interested in paying attention to mobile readiness for websites.

Rene LeMerle reported a statistic yesterday on webprowire that kicked me right in the tushy. He said Nielson Mobile counted 9 million purchases from cell phones during the month of April 2008. That’s more than 70% up from April 2007 folks. When it comes to marketing techniques, I love to stay on the cutting edge and try new things, but when it comes to equipment, I’m old school I guess. And, anything to do with a cell phone has taken me a while to come around and “see the light.” But, today is different. A 70% increase in a year is DEFINITELY a marketing thing and not a “cell phone” thing. And, I’m ready to take it seriously now. Hopefully you are too. So, what to do?

I’ve just run a test of this blog at ready.mobi and you should make a similar test of your websites and blogs. Later, I’ll post a checklist for you to go through so that you can take some action toward making your website mobile ready. Pay attention to mobile readiness! Hopefully the idea of 9 million potential buyers a month will be enough motivation for you. Sure was for me! Take the free test.

And, you can be sure that once I implement my own checklist to get in the good graces of cell phone users everywhere, I’ll be posting a new picture of my test. Hopefully it will be a “5″!


Essential Components of a Blog Header Graphic

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jun 11, 2008

As I mentioned in a previous post about my relaunch of the Website Waves blog, the next step was to create a new blog header graphic. This week, the time finally came to git-r-dun. A blog header is that 2-3 inch high section that runs across the top of every post on your blog. The primary job of a blog header is to give a good first impression to your first-time visitor. Secondarily, a blog header tells the readers they are still on your blog and have not been directed to someone else’s website as they move throughout the pages.

There are five essential components to a good “business-related” header that your blog should have. If I was to launch a blog that was purely for entertainment, or a kid’s blog that was purely for fun, these five components might vary. But here they are:

1. Photo – If you are a professional services provider of any kind, you need to have your photo somewhere easy and pronounced for people to see. Technically, this doesn’t mean you must have a photo of yourself in the header, but it’s a pretty safe place to put one. If you do choose to have a photo of yourself, put it on the right side. The exception that rule is if you want yourself to be part of your logo. Then, I’d suggest having your photo be to the left of the name of your blog. Don’t forget to add your name to your photo so that people know who you are. The reason I bring that up is because I forgot to tell my designer that when he was working on the first comp.

2. Logo – Blogs should have logos, especially if your blog is part of a company. A logo is just expected today and websites that don’t have logos just plain look funny without them. The image we chose for Website Waves is an image of a wave. We’ve even used the same graphic for a Favicon. Logos should be on the left…again because that’s what people are used to seeing.

3. Tagline – Our tagline for the Website Waves blog is Get Your Website on Higher Ground. You need to come up with some kind of short, 7 words or less, description of your blog. It should be catchy, original and related to the value of your blog. Taglines can appear under your logo or to the side of it. Experiment with different locations of where to put that tagline within the header.

4. Current Design – Blog header design is becoming much more important these days. You want to have a modern look and feel, especially if you service an industry that expects you are on the cutting edge of your field. A popular look has mistakenly become known as “the Web 2.0 look.” There is really no such thing as a “web 2.0 look” as the term web 2.0 refers to social networking as a movement rather than a graphic. But, that’s another issue. What they are referring to is a mirrored look where you have main text on the top and a mirror image of those letters below. Technically, it’s called an “inverse reflection.” Watch practically every television commercial and you will see this effect used. And, on many websites today too. It works and gives a professional image.

5. Speed – Ten years ago, I would’ve brought up the issue with speed as in speed of viewing, speed of appearing on the screen. Both are true. Your graphic header can’t be so overloaded that it slows down the time it takes for the page to load. But, that should all be a given with your designer now. I’m talking about speed of getting the visitor into the content. Keep your blog header section to less than 3″ high. I’ve seen blogs that you have to scroll just to see the first post. This is wrong wrong wrong! Inspire the visitor to scroll to see additional posts but provide a header that is thin enough to see enough content that they are interested in reading more.

So, there you have it. The next step on my blog journey is complete…well, until I have the graphics changed! Ha.

By the way, if you are new to blogging or have a blog that hasn’t been earning its keep, you might want to talk with me. We’re putting together a blog setup and blog promotion package deal to include installation, setup, hosting, design, and promotion that I personally have never seen anyone offer. And, I’m offering incentive pricing for the first 5 new clients we take on to prove it works. Give me a call at 303-743-0832 sometime if you’re curious or use the contact form to ask me a question about it.


How Can I Make Another $500 Per Month?

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jun 10, 2008

This morning was racquetball morning at the local rec center, another grueling 90 minutes of Marty and my friend Dave battling for survival and recognition.  He wore his power-blue shirt and I had my usual glare that never gives up.

There are plenty of future blog posts I could make using racquetball as an example to relate to Website Waves topics.  But, this time I wanted to respond to a question one of my clients asked me yesterday.  She wanted to know how she could just make another $500 a month.

At the rec center this morning, there was a posting for janitorial help for $9/hour.  For a mere 14 hours of work per week, she could have her extra $500 a month.

But I have a better idea and you won’t have to spend a dime…and I don’t even think it would take 9 hours a week to get to $500 per month.

There’s a social networking system called Ning.com.  You start a new account for yourself and then once you have an account, you create a website topic. After answering a few questions, your social networking website is live. Your url will become yourtopicofchoice.ning.com so choose that name carefully chock full of keywords!

The great thing about Ning.com is that it allows you to post a forum and a blog with a whole slew of security measures to prevent people from doing certain unfavorable things in their posts.  And, I haven’t found a reason yet why you would need a programmer to help, unless you really want to customize. But, first things first.

Why not spend two or three hours building a social network of your own about a topic you’re interested in and begin to monitize it? By adding a couple of affiliate program links to the left column and letting others come to your site to post experiences and questions, you would be surprised how easy it is to generate that extra $500 per month…all with a system that won’t charge you a dime.

Of course, Ning.com has upsells like applying your own domain name or allowing you to add your own Adsense code to the right column, but Ning.com is great for letting you get a feel for a social networking system and getting some monetizing going without ever charging you.  Then, you can upgrade once things are paying for themselves.  And, you know that’s my favorite part of the web when things pay for themselves.

Let me know your comments on whether you’ve used Ning.com or something else to get your social network going.


How Polite is Your Website?

Posted by Marty Dickinson on May 24, 2008

I was driving home from my office yesterday when a stoplight turned red. I stopped of course and turned on my right turn signal. The light turned green and here was this guy crossing the street. And, boy, did he take his own sweet time. By the time he strolled his way across 6 lanes of traffic, I was able to make it through the light…but only as the light turned yellow.

There was no reason he was walking so slow. Maybe he just liked the power of holding up traffic. But, no one was going to get him to move any faster. It was just plain rude I thought.

How polite is your website to your visitors? Do you make them take more time than they should? Do you create your pages with your own interest in mind? Are you sympathetic to peoples’ time?

Don’t be the slacker that holds up traffic while crossing the street. Spring across to the other side! Smile as you run by! Wave to give thanks to the people you’re running in front of.

Be polite and considerate with your website and people will thank you for it.


Boss Bailey Proves Marketing Skill Can be from Birth

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Mar 14, 2008

Boss Bailey… now, just think of that name for a moment. BOSS Bailey. The name all its own was designed to stand out and command a position. What position? Maybe the “boss” of a strict manufacturing plant. Or, maybe an upper management leader.

OR….

Maybe Boss Bailey is a formidable force on the football field!

For the Denver Broncos, we’re about to find out as Boss Bailey (Brother of Champ Bailey) will join the Denver Broncos in training camp this summer.

Boss Bailey and Champ Bailey. Did their parents have a marketing degree? I mean, these names were pre-meditated for marketing glory!

Some things related to sales and marketing you really are born with. For other things related to how to sell and market, they CAN be learned!

All you need is a place to learn them and that place is The Capital Factor. Check out The Capital Factor Blog and learn what it really takes to bring your business to the next level.


CSS Website Question

Posted by Marty Dickinson on May 30, 2007

Why is CSS in a website so important today? And are some designers going overboard with CSS?

First, for those not sure, CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. This doesn’t mean very much in and of itself, but the word “style” should define it enough. Actually, in the design world, CSS is commonly referred to as just “styles” anyway.

Using CSS in your website will save you time if you ever want to make a change to the look a component of your website (like a font size or color). CSS in a website also allows you to be very specific as to positioning of a certain component on the screen. The intent being to have the same look and the same positioning on any screen size and every monitor setting.

Without CSS in a website today, you’re leaving yourself open to a whole mess of potential problems.

But, I do believe too many designers have taken CSS a bit too far. When is too far? When the owner of the website is no longer capable of making changes to simple content without screwing up the rest of the page.

Audit your website by asking your designer about CSS. Make sure your website is incorporating CSS styles but make sure you can still maintain content without zapping something important.