Who moved my cheese?

Who Moved My Cheese is a brilliant little book by Dr Spencer Johnson.  It comes highly recommended but…I’ve put off reading this book for quite some time.  I didn’t really know what it was about but I had this idea that it was about changing your vision when the shitaki hits the fan.  And I thought it might be about you know, giving up on what you thought you wanted or changing what you want.  So I put it off.  I didn’t want to be influenced.

But this weekend I read it and all I can say is wow, I was wrong.  It’s an easy read,  and it has a very simple message which makes it very powerful.  There are some good messages in this book,  but the one I’m going to talk about today relates to awareness.  Humans are not known for loving change but change is constant.   Particularly when we now live in a digital world facing almost daily innovation in some form.  Innovation means change – sometimes  game-changing change and it’s very easy to be caught out if you’re not following that age old business advice to ‘measure what matters’.  Keeping an eye on your key drivers is how you notice when things start to change.

Make it a ritual to review the things that matter in your business.  Hopefully you know what your key drivers are.  Check-in daily.  Be vigilant.  And keep your sneakers handy.  As per the book, be ready to put them on and get running again.

Have a good week.

Not all WordPress websites are priced equally

Today I am writing a quick tip regarding WordPress websites because as you may already realise, there can be massive variations in pricing WordPress websites even in Brisbane.  As a business owner you might not be aware that these different solutions exist and you might not have a grasp on what you are paying for when you commission a new website or a redesign.  So I hope I can help to give a little context to the different solutions below.

WordPress.com or WordPress.org, did you know there’s a difference?  One of these offers a hosted solution and the other a self-hosted solution.  While it might seem quite attractive to have the hosting taken care of it’s not ideal for a business so I always recommend the self-hosted WordPress solution.  Right now I believe as a business owner you need to have complete ownership over your digital assets.

A purchased or free WordPress theme verses a custom built WordPress theme?  A purchased or free theme has a low cost because it’s used by many different businesses.  It can be a great solution when your budget needs to be spent elsewhere but they can also be complex to set up and time-consuming so in the end the quick install is offset by the hours of figuring out how it all works.  There will be lots of updates needed as they are patched often.

When you purchase a custom theme you get just what you need so often these themes load faster and are less confusing and need fewer updates.  With a custom theme there is more enquiry into how your business will use your website and what you expect the outcomes will be.  This information allows your developer to craft a solution that does the job rather than trying to fit you into a pre-built solution that was developed to fit a million different scenarios (often the reason these pre-built sites load so slowly).

A business solution verses a website ready for DIY content?  With the lower cost websites it’s often just a theme loaded and you are left to decide on the site architecture and provide content with no advice.  I cannot stress enough how important it is for an established business to talk to an expert regarding site architecture.  Even if your website is just there for background checks and credibility (as opposed to generating new business via search), you will still need to consider good UX for the sake of your site visitors.

There are good reasons why some websites cost a lot less than others and the three points above are key.

Business needs planning

I am a goal setter for sure and make extensive use of calendars and task organisation software for scheduling client work so I’m pretty organised there.  But last week I watched Marie Forleo talking about how she plans her week and I realised there was room for improvement.  My business goals have always been a list of things I review when I get down-time in-between client work.  You know, at the end of the quarter, the calendar year or the financial year.  But at these times I am looking back and can’t change the result!  Looking back is not as useful as being in the now and thinking forward.  I actually do believe in the power of setting goals and trusting this to unconsciously steer you towards them (yeah I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo early in life!).  It does work but… if you’ve got a lofty vision, you’ll need to plan, in detail, and ‘check-in’ on a daily basis.  Otherwise, you might find it’s a really slow path to success.

Why?  Let me explain.

When you plan, it forces you to break things down into tasks and think about the time it actually takes to do these things. There’s really only so much we can achieve in a week so if you have a big list of general goals you’re unlikely to tick things off each week so you won’t get that feeling of moving forward.   It feels really good to look back at a well planned week and see what you’ve achieved.  In fact it’s a well researched aspect of human happiness. I think half the time we have the big plans but not the detail that’s needed.  And it’s the detail which holds accountable and moves us forward.  Detail provides tasks for action and action turns dreams into reality.

The way I start this process is often just with pen and paper but I always end up in Xmind creating a mind map as I find it’s super simple and quick.  Once you have your lofty goals sorted,  take some time to break it down.  Which task is key to your next step for your business?  That’s the one to focus on for now.   What’s the first task for that?  Write it up as your goal this week.

Have a good week.


Characteristics of well built website for SEO

So what exactly is a well built website and how do you know if yours fits the bill? My clients will have often heard me talking about a ‘well built website’ as a critical step in gaining visibility online.  A quick review of your website will show whether your digital asset has what it takes.  As a website owner you will have control over the following which are the first places we look when taking on the redevelopment or management of a new website.

First of all, take a look at your link structure.  Your top level navigation and the way the pages on your website are linked together is important.  This is called your site architecture.  Links deliver signals of importance so the structure of this is useful when you are trying to tell Google what’s important.

Content that matches the search phrases you are targeting needs to be on the page.  Whilst we are slowly moving towards voice search,  text is still the key input for search engines.  We want to see content that is structured with appropriately coded headings, paragraphs and link text.

Page titles and descriptions immediately tell us if the site owner is using best practice for SEO.  These off-the-page items on your website deliver key information to Google and need to be crafted in a way that satisfies the needs of the person viewing search results.

These three aspects if handled correctly will make a difference.  If you decide to engage with an SEO company whether it be for advertising, website optimisation or social campaigns, having a well built website lowers costs and ensures you get the attention you deserve.