Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Being Useful

I grumbled when this salesman called me and pushed me into agreeing to receive 2 free issues of the marketing newsletter he represented.  It's the deal where you receive 2 free ones and then, unless you cancel, they keep sending them to you and they start billing you.  Slimey, but I figured I'd stay on top of it and make sure to cancel.  The first issue was actually very good.  We're in the process of redoing our website, as you know, and the tips it shared were very relevant.  The entire newsletter is Internet-marketing focused, so it's actually quite helpful at this point in time for my company as we carefully gear up to begin drawing the blueprints for our new site.  I just received the second one today, along with the invoice for $300.  It implies that we already owe them, which I will dispute if we decide to cancel.  But I'm not so sure we will.  My boss liked the first issue, and I'm looking forward to showing him what I've learned from the second one. 

This little gem: www.WebsiteGrader.com, rated our current website and broke everything down into layman's terms for me.  They even let me compare our website directly with our competitors', which my boss is going to love.  I am trying to consider its fallacies before I go parading it and recommending it and building our website around its every word like it was canon.  First off, it's general.  It says nothing about the automotive aftermarket so it's not industry-specific.  For instance, we got docked points because we don't have a blog on our website.  However, the comparison reveals that none of our competitors use a blog, either.  So I guess that's up to us to determine whether a blog is a competitive edge opportunity or if our competitors have already determined that it's a waste of time in our industry.  Same goes for RSS feeds.

We gleaned [what I feel is] an important tidbit from the first free newsletter.  Sales, or "conversions" [what this newsletter calls people who become your customers] can be directly tied to the speed that your website loads.  If it takes more than something like 2 seconds, you'll lose half of your potential conversions.  If you can improve your website load time by half a second, you gain some ridiculous amount of conversions that would have otherwise been lost.  In light of that, the Website Grader indicated that we have 14 images on our home page and that bogs down the speed of the page.  I knew that, I just didn't know how we rated.  All in all, I think the report will help us in our talks with our web developers.  We can tell them that speed is important to us, among other things.  I'm excited to go at this meticulously, and I feel like the report has come at the right time for our company.  I also hope I don't have to get into disputing that invoice.

Oh, so I'm the February Ambassador of the Month for the Chamber of Commerce here.  That means I got an article written up about me in the Chamber Partnership's Progress Report.  It's kinda cool, but apparently it has a better readership than I thought.  I've had several people tell me they saw my article.  I hadn't seen it myself until the other day.  The V.P. of Education and Junior Achievement saw it and contacted my big boss as a result.  I guess she thought I looked like someone who would be good with kids.  So now I'll be doing 45 minutes a week for 5 weeks with 2nd graders about jobs in the community.  I'm intimidated, but they'll be training and the teacher there to help.  They also provide the curriculum, so I guess my role is just being a fresh face for the kids.  Something to help them pay attention by mixing it up in the classroom.  I'll know more after training. 

OK, back to going through this report and hopefully learning a lot (c:

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