Don’t Be Afraid of Google

Google

I recently attended a networking meeting that had a business round table format and I kept hearing two reoccurring themes. The first that a few people wouldn’t let drop was how our local Chamber is worthless. The Chamber bashing was so bad I almost got up and left. I felt uncomfortable sitting there while a member from the Chamber graciously took the abuse. But, instead, I chose to speak up and share how wonderful the Chamber has been for me and my business. My Chamber launched my writing and public speaking income streams.

The second reoccurring theme was your Google presence. No matter how it was sliced and diced the message was clear, “If you don’t follow me and do what I say regarding your Google listing you and your business are doomed.” Well, their mission was accomplished. Attendees sat there with looks of fear on their faces. The room was silent. Business owners looked to their left and their right and were met with faces registering fear.

As a psychologist and business owner, I realized very quickly what was taking place. A few members were using this networking/business round table as their stage to get clients. They were tag teaming and invoking fear and singing praises to how great Google is as a search tool for new customers who want their products. This was followed by again more beating up on the Chamber and how no one goes to the Chamber any longer for local information. In psychology, we use the term “confederate” to describe a person or people that are specifically planted in a group to sway the group regardless if they are right or wrong. Research studies on conformity use confederates and an example can be viewed at this link
https://youtu.be/-qlJqR4GmKw?list=PLB72C822FB82E1A6D

That is exactly what was happening here. Three individuals or couples dominated the meeting by invoking fear, offering a testimonial, and then offering a solution to the group. Think back to large sales meetings or conferences you attended and I bet you can recall a similar incident but didn’t realize it for what it was – a sales strategy.

Now, I am not advocating not worrying about having your Google listing accurate and up to date. But, most of you who have been with me for any length of time have already claimed your business listing and know it is accurate. You also know that if you put all your eggs in one basket and worry only about Google analytics you would get nothing else accomplished. Google is often changing their algorithm. Many “experts” will tell you not to focus on the Google analytic. I agree. Outsource this task. Focus on what you can control.

As a small business owner, you probably do not have the budget to compete with larger companies who have one person devoted to monitoring changes Google is constantly making in how it ranks who get the #1 position. But, you can focus on your lead attraction strategy. That was the missing ingredient at this meeting. No one talked about lead attraction and the things you can do to drive traffic to your website, blog, or social media accounts.

Content marketing is a great tool to use to drive traffic to your website. Content marketing helps you rank higher in Google search results. But, more importantly, you don’t have to wait for your customers to Google you. You are getting your message in front of them so they don’t have to Google you. Content marketing has many forms. It can be the publication of an article or blog post. Media releases are a great way to get your business noticed as well as radio and other guest interviews. Social media also helps you appear in search results. Host a Blab, post a video on YouTube or Pinterest. Published posts on LinkedIn are also great ways to claim your spot in your niche on Google. Get creative. Use your key words. Google rewards good content. Content marketing should be included in your marketing strategy.

Don’t live in fear of Google. Stop worrying about things you can’t control. Take control of the things you can control. You can control your lead attraction strategy. If you don’t have one call me and I will help you design one.

Is Your Website ADA Compliant?

accessI’ve noticed lots of buzz around ADA Compliant websites, have you? Technological advances make using a computer and working, browsing, and shopping online assessable to everyone regardless of their disability. You do not want to risk losing a customer because he or she cannot navigate or view your website. You also do not want to risk getting a hefty fine for not being ADA compliant.

Below you will find exerts from various articles I’ve read to help you understand this new topic circulating.

New legal landscape is taking shape
The DOJ’s proposed amendments to the ADA, expected in April 2016, would “require public entities and public accommodations that provide products or services to the public through websites on the Internet to make their sites accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.” The DOJ is careful, however, not to suggest products and services currently offered through websites are excused from ADA compliance, despite the fact that amendments to that effect are currently being proposed.

Thompson Information Services published an ADA Compliance Guide Newsletter in late 2014 that suggests the DOJ will likely adopt the most recent version of WGAC 2.0 — written by theWorld Wide Web Consortium, an international community that develops open standards for the Web — as the standard for accessibility. The newsletter holds: “Costly or not, and the lack of website regulations notwithstanding, DOJ is pressuring companies to modify websites and mobile apps to meet WCAG 2.0 technical standards.”

In support of this prediction, the DOJ reached a settlement agreement with edX Inc., a provider of online courses, in April 2015. The settlement resolved “allegations that edX’s website … w[as] not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities … in violation of Title III of the ADA.” In the settlement, edX Inc. entered a four-year agreement to make its system “fully accessible within 18 months.” The agreement also requires edX Inc. to provide training for course creators, appoint Web Accessibility positions, solicit feedback, and “retain a consultant to evaluate conformance of the website, platform, and mobile applications.”

Read more at http://www.technologylawsource.com/2015/06/articles/information-technology/the-focus-of-the-ada-turns-to-websites-in-the-digital-age-is-your-website-compliant/

Who Does This Apply?
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that businesses and nonprofit services providers make accessibility accommodations to enable the disabled public to access the same services as clients who are not disabled. This includes electronic media and web sites. While the ADA applies to businesses with 15 or more employees, even smaller businesses can benefit from ensuring that their websites are ADA compliant. Doing so opens your company up to more potential clients and limits liability. Web developers should include ADA compliant features in the original site and application plans.

This is particularly important when working for a government agency or government contractor, as these organizations must follow web accessibility guidelines under Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Although ADA and Section 508 compliance are different, the published checklist for Section 508 compliance offers insight into ways to make websites accessible for people with disabilities, and thereby work toward ADA compliance.

Learn more at http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/web-designer/creating-an-ada-compliant-website/

Test Your Website
Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools – I did test several of these and they flagged what I or my web designer needs to fix to be compliant.

http://achecker.ca/checker/index.php – this one offered an explanation in language I understood and seemed very specific with an explanation how to repair the offending item.
http://wave.webaim.org/
https://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/

I recommend you contact your web developer or designer and inquire about making your website ADA Compliant and continue to educate yourself on this topic.

Resource
ADA Best Practices Took Kit for State and Local Governments – this is an excellent resource to learn about why you want an ADA Compliant website and some common problems and solutions.
http://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap5toolkit.htm

Example on a Website Showing Compliance
http://www.right.com/wps/wcm/connect/right-us-en/home/info/accessibility

 

Don’t Get Lynched by the Mob – Social Media & Mob Mentality

Can you name the five who lost their lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee? Do you know what is going on with Planned Parenthood? What about LCDR Timothy White – do you know what is going on with him? Do you know who Cecil is?

Last week and throughout the weekend Facebook newsfeeds have been overrun with pictures of Cecil the lion and people asking for Dr. Walter Palmer to be publically stoned for the killing of Cecil the lion. Facts we know are minimal. We know Dr. Palmer is a big game hunter. We know he paid a “local” guide for help with the hunt. We know he paid to be able to hunt a lion legally.

Zimbabwe issued statements from their local citizens such as “What is the big deal – it is a lion.” “Why do Americans care it is a lion.” Zimbabwe has also published the rules regarding big game hunting and as well as statistics identifying their countries 80% unemployment rate and the many benefits big game hunting brings to their country. Big game hunting brings tourism dollars and the meat from the hunt is given to various tribes to feed the people so they don’t starve.

The citizens of the United States have lost their marbles, in my opinion. They have thrown away their moral compass. Our education system has failed them. Parents have failed them. They are NOT applying critical thinking. They have adopted a mob mentality. Their priorities are skewed, and they have forgotten what a gift life is, when life begins, who are real American heroes, and forgotten the role of animals in our food supply. Worse – they are not respecting cultural differences. They are imposing their views on others. How is this any different than what ISIS is doing throughout the world?

I am an Iowa farm gal. I am an animal lover. Trophy hunting is not a sport I would choose to engage in. However, we don’t know all the facts in the trophy hunting/Cecil story. “They” are crucifying the dentist and not listening to his explanation. He has not has his day in court which shows us how unjust society has become. Their outrage has ruined not only his business reputation but he closed his practice for safety reasons. His employees have lost their jobs. His medical suppliers and their sales people have now had their income/spending power reduced. Cleaning staff, lawn care service personnel and others have lost income and the list goes on who have been impacted by this public bashing. The local economy will also suffer because of the reduced spending power of all associated with Dr. Palmer and his dental practice.

People are choosing to crucify this big game hunter without knowing all the facts. This sets a bad precedence and is very damaging. We can only pray those crucifying him never make a mistake or do something that society finds distasteful and if they slip it doesn’t land on social media.

I bet these same people wear leather, use products that were tested on animals, and use mouse traps, spray for bugs, and squat mosquitoes. This story is a distraction from the bigger things going on in our Country which will ultimately reduce their freedoms and lead to the demise of our great Country.

 So what does this have to do with you? I want you to be very mindful what you are posting online. You do not want to be the next Dr. Palmer. Apply critical thinking when reading or listening to the news. As we go to print with this newsletter Zimbabwe has asked for the Dr. Palmer to be extradited. Why do you think is? It isn’t because people sent a petition to our President or the Facebook outrage. Do they really care about a lion or is it the revenue that tourists who flock to their country will bring? News crews, lawyers, protesters, activists etc. will bring big money to their country. It is about money. But will all the activist realize that or will they think they won?

I challenge you this week to make time to apply critical thinking not when only listening or reading the new but when engaging in conversations with others. Lastly, be careful what you post online. Evaluate your circle of influence and make necessary changes. Leave groups that are hostile and negative.

Social proof seems to have gone the wayside and it is now Social Media & the Mob Mentality!

Stay safe, think before posting/sharing, and have a great week.