So at the end of 2010, here are some of the things that changed for BuzzMaven in the midst of economic changes for my clients.
- I did a substantial shift to social and content marketing as the core of all programs. This is yet another step away from the old-style technical SEO which has become less effective over time.
- I stopped all hourly work – focusing 100% on retainer-based or deliverable-based work. One exception is SEO and Paid Search audits, which I do for a fixed fee.
- I bid farewell to ill-fitting clients. This was uncomfortable – but important.
- I moved offices downtown. My new digs are great – comfortable and convenient. A terrific conference room, fully-stocked fridge (with beer!) and good quality coffee are now part of on-site client meetings. I’m enjoying the downtown vibe and am surrounded by smart people.
- I’ve worked hard on improving my proposal and estimation skills. Simplified and refined estimations which do a better job accounting for simple early housekeeping that most clients require.
- I became a Google Certified Adwords Partner.
- I focused, ruthlessly on Search and Social Marketing. All other web-design-oriented tasks were outsourced to trusted peers – and it has been working pretty well, excepting hosting – discussed below.
- I exited the hosting business – and it was not smooth. From 2001 to 2010, my server uptime was over 99.6% thanks in no small part to Jeff at Rackaid who provided custom server management for my company. Still, this was a money-losing segment of my company and part of it I hated to deal with. While I did everything I could to make this transition go well, it did not. The new hosting company let some client sites go down for 2-3 days and was then hacked a month later causing as much as 6 day downtime. I was out of the picture when this happened…but to clients, all they knew was that their websites were down. This is over with, but I was left with a black eye anyway. Many of these ex-hosting clients simply decided not to pay me for hosting services I had already provided in the previous time slot – but I had to just let that go.
I predict a few things happening in 2011 in my business:
- Continued focus on SEM 100%.
- Increased focus on post-click issues such as landing page split testing.
- Improved matchmaking skills for finding clients truly ready to dedicate themselves in search.
- I’m dropping the BBB – it’s lost its relevance in today’s world and I think they are publishing dishonest statistics.
- Social marketing efforts will show up on marketing budgets – and we’ll begin producing plans that get attention.
- People will realize that producing/curating content is unavoidable for good rank/traffic and I can help manage their approach for best effect.
- Local SEO will explode, including social/buying sites – and my clients need to get control of theirs.
- Businesses will realize that Twitter is not a fad – and we will find new ways to leverage it to promote content.
- The broad business public will realize that personalized search changes SEO – so we can focus on other things.
- Online ratings will become even more important – and I will have to help clients improve theirs.
- Mobile hits big – and mobile SEM as well – and c-level executives will start asking questions.
- Increased training and presenting on SEM and entrepreneurship.
- Searching hard for project management solutions – still haven’t found one.
- Broad revision of my site – updating content and new look with better social integration.
- Continued work on making Lexington a destination for innovators through work with In2Lex, TedXLex, and more.
So, hopefully it will be obvious why my blogging has been few and far between. I’m hitting 2011 with some velocity, and with a full portfolio of new clients.
Happy Holidays to you all.