Can you help with my RFP?

HAve you been asked to write an RFP for your organization’s website?  Maybe you’re feeling a little helpless because you’re not qualified to find a company that’s qualified to design a website.  Afterall, if you were, you’d be designing the site yourself.  So, if you’re thinking, “I need help with my RFP” then you’ve come to the right place.

The folks at the IBCC are skilled programmers, designers and search engineers who are dedicated to helping people just like you to find qualified vendors.  If you’re looking for an unbiased source to serve as your advocate and hold your hand through a confusing and often costly experience, we can help.

To discover more call one of our professionals at 970-674-0079.

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I Need Help With My RFP!

If you’re about to scream, “I need help with my RFP,” you’ve come to the right spot.  Creating an RFP is usually a daunting task because you probably don’t know what you don’t know.  Here’s  likely scenario.  Your boss shouted, “Peterson.  Come here.  I need you to write an RFP for our new website.”  You say you’ll get right on it and then you head back to your desk wondering what an RFP is. After finding out that it’s a request for a proposal, you realize that you’re supposed to get a few proposals from website design companies so they can bid on your company’s new website design.

Then it hits you.  You don’t know anything about how to create a good website.  You’ve just been tasked with something tht you know nothing about.  Now what?   If you don’t find a great company that does a great job, your butt is on the line.  But you don’t even know which questions to ask.  If you knew anything about website design, they’d probably have asked you to design the site.

It’s a real quandary.  If you don’t know enough to design the site, then how are you supposed to know enough to hire the right person to do it.

That’s where the RFP consulting services come in.  Recently, we got a call from the government.  It was one of the branches of the military.  I can’t say which one.  They needed RFP assistance.  They wanted help writing their website RFP and help reviewing the proposals once they were submitted.  I just kept hearing from them that they had no idea that should be asking questions like this or like that.  Ignorance is a scary thing, especially when your job is on the line.

To discover more about our consulting services, visit our RFP Assistance sections.

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Blogging for SEO purposes

I actually had several people this morning all inquiring about the same issue so I thought I’d add a blog post on an effective blogging strategy for SEO purposes.  Here’s what I wrote:

You want to shoot for consistency in the Title, Headline, Description and Keywords.  You can use slight rewording but I’d focus on a hypothetical phrase like “green lawn fertilizer” for one set of posts and then focus on a variation like “lawn fertilizer” for another set of posts.  By sets, I mean this:

  1. Write blog post #1 about something like “green lawn fertilizer.”  Put NO hyperlinks in this one because it’s going to be your money page that we’re trying to rank.
  2. Write blog post #2 about something related to lawns.  Put 1 hyperlink in the body of the first paragraph that says “green lawn fertilizer” and link it to post #1.
  3. Write blog post #3 about something related to lawns.  Put 1 hyperlink in the body of the first paragraph that says “green lawn fertilizer” and link it to post #1.
  4. Write blog post #4 about something related to lawns.  Put 1 hyperlink in the body of the first paragraph that says “green lawn fertilizer” and link it to post #1.
  5. Write blog post #5 about something related to lawns.  Put 1 hyperlink in the body of the first paragraph that says “green lawn fertilizer” and link it to post #1.
  6. Write blog post #6 about something related to lawns.  Put 1 hyperlink in the body of the first paragraph that says “green lawn fertilizer” and link it to post #1.
  7. Write blog post #7 about something related to lawns.  Put 1 hyperlink in the body of the first paragraph that says “green lawn fertilizer” and link it to post #1.
  8. Write blog post #8 about something related to lawns.  Put 1 hyperlink in the body of the first paragraph that says “green lawn fertilizer” and link it to post #1.
  9. Write blog post #9 about something related to lawns.  Put 1 hyperlink in the body of the first paragraph that says “green lawn fertilizer” and link it to post #1.

After you’ve written a number of posts on one terms, switch it up and change to another phrase.

When you write the description, just write it as an advertisement to get people to want to read the post.  It’s the 2-line description found in Google so make it sound enticing.  Don’t worry too much about optimization of the description.  It doesn’t carry much weight in Google’s algorithm.

I hope that helps.

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Building a Website Prototype for Online Success

I’ve developed a lot of sites over the years and one of the first sites was a fishing site that sells advertising.  This site was originally designed as a learning experience.  Let me tell you the story…

My first site was for a large land developer in Colorado.  Quite the client for a first project. I poured my heart and soul into the project, determined to create an amazing product for them.  You see, I didn’t want my client to know that they were my first guinea pig.  Every designer has had their first client.  You know what I’m talking about.  I put more work into that site than just about any other, except for the fishing site I mentioned earlier.  The land developers loved the site when they saw it for the first time.  They told everyone they knew and the site was flooded with visitors for a few days, and then…nothing.  The heartbeat of this once lively site was dead.  As soon as the initial flood of self-generated traffic died off, the site sat there silent, crickets chirping.

I was nervous.  I hoped my clients wouldn’t notice.  But eventually they did.  Sure it took about 3 months before they said anything but then I had to deal with it head-on.  They were disappointed and so was I.  I had held up my end of the bargain.  All they asked for was a website, nothing more.  I hadn’t promised a website that actually got visitors, but I should have and I felt guilty.

I felt like, although I delivered what I was asked to do, I hadn’t delivered everything I had hoped. I guess I was ignorant.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  It never even occured to me, in those infantile days, that I should consider how to build a site that actually got traffic.  I didn’t even know, at that point, that I had any control over the traffic itself.  I was pretty green.  Let’s face it, I didn’t know much at all.  About the only think I knew for sure was that I needed to know more.  I couldn’t move forward as a designer and collect more money from new clients knowing that I was experimenting on them.  I just couldn’t live with myself.  So I took a year off and built  The site proved to be the best education I could have ever gotten.

I knew I wanted to learn how to build a site that got traffic and how to build a site that kept visitors longer than the best fishing sites and one that got the visitors to come back again and again.  Some pretty tall orders.  After negotiating with hundreds of professional fishermen, I narrowed my authors down to 75 guys from around the world.  I allowed these top-notch fishing guides to submit their articles to me to post on the site, free of charge.  I never expected to get more than 750 articles right off the bat.  Suffice it to say, I had a ton of great content and I didn’t pay a penny for any of it.

Organizing the content became a full-time job in itself.  My site map took up an entire wall in my tiny office.  I compiled images and stream flow reports, fish recipes, tips, advice and more.  Looking back, the greatest feat was that I developed the entire site using a 56k modem.  I can’t imagine working at that speed today.  I remember that there were times that I’d wait for an hour to upload and test a batch of files.  In fact, I kept another computer on my desk just to trade stocks and options while I was waiting for my mac to process the files.

In the end, I was able to accomplish a lot with that mac.  With no money ever spent on advertising, I built a prototype for a successful website that still to this day serves as the model for how to build a successful website.  I accomplished my goals of getting people to the site, getting them to stay at the site and getting them to come back to the site.  In fact, the site still gets between 5000 and 10,000 visitors a day and it’s pretty much been ignored for the past 10 years.

It’s amazing to me that the web has evolved so much since its inception but those 3 basic elements are still central to the success of any site.  Eliminate or ignore even one of those pieces and your site will fail.  Think about it.  If you fail to get people to the site, your site will be lost in cyberspace.  Fail to get people to stay on the site and it makes no difference how many people you attracted to the site.  Fail to get them to come back and you’ll likely lose the chance for any sale because people rarely buy on their first visit.  Sure, you might be thinking that I’m just talking about ecommerce websites but I’m talking about every type of site from B2B to B2C to B2G sites.  People rarely buy on their first visit.  Even if you’re not selling anything online, you still need to get people to come back to your site to build rapport and get them to contact you.   The key to repeat traffic is conversion.  You have to think about how you’re going to convert them into a customer at some point.  From the moment they hit your site, you should have conversion at the forfront of your mind.  We’ll cover conversion techniques in detail in the future.  For now, focus on the 3 goals and build yourself a prototype that you can use again and again.

Hope that helps.

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SEO and Weight Loss

I ask people all the time, what are the two most important things in weight loss.  Of course, we all know the answer.  They say diet and exercise.  That’s obvious.  But then I ask them the most important part of diet and exercise.  Then they look a little puzzled.  Reluctantly, someone usually raises their hand and says, “diet?”  I say, “nope.”  Then everyone in unison says, “exercise” as if they confidently know the answer.  I say, “nope.”

What?  If it’s not diet and it’s not exercise, then what is it?

It’s the word “and.”  Diet and exercise.  You have to do both, simultaneously.

How many times have you failed to lose weight?  If you think back you’ll probably see that you neglected to exercise and watch your diet at the same time.  Many people go one diets.  But if you’ve ever tried it, it’s tough to cut your calories and exercise.  Every time you exercise, you burn calories and you get more hungry.  You eat a ton and get discouraged with your results.

Here’s another common scenario.  You work out like a mad man so you can still enjoy all of your favorite foods.  Do you think you’re actually going to shed those pounds if you’re still drinking the soda pop and munching on those chips?  Of course not.  You can’t just exercise and not watch your diet.  You have to do both, simultaneously.

There are a million scenarios.  But it’s been proven time and time again that if you can stick to a low calorie diet and exercise a few times a week, you’ll lose weight.

So what’s all of this have to do with SEO?  Well, I see people all the time struggling to get first page search rankings.  They are madly blogging and building tons of links but they ignore the other important aspects of good SEO.  Or they have built thousands of links into their site but they haven’t had the time to add any new content to their site in months because they’ve been so wound up with the link-building campaign.

It’s just like weight loss.   You have to look at the best practices and then do them simultaneously.  There are dozens of tactics that most search engineers employ, but in reality, you have to work on the top 3 or 4 ranking criteria simultaneously.  Get those right and you’ll get better results than any focused effort that ignores the other tactics.

Hope that helps.

Chadd Bryant

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