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Site Redo / Refresh – New Pages to Add to Illinois Main Street Alliance – Part 3

This the third part of  my suggestions for a site redo/site refresh. Part one is at

Part two is  Here

The Illinois Main Street Alliance (IMSA), is one of the organizations I am working with. This is a small business association with chapters across the country representing actual main street or real small businesses. The US Chamber of Commerce being more focused on large corporations (based on who is on the board, and amount of donations and how it lobbies). So as a small organization, it has a limited budget and resources. Most are volunteered with limited technical expertise.

Recently, I was asked for some input as to what would I do to improve its website. 

Not knowing the answers to the core questions asked in part 1 makes recommendations a challenge. But here are some suggestions for new pages to add to the site:

  • Consider creating a leadership page that lists biographies and links of the leaders.  This should include high resolution and low resolution images that could be used by the press, as well as how to contact for more information.
  • Create a page with links to other related sites, including Main Street AllianceCitizen Action and other key partners.
  • Create a How To Get Involved page:
    • This page outline the existing resources that we have in our annoying for people to plug into.
    • They should also list other ways to get involved from across the country:
      •  If there is a desire to create other groups throughout the state. It may also be interested in advancing across. Obviously this needs to be managed in a properly controlled so as to not create a group that fights against ourselves, but this is a great opportunity for a way to make it easier for someone further down state to create a group supporting our cause in adding legitimacy to our overall organization.
    • How to donate.
    • How to contribute informational material, such as:
      • Other blogs,
      • Blog postings,
      • Letters to the editor,
      • Podcasts,
      • Ideas
    • How to share our voice page:
      • List of e-mail addresses and fax numbers for letter to the editor sites.
      • List of suggested letter to the editor topics.
      • Links to Existing letters to editor that are either pro or con that we are asking others to comment on appropriately to increase the visibility as well as to link back to our site.  This creates an action page for members to check back to on a regular basis. This also creates a focal point where key talking points can be shared in an easy to digest format.
  • A calendar page. This could list past events as well as future events and again is a good way of creating credibility both within Google and by the press by showing how active we are and how often were meeting both as a entire organization as well as subgroups. Ideally, this would contain not only press releases, press briefings, but also key events from the national organization, key votes and commission committee sessions of important legislation, historical reminders of progressive accomplishments. Overlaying the legislative calendars would be a great way to help show a more clear focus of our agenda and intent.

These are more individual pages, again depending on the amount of commitment to website, that can be helpful in acheiving a variety of goals from:

  • increased traffic,
  • more links on the web,
  • greater press communication
  • increased membership
  • increased involvement of membership
  • greater understanding of our legislative leaders

What pages do you feel should be on this site?

October 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do you Have your Eagle Eye up?

JD at Owlish Communications posted about  Time’s Man of the Year – Mark Zuckerberg. When you have a movie not just written about you, but shot, editted and released and an Oscar nominee before you are 30, you are on an incredible life track. But Facebook has changed the world.

Having the wisdom to listen enough to not sell out will allow him to call many shots for the rest of his life. It is interesting how quickly FB has become the new model of blogs and podcasts coming out of Silicon Valley. Now cutting edge is to disagree with the Zuck model. The movie Eagle Eye ( ) comes to mind often as the personification of what is inherent with FB when I think of Zuck and Facebook.

So a few take aways for me:

  • Listen to what others tell you (and do what is best for yourself).
  • Have passion and everything can be fun.
  • Understand the details, but focus on the big picture.
  • Believe in yourself, even if you have faults.
  • Be willing to adapt as you learn more about the world.
  • Be clear in your vision.
  • How you take care of your friends and business partners will reflect on you. Understand the consequences.
  • Find people who are at least as good as you are, and you will look smarter.
  • There is incredible power in collecting data.
  • Presenting data can be very lucrative, even banal data.

I have to go update my FB status.

January 13, 2011 Posted by | Social Media | , , , | Leave a comment

How Facebook Edits Your World

This is an interesting article that is key for those marketing on Facebook. Is is in the Atlantic Magazine

How the Facebook News Feed Algorithm Shapes Your Friendships

I find it interesting to see how Facebook’s evolving editing becomes significant so quickly. On the other hand Google has been shifting our perspectives for a decade and newspapers and TV Networks have been skewing our view of the world for hundreds of years (and clergy before that). What has changed though is how covertly it can happen, and how close to our world it happens. It is one thing to shade what the president did or did not do. But helping to edit (by showing or not showing) what friends and family do and say is a different level of ‘control’. Of course it is not all Facebooks fault, but it is something to keep in mind as we look at how we communicate both as individuals as well as how we communicate as businesses.

The full story from the Daily Beast has the breakdown of more specifics:

Cracking the Facebook Code

Here are the top discoveries:

The Daily Beast’s one-month experiment into Facebook’s news feed yielded the following discoveries:

  •  A bias against newcomers
  •  “Most Recent” doesn’t tell the whole story.
  •  Links are favored over status updates, and photos and videos trump links.
  •  “Stalking” your friends won’t get you noticed.
  •  Raise your visibility by getting people to comment.
  •  It’s hard to get the attention of “popular kids.”

Looking over these 10 ‘discoveries’ starts to create ideas as to how to capitalize on them for your social media strategy. Notice I did not say Facebook strategy, for a couple of reasons. First, what Facebook does, others are sure to follow as they have become the 800 pound gorilla on the web. Second, look to align with Facebook both on and off their site. They are not just simple posts, but a whole universe on and off the site. Third, don’t look to go very black hat or even grey hat. The web means anyone can change what is happening or even what is shared about what has happened with a few changes to code. There is no need to recall the history books anymore. Play honest, if for no other reason then it will be easier in the future.

As you can see there is a need to start as soon as possible and start to build your network actively. We are past the point of the Field of Dreams ‘Build it and they will come’.  But as a tradeoff, you can see what has and has not worked for others before you. So getting traction will be easier in some ways if you can build a community and work in partnership with them. As usual it is about looking at your audience from their perspective. Think about what they want to hear, not what you want to share first.

How will you change your Facebook Marketing Strategy now that you know how Facebook edits the world? Share your experiences below.

October 24, 2010 Posted by | local marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Email is a Traffic Generator?

Your personal email is a great way to improve your site traffic, for at least two major reasons:

  • You are sending a personal message to someone. You should have a great deal of trust in what you say and recommend. Your signature link to a site leverages that trust.
  • It helps create a mindset to tailor your site to optimizing your links and ALT tags to effective communication to Google about what your pages are about.

If you can’t put a good reason in your email for someone to visit your online presence to the people you are emailing, then you are doing something wrong. Sorry to be so direct, but is it that hard to have something worthwhile to share with those you are emailing?

If you are trying to promote or market yourself and you cannot put a softsell reason to have someone visit your online presence (website, Facebook page, Linkedin page, any of your blogs, where you have posted on someone else’s blogs) then you are either too selfish in not helping others out by sharing your information, or you are way too shy about your knowledge and wisdom.

To paraphrase podcaster (et al) Douglas E Welch puts it ‘if you have one more piece of knowledge than someone else in some area’ then you are an expert.

Your expertise is what you want to be sharing through your online presence.  That presence should be linking back to your website. As you share your expertise, you should ‘naturally’ be creating more content that the search engines can use to understand why you should rank high in their listings.

So the key is to be altruistic and give your expertise and wisdom away.  Think about how you would ‘gently’ let others know about your knowledge and put links in your email signature.  Then look at how to describe that wisdom in short snippets –

  • 5 ways to work more efficiently
  • 3 ways to lose weight
  • My favorite wines in the last year
  • How I improved my  business 15%
  • How I improved the health of over 1000 patients
  • How I helped 200 people save money with xx product
  • My favorite flowers for clay soils in the midwest

These quick descriptions belong in your email signature. They also belong in your blog posts, comments where appropriate on other sites, and in your links to specific pages on your site.  These descriptions also tell Google what your pages of content are about.

These links should not just be to your home page, but specific links to specific information on your online presence. I would recommend creating a catalog of signatures and rotate them on a regular basis so that people know to pay attention to the extra ‘nugget of knowledge’ you give in each of your emails. That little bit extra you give in each interaction with your visitors/clients/friends/community.

Start thinking about helping others with your email signature, and you can help yourself.

Thanks to Dr. Kent Christianson for the inspiration to this blog

June 22, 2009 Posted by | How To, Simple, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment