Me and Seth are BFFs (AKA, Two Tips for Small Businesses)

Filed in Small Biz Marketing by Matt McGee on August 26, 2009 5 Comments

A couple weeks ago I received an email asking me to share a couple tips for small business owners. The premise was that I’d be contributing to an article on the American Express OPEN Forum (a small business community, for those who don’t know about it) featuring advice from “the top small business bloggers.” Not sure what I did to get on such a list, but I figured I’d play along.

I emailed Glen back to get some more specific instructions (what kind of tips, etc.), but Glen was purposely no help. πŸ™‚ Not knowing if I should focus on SEO, if I should get real detailed or stick with more general tips, I punted: I shut down the computer, played some NCAA Football 10 on the PS3, and went to sleep. That was apparently quite inspirational, because the next day I came up with a couple tips and dutifully emailed them to Glen:

1.) “Don’t put all your eggs in Google’s basket. Defensible traffic is a must. If you rely too heavily on free Google traffic, you risk losing that traffic next time the search algorithm changes.”

2.) “Realize that your company web site isn’t really yours. It belongs to your customers. They’ll use it more than you. Put the kinds of content, tools, etc., on there that they want; make it easy for them to be your customer.”

The first tip harks back to this old post I wrote a couple years ago about a small business owner who had to lay off employees after seeing his Google traffic plummet. How sad is that? The second tip is just something I believe in strongly, going back to my days as a web designer. So many clients came in saying things like “we want this on our site, and we want this, and we want it to do this” and I’d always say, “What do your customers want from your web site?” Stopped most of them dead in their tracks.

Anyhoo … my two tips and about one hundred more are now included in an excellent compendium on the OPEN Forum:

101 Tips from 50 Small Business Bloggers

And when you click through to read the article, you’ll understand the headline of this post. Because, when you get to the “Search Marketing” section, you’ll only see two pieces of advice:


See? Me and Seth are total BFFs now! Ain’t that right, Seth? Seth?

Comments (5)

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  1. Brian Combs says:

    Both pieces of advice are truly solid, Matt. Seth should be honored to have his listed near yours. πŸ˜‰

    And, I love the β€œWhat do your customers want from your web site?” question. If you don’t mind, I may have to steal that one.

  2. Matt McGee says:

    You’re being WAY too kind, Brian, but thanks. Feel free to use that question, too. I don’t do web design anymore, so it’s collecting dust. πŸ˜‰

  3. Michelle says:

    My biggest pet peeve as a web designer has been clients who ask for features on their sites that provide no value to their target customers.

    Such a simple statement “What do your customers want from your website” will make all the difference.

    Yes, Matt I’ll need to take that one myself as well. πŸ™‚

  4. Mike Ramsey says:


    I couldn’t agree more about focusing purely on google. The more I play around with caffeine, the more I see that some companies are going to really get hit big. It’s just like the stock market, you can take a gamble and put it all in one place, but my grandpda made money by spreading it around.

    To take it even father, some people might ONLY focus on adwords, or local search results, or organic listings, or social media. But, the bang for your buck is combining all factors together into a big ol pool.

  5. Paul Flood says:

    Great post Matt, particularly the phrase “Your company web site isn’t really yours. It belongs to your customers.” If more businesses would apply this to their stores and companies in general, they would be a lot more successful.

    I get the comment, “I want my site to…” frequently and using the response you suggest really has an impact. Either that or the deer in headlights look, meaning they are often incapable of looking at their business as a customer.

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