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Sometimes Web Design Is About Money: How the Tar Heel Traveler website could matter

Sometimes Web Design Is About Money: How the Tar Heel Traveler website could matter | Ecom Revolution | Scoop.it

Scott Mason is our excellent local CBS affiliate WRAL's Tar Heel Traveler. Scott interviewed me yesterday for our Cure Cancer Starter video and I agreed to take a look at his website to say THANKS. 

This post is about why "web design" is a dangerously vague term now and why sometimes creating a website that works is about the money or about finding experts capable of making money online to help create your online presence.   

Martin (Marty) Smith's insight:

The Tar Heel Traveler Website
Scott Mason is an amazing visual storyteller. He creates "slice of life" pieces for our excellent local CBS affiliate WRAL TV. You can watch Scott's videos by clicking on the link below:

The Tar Heel Traveler on WRAL 

 

Scott wrote a great book about a year ago on his travels across North Carolina. The book has been a big hit selling several thousand copies (this is very unusual, most books only sell a handful of copies). Scott created a website to support the book:

TheTarHeelTraveler.com

The Magic Math of Making Money Online
There is a large group of "web designers". There is a smaller group of Internet marketers that know how to design a website to matter more and more every day. Finally this is a TINY SET of Internet marketers that really know how to make money online. 

That third set can't be larger than a few thousand people in the world. I've managed teams that have made millions online, but my talent is in recognizing the kind of skills and minds necessary. I know how to create a team that feeds off each other, teams capable of creating websites that matter more and more and so make millions. 

I haven't met the designer who created TarHeelTraveler.com, but they made many unforgivable mistakes including:

* Site doesn't have social support. 
* No blog (Scott is an amazing writer).
* Title is poor and they are poor throughout.

* Conventions such as "HOME" is violated (welcome instead). 

* Visuals could be better. 

 

To the designer’s credit the site was created in cascading style sheets and it loads fast, but those benefits don't overcome the site's significant issues. 

The lack of social support is, at this time, is unforgivable. The site has a PageRank (PR) of 2 and that is only because WRAL is driving a PR5 into it. This website design has NO CHANCE to scale or matter much. I just wrote a note to Scott explaining that this site in 2002 or 2003 might have worked; now a website design like this is dead on arrival. 

Platforms Vs. Websites  
I wrote a piece on the death of the "closed loop" website, a website such as TarHeelTraveler.com that is talking to itself about itself, in 2011. Platforms vs. Websites is about changes created by social and mobile (sometimes called SMobile).  

The GOOD NEWS is you can use OPP (Other People's Platforms) to help create social websites. I suggested Scott use Flickr and YouTube, but he could also use Scoop.it, LinkedIn and Shopify. We don't have to look far to see the rise of User Generated Content (UGC) platforms such as Amazon, Facebook and Twitter. 

UGC Is the secret weapon of all platforms, we all know this by now. Tough part is UGC is getting harder and harder to generate since it is in such clear demand. The Tar Heel Traveler has a built in demand. People want to share stories, pictures and video about a well-loved and visited state. 

This means Scott only needs to ASK for UGC, use a few free tools and his PR2 becomes a PR5 in no time. The other big learning is there may be many "web designers", but there is a tiny group that really knows how to create platforms that matter more and more every day. Many are called, few are chosen. 

 


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Why Platform Ecom is NOT The Future Despite Volusion Merchants $500M In Holiday Sales [Marty Note]

Why Platform Ecom is NOT The Future Despite Volusion Merchants $500M In Holiday Sales [Marty Note] | Ecom Revolution | Scoop.it
Our customers made a big impact on the ecommerce industry this holiday season, generating over a half billion dollars in sales. Check out this post to learn even more impressive performance results from our successful merchants.
Martin (Marty) Smith's insight:

Liabilities of Platform Ecom
I know it is strange. I am normally PRO platform (See Platforms vs. Websites http://scenttrail.blogspot.com/2011/09/internet-marketing-platforms-vs.html#.UOwaJonjkeY ). 

I am NOT pro ecom websites using an aggregator such as Volusion or Shopify except as a snapstore supplement. In this equation Shopify or Volusion is the platform NOT people creating stores there. 

This means the platform benefits accrue to Volusion and Shopify. It is not wonder I can't fid a store inside the Volusion ecosystem that has higher PageRank than the loft 7 Volusion puts up. When you see a platform pulling a PR7 or 8 you know that SEO benefits are flowing to the platform and less so to those using it.  

It doesn't mean you should use aggregators, it just means don't put your single store there. If this sounds like we are returning to the need for diversification you are correct and win a cookie. The problem is more than one store can be a lot of work. 

When we added a new store when I was a Director of Ecommerce it tripled the work. If your IT is up to a feed based system where you maintain a core database once and it feeds all other stores via web services then consider a blanket or tapestry of stores. If your IT looks at you like a deer in the highlights when you ask that last sentence then you better stick with one store just make sure it is YOUR store not THEIRS (i.e. on OPP or Other People's Platform).  

 

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