Your Business – Is it Ready For the Attention?

    November 10, 2006

Is it? Are you sure it’s ready?

You might be tired of hearing me talk about it, but the Marketing Pilgrim contest still has me thinking. If you remember one of the reasons I gave for entering the contest was the hope that the judges would read my article. The contest judges are some strong voices within the SEO and marketing community and they’re in a position where they can help anyone they choose. A few links, a couple of mentions and they could easily drive a good amount of traffic toward any site they see fit.

My entry didn’t make it past the first round, but It got me thinking what if I had won. And what if winning had drawn a lot of attention this way. Would I have been ready for it? Would the blog meet the standards of the discriminating eyes of my new visitors?

If I told you that tomorrow you would get 100,000 new visitors to your site how would you feel? Pretty good I would think. But have you thought of the reality of 100,000 new visitors landing on your site in a single day. What if you got those visitors because one of your articles made it to the front page of Digg and Slashdot at the same time and all those visitors arrived within a half hour. Could your server handle all the requests? What good is all that traffic if your site isn’t there when it arrives.

Probably not likely to happen tomorrow and in all honesty something you could easily recover from. How about another example. You’ve spent months working to get a review from your local paper. They have a widely read section on your topic and you know that a favorable review can put your site in front of a vey targeted local audience. What happens if the reviewer agrees to take a look at your site, but he thinks it’s amateurish and doesn’t give a favorable opinion? What if he does give your site a good review it based on some of the good information you have, but when the it’s published in the paper and people come to your site they can’t figure out how to work your shopping cart? Maybe the cart is fine, but the site is doing such a poor job of converting that most people never get there? Think those people are going to come back to see if you fixed things in a few weeks? You’ve generated a buzz around your business and then failed to deliver.

Then again maybe your site is fine. It’s not perfect, but it looks professional and it’s converting at a reasonable rate. You’ve been working hard optimizing your site and you’ve been fine tuning a pay-per-click campaign. A few of the links you’ve been trying hard to get are finally falling into place. Everything is coming together just as you’d been hoping and the orders start to roll in. The only problem is you can’t keep up with demand. You can’t create enough product to meet that demand and are forced to turn away orders. Is that the impression you want to leave with the people who just found you and made a purchase? What are they going to tell their friends when they had to wait six months for their order to be filled? Think you’ll be getting a lot of recommendations?

Now that you’re all mad at me for predicting doom and gloom for your business why am I telling you about some of the possible things that can go wrong. It’s not to keep you from trying to get more traffic or get the word out about your site. I’m telling you to remind you that there’s a business behind your website and even while you’re working to bring more visitors to your site, you still need to be working to improve your site and the business behind it.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that more traffic is the cure-all for any business. Before that traffic can help your website and business need to be able to handle it. Your server needs to be able to handle the requests and your site needs to be able to turn the traffic into customers. Your business needs to be able to meet the demand of your new customers.

You never know when or where or even if an opportunity will come your way. I believe we make our own opportunites in life and a lot of SEO and marketing is about creating new opportunities. But an opportunity alone is no guarantee of anything. It’s simply an opportunity and you need to be ready to meet the opportunity if you want to gain from it.

It also means you shouldn’t necessarily chase after opportunities you’re not prepared for. If you can handle it if your site’s traffic were to double, by all means work to double your traffic. If tripling your traffic pushes you to the extreme end of what you could reasonably deal with then there’s no need to be trying to increase traffic tenfold. You’d be better off improving the site and the business to deal with that amount of traffic first.

As I said at the start it was my recent experience in the SEM contest that got me thinking about all of this. If I had won would I be ready to embrace the opportunity and turn it into more than simply an opportunity. I’d like to think I would have been ready and maybe I would have been or still will be. What I do know is that I will do what I can to be ready for the next opportunity.

I can look around my site and see there are many areas where it can be improved. The same can be said for the business behind the site. I will continue workng to improve the quality of ideas and writing on this blog so when the day comes where someone influential finds their way here they will hopefully find something they feel worth telling others about.

Traffic is important and we’d all like more. And more often than not these pages will be offering advice how you can bring more targeted traffic to your site. But remember that all the traffic in the world isn’t an automatic guarantee of success. Look around at your site and your business and ask yourself if both are ready for the attention you’re trying to attract. If not then focus your efforts on making them ready before focuing your efforts on drawing attention to them.


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Steven Bradley is a web designer and search engine optimization
specialist. Known to many in the webmaster/seo community by the username
vangogh, he is the author of TheVanBlog, which focuses on how to build
and optimize websites and market them online.