Just heard from the guys over at Marketing Over Coffee that Google is now using load time to factor into search rankings What this means in plain English is that the faster your site loads, the higher it will be listed on a Google search. The flip side is that if your site is graphics and Flash heavy, it will have a negative effect on your search rankings.

You can read more from Google's own Matt Cutts. He outlines various tools you can use to measure speed and optimize your site as well.

Another very important reason to avoid Flash sites is that the push towards mobile technology is stronger and stronger every day. This is especially if you have a local business and people need to find you from their Blackberrys, iPhones and the like.

Leave Flash for the sites that are truly meant to be interactive.
Start a simple blog type site on Wordpress, Typepad ot Weebly for crying out loud.
I had two recent occasions to hear one of my favorite marketing experts, John Jantsch. Each time, he made a point which brings to mind a common mistake being made when small biz owners are trying to use emerging channels.

Putting Tactics Before Strategy

What is our Twitter strategy? How can we use Facebook? Can you add more Flash to my website? The list of questions goes on and on but are these the relevant questions to be asking yourself?

You cannot have an effective "Twitter Strategy" if you don't know what your objectives are. It's often a waste of time to plan your next move in social media or on the web if you don't know where it fits in to your overall business strategy.

Takeaway: Figure out your strategy and determine the tools that will be most effective.

Not going live with a good functional website

Seth Godin calls it Shipping in his book, Linchpin. The act of finishing a project with an end product. There are so many business websites that are stuck in the mud. They either have:
  • A domain pointing to a parked page
  • A mock up image of what the site will look like "Coming soon"
  • A beautifully designed website where half og the links are not working.

Every now and then I come back and check and there has been no progress made. Just a functionless website.

Customers don't visit your business because you are developing a snazzy website. They come because you have communicated to them that you can fill a need that they have.

Vanessa Fox, is a former Google employee who worked on the search team. if anyone knows what makes a good website it's her. She was interviewed by Jantsch who asked her if he is actually giving good advice by telling small biz owners to just start with a Wordpress or similar platform. She answered absolutely - Google loves blogs. Yet, we throw out money (both in opportuniy costs and real costs) working forever on developing flashy sites that just annoy visitors,

The web is not a beauty pageant. Customers will not buy from you because you've spent a lot developing a pretty site. They want to know that they will get good products and service. The website should only be there to enhance the process of your customers learning about and ultimately buying what you are selling them. Good design does not get in the way of that - it enhances it.

Takeaway: Get a good, useful website up now. Once you see how customers interact with it you can take it to the next level.

You can actually see a list of low-cost quick websites that we have developed for our clients right here.