Posted on April 6, 2011 by Jexley
After a few months worth of thinking about it, I’ve decided that I’m not going to offer SEO any longer.
The Sisyphean adventure of trying to educate the marketplace on certain aspects of this industry while still trying to win business and convince people that I’m A) better than my competitors and B) actually good too, was just too much.
I thought I’d get smart, and create a Client Expectations Document, where I outline in precise detail each step of the project. Where I give minimum time limits to wait for results. Where I politely make it clear not to ring me, just email me because it’s so much easier for my life.
And these things all got ignored. Not by everybody, but by just enough clients that I realised I wasn’t actually happy with a new project any more, I was dreading it. I was waiting with dread for each new client to cause problems, or expect things outside of project parameters, or to simply stop returning my emails…
I started this business because I wanted to help people with their websites. I wanted to give them analysis and reports that mattered, that made sense to them, that told them important things about their websites. I started doing SEO because people were looking for it (nobody seems to search "web analtyics expert" much) and because it could pay the bills.
4 years on, and that’s all I’ve been doing… paying the bills.
Actually not quite. Little by little, I built some tools in PHP and WordPress that helped me keep up on client reporting, Google Rankings, Search Traffic, and AdWords success. They helped me with Keyword Research, Competition Research, Link Analysis and Overall Website Analysis. I put them on a website called Jex Solutions, and made it a Membership site.
I kind of figured, "Man, these tools do SO much for MY business and MY clients, I’ll make them available for all!"
Then hardly anybody signed up. Then those that DID sign up, couldn’t figure out how to use anything. It was an epic failure.
But, by that same token, it was a tremendous success. I learned more about what really makes a website successful than I ever would’ve just looking at stats and graphs.
I started a blog, open to other web folks of wonderfulness, called Stone Soup – Recipes for a Better Web. A place for web professionals to take a no-holds-barred approach to blogging about the web. A place where we could say bad words as much as we wanted and bag on clients that pissed us off… all with a lesson, of course.
I’ve registered, and have big plans for, Have a Good Website, a site that’s going to have anything from the basics of picking a web designer to the intricacies of finding the right kind of inbound linking plan for your SEO.
I also wrote a book! A romance, followed by one I’m working on that’s sci-fi futuretasticness. The books, and the wonderful people I’m involved with in my writer’s group, have inspired me to make a website for authors called Page Buoy. It’s not bulit yet, it’s in progress, but it’s going to be unique and pretty awesome for writers of just about anything. I’m stoked.
And finally, wife and I are about to have our 4th child. Little Boy Blue is due on the 20th and I’m going to take a few months off just to enjoy my last child, my baby boy.
During that time, I’m going to:
- Finish Page Buoy.
- Publish my first book.
- Finish my second book.
- Build Have a Good Website.
- Revamp this website, and have a slew of reports to choose from, that all centre around Making Google Analytics Simple.
- Revamp Jex Solutions, to showcase the Web Consulting side of my business.
- Have a kickass time with my new baby.
Sure, it’s a lot, but it’s what I want to be doing.
Wish me luck.
Category: SEO, State of the Web | 1 Comment
Posted on February 11, 2011 by Jexley
Back in my college days I was a bit of an outsider as a Montana Mountain Boy at Texas A&M. I didn’t have a lot of friends and my interests almost solely resided in an altiude > sea level. I loved hockey though and even though I’d only mucked about on a frozen pond, I got some cheap inline skates, a cheap plastic stick and fashioned a net out of leftover plumbing from the junkyard.
I went out, found a parking lot, and played. I wasn’t out to make friends or find like-minded folks, I just wanted to play. But the other stuff happened anyway. One day a couple of guys, who were from up North too, pulled over and asked me to come and play with them on Sundays. A great group got bigger and bigger and soon they built a league. Those two guys graduated and got married and I took over the league, filling my days with the thing I loved most.
Fast forward more years than I’m happy to count out loud, and those two guys are still at it, doing what they love and inviting others in on it. Through the magic of Facebook they’ve found me again, and have "pulled over" on this Interwebs Highway and said, "Hey, you’re doing something we like doing too!"
They like web stuff, I like web stuff, and we’re all good at it.
They’ve recently launched Cherry Tree and here’s a few of Tay’s words on it:
Our vision is to create a web product that helps parents change the child’s behavior through two mechanisms; 1) positive reinforcement by the parents and other key figures in the child’s life and 2) an incentive based gaming mechanism that keeps the child engaged and habitualizes the behavior. Or put more simply, think of it as a super duper sticker chart combined with a Facebook-ish status and messaging system that is private to a family.
So, bless ‘em, here’s my two old friends, getting their skates on, grabbing their sticks, and setting a game alongside a busy street.
If you get a chance, pull over and check ‘em out. You never know how it’ll turn out.
Category: Around the Web, State of the Web | No Comments
Posted on September 16, 2010 by Jexley
I was at a friend’s office today discussing the different types of reports that we send to clients and the automated SEO traffic and rankings stuff that I’ve built as well as the stuff that he puts together manually for each client based off their Google Analytics data and his own insights.
At the end of it, what he’d told me was essentially what I’d known all along but had taken some very (comparitively) large steps towards simplifying what I’d created.
"That’s a LOT mate. There’s simply too much there."
The data gathered from reporting on website stuff is like a great novel to me, I get as much of it as I can and don’t stop until I’ve figured it all out. Not everybody’s like that though.
I realise this, and have really tried to separate out what I thought was important VS. what’s actually readable and understandable by a client.
It’s still too much.
I even went so far as to build something that measures what you spent VS. what you made via your website.
But then the brick-and-mortar business, that aren’t e-commerce websites, throw a spanner in the works by being so bold as to conduct business offline, where I can’t measure and track their leads and business and ensuing dollars.
So I’m putting it out there and inviting feedback on it: What would you look for in a weekly report?
You! With the one-person operation! You who were, and probably still are, utterly perplexed by the data in the reports that I send you… what are YOU after? What do YOU want to see every week?
I know I’ve asked before and you didn’t have anything to compare it to so you just shrugged, but now that you’ve been at this a while and you’ve gotten a feel for what your website should be doing for you… then lay it on me.
Tell me what you’re after, and I’ll do my best to make it happen.
Category: Around the Web | 2 Comments
Posted on August 6, 2010 by Jexley
Almost serendipitously Google has started a Small Business Blog aimed at helping those that aren’t ninjapimps at Web Promotion actually do things that are good for their business online… without spending a wad of their precious cash.
Why serendipitously? Because I was just telling wife (business partner and what makes Jex a "we" when it’s relevant) last night that I’m sick to death of Google Toys that come out, make no sense, and then fade away (Adios Google Wave) and that a company almost entirely composed of ENGINEERS is bound to sit in the dark, playing WOW and eschewing girls and sunlight for Fritos and Mountain Dew.
I know I’m a bit hard on the nerds, but I’m allowed, because I’m one of them.
Sure, I like kissing females and have even been known to be successfully socially interactive, but I’m also floundering in a pit of UN-usability and lack of Understanding with the
suckers users that have agreed to help me with my Jex Solutions site.
It’s got loads, and I mean LOADS of valuable and wonderful data in it, but can YOU find it? Do YOU know how to extract it and apply it’s knowledgeness to YOUR website?
I’m finding the answer is more and more a resounding: NO.
So I’ve asked for help, here and there, and have finally unleashed the bitingly critical and leaving-no-stone-unturnedly Wifeage onto the poor and unsuspecting populace. Things are going to change, oh yes and surely.
So, good onya Googs for starting something that is sorely needed in your approach to… well, just about everything, a nod to those of us in Small Business, for we are certainly the most important overall and if you treat us right, we’re the ones that’ll see you through.
I’m certainly taking a page and trying something new too.
Let’s hope we’re both successful in our humility and further efforts.
Have a Good Website.
Category: Around the Web | 2 Comments
Posted on May 27, 2010 by Jexley
I Know! Woulda thunk it?
Search Engine Land has an article on some data that a mob called "Chikita" has run on their assorted sites.
While I am usually loathe to chime in on such a ridiculously obvious concept as "#1 in Google is better than #2 or #3" I do love me some data.
According to the data they ran, the top spot gets twice the clicks as the second spot.
To be honest, I like this kind of stat and I always, ALWAYS try for #1, but with such a hugely diaphonously amorphically ever-changing thing such as Google’s algorithm, who would honestly have the time to spend getting a client from #2 to a #1 spot for any given keyword?
Once again, maybe the folks at Search Engine Land can all hang around and play with their linkfarms and leverage their 50,000 blog posts and articles to try and boost a client for one keyword spot, but I don’t personally know anybody that plays in that kind of sandbox.
That said, the stat that hit me the hardest was where they figured out that a site at #10, the bottom of page one (but still ON page one) gets 143% more traffic than the #11 spot (the TOP of page two, but still ON page two).
That’s a pretty big deal.
And THAT’S the kind of thing a fella can chase as a goal, not something as finely sliced as going from the #2 position to #1.
Going from Page 2 to Page 1 is a much more attainable goal, and I’m pleased to say that I’m at about a 95% rate with my clients and their targeted terms. And for that 5%… I’m actually still working on that, even though they may not even know nor have paid me in months.
Bit of a pride thing, I suppose.
Later folks, and if you’re doing a #2 and want to switch to a #1, I don’t know that I can help you. I’m no urologist. HA!
But if you want to go from Page 2 to the Front Page…
Have a Good Website.